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Authors: P. R. Garlick

Third Half

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THIRD HALF

 

by

 

P.R. Garlick

Pam Garlick

 

      Pam Garlick admits to writing her first short story when she was 12
years old, though she won

t admit how long ago that was.  She remembers
her struggles as a single-mom juggling the raising two lively sons and a job,
and still trying to find time to write.  She

d find herself typing on her old
portable typewriter late at night, recycling any papers she could get her
hands on for her manuscripts.

       Then twenty years ago she received a computer as a birthday gift and
her life changed. In 1988 she sold her first article and short stories soon
followed.  Today she

s been published in a variety of media.

       Pam lives with her husband and dog in southeastern Pennsylvania
where they are actively involved with their church.  Much of what she
writes is driven by her faith.

             
As much as she enjoys writing, she treasures her time away from her
computer when she can be with their five children and four grandchildren
.

 

 

Copyright
©
2012 Pamela R. Garlick

All rights reserved.  With the exception of for review, the reproduction or utilization of
this work in whole or in part in any form or means, now known or hereafter invented is
strictly forbidden without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

 

Published by:

Middle Creek Publishing

 

 

ISBN-13:
978-1478221722
ISBN-10:
1478221720

 

 

 

All rights reserved.  With the exception of for review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in
whole or in part in any form or means, now known or hereafter invented is strictly forbidden without the
express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction, and unless otherwise stated all characters and locations have no existence
outside the author

s imagination.  Any similarity to any person living or deceased is purely coincidental.

Novels by P.R. Garlick

 

Mogul

** Under Cover

Third Half

 

 

Novels by Pam Garlick

 

The Pineapple Inn

 

*Into the Fire

 

Last Ride

 

Paradise

 

*Rescued Hearts

 

God's Country

 

 

 

* Everyday Heros Series

** A Sheila Delaney Mystery

 

 

Third Half  

    P.R. Garlick

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

             
Pressing his chin against his chest, the red-haired man allowed
his head to hang limply against his chest, cocked slightly to the side. 
His eyes were closed as he feigned unconsciousness.

             
He needed time.  Time to sort out what had happened. 
What
happened?  Hell, I've been abducted!  Just when everything was going
according to plan.  Well, I can't say I wasn't warned to expect the
unexpected.  But this . . .

             
"He's taking a long time coming out of it," the woman said as
she paced around the green vinyl chair where their prisoner now sat
with his hands bound behind his back.  "Did you have to hit him so
hard?"

             
"You worry too much," her male companion replied gruffly as
he impatiently looked up from the white piece of paper in front of
him. 

             
"Worry too much!  The information he has is very valuable."

             
"And whoever wants it will pay dearly for it," the man said
calmly as he folded the note and placed it in an envelope.

             
"Not if he's dead!" The woman stopped pacing and gently
placed her fingers against the side of their prisoner's throat.  Feeling
an even throb from his carotid artery, she sighed.

             
"Don't be so trusting!" her companion ordered as he got up and
strode toward the door.  "Remember exactly who you're dealing with. 
The shotgun's over there." He motioned toward the corner.  "If he tries
anything funny

use it!"  With that he opened the door to leave.  "I'll
call you as often as I can to let you know how things are going on my
end."

             
Hearing the door slam, the man in the chair opened his green
eyes to stare up at her familiar face. 
Who would have thought?  And
to think I hit on her for a date just last month.
  He gave her a crooked
grin.  "This is not what I had in mind when I said we should go
someplace where we could be alone."
             

             
"No, but this is what you got," the woman said as she retrieved
the shotgun from the corner of the room.

             
"We could have more fun if you put down the shotgun and
untied the ropes," the red-head said, his smile growing wider. 
"Though, I have heard ropes can be fun, I'm not into bondage."

             
"Shut up!  We're not here to play games

and you better
remember that."

             
"I have a feeling that won't be too easy to do," he sighed,
returning his thoughts inward as he tried to figure out how he was
going to get out of his current predicament.  Of course, he didn't doubt
there was one person already trying to find him.

 

I

 

             
Liane was nearly breathless as she rushed through the bustling
airport toward the terminal where she was scheduled for a flight out of
New York's La Guardia airport.  The airport was equally busy day or
night, and even now, at six in the morning, she had to skirt several
people as she hurried on her way toward the Delta terminal.

             
The people surrounding her seemed a blur of business suits
and military uniforms, with just a few more casually dressed, probably
preparing for an early start on their vacation.  For a moment, Liane
allowed her determination to waver just long enough to envy them. 
To wish that she, too, were about to embark on a vacation, instead of
this unexpected trip to try and locate her missing brother.

             
"Oh Jack," she said with a sigh of desperation. 
If I find out
you've got me running around on some kind of wild goose chase, I'll,
I'll . . .
What would she do?  She wondered.  She knew her brother
was a prankster.  In fact, if it hadn't been for her sister, Mary
Catherine's frightened and pathetic state, she would not have agreed to
go. 

             
Goodness knows, she didn't really have the time for such a
trip, even one as short as this was going to be.  She had already
invested more time in this search than she knew she could afford.

             
It had been sheer luck that there had been a cancellation on
this early non-stop flight to Los Angeles.  She was even more
fortunate to learn there was a return flight leaving only two hours
later.  If the cab drivers in L.A. drove anything like the ones in New
York, she was certain she wouldn't need any longer than that to talk to
Jack's agent.

             
After boarding the plane and finding her seat Liane sat back
and tried to relax.  Closing her eyes she willed her swiftly beating
heart to slow to a more moderate rhythm.  She used every meditation
technique she knew, trying to ease the tension from her limbs.  But it was useless.  Until she eased the tension from her mind, she knew she
would remain as tightly sprung as one of those rubber band propelled
airplanes her brother used to fly.

             
She thought of the irony in that, remembering watching those
toy planes soaring high into the sky, dipping and spinning until finally
falling to the ground.  She had enjoyed watching them, imagining
what it would be like to fly in a real plane. 

             
Then came the moment of descent and a chill would inevitably
tingle up and down her spine until that final moment when the plane
made its crashing contact with the ground.  Her heart would beat
wildly as again her childlike mind imagined that tiny plastic plane as a
real one

with her on board.

             
Perhaps that was part of the reason she hated flying.  The same
wild and erratic beat of her heart was always her companion as she
flew, waiting with white knuckles until the plane made its way back
onto the ground.  She knew it was crazy to compare those tiny toy
planes to the actual life-sized versions, but still it was a phobia she
had found difficult to dismiss.

             
Forcing her usual fears from her mind she returned to her
thoughts to the events leading up to this trip.  She reflected at how, in
less than twenty-four hours, her tranquil life had been turned into a
hectic race, taking her first to her brother's farm in Connecticut, and
now to his agent's office in Los Angeles.

             
Mary Catherine was the first to suspect that there was
something strange going on with their brother, Jack.  Liane could still
picture how frightened her sister had looked when she arrived at her
apartment.  The fact that it was only a day ago was hard to believe.

 

I

 

             
"M.C., it's you," she said in surprise, seeing her sister framed
in the doorway.  "I didn't expect you, but it's a pleasant surprise." She
smiled warmly, genuinely pleased to see her sister, stepping aside for
the other woman to enter the apartment.

             
Facially Mary Catherine and Liane were nearly identical; but,
in every other way they were different.  "I had to see you before I left
for South America." Mary Catherine rushed past her, her expression
filled with tense lines of emotion.

             
"Come over here and sit down," Liane pointed to the white
velour sofa and chairs, noting that her sister blended perfectly into the
black and white decor of her new apartment.

             
Mary Catherine, nervously brushed an invisible speck from her
black and white habit as she sat stiff-backed on a chair, obviously
uncomfortable in the plush surroundings.  She had grown used to the
convent and the communal life she shared with the other nuns, far
more simplistic than the life her sister now lived.

             
Liane noticed Mary Catherine's flushed cheeks, and how her
usually clear blue eyes were now wide and glassy.  "What's
happened?" Liane asked, knowing instinctively that something was
troubling her sister, and it was more than the awkwardness of her
surroundings.

             
"It's Jack," the nun frowned, quickly rising to her feet and
pacing across the room.  "I think something may have happened to
him." She jerked to a halt and turned back to face Liane.

             
"Now wait a minute.  What exactly do you mean?" Liane
asked, realizing now, the emotion she had read in Mary Catherine's
eyes was fear.

             
"Remember my telling you I saw Jack about three weeks ago? 
The day I told him about my plans to go to South America."

             
"Yes, it was right before you told me."

             
Mary Catherine nodded.  "Did I mention he didn't seem very
pleased about my plans?"

             
"Look, M.C., you can't blame him for that.  There's a lot of
political unrest in all those South American countries, not to mention
drug cartels and all that.  Of course Jack would be worried about you. 
I'm worried about you too, but I know how stubborn you are when
you're mind is made up."

             
"There always has been problems down there.  That doesn't
change the fact that those children need us, and the education we
provide at our mission school." Mary Catherine put her hands to the
sides of her bright blue eyes and rubbed her temples.  "Oh, this is all
beside the point," she sighed.  "I came to talk about Jack."

             
"Are you all right?"

             
"Just a headache.  It's nothing really.  I went for my
immunizations today.  The doctor warned me that some people have a
slight reaction to them."

             
"It probably beats the plague, or whatever it is you catch down
there in those uncivilized countries."

             
"Liane, please," Mary Catherine pleaded.  "I'm trying my best
to explain about Jack."

             
"Okay, I'm sorry.  But you know Jack's always on the go. 
That's why I hardly ever see him.  I believe it's been at least ten
months since the last time we got together."

             
"I know he has a ridiculous schedule, but this is more than
that.  Have you heard anything from him at all lately?"

             
"Just a post card, from Atlantic City, about three months ago. 
I believe he was doing a show at Harrahs."

             
"And nothing since then?"

             
"No.  Why?  Have you heard something?" Liane watched her
sister closely, knowing she wouldn't be this panicky without good
reason.

             
The other woman nodded.  "I certainly did.  And I don't know
what to do about it."

             
"Go on," Liane coaxed, anxious to hear what else Mary
Catherine had to say.  She rarely saw her sister this distraught.  Of the
three Spencer children, Mary Catherine had always been the calm one. 
It was usually she, who had been the emotional one.  This role
reversal was a novel experience.

             
"Yesterday I received a letter from Jack.  It contained two-hundred-and fifty thousand dollars in cash."

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