[caption id="attachment_84" align="alignright" width="187" caption="Looking Through Blind Eyes"][/caption]CHAPTER ONE
Janie's heart felt as though it would explode out of her chest as she forced her legs to keep moving as fast as they would carry her tiny 5’3” thin body. Her chest heaving as she gasped for air, knowing she couldn't stop, her life would end if she stopped. She could hear the footsteps pounding on the rain soaked muddy mountain grass behind her. She knew they were still very close behind her. Thunder and lightning crackled all around her, making it impossible at times for her to hear their exact footsteps. She was terrified to look back, terrified to see just how close the enemy was to her. Janie knew if she could just get far enough ahead, she may be able to jump into the thickets of the North Carolina mountain forest and they’d charge right past her. At least that’s what she was hoping would happen. Finding the right spot and at just the right time was the key to her escape. Janie spotted a pathway to her right and did a quick glance over her shoulder as she leaped into what she mistook as a path. “Bad move” Janie thought to herself as she realized it was nothing more than an opening overlooking a cliff side. She tried her best not to scream as she held tightly to the thin frazzled rotting tree root that was her life line. “If I could just hold on til they pass.” Janie thought as she struggled to keep her footing on the slippery crumbling rocky mountain side. The rain was pounding against her entire body as the urge to look down won out. Janie looked some fifty feet below to a swollen river that was sure to be her demise. The sudden onset of two days of heavy thunderstorms had turned the usual calm creek bed into a raging river that had come out of its’ bank. Janie looked up and seen the first man peer down at her and laugh,
“Well, well, looks like you're in a fix.” The heavy set man chuckled in his thick New York accent.
“Fuck you asshole!!” Janie screamed back.
“You seem to be the one that's fucked” he mocked. Janie stared through her drenched long tangled dark hair as the second tall, muscular, and handsome man came to the edge gasping to catch his breath; he looked down at her with such sorrow and pity. Janie could still see the love in his eyes. She loved this man now he was going to end that love and her life. Janie knew deep in her heart he’d never listen to her, he would only follow orders. But she had to give it a try in hopes of buying some time until she could figure a possible way out of this mess.
“Rico don't!! You don't have to do this.” She sobbed, trying to see through the pouring rain that was blinding her. She knew seeing her cry always broke him. Instead he just muttered something she didn't understand and backed away from the edge.
“Shut the fuck up! You brought this on yourself. Say good bye to Rico, Janie!” Anthony chortled. It was as if he was going to gain great pleasure out of cutting that tree root. Janie's mind went back to the first time she had met the men. It seemed like ions ago, but in reality it had only been just over four and half years. Her life had dramatically changed when she met them and once again it was about to change, if not end. Janie thought of all the things and people that had brought her to this point. The things that had her hanging on for dear life to a tree root above a swollen river bank deep in the mountains of North Carolina.
Just over 4 years ago, Janie and her older brother Daniel were stepping off a plane in Los Angeles from small town Louisiana. Daniel had got hooked up with a great job, keeping the details of the job and who he was working for to himself. All he would tell Janie was that the “people” he’d be working for would really help them out financially. The deal had been made for Janie to join him. Daniel couldn’t bring himself to leave his baby sister behind. Janie was just hoping for a better chance at life. The one they’d been living was oppressive. They had nothing and no hopes of ever getting anything. They lived in a small town of maybe 1000 people in a small duplex apartment. Janie worked odd jobs just to pass time, while Daniel seemed to be away at work most of the time. Despite all his working, they still never had much. Janie said it was because of the small town, “it was a suck hole that drained everyone”. Janie was thankful to be able to make friends with others that knew nothing of her life before or the conditions in which she had been living. Their parents had died suddenly and mysteriously. Locals had blamed Janie, saying she was a witch and had caused the terrible fire. However, the police viewed it as careless meth addicts in the adjacent house. Since their parent’s death, Janie and Daniel had been itching to get away from the small town gossip and make better lives for themselves. Daniel said this was the chance of a lifetime that they had to take it.
[caption id="attachment_85" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Reyna Hawk"][/caption]The “people” Daniel was going to be working for had advanced him enough money so he could get Janie and himself a descent place to live. It was no luxury OC mansion; however, the house was great for them. It was in a nice quaint neighborhood. The two story, three bedroom, two bath house was a newer modern home; one Janie knew she would be happy living in. The hardwood floors throughout made it look even more expensive than it was; Janie loved the warm colors of the décor. Janie had laid claim to the loft/attic space. She felt she could have more privacy there. She knew exactly how she was going to decorate her new space. The best part of the room to Janie was the huge walk in dormer closet that ran adjacent to the attic; it was nearly completely hidden unless someone knew it was there. Janie and Daniel laughed and called it the “rabbit hole”, like in the child’s fairy tale Alice in Wonderland. Once they were moved in Daniel fixed the small door to the dormer space so it couldn’t be seen. Daniel redid the walls and flooring to make it less like a storage area and more like a small sitting room. He put a bed, small bathroom, and small refrigerator in the space. Whenever Daniel was out of town for long periods of time, Janie found herself spending a lot of time in the “rabbit hole”; she sometimes felt very uneasy in the house alone. Daniel had told Janie should anything happen and she needed to hide; to go there and not come out until she felt safe. Janie knew better to ask why; he’d never those types of answer her questions. Because despite Janie's constant questions Daniel never gave her details of his job or the people he worked for. All he ever said was, “The less you know the better you’ll be.”
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