In the Line of Fire(2)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

She got into the thickness of the woods and continued to run as fast as she could. Her arms were scraped by large branches and tree limbs that she tried ducking under but instead banged against. She couldn’t stop. Tears streamed down her cheeks and when she went to wipe them away so she could see more clearly, she felt the pain from the bruising on her cheekbone. Banks had struck her so damn hard, she had fallen to the floor. He was huge, and she was petite by comparison. She needed to keep moving. Her ribs ached and her knee throbbed—the cut there was deep, blood seeping from the wound. Her knee was a mess. It burned from the gash there and was now filthy with dirt. Get as far away from them as possible. Soon it would be too dark to run so fast. She would slam into trees and other obstacles. She had to slow down.

She was panting for breath. Low on energy, she had to stop. She looked around her and opted for the thickest set of brush that no one could possibly see through. There was a boulder behind it so she could lean against it and no one could sneak up from behind. She’d learned a lot from Corporal. She wished that he was here with her right now to protect her from these men. She sunk down low, pulled the branches around her, and leaned back against the boulder. She needed to calm her breathing. Save her energy. Her heart hammered inside of her chest and she covered her mouth with her hand. Someone was coming closer.

“I know you’re out here, little girl. I can smell that sweet scent of yours. The one that makes me want to hold you close and make you my woman. Don’t be scared, Berlin. I know you’re not so experienced. Vaile told us. She brought you to us for good reason, just a little earlier than we expected and you saw some things. Things ya shouldn’t have.”

She listened and begged her body to stop shaking. He’d killed a detective. He’d raped and beat her friend Vaile. They were selling drugs, and they were with the man she saw on the television. The one who shot three cops who were still fighting for their lives in the local hospital. She’d seen too much, knew too much about the men. When she escaped, she caught Banks off guard by slamming her forearm into his throat and then kicking him in the balls to get free from his attempted rape. She climbed out the window and ran. Ran for her life through the woods. And now after running and begging God for freedom, Banks’s buddy Mozely was right there. She could see him.

He inched closer and she tightened up, held her breath, and jerked when she heard the second voice. Yanni.

“We have to go. We need to head back and get rid of the cop. We’ll catch her. There’s no place for her to run and hide. We’ll send Terrence to her place to wait for her. She’s young and has no family. Come on,” Yanni yelled to him.

“Fuck,” Mozely said and turned around.

“She’s mine when we find her. I don’t give a fuck what Banks says. I get to fuck her first.”

“Yeah, good luck with that. He got her scent already, and you know Banks. He won’t rest until she’s in his bed and calling out his name.”


Tears rolled down her cheeks and she felt like throwing up. She continued to cover her mouth, preventing herself from making any noises. She waited. She counted the time that passed until she got through to about twenty minutes. Now it was super dark, but the moon was out and she would follow it toward the highway. She stood up, felt the aches and pains, and pushed onward. I’m not going to die out here. I’m not going to let them win. Those three sick bastards will not get their hands on me. So what if they were soldiers, that they were connected to Dominic Forte.

Corporal would protect her. He was all she had left to trust, to guide her, and to save her life. She had to get to him before they did and killed him next.

* * * *

“What do you mean you lost her?” Dominic Forte asked Banks over the phone.

“She got away through the woods. She saw too much.”

“She knows that I shot those cops. She knows that you killed Brothers. Why the hell did he come snooping around?” Dominic asked.

“He was getting greedy. No longer wanting to work for you, but for the cops. Says that fucking guy Corporal was getting closer to finding out who you are, Dominic, and that you’re running this operation. He wants you badly, and us, too, now that he knows we killed his partner four years ago,” Banks told him.

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