Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Girl Sleuth-Chapter 36

(To read from the beginning go Here.)

Anne’s shoes pounded out a big band rhythm as she darted after Armstrong. They echoed in the sparsely populated station. She tossed a look over her shoulder. Where had Erik gotten to? How could such a tall fellow disappear completely?

The man redoubled his already brisk pace. He turned around a corner and out of sight. Again, Anne glanced around. Where was a policeman when you needed one?

Good grief. Did she have to do everything? No way was she going to get close enough for Armstrong to catch her again. She would hang back and just try to observe from a distance, so that he didn’t escape. She edged to the corner and cautiously peered around.

A hard hand clamped over her mouth. Fingers dug into her cheeks. She tried to pull back but it was useless. He had a grip on her arm now. Inexorable as the tide he dragged her forward.

His voice rasped against her ear. “Did you really think your little double cross was going to work?” His snort provoked a shiver. “If I ever get to the point where an amateur gumshoe, who’s barely out of training pants, can put one over on me, it’ll be time to hang it up.”

His hand covered both her mouth and nose, and again she tried to pull away. She needed air. Her lungs shouted at her. Nothing. No air. She was going to pass out. Jesus.

Her knees sagged and he pulled his hand away slightly. The trickle of stale air was as refreshing as a glass of cold lemonade on a summer afternoon. He must have spotted her somehow and decided to trap her. Dear Lord, she needed help to get out of this one.

He released her arm. “I’ve got a gun. If you yell I’ll plug you. Now, I’m going to take my hand off your mouth. Where are the papers?” He moved his hand to her throat.

Anne massaged her cheeks.

He nudged her with the barrel of his ugly little gun. “Come on.”

She shook her head. “I told you the truth the first time. I gave them to the secret service.” She might as well go for broke. “They have agents everywhere. You can’t—”

“Shut up.” He prodded her harder. “I’d have known if you turned them in. If you don’t tell me the truth, I’m going to shoot you and throw your scrawny little corpse on the tracks.”

His eyes were wide, a thin rim of white showing all the way around. Anne drew in another breath. Whoever stayed cool would win this one. She resisted the urge to lick her lips. They’d win, or they’d get shot. At the moment it was a bit of a toss up.

“I’m telling you the truth. I gave the papers to Agent Erik Carter this afternoon. He took them to his superiors and they arranged for Tom and I to come back and get you to confess your involvement in the counterfeiting plan.”

“Tom.” The single word was so loaded with loathing that it carried the weight of an emotional atom bomb.

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