Chapter 17

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You came. Those two words repeated in her head. It was her own decision she came, which she was certain now was a dreadful mistake.

Just moments before, she was sure that the voice was coming from the man in the cloak, but as her ears adjusted, she came to realize that was not the truth. An even wider grin sprung upon the man's face before she heard long, strong footsteps speeding towards her from behind. Instincts caused her to spin around. She screamed as Tony snatched her shoulders and whipped her around. He tightened his grip with one arm just under her neck and the other around her waist, securing her body and arms.

"Let me go!" She squealed. Tears dripped vigorously.

Tyler flinched as he heard her scream faintly. He had no sight of Rose or the two men, so he couldn't recognize if it was a hallucination or not. Rose told me she was just going to meet someone. It's going to be alright. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths.

"Shut up!" He warned her, cuffing his hand over her mouth. She squiggled, but was no match for his brute strength. "Pace, cover her up."

Rosemary squirmed helplessly as Pace shoved a bag over her head and body. She screamed, but could tell the sound tracked almost nowhere and consequences would be made if she didn't remain silent. Hands gripped around her and carried her into the trunk of a beat-up Chevrolet.

They sped off and barely caught Tyler's gaze from the rear-view mirror. Something sick formed in his gut, but he forced himself to ignore it. It wasn't until driving up to the closed Mugg's that he knew he couldn't ignore it. Rose was gone. His heart instantly started pumping out of his chest. Tears of fear, frustration, and sadness wallowed down his cheeks.

Tyler raced down the path he saw the Chevrolet take, noticing a glimpse of it when turning the corner. Much above the speed limit, he followed until he was close enough to track behind them, yet not be seen.

"What are we gonna do with her?" Pace questioned as he drove.

"That depends. We'll see how much she's willing to talk." Tony took a large sip of the vodka inside his water bottle. "And if not," He pulled out the handgun from under the seat and twirled it in his hand. "we've got some desperate measures."

They both smirked as they turned down a deserted path. Tyler waited about thirty seconds before doing the same. The road was bumpy, with fallen trees and branches scattered across the forest road. Finally, he heard them stop. He parked and walked through the trees to see the commotion while keeping anonymous.

Pace was holding a rather bright flashlight while Tony opened the trunk, pulling Rose out onto the dirt. She gasped for air as he finally pulled her out of the slip.

They didn't bother roping her up; instead, Tony gave her a stern warning. "Don't even try running. You'll die in these woods, and if not, you'll die in my hands." He held up the gun and went to stand beside Pace.

Rosemary gulped and stayed in place as Pace struck the flashlight directly in her eyes. She squinted as he came closer. "Tell us what you know." Tony seemed to think this was ordinary, which she assumed was. He opened the passenger door and grabbed the half-empty vodka, chugging it.

"What I know about what?!"

He stepped even closer and got into her face. "Don't even try it." His breath reeked of alcohol as well.

"A-all I know is Tony was stea-stealing stuff from my house. But that's it; I promise. I haven't told a soul." She whimpered.

Anger burned in his face. He turned to Tony and nodded. He started pulling the gun out of his pocket. "Are you sure about that?" Her brother threatened with the gun pointed to her head. "Nothing abo-"

All of a sudden, it stopped. A huge clank exploded through the air as Tony fell to the ground along with the gun. Standing over him was Tyler. A spark of hope set in her heart. Rose reached to grab the firearm, but stumbled when Pace picked it up first. Tyler kicked him down from behind, yet he used an ounce of energy to push the missile over to his sidekick.

Both Pace and Tony stood up at once. "Look who's in minority now." Tony held up the gun. They knew they weren't going to get out of there. Tyler took a leap towards Tony and the firearm set off.

"NO!" Rose screeched when his body slammed to the ground. "Tyler! Talk to me. Talk to me!" She kept shaking his body. The two fugitives took off, leaving her stranded. A bloody wound was shot through his shoulder. Rose tore a piece of her shirt off to create a bandage. "This is all my fault. It's my fault." She constantly reminded herself. His head slowly moved a little, causing her heart to jump, but came to a stop. "Tyler! Wake up! Please, I can't lose you."

After a minute of CPR, he started coming to. Once he could put in some of his own breaths, she finally contacted the authorities.

"9-1-1 what's your emergency?"

"My-," she didn't know what to consider Tyler. "My friend got shot in the shoulder by my brother. I did CPR on him, but he's still bleeding a lot!" She sobbed at the subject.

"Where are you? Can you give me directions?"

"No. He locked me in his trunk on the way here. I have no idea where I am. It's some sort of forest."

"I'm going to need you to go up to the main road to see if you can recognize anything. Can you do that?"

Rose stared down at Tyler whose eyes were fluttering now and stepped up to her feet. She could hear a quiet whisper, "I don't want you to go."

"I have to, but Tyler, no matter where I go, my heart will be with you, always. Everything's gonna be alright." Rose knelt down again. She gently brushed the hair out of his face and kissed him softly on the cheek. She could sense the fear trembling from his body. It took all her might to force herself to walk away from him.

"I-I think I can do that," she responded to the woman on the other line. Close by she could see Tyler's car, which was partially hidden into the trees. Not long after, she reached the main road. It was very dark, but she used the flashlight from her phone to provide some light. The area looked vaguely familiar and she assumed Mugg's was down farther to the left. Once she passed the information onto the operator, she wanted nothing more than to sprint back to Tyler, though she needed to stay for the ambulance to locate them. Within ten minutes, the blinking lights neared her. She waved her arms until the vehicle turned into the woods.

Rose's heart shattered as they lifted him onto the stretcher. What if he dies because of me?

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