It’s Basically a Fort

The van pulled to a stop in the rest area. The rest area was a simple one. It was a long hump shaped stretch of grass that had been carved out of a field by the side of the interstate. It had a fairly large parking lot, a few trees and picnic tables, and two buildings. One of the buildings was a little hut that housed overpriced vending machines protected by steel cages, the other was the restroom. They were exactly as Jessie had described, a squat, small, square concrete building that housed a men’s restroom on one side and a women’s on the other.

Their vehicle wasn’t the only car around, but it wasn’t exactly crowded. A woman was walking her dog around the small area reserved for pets, an overweight man was at the vending machines, and a group of young people were either just arriving or just leaving.

The bounty hunter turned back toward her, he was holding the same spell thrower he’d used the previous night. “OK, here’s how this is going to go. First, I’ve got this set for ‘nighty night’. I’m to treat you well, but since the spell on it will put you to sleep without any risk, I’ll shoot you the first twitch you make out of line. Got it?”

She nodded.

“Good.” He trained the spell thrower on her. “Don’t move.”

The other bounty hunter let himself out of the car, walked around, and opened the door from the outside. Jessie hadn’t really noticed it earlier, but she realized the handle on the inside had been taken apart and rendered non-functional. All that had been left was a small hole showing a few bits of white plastic. That was certainly one way to keep the prisoners in the van.

Once the door was opened, the quieter of the two bounty hunters instructed her to “turn around and put her arms out with the back of her wrists together.” She did so, and he slipped a plastic thing around her hands. Jessie had always thought the police used zip ties as emergency restraints, but what he put on her was more complex. It was a double loop with a big hard plastic thing in the center. The plastic bands were nearly a half an inch wide and, when the bounty hunter tugged tight, she couldn’t move her wrists more than a few degrees. That movement wasn’t in a direction that would particularly stress the ties. Perhaps some people knew how to get out of those restraints, but Jessie wasn’t one of them.

“I can’t clean up like this!”

“Make do.” The bounty hunter didn’t elaborate on how she should handle other any physical needs. Jessie wondered what the plan for a bathroom stop would be and if she should wait to try and escape then. The cuffs weren’t great for her plans. She decided to try anyway. The bounty hunters probably knew how to handle a bathroom stop. They didn’t seem like amateurs.

The bounty hunter who had put the cuffs on her draped a long coat over her shoulders. It smelled slightly of some masculine collection of spices, a rather nice blend, actually. Jessie thought the coat was probably his. It hid the cuffs. No one would know she was in any sort of trouble unless she yelled. If she did that she’d get spelled.

The quiet bounty hunter helped her out of the van. It was surprisingly hard to maneuver with her hands tied. The talkative bounty hunter moved to her left side. The quiet one took her right, and put his hand on her back in a way that probably looked friendly. Talkative gave her a little space, but not much. He held his spell thrower in front of him, hiding it from the other people at the rest stop through a combination of his body and their indifference.

The car of young people pulled away. The lady stopped walking as her dog started to squat. Jessie couldn’t see the man who’d been getting junk food. She looked at the parking lot, there were two cars in it in addition to the van.

“Keep your eyes forward,” talkative instructed her. His tone was calm, and he seemed more relaxed now that their little rest break was fully underway.

They reached the bathroom. The quiet bounty hunter let go of her and hammered on the door, “Janitorial!” There was no answer for a moment. He hammered a second time, hard enough to set the door rattling and called loudly, “Janitorial!” There was still no answer.

He stepped inside and looked around even though most of the room was visible through the door. Jessie wondered if they really were worried she’d somehow escape through the pipes. After a moment’s inspection he stepped outside and nodded at his partner. “OK, do your business.”

Jessie stepped into the room and let the spring loaded door fall shut behind her. She couldn’t have prevented that had she wanted to. She breathed a sigh of relief, in part because everything was going according to plan and in part because she was going to get to clean up.

She crossed to the sink and mopped her clothes and hair free of vomit. It wasn’t easy with her hands bound, but she managed to get most of it. There would be a few small smudges on her clothes, but the smell was gone. She drank a little water from the tap to clear her mouth.

Thus relieved, she walked over and locked the door turning the bathroom into a fortress.

Jessie Captured
Help Arrives

For some reason I cannot adequately explain, even to myself, I'm trying to write and to write better. So if you like my story let me know. All feedback is appreciated.

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12 comments on “It’s Basically a Fort
  1. Thaumaturgical_Support says:

    So did the tension here work? I kind of wanted people to be thinking, “How can Jessie possibly get one over on these guys? They’re so prepared.” In retrospect, I would have liked to foreshadow that a little more heavily and a little further out. The problem is, it’s not a long scene. Maybe I should have opened yesterday’s update with something really blunt, “A plan came to her almost instantly.”

    • Rai says:

      Naw, I’d avoid being that blunt. I liked having it as a bit of a surprise how she actually had a follow-up to her seeming attempts to buy time.

      • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

        I compromised, I made it a little bit more blunt about halfway down the section. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. DeNarr says:

    [The quite bounty hunter helped her out of the van.]

    [The quite bounty hunter let go of her and hammered on the door, “Janitorial!”]


    [She crossed to the sink and mopped her cloths and hair free of vomit.]

    [There would be a few small smudges on her cloths, but the smell was gone.]

    cloths = clothes

  3. KnightOwl says:

    protected by steel changes, the other was the restroom

    changes = cages
    restroom = restrooms

    that housed men’s restrooms on one side and women’s on the other.

    ‘housed a men’s restroom’
    ‘and a women’s on’

    They weren’t the

    Probably should change to ‘Their vehicle wasn’t’

    The bounty hunter turned back toward her

    Which bounty hunter is speaking?

    I’m to treat you well, but the spell on it will put you to sleep without any risk, so I’ll shoot you the first twitch you make out of line

    Might want to change to ‘since the spell will put’ and ‘risk, I’ll shoot’

    That was one way to keep the prisoners in the van

    Maybe change to ‘was certainly one way to keep prisoners inside’

    Jessie wondered what the plan for a bathroom stop would be

    Maybe change to ‘Jessie had wondered’

    The cuffs weren’t great

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to tell the reader here

    on her wrapped a long

    Probably might want to change to ‘ her draped (or hung) a long’

    The quite one took her

    quite = quiet

    Talkative gave her a little space
    talkative instructed her

    Personally, I’d insert internal dialog earlier in the chapter where she gives the two nicknames like (Mr.) Talkative (or (Mr.) Talky/Chatty) and (Mr.) Quiet

    • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

      Thanks so much, you’ve got really sharp eyes.

      It’s too late now, but the bounty hunters need to fargin’ introduce themselves in “More Exciting Than Falling Over A Chair.” It’s not practical. They’re there to kick butt and drag a dude away, but for the sake of the story I’m going to go back and put that in when I compile this into a single volume. For now, I’m leaving them literally nameless ciphers because we’re fairly near the end of book one and interchangeable mooks will serve. I try not to complain about my own writing, but yeah, that decision is a frustrating one.

      • irrevenant says:

        Couple of ways around that:

        1. If you just need to tell them apart you can give them physical distinctiveness rather than names. They can be “blonde” and “not blonde”, “scar” and “No scar”, “blue eyes” and “red eyes” or whatever.

        2. If you actually need full-on names well: Police have to identify themselves before they arrest someone and wear unique identifying badges. Why shouldn’t authorised bounty hunters? They may even wear ID with their names on it.

        An in-between option is if they had some sort of badge number that Kyle looked up once he saw them lurking around again.

        • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

          I like the idea of Kyle giving them some sort of slightly insulting nicknames the best. I just didn’t do it when I wrote the first section with them and it was too late by the time I reached this point. For the rewrite…

  4. irrevenant says:

    Typo: “Their vehicle wasn’t only car around”. Wasn’t *the* only…

    BTW, I notice there are a couple of errors you keep making: clothes/cloths, breaks/brakes, adding apostrophes to words that don’t need them. It might help to practice those specific weak spots?

    • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

      Thanks for these corrections. I still haven’t gotten to the last day or two. You’re reading faster I think! 😉

      As to repeated errors; yeah, I’m actually a fairly abismal speller. Once I realize I’m doing something I can stop, but I’ve got a lot of bad habbits I’m still working on.

  5. Warren Peace says:

    Wait, aren’t her hands tied behind her? That’s how a coat draped over her shoulders can hide them. And if so, how can she manage to accomplish anything like that?

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