Marka, Shay and Clark are desperate to find Frank. The weather has turned ugly, heavy snow and high winds make travel difficult. Not letting that stop them, the three set out in search of Frank.
Clark struggled with the door since the passenger side of the car was higher than the driver’s. He helped the Colonel out and the two of them studied the problem for a moment. With Marka driving and the two of them instructing and pushing, the car was out of the ditch in a matter of minutes.
Shay offered to drive, but Marka wouldn’t hear of it. Any delay would slow them too much. Already, she felt fear grab her stomach.
“How much further?” she asked, peering out the windshield.
The snow fell heavily, the thick flakes sticking stubbornly. The wiper blades on high could barely keep up.
“That’s the turn there,” Clark said, pointing to their right.
Marka slowed, suddenly worried that they would be seen. She had no plan, merely knew that they had to do something. She had to save Frank. She couldn’t lose him—not now that she was falling in love. At the base of the long, winding drive, she stopped the car. Hands on the steering wheel, she stared up the driveway. She couldn’t see the house, but she knew Frank was there.
“How do we do this?” She asked.
“We don’t,” Shay replied. “Clark and I will. . . .”
“I’m going with you. He’s going to need me. You know they’re doing something awful to him.”
“How can you know that?”
“Because that’s what makes sense. They need his cooperation. The only way to get that is to manipulate him again.”
“Frank’s strong,” Shay began.
“They almost broke him once.”
“It will be harder this time. . . .”
“No, it won’t.”
“You have to believe,” Shay began.
“I believe that Frank will die if we don’t get up there immediately. Who knows how much damage they’ve already done!”
“Marka, calm down,” Shay said quietly.
“Don’t tell me that! Did that ever work for you? Telling someone to calm down and they did?”
He laughed slightly, shaking his head. “No.”
“What’s the plan?” Clark asked.
“I’m thinking,” Marka and Shay said in unison. They chuckled when they realized what they had done.
“I can’t believe it’s Phil,” Clark said quietly. “He’s like the last person I’d peg as the bad guy.”
“You’re sure?” Marka found it hard to believe that the mild mannered, jovial man was a villain. “Couldn’t he be another victim? Obviously, our master mind is going to keep his hands clean. What better way to do that than to get someone like Phil to take the fall for him.”
“Phil’s too strong to fall for something like that,” Clark said.
“And Frank’s not?” Shay yelled. “He’s the strongest man I know. Nothing ever freaked him out. But this—whatever it is, it’s reduced him to tears. Yes, Marka. I think it’s entirely possible that Phil’s been manipulated—brainwashed. I’ve know him for years. I helped to train him. I can’t believe he’s come to this.”
Marka yanked the door open and jumped out. She strode purposefully toward the house. Startled, the men didn’t follow right away. When they did, it was at a run. Clark caught up first. Grabbing Marka’s arm, he pulled her to a stop.
“What are you doing?”
“He knows we’re coming. Why play games and try to sneak in? Bold, frontal approach works better. He’ll be expecting us to try something sneaky. When we don’t, it will throw him off.”
Shay held her arm, slowing her.
“Didn’t you ask for the police to meet you here?”
“Yes.” Marka blinked. That seemed like ages ago.
“Then where are they?”
As if in answer, her phone vibrated in her pocket. Fingers numb from cold, she pulled her phone out of her pocket.
“Marka?” It was James.
“Yes, where are you?” She could hear voices, sirens and the sound of a cutting tool in the background.
“Huge accident on the highway. Six vehicles collided because of the weather. I’ll come as soon as I can.”
“Thanks, James. Be safe.”
“You too.” He hung up.
“Cops?” Clark asked.
“Major accident. They aren’t coming yet.”
“You think you can simply walk in?” Shay asked.
The cozy brick house looked deserted. Marka was sure that Frank was there, willing her to come.
“He’s there, Arnold. I know it.”
© Dellani Oakes