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CHAPTER 11

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Sarah waited a solid minute after Wolf left the cabin. At any second, she half expected him to poke his head in the door in an attempt to catch her in the act of trying to escape. Once it became clear she had nothing to fear, she took a deep, calming breath and set her sights on getting free. Knowing her hands were bound with a zip tie gave her hope. A zip tie was made of strong plastic, but plastic nonetheless. That meant it could be broken or sawed through. The only problem with her line of thought, there was nothing in the cabin to use as a knife. There was nothing that she could lay her eyes on anyway. No tools or silverware of any kind, absolutely nothing.

To her left, a plush couch with beige cushions occupied the space under the windows. Wolf's swivel chair was attached to the floor next to a sink underset with a stainless steel cabinet. A trash can stood near the door. And then there was her reclining chair. Her options were few, but she had to get started as soon as possible.

Behind her back, she felt the strap grazing against the inside of her wrists, the one that looped over the zip tie and ran between her arms. The mystery strap was secured to the chair behind her. But she had Wolf pegged the moment she heard the unleashing of leather from his blue jeans. He wasn't wearing a belt anymore.

With her wrists, Sarah applied pressure against the zip tie, attempting to stretch the plastic and test its elasticity. She got nowhere with her efforts, but driven by frustration and a raw edge of determination, she tried even harder until the edge of the tie cut into her skin, wetting her bonds with a warm liquid. She was not superhuman. She bled the same as the next person.

Her next option was the cabinet beneath the sink.

Sarah slid down in her chair, careful not to bend her arms too far behind her back. She was not double jointed, but she was resilient. She stretched to reach the doors with her feet. Unfortunately, the tip of her toe could only paw at the inset handle, unable to get a grip in order to open the cabinet.

Desperate and not willing to give up, Sarah scooted up in the chair, ready to try again, but then, outside the windows the train slowed to a crawl and came to a stop. The city was gone. Mountains dominated the landscape, thick with spruce trees. She shook her head, still clueless as to where they were.

Sarah turned to the belt, testing it for weaknesses. It was tight but not immovable. Albeit difficult considering the position of her hands, she bent her wrists and gripped the leather with her fingers, barely able to use her thumbs. Sarah closed her eyes doing her best to visualize what she was doing with her mind. She tugged on the belt, feeding it, feeling it slide over the zip tie, moving it around the back of the chair.

She moved her fingers further down the leather, which was now slick with her blood, and continued, inch by inch, rotating the belt around the chair until it snagged on something. She pulled but got no progress. In response to this new obstacle, her breathing became labored. Her heart pattered against her chest. She assumed that the buckle had been caught in the bend of the chair.

Sarah groaned, sweat beading on her forehead from her heavy breaths and intense laboring. She couldn't help but talk to herself as she strained against her bonds. Each utterance burned hotter on her tongue as she ripped at the leather with what little leverage she could gain.

Then the fabric of the recliner gave way and tore as the buckle rounded the corner. With the perspiration on her forehead trickling down her temples and running over her brows into her eyes, Sarah reeled the belt through her fingers until she came across an outline of cold metal.

The buckle.

Her eyes burned with sweat as her fingers pulled the end of the belt from the loop.

Sarah frowned and grunted, and rose from the chair with an exasperated sigh. She was free, save for the zip tie.

Now with a sense of freedom, she backed up against the cabinet beneath the sink, squatted, and fingered open the door.

It was empty.

Geez.

Then her eyes fell on the cabin door. The handle curved at the end.

With renewed hope, Sarah went in reverse again, bumping her backside against the cold metal of the door, hooking the tie over the handle and using her body weight to apply pressure on the plastic. The thin zip tie sliced deeper into her skin, but didn't budge. It didn't matter at this point. She was determined and would not be denied. She kept forging on, snarling, flexing her wrists until...the tie snapped. The old Sarah would've never tried to escape like this. She was weak then, but not anymore.

A glance around the cabin revealed blood everywhere, smeared along the floor, the cabinet handles, the recliner, and the main door. Sarah drummed her fingers on her soiled blue jeans. There was nothing clean about her getaway.

Hmmm. She shrugged. Oh. The sink.

She bee-lined it, turned the cold knob, the water running over her wounds, blurring with crimson before disappearing down the drain. She dabbed paper towels from a dispenser on the leaky cuts, soaking up as much blood as possible.

Once she had staunched the flow for the time being, she turned her attention to the windows, and then to the door. If she chose the easy way, she'd risk bumping into Wolf on the way out. She shook her head, eyeing the mountains outside the train.

What would be heavy enough to break through the glass? It didn't take long to find a viable option. Sarah picked up the recliner and hoisted it above her head—and hurled it into the window—shattering the pane much easier than anticipated.

What? Really? She stared with an unusual lack of emotion. Her hands fell to her side, trickling blood, her head tilting to the side, gawking at a solid black wall behind the window...and wires, sparking zaps of electricity.

A metallic click sounded behind her.

Wolf stood in the doorway.

With a grunt, he tossed a covered plate of scrambled eggs, sausage links, and toast into the garbage can. Then he aimed the dart gun at Sarah.

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by Eric Dabbs
@ericdabbs
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