They’d been in the air for a while now and Sarah was really starting to worry about Chuck. He was on the floor just a few feet from her, still unconscious. They hadn’t even bothered to tie him up, which worried her even more. What had they given him? The large door across from her remained open and her hair whipped about her face, stinging occasionally across her cheeks as she tried to subtly keep track of their captors.
She looked around carefully, working to keep her face neutral with hints of concern for Chuck – which she didn’t have to feign and which they expected – as she worked her small blade against the ropes that bound her wrists. It had taken her far too long to work the tiny knife out of the cuff of her jacket and she inwardly cursed that she’d allowed herself to become rusty.
Then she remembered the reason she was rusty and closed her eyes as her daughter’s sweet baby face came to mind. Her chubby little hand raised as she sat on Ellie’s hip waving good bye to them. She never should have left her. It was supposed to be a quick easy job, just a look around that was all - nothing even remotely dangerous. Instead, it had been an ambush.
No time for regrets, she thought, just focus on getting her mommy and daddy back safe.
Casey was next to her, head down, stoic, concentrating. She knew he was working his bonds but she doubted breaking his thumbs would help this time. She felt a small give at her wrists and her heart gave a little kick but she showed no outward expression.
There were two burly guys standing nearby, engaged in a conversation she would never be able to hear over the rush of the wind. She watched as one of them looked back at Chuck, still an unmoving heap on the floor his jacket snapping in the wind. Is he breathing?
Another man stepped out of the cockpit and looked them over, his eyes cold. One of the guards looked over and hollered, “What should we do with this one?” He jabbed a thumb toward Chuck and the entirety of Sarah’s attention became focused on them. Beside her she felt Casey’s body tense for the first time.
“He’s probably not going to wake up,” the man said, dismissively, as if he were simply rejecting a cup of coffee. “Toss him out, two of them are enough.”
Her head snapped up and she looked directly at them for the first time since they’d been bound to the plane. “You do that and I will kill you,” she shouted, her voice like ice. They looked over at her and the largest of the three men laughed. Their leader didn’t even look at her but simply turned and went back to the front of the plane.
Sarah increased her pace with the knife, stabbing herself more than once, as she watched them maneuver toward her husband. They were large guys but Chuck was hardly insubstantial and it took them a few, lean moments to finagle him into position. Stall them!
“Last chance,” Sarah called. Her voice was still hard, professional, only someone who knew her well would’ve heard the desperation and fear leaking through. “Put him down – safe – or you die.”
The shorter of the two men turned and looked her directly in the eye; then, as one, they tossed Chuck out the door and she watched him disappear from sight.
Her heart stopped, everything in her went cold, and for the briefest of moments she was completely incapacitated. Then her hands started moving again as a countdown began in her head.
A moment later the ropes around her wrists gave way. The two men were still standing in front of the door, directly across from her, one of them looking out while he pantomimed Chuck’s free-fall and inevitable collision with the ground. She shook her hands free of the rope so it couldn’t hinder her momentum and then like a snake, she struck.
Her arms shot up and grabbed the bar above her head and she pulled her body up with a scream of rage. Both guards turned toward her in surprise, the sorter of the two having just enough time to register what was coming before Sarah planted her feet firmly in his chest. The force of the blow knocked him off his feet and out the open door.
“What the hell?” the second guard yelled and Sarah thought, he got off easy, as she struck him in the nose with the heel of her hand. As his hands came up to grab his face she kneed him hard in the groin doubling him over. Then she sank her fingers into his hair, taking hold as she slammed her knee into his face with a cry of anger and satisfaction. She shoved as she released him and he staggered back, teetered for a moment on the edge before losing his balance, eyes open in shock as he too disappeared from view.
She didn’t have time to enjoy the look on his face as he realized his fate; instead she yanked a parachute off the wall, hoped it had been packed properly, and started strapping herself into it.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Casey demanded, his first words since they’d been captured.
Sarah hurried over, grabbed her blade from where it had fallen and pressed it into his hand. “I’m gonna go get Chuck. You take care of things here.” She jerked her head toward the cockpit and then he watched as she threw herself out of the plane.