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    C James
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Changing Lanes - 40. Trapped

Chapter 40: Trapped




All it took was one person with a radio and news of the volcanic warning spread like wildfire in spite of the cable and phone outages. Part of that news was that the resort and its environs were dead center of the massive block of land, miles in extent, that was predicted to slide into the ocean during the lateral collapse. People no longer cared that there were no remaining accommodations on the north end of the island. They wanted one thing and one thing only: they wanted out.

In an exodus that often bordered on panic, almost everyone who had means of transportation or could acquire it by whatever desperate measure, headed north. So too, in at-risk areas all around the Atlantic Basin, the exodus was underway as people sought the safety of higher ground or inland regions. Nowhere was it orderly, though in some areas it was far worse than others. Panic, fear, and frustration sometimes flared to violence, and already the death toll had climbed to over a hundred from that cause. Traffic, panic behind the wheel, and the inherent risks of a mass evacuation had already claimed threefold more. Time would only make it worse.

At the resort, which by that time was at less than half of capacity and staffed by a skeleton crew, this meant that anyone with access to a vehicle was attempting to leave, creating a traffic snarl on the winding road up to the village of Las Indias. Some of those who could not find space in a vehicle began the journey on foot.

Just upslope from Las Indias, the LP-1 highway, the only route north, had already become a veritable parking lot on its single northbound lane. In desperation, many of the drivers ventured into the almost-deserted opposing lane.



Back at the resort, Jon was battling the urge to pull his hair out. His mother was following him around, barraging him with frantic questions, all a variation of ‘how can we get out?’ Since learning that the van was gone, she’d been in a state of near panic. Jon’s only solace was that she’d yet to hear of the nuclear warheads; that news had been swamped by the reports about the imminent eruption of Cumbre Vieja.

Eric’s report from the front desk hadn’t helped. The staff, along with everyone else who could, were leaving, some doing so on the roofs of overflowing cars. The parking lot had fast become a ghostyard, and some guests were leaving on foot.

In exasperation, Jon told Jane, “Mom, you aren’t helping. I’ve got to get everyone together and then figure out transportation. Please go to your suite and we’ll meet you there soon.”

Jane began to yell, “If Helen hadn’t run off, we wouldn’t be in this mess! How are we going to get out of–”

Raising his voice, Jon replied, “I don’t have time for this. Go, or I’ll carry you if I have to.”

Eric hooked his mother by the arm and gave her an insistent tug. “Mom, he’s right. You need to go. Try to calm down–”

“Calm down? We’re trapped here and we’re all going to die!” Jane yelled at the top of her lungs. The sound of her own voice caused her to actually listen to her words, and her face fell blank for a moment before she said in a far more rational tone, “Sorry. I’m acting like a child. Do what you can. I’ll be in my room.” Jane’s change of deportment was so sudden that to Eric and Jon, it seemed as if a switch had been thrown.

The sudden change in his mother surprised Eric more than anyone. Stunned, he stared at her retreating back, feeling in his gut the sudden change in her demeanor was real. “I think she’ll be okay,” he said.

“Thanks for getting her to go. She was driving me nuts and I just can’t deal with her right now,” Jon said.

After exchanging worried glances with Jansen and Keith, Eric asked Jon, “Any idea what we can do to get out of here?”

Jon shrugged. “Nope. Not yet. No way we can leave on foot. Some of our party, Mom for one, aren’t in good enough shape to hike up to the highway, let alone farther. I’m hoping Helen gets back soon, plus Jim and the truck. It won’t be fun, but I think the truck and the Jetta could carry everyone if we stack a few like cordwood in the truck bed.”

Glancing around the pool deck on which they were standing, Eric said, “It’s almost deserted here. I guess we’re just about the last people at the resort.”

Eric was incorrect. Thirty yards away, in a suite just around the corner, The Scar sat with his five troops, demanding to know why none of them had been able to steal a vehicle. The fact that none remained was something he did not care to hear, and avoided doing so by yelling at the men. He sent three out again, telling them to keep looking.

Eric’s growling stomach asserted itself, spurring him to think of another possible problem. “I better go round up some food, in case we’re here or on the road a while,” Eric said.

Jon nodded in agreement. “Good idea. Get water and soft drinks too.” Jon paused for a moment, looking at Jansen and Keith. “Jansen, go with Eric. Keith, go to the parking lot and keep an eye out for Helen, Jim, or any kind of transportation. I’ll go check in with everyone in our party and get them ready to roll. We’ll meet up at the party pavilion, no more than fifteen minutes from now.

With a nod at Jansen, Eric said, “Come on; let’s go raid the store for snack food, anything that’ll keep.”

As Eric and Jansen jogged off, Jon saw Keith turn towards the parking lot and said, “Wait up a sec. There’s something I gotta say.” When Keith turned to face him, Jon said, “I don’t know you well, but you seem level-headed. We’ll need that. Here’s the problem: there’s other people stuck here at the resort, not just us. We’ll help ‘em if we can, but if we can’t, it could get messy if they see us with a way out of here. I’ve seen the panic in people’s eyes. Our responsibility is to the people in our party, and if push comes to shove, I might need help.”

Keith met Jon’s eyes, and said, “You can count on me.” Keith had no doubts that Jon was expecting trouble. He’d had similar thoughts himself. He was also well aware of one reason why Jon had singled him out; Jon knew that Brian had left weapons in Keith’s suite.

“Let’s go get the weapons,” Jon said, and then added, “I’ve seen the ash on the other side of the island. We’d better make sure everyone has extra clothes. We might need towels and bedsheets for makeshift air filters, for both people and vehicles.”

A few minutes later, in Jansen and Keith’s suite, Jon and Keith concealed the RPG and AK-47 in sheets and blankets, and then Keith hurried to pack some extra clothes for himself and Jansen.

As they left the suite, with Keith carrying a suitcase and several stacks of towels and Jon hauling the weapons in a bundle of bedclothes, Jon glanced up the volcano’s slope and said, “I just hope we find a way out of here, because I don’t think that volcano will wait much longer.”


Racing up to the Resort’s main building, Eric and Jansen found the lobby deserted. Jogging up to the little store, which was separated from the lobby by windows and a glass door, they saw the ‘closed’ sign, and discovered that the door was locked. “No time for subtlety,” Eric said, as he ran back a few paces, grabbed a large potted plant, and used it to smash the glass of the door, sending the safety glass cascading into the store. Dropping the plant, he stepped through the doorframe, Jansen close behind.

“We’ll need these,” Jansen said, pulling a few souvenir tote bags from a rack. Working as fast as they could, Eric and Jensen stuffed the totes with bags of nuts and candy bars, and then shoved in a few dozen bottles of water, followed by several liter-size bottles of soft drinks. “That’s about all we can carry in one trip,” Jansen said, picking up several of the bags.

Eric picked up the remaining bags and said, “We’ll have to come back again for more.”

Moving as fast as they could given the awkward loads in their hands, they trotted through the lobby and onto the pool deck, heading for the party pavilion. After fifty yards, Eric was grimacing from the pain of the bag’s straps cutting into his hands. “Hang on,” he said, letting go of the bags and tugging his shirt off. Taking a deep breath, Eric grabbed his t-shirt at the collar with both hands and pulled, tearing it in two with a loud rip. He then wrapped the pieces around each hand, and began picking up the bags, his hands protected from the cutting straps.

Jansen, his own hands in pain, followed suit. “Good idea,” he said, as they resumed their rush to the party pavilion.

Finding the door locked, Eric fished for the key, glad that he still had one. They dumped the food inside, bags and all, and then relocked the door before racing back towards the store in the tropical heat, their sweat beginning to trickle down their bare torsos.



Growing ever more frustrated, The Scar stepped away from his men and phoned Yuri. “The guests are fleeing the resort and as yet we have been unable to secure a vehicle. I have a man in the parking lot on the lookout, but I fear that the band may have gone as well, along with the General and the traitorous bitch – if those two were ever here. The two remaining devices may be lost to us, Yuri, and it appears that the danger from the volcano is indeed imminent. Send a car... no, two, and I will make my way to you. I think it may be time for us to leave this besotted isle.”

Yuri squinted for a moment, deciding which men to pick. Language barriers were part of the problem. The guard force from The Scar’s Sudan base, from whom Yuri had drawn the thirty men they’d taken to La Palma, were unevenly skilled. The rank and file were largely African militia-for-hire, trained in large part by the Russian lieutenant who commanded them. He had, fortuitously, trained them in paratroop tactics, though their drop into La Palma had been the first for several of the men, and the third for the most experienced. As a result, several were hobbling around on sprained ankles, and Yuri was amazed that none had died in the night drop. The language barriers stemmed from the origins of the men; most spoke one or more African languages. A few of the men were European soldiers of fortune, adding further to the linguistic mix. The Russian Lieutenant, Survov, spoke Russian and some English. Many of his men spoke almost no English, and all but the most basic of orders had to be translated for them.

Making his choice, he pointed to one, and then another. “You two, take the cars and go.” Working as fast as he could, he circled the resort on a map and then highlighted their route handing the map to the first of the men. “Get there as fast as you can. The sooner you bring our employer here, the sooner we can all be on the plane and gone from this island.”

Minutes later, having been told by Yuri that the cars were on their way, The Scar realized that, given the chaos of the evacuation, it might take them a while for them to arrive. To the men in the suite with him, he said, “There must be something still here... perhaps a service vehicle. Come with me.”

His mood rapidly darkening, The Scar led his men out of the suite, and after thinking for a moment, decided to begin his search at the resort’s main building, for no other reason than he had no idea where the resort’s service vehicles might be, and did not care to admit it. The lobby building seemed as logical a place as any to begin the search.

Stumbling through the lobby with a second load of tote bags bearing food and beverages, Eric and Jansen neared the main doors. Rushing through, Jansen looked ahead and saw a hunched, one-armed man accompanied by three large, tough-looking men headed in their direction. He thought to say something to Eric, but realized that the men were likely already within earshot.

Jansen lowered his head a little to avoid making eye contact with the approaching men, intending to keep on going.

The Scar had not yet given up hope of finding Instinct and Helen. He stopped in his tracks as he glanced at the nearest of the shirtless teens – Jansen –, thinking for a moment that there was something familiar about him. It only took an instant for The Scar, who had never seen Jansen before, to realize that he was mistaken, and he took a step forward, waiting for the face of the second teen – Eric – to emerge from behind the first.



For Helen and the other occupants of the Jetta, the drive back to the resort proved to be a long one. The day before, it would have taken little more than an hour. Now, three hours after leaving the gas station, Helen swore at an oncoming driver, jamming on the brakes at the last possible second, as they reached Las Indias. Helen refused to back up, and waited until the oncoming driver had forced his way back into his lane. Advancing again, leaning continuously on the horn, she drove for another fifty yards before finding her way blocked by more oncoming cars. After stopping to wait for the oncoming cars to return to their lane, she said, “I don’t think it’ll clear this time. There’s too many ahead and it’s about a mile to the intersection. See if you can find a map; we need another way to get to the road down to the resort.”

A frantic search ensued, and Brandon found a map in the seatback pocket. General Bradson found another in the glove box. Brandon handed his map to the General and said, “At least we’d have seen Jon and the van if they were on the road. No way could we have missed them.”

While the General studied the map, Helen replied, “Yeah, unless they started out when the alert went up. That would be the smart move and I hope they did. I just wish I’d have thought to give them a rendezvous point so we could find them. I’m guessing Jon would head north, but to where, I don’t know. I don’t think he’d try to take the highway south and then round the southern tip of the island to head north on the east side, way too much ash, and last I heard that road was closed.”

Chase weighed in to say, “Jon has the General’s satphone number and he’ll have a good chance of finding a working phone up north. At the press conference, the wall phones were working; I saw a reporter using one. I hope that means they work at least some of the time.”

Feeling slightly better, Helen said, “Thanks, Chase. I just wish we knew so we didn’t have to go back to the resort.”

General Bradson jabbed a finger at the map. “I can’t see another way down. Looks to me like the intersection ahead is the only way from here to Las Indias, and we have to go through there to get to the resort.”

“No chance, not unless this traffic lets up. Our lane is blocked by a string of oncoming cars as far as I can see.”

Brandon, sitting in the right rear seat, glanced out his window. “We’re pretty close. If I look straight down the mountain, I can see the parking lot for the beach where Chase and I got married. I’ll bet we’re less then two miles from the resort. Maybe we should try it on foot.”

Helen shook her head. “We’re nearly three thousand feet above sea level here. It’d be a damn steep walk, and a hell of a lot longer on that switchback road down. I’m guessing six or seven miles. The other thing is there are people heading north on foot, so if we leave the car I’m sure it would get stolen, or at least wrecked by people trying. Then if Jon and the van are gone, we’re stuck at the resort with no way out.”

“Brandon and I can run it,” Chase said, and remembered looking upslope from the beach. “It’s a steep slope, but just a slope, no cliffs or anything, as far as I can remember. You and the General stay with the car and we’ll go to the resort. If Jon and everybody are gone, we’ll come right back.”

“I sure as hell wish we had two phones,” Helen said, tacitly agreeing to the plan because she could see no other options. “Okay, that means I have to get off this road and I want you two to know where I’ve parked. General, can you see anywhere to pull off?”

The General looked at the map, and then stuck his head out the window to check. “Looks like a little dead-end lane a couple hundred yards back, but you’ll have to turn around.”

“Turn around my ass,” Helen said, as she slammed the Jetta into reverse. “At least we’re going the right way.”

Backing up, having to slow to a crawl after a hundred yards, Helen moved with the flow of traffic, and then jammed the Jetta past the car behind, scratching both of their fenders, as she backed into the narrow dirt lane. Slamming the Jetta into park, she said, “Go to the resort. If no one in our party is there, get back here as fast is you can. If they’re there, get ‘em loaded up and moving in this direction. When you get close get in the southbound lane. Don’t pull in here; have Jon keep going and one of you get out on foot to warn me, so I can pull in ahead and lead ‘em through the tunnel. If anything happens, we rendezvous at Felecia’s hotel. Try the phones and your cells from the resort, just in case they’re working. Got all that? If so, get going and be careful!”

Watching Brandon and Chase jogging awkwardly down the steep slope, General Bradson said, “I’ll try Fel again.” A few moments later, he had to tell Helen, “Still nothing. She’s already driven the likely route and checked with her men. There are a few other roads that go through to the main highway from the hotel, so Fel’s checking those in case Jim took one of ‘em. She said they might not be able to do much more; the engine is wheezing badly. I tried the resort, too; line’s still dead.”

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Helen said, feeling herself shiver in spite of the warm weather.



A jostle at The Scar’s elbow caused him to turn, as the man pointed at a wooden palisade, which concealed the resort’s landscaping equipment. The man gestured again, “I see it, a vehicle.”

The Scar was half a head shorter than the smallest of the three men, and could not see over the palisade. The lure of transportation beckoned, and the two shirtless teens forgotten, The Scar said, “We shall look.”

Already past The Scar and his entourage, Eric and Jansen continued on. For a moment, Eric felt a sense of foreboding, accompanied by a shiver running down his spine. Intent on his task, having been largely oblivious to the men they’d just passed, he attributed his feeling to the very real risk posed by the volcano and their predicament.

The vehicle The Scar’s man had spotted took some getting to; they had to kick down the gate of the work area. What that effort revealed was a small golf cart that had been turned into a landscaping truck. To The Scar’s intense irritation, it proved to be electric, not gasoline-powered, and thus useless for their needs. “The battery will flatten before we get halfway up the slope,” he said in an icy tone.

Their search turned up no further vehicles, and served only to sour The Scar’s already dark mood.



Keith, standing in the deserted parking lot at the resort’s main entrance, found that boredom was indeed a problem, even when one’s life was at risk. Wishing that he’d thought to bring along his iPod – which was back in his room – so that he could at least listen to music, he began to pace. Every so often, he looked up the volcano’s slope, nervously eyeing every small ejection of ash from its active vents.

Lowering his gaze slightly, he squinted to focus on the few streches of the switchback road that he could see, hoping to see the Jetta or the truck approaching. Higher on the road, he could discern the beginning of the traffic jam, but closer to the resort, it appeared deserted, save for a few stragglers on foot. The one exception was a large black man in sunglasses and ill-fitting clothes, standing on the other side of the parking lot. Keith wondered, for a moment, if the man was, like himself, waiting for someone.

Tracing the route of the road upwards again, squinting against the sun’s glare, Keith could see some of the buildings in Las Indias, and tried to pick out the main highway just above, hoping to see what the traffic situation on it might be – though he fully expected it to be jammed solid.

The sound of running feet to his left caused Keith to snap his head around and look. As the two sweating, shirtless runners raced towards him, their unexpected method of approach and disheveled appearance caused Keith to hesitate, not fully sure who he was looking at. As the distance closed to forty feet, he knew, and called out, “Hey, are you guys okay? What’s going on?”

Brandon and Chase, breathing hard from their difficult run, skidded to a halt in front of Keith. Struggling to catch his breath, Chase said, “Where are the others, and why are you still here? We’ve got to get out; volcano could blow at any time.”

“We’re rounding everyone up at the pavilion where you guys had your bachelor party, come on.” Keith led the way and added, “The van’s gone so we couldn’t leave. Why are you guys on foot?”

“Traffic... Let me catch my breath,” Brandon said, intending to tell everyone at the pavilion what was going on.



Yuri was not having a good day. “Get the damn thing working!” he yelled, growing more exasperated by the minute. The engine of the second car had coughed and begun belching smoke after traveling less than a mile, and had turned back. Yuri paced while two of the troops had a look under the hood.

To Yuri, based on his own background, the force they now commanded was not a proper military unit at all. They were, in his mind, by and large merely paid henchmen of The Scar. Still, they were all they had, and they would have to do. Yuri had no illusions how those henchmen would fare in an even match with Felecia’s mercenary force. He just hoped that, when the time came, his troops – The Henchmen, as he now thought of them – could secure the airport for long enough to land and load the C-130.

Looking back at the car, which was being ministered to by two of the henchmen, one European and one African, Yuri could watch a problem in action. Neither spoke English, so any words between them as they worked were translated via English, causing much slowness and not a small amount of misunderstanding. What should have taken a minute took five, until the translator was able to tell Yuri, “The air filter is missing and there is ash in the air intake. They think the engine won’t work anymore.”

“For this, I need experts?” Yuri said in exasperation. He then eyed the van he’d stolen, wondering if he might end up needing it to rescue his employer. A hurried rush of words from his side caught Yuri’s ear, and he raced over to where several men were listening to the radio. They’d heard the news of Helen’s press conference.



Sitting in his suite with one of his henchmen, The Scar was in a somewhat different situation. Yuri had been careful to ensure that the five men who would remain with The Scar all spoke at least a smattering of English. That had proven useful at times, but at the moment The Scar wished it was otherwise. Two of his henchmen, out patrolling the resort grounds, had heard about the volcanic alert. They had promptly told the other three, two of whom had slipped away and fled on foot. The remaining three, after listening to The Scar’s best attempt at friendly persuasion – he’d promised them that he and Yuri would hunt them down and shoot them if they fled and somehow survived the volcano – had decided, based upon the assurance that cars were coming for them, to stay.

The Scar was far from happy. He was down to three men, and even those were beginning to chafe under his command. They were, it was plain to see, far more interested in leaving than in finding Instinct. Still, by sheer intimidation, he’d managed to get one to resume patrolling, while another had drawn the more welcome duty of waiting for their rescuers in the parking lot.

It was the henchman in the parking lot – A native of northern Sudan, who spoke Nubian and some Arabic, along with a little English – who had spotted Brandon and Chase. Based on the photos he’d been shown, he was almost certain that he recognized Brandon, though he wasn’t absolutely sure. He trailed them at a distance to the party pavilion, before returning to his post. That left him with a dilemma. He could tell his employer, thereby risking his wrath if he was mistaken or they were no longer there. The deciding factor was the henchman’s opinion that The Scar might delay their departure if he found that his quarry was still at the resort. With that in mind, the henchman decided to keep quiet about what he’d seen, for the time being.



Yuri phoned The Scar and briefed him on Helen’s news conference, and then the situation with the vehicles.

The Scar thought through the first of the implications and said, “It is good that they do not believe Helen or Bradson, but now our troops have heard of my past. Do you believe this will be an issue?”

Yuri glanced at the troops near the radio. Stepping further away to ensure privacy, he replied, “I do not. They seem interested but not overly concerned. I’ve seen nothing to indicate that they believe what was said about you. They are far more focused on the volcano.”

Knowing that one car would be enough, The Scar made a decision. “Do not send the van; we may need it to move the device...” The Scar’s voice trailed off, as he realized that he was missing something, something big. Thinking aloud, he said to Yuri, “Wait. This tells us many things. We know that Helen has the two bombs. We also know, based on what you told me of the government’s response, that she’s in a standoff with them. It would be reasonable to assume, would it not, that she would have hidden the bombs where the government cannot find them? Given the paucity of vehicles, it is possible that they used the truck we captured to move the other devices as well.” Growing more certain, The Scar ordered, “Search the truck. Look for any clues, no matter how seemingly trivial.”

“I have searched it once already but I will do so again. I found nothing that I thought significant. I do remember seeing the truck at the resort; it was parked next to the van, though there was nothing in its cargo bed at that time.”

“Check it again, at once. Did you search the bodies?”

Paling slightly, Yuri replied, “No. They were buried back at the ambush site. I have never been there.”

“Ask to see if our lieutenant thought to check the pockets, at least?” the Scar asked in an irritated tone.

After a quick check, Yuri had to report, “The bodies were not searched.” Yuri did not bother to say the reason; that Lieutenant Survov had been eager to depart the scene and to get the bomb to safety. Yuri knew that his employer disliked excuses, no matter how valid.

“Send a team immediately. No, go yourself; I trust your judgment above that of the others. Let me know what you find.”

“I will call you soon,” Yuri said, aware that he’d just been ordered to search the truck and go to the bodies at the same time. Deciding that new eyes on the truck might prove useful, Yuri ordered the lieutenant to search it. Taking a man with him to show him the route, Yuri headed for the ambush site.



At the pavilion, Brandon told everyone where Helen was, and what had happened. Then he asked, “Is Jim here with the truck?”

Jon shook his head, “No, I thought he was with you. With the other... thing.” Jon had caught himself just in time; the other members of the wedding party were unaware of the nuclear problem, and Jon figured that now was not a good time to have to explain it.

“He never showed up. Felecia’s looking for him but no sign so far of him or the truck,” Chase said, before downing a bottle of water from Jansen and Eric’s pile of supplies.

“Oh fuck. I hope Jim and Linda are somewhere safe. What else can go wrong? ” Jon asked in exasperation.

Brandon reached for a hotel phone, and found it dead. Eric tried his cell phone, yielding the same results. Undeterred, Eric kept trying. Hanging up the dead resort phone, Brandon told Jon, “Helen and the General are waiting for us on the other side of Las Indias, because they think if you’re still here, you have the van. Somebody needs to run up and tell them. So, we’ve got what... almost thirty people and just the Jetta to move them in? We’re in deep shit. Best thing I can think of is to hope the traffic clears and then make multiple ferry runs to the other side of the island.”

Jon slumped into a chair, feeling the full weight of responsibility on his shoulders. He was in charge and had to make a decision. “Okay, but we have to make every minute count. I’m guessing we could cram four people into the back seat, as long as they’re not big. Two in the passenger seat. That’s six, so minus the General and Helen they can take four on the first trip.” Raising his voice so everyone there would be sure to hear, Jon said, “You’ll have to draw straws for a place in the Jetta. You’ve gotta be in good shape to draw for it; the car can’t make it down here this trip, but it should for the next. Draw, but be quick about it.”

By that point, the only member of the wedding party not present was Jane, who could not possibly run up an elevation gain of nearly three thousand feet. Brandon and Chase, though young and in excellent shape, had been badly winded by coming down. Going up would be far harder.

Keith dashed behind the bar and snatched up a box of toothpicks. He snapped four off, and then said, “How many are drawing?”

Three of the male crewmembers shoved their girlfriends forward, one accompanied by the declaration, “She’s a marathoner: she should draw.” Two of the couples began to argue, neither partner wanting to leave without the other. Jon quickly saw that time was wasting, and ignoring Eric’s rushed and garbled words from the other side of the room, said, “Never mind, I’ll pick who goes. This is just the first trip; there will be others, hopefully without any running.”

“Wait, I’ve got General Bradson on the phone,” Eric said, rushing forward to hand Jon the cell.

Jon pressed it to his ear, said ‘Hello’ twice, listened for a moment, and then looked at the screen. “Fuck, it’s dead again,” he said, seeing that it no longer had a signal.

“When I got him, I told him we were stuck here, no transportation. I figured the line might quit again,” Eric said, and then added with a smile, “He said, ‘We’re coming.’”

“It’ll take a while with that traffic, if they can even get through.” Brandon said.

Eric tried his phone again, with no luck. “Helen’ll think of something.”

Eric was right. Upon hearing the news, Helen started the Jetta and forced her way into the oncoming traffic, losing some fender paint and a wing mirror in the process. As soon as the northbound cars in the southbound lane came to a halt in front of her, she said, “It’s moving a little more than it was before. Get out, General. Go tell the drivers ahead of me that I’m coming through no matter what. If I have to shove my way through, I will. Tell ‘em to move to the right so I can squeeze by, otherwise they’re stuck too, because I’m not budging.”

General Bradson got out, and putting on his most official face, did as Helen had said. What neither of them had counted on was a language barrier; many of the drivers spoke little or no English.

It took several minutes and much gesturing, but the traffic, now moving northward at a crawl, had slacked enough so that the drivers in the southbound lane were inclined to try shoving their way into the northbound lane to get around the obstruction that the Jetta posed. Helen, by virtue of force of will and fender metal, shouldered her way through the resulting openings. In five minutes, she was able to pick up the jogging General and turn right, heading for Las Indias and the resort below. The town offered several possible routes, and with the General’s directions, they crossed it quickly, finding the road on the downhill side almost bereft of traffic. Helen roared downhill towards the resort, tires squealing, taking the corners as fast as she dared.


© 2009 C James

Please let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.

Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"



Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.

Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.

A big "thank you" to to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice , and to Captain Rick and Talonrider for Beta reading and advice . Special thanks to Wildone, for spotting my mistake in this chapter, which enabled me to fix it. Any remaining errors are mine alone.

Copyright © 2009 C James; All Rights Reserved.
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Another two great chapters! I'm surprised the Scar hasn't discovered Instinct yet, but I know that's just a matter of time. I really hope they all make it out intact and that the Scar dies a horrible death in a pit of magma.

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You sure know how to write in the tension of the situation. I too look forward to reading how you will "off" the scar. Hope it is diabolical, to suit him

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Oh man, CJ. I bit off all my nails and I'm at the edge of my seat.


I don't even want to know what's going to happen when The Scar realizes Instinct is still there. And they won't recognize him, well, maybe Eric will.


I'm so glad Helen and Bradson are coming down. I wish Felecia and her men were there too. The Scar only has a few men; with Fel's men they could easily take The Scar and his henchmen.


But all this has to happen before the volcano erupts/tsunami happens. lol

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