Elizabeth forced her eyes open. It took a few seconds for her to realize that they were indeed open. Her arms ached and she struggled against the restraints that held them tight against her body. It’s not a nightmare! Oh God, this is real!
The car jerked to a stop. She heard a muffled conversation as one of the men took her keys from the ignition and walked around to the trunk of the car. “I don’t get it. Why this woman? My grandma drives a better car than this one. You can tell she doesn’t have a lot of money. She is definitely older than the girls Mr. Silvia usually goes for.”
“I’m sure she is the right one, “ the second man responded.
The trunk popped open. One of them grabbed her around the middle and slung her over his shoulder. “Hey lady, have you ever heard of Zumba or Jenny Craig?”
“Now, that’s mean,” his accomplice said.
“I’d say she is about twenty five pounds overweight.”
“Compared to who? Are you comparing her to those little birdbrains you go out with? I think she is just fine.”
“It don’t matter, we aren’t supposed to touch her.”
Her mind swirled. Silvia...where have I heard that name? The man deposited her on a mattress. Taking a knife from a sheath strapped to his belt, he plunged the blade into the fabric of the sack that confined her, cutting it away while leaving the plastic restraints intact. She willed herself to appear calm. He grabbed her by the elbow and dragged her into a sitting position leaning her back against a rough wall. Her fingers brushed the splintered surface. Wood...old wood. A draft of cool air stirred the dust in the room. The man shivered and pushed the garage door down a little further. It moved little more than an inch, but that was as far as it would go. He turned toward the woman and saw that his partner was about to remove the blindfold.
He yelled, “Leave it on.”
The younger man frowned and dropped his hands to his sides, shrugging. He asked, “What about water?”
“We’ll get her some when we come back. Now, it’s time to get something to eat.”
She heard them shut a car door and start the engine. The gravel rocks of the driveway crunched as they backed away and left her. Is it possible to yell at God when your mouth is gagged shut? God, I am yelling at You! Do you hear me? I am mad that you are allowing this to happen to me. I have been a good church girl all my life. Is this how You allow Your good girls to be treated? I am a Sunday School Teacher and Women’s Group leader! Do You hear me? I even clean the church for no pay. I am good! I am good! Are You listening?
The thoughts tumbled through her confused mind for the next hour. Her head throbbed. I wish I had listened to Mark about getting more exercise. I don’t think I even have a muscle. She pictured her muscular, energetic husband. New tears sprang to her eyes. God, please let me go home. Show me what to do. I’m sorry for being mad about this. She struggled against the plastic zip tie restraints, halfway expecting God to have loosened them. They remained snug and bit at her wrists. What am I supposed to do? She heard scampering sounds in the corner next to her. Mice! An icy chill surged down her spine.
Some of her greatest fears were creatures like rodents, snakes, and spiders. She was too fearful to dispose of a mouse that had been caught in a trap or to set a trap for them. When Mark found a spot on the original floor of their mobile home where the mice had gnarled an access hole, she had insisted that he put in a new subfloor and install hardwoods throughout their house. He had indulged her and she was grateful that he cared enough to do it.
A vehicle with a loud motor stopped just outside the place where she sat. Her heart leapt into her throat. She heard her blood swishing through her head. Bile rose in her mouth and she willed herself not to vomit.
“Hey Tubby, we brought you some food.”
She felt the blade of a long knife slice through the zip tie binding her hands behind her back. She rolled her shoulders and grabbed her left wrist with her right hand and rubbed it vigorously.
“Hold your hands out in front of you,” a gruff voice ordered.
She reluctantly complied.
“We got you a burger and fries. There’s a Coke to wash it down with,” he added.
He cut the gag from her mouth.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
He placed the take out sack in her lap and observed her as she took a small bite of the hamburger.
“Lady, I don’t know what the deal is so don’t bother asking. I’m just doing a job for my boss. For some crazy reason he needs you. You would do well to just put up with the inconvenience until he is done.”
“No tellin’…he has his own time table and goes by his own laws. Rick folk are like that, don’t ya know.”
“Oh.” she said.
“Freddy, why are you talkin’ to her? The boss won’t like it.”
“She’s likely the age of my mom. I think she deserves to know something.”
“Keep your trap shut.”
Freddy stood and sauntered to the door where his superior stood. “Okay, now what?”
“The others are on their way to take her to the next destination.”
“Don’t know…don’t care. Listen, it is better we don’t know what happens from now on. This kind of thing goes against the grain and I want to wash my hands of it all.”
Freddy nodded saying, “Me too.”
Elizabeth heard the roar of a twin-engine airplane as it approached nearby. Freddy took the sack from her and said, “They’re here. You won’t want the rest of this in the plane.”
“Freddy…your name is Freddy, right?”
Tears escaped the blindfold and dripped down her cheek. “Tell the police. Please help me.”
“I can’t. I’ve been in trouble before and they would send me away for this.”
“Freddy, I’ll pray for you.”
“Don’t bother. Nothing can help me now. You need to be quiet. I don’t know what kind of men are taking you away in the airplane.”
She cried, “Where are they taking me?”
“I don’t know.”
A burly black man entered the building and lifted Elizabeth into his arms. He placed her in the cargo area of the aircraft. It seemed to her that it took an eternity before the plane lifted from the runway and was airborne.
Where are they taking me? I must determine how far from home I am. How can I do that? Why, God, why?
The engine sounds hummed for what seemed like hours. They landed and took off three more times. They must be fuelling up. How far does one of these crafts go on a tank? If I can figure that out, I’ll know something about how far away I am. Oh God, help me trust You to show me what to do.