Jay and Grace made it to the Bronco just as they heard first the odd howling sound let out by the kidnapper and then seconds later the Duster start up in the distance. Jay started the old V8 beast and threw it into drive and made a huge dirt tornado in his wake as he made the U-turn onto Royal Road.
“Where did you get this thing?” Grace questioned as if there was nothing better to talk about at this particular time than his new wheels.
“Seriously?” He looked at her shocked and then felt a rush of relief over his whole being at the fact that Grace was not hurt. In fact she didn’t even seem to be fazed by what she had just been through. He smiled at her and asked
“So you’re doing okay kid?”
“Yes daddy, now that my hero has arrived.” She did one of her one armed hugs around her father’s neck and then said “Now give me you phone so I can call the cops.”
The Bronco bounced over the dirt road kicking a thick cloud of dust behind it as Jay navigated the way back to the highway while Grace called 911.
“I’ve been kidnapped!” She exclaimed into the phone and then followed with “and my dad just rescued me from the shit head and now he’s chasing us.”
“Ma’am, where are you right now.” The practiced patient voice of the 911 operator came back.
“We’re in the middle of the desert can’t you just track this phone?” Grace demanded.
“We are on Royal Road headed toward I-40.” Jay said to just loud enough for the operator to hear him.
“So is that Royal Road in Topock, Arizona headed towards interstate 40?” the operator came back.
“Are we in Topock dad?” Grace’s frustration was coloring her face red.
“Yes we are in Topock.” He replied calmly but he could now see the Duster in the rear view mirror and was trying to figure out what he could do if it caught up to them. The Bronco was fast but if the asshole had done anything under the hood of the Duster it would be on their bumper in a second.
“Tell them the man that is chasing us is the Ransom Murderer.” One moment after saying it he realized the information may be too much for Grace but he wanted the police there fast and he knew that name would call out the entire squad.
“I heard him ma’am, I’m going to place you on hold for hold for a second while I dispatch officers to that location.” The operator realizing the gravity of the already tense situation began to shout the information into the room assuring that every available operator would began informing every officer they could.
“He’s right fucking behind us in some old car called a Duster!” Grace screamed “Tell them to hurry, fly a helicopter!” Her words not being heard by the now busied operator.
Jay could tell that Grace was terrified and beginning to panic and it made his blood boil. He pulled the Glock out from his back and made a point of showing it to Grace and saying in a quiet voice so he wouldn’t be heard by the dispatcher.
“If he does catch us, we’ll be okay.” And then he reached into the bottom pocket of his shorts and pulled out Sonny the drug dealer’s gun and handed it to Grace.
“That thing fires like a cap gun, I figure if the two of us just stand there firing in his direction one of us will hit something.”
“When did my dad turn into Rambo?” Grace asked.
“Yesterday morning.” He was checking the rearview and the dirt road ahead simultaneously looking for how much time he had and for a perfect area of desert to swing the Bronco into to lose the Duster.
“Hold on!” He shouted and put his hand in front of Grace to steady her as he turned into the hard terrain of the desert launching the truck into the air then crashing down into the dirt. The terrain was much rougher off of the dirt road and the Bronco bounced and slammed down like it was a raging bull in a rodeo. Jay could see the Duster follow suit and slam its way off the road as well, looking like a car in a video game doing the off road course. Jay half expected to see it flip end over end like a cartoon car at any second and see the driver stumble out holding his head but his luck would not be so good. Grace had been holding the phone in her hand as they tumbled violently through the desert and had forgotten that the 911 operator was still on the line, she put her ear to the phone and asked
“Are you still there?”
“Yes miss and I have officers on the way to your location.” Despite the fact that the operator had to know what kind of insanity was going on at the other end of the phone line she remained completely emotionless and direct.
“We’re not on the road anymore we are off the road now but we are still near the road.” Grace had no idea what to do or say and was just trying to give information on where they were. She could see the maniac in his prized Plymouth slamming through the desert behind him and it looked like he was gaining on them fast despite the fact that they were in a big off road vehicle and he was in what looked like someone’s granddad’s car that needed to be painted.
Jay had also noticed the Duster was closing the gap rapidly and was desperately trying to find another way to out skill or out maneuver it. He turned the wheel and started headed at angle back toward the dirt road hoping that at least at that point he could make good time back to the highway and by the time he got there maybe the cops would have made it and they could blow a hole in this son of a bitch. He could see that up ahead there was a ditch that reminded him of the one he had put the Volvo in earlier in the day and he realized that with the great amount of dust the Bronco was kicking up if he turned quickly before hitting it he might be able to lure the kidnapper into the ditch and immobilize his car. He began to turn the wheel back and forth making the truck kick up even more dust as he headed straight for the ditch.
“Daddy, be careful there’s a ditch up there.”
“I know there is.” Jay responded calmly “That’s the plan.”
“Are we going to hit it?” Grace asked believing that her father had seriously gone off the deep end.
“No but he is.” He motioned his head up like he was looking in the rearview to make his point and Grace looked back once again and saw that her father was laying down a dust curtain that would probably keep the asshole blinded until the second he hit the ditch.
“You’ve got your seat belt on right sweetie?” He had thought she had when he turned off the road but needed to make sure because the hard turn would throw her around the cab of the truck if she didn’t. He looked at the door handle of the Bronco and saw the power door lock button and hit it just to be sure as well.
“Yes dad.” And she placed a hand on her door handle for stability and put the cell phone between her legs on the seat.
With one second to spare Jay Branch slammed on the brakes and steered at just the right angle to keep the old Bronco upright as he rode the edge of the ditch instead of piling into it head first. The Duster tried to do the same but acted one second too late and slid sideways into the ditch first becoming airborne and then slamming to a stop in the ditch. The flood of relief washed over Jay and Grace as they made it back to the dirt road and aimed toward the interstate. Grace remembered the phone she had placed under her leg on the seat and pulled it out and saw that the call was still active.
“I’m still here ma’am are you alright?”
“Yes we are, the guy just wrecked into a ditch in the desert not far from the dirt road and we’re on the dirt road heading to the interstate.”
“And what kind of vehicle are you traveling in?”
“We’re in a black Bronco.”
“Good, okay there should be officers there any second if not already there.
“Tell them we are heading to the highway and see if there are two cars coming so that one can go after him.” Jay spoke up. “And tell them he lives on the right side of Royal in what looks like a Junk yard.”
“Did you hear that?” Grace asked
“Yes ma’am and there are more than two cars on the way.”
The kidnapper laid across the back seat of the old Duster, the crash had flung him over the front seat and into the back bench. He had also hit his face on the rear passenger window shattering it and giving him multiple cuts on his face causing it to be covered in blood.
He sat up and took a quick look around, he could see that the Bronco was jumping back on to the dirt road up ahead and he could tell by the location of the road that they would hit the interstate before he could catch them and especially if they had had a chance to call the cops he didn’t have much time at all before they would be coming for him. He crawled back over the seat and got behind the wheel simultaneously turning the key and starting the old Plymouth and pulled out of the ditch slowly.
Jay saw where the dirt road turned into paved up ahead and could hear the sound of sirens in the distance. He looked down at the cheap plastic cup holder box that looked like a generic mid-eighties find from a K-Mart that was in the place where a big fat Bronco center console had been and gave it a tug revealing what he had suspected, the cheap plastic box was attached to the metal floor with a big strip of Velcro and since it was hollow underneath he instructed Grace to grab his jeans off the floor in front of her and wrap the two guns in them and then place all of that under the box and then put it back just in case the cops got nosy he didn’t want to have to explain either one of the guns. He should have probably chucked them both into the desert but he wasn’t ready to get rid of either one just yet. Seconds after hitting the pavement, the first police car came over the hill and spotting the Bronco pulled in front of it as the both pulled to the side of the road. The second and third police cars flew by them headed directly for the dirt road sirens blaring as they did. A skinny officer with a beginner cop mustache and stereotypical mirrored aviator sunglasses exited the cruiser and made his way towards the Bronco, Jay noticed he had his hand resting on his gun and his holster was unsnapped.
“Is everybody okay in there?” He asked from a safe distance.
“Yes we’re fine.” Grace and Jay responded in unison and then the two of them crumpled in their respective seats unable to move one second more.