Detective Mike Corrigan couldn't believe his luck. After three days of tramping through a deep, dense forest he finally found his quarry. He was plodding up another endless hill and getting tired of fighting his way through tangled bush while contending with hordes of mosquitos and bugs when he spotted something out of the ordinary.
A flash of color or a sudden movement? He wasn't sure which, but something caught his eye. He focused his attention on it.
Yes, definitely something down there but wild animal or human? He wasn't sure so he continued his study for a moment. He suddenly realized he was on a crest of a hill and therefore perfectly silhouetted, a perfect target for his quarry if indeed it was human.
Instinctively he dropped to the ground, crawled up behind some bushes which he hoped would give him some cover. Then he peered intently down the hill for a few minutes before making his decision. It was him all right. Ricky Carter, the object of the three day manhunt. It was reported that he kidnapped his wife and fled into the mountainous wilderness near Edson, Alberta. The search for him had come to involve dozens of policemen and civilian searchers.
"Now, Corrigan thought, I think we finally got him."
Still staying crouched behind the bushes, Corrigan could heard the searchers coming up behind him. Earlier they had formed a line about 25 yards apart so Carter couldn't slip through them. However, the rugged terrain, along with tangled bush and occasional ponds had soon thrown that plan to hell. Some, like himself, had managed to forge almost straight ahead while others had fight their way through various impediments until the straight, well managed line had totally disintegrated. Nevertheless, they were still coming and making a hell of a lot of noise in the process,
Corrigan realized if Carter hadn't become aware of their presence yet, he would have to be blind, deaf and dumb.
Corrigan whispered softly into his mic to contact the search co-ordinator Jack Koslov.
"Found him," he informed the police captain. "Tell the searchers to stand down or something will you," he suggested. "I don't think Carter is completely aware of us yet so there is still a chance we can take him by surprise and end this peacefully."
"Like hell," came the response from Koslov, making Corrigan wince. Same old captain A good man but as gung ho as all hell with the philosophy of aggression and brute force being the only way to subdue a suspect. Scare the hell out of them, show them who's boss and that we're not going to back down, especially when it comes to kidnappers. That was Koslov's idea of diplomacy.
"Where he is?" Koslov demanded. "I need to have my men surrounding him RIGHT NOW to make sure the sucker doesn't escape us."
Corrigan sighed in frustration, arguing, he realized was useless. Koslov was in command and Carter probably posed at least some danger. There was no denying that, but still he had hoped for at least a chance to get Carter out of this mess alive.
"In a valley about 100 yards straight ahead. Good hiding place he's found himself. He's deep in some bushes with lots of open space between him and us so he'll be able to spot us the moment we make a move on him."
Corrigan cursed at the captain's response. "No problem. We surround him and find a place for the snipers to get a good bead on him and then he either surrenders immediately or else."
Corrigan's reply was interrupted by someone crawling up behind him. He turned his head and saw that a police woman named Rhonda Jenkins was wriggling her way toward him.
"Any sign of the woman?" she asked when she reached him.
Corrigan blinked at the question and then cursed himself for being so stupid. The woman of course, Sharon Carter, the whole object of this search. Where the hell was she? He and the captain had been so occupied with the fate of Ricky Carter, they had completely forgotten about her.
"The woman," Jenkins demanded. "You see her down there?" Then, with a knowing smirk, added "men, so full of testosterone they fight and argue among themselves and lose sight of the most important things." She pulled a pair of binoculars from a bag around her waist and turned her attention to the spot where Carter had been seen.
"Auh, there he is. That's Ricky alright," she exclaimed but where is Sharon? Hope he didn't ditch her or already kill her." Corrigan watched as she refocused the binoculars and began a sweep of the area around Ricky. "Think I spotted her," she said after a moment's search.
"Where?" asked Corrigan.
"Something about 25 yards from Ricky, about 3 o'clock. Lying in some bushes, shape of a body so it's probably her but she doesn't appear to be moving much. Hope she's still okay."
Corrigan nodded and said "may I?" He grabbed the binoculars and focused them on the spot Jenkins had pointed out. "Sure enough, body down there and there is some movement so maybe she is still okay."
He handed the glasses back to Jenkins and told her, "keep an eye on them, I gotta talk to the captain again.
"Corrigan, what the hell's happening?" the captain hissed.
"The woman, I, erh, we, erh, Jenkins found her. Spotted her with binoculars," he explained as Jenkins glanced sideways at him with a frown on her face.
"Good," Koslov replied. "Now that we know where she is. We take Ricky quick like, one way or the other, before he can do anything else to her. Let's wrap this up and go home."
In the valley below, Sharon Carter lay prone among some dense bushes. She had heard the approach of the searchers and knew her ordeal would soon be over. However, it wasn't the couple of days march through the bush that she was referring to. It was all the shit and abuse she had been forced to put up with since her marriage to Ricky. At first she had been captivated by his bad boy image and it seemed exciting to be around him but that wore of about as fast as the honeymoon fantasy did. Ricky, she quickly discovered was a narcissistic son of a bitch who cared only about himself and in addition had no qualms about heaping all kinds of physical and emotional abuse on her.
Over several years her friends first noticed the change in her demeanor due to the emotional abuse. Then they saw the more telltale signs of outright physical abuse, Sharon had made several complaints to the police but the results were less than satisfactory. All Ricky got was a warning to behave himself. Finally she had not only divorced Ricky but got a restraining order against him. However, the order meant nothing to him and he broke it on a regular basis without much repercussion from the law. It was only after enduring this for a couple more years that Sharon and a couple of girlfriends devised a plan to put an end to the Ricky problem, permanently.
They had set the first part of the plan in motion Friday afternoon by renting a lake shore cabin for the long weekend. Normally Sharon went to great lengths to hide her whereabouts from Ricky in order to avoid another confrontation with him. However, this time she made no attempt to hide from him so she knew Ricky was bound to show up and he didn't disappoint her.
The rest was easy but the most risky part of the plan, especially for Sharon. The women plied the unsuspecting Ricky with booze laced with drugs than alternately cajoled, threatened, acted friendly and angry to him until he became a befuddled creature that finally snapped.
While the girlfriends fled in panic to alert the authorities about a kidnapping, Sharon remained behind so she could feed Ricky more of the doctored booze which made him extremely pliable and easy to manipulate. She talked him into a walk in woods to calm down and the rest as they say was history. For the next couple of days she continued to ply Ricky with the booze and drugs and lead him around in circles through the dense bush until the police found them.
As for Ricky, drunk and stoned as he was, he could hear the approach of the posse and he vaguely sensed that something wasn't quite right. He could feel the danger but thoughts of Sharon kept running through his addled mind. The last few days she had actually seem to love him again and even though she was not anywhere near him right now, he could still feel the warmth of her body and hear her words ringing in his ears.
"Don't let them take me Ricky, please, don't let them take me." Sharon had repeated the words so often, his booze and drug filled brain now actually believed that she was in danger and he was gonna do his best to protect her. He stumbled around in a doped up trance aiming a shotgun at the intruders. He couldn't see them but he could hear them coming and they seemed to be all around him. They had come to take Sharon from him and nothing was going to stand between them again.
"You see that Corrigan?" came a whispered question from his mic. It was Koslov again.
"The son of a bitch has got a gun and he's waving it around like he intends to use it. My men are almost in position and we're gonna take him down in a moment."
Corrigan looked over at Jenkins who was still peering through the binoculars.
"Yeah, he's got a gun all right, victim is still lying in the bushes about 20 yards away, she hasn't moved at all so Koslov's crew can probably take the suspect without a problem."
She heard Corrigan swear. "Where the hell did he get that from?"
She replied. "I don't know but a gun makes a huge difference. If we don't take him now, there's no telling what he'll do with it."
.... There is more of this story ...