Hell to Pay
Copyright© 2011 by woodmanone
Please read Chapter 1 to understand the characters and the events in the story to this point.
Constructive comments, critiques, and emails are very welcome and appreciated.
Thank you for taking your time to follow this tale. Please enjoy.
Was that a gunshot? Casey asked himself. There's another one, he thought. Casey had just begun the trip up the ridge on his way back. He dropped his backpack which contained two twenty five pound bags, one of oats and one of rice, and ten cans of a variety of vegetables. I can pick it up later, he thought as he started to run toward the cabin. All he carried now was his .223 rifle and the Colt 1911 in the small of his back.
Casey stopped just below the crest of the ridge twenty minutes later and looked down at the cabin. It was quiet and at first nothing seemed out of place. There was no sign of Dixie, but he'd told her to stay close to the cabin. Then he saw a can of food lying on the ground to the left of the door. Dixie wouldn't leave a can of food out there, he thought.
Snipers, the good ones, the ones that live, develop a "sixth sense" that alerts them when situations or areas aren't what they appeared to be. Casey had developed that internal warning skill; he still had it. He could feel that something wasn't right.
Casey backed down from the crest and slowly made his way to the hill behind the cabin. Being very careful where he placed his feet he crept down the hill keeping behind the trees or boulders. Finally after twenty minutes he got to the rear wall of the building. He stood to one side of the window and then quickly peeked into the cabin, withdrawing his head almost at once. That quick peek told him that he had been right; things were not as they seemed.
Inside the cabin he'd seen three men and Dixie. The largest of the men was sitting at the table with a bottle of Casey's Jack Daniels in front of him. One of the others was at the sink running water and the last man was looking out one of the front windows.
Dixie was sitting on the edge of one of the beds. Another quick look showed that Dixie's face was red and swollen on one side and she had a small trail of blood at the corner of her mouth.
Casey's face hardened and his blue eyes burned with an angry intensity. One of those sons of bitches hit her, he thought. Payback's a bitch and then you die, he said to himself as he looked at the three men. A small deadly grin came over his face. First I'll try diplomacy and if that doesn't work I'll deal with them the sniper's way.
During his military service, Casey had never been known to be diplomatic or tactful. He had a tendency to tell ranking Sergeants, Lieutenants, and even higher ranks what he thought. If their orders or actions were bull shit he told them so. It was one of the reasons he survived the sometimes idiotic missions. His outspoken opinions were also the reason that kept him from rising about the rank of buck Sergeant. This is gonna be a bitch no matter which way it goes, he told himself.
Casey made his way back to the trail leading to the front of the cabin. Standing in the tree line he loudly yelled. "Hello the cabin." He waited a few seconds and yelled again, "Hello in the cabin."
The door opened and Raff stepped out pulling Dixie with him. The other two followed and spread out to either side of the big man. "Where are you and what do you want?" Raff yelled back.
Casey stepped from behind a big oak tree and faced the three men. "I'm right here. This is my place and what I want is for you to leave and let us be." He saw the one holding Dixie laugh as he said something to the others. After several seconds Casey said, "But I guess you're not going to do that so I'll ask you to let the lady go and we'll be the ones leaving."
One of the men laughed, "Hey Raff we gonna just leave like he asks?" That brought a smile and a laugh from Raff.
"I don't think so Sam. It appears that we hold all the cards here," Raff replied and laughed again. "We got the cabin, the food and the woman. I don't think we'll be leaving."
While he was talking Casey looked the three men over. The man called Raff had a nine mm stuck in the front of his pants. He had his right arm around Dixie's waist and his left hand held the nape of her neck. It looked like he was caressing her. Casey knew that Raff was using the hand to control Dixie. In his right hand Raff held the Ruger .22 Magnum SR-22 from the cabin. The man on his left held Dixie's .38 in his right hand, and the last man had what appeared to be a .22 semi automatic pistol.
Casey knew he could take out one of the men before the others could get back inside the cabin, maybe he could get two. Don't think I can get all three though, he admitted to himself. Raff would have to be first, he thought. It's an easy shot even with him holding Dixie in front of him. He wasn't sure what the other two men would do if he attacked. If they ran for cover inside, Dixie could get away. But they could panic and shoot Dixie. I can't take that chance; not now, not yet.
"Hey pal, drop your rifle and leave and we won't kill you or the woman," Raff ordered.
"If you let the girl come to me, I'll tell you the combination to that food locker in the cabin," Casey bargained. "That locker is three quarter inch steel and you'll never break into it"
"How about you tell me the combination and I won't hurt the girl?" Raff counter offered. When Casey shook his head Raff said, "Okay pal enough talk. Drop your rifle and leave."
Casey stared at the man for about five seconds before he answered. Raff was the dangerous one; he was the smartest and the one in control. "Don't think I'm gonna leave my rifle for you big guy," Casey replied.
"If you don't drop your rifle, I'll kill the girl," Raff threatened.
"You'll probably kill her anyway and then come after me," Casey responded. "Don't think I want you on my trail if I'm unarmed. Let the girl go and I'll give you that combination. When the little bit of food in the cabin runs out you're gonna wish you could get into that food locker."
The big man hesitated and Casey asked, "Why not let the girl decide who she wants to be with?"
Sam and the other man looked at Raff, almost pleading with their eyes. They wanted what was in that food locker and they weren't sure Raff would share the girl. Raff tightened his grip on Dixie's neck and ordered, "Tell him."
Dixie hesitated and then said, "I think I rather stay with Raff and his boys Casey. I mean there are three of them and they have all the guns that were in the cabin. Raff promised me he'd protect me until we can go back to the city. So I'm gonna stay with him. You better leave."
Raff smiled at Dixie and pulled her closer to him. He turned back toward Casey saying, "Okay buddy, drop yo..." He stopped because Casey wasn't there anymore; he had disappeared. "Get back into the cabin," he yelled at Sam and Ted. He stepped back toward the door holding Dixie in front of him like a shield.
As Raff was closing the door, Casey hiding behind the big oak yelled, "If you hurt her or abuse her there'll be hell to pay Raff, hell to pay. And I'm the paymaster."
Inside Raff ordered, "Sam, take the rear windows and look for our friend out there. Ted you get the side window over there. You can look across the room and watch the other side window too. I'll cover the front."
He pushed Dixie towards one of the beds. "You sit there and don't move."
It had been over two hours since Casey vanished and Sam was bored. "That guys long gone. Can't we get something to eat?"
"Okay, but stay at the window. Raff turned to Dixie, "Fix us something to eat girl and hurry up."
Dixie stood and slowly went into the kitchen area. She got two big cans of stew from the pantry and emptied them into a large saucepan. I may have to do what you say but I don't have to jump just because you say to, she thought. As she walked back toward the stove, she saw the trap door beneath the table move about an inch. Smiling to herself she realized that Casey was in the escape tunnel.
He didn't leave me, she thought. In spite of what I said he's still here. I loved him before but now I may adore him. Maybe I can help, she said to herself. If I get a chance to get away, I'll take it.
Dixie heated the beef stew and cut some hard crusted Italian bread. She put all the food on the table and stepped back. If I get them to over eat maybe they'll get sleepy and I can sneak out of here, she said to herself. Dixie sat back on the bed as the three men sat and began eating.
"Damn this stuff is almost burnt," Sam complained looking at Dixie. "I think you did that on purpose."
"I never claimed to be a cook," Dixie replied. "If you don't like it do your own cooking."
When Sam finished his meal he belched, stretched, and walked over to Dixie. He ran his hand over her shoulder and laughed when she pulled away.
"If you can't cook, your boyfriend must keep you around for your other talents. C'mon honey, show me what you can do," Sam said as he sat down next to her on the bed. He put his arm around her and tried to pull her closer. Ted sat down on her other side and ran his hand along her leg.
"Get the hell off me," Dixie said. She slapped Sam's face and hit Ted in the chest with her elbow. Sam drew back his hand to slap Dixie.
"Leave her alone Sam," Raff ordered. "You too Ted."
"Are you saving her for yourself?" He asked complaining. "It's not fair Raff. Me and Ted deserve the same things you get. We're partners after all." Ted nodded his head, agreeing with Sam.
"You're both idiots. Do you really think that guy, what did she call him, Casey? Do you really think that he just walked off and left his girl and his place?" Raff waited for their answer for a few seconds. "He's out there right now waiting for us."
"So, he's out there and we're in here," Sam said.
"Yeah Raff, what can he do against the three of us?" Ted asked.
"Did you notice how he scoped us out? Did you notice how he called my bluff?" Raff asked and then went on when the men looked confused. "He wouldn't leave his rifle even when I threatened to kill the girl. The guy was cool and didn't panic. I bet he's had training, probably military, and he won't leave until he gets a chance to get the girl back. We're gonna have to leave sometime," Raff continued. "If he's still out there in a week we might need the girl as a hostage. And if we hurt her ... well, I don't think we'll like his response. You heard his threat if we get rough with the girl."
Raff pointed at the rear window. "Sam, close the shutters on that window. We don't want him to sneak up and shoot us." As Sam closed the shutters Raff said, "I'm going to take a nap. When I wake up it'll be your turn Ted and Sam after you."
"Why can't we all take a nap?" Ted whined.
"Because we have to stay alert so the guy that owns this place doesn't surprise us." Raff explained. "And boys, you better leave the girl alone or Casey won't be the only one you have to worry about."
When Raff had turned to congratulate Dixie on her acting ability, Casey stepped behind the big oak. He saw two of the men follow Raff's orders to retreat into the cabin. Raff followed holding Dixie as a shield. "You guys have just made a bad career move," Casey said softly. You should have just kept going and left us alone."
Moving backwards and keeping the oak between him and the cabin Casey climbed to the top of the ridge and began a circuit of the valley and cabin. He followed the ridge line until he was opposite the rear of the cabin. Casey made his way down the hill to the boulder that hid the entrance to the escape tunnel.
The tunnel was five feet tall by three feet wide so Casey had to bend over or stoop when he used it. It was cut through the rocks and dirt and supported by cross beams overhead. Leaving his rifle just inside the entrance he quietly made his way to the trap door. Pushing the door up about an inch, he was able to see Dixie sitting across the room on the bed and hear the men talking.
Casey heard Sam's offer to "entertain" Dixie and the sound of her slapping him. He pulled his pistol and was about to push the trap door open when he heard Raff order the other two to leave Dixie alone. Protecting Dixie from those two may have saved your life Raff, Casey thought. Then again you're the one that knocked her down. He settled back onto his knees and continued to listen.
"Later this afternoon we'll go get the Jeep" Raff said. "I want it close by in case we have to take off again."
"I don't to be out there where that Casey guy can get to us," Ted complained.
"He won't attack us as long as we have our insurance here," Raff explained pointing to Dixie.
Casey made his way back out of the tunnel. Picking up his rifle he climbed back to the ridge line and began a search for the men's car. He found the Jeep, opened the hood, and pulled the ignition coil disabling the vehicle. They won't be using that to get away, he thought. Or take Dixie with them.
He had no doubt that when Raff and the others decided to leave that they would take Dixie; both as a hostage and because she was a very attractive woman. If they took off in the Jeep they'd figure they could outrun him and leave him behind. Then they'd feel free to do whatever they wanted with Dixie. Not on my watch, he promised himself.
Casey returned to the area around the cabin and went to the storage area carved into the rock bluff. He went to the arms locker and surveyed the weapons available. He stowed the .223 and took out his hunting bow. The bow was a compound with a 90 pound pull. Casey added a side quiver that held six hunting arrows tipped with broad heads. He also took a shotgun with a sling that let him carry it over his shoulder and down his back.
Casey took to bow because it was a silent weapon and for the shock value. He could put an arrow into the ground at the men's feet or into a tree next to them from better than seventy five yards and they'd never know where the shot came from. It's highly demoralizing to be shot at and not know where your attacker is, Casey said to himself with a grim smile.
He planned to shadow the men as they went to the Jeep. When they found it wouldn't start he would get their attention with a couple of arrows to spook them. Casey doubted it would work but he hoped to scare them and then offer to return the coil so they could leave. Of course they would have to let Dixie go first.
Casey loaded the shotgun with slugs, which gave him a range of about 150 feet. If things get hairy I want more firepower than the bow will give me, he thought. He took one other item from the locker, another thing he'd brought home with him when he left the military. His camouflage covering known as a ghillie suit; with it he could make his way very close to the group. It was the same camo suit he'd used to get within 50 feet of several enemy targets to use a silenced .22 Ruger pistol.
He locked the steel door to the storage area and went to the trail the men would have to take to the Jeep. Casey squatted down in the brush behind some trees and waited.
Around two PM Raff opened the front door of the cabin. "Hey Casey, you out there?" He called. Not getting an answer he yelled again. "I know you're there somewhere. He still didn't get a response and continued, "We're going for a little walk and we're taking the girl with us. If you try anything I'll shoot her and then deal with you."
Raff tied Dixie's hands behind her and pushed her through the door in front of him holding his pistol on her. "Remember if you try anything, I'll shoot your woman," Raff shouted again.
From behind a stand of oak trees Raff heard from Casey. "And you remember Raff, I told you that if anything happened to her there will be hell to pay. Count on it"
Casey followed just inside the tree line as Raff, leading Dixie, hiked up the valley toward the break in the ridge line that would lead them to their SUV. Sam and Ted were several yards in front, nervously looking from side to side. Maybe I should have brought the Remington, Casey thought. With them separated like they are I could service Raff and get the other two before they could get to Dixie.
No, I'll try to get her out of this without killing anyone, he said to himself. If needs be I'll take them out but I have to try the other way first. As his thoughts continued he couldn't help but remember the boy that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It took Raff and his crew forty five minutes to get to their SUV. He placed Sam and Ted at different points as a perimeter guard and walked to the driver's door. He opened the door, placed the key in the ignition, and turned the key; the engine turned over but wouldn't start.
"Damn it," Raff shouted. He had a feeling that Casey was responsible for the car not starting. Raff came around to the front of the Jeep and opened the hood. He wasn't a true mechanic but he did know something about cars. He inspected the engine and he saw the missing coil.
Raff pulled Dixie closer to him and shouted, "Damn you Casey. Give me the ignition coil or we'll end this right here." He pointed his pistol at Dixie's head. "Give me the coil," he repeated. "Or I'll shoot the girl."
As Raff finished shouting an arrow suddenly struck the fender next to him. He stepped away from the car pulling Dixie with him. Raff turned his pistol and fired into the woods. Before he took more than three steps another arrow stuck in the ground, quivering between his feet.
Casey's voice came from an unknown direction. "You might want to rethink your position Raff. I told you, if anything happens to her well ... you won't like the consequences. Let her go Raff. I'll fix your car and give you some food. But most importantly I won't kill you. You can get out of here in better shape than when you came in. Let her go Raff."
Raff called to Sam and Ted. As the two men returned to join Raff, Casey using the stealth learned as a sniper and made almost invisible by the ghillie suit crept within twenty five feet of the three men. He knew he could take them down using the bow and then the shotgun but he would have to be fast. The chance of hitting Dixie was too great so he decided to wait to see what developed.
Casey heard Raff softly tell Sam and Ted, "I'll drop my gun and try to get him to come out into the open. I'll tell him we need to talk face to face. When he steps out you guys open up on him. We'll put an end to this right now."
Raff had bent over to talk to the men and stood up. "Hey Casey, come on out so we can talk face to face. Here I'll put my gun down." He stepped forward, laid the pistol on the ground and stepped back. "C'mon guy we can work something out."
Several minutes went by with no reaction. Casey was close enough to see the beads of sweat on Raff's forehead and his frustration. Raff shrugged his shoulders, picked up his gun, and motioned for everyone to move out. Ted pulled Dixie along holding her arm while Raff and Sam lagged behind and kept an eye on the tree line. Casey let them get a head start and came out of his hide. He circled to the right and ghosted after them.
Dixie noticed that Ted would look back over his shoulder every three or four steps and waited for her chance. The next time Ted looked back Dixie stuck her leg out in front of him. He tripped over her leg and fell, letting go of her arm. Dixie was off like a shot running toward the trees on her right.
"Son of a bitch," Ted yelled and started after Dixie.
It was hard to run with her arms tied behind her but she made it to within 70 feet of the trees. Ted caught up, tackled her and they both went to the ground. He recovered and straddled Dixie immobilizing her. "You bitch" he yelled and drew back his hand to hit her. Dixie closed her eyes.