Words for Wednesday is a weekly writing prompt designed to get creative juices flowing. It's been around for quite a while now and we are always glad to see people join us. You can use the weekly prompts any way you like. Use all some or none of the words. The idea is just to become inspired to write...anything...poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, sci-fi or fantasy. Why not give it a try? This month, Delores is hosting the words, and they can be found (here).Sara sat on the edge of her bed, shaking with fear, her hands tied behind her back and the hood still over her head. She couldn't see what was happening in the other room, but she could hear it and it terrified her. She didn't know the men who had grabbed her, but she suspected they were from the family that Quigley had taken the money from. She knew what they had done to him, trying to find their money, and there was no telling what they would do to her know that they knew she had it.
She also didn't know why they had run out of the room and if it had something to do with the kitchen timer going off (although she couldn't remember setting it for anything), and who they were fighting now. The list was probably endless considering how many people Quigley had probably cheated in his lifetime, and the amount of money he had taken in his last grift. If word had gotten out how much he had taken, there would be more than just the Shulaya Clan looking for her.
The silence was scaring Sara even more than the men had. She struggled to free her hands so she could pull the hood off her head. When she was almost free, she heard someone come back into the bedroom, breathing heavily.
When the kitchen timer had gone off, David had braced himself in the doorframe of the pantry. He had no idea how many men were in the room with Sara. He raised his handgun to aim and took a deep breath.
Four large men rushed into the kitchen with guns. David was able to shoot two of them in their shoulders before the other two knew where he was and he ducked down as they began firing wildly at him. Rolling out of the pantry and behind the kitchen island, he shot one of the men in the knee before the other jumped on him from behind. Just at that moment, half a dozen heavily armed and protected SWAT police charged into the room and quickly took control of the situation. They were followed by three FBI agents who helped David to his feet.
"Are you alright, Agent James?" Without answering, David turned and rushed into the bedroom to check on Sara.
Hours later, Sara was curled up in a chair on David's deck with a glass of wine, wearing a handmade alpaca wool sweater she had ordered from Bespoke Clothiers the previous winter. The weather was just beginning to feel like early fall, but she hadn't been able to stop shaking. She watched the moon begin to set as daylight began to chase the stars from the sky.
Seeayetee purred in her lap, and Rachel was sleeping just a few feet away in a hammock, covered by her favorite quilt. David had brought her down there to rest after she had answered all of the FBI's questions. Her condo was in shambles, the front door had broken off the hinges when the men had forced their way into the unit, and the sliding glass door had been shattered by stray bullets when the men were firing on David. Blood from the men David had shot was soaked into the carpet and some of the furniture. It would be days before the FBI unsealed it as a crime scene.
David stepped out onto the deck and sat down in the chair next to Sara.
"I know you must be tired of answering questions, and that you probably have some of your own to ask."
Sara nodded silently but said nothing.
"I also know that it took a lot for you to let down your fences and trust me with the things you told me."
"Am I going to prison?"
"No, you aren't. We've been watching you since you first met Quigley and know that you had nothing to do with the grift. He was actually working with us as an informant to get information on the Shulaya Clan. But we weren't aware that he was also had his own agenda to steal from them. Once they murdered him, we knew they would eventually come after you, we just had to wait patiently for them to find you."
"Oh, so you just let them put up a Wanted: Dead or Alive poster with my picture on it and left me alone for them to find?"
David was silent for a moment. He knew she was hurt and angry, and that she had every right to be.
"You were never alone, Sara. We had people watching you for the past six years. We couldn't do anything until they made their move because we needed to make sure we got all of them. We've been building a case, rather, several cases against them the whole time. You were never in any danger."
"Oh, right. Like getting the crap beat out of me was all fun and games?"
David reached out to take her hand and Sara jerked it away from him. She was exhausted, emotionally drained and just wanted to be in her own bed. She arched her back to stretch it and wished she had the ergonomic chair pillow from the office. It was hard for her to feel anything other than unbridled anger and pain at the moment, but she knew she had a lot to be grateful for.
"We oversaw the installation of your security system, Sara, and when the wires were spliced by the men smashing the panel, the FBI got an alert that something was wrong. But you can actually thank Seeayetee for getting me here before them. If he hadn't shown up on the balcony when he did, I wouldn't have gotten to your condo in time to draw them away from you before SWAT and the other agents arrived."
"So what now? When can I get my things out of the condo so I can move back to Ventura? I'm sure the government is going to seize the condo and all the money, and I'm really actually relieved about that part. I just want to be able to get my life back again. So what is your real name Mr. David James? Is Rachel one of your undercover agents also? Is that her real name?"
David bent his head and took a deep breath.
"It is my real name, but I'm not the same David James that founded the advertising agency. His last name isn't actually even James. It was just a fortuitous opportunity for us to take advantage of the merger when we realized that the Clan was moving closer to finding you. Rachel is actually my niece, and everything I told you about her is true. When they asked me to take part in this operation, I did so under the condition that she be a part of my cover story so that her life would not have to be disrupted again. See, both my sister and brother-in-law were in the agency as well. They died in the line of duty during an undercover sting. Rachel didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to them."
"So not only are you okay with putting my life in jeopardy, but also hers? Wow. What an awesome uncle you must be."
"Sara, you can wallow in your anger all you want, but understand something. We did everything we possibly could to make sure you were kept safe, and we couldn't risk derailing the entire operation. I kept Rachel close to me because I knew that I would be able to keep her safe. If my cover had been blown at all, her life would have been at risk whether she was with me or not. I wasn't going to have her go through all the fear and pain again. It was weeks of not knowing what had happened to her parents before she was even told they had died."
A tear ran down Sara's cheek, and David reached over to wipe it away. This time she didn't jerk away from him.
"If you want to have me stoned for caring about what happens to her ... what happens to you ... then I will hand you the first stone to throw."
Sara shook her head no. "So what will happen to me?"
"Well, you will have to testify to what you know about Quigley and the grift in Federal Court."
"In front of the Clan?!?! They will kill me!"
"No. A Federal judge has agreed to accept videotaped testimony from you with your identity and voice disguised. You will be put into the Witness Protection Program, relocated to a safe place, and given the chance to have your life back."
"But I won't ever see you or Rachel again, will I?"
"Probably not. I can't risk her becoming a pawn to find you."
"Do you really think they will come after me?"
"It isn't likely, but we'd rather be safe than sorry. I think the Clan knows that Quigley was acting alone and that he alone was the informant on their activities. They just wanted to get to you to get their money back. It was a lot of money that he took from them. You didn't see any of their faces and were never a part of any of their illegal activities so you really can't identify them or give us any information that we didn't already know from Quigley. Going into the program is really more to give you a sense of security than anything else. I know how afraid you've been."
Sara sighed and nodded.
Four months later, safely in her new home with a new name, Skye sat watching shooting stars against the backdrop of the mountains. The government had seized all of the Shulaya Clan's funds and the condo the money had bought, but surprisingly they had let her keep all of the interest her investments had made. She had put it all into a savings account that allowed her to live an extremely comfortable life without needing to work, just drawing on the interest each month to buy necessities. She had opened a guard dog training facility that she operated out of her home and on the 100 acres that she had purchased.
No one was ever going to sneak up on her again.