There was a moment of awkward silence as the two kidnappers considered Julian’s request. His heart was racing during this entire time, and he was in turmoil – part of him wanting them to say no, while the other part hoping they would agree to his idea.
Charlie looked into Beth’s eyes peering through her clown mask. “We can’t do that, right?” she asked in a hushed tone. “I’ll tell him there’s not a chance in Hell we can bring that doctor here.”
“Wait, Charlie!” Beth whispered loudly, grabbing onto the other woman’s arm. “Let’s consider this for a minute. I need time to think.”
“I was sure you would be against it,” Charlie said, surprised. “You know what a risk that would be…”
“I know,” Beth said, “but I don’t want the baby to die. It looks like if we don’t get Sheridan some medical help, then that is what will happen. I want that baby. That’s my baby – mine and…”
“Yours and mine, right?” Charlie asked, putting her arm around Beth’s shoulder. “All right, Bethie, if you want that baby to live, I’ll do anything it takes - even if that means to risk kidnapping a doctor.”
“OK,” Beth said, stepping back from Charlie so that the other woman had to remove her arm from her shoulder. “I guess Dr. Russell is our best hope since she is Sheridan’s doctor. We don’t know if she’s on duty though, or when she gets off. It would be best to take her from the hospital. I guess if she’s not there, we’ll have to find another OB/GYN.”
“You let me worry about that,” Charlie said. “I’ll take care of planning everything. But I was wondering what we’re going to do with the doc…afterwards.”
“Same as all the others, I suppose,” Beth said. “Let’s not worry about that right now. Time is of the essence here. We need to get the ball rolling – now.”
Charlie leaned over the edge of the pit and spoke to Julian in a loud voice. “OK, Mr. Rich, it looks like you’re going to get your wish!”
Julian bounded up from the floor where he had been checking on an unconscious Sheridan. He looked at the clowns with anxiety all over his face. “Please, whatever you do, don’t hurt her,” he pleaded.
“Oh, I won’t hurt her,” Charlie sneered. “She’s going to help my friend and me get exactly what we want.” She added an evil laugh at the end of her message as she and Beth moved away from the pit.
Julian closed his eyes and did something for the second time that day that he rarely ever did – prayed. “Please God, protect Eve. Don’t let them hurt one hair on her head. Help her to save Sheridan and the baby. And when this is all over, help all of us get out of this pit safely.”
He knelt back down beside his sister and clasped her hand. “Please, Sheridan, hang on a while longer. Help is coming.”
Eve Russell had been called in to work the evening shift because a fellow doctor was ill. She actually didn’t mind. It got her out of the house and away from TC’s horrible slams against Julian. Plus, she was glad to stay busy. It kept her mind from thinking about Julian’s kidnapping every single minute.
Still, no matter how busy she was, she worried about him. Luis’s comments at the police station had reassured her that Julian was still alive. She felt it with her whole being. She knew that that was only part of the problem, however. He still was being held somewhere, against his will, and maybe even tortured. She shuddered at the thought.
Eve also knew that poor Sheridan was possibly with him, as Luis suspected. She only hoped that the stress of the situation hadn’t affected her pregnancy. She was in such a delicate condition the last time she had examined her.
She took a deep breath, trying to remove the thoughts of Julian and his sister from her mind. “Stay focused, Eve,” she told herself. “You can’t allow this to affect your job; you don’t want to endanger the patients.”
“One more patient is all it looks like I’ll have time for,” she muttered under her breath after looking at her watch. “Dr. Andrews will be here to replace me soon.” Eve headed toward the patient’s room.
Twenty minutes later, she took off her doctor’s coat and hung it in her office. Grabbing her purse and medical bag, she headed out the office door, locking it on her way out. Eve walked down the corridor to the stairwell. She usually took the stairs since her car was parked near that side of the building. Arriving at the bottom of the stairs, she pushed open the heavy door and exited the building.
Eve saw that the sky was completely dark now. The stars were out in full force. The moon was a beautiful crescent. She always liked the crescent moon the best. She remembered back to a time when she and Julian had sat and looked up at the moon and the stars in Bermuda. She had never before seen someone as dazzled as she was with the night sky. He showed her where many of the constellations were and tried to locate the planets for her. Eve laughed when she remembered how hard it was for her to pick out the pictures Julian was pointing out in the night sky. “Is that really supposed to be a bear?” she had asked.
Nearing her car, Eve smiled at the fond memories of the time she had spent with Julian in Bermuda. Her mind was so far away that she didn’t hear the footsteps coming up behind her. As she leaned forward to unlock the car door, someone grabbed her from behind, placing a hand over her mouth. Eve tried to resist and scream, but she could get no sound out. Her abductor was too powerful and kept a hand tightly over her mouth.
While Eve tried to get away from the abductor, a second person came behind her and bound her wrists with ropes. The kidnapper tied a blindfold around her head as well. Eve thrashed her feet out to kick her abductors. That’s when the one who had her mouth covered thrust a sharp object against her side. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” she said in a deep voice.
Eve stopped kicking and started to cry. Her heart was beating so fast from adrenaline that she was afraid she would have a heart attack.
The one who had the knife on her spoke again, “Now, I am going to remove my hand, but you’re not going to yell. If you do, you’re going to get this blade deep in your side. Do you understand?”
Eve nodded her head. When the abductor removed her hand, Eve turned her head toward where the voice had come from and spat in that direction. The kidnapper threw a wicked punch at Eve’s face. She cried out in pain. The other abductor quickly put tape around the doctor’s mouth. Together the two women shoved a terrified, sobbing Eve into their vehicle’s back seat and locked the door.
Jumping in the front, the passenger, who had held the knife to her side earlier, turned around to talk to her. “I’ve got a gun on you now, doc, so just behave and nobody will get hurt. We’re not taking you to harm you, really. We just want to borrow your services for awhile.” She laughed hideously.
Eve sank back into her seat, terrified beyond belief at what was happening to her.
Julian rubbed his hand over Sheridan’s forehead. “Wake up, Sheridan,” he said tenderly. “You need to wake up so that you’ll be ready to push this baby out. Help is on the way. You’ll have your baby in your arms in no time.” He shuddered at what the large clown had said – about Sheridan giving them what they wanted. He knew that the only thing they could be referring to was the baby. He pushed the thought out of his mind. It was too awful to think about. Julian knew as well that before he could worry about that, Eve had to save Sheridan’s life and the baby’s. That was the first hurdle to overcome.
Thinking about Eve reminded him of what he had done – how he had put the safety of the woman he loves in jeopardy to save his sister’s life. “I hope Eve understands,” he thought sadly. “I hope that one day she can forgive me for what I’ve done.”
Sheridan’s body was rocked with another contraction. Toward the end of it, her eyes fluttered open. She stared at her brother with a strange expression on her face. “Luis?” she said softly. “I knew you’d make it…the baby’s…coming…Thank God…you’re here.” She smiled weakly.
“My God, she’s delirious,” Julian said to himself. “She thinks I’m Luis.” He put the wet handkerchief on her forehead once more. “There, there,” he said gently. “You’re going to be just fine.”
“Luis…” Sheridan mumbled in a barely audible voice. Her eyes closed again, and her head rolled to the side.
“She’s passed out again,” Julian realized. “Please, Eve, get here soon.”
Just then, Julian heard a commotion from above. It was the sound of the kidnappers marching Eve across the basement floor. Charlie and Beth each held onto one of her arms as they lead her toward the pit. Both abductors stopped to grab their masks off a shelf and hurriedly slipped them on with their free hands as they neared the pit.
Stopping close to the edge, Charlie stuck the knife against Eve’s side once more to get her to calm down. Beth untied the rope around her wrists and removed the blindfold. Eve squinted so that her eyes could adjust to the low lighting. Beth ripped the tape of her mouth, and Eve let out a scream.
Julian rushed over to the front of the pit just as the clowns pushed Eve over the edge. She screamed in a terrified voice and clamped her eyes shut as she fell toward the bottom of the pit. Julian reached his arms up to break her fall and the impact propelled him backwards to the ground, with Eve winding up on top of him.
Opening her eyes, Eve looked straight into the face of the man she loved.
“Julian!” she cried in a surprised yet delighted tone, her face one big
smile. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her lips to his
in sheer joy.