Stolen Omnibus – Small Town Abduction, страница 1
Table of Contents
Prequel available on Amazon- Stolen: The Beginning
Chapter 1 – 2 Hours Ago
Chapter 2 – 35 Hours Left
Chapter 3 – 34 Hours Left
Chapter 4 – 32 Hours Left
Chapter 5 – 31 Hours Left
Chapter 6 – 30 Hours Left
Chapter 7 – 28 Hours Left
Chapter 8 – 27 Hours Left
Chapter 9 – 26 Hours Left
Chapter 10 – 25 Hours Left
Chapter 11 – 24 Hours Left
Chapter 12 – 24 Hours Left
Chapter 13 – 23 Hours Left
Stolen: Missing Pieces-Book 2
Chapter 1 - 23 Hours Left
Chapter 2 – 14 Hours Left
Chapter 3 – 13 Hours Left
Chapter 4 – 12 Hours Left
Chapter 5 – 11 Hours Left
Chapter 6 – 10 Hours Left
Chapter 7 – 8 Hours Left
Chapter 8 – 6 Hours Left
Chapter 9 – 5 Hours Left
Chapter 10 – 4 Hours Left
Chapter 11 – 2 Hours Left
Chapter 12 – 1 Hour Left
Chapter 13 – Six Weeks Later
Copyright 2016 All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means without prior written permission, except for brief excerpts in reviews or analysis.
FREE Prequel available on Amazon- Stolen: The Beginning
Lena Hayes is in the middle of the biggest fight of her political career. Her proposed piece of legislation will hold oil fracking companies accountable for the harm leveraged against their workers, and the families of her small North Dakota community. But with the oil company looking to stop her at any cost, Lena will have to confront the demons of her past in order to beat them.
Chapter 1 – 2 Hours Ago
** A link to the FREE prequel "Stolen: The Beginning" is available in the front of this book**
White lace curtains draped over the window, softening the sunlight that warmed the room. A pink comforter lay neatly spread over a twin mattress, which was adorned with stuffed animals and plump pillows. Posters of different creatures from around the world were taped to the walls: an elephant, a panda bear chewing on bamboo, and a kangaroo. In the corner was a bin full of dolls, where an assortment of arms, legs, and heads were thrust from the box in sporadic directions.
Kaley Hayes lay on her stomach, sprawled out on the beige carpet of her room. A variety of crayons circled the coloring book that stole her attention. She popped her tongue out of the corner of her mouth in concentration as her small fingers gripped the green crayon that shaded in the mermaid tail. After she finished the narrow tips of the fin, she smiled, feeling accomplished about staying within the lines.
Music blared from across the hall. Her sister’s loud, screaming music was a steady background noise that filtered through Kaley’s open door. She picked up the red crayon and wrinkled her nose from the distraction. She went to work on the hair, looking to the cover of The Little Mermaid movie that was propped up against the wall.
Gwen’s door suddenly flung open, and the noise from her room spilled into the hallway. Kaley watched the back side of her sister disappear into the bathroom, where she slammed the door shut. Kaley frowned and screamed above the screeching musician. “Gwen! Turn that down!”
The bathroom door flung open, and Gwen stuck out her head. “What?”
Kaley rose from the carpet and stepped into the hallway, pointing to the cause of distress. “It’s too loud.”
Gwen rolled her eyes then ducked back into her room, out of sight. A few seconds later the music quieted to a more appropriate level. When she returned she let out an exasperated sigh. “Happy?”
Kaley returned to her picture on the floor and picked up the red crayon, a coy little smile on her face. “Yes.”
The front screen door squeaked as it opened. Footsteps thumped over the floorboards, and Kaley saw the shiny black boots of the deputy appear out of the corner of her eye. “Everything okay in here?”
“Yes,” both Kaley and Gwen answered simultaneously.
“Sounds like you were arguing.” The deputy placed his hands on his hips, the leather of his soles squeaking against the polished wooden floors as he shifted glances between the parallel rooms.
Kaley kept her head down, focusing her efforts on the smaller, harder-to-color spaces that were the end strands of the mermaid’s hair. “She was just playing her music too loud.”
“I’ve been known to get that complaint from my wife at home.” The deputy smiled and watched Kaley color. “Are you guys hungry? Need anything to—”
A horn honked outside, and Gwen quickly sidestepped the deputy and hurried toward the front door. “I’ll see you guys later!”
The deputy took chase, and the excitement triggered Kaley to jump off the floor and follow. She was the last to arrive, but the policeman had already blocked the exit. “Mom said you’re not allowed to go anywhere!” Kaley crossed her arms and joined the blockade of the front door. “And Uncle Jake said so too.”
Gwen shrugged her shoulders innocently. “I’m just heading to a friend’s house.”
“I’m sorry, Gwen.” The officer shook his head. “But I can’t let you leave. It’s still too dangerous for you to be out there alone.”
Gwen waved her hands in frustration. “I won’t be alone. I’ll be with like six people.” She gestured to the truckload of teenagers parked outside. When the deputy turned, she squeezed past him on the right and sprinted toward her friends.
“Gwen, wait!” The deputy jogged after her, but before he took two steps she was already in the back of the truck. The driver sped down the dirt road that split the acres of gentle rolling hills that surrounded their house, which was the only structure for miles. The truck tires kicked up dust, and the tailpipes spewed exhaust that lingered long after the truck disappeared onto the highway.
The deputy reached through the open window of his squad car and grabbed the receiver on his radio, stretching the coiled cord into a straight line. “This is unit five over at the Hayeses’ residence. Gwen just took off with some friends, and I need to stay here with Kaley. Can someone run her down for me?”
“Roger, unit five. What’s the vehicle description?”
“Blue, two-door truck. Didn’t catch the license plate, but it’s got eight teenagers piled in the back. They’re heading west on Highway 9.” The deputy tossed the radio back into the car and turned to Kaley. “You can head back inside.”
Kaley rocked back and forth on her bare feet on the small patch of concrete of the front doorstep. “But what about Gwen?” She puffed out her lower lip and tried to find the truck on the horizon, but she couldn’t see it anymore.
“Don’t you worry about it.” The deputy walked over and knelt down to her level, his green eyes smiling along with the reassuring grin plastered on his face. “We’ll find her. Now”—the deputy turned her around and marched her into the house—“I think you have a certain mermaid to finish, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.” He tickled her side, and she squirmed away, giggling.
Still laughing, Kaley sprinted back to her room and plopped down on the floor by the coloring book and crayons. She picked the red one up and returned to the mermaid’s hair. Gwen’s music was still playing in her room, and Kaley looked over to the open door. She arched an eyebrow, knowing how much Gwen hated when she went into her room. But with Gwen not
Kaley left the crayons and picture on the carpet and darted across the hall into Gwen’s bedroom. She stepped over dirty clothes and turned off the stereo. On her way out she saw the desk where Gwen kept her makeup. Lipsticks, powders, and eye shadow were strewn messily across the surface. She shifted course to the grown-up stuff, and her eyes widened as she opened the different caps, exposing an array of refulgent colors. After opening nearly all of them, she finally settled on the bright-pink lipstick. She twisted the bottom and puckered her lips as she looked in the mirror, just as Gwen and her mom did when they put it on.
Like her efforts with the coloring book, Kaley managed to stay within the lines of her lips and giggled when she checked the finished product in the mirror. She set the lipstick down and rummaged through a few other things, when she heard the rumble of another engine out front. Kaley quickly put the caps back on the makeup, thinking it was Gwen, but froze when she heard the shouts out front.
“Hey! You’re not supposed to be here. You’re—”
Three gunshots popped into the afternoon air, and Kaley felt a deep thump that rippled through her body with each percussive blast. She curled her tiny fingers over the edges of the doorframe as she craned her neck into the hallway. Her jaw dropped. From her position she saw the deputy’s head lying in the grass through the open front door. He was looking at her but was motionless.
A hand with a gun suddenly appeared and aimed it at the deputy’s head. The echo of the next gunshot pulsed worse than the first three, and Kaley ducked back into her sister’s room. She sprinted for the bed and wiggled her way underneath the mattress.
As she lay on her stomach, her heart thumped against the carpet. Her lower lip trembled, and silent tears rolled down her cheeks. The squeak of the screen door’s hinges preceded heavy footsteps that grew louder and more sporadic in their frequency. There would be a lot of quick steps in succession, then one or two steps really far apart.
Kaley slowed her breathing and covered her mouth to try and mask the breaths. Through the narrow opening at the front of the bed she saw a pair of black worn, dirty boots stop in the hallway between her and Gwen’s bedrooms, scarier looking than the ones the officer wore.
The boots shuffled forward a bit, the thick toes of the shoes turning from her room to Gwen’s room and then back to her room again. The wooden floors groaned as the right boot leaned into her room, then again as it leaned into Gwen’s room. It paused for a moment, then both boots disappeared farther down the hall.
Grunts and moans echoed from her parents’ bedroom, followed by thunderous crashes, bangs, and thuds. Kaley covered her ears from the cacophony and shut her eyes, her little cheeks beet red. The ruckus continued for a few minutes, and when it stopped, Kaley lowered her hands and opened her eyes.
The pair of boots thumped quickly down the hallway, screeching to a stop, then stepped inside Gwen’s room. Soiled footprints dirtied the carpet, and Kaley’s eyes followed the trail intently as she slapped her hand over her mouth, whimpering into her palm.
A harsh kick to the side of Gwen’s desk sent the makeup to the floor, and the man grunted. The boots stomped the cosmetics then kicked the dirtied clothes in quick, sweeping motions across the room. Then, finally, the boots stopped, the heels facing Kaley. As they remained still, Kaley saw the scuff marks etched into the old black leather.
Kaley shut her eyes. She hoped that this was all some sort of dream and that she would wake up in her bed in the middle of the night. Her mom would come into her room and gently stroke her hair, telling her that everything was going to be all right. But when she opened her eyes she was still under the bed, and the pair of boots hadn’t moved.
And then, just as quickly as they’d appeared, they walked out of the room and thumped down the hall, where they quieted and then disappeared after the squeak of the screen door and the quick whoosh it made when it slammed shut. Trembling, Kaley stretched her right hand forward. Her head and back scraped against the mattress springs, and she emerged from under the bed.
The house was quiet, and she examined the mess the pair of boots had caused. The colors from Gwen’s makeup were crushed into the carpet like messy rainbows, pictures had been knocked from the walls, and clothes were still piled messily across the floor.
Kaley avoided the boot prints that stained the carpet, and walked softly on the tips of her toes toward the bedroom’s door. From her sister’s room her eyes followed the trail of dirt to the front door, where she saw the deputy lying in the grass. Red goo covered his face, and his tongue hung from his mouth. A rush of wind rustled the grass and blew some strands of the officer’s hair. He looked dead. And not like a TV dead, but a real dead. Like her Grammy Shelly. Except she never saw Grammy like that. She was scared, but despite the fear, she felt herself pulled toward the dead body and didn’t stop until she reached the screen door.
Maybe he’s just sleeping. Kaley raised her tiny hand up to the screen door’s handle and pulled it open. But when she took her first step outside a hand reached for her neck. She screamed, but it was cut short as fingers curled around her throat and mouth. All she saw when she was lifted off the ground were the pair of worn black boots that carried her away.
1 hour ago
Main Street was still littered with the trash and destruction from last night’s riots. Broken glass shimmered on the sidewalk under the afternoon sun. Windowless storefronts were gutted of their goods, and what loot couldn’t be carried was left on the pavement, strewn about in the street.
The shells of blackened and charred cars that had been burnt the night before were still parked in the road. The tires melted to the asphalt and glued the vehicles into place. Dozens of uniformed workers with FEMA vests scoured the streets, taking stock of the damage with city officials and business owners.
An armored Humvee rolled down the center of Main Street, a soldier manning the fifty-caliber rifle mounted on the roof. It patrolled the area slowly, part of the National Guard’s efforts to deter any citizens from inciting further damage.
News vans were clustered outside of two locations. The first was the sheriff’s office where deputies and emergency personnel heavily trafficked the area. The second was a smaller building where Lena Hayes Law Firm was written over bullet-riddled windows.
One of the reporters near the law firm office thumbed through a few notes then handed them over to her field producer. She cleared her throat as the cameraman counted her down.
“Mary Kentos reporting for ABC nightly news. The town of Barta, North Dakota, has fallen under siege. And it’s not from a foreign invader, but by the very citizens of the town itself. Last night a vote was held regarding state legislative bill forty-five C, which would tighten regulations on oil companies looking to exploit the state’s natural resources, but more specifically the millions of barrels of oil nestled in the Bakken Oil shale right beneath my feet. Currently, there is only one major oil company in North Dakota, which quickly purchased the majority of the land rights the state made available to frack—New Energy Incorporated. The company has been under fire for the past two years and was brought to civil court by over sixty families who say that their children grew sick after the chemicals used in the fracking process leaked into their water supply. It was a long, drawn-out court battle, but in the end it was New Energy Incorporated who won the fight.
“The lawyer for that case was Lena Hayes, and if her name sounds familiar it’s because she was recently elected to the state legislature just a few months ago. The one issue she championed for during her campaign? Fracking reform. One of the main reasons for her running for public office was the lack of regulations to hold companies like New Energy accountable. But while State Representative Hayes may have had the fight of her career against the company in the courtroom, she’s having the fight of her life against them with her proposed bill. But this time it’s not just the oil company that’s been against her, but also the families of the employees of New Energy. Here,
Becky Foreman smiled when the camera panned out and included her in the shot. When she leaned into the microphone she nearly knocked it with her teeth. “It’s my pleasure.” She flashed a bright smile that popped against the dark tan of her skin. The heavy layers of makeup meant to conceal her age only added years to her face.
“You disagree with the bill that Representative Hayes is introducing, and that was passed during last night’s town hall.”
Becky’s large-hooped earrings dangled back and forth as she nodded. “One hundred percent disagree. The oil companies have brought us jobs, income, and a chance to better ourselves and our families.”
“One of Representative Hayes’s counterpoints to that argument is the damage done to the environment. In fact, since 2006, there have been over eighteen million gallons of oil and chemicals spilled, leaked, or misted into North Dakota’s air.”
“Well, I’m breathing just fine.”
“And what do you make of the sixty children that have grown ill over the past two years, half of which are still hospitalized with organ failures?”
“Look, what happened to those kids was tragic. But they’re getting the help they need. It’ll build character for them.”
Mary paused a moment before she continued. “Another stat we found from Mrs. Hayes’s depositions was the number of workers killed in the Bakken oil shale field, which has risen to seventy-four deaths in the past eight years. In fact Reese Coleman, an employee of New Energy, was found dead on their property just this morning.” Mary turned back to Becky. “Doesn’t that concern you since your husband works in those fields? Shouldn’t the companies be liable for these deaths if they’re happening on their property?”
“Our men know what they’re getting into.” Becky lifted her chin then gave a curt nod as she faced the camera. “In fact, our—”