The Simsville Inheritance
Copyright ©2006 Elizabeth G. Cox. All rights reserved.

Chapter 8 - Where Am I?

Charlie awoke suddenly as if from an afternoon nap but she knew this hadn't been any nap. She couldn't move her arms or legs, and her head hurt. The last thing she remembered what was she doing, the last thing she remembered? She turned her head back and forth, squeezing her eyes and trying to focus on her surroundings. Her hands were fastened behind her, her boots taped together with duct tape. Not a good sign.

She was lying on her side, on a pile of hay in the corner of a small dimly lit room. Hay. Okay, that's familiar. Unpainted wood walls, dry manure smell, and hay. Stable. There was no sound of people or animals, no traffic noises, no sounds of any kind. Abandoned stable. She could wiggle her fingertips a little but couldn't really reach anything, if there was anything to reach. No chair, no window, just cracks in the rough walls that let gleams of daylight in. The only door was shut and Charlie figured it was locked, but there was only one way to be sure. Her hands didn't seem to be taped to her feet. Maybe she could maneuver enough to stand.

It only took one try to realize she'd better wait a few more minutes. As soon as she changed her position a wave of dizziness washed over her. Letting the sensation subside a little, she shifted her feet around perpendicular to the wall and tried scooting backwards. The hay impeded her progress somewhat but she soon had her back against the wall. Pulling her feet as close as possible toward her body she tried sliding upwards. Her boots kept slipping on the loose hay. Need to get rid of this hay. It took several sweeps with her legs to clear the hay in front of the wall.

Not only a horse lover and rider, Charlie was a good athlete. Within another few minutes she was standing, fingertips touching the wall behind her. She could move only an inch or so at a time, shifting her shoulders and hips and dragging her taped feet. She tried not to think too much about the splinters she was acquiring in her shirt and jeans. Finally she made it to the corner where a separation in the planks offered a narrow crack to peer outward. Tall weeds, thick underbrush and a few straggly trees was all she could see. Nothing looked familiar. She had no idea where she was.

Charlie realized she had her arm and leg muscles tensed up. Maybe a few minutes of rest would be a good idea before attempting the last few feet. Easing down to the floor, she tried to think back to how she'd gotten into this mess.

She recalled getting to the stable, talking to Fargo and doing all the usual stuff before riding. She'd waved a good morning to Albert Black, headed off for her usual ride, returned and started to give Fargo a good rubdown, then

Then Jamie had showed up and offered to give her a hand. Though it was his day off he'd agreed to pick up some supplies in Simsville for his boss. He'd just dropped by to tell her about the horse show going on this afternoon in Paxton. They'd met at the sale where he'd been working and she'd purchased Fargo. She had enjoyed talking with him about horses and her future plans to become a veterinarian. With his help she'd finished her chores early, and when he suggested getting a coke at the local McDonald's it was the most natural thing in the world to accept. They might even ride over to the horse show for an hour or so, she could call her folks later if it looked like she might be late for lunch. They had talked about a lot of things, he was so knowledgeable about horses, horse shows, horse people, tack and feed and vitamins and stuff. They'd parked at the back of McDonald's, he'd gone in and brought back a couple of large drinks, handed hers over, she'd taken a good swallow and that was all she really remembered.

The skunk had drugged her. What else might he have done, she wondered? She didn't feel hurt, just tired and stiff from being bound up. And how long had she been out? Charlie had no idea what time it was but from the sunlight coming through the wall it was still daylight.

Time to rise, only a few more feet to go. Struggling to stay upright, Charlie shifted and slid, shifted and slid until she could reach the door. The awkward angle required several tries before she could get her fingers on the rusty door knob and try to turn it. The knob turned okay but the door didn't budge. It was locked up tight.

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 |