“They say head wounds bleed a lot more than any other wound,” I say. I’m not sure if I’m saying this for me or for her. She lifts her head, wiping her mouth on the back of her hand, looking at me. “We’re going to get out of here, Kara; I promise.”
“Okay,” she says. I can see how scared she is when she doesn’t look at me. Using the wall for balance, I make my way to the set of stairs that lead to the large double doors. Once there, I climb up on my hands and knees to the top, pushing against the doors. They don’t budge an inch not that I’m surprised. I scoot down the stairs, sitting at the bottom of the steps, trying to come up with a plan.
“What if we both try?” Kara asks. I lift my head, looking at her standing in front of me; her face is pale, her eyes red from crying.
“We can try.” I scoot over, give her room to get up the stairs with me, and once at the top, we both push against the doors, counting and pushing to no avail.
“It’s not working,” Kara says, making me laugh; the stress of the moment and her words break me down.
“We will get out of here,” I say, praying I’m right.
“They took pictures of us.”
“What?” I ask, looking over at her.
“When they finally brought me down here,” she looks over at me, “they took pictures of us.”
“I think they’re going to use them to get to Tim.”
“We need to find a way out of here,” I tell her, and this time my worry seeps into my tone.
“The door won’t budge.”
“If we can’t get out, then we need to find a way to protect ourselves against them when they come back.”
“There is nothing in here.”
“We can break the old shelves up and use the pieces as a weapon.”
“They have guns.”
“I know, but either we try to fight, or we wait for them to kill us, or whatever it is they want to do to us.” Kara gives me a nod and starts to rub her large belly. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, just some Braxton Hicks. I’ll be okay.” I watch her closely, praying that my nephew doesn’t decide to come into the world right now. “I’m okay; I promise.” Kara says, watching me.
“If you start to feel like you’re having real contractions, you need to tell me,” I tell her, going over to the shelf and using my weight to try and pull it apart. It doesn’t budge, so I kick it a few times, but still, nothing. “It’s not working,” I state the obvious, watching the light flicker and start to dim. “Shit.” I run over to the lamp and turn it out, hoping that we will have enough battery when we really need it. “I never even thought about turning the lamp off.
“I never thought of it either.”
“You wouldn’t happen to have started smoking and have a spare lighter, do you?” I ask Kara, making her laugh.
“Figures.” We sit there in the dark, my brain running over hundreds of scenarios. I can’t believe that yesterday I spent the day driving back home from our honeymoon. After leaving the cabin, we drove to November and Asher’s and picked up Lolly; she was so happy to see us and we missed our girl. After we got her, we went home and unpacked, ordered a pizza, and complained about being home and having to go back to the real world. I hated watching Trevor getting ready for work this morning. I wanted so badly to cuddle into him and hide away from the world for a few more days. Now, I wish I would have spent a few more minutes looking at him, kissing him, and telling him how much I love him. When he realizes that Kara and I are missing, he is going to freak the hell out. I’m leaning against the wall when I hear what sounds like a car. I stand when I know it’s getting closer.
“Is that a car?” Kara asks, turning on the lamp. I can see the terror in her eyes.
“Kara, I want you to go into the corner, tuck yourself into a ball, and turn off the lamp.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I have no idea. Just, please, listen to me. Get in the corner and tuck yourself into a ball.” Once I see that she is tucked away and turns off the light, I follow the wall to the opening of the stairs. Listening, I can hear the vehicle stop, then the sound of chain against metal, then the creaking of the door above opening. I see the beam of light from a flashlight shining down the stairs. My heart starts pounding so hard that I hear it in my ears. I hold my breath, waiting for when the person is at the bottom of the stairs, and then I wait patiently for them to notice me. I know it’s pointless to try and fight; there are two of them and one of me. They have already proven that they don’t mind hitting women. When the light shines around the room, it pauses on Kara for a second, before flying in my direction and shining right in my eyes.
“Liz?” I know that voice. I don’t know where from, but I know that voice.
“What do you want?” I ask, shielding my eyes from the bright light.
“I’m here to help.”
“Kai?” I ask, realizing who it is. “Do you mind lowering the flashlight?” The light immediately lowers, letting me lower my hands that were shielding my eyes. “What are you doing here? I mean, how did you find us?” I look over my shoulder at Kara, who is now sitting up in the corner.
“Tim helped me out, so I am returning the favor. You’re bleeding.”
“It has slowed down,” I say, touching the back of my head. “How did you find us?”
”Been watching for a while now.” He takes a step toward Kara, and I automatically step in front of him.
“I’m just gonna help her off the floor.”
“No, I’d rather you not.”
“You don’t want my help?”
“I never said that. I just need to make sure that you’re a good guy.”
“Mrs. Mayson…I got married.”
“Jesus, you’re nuts.” He shakes his head, laughing. “As I was saying, Mrs. Mayson, I’m definitely not one of the good guys, but I’m here to help you.”
“Your brother gave me what I wanted in exchange for my help.”
“No, Mrs. Mayson, you’re safe. Now, if you’re done, I would like to help Kara off the floor. That can’t be good for her or the baby.”
“How do you know Kara?”
“I make it my business to know everyone, but in this case, Tim told me. Now, if you would please move.” I swallowed; my gut is telling me that he is being honest, but his energy is so scary that I don’t know what to do.
“Liz!” Kara cries. I turn around to find her on her hands and knees.
“Oh God, what’s wrong?” I run over to her and kneel down.
“I don’t think these are Braxton Hicks; I think I’m going into labor.” Her breathing is choppy; she cries out again, holding her belly.
“Do you think your water broke?” I ask, rubbing her back.
“I don’t think so.” I look at Kai, who has knelt down next to us.
“I’m going to pick you up and carry you out of here.” Kai gently picks her up, and once we’re outside, I take a deep breath, filling my lungs with fresh air. I look around and see a large, black SUV, and a guy who looks like a sumo wrestler standing next to the open driver’s side door.
“Any word?” Kai asks the guy, who shakes his head.
“Where is Tim?” I ask, following Kara into the backseat, her face sweaty and pale.
“Don’t concern yourself with that right now.”
“He will want to be here for Kara.” I say softly, watching the sumo guy squash himself behind the wheel.
“We need to get to the hospital.”
“I thought you—”
“Remember what I told you, Mrs. Mayson; I’m not a good guy.” His voice is so low and gravelly that it sends a chill down my spine.
“Liz,” Kara whispers.
“No, it’s not. I think my water just broke.”
“Are you sure?”
“That, or I peed on myself.”
“Okay.” I look around, trying to see how far away we are from the hospital, but there is nothing around, just forest and fields. “Do you know how far from town we are?” I ask anyone who is listening.
“About an hour.”
“Oh God,” Kara moans, falling across the seat. “I think you should start timing my contractions.”
“They’re close—too close,” she says, breathing deeply.
“What does that mean?”
“IT MEANS I’M HAVING A BABY!” she screams, her face contorting. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it did a one-eighty like something from The Exorcist.
“Okay, breathe.” I do that crazy breathing thing that I have seen in a few movies. Kara looks ready to kill, but I have no idea how to help her.
“What time is it?” Kara growls. I look at the dash.
“Seven-oh-two,” I tell her, grabbing her hand.
“I feel like I need to push.”
“Don’t push,” I say, panicked. Pushing means the baby is coming.
“I have to.”
“If you need to push, then you push,” Kai says from the front seat. I think it’s awfully generous of him, seeing how he’s all the way in the front seat, while I’m back here with her. I know that I need to man–up, but I have no idea what to do; and the thought of a baby popping out is making me freak.
“Oh God! Here comes another one!” Kara screams, her head laying against the back door, one foot in the seat, and the other on the floor. “I need to take off my pants.”
“What?” I pinch myself to make sure this isn’t a very strange bad dream.
“I need to take off my pants. I feel like the baby is coming, so I need to take off my pants,” she repeats over and over, every time her voice rises a little bit.
“Okay, I’ll help you.” I swallow all my personal fears and help her to remove her pants. Kai is in the front seat on the phone. I have no idea who he is talking to, but hopefully it’s an ambulance. Mr. Sumo is speeding, but his facial expression hasn’t changed since we came out of the tornado shelter.
“Liz, I am really scared.”
“Hey, it’s going to be okay.” I run my hand over her forehead, trying to comfort her.
“It’s not going to be ok. I’m going to have a baby in the backseat of a car. I think that might be the definition of not okay.”
“Just concentrate on breathing.”
“Here comes another one.” She shoves her foot into my stomach; my breath leaves me with the pressure. Her other foot is still on the floor. I have the perfect shot of her vag, and I don’t want to, but I look down. That’s when I see a round something coming out.
“Holy shit,” I whisper, looking up at Kara, whose face is bright red. “I can see the head.”