The Girl Who Got AwayBy: Paula Millhouse
Savage Justice Series Book I
EVIE LONGFELLOW SLAMMED the black laptop shut, silencing the high-pitched screams of a woman being murdered by a madman.
She reared back from the video, tumbling the Windsor chair behind her, sending Boo Boo her cat darting across the suite with a hiss. Evie wiped her eyes with her palms. Was that real? Her head was foggy from the night before, and they were in a strange place—How did the cat even get here? She’d left him in her apartment back in Manhattan to go on the blind date from hell.
Paulie Marino’s voice cycled through her mind. “I’ll be on my way to discuss this with you, Evie.”
There were scenes she’d taken in as an author, haunting images she’d researched, rationalized, tolerated, then blocked. But this…
She bolted through the cottage guest suite. Speechless. Incoherent. The cat growled, low and deep. She seized him and put him in his crate with shaking hands. She grabbed her purse, then rushed to the door. “We gotta get out! Now!”
She turned the knob.
Scrambling, she tried the handle again. The doorknob turned, but it spun all the way around. The door wouldn’t open. She slammed her fist against the wooden barrier. “Somebody open this Goddamned door!”
Evie raced across the room, lunged for the drapes and dragged them open. Her fingers trembled as she searched for a latch.
No latch. The damn thing didn’t open.
No way out? There has to be a way out.
She touched the molding and inspected the window frame. Made out of one-inch thick acrylic, like the glass on massive aquariums at amusement parks, it stood between her and freedom. “No.”
She glanced around for something to throw through it.
Nothing would work! The delicate antique writing desk. No. The Windsor chair. No. The Dell computer. The king-sized bed. Several useless cooking utensils in the kitchen. No. No. No. I have to leave here. Now.
Evie ran for her purse and fished out her cellphone. Facing that animal was not an option. Good. The phone’s got power!
Ten percent power.
But no signal.
Her heart crashed in her chest. She paced around the room, checking for a signal, and even stood on the bed hoping to find a connection. When she edged close to the window her phone picked up one bar, and she tried to dial out, but got nothing.
She didn’t know if she had 911 capability, but didn’t everyone? It was worth a try. She checked the 911 signature feature on the phone and dialed. If she couldn’t escape, someone would have to come for her. Go through. Go through! Go through!
She couldn’t be certain if 911 would pick her up, so she dialed again. Evie prayed the call would go out. A movie trailer about a guy stranded somewhere, in a coffin, trapped in total darkness with only a cellphone, flashed through her mind. God, please!
That wasn’t going to happen to her. She gasped, determined this room would not be her grave.
Sure, if someone was looking for her they might find her, but the sad thought that no one would miss her tangled her thoughts. Evie’s eyes flew up to the Dell laptop again. The video. That maniac would be here soon.
She held her phone up and scrutinized the screen. The little battery icon flashed three times, and then the power symbol winked out. As her only connection to the outside world died she grimaced and squeezed her eyes shut.
“Damn!” Undeterred, she raced to her suitcases. She’d placed the power-cord carefully in the side-zip pocket yesterday so she wouldn’t forget it for her book tour. She unzipped it, and blinked her eyes in disbelief.
Evie rifled through the suitcase in search of a lifeline. She scrambled forward to find some way to save herself.
Searching the room again to make sure she hadn’t missed a landline, and she still found… nothing.
He took it out. He trapped me here. He’s going to kill me.
She jumped up and checked the door handle again. She pushed against the unyielding exit, and spun the doorknob, but the damned thing wouldn’t budge. She slammed her fist on the door and screamed again. “Let me out of here!”
Silence answered her.
Tears welled and threatened to consume her. “Stop! Don’t cry!” Her knees went weak, and Evie grabbed the corner of the useless antique desk. “There has to be a way out of this. Think, Evie! Think!” Screaming the words out loud startled her back to reality.