A Pawn for Malice(9)

By: Cynthia Roberts

More like prized game to be hunted and caged, she thought.

She knew he would not allow for her to leave. She could already see the wheels turning in his sick, depraved mind. She knew she had to move fast, and that meant now.

“I like a little adventure.” He toyed, closing the distance between them.

She was trapped. She could feel the sheen of sweat on her skin and her pulse beating in her ears, as her heart pounded furiously in her chest. No matter where she moved, she could not get away. She held the scissors tightly in front of her, and ready to plunge the sharp sheers into his belly, if need be. Just when she expected him to pounce, he plopped down upon the edge of the bed and leaned back on his elbows.

“Look. I’m a fair man. I’ll make it worth your while to stick around until I tire of you.”

Her jaw dropped open and she just as quickly closed it. This man was relentless. The gall of him. To think he was that powerful to assume, whatever he offered, was worthy of considering and accepting.

“If it gets you the hell out of my house, yes, I’ll bite,” she cow-towed.

He laughed and she knew he thought he won at wearing her down.

Let him think whatever he wants, she thought.

He clapped his hands and rose. “Now, that’s more like it. I’ll send a car tomorrow … dinner … 7 p.m. Wear something … alluring. Go to Mitzy’s on Main and charge my account. I’m confident we can come to something amicable.”

He moved toward the door, stopped and turned. “I wouldn’t think of leaving, Jessica. You know how I get, when I’m disappointed.”

Jessica sent him a smug smile. She could only imagine what his reaction would be, once he found her gone. She also would not put it past him to have a “watch” placed on her house. When Hal wanted something … someone, he went to great lengths to accomplish that goal, no matter who got hurt in the process, or stood in his way. She knew she could not wait until the next day to leave. Escaping now was paramount.


There was an unexplainable sense of unease that washed over Jessica, as she decided her next course of action. She did not know what it was, but she knew whatever it was, it was not good. She quickly moved to the bedroom window. It was no longer raining, and then, out of the corner of her eye, she detected movement.

There, in the shadows across the street, she saw a shadow, a figure of … a man. She focused her gaze more intently on the huge elm tree, and there it was, a large, black mass that did not belong there. And, she knew. She was being watched. Her temper flared and her pulse quickened. She spread the curtains opened wide and looked in the opposite direction instead for a few brief moments, trying not to give her discovery away.

“Of all the nerve,” she sputtered and slowly drew the shade all the way down. “He never ceases to amaze me.”

She threw off her robe, threw on her sweats, and ran down the hallway toward the stairs. When she got to the kitchen, she went down on all fours and crawled to the back. Slowly, she rose to peer carefully out the bow window. She took her time scanning the area, looking for something out of place, another shadowy figure hiding in the darkness, and could not see anything out of the ordinary. She exhaled deeply her relief. She didn’t want to take any chances, slid back down to the floor, and thought briefly what her next plan of action should be.

She rose and walked to the wall phone, removed it from the receiver, and stopped in mid-air. If Hal had a key to her house, she would not have put it past him to have her house phone tapped as well. She had no other option. She could not wait until morning to leave for the airport. She had to get out of town now.

She quickly exited the kitchen and went back to her bedroom to use her cell phone and dialed the local taxi service.

After she gave a fictitious name, the dispatcher assured her a driver would pick her up in twenty minutes out in front of the local variety store, which was only a block away. She gazed at the alarm clock on the night stand beside her bed. It was almost nine. She hated the thought of sitting up all night at the airport, but it was clearly better than being spotted leaving in the light of day tomorrow.

Jessica hastened to prepare for her escape. She did not pack any of her belongings as planned, decided to dress herself entirely in black, pulled her hair up into a ponytail to let it dry naturally, drew the strap of her purse over her neck, and headed for the stairs.

Jessica managed to slip from the house through the back yard without being spotted. Quietly, she crossed her neighbor’s yard and the next one over as well. Once she turned the corner onto Dover Court, she ran as fast as her legs could carry her. She could see the yellow taxi traveling towards her and pull up to the curb beside the Wilton Country Store. Her heart thundered in her chest and she prayed the driver had the good sense to wait.