In the last episode: Mark Masters and Sunni De La Croix return to the precinct investigating Monica De La Croix’s death after learning from Celia that J.T. Mendoza has been arrested for Monica’s murder. While there, Sunni receives a call from Celia asking Sunni to come home. Both Mark and Sunni suspect possible danger feeling it odd Celia would be home and not at the precinct with J.T.
Mark believes that, like he, Sunni fears the same men who attacked them after the cotillion have returned as they promised. This fear seems to cause her to take chances with her driving. Through the town she speeds up well beyond the limit when a traffic light is about to change. She doesn’t stop at stop signs and barely slows for ninety degree turns onto another street.
At the station, Mark debated about whether to inform the police about the hooded interlopers. Now, as a passenger at the mercy of this reckless driving, he wishes he had. He is quite sure that’s who they’ll face when they get to the De La Croix’s.
Sunni’s exit on to the interstate highway becomes a test of how fast her sports car can go. Mark looks around as familiar landmarks become blurs and the tires whine with the eerie whistle reminiscent of jet engines.
After just a few miles, they reach the off ramp onto the county road that leads to Sunni’s home. Sunni does not slow down to exit. She speeds wildly down the two lane road. Mark unconsciously grips onto the smooth leather bucket seat underneath him.
As they approach the long drive that leads up to the huge building that the De La Croixes call home, Sunni slows to a safe speed. Mark is certainly glad for this change but wonders what encourages it.
“I’m not complaining but why are you driving so slowly?”
“Something doesn’t feel right.”
Sunni stops the car several hundred feet back of the front entrance of the house. A whitewash block building stands between them and the view from the front of the house.
Mark frowns and cocks his head to one side, “You didn’t expect we’d be speeding into an ambush?”
“You stay here with the car and I’ll go inside,” Sunni pulls her phone from her purse and dials.
“Are you calling the police?” Mark’s phone rings.
“Answer it and keep it on.”
Mark answers his phone, “Maybe I should go inside.”
“Whoever this is expects me. If I’m not alone or anyone else shows, they might get desperate.”
“I think they may already be desperate,” Mark hears his words echoing on Sunni’s and his phone.
“Shut up and try to stay quiet. As long as we have what they want my life is safe. My concern is for Celia right now.”
Mark starts to speak but stops himself and affirms with a thumbs up. He watches as Sunni gathers up her courage and walks to the entrance.
Mark listens carefully to his phone. While Sunni is in sight, he can barely make out footsteps on the pristine concrete driveway. He recalls that it was newly poured just a few months before Reuben De La Croix had his stroke from which he never fully recovered.
“I can hear you breathing. Don’t hold it to your ear,” Sunni’s voice whispers over Mark’s phone.
Mark pulls his phone away from his ear. He listens even more carefully detecting the sound of the tall, thick oak front door opening. For several uneasy moments, Mark hears nothing but dead air. At one point, he draws the phone closer to his ear without drawing it too closely to his mouth.
Then, there are footsteps across a hard surface. Then more dead air followed by muffled voices.
Mark hears Sunni’s voice, “Yes, I’m alone.”
There seems to be the sound of people running. It sounds as if they’re running away from the phone. Mark leans his head towards the driver’s side and can barely see the front door. Suddenly, two men dash out from the door. One holding a fairly large revolver. He scrambles down the steps and onto the driveway.
When the man with the revolver looks in Mark’s direction, Mark automatically without thinking falls back to the passenger side.
“Shut that off,” Mark can hear an angry male voice shout. Then, there is silence and his connection to Sunni automatically ends.
Mark decides to climb out of the car. When he opens the door, a pinging begins. Mark snatches the keys from the ignition to shut off the ping. He looks up over the dash and sees the man with the revolver running toward him.
Mark hurriedly exits the vehicle and runs to the back of the block building. Surrounding this block building is a row of shrubbery about five feet tall. Mark decides to find cover behind the shrubs.
He folds his six foot two inch frame at the waist, stops for a moment and listens carefully to try and determine the whereabouts of the revolver carrier. The sound of crunching gravel indicates someone is at the sports car. Then, it stops.
Mark can her the clopping of what sounds like hard soled shoes rapidly approaching. Then, it stops suddenly. Mark hears a kind of breathy grunting coming from hard soled. He surmises that the two men plan to round the block building from two different directions.
Two pairs of footsteps come nearer from two directions. The fight or flight decision reigns. He decides that flight now means living to fight another day. Yet, only two options for flight are the most favorable.
Mark scans the area. One option is to run towards a small guesthouse. An open area of well groomed lawn of about fifty yards comes between him and the guesthouse. How good a marksman is revolver man? How fast a runner is soled shoes?
In the direction of the main house lies Mark’s other option. The distance a bit shorter but just as risky. The thought of surrender overcomes the mind.
“Give yourself up or I’ll shoot,” Revolver man comes in to view with barrel of his gun aimed squarely at Mark’s body.
Mark unfurls to his full height and begins to raise his hands and makes his decision. As quick as a deer, Mark turns and dashes towards the guesthouse.
The crack of a revolver firing and the swish of the grass beneath his feet are the next sounds Mark hears. Another shot is fired and his running syncopates with another several yards behind him.
A third shot whistles toward him and Mark tumbles to the ground. Mark struggles to get back on his feet. Before he can completely rise, another body slams against Mark’s causing him to crash to the earth again.
The two men roll entangled a couple of times until finally they rise to their feet. Standing, Mark has one hand wrapped around both soled shoes arms and pulled so far behind the man’s back that his shoulder blades nearly touch. Mark’s other arm is around his opponent’s neck and a sharp object pressed against soled shoes neck.
Staring into the barrel of a revolver, Mark forces the words out between deep breaths, “Drop that or I slice open his throat.”
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.