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Is it over?

Jackie had been in the car for the count of five hundred and twenty-three Mississippis. The counting gave her something to do besides think about the fate that probably lay in store for her as soon as the car stopped. But, inevitably, the car did stop, and the door flew open. The blindfold kept her in the dark, but she could still hear. Her abductor's voice was just as cold as it was the day she'd met Jackie in the alley. "Well, you little bitch...it looks like we say goodbye here." *Without another word, the door opened, and Jackie was pushed out onto the gravel, landing hard on her side. She shifted back and forth, trying to loosen the rope around her wrists and said nothing. She just kept repeating in her head that it was over...finally over as the tires squealed and her tormentor drove away.

She got the blindfold off, her eyes blinking in the fading sun. Her hands scrabbled along the alley floor in search of something to cut the ropes with. Finally, her fingers grasped a large shard of broken glass and began to saw away at the ropes. When her hands were loose, she untied her feet. Now, she simply had to find a phone. That took time, because she was in an entirely unfamiliar area. She called the only person who would give a damn that she was still alive.

The phone rang once, twice, three times, before Alan answered it. His normal calm demeanor was gone, and there was real fear in his voice for the first time since Jackie had met him. "Yes, what?" It caught her by surprise, and she could only answer quietly, "Alan?"

"Jackie--Jackie? Where are you?"

Clutching the phone tightly, she looked all over, and couldn't see any identifying markers. "I-I don't know, but I'm so glad to hear your voice."

Alan took a deep breath in an attempt to calm himself down. Whatever happened to Jackie, she needed him to be calm. "I am too. Is there anything near you I could find?"

After another look, she did locate a pair of street signs, obscured by graffiti. She named the intersection, and continued, "I-I can't stay here."

"Yes you can...stay there. I'll--be right there ok--Don't go anywhere."

It takes Jackie a moment or two to respond around the lump forming in her throat. "Ok.....I will." Her voice is so quiet, so unlike her. "Hurry."

"I'll be right there, I promise."