Night of Danger
Biff turned on the blinker as his car rolled to a stop. Just a few more minutes and he would be home and eating more of his mom’s delicious cooking like he’d had for dinner. That was hours ago and his stomach didn’t mind reminding him of that fact.
He wouldn’t change those hours for anything, though. Once a week he volunteered at the community center to teach self-defense to a group of twelve and thirteen year olds. Biff really enjoyed helping them learn something useful that gave them knowledge and confidence, as well as showing them they didn’t need to allow anyone to bully them. As he had been taught, he also taught them to respect themselves and others and only to use what he taught them for defense. The kids loved him and looked up to him. Every lesson was anticipated, by the students and the teacher.
Tonight he had stayed longer at the community center. Once he had finished his class, he had helped with some repairs that had been piling up. As he drove, Biff grinned thinking about how fun the work had been since his girlfriend had helped, too.
Glancing over as something caught his eye, he saw the game he had promised to let Frank and Joe borrow that had apparently slid partway under the seat. Having gotten dislodged while he was driving, it had reappeared. Biff had brought it to school, but it must have fallen and he forgot about it. He sighed, thinking of the midnight snack waiting for him at home.
A few minutes longer won’t make any difference, Biff thought to himself and made a turn to take him toward the Hardys’ home. Arriving there shortly, he saw their van in the driveway and a light shining from behind the blue drapes of the large living room window. It appeared that Frank and Joe were home.
After hopping out of his vehicle, Biff hurried up to the front door, pulling his collar up against the wind. Reaching his hand out to ring the bell, he stopped as he heard an odd sound.
Well, the wind is blowing so hearing something isn’t exactly a surprise, Hooper, Biff thought to himself as he glanced around, trying to see into the dark night. A cold chill hit him but he pushed it away as he stepped off the porch and moved around toward the edge of the house. He was pretty sure it had come from the backyard.
Probably a tree limb. Biff stopped before he got to the corner. Yeah, probably a branch or something like that hitting the house. I’ll go check…
He took a step and suddenly had the feeling someone was coming up behind him. Might be one of the Hardys, he thought to himself. They heard me drive up and then when I didn’t come to the door they wondered what happened or maybe they heard the branch and came to investigate….Biff had the very bad feeling, though, that the person was neither Frank nor Joe. When he turned around, he found out he was correct.
Never had he seen the man before in person, yet he recognized him easily from a photo in a newspaper about a case Frank and Joe had solved. The picture had been taken as the murderer was being led away to jail and the hatred on the criminal’s face hadn’t diminished at all.
Biff felt a very real sense of terror come over him and he tried to decide what to do. His instincts reacted first as his fist flashed out to catch the guy on the jaw. It didn’t seem to do more than annoy him. This guy is no stranger to fighting! The thought went through Biff’s mind as he moved to throw another one of his best punches. This one missed, but Biff wasn’t disheartened. He knew a winning fight wasn’t made up of certain punches, but of determination and sheer guts at times.
The next fist that connected was also Biff’s and it was delivered soundly, almost knocking his opponent to the ground. Almost, but not quite. He was ready when the other guy launched a rocket of a punch at Biff. Being a tall guy didn’t keep Biff from being extremely agile and fast on his feet. That was going to be essential in the battle Biff was suddenly in.
His opponent let out an ugly sound of rage as he landed a punch into Biff. A gasp escaped from Biff and he landed on the ground. No, don’t let him go in for the kill, stand up! He was seeing more stars than were showing in the sky between the wisps of clouds. Without any doubt, Biff knew the guy he was fighting would kill him the first chance he got. So Biff couldn’t allow him any chances.
Surging to his feet, he moved back a little, trying to give himself time to recover. The trees in the background seemed to be moving more than the wind would be making them sway.
He had to stop this creep. In the back of his mind, knowing that Frank and Joe would come investigate if they heard sounds of fighting, Biff was concerned of whether the brothers were okay or not. He needed to find out.
First though, Biff had to survive this battle. And as the fist that slammed into him indicated, it would take all the skill he had, and more.
Unaware of the situation at their home, the Hardys were feeling the intensity and danger that was escalating with each moment. They sorted through the clues and were busy determining what their next step should be. Frank still had a few things he wanted to search out in hopes that would help them find Iola quicker. His brother was anxious to get going, feeling that would be more productive. Joe’s glance toward the road was not missed by Frank.
“I want to check a few things on my phone. Why don’t you go see if they stopped here?” Frank indicated the small convenience store alongside the gas station with a motion of his head. Joe agreed, but didn’t like any delay in actively searching for Iola. At the same time he didn’t want to miss an important clue that could find her sooner. Even through his almost paralyzing fear for Iola’s safety, he trusted his brother’s wisdom.
Frank took out his phone and looked at the street maps of the area once more. He also wanted to make a phone call and obtain more information based on Joe’s initial suspicions regarding the possibility of mistaken identity.
A short time later, Frank glanced over to see his brother leaving the one-stop store. His head down slightly from the wind, Joe walked back to his brother and handed him the steaming cup of coffee he’d gotten for him. Frank accepted it with thanks.
“The guy in there hasn’t seen the vehicle since he started work today, which was several hours ago. So they didn’t stop in here.” Joe glanced around as he cautiously took a sip of coffee, relishing the warmth the hot liquid provided.
Frank quickly shared with Joe what he’d found out, including about the maps he’d been studying. Joe nodded as he listened to his big brother. Before slipping his phone back in his pocket, the elder Hardy noted the time.
“Wish we knew if Dad’s ever come across Roger Bryan,” Joe said.
Frank nodded, trying to remember if he’d ever heard their father mention him. Since Fenton had solved such a large number of cases, as a police detective and as a private investigator, there were a lot of names to go with them. “There’s a storm near where Mom and Dad are, so that explains the calls not going through.”
Joe sighed, his breath mingling with the steam in the cold air, blowing it away from the cup. He never bothered with what he called “annoying” no-spill lids for the coffee. His sapphire eyes looked out into the night, wondering for the millionth time where Iola was.
Finishing the last swallow of his coffee, he asked, “Done?” He watched as Frank downed the rest of his coffee and handed the cup to his waiting brother.
Joe walked briskly to the trash can and back, his long strides making the distance seem shorter than it was. He was soon seated on his motorcycle and putting his helmet on.
“We haven’t finished making plans,” Frank reminded his brother. Joe’s face was shadowed by the visor but Frank could see the determined look.
“We’ll start riding around, looking for the vehicle, hopefully spot it, and if not, search until Phil or Con comes up with more information on the GPS, the kidnappers or their location.”
Frank nodded slowly, trying to make sure they weren’t forgetting anything in the rush. This was his department and he never wanted to fail. He grabbed his helmet as Joe started up his motorcycle.
In moments, Frank was following his brother out of the parking lot.
With a powerful roar of their engines, the two motorcycles tore off down the street. The brothers cruised around, searching diligently for any sign of Iola and her kidnappers.
Phil’s fingers flew over the keys with accuracy as he focused intently on his task. Namely, finding the information necessary for getting into the GPS of the vehicle with the kidnappers and Iola. As soon as Joe had relayed the information about the GPS and with the newest Intel just received from Con, Phil had been busy. Already having determined exactly what all information he needed, and getting everything done he could prior to receiving the additional data, he could then really get down to business.
His eyes glanced over the list of details he had. Then he clicked on the bottom of the screen to bring up the map of the town and surrounding areas. Running several necessary programs, along with plenty of security precautions, Phil went to the database where he would be able to access the GPS system. He was thankful the Samuels, the family in Hoboken, owners of the stolen vehicle, had been so helpful in the information they provided. That would make what Phil planned to do much easier.
Before long, he had gained access to the GPS unit in the vehicle the kidnappers were now using. It had integrated internet, so that made it all the easier for him. Phil quickly called the Hardys to let them know exactly where the kidnappers were right then.
He had been pleased to find out that the kidnappers were indeed using the navigational system. Seeing the address they had entered, he relayed that to Joe and Frank on the currently open line. As he talked to them he continued with the plan.
Working to make it not appear suspicious, Phil began changing the route, seeing where Iola and the kidnappers were located and where the Hardy brothers were. I hope this works, he thought, as he continued tapping keys and referring to the maps, when necessary.
The corners of his mouth lifted slightly as he watched the info on the screen reflect the fact that the kidnappers were following the now adjusted route for them.
“Guys, they are starting their new and improved trip, designed specifically with them in mind,” Phil told them. He heard both Joe and Frank acknowledge. Then they conferred on exactly where and when the Hardys and the kidnappers would meet up after calculating everyone’s speed and the roads available. They knew that the element of surprise would be a huge benefit to the situation.
The brothers raced toward the spot where they would attempt to rescue Iola, coordinating the plan with Phil. It was a side road behind a warehouse. They arrived in record time, thanks to the shortcuts they took, while the kidnappers took the longer way. Or more appropriately named: the Cohen scenic route.
Frank and Joe knew they had just enough time to get everything right, as long as everything went just right. They couldn’t delay the kidnappers’ route too long on the chance that Bryan would get suspicious, so timing was essential.
“Ready?” Frank called to his brother as they worked diligently toward putting their plan into play.
Instead of the answer he was expecting, Frank turned quickly in shock at hearing a loud crashing start as heavy crates and other items began to fall. The noise didn’t disturb the older Hardy brother. What did was the knowledge and fears of the damage to a person, in this case his brother, the avalanche of crates would cause.
“No.” The monosyllabic word whispered low and scared stayed on his lips as his dark eyes filled with fear. “Joe.”
Roger Bryan glanced at the GPS again. According to it, he was on the right road. After a quick look at the clock, he realized his plan was off by at least a half an hour, likely thanks to the girl trying to get away. By now, he had expected to be calling the person who had hired him for the job to say that he had successfully grabbed the girl and that she was securely situated where she wouldn’t be found. Obviously that was going to be delayed.
“Are you sure this is the right way?” questioned his fellow kidnapper, glancing around dubiously as they turned onto a narrow roadway. It looked to be more of an alley or access way than an actual street. Bryan threw a condescending glare over at the other guy, causing him to fall silent.
“Are you actually questioning technology, you idiot?” Turning his unfriendly gaze back to the road, he applied the brakes as his headlights picked up the scene they were coming upon. A gigantic pile of crates, boxes and other junk were blocking the road. A lone motorcyclist, his bike parked over on the side, waved down the oncoming car and ran toward them.
“Back up and let’s get out of here,” the other guy suggested. That was exactly what Bryan wanted to do and planned to do, but right then a tower of crates stacked alongside the narrow road fell behind their vehicle.
The motorcyclist suddenly appeared right beside the car, rapping anxiously on the window. His visor was still down, and with the shadows and lights of the alley, his features were indiscernible, but Iola instantly recognized the voice when she heard it. While Bryan hit the button to open the window, Iola maintained an unreadable expression on her face as the man spoke to the driver.
“Hurry!” was the only word he said and waited a moment until Bryan nodded that he would come and help before turning to race back to the debris blocking the road. Iola’s heart thudded in excitement and anticipation of soon being free. She would be ready.
“Stay here with the girl and keep her quiet,” Bryan commanded and then turned to Iola with a sneer. “You best behave or there’s going to be somebody killed, got it?”
Iola glared but nodded, watching as Bryan got out of the car and walked over to the motorcyclist. She saw the animated motorcyclist, whom she knew was Frank, gesturing frantically toward the pile of crates and junk.
Leaning up so she could see where he was pointing, Iola gasped when she saw the helmet and a small part of a leather jacket that was barely visible. And not moving from underneath all of the crates.
Since she could see Frank…that meant…Iola’s eyes focused on the scene. Joe!