Brian sat in the back seat of the dark blue Ford Taurus, watching as the city of Los Angeles whizzed by. They had been on the interstate for ten minutes when Pete’s phone rang, Steve, in the drivers seat glanced over at him as he fished his phone out of his shirt pocket.
“Its Joshua” he said looking at the lighted screen then punched the answer button.
Brian listened intently to the seemingly one sided conversation, from what he could make of the questions and comments his old friend was making, Glen was rapidly becoming more and more unstable. Joshua had been in the house when Justin first arrived and had been able to keep Glen from harming him and for that Brian was thankful. Steve asked quietly if there was any sign of Andrew, and Pete relayed the question to the agent then shook his head regretfully.
Sighing, Steve once again focused his attention on the road but Brian could see the firmly set jaw and both hands clench the wheel hard before relaxing again. Brian’s fear, as well as his hatred for Justin’s ex grew. The outcome for Andrew didn’t look good and with Justin and Molly trapped in the house with that low life, murdering sack of shit; Justin’s chances didn’t look promising, even though Joshua’s threats had kept him unscathed for the time being. He swore if he ever got his hands on Glen, there wouldn’t be a breath of life left in him when his fingers were finally pried from around the fuckers’ throat.
Pete closed the flip part of his phone and glanced back at Brian as he slid the device back into his shirt pocket.
“We’re almost there”
Molly sat on the bed, staring out the window at the tall wooden privacy fence of Glen’s back yard. Now and then a heavy sigh escaped past her partially opened lips as she thought about the predicament she and Justin were in. While she understood why her brother hadn’t told Brian where he was going, she knew that if she could find some way to get out of the room and get to a phone, without Glen finding out, Brian would figure some way to get them out of there.
She rose and walked toward the glass pane watching as a bird flew into her line of vision and out again as it passed the other side of the window frame. As she got closer the line of rose bushes lining the fence slowly rose from the bottom of the window and she knew that if she took a deep breath she could smell the fragrant red flowers that dotted the green thorny plants. She had been in that back yard once, she and her mother had been invited for a back yard barbeque right after Justin had moved in with Glen, that had been one of the few happy times she could remember before Glen had shone his true colors.
Her eyes dropped to the bottom of the window and it took a minute or so for her to realize that something didn’t look right about the bottom portion of the frame. She bent forward a little and looked closer, the wood on the bottom of the frame looked as if someone had tried to pick it open with something. Looking at the rest of the frame she could see that the paint on the bottom looked fresher then the paint on the rest and running her fingers along the bottom she could tell why. The bottom of the frame had been nailed shut and painted over, she could see that a piece of the frame was sticking up just a little bit but try as she might she couldn’t get her fingers underneath it to pull it up. She was so intent on working she almost didn’t hear the thump coming from the wall behind her. She stopped to listen; afraid Glen was coming back but then realized that the sound had not come from the direction of the door. Shaking her head she turned back to the sill, but then she heard it again, a distinct thump directly behind her.
She turned and walked over to the wall and heard a sound almost like a moan coming from the other side. Letting her eyes roam downward she was surprised to see a vent near the bottom of the wall, she hadn’t noticed it before. Kneeling down and feeling slightly foolish she asked in a quiet voice “Hello?’ And nearly fell back on her rear end when a voice, distinctly male answered her.
Molly’s eyes widened “Justin?”
“No, not Justin” the voice answered back. Molly’s eyes narrowed in confusion, the voice sounded strange.
“Who are you?”
“Andy….my name’s Andy”
Sitting down and pulling her knees up to her chest she wrapped her arms around them, resting her chin on the tops of her knees “you sound strange, are you okay?”
She heard slight movement and a low moan “No, hurts”
Her head popped up and she stared at the wall “he hurt you didn’t he?” she asked in a small voice, looking around the room half afraid that she would see Glen standing in the doorway.
She heard him speak again, a little stronger but strained “I know that room you’re in; Glen kept me in there when I first came back here. Go out through the window”
“I can’t its nailed shut”
“There’s a knife hidden under the base of the lamp on the nightstand”
Molly shook her head not thinking that Andy couldn’t see her “There’s no lamp there”
“Shit” came the muttered curse threw the vent, then “see if it’s under the bed or in the closet”
She got up and looked under the bed, not seeing it there she turned to the closet and high up on the shelf above the metal clothes rack was the lamp. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to reach it she looked around and her eyes settled on the night stand. Working quickly, she tugged the stand into the closet and climbed up, feeling it teeter a little under her weight. Holding onto the shelf with one hand and tipping the lamp over with the other she felt around in the base with her fingers and was rewarded when they closed around the handle of the knife.
Walking back to the vent she knelt down “Okay, I have it, what now?”
“Some of the board around the bottom of the window is loose, try to pry it open with the knife”
Molly hurried back to the window and shoved the blade of the knife in under the board and was surprised when she was able to wiggle it just a tiny bit. Working feverishly she picked and pried until finally with a small protesting noise the board popped loose. Gleefully she grabbed it and tossed it on the bed, hurrying back over to the vent to tell Andy.
Just as she kneeled down however, she heard a different voice, one that made her cringe. Listening silently she tried to make out what Glen was saying, at first it sounded muffled, like he was too far away but then his voice came through more clearly as if he had moved further into the room.
“Come on bitch”
Then she heard Andy’s voice “No, Glen please don’t” a muttered curse followed, then a thud and a loud groan and knew Glen had done something to hurt Andy.
“What did I tell you about saying no to me?”
Not wanting to hear more of what was happening to her new friend Molly turned and as quietly as she could hurried back to the window. Glen’s voice had a scary ring to it and she knew that she had to get help fast, not just for Justin but for Andy too, he had sounded so weak. Within seconds she had the window up, crawled through the opening, and landed with a quiet thud on the grass a few feet below. Running to the gate she slipped through it and ran down the short alley toward the open street.
Not thinking about anything but trying to find help she didn’t think to pause to look for on coming cars like she normally would have but blindly ran out into the street. The loud blare of a car horn and the screeching of tires caused her to turn; all she had time to notice was the silver radiator grill and headlights of a dark colored car bearing down on her.
Instinctively she put her hands out as if to ward off the impending collision, closed her eyes and waited…….and felt the warm hood of the car under her palms as it skidded to a stop in front of her.
If not for Steve’s quick reflexes the car would have rolled right over the young girl, it had been too damned close. It took Brian only a second to realize who the girl was and was out the door in a flash not paying any mind to the three people who had jumped out of the car parked just fifty yards away and were running toward them.
“Jesus, fuck Molly. Are you okay?” Brian asked as small arms wrapped themselves around his neck and released a huge sigh of relief when he felt her nod her head against his shoulder. The words he’s here, he’s here, he’s here, kept repeating themselves over and over inside her head while she held onto him with all the strength her small arms could muster.
“I’m s..s..sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t look” Molly shakily said as Brian and one of the other men from the first car helped her into the back seat of the Taurus.
Settling back against the seat of the car she wiped her eyes as Brian and the other agent climbed in, one of each side of her “I’m really sorry Brian. I was trying to find help”
Brian shook his head as he wrapped an arm across her shoulders and pulled her to his side “I’m just glad you’re okay. How did you get out of the house?”
Eyeing the two men in the front seat as they pulled up behind the other car, Molly wasn’t sure how much to tell him, especially when the two men still standing outside leaned in, resting their arms on the now rolled down windows on the front and back passengers sides.
“I had help”
“Molly, these are my friends Pete and Steve” Brian said, indicating the two men in the front seat. He’d seen the look she was giving them and had seen the distress on her face, he then glanced at the man on Molly’s other side “and you are?”
“Joshua, and like Brian here, I’m also happy to see you’re alright”
The man leaning on Pete’s window added “I’m Mike and that’s Bill” he said motioning to the man at Joshua’s window with his thumb.
Molly looked at Joshua “your voice……I heard you, you were in the house earlier”
Joshua nodded; he was still shaking inside at the thought of what had almost happened, thank god for Steve’s quick reflexes.
“Yes, I was”
“Molly is Justin okay?” Brian asked, fearing her answer but needing to know.
“Yeah, he seems to be” then she thought of Andy “but I don’t think the other one is though”
Both Pete and Steve swiveled their heads around to stare at her “what other one?” Steve demanded in a harsh voice.
Molly jumped and stared at him with wide frightened eyes, the look on the man’s face was formidable.
“Molly, Steve’s brother was living with Glen before he met Justin. He went missing right before Justin moved in with Glen” Brian told her.
“Is his name Andy?” she asked and was surprised when Steve’s eyes widened and his face lost color, he nodded his head.
“He’s alive, but he’s been hurt. I only talked to him through a vent in the wall. He sounds bad”
“What do you mean” Pete asked, turning crossways in the front seat so he could see her over the headrest.
“He sounds really weak” she said “he told me there was a knife hidden in the base of the lamp in the closet. I got it and managed to pry open a board on the window. When I went back to tell him I’d gotten the board loose I heard Glen’s voice in the room with him”
“What was Glen saying Molly?” that was from Bill still leaning on Joshua’s window.
“He said….” she looked up at Brian, drawing on the man’s presence to give her strength “he said come on bitch. Then I heard Andy say no, Glen please don’t. Then I think Glen hit him or something.”
Pete looked at Steve noticing the pale pallor on the man’s face and the ticking in his jaw “if you don’t think you can do this we can get another shooter in here”
Steve shook his head “No fucking way” he glanced at Molly with an apologetic look and she grinned back at him
“Don’t worry; I’ve heard my brother and Brian say that lots of times” Molly said then looked at Brian again “get them out of there Brian, please, Glen’s acting really weird”
“We will” he answered giving her a quick hug as the others began to move. Steve exited and moved to the back of the car and opened the trunk.
“That house there has a for sale sign on it” Steve said pausing with a small duffle bag in one hand and pointing at the house next door to Glens with the other.
“I’ve only seen the real estate agent there” Molly told them, stopping next to the opened hatch and looking at the two gun cases lying on the carpeted bottom of the trunk.
“How many times” Pete asked.
“Just once” she replied.
Pete nodded and gently steered her to the first car “Let’s get you in here where you’ll be safe” He looked over his shoulder, Bill was walking behind them “get on the radio with the office and tell them we’re going in now”
Pete looked at Molly “honey, I want you to stay here. Bill will stay with you”
After Molly was safely in the back seat she turned to stare out the back window. Pete was fastening an earpiece to his left ear and seemed to be arguing with Brian. She saw Steve and the other one, Mike, saying something then Pete sighed and nodded his head and Brian attached the earpiece to his own head.
After testing the devices and making sure all four agents and Brian were able to communicate with each other Steve and Mike began separate journeys toward the empty house and Glen’s house. Pete and Brian headed toward Glen’s back yard and Joshua walked straight up the drive toward the front door.