“Uhhh…” I heard myself say. My eyes hurt and throbbed something fierce. I put my hand to the back of my head and felt dry powdery flakes tangled in my hair. The room was dark and I had no idea where I was. Suddenly the floor gave a lurch, I instinctively grabbed for something to prevent myself from falling. Then the feeling went away.
I noticed my seat was in a recline. I reached over and noticed another chair within reach to my right. The seat felt cool to the touch and smooth. Could that be leather? I wondered. The sensation of water in my ears was irritating to say the least. The air was stale and stuffy and smelled of body odor. I surmised I was in a room of sorts.
Uhh, my ears. What was up with my ears? I tried to put my hand up to dig into them but I was being restrained by something. I was able to reach up and felt a cool metal chain. I ran my hand along the length and I found the padlock with a keyhole to my relief.
I heard someone clear their throat, walk away, and slam a door. I strained to hear if anyone else was here with me. I heard nothing. The floor lurched again. I heard a click and some shuffling of feet and the door slam shut again. I then heard walking in my direction.
“I see you are finally awake, Ms. Nuvo.”
It was still dark and the unfamiliar voice sounded like it could be either a man or woman’s. Was this person talking to me? Am I Ms. Nuvo? I acted like I was still sleeping so I could overhear what was being said. I began to snore.
“You can’t go back to sleep, Ms. Nuvo, not when we are just getting acquainted.” This person whether male or female whispered in my ear. The warm smelly breath assaulted my nose. It smelled of onion and garlic. But wait, a wiff of the cologne lingered in my nostrils and it was either Thunderstorm by Michael Perrai or a cheap copy.
“What is it you want and who are you?” I asked.
“It’s what you want. What you were doing in my office.
What you were searching for. As for who I am… well… let’s just say I’m your worst nightmare.” He laughed and snorted.
Suddenly it came to me. Mr Stanley Barkle, who was embezzling funds and I was the private eye who was assigned to look into the case. Looked like I got more than I bargained for.
As a last resort, I was so bothered by my stupidity of getting caught and the irritating feeling in my ears that I instinctively opened my mouth and cracked my jaw. Yep, the pressure was gone for now. I knew we were flying in a plane to who knows where.
“Where are we going Mr. Barkle? And why is it so dark in here?” I asked.
“Oh, we are going to drop your body in shark infested
waters. You can’t see because I had one of my men remove your eyes when you were unconscious.” The man laughed like a donkey. “I guess your private eye days are over. Get it? Eyes?” He snorted back a laugh.
The revelation that my eagle eyes were missing from my head stunned and shocked me. I now knew why my eyes were throbbing.
Damn it! Never was I going to see anything again. This sucked! I would have cried but I heard a click and a faint whoosh and some deep puffs. Damn, he was still here. Then I smelt smoke. I was about to panic when I took another smell and relaxed. It was just an expensive Cuban cigar. I hoped he would leave; the smell was making me nauseous.
A few puffs of smoke more and he began to cough uncontrollably. “What the… These Cubans are crap,” he yelled, walked away, and slammed the door. Could I conclude I was finally alone? I listened and could only hear the engines whirring away.
It was then that I broke down and cried. I could feel the warm tears coursing down my face. I was going to have to
learn brail. I will have no more jobs... wait a minute… I can still use my other senses. I could listen in on conversations on the phone. I read on the internet that the Belgiums were hiring blind people for just that sort of employment.
With new hope, I started to dig into the leather seat where I was sitting. Luckily there was a worn spot already there. Ah it must have been vinyl. I could feel stands going across one another. This Mr. Barkel was cheap but he wanted people to think he had money. I yanked on the strands for all I was worth. I made a pretty big hole.
I grabbed a spring and bent it this way and that. It began to tear my fingers and I could feel the blood stickiness and the pain. I finally broke off a piece and hoped it would be long enough inside the padlock. With my uninjured left hand, I worked it into the lock and moved it about pushing on any buttons inside. The lock released, opening with a loud click.
With joy and relief, I untangle the chains from around my body. I try to get oriented in the dark room and I headed toward what I thought was the back to see if there were any guns or parachutes or anything in the compartments I could use against these criminals.
I found 15 parachutes. They felt soft and silky and light weight. I also found a large gun of some kind, I wasn’t sure, it could have been a flare gun. I hoped it held a flare. Then I found a first aid kit I could smell the plastic from the bandaids and rubbing alcohol. I put a parachute on my back and grabbed the flare gun. I searched the room for an exit.
The walls felt extremely cold and smooth and since I’ve never jumped out of a perfectly good airplane I was about to pee my pants. I was sweating from all the adrenalin and Mr. Barkle could come back at anytime. I became frantic as I searched. I finally came upon what felt like latches in the walls. I heard the door open. Someone was coming.
I shot the flare at where I thought the door was and I opened the latch as the cabin began to fill up with acrid smelling smoke. I jumped into a huge, cold, windy, suction that blew me, I hoped, far enough away from the airplane and the engines.
I heard shots and bullets whizzed passed me as I descended to the Earth. I counted to 20 and pulled the cord to release the parachute. I heard it tear. “Damn, a bullet must have hit the pack.” The cold wind was whipping past me faster then before. It was getting easier to breathe by the minute.
I had no idea where I was going to land and I hoped I didn’t land where there would be a shark infestation. I hate sharks.
I heard a huge explosion behind and above me. I hoped it was the airplane but I couldn’t be sure. 5 minutes more of falling and something grabbed me around my upper arms. Uhh, it was Mr. Garlic breath himself. He must have jumped out after me and fought me for what was left of my parachute. I tried to get him to let go but he clung on tight. I kicked him franticly until he grunted loudly and let go. I think I got him in the groin.
The smells below hit my nose far sooner than I thought they would. I smelt popcorn and cotton candy and then animal dung. I heard what sounded like elephants trumpeting, band music playing, and a ringmaster shouting above the applause. I landed on a soft cushion that broke my fall then I started slipping on the smooth surface downward. I tried to stop my descent by grabbing and holding on to something, anything.
I was scrabbling around when I fell and hit the grass. I heard my left ankle crack as I crashed onto my butt. Biting my tongue I tasted a rusty flavor that I knew was blood. I struggled to untangle myself. It was easier than I thought it would be.
“Hey, watch it. You almost landed on us,” A woman yelled. I could hear two kids screaming as I tried to get to my feet. “Sorry, ow!” I think I broke my ankle. I tried to get the woman’s attention and tell her what happened. Would she take me to a hospital? But I heard her stomp away faster with her kids in tow like she didn’t want to get involved. I don’t blame her at all.
Something heavy hit what sounded like a jumping house right next to me with a huge thud. It blew out like a small explosion. Kids were screaming near me. Someone yelled, “He’s still in there.” I had a feeling it was Barkel and I felt he was no threat. I went to the now flat house and heard him groan as he gasped for breath.
I limped toward him, managed to use the parachute straps and tie up his arms and legs. I found what I thought to be a dung-filled but otherwise empty cage and dragged and locked him inside. I put the cold metal key into my pocket. I was limping toward the street where I could hear cars driving by and I heard a pay phone ringing. I answered it.
It was a kid who was trying to sell dope. I scared him off and got a dial tone. I dialed 911.
“Yes, this is Detective Ms. Nuvo. I’ve captured Mr. Barkel. He is here at the circus in a cage and I have evidence to convict him. You can find me at the nearest hospital.” I hung up and wondered toward the sound of the traffic.
I hailed a taxi near the curb. A car pulled up which smelt of body odor inside. The man’s voice sounded Indian. I eagerly climbed in.
“Please drive me to the nearest hospital.” I wound down my window to feel the wind in my face. It felt good as we drove away. It could have been my imagination but I thought I heard a scream. “Naw, Couldn’t be.” I grinned.
Let me tell you a little about myself.
Hard work and Dedication.
An Interview With Myself.
A Wrentch in the Works (short story)
Flight of Terror (short story)
Roast (short story)
The Date (short story)
Campaign (short story)
Some books on writing I have read and studied.
James's skeptical blog
Why I picked the Neanderthal people