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Emily and Devin are sitting at The Citrus, one of their local restaurants that serves breakfast. “What should we do today?” Devin asked Emily. “Well, I want to do some gardening this weekend, maybe plant some flowers along the side of the house. We’ve been talking about it for the last three years. I think it’s about time we finally do it,” Emily responded with a smile. Devin nodded, “That’s a great idea. I think I’ll get some equipment at Home Pro and…” Devin moved back so the waitress could put their breakfast plates down. “Would you like more coffee?” she asked, and both agreed. “So yeah, I’ll get some equipment and some mulch, and I’ll work on those trees out back,” Devin continued. “I have no idea how you eat your eggs like that,” Emily said while she looked at Devin’s plate. “Sunny side up is just so disgusting.” Devin laughed “Hey, I have to get them when we’re out, because you won’t let me eat them in the house.” “Don’t you even,” Emily retorted with a smile. “Anytime you want your eggs like that, you can cook them yourself. I’m not cooking anything that nasty.” With that, Devin picked up a slice of toast, used the corner and dipped it into his eggs, breaking the yoke causing it to ooze all over his plate while he smeared it on the end of his toast, lifted it to his mouth, as it dripped the yoke off of it, and took a big bite. “But, it’s just so delicious”, he said as he chewed it up. “That’s just horrible. You’re such a pig,” Emily laughed. “Ahh, now that hit the spot,” Devin said as he leaned back and stretched his arms over his head. “No going to sleep now. We have a lot to do today,” Emily said with a laugh. “Get the check.” The waitress came back to the table, “Do you guys need anything else?” “No thank you, just the check,” Devin replied. The waitress pulled out the checks from her apron pocket. “Sure, not a problem,” she said as she sorted through the different checks, finding Emily and Devin’s. “Here you go. When you’re ready, you can pay up at the register. Have a great day” she said as she set down their check with a smile, turned, and headed off to another table. Devin gave Emily some money, “Here’s some money, can you take care of that while I use the toilet?” he asked. “Sure, not a problem,” Emily picked up the check and the money. “I’ll meet you outside.” Devin finished washing his hands, exited the restroom and left The Citrus. He looked around, but didn’t see Emily, Hmmm, she must have headed to the car he thought, and walked to the back parking lot. He didn’t see Emily there either, but he walked to their car, but she wasn’t in it. Odd. I wonder if I missed her walking through the restaurant, Devin thought, heading back to the restaurant. Devin walked up to the cashier, “Excuse me. I was just in here having breakfast with my wife.” “Yes?” the cashier said. “Uhm, did you see where she went?” Devin asked. “She went outside, sir”, the cashier responded. “Did she say anything before..” Devin’s phone started to buzz in his pocket. He pulled out his phone and saw he had a message from Emily’s phone. Emily: Mr. Fredrikson Emily: Don’t try to find your wife’s phone. Emily: We have turned off the tracking Devin started to type into his phone. Emily: Mr. Fredrikson Emily: Stop typing Emily: Just read Emily: We have some things we need to say Emily: Before you start asking questions Emily: First Emily: Don’t bother calling the police Emily: They will just tell you to wait 48 hours Emily: Then your wife will be dead Emily: If you do what we say Emily: Follow every step Emily: Your wife will be home in 24 hours Emily: Unharmed Emily: Do you understand? Emily: You may type YES or NO YES :Devin Who are you? Why did you take my wife? What do you want? Devin thinks as he sends his message. Emily: Very good Mr. Fredrikson Emily: Now go to your car Emily: You will see a note on the seat Devin looked up to the cashier, “Thank you” and turned and walked out of The Citrus, and headed to his car. When he got there, he saw there was a note on his seat. He opened the car door, grabbed the note and started to open it when his phone buzzed again. Emily: Mr. Fredrikson Devin stopped opening the note. Emily: Before you read the note Emily: REMEMBER Emily: DO NOT GO TO THE POLICE Emily: If you do Emily: We will kill her Emily: If you understand type YES” YES :Devin Devin typed and hit the send button. Emily: Thank you Mr. Fredrikson Emily: You may read the note now Devin opens the note, a polaroid fell out, so he picked it up to see a scared Emily with a knife at her throat which was held by a masked person behind her. MR. FREDRIKSON, WE HAVE TAKEN YOUR WIFE. IN ORDER FOR YOU TO GET HER BACK YOU MUST REMAIN CALM AND DO AS YOU ARE TOLD. AS YOU SEE FROM THE PHOTO YOUR WIFE IS FINE. SHE WILL REMAIN SO IF YOU DO AS YOU ARE TOLD. IN 30 MINUTES THE TELEPHONE THAT HAS BEEN INSTALLED IN YOUR HOUSE WILL RING. IF YOU ARE NOT THERE TO ANSWER IT, IT WILL NOT BE GOOD FOR YOUR WIFE. Devin started at the note and the Polaroid in shock.He felt his phone buzz in his hand again. Emily: Mr. Fredrikson Emily: Have you finished reading the note? Devin punched YES into his phone, exasperated and terrified. Emily: Very good Mr. Fredrikson Emily: I recommend you go home now Emily: You will received a phone call in 30 minutes Emily: You should be there to answer Devin numbly got into his car, started it and drove home. Twenty-five minutes later, Devin entered his house and the first things he saw was the old fashioned rotary phone sitting in the center of the dining room table. Devin shuffles to the table, blind to everything else in his house and collapses into the dining room chair facing the phone. At exactly thirty minutes from the last message the phone starts to ring which caused Devin to scream in shock. Frantically he grabbed for the phone and knocked it off it’s cradle. Devin fumbled while he tried to grab it. When he finally caught hold of it he raised the phone to his ear. “He-hello?” “Devin?! Oh god, I’m so glad you answered the phone,” Emily said on the other end of the phone. “Emily! Are you …” Devin responded but was cut off by a mechanical voice on the other end of the line. “Mr. Fredrikson. As you can hear, your wife is alive and well,” said the mechanical voice on the other end. “Who are you?” Devin said into the phone on the verge of screaming. “It doesn’t matter who we are Mr. Fredrikson. All that matters is that you do we tell you to. When you do that, we will release your wife. Don’t do that, and you will never see your wife again. Do you understand Mr. Fredrikson?” answered the mechanical voice. “No! You tell me who you are or I won’t…..” Devin is cut off by a scream coming through the phone. “Mr. Fredrikson. That was your wife screaming. We just broke her ring finger. The one that she wears that expensive wedding ring you bought her five years ago. If you interrupt me again, I will break her hand. Then I will break her forearm. Then I will break her upper arm. Then I will break her shin. Do you get my point Mr. Fredrikson?” the mechanical voice said into the phone. “Yes! Yes! I understand. Just don’t hurt her any more,” Devin sobbed into the phone. “Mr. Fredrikson, Your job is to hack into Maverik Corporation. Once you have done that, you need to find a folder titled Marshal Falls. Copy all of the contents of that folder and then delete the folder from Maverik Corporation.” Devin was told. “But I don’t hack any more. I haven’t in ..” Devin started to say. “Don’t lie to us Mr. Fredrikson. We know everything you do. We know you haven’t stopped. You may have slowed down, but you haven’t stopped. You have twelve hours to to do this task. In twelve hours, we will contact you again. If you haven’t completed this task… Well, we don’t have to keep telling you what will happen. Just get it done Mr. Fredrikson,” the mechanical voice said and then the line was abruptly dead. “FUUUUUUUUUCK!” Devin screamed as he slammed the phone down on the receiver. He picked it up again and slammed it down again “Fuck!” He then walked over to his desktop computer and started it up, smashing down F12, changing his boot from Windows to Linux and waited impatiently for his system to reboot. Once his system finished it’s reboot, he started his programs for pinging servers, trying to track down Maverik Corporation servers. Once he found them, he started looking for his way in. After eleven hours of work, he finally found the Marshal Falls folder. It was massive. There was seven hundred gigabytes of information in that folder. Devin copied it and deleted it from Maverik Corporation's servers. He was now going through the files, but there was just so many files in there. What is all of this stuff? Devin thought to himself, suddenly he sees a folder with the title Gitega Fallout. Devin started to scan through the folder when the phone rang causing him to jump out of his seat, nearly giving him a heart attack. He jumps up and runs to the phone on the dining room table and answered it. “Hello?” Devin is greeted by the mechanical voice. “Hello Mr. Fredrikson. Did you copy the folder?” “Yes I did,” Devin responded. “What’s it..” “Mr. Fredrikson, do I need to to give you another reminder?” the mechanical voice interrupted him. “No, no. I’ve copied the folder over and deleted off of Maverik’s servers,” Devin responded. “Very good Mr. Fredrikson,” the mechanical voice answered. “Now you need to hack into Sutan Enterprises and put the folder into there.” “I can’t do this…” Devin starts to retort. “Mr. Fredrikson.” the mechanical voice started. “Fine, fine. I’ll do it. How long do I have?” Devin asked frustrated. “You have six hours Mr. Fredrikson. I will call you back then,” and the line went dead again. ... Keep an eye our for Part 2
Mindy sat in the passenger seat, looking out the window. "Why are you going this way, Sean?" "You know why we're going this way," Sean said with a little exasperated. "I know we were supposed to go down highway 13, but it was closed for construction back in Maplethorpe. The signs said to follow country road 586, which is what we are on now." Mindy turned and looked at Sean. "But, it's been ages since we've seen anything. No other town, no building, nothing. Are you sure you aren't lost?" "Of course, we aren't lost," Sean said with a roll of his eyes. "And it hasn't been ages, it's only been about an hour." Sean looked over to Mindy, "You have to pee again, don't you?" "That's beside the point," Mindy said. "Have you seen anything for the last hour?" Sean pointed to side of the road, "There's a farm over there. You can see the silo", he said with a bit of exasperation. "Would you like me to go up there and see if they will let you use their toilet?" Mindy shook her head, "No, I don't have to go yet." 30 minutes later... "OK, Sean. I really need to go now," Mindy said with a bit of guilt in her voice. Sean chuckled, "OK, but it will have to be on the side of the road." "I know, I know," Mindy said, a bit exasperated. "It's not like this is the first time. Just pull over. OK?" "OK, OK.", he said as he checked his rear-view mirror, then checked the left and right side of the road. "There's nobody around, and this looks like as good a place as any." he said while he pulled to the side of the road. "Do you need me to come out and assist you?" Mindy slapped Sean in the arm, "No, you sicko perv. You just stay here in the car and keep the car running. I shouldn't be long." Mindy got out of the car, closed the door, and walked over to the rear tire, pulled her pants down as she squatted down and begins to pee. Suddenly she heard something, and looked up into the trees off to the side of the road. She thought she something, and finished her business quickly, pulled her pants up and quickly got back into the car. "Sean, did you see anything?" Sean looked at Mindy confused. "Did I see anything where?" "Over there! In the trees," she said as she pointed at the trees off to the side of the road. Sean looked off into the trees where Mindy pointed. "No, I don't see any..." suddenly, a man dressed in dirty overall and a flannel shirt and brown hair sticking up wildly all over carrying an ax came charging out of the trees towards the car. Sean quickly put the car into gear and floored it only to have the car stall out. He frantically reached for the keys twisting them hard as the engine chugs when the man runs into the car, as he brought the ax down biting into the trunk of the car. Just then, the car's engine caught hold and started up, Sean crushing the accelerator to the floor. The car kicked up stones and dirt as it's tired spun and the car lurched forward, the tires screamed as they caught the pavement and Sean and Mindy took off down the road. "Who the fuck was that Sean?" Mindy screamed at him. "Sean! Who the fucking hell was that?" "I don't know! I don't know! Fuck, Mindy! Calm the fuck down!" Sean yelled back at her. Mindy started hitting Sean in the arm, "Don't yell at me! What the hell is going on? Did you do this?" "No, I didn't do this, " Sean responded. "I didn't do this, and stop hitting me," he said to Mindy as he turned his head to look at her as he steered the car around a bend in the road. "Sean! Look out!" Mindy yelled at him. Sean looked up, slammed on the brakes, bring the car to a screeching halt a few yards from five pickups parked across and road. A man with rough looking jeans, a red and blue checked flannel shirt, a long unkempt beard and hair stood in front of the pickups. He waved to Sean and Mindy as he yelled "Get out of your car. I need to discuss something with you." "What's going on Sean?" Mindy said on the verge of being hysterical. "I don't know," Sean said as he shook his head no at the man and he eased the car into reverse. "Don't try to back up," the man said as four more pickups pulled in behind the car. "I need you to listen to what I have to say first." "Sean...?!" Mindy started to cry. "Shush, Mindy. Stay here. Let me talk to him and see what it wants," Sean said as he tried to sound angry to hide the fear in his voice. "Don't do it, Sean. Don't do it," Mindy cried. Sean opened the car door and got out, standing behind it. "What do you want?" "I need you both to get out of the car and to step away from the car. Don't try to run, just come closer to me," the man replied. Sean shook his head, "Why should I trust you? I don't know you." "Because if you don't," the man lifted his left arm and three men in each of the nine pickups stood up and lowered rifles aimed at Sean and Mindy, "my men will kill you both." Sean looked at the men in front of him, then the men behind him and shook his head. He stuck his head in to the car, "Get out of the car Mindy. He wants us both out of the car and away from it to talk to us. If we don't, he's going to kill us," Sean said, the fear plain in his voice. Mindy got out of the car and they both started to walk towards the man. "Shit, I forgot the keys," Sean said, and he turned back towards the car. "Oh, don't do that," the man said as one of his men got in the car. "Just keep walking towards me until I tell you to stop." Sean turned back around with fear and anger mixed in his face. "What the hell is going on here?" he said. The man smiled, "Just stay calm, and everything will become clear shortly. Just keep walking towards until I tell you to stop." Mindy grabbed Sean's hand and they both started to walk forward as they watched the man. When they were ten feet away from the man, he told them to stop and he lowered his left arm and the men in the trucks lowered their rifles. "My name is Micah," he said and gestured to the men around him, "and these are members of my flock." Sean tried to look hard at Micah, "What do you want with us, Micah?" "You know, it's very rude to not offer your name after a name has been offered to you." Micah said with a smirk on his face. "Oh, and don't lie. I'll know if you lie." "My name is Mindy, and this is Sean," Mindy said with a tremor in her voice. "Shut up! We don't have to tell him anything," Sean said angrily to Mindy. 'Now don't be rude, Sean," Micah said, smiling. "She is just being polite. Something I think you might need to learn. Thank you, Mindy. That was very kind of you." Micah waved his right arm. "So now to your question, Sean." three bags were placed on the ground between Micah, Sean and Mindy. "You two are going to camp here tonight. Don't worry, in one of those bags is a tent. It's supposed to be a one-man tent, but I suppose you two don't mind being so close. Any way, you two are to camp here tonight. In the morning, you are to start walking. Three days north," Micah gestures to the north, "is the border." Micah gestures to the west, "Four days to the west is another border," Micah gestures to the east, "Four days east is another border," Micah gestures to the south, "And three days south is that last border. You have enough food in those bags for two days for each of you. You will also find a knife and a revolver with five rounds in it. You just have to make it to any one of the borders. Once there, you will find a car with all the paperwork that you need to sign to have it in your name. It's that simple." Micah said, the smile never left his face. "That's all?" Sean asked. He looked to Mindy, "We can do this. It will be easy! Remember that hiking trip we did last summer? We went hiked for two weeks." Mindy nodded to Sean. "Yeah, we can do..." "Oh, I forgot one very important thing, you to," Micah interrupted them, his smile turned to a cruel grin. "At noon, tomorrow, my flock and I will start hunting you. If we find you, we get to kill you Sean, and Mindy gets to become part of my flock’s breeders." "What?! No way! We aren't doing this. Bring our car back." Sean yelled at Micah. The cruel grin never left Micah's face. "You should start setting up your tent," he said as he looked to the sky. "It will be dark soon." Micah turned and walked to the center pickup. "I recommend getting an early start tomorrow. The earlier you start, the longer you will have to run. The longer you have to run, the harder it will be for my flock to find you." "Wait!" Sean pleaded. "How many of your flock will be following us?" Micah stopped getting into his pickup. "Well, you saw nine pickups. So, I guess that means there will be nine pickups looking for you tomorrow." "That's not fair. How are we supposed to outrun a pickup?" Sean said. Micah's cruel grin turned to a kind smile. "Well, I suppose that is a bit unfair. Nine pickups against two people on foot. OK. I'm feeling generous. I will cut you a break. The first day, there will only be four pickups. The second day, there will be six pickups. The third day, there will be eight pickups. The fourth day, there will be ten pickups. Sleep well. Hopefully you won't see us tomorrow," Micah said, then closed his pickup door. All nine pickups drove away leaving Sean and Mindy standing in the middle of the road. Keep an eye out for part 2. Thank you for reading.