Mar 31

Page Ch. 06

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Notes [Initially released June 23, 2016, last revised October 23, 2016]:- All characters are the product of the authors’ imaginations and are over eighteen.
– This is a relatively short story/vignette, and we recommend reading the previous chapters, which may have been tweaked.
– Thanks to Skye4Life for proofreading this.
Blurry blackness and shadow surround me in this cold dreary place as I slowly become alert. A sense of despair and loneliness invades my waking mind between thunderous throbs of pain. Page? My left hand seems bound and immovable as I attempt to touch the source of my agony.

“Where am I?” I moan. “Page?”

No one answers and a damp gust of wind sends shivers through my entire body. “Who’s there? What do you want?”

There is still no reply. My eyes adjust slightly as the light introduces an excruciating jolt of pain into my head. The palm of my right hand is pressed against a cold roughly pebbled surface and I realize I’m lying on the parking lot pavement. My left arm and hand are trapped beneath someone who’s not moving; their weight effectively pinning me so that circulation is cut off causing my entire limb to be numb. Twisting and turning relieves some pressure and the tingling sensation of pins and needles begin as freshly oxygenated blood pumps feeling back into my fingers. Pushing against the heavy individual with my back, I work painfully to extricate myself from the situation.

Once free, I find my arm is limp and has no feeling of the sticky dark fluid I observe dripping from it. Sitting up slowly, I find I’m where I’d stopped running from one of our attackers beneath a light-pole. My Glock falls to the ground beneath where I’d been laying. The sound of it hitting the pavement seems distant but seeing it recalls a faint memory of pulling the trigger as I’d tilted it slightly upward while it was still in my jacket’s special left side gun pocket. In my stupor, I begin pondering whether I’d broken one or two of the cardinal concealed carry rules by firing it backward even though I’d been at point blank range. My attention is quickly distracted by the pain in my side which causes me to wince as the skin along my rib-cage feels like it’s on fire and the cold fingers of my right hand move instinctively to touch it gingerly. Firing it with the muzzle so close to my ribs might have been dumb, but it may also have saved my life.

Slowly my senses return to me and I rotate to find the huge body of my attacker. The man is dark haired, much heavier and taller than myself. His Goliath sized right hand holds a gun with what appears to be a silencer attached to the barrel. From his grip, I can’t tell if he hit me with the butt, the heavy looking silencer or if perhaps a bullet had glanced off my skull. Inspecting him closer, it’s clear he isn’t breathing and I realize that we’re both lying in his blood. His white dress shirt has a dark spot right about where I think his heart should be.

A sickening feeling comes over me and in a panic, I search for my phone in my inside breast jacket pocket. Pulling it out I dial 9-1-1 to report the shooting, but before the call completes, I see there are two squad cars entering the parking lot with their lights flashing and I simply hang up. Having no idea how long I was out, I place my phone on the ground beside the gun and stand up awkwardly with my hands in the air as they approach.

The officer in the first car exits and orders me, “Turn around, interlace your hands over your head and back toward me slowly.”

I step awkwardly backward to him and he places me in cuffs with my hands behind my back. The other cruiser stops across from us at a safe distance from the man on the ground. That officer steps from his vehicle with his sidearm drawn to slowly approach the motionless body. He sees the gun in my attacker’s hand and kicks it away from his loose fingers and then slowly bends to inspect him.

“We’ve got a fatality.”

Turning slightly to speak to the officer behind me, I say, “I’m a Congressman, this man attacked and injured me. I may have shot him in the scuffle, but have a carry permit for the Glock.”

“You want to make sure the ambulance is on its way?” he asks the other officer, who verifies that it is. “These cuffs are just a precaution, Congressman. Do you have your ID and permit on you?”

“They’re in my right back pocket; you can get them out.”

He takes it out and looks at my driver’s license with a flashlight. “Congressman Levik, I thought I recognized you but you’re growing a beard. What’s happened here?” he asks setting the wallet on the hood of his car.

“Look, we’ve got to get Page back,” I say. “We were initially attacked over by my car,” I continue, nodding my head in its direction. “Page, somehow knocked that assailant out, but we were being pursued and attacked by multiple parties. Someone’s taken Page!”


“They took her into a dark van, she was here when this guy started shooting. The other guy might still be over behind my car; she kicked him pretty hard after escort ataşehir he jumped us.”

“We’ve got an abduction here,” he yells over to the other officer, then continues with me. “Who’s missing; can you give us a description?”

“Page Levik, she’s about five-two, a hundred and ten pounds with auburn hair. We’d just been shopping in the mall.”

“And the van?”

“It all happened so fast, it was dark, maybe black. I remember the front windows were tinted and the side doors were windowless. I’m pretty sure that guy hit it with several rounds as it sped away. It felt like we were in the middle of a fire fight between two different forces.”

The officer behind me spoke into the radio mike attached near his shoulder, “I need an APB on a black panel van in the vicinity of Franconia and Frontier. We have a Caucasian female abduction victim, five foot two, one hundred ten pounds and auburn hair. Loop the FBI in; it’s Congressman Levik’s wife.”

I didn’t correct him, I hadn’t stated the nature of our relationship. The information package from my concealed carry class had been very explicit about how much to say without a lawyer. I’m feeling like I may have already given them too much and correcting them, at this point, might confuse or delay getting her back. Getting the FBI involved should make recovering her quicker and made some sense, since we’re right next to DC and I am still an acting Representative, at least for the next few days.

“You shot the man over there?”

“I’m not entirely sure, but I think I did. He knocked me unconscious from behind for a time. I think he shot or hit me on the head with his gun at the same instant that I fired.”

The other officer retrieves the ID from the man on the ground and calls it in along with a request for a homicide unit. The two officers huddle to converse for several minutes. I lean against the warm hood of the squad car as my legs begin to feel weak. A call comes back over the radio, but I can’t quite make out what is being said. There are some surprised looks on their faces as they turn back to me.

“You’ve killed a Russian national here,” the second officer says at last.

“He’s not a diplomat, is he?” I ask, as I imagine an international incident unfolding.

“Nope, he’s been on a couple of different watch lists. Where are you injured?”

“My side is burning, my head is pounding and these cuffs aren’t helping.”

“Here, let’s get those off,” the first officer says returning to me. He removes the cuffs, inspects my head and concludes, “I think you need to go to the emergency room; that looks like a glancing shot.”

“No, that can wait, I need to stay and find out what is being done about Page,” I say with my desperation increasing. “I’ve got to get her back.”

“We’re involving the FBI, but you need medical attention now. I think I hear the ambulance coming,” he says returning my wallet. “We’re going to do everything we can to get her back safely.”

The ambulance enters the parking lot and I watch it as if in slow motion. The fact that I’ve taken a life begins sinking in on me. The nature of the person that is dead doesn’t help one bit. It’s almost exactly what the guy teaching the concealed carry class had said, You’ll be glad you’re alive, but – My vision seems blurry and I feel dizzy.

“Congressman – Sir – are you okay? Let’s get you inside.”

Numbly, I feel them holding me under my arms as they aid me into the ambulance. Inside I glaze over from the flurry of activity and I linger on the edge of consciousness as I think, Maybe this is what dying feels like. They remove my coat and shirt to inspect my side and begin cleaning my head. Then they attach all manner and variety of sensors to me to gather vitals. I can’t say how long the whole bumping trip lasts as I slip in and out of awareness.

I awake in a medical facility where I discover I’ve had a CT scan and an MRI. They are telling me the scans don’t show any visible brain trauma (bruising or bleeding). I feel my head where I’ve gotten some stitches while I was out and they give me some pain medications. Right after they go over the things to watch for with a concussion, they clear me to leave with my FBI escort.

I’m mostly silent in the car ride as I’m in a fog and have been since awaking from the abduction. I’ve never been knocked unconscious or even had to be in a hospital. The agent in the car is my height, but considerably bulkier.

As we approach my condo I ask him, “Do you know if there has been any information about Page?”

“No, sir. They’re still searching for the van.”

“Really, no leads?” I ask disbelievingly. “That mall has cameras all over the place.”

“Yes sir and your version of things was verified almost immediately. The manager of the clothing store is the one that called the police; he saw nearly everything from the door as he was about to close up early for the evening. He provided us access to the stores video and he kept repeating how your wife had just bought a very expensive kadıköy escort bayan dress. I guess you two made an impression on him since you’d been his only customers in hours and he hoped you were both okay.”

“I thought he recognized me or something. I guess I have someone else to thank tonight.”

“In any case, none of the various angles showed a plate number from the van and now it’s like the thing has simply disappeared.”

“What about the other guy?”

“The first attacker that the woman, sorry – your wife, took down, got away on foot.”

“He came out of nowhere and then Page -“

“She really did a number on him, he didn’t get up for several minutes. I’d want her on my side in any fight; it was quite expertly done.”

“It sounds like you’ve actually seen the video and spoken with the manager?” I asked hoping I might see her again.

“Yes, sir, I arrived on scene shortly after they looped us in, a congressman’s wife being abducted is serious business.”

“I miss her already, do you have a copy of the video?”

“No sir,” he says and parks in front of my condo. Turning to me he continues, “Okay, this is the hard part; you’ll likely be getting your gun back shortly, but that won’t do much good tonight. Do you have protection inside?”

“Yes, I have another gun in the condo.”

“Alright, let’s do this.”

I don’t really follow what he’s getting at but when I get out of the car, he joins me and walks with me up to the door of my place. I unlock the door and he holds out his hand to keep me back while motioning for me to stay here while he checks it out for me. It doesn’t feel like ordinary treatment, but I’ve never been in a situation like this.

“It looks all clear, Congressman Levik,” he says as he reappears at the door.

“Thanks for doing all this,” I reply as I shuffle inside.

As he exits the door, he says, “Look I’ll be staying outside tonight.”

“You’ve already been on this a while; are they going to give you some relief?”

“I volunteered to stay on this one. My partner will be joining us in the morning, but that might be the end of protection for you since there is no evidence that these people were after you.”

“You guys think they just wanted Page?”

“We don’t know yet; they may want a ransom or to negotiate for something.”

“There’s a tap on my phone; isn’t there?” I ask.

“In case there’s a ransom call, sir.”

“Okay, well thanks for everything. If you need coffee later feel free to knock, I’m probably going to be up all night worrying.”

When I close the door, I feel exhausted. My clothes are a ruin and I decide to get clean in the shower. I strip off everything, put my wallet and keys on my bureau and dump the clothes in the trash. My new watch is mostly clean, but since it’s waterproof and I want to wash any remaining blood off of it, I wear it into the shower. I wash tenderly around the bandaged, burned area of my side and wash my hair gingerly avoiding the stitches.

When I get out, I dry off and quickly decide I should take the precaution of getting the other gun. After dressing in some sweat pants, a tee-shirt and slippers, I retrieve the case from under the bed, open it, take out the Glock and press one of the clips in until it clicks. In my closet I retrieve the old shoulder holster I’d used before I’d gotten my customized jacket. I fleetingly think that the jacket will probably remain in evidence with my gun for a time. I don’t know why these odd thoughts keep popping into my head, the jacket is almost certainly ruined too, with a bullet hole and blood, so I didn’t want it back.

Slinging the holster over my right shoulder to avoid contacting the burned area. I pull on the sweat jacket covering it as a chill runs over me from the memory of squeezing the trigger several hours ago. Momentarily hesitation has me contemplating my readiness to use it again and I nearly put it back in the case, but decide I have to be prepared and zip up my jacket.

My mind wanders back to Page and I know I need to call Mom to tell her what has happened. It’s a call I can’t imagine I was ever going to make, but I feel responsible for her and it’s eating at me. Realizing that the police must have my cellphone, my gun and my jacket, I retrieve our backup phone from my duffel bag. I’m suddenly very glad she’d suggested we get the spare. I will her back safe with me as I punch in the numbers to Mom’s cell. She picks up on the first ring.

“Mom, it’s me -“

She cuts me off almost instantly, “I’ve been expecting your call,” she says curtly.

“I need to tell you something important about Page.”

“It’s already being taken care of, sweetie. Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”

I can’t get my thoughts straight for a moment as her words toss my mind through a loop, “Taken care of?”

“This is quite a monkey wrench you two have thrown into the works. Don’t say anymore on the phone and refrain from talking about it in your condo. We can discuss it fully when escort bostancı I get there. Answer me, are you okay?”

“I’m worrying to death about Page, but I’ve got no permanent physical damage.”

“Everything will be okay, I assure you. Stop worrying for now. I’m driving there as fast as I can.”

“You are?”

“I’ll be there in just over an hour,” she says and hangs up.

I can’t seem to keep up with the insanity that is occurring in my life so I decide that I should have a drink and veg out on my sofa in the family room. I go to the bar and mix myself a gin and tonic. A fleeting thought of popping out for a smoke runs through my head, but I decide against it and head to the family room. Flopping down, I click on the TV just in time for the ten o’clock news. As soon as it’s on, the true depth of my trouble begins crushing in upon me.

“Well, this is nothing if not predictable,” I say aloud in dismay as I flip through channels.

“In other news tonight, local Representative Levik shot and killed an attacker in the parking lot of -“


“- the former Congressman claimed not to know his attacker -“

I haven’t spoken to any press, so I don’t know where they got that. I’m not really former yet – well a handful of days – I guess I am.


“- the FBI has stepped up efforts to find the Congressman’s wife, Page -“

Wife? This is going to get out of hand quickly. I wonder if anyone noticed.


“- officials are not releasing any details on the deceased, claiming national security -“

I turn it off and worry about Page. The sadness in her face as she was abducted pained me more than the lump on my head. But I’m not supposed to worry because Mom ‘says so’, which seems so middle school. I’m about to blow a gasket with being kept in the dark regarding everything that is going on around me. Looking at my glass, I swirl the liquid around so the ice cubes clink the glass and then drink it all down in a series of gulps.

Before I can get fully angry and start throwing things or even consider getting another drink, I realize the mistake I’ve just made by mixing alcohol with my pain medication. Nothing in the room looks right and my head is spinning. I lay my head back and close my eyes for what feels like a few minutes only to awake to the ringing of my house phone. I pick the handset up out of the base thinking I need to be careful what I say.


“Oh man, I’m glad I got a hold of you. It’s all over the news up here. What’s this about your wife?”

“Hey, Gary. It’s – um – complicated, there’s a tap on this line since I may be waiting for a ransom call.”

“Are you alright, I heard you were hospitalized?”

“I was checked out at a medical facility. You know how the media is,” I say, dismissing the fact that I’m injured without telling him.

“Look, Xiao and I were on our way back through JFK. We’re going to be in DC around midnight. Is there anything we can do? I mean anything!? Like if there’s a ransom to be paid or -“

“Let’s see what happens. I don’t know anything yet. Mom is on her way here now.”

“Look if you get a ransom call, you phone me. And seriously, dude, leave me a message if I don’t pick up, okay?”

“Okay, I will and thanks.”

“Just looking out for my best friend. Bye.”

Just moments after hanging up I hear a knocking sound coming from the front door, followed shortly by the doorbell. Thinking it might be the agent or Page, I rush dizzily to the door and open it.

“Sir, this woman claims she knows you,” Agent Jonson says.

“Yeah, she can come in,” I say, as I look at Natalie.

The agent returns down the sidewalk towards his vehicle to continue his unofficial watch. Holding the door for her she scoots inside and I close it. I’m pretty surprised to see her, I wasn’t expecting this at all.

“Oh my God, Ryan. Are you okay?” she asks hugging me.

“Ouch, fuck! My left side is sore. What are you doing here?” I ask.

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t know…” she rambles on.

I’m confused by her being here; it should have been Page. I don’t really want her here and I’m still not fully over having a near fit of rage or my mixing of medication and alcohol, so I’m barely listening to Natalie but I realize I am focusing on her facial expression. It doesn’t seem as concerned as she claims and the whole encounter sets me further on edge.

“I heard about your attack and I had to come over,” she says releasing me and inspecting me closely. “I heard that you were knocked out; are you alright?”

“It’s still pretty sore too,” I say lightly touching the back of my head and bending down wobbly.

“Let me see,” she says, as she moves to inspect my head placing one hand under my beardy chin steadying me and the other probing the knot on my head gently. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“I’ve just gotten home and we didn’t really end things on that kind of note,” I respond flatly as she places a soft kiss on the bump. “Why are you here?” I ask suddenly becoming even more suspicious of her motives.

She stops and her hand lifts my head back up softly. I guess it isn’t the kind of response she was expecting. Her eyes look hurt and slightly confused. The dimples in her chin deepen as she forms a response.

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