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Thanks again for lovely comments. Lots of Jarod and Miss P in this chapter, mad props to Tinanaz and KatieQ (ok, lets pause for a moment... I just said "mad props", I never say that. I don't think I have used that term once in my rather sheltered life. Huh. Suppose it's because this is such an awesome chapter then).
Each character is written by a different author (well almost, some writers add on a second later in the story), so to help you readers keep it all straight, each character has a different color.
Writer / Character
Jacci - Mr Cox
KatieQ - Miss Parker
Manoline - Broots, Emily
Tinanaz - Jarod
TLM - Sydney
Whashaza - Lyle, Alex
A new chapter will be posted approximately twice a week, check end notes for when the next is scheduled to arrive.
Jarod heard more than felt his body collapse on the seat. Whatever Alex had injected him with was playing havoc on his system. A simple 50 yard sprint to the trees at the end of the parking lot should not have taken every bit of strength he had. Now his head was spinning, his muscles were trembling and these strange black spots kept appearing before his closed eyes. Only his ears seemed to work properly and he could hear Parker and Lyle arguing right outside his door. Then the two front doors opened, closed and the car picked up speed.
The humming of the tires lulled him to sleep. He knew he needed to sleep off whatever was in his system, but he hated missing anything Parker said to the sweeper that he could possible use to get away. But that humming was louder than anything she might possibly be saying.......
Nightmare images filled his sleep. Emily trapped with Alex. Alex holding a giant needle and advancing on Jarod. The Centre hovering over him ready to crush him at a moments notice. Lyle holding jumper cables out to both him and Emily. Kyle drifting around a dead Emily, telling Jarod that he was a horrible big brother, that he was suppose to protect his siblings, not let them be killed.
The car hit a dip in the road at a nice clip of speed and his unprepared body bounced from seatbelt to carseat and back to the seatbelt. Thank goodness someone had belted him in, was one of the first things he thought as he woke up. His head was still bobbing loosely and his eyes were closed and he must have still looked unconscious to the sweeper because he heard him say that to Parker. He had a hard time supressing his grin at her growl about him sleeping while she did all the work. He had a harder time when the sweeper dared to ask if they were ever going to stop for something to eat. That just might be the break he was looking for.
Parker glared at the sweeper with unimpressed annoyance. She looked in her rear view mirror, noticing the head lights of Lyle’s car was an appreciable distance behind them.
“Hold on boys,” she commanded, slamming on the breaks causing the car to fish tail as a side country road came into view. As the car came to a stop she wasted no time in drawing her gun, and pointing it at the moron beside her.
“Out.” She sneered.
“But…” the sweeper protested, but silenced as she sent him yet another deadly look.
“3…2….” Parker started counting as she pointed her weapon with poise. The sweeper gave one hesitant glance in the backseat before scurrying out of the vehicle. Without so much as a look backwards Parker completed the turn, slamming on the accelerator as the car spun to life.
If only she had her Boxter, it would make what was to come next that much easier.
Jarod felt his jaw drop in astonishment even as he felt his hopes rise. Was Parker really going to help him? But she didn't know about Emily, so he was probably still going to have to escape. Or was this just her plan to turn him into the Centre and get the credit for herself? He was just going to wait and see.
“Welcome back to the living Jarod.” Parker remarked dryly. Keeping a steady hand on the wheel so reached in the glove compartment and yanked out a map and a small pen light. She tossed them into the back seat. “Make yourself useful.” She commanded, her foot pressing hard on the accelerator as she noticed the lights in her rear view mirror growing closer.
Ok, he thought as he sat upright, faking sleep is not going to work right now.
"If the goal is to elude Lyle and his pet sweepers, take the next right and then a hard left immediately after that. A small access road is partially hidden by a bush. But we will need some distance between us or he will see us turn."
"A dead end? Nice plan Jarod, you're about as moronic as Broots." Parker sneered back at the pretender.
"I said access road, not dead end. It lead to the highway. I came through here a couple of months ago and found it. It's not on any map, so Lyle shouldn't know about it. And, anyway, if you don't want to listen to my directions, then just let me out here and I will find my own way."
"In your dreams genius boy." Without so much as a backwards glance, Parker slammed hard on the breaks, smiling at the grunt of pain that sounded from the backseat as she spun around the two turns. "How long until we hit the highway?"
Jarod rubbed his tender stomach, the seatbelt tightening almost unbearably thanks to Parker's driving skill, or lack of. "I figure the next big city is 100 miles to the south of us, so we should head the same distance north-west. But it's not just Lyle behind us, you know. He's working with Alex and someone else in the Centre."
"Gee you think?" Parker replied sarcastically. "The other car in your transport crew was sent ahead, and Lyle is becoming a distant concern. Right now, it's just me and you. I'm going to end this the way it was always meant to be finished. How much farther from here to Blue Cove?" she asked pointedly.
"Lyle set that up." Jarod told her, not wanting to admit that Lyle had used him. It felt like he had betrayed the man who raised him, even though he knew Sydney didn't really care for him in an emotional way. "He used Broots' access numbers to have the money transferred into Sydney's account. I think Alex helped set things up for him."
"You think Alex helped him?" Parker asked, not failing to notice the hesitant tone Jarod's voice took on. "I don't suppose your genius brain can conjure a way to clear your surrogate Daddy? I think it's in both our interests if he's in the clear by the time your sorry ass walks in the lobby at the Centre."
"I know Alex is helping him. Alex is the one who came up with whatever it is they keep injecting me with. And Alex has my sister." Jarod pointly ignored the part about walking into the Centre. She wanted him back so bad, she could drag him, but there was no way he was going to voluntarily walk back into the particular hell.
"Emily? Where the hell did she come from?" Parker asked. As much as her hunter instinct wouldn't shut off around Jarod, she couldn't help but feel remorse whenever one of his family members was involved.
"I, um, they found me in a hotel about an hour from here. When I wouldn't cooperate, Lyle had a sweeper bring Emily in, threatened her. I don't remember much after that. Just Alex coming at me with a syringe, again. We have to get her away from Alex, Parker, we have to!"
"The way I see it, all paths lead back to Blue Cove." Parker informed the slightly panicked pretender. "Fortunately for you, you've caught yourself a one way ride."
"No, I can't go back there. They'll kill me, you know they will." The thought of being trapped back in the Centre with Raines and Lyle was almost enough to start a full-fledge panic attack. He undid his seatbelt and reached forward to grab Parker.
"Jarod!" Parker yelled in warning, she glanced into her rear view mirror and satisfied that their tail was gone, slammed on the breaks, causing Jarod to fly into the seat in front of him with a rough grunt. "What do you want me to do Jarod? Drop you off at the next Corn Stacks R Us? This whole mess with Sydney and Broots, with your sister was created because your ass isn't where it's suppose to be. I see only one way out of this for everyone involved, and it requires your ass to be back on SL-whatever where it belongs.”
Seeing that Jarod was still winding from his nasty hit, she pulled out the pair of handcuffs she had thought she would never get the chance to us. Without giving Jarod a moment to resist she grabbed his right wrist and secured the other end of the bracelet around the head rest of the passenger side seat beside her.
Jarod caught his breath and pulled angrily on the handcuff. "I don't belong there!" he yelled. "No one belongs there. Let me go and I'll help you get Sydney and Broots out of there. I promise. Please, Miss Parker, don't do this to me." He kept tugging and pulling on the handcuffs, even knowing that it was futile and starting to cut into his wrists. But being helpless brought back too many bad memories for him to control his actions.
Surprised by Jarod's rare loss of control, Parker did the only thing she could, she sent a hard slap flying into the stunned pretender. "Jarod calm down." She ordered authoritatively.
Jarod sat back as far as he could, glaring at the back of Parker's head. He knew she was right, it was getting late and if they went much further they might not find anywhere to stay. He did not relish sleeping in the car. "There should be a motel about 10 miles away." he grudgingly told her.
Parker huffed in amusement. Shacking up with the lab rat, wouldn’t that be the day.
‘Dream on Jarod, dream on.’ She whispered to herself, enjoying the silence that had finally fallen in on the car.
1000 miles south of hell, here we come.