The Taking of Libbie, SD (Mac McKenzie #7)
For Reneé Marie Valois,
I want to acknowledge my debt to Roxanne Cardinal, Gary Dyshaw, Keith Kahla, Eric Odney, Alison J. Picard, and Reneé Valois.
They shattered my front door with a metal battering ram at exactly four forty-seven and twenty-three seconds a.m. That’s when my alarm system began whooping and a forced-entry message was dispatched to both my security company and the City of St. Anthony Police Department. The siren shook me awake, but I didn’t react to it the way I should have. Instead, I remained in bed during those first crucial seconds and wondered what was wrong with my alarm clock and why in hell I had set it in the first place. By the time I realized what the siren meant, they were already on the stairs. I swung myself out of bed and made for the door. They reached it first, two men dressed for combat, one tall, one short. The short one carried an M26 Taser gun—I recognized the black body and vibrant green nose in the soft gray light filtering through my open window. I drifted back into the bedroom, my hands raised to shoulder height. The tall one said, “Rushmore McKenzie?” I lunged for my bedside lamp. It was the only weapon within reach. The short intruder pointed the Taser and squeezed the trigger. One barbed electrode hit me high in the upper shoulder, and the other imbedded itself just above the waistband of my blue shorts. My body was immediately flooded with fifty thousand volts. The electrical charge told every muscle to move at once, which caused them all to contract against each other. My body locked up. I hit the floor like a bag of sand tossed from the back of a truck.
They waited until the Taser ran through its five-second cycle, and then it was gloved hands yanking the electrodes out of my naked skin, rolling me onto my back and grabbing my arms. I was still twitching, still moaning from pain as the taller man slipped a double-loop restraint over both my wrists and pulled hard on the locking mechanism, securing my hands in front of me. The disposable cuffs were made of high-tensile-strength nylon that was just as effective as stainless steel. The tall man grabbed one shoulder. After he holstered the Taser, the short man took the other, and together they dragged me from my bedroom and down the carpeted stairs. A moment later we were out the front door. My bare feet scraped against the hard wood porch planks; my heels bounced on the concrete steps leading from the porch. I felt the pain, and it jolted me out of my stupor. I began to struggle. I yelled for help. My captors didn’t seem to mind. They hustled me to a four-door sedan parked in front of my house. The trunk was already open; the trunk light had been removed.
“I got north,” a voice said. The smaller man released my shoulder and grabbed both of my legs. I tried to kick myself free and failed. They lifted and swung me toward the opening of the trunk. “One, two, three.” On three they let fly. My head skimmed the lid of the trunk, and my knee hit the rim as I tumbled inside.
“The battering ram,” the shorter man said.
“Leave it,” his partner answered.
He slammed the trunk lid shut, enclosing me in darkness. I heard car doors opening and closing, the engine starting; I felt the car lurch forward and pick up speed. I pressed my back against the trunk lid and pushed. It didn’t budge. I found myself breathing harder than the exertion demanded. I caught my breath when I heard the distant wail of police sirens. Even in my befuddled condition, I knew it was the cavalry responding to my security alert. The car slowed as the sirens grew louder. The cops seemed to be right on top of us. “I’m here, I’m here,” I shouted—but the sirens passed and the car began to gain speed. The sirens slowly faded to silence.
The inside of my mouth became dry, and it was difficult to swallow, although sweat seemed to flow from every pore. I felt light-headed. I began to tremble. My thoughts swung from utter helplessness to denial—it’s just a dream, go back to sleep. “No!” I heard the word, but I don’t know if it was spoken aloud or just inside my head. I lay on my back and kicked the trunk lid with my bare feet. I shouted obscenities. I screamed, “Let me out.”