Night of Danger
Anyone driving down the street in front of the Hardys’ home would never guess that a life and death battle was being fought in their backyard right at that very moment. Biff continued to fight the maniac who had come for revenge against his friends. And from the fighting he’d been dealing with, there wasn’t any doubt that the time the killer had spent in jail had been used to bulk up and become a nearly invincible fighter. Tall Biff managed to stay on his feet as another punch connected.
Now this is even more interesting, he thought to himself as he suddenly began to see two adversaries. Twins, no less, Biff almost snickered. One just as ugly as the other. Getting a little punchy, Hooper, get it together. Since there’s now two of them, that will give me twice the odds of hitting one of them. Biff noticed the murderer look at him as if he was trying to outguess his next move. Probably wondering why I’m almost laughing. Not really sure myself….I’m laughing in the face of danger…
Bam! That one Biff got in and hit his actual opponent, not the elusive result of double vision. A follow-up flowed through nicely and the killer fell. Stay down, jerk, Biff told him silently. He glanced over to where his cell phone lay crushed on the frozen ground. You owe me a new phone, too.
Biff worried about Frank and Joe. He allowed a glance toward the house before bringing his eyes back to the killer. The longer there was no indication the brothers were okay, the more concerned Biff was. He wasn’t sure what the killer’s plan was except to annihilate Frank and Joe. Biff didn’t know how he planned to do that…or whether Biff was too late.
He moved over to make sure the killer was unconscious and received a staggering kick in his leg. Biff then threw a quick but explosive jab and followed it up with another. He didn’t know how long they had been fighting but it felt like forever. Seemed like Round 100 by then.
Flashing through his mind were all of the lessons and hints and pointers that he had accumulated. He was pretty sure he had put every single one of them into play already and was going into repeats. Biff had been in plenty of fights with bullies and criminals, some that were trying to kill him or his friends. The fight he was currently locked in seemed longer to him right then than all of the others put together.
The killer’s fist suddenly slammed into Biff again and this time any sounds became still and everything began to spin around and the mighty oak tree named Biff began to fall to the ground.
Frank and Bryan began carefully to remove the crates and junk, trying not to allow the pile to shift and possibly start another avalanche which would cause further injury. The helmet was made to withstand a powerful impact like that, but a person’s body was another story.
“Someone’s hurt!” Iola cried, fear in her tone. Joe?
The other kidnapper peered up ahead and watched with all of the morals of a spectator without care for his fellow man. He wondered carelessly if the man could possibly still be alive after all of that had fallen on him. Maybe, if the stuff wasn’t too heavy, he mused. He worried that if the dude had been killed they needed to get out of there, knowing it wouldn’t be to their advantage to be there when the cops came.
Engrossed in the situation playing out in front of them, he was taken completely by surprise when Iola suddenly moved swiftly, hitting the button to unlock the door and then opening it. She seemed to disappear instantly as she jumped out of the vehicle.
Lunging and reaching quickly to stop her, the attempt failed as his wrist was grabbed tightly by a strong, gloved hand. With a gasp of shock and pain, the kidnapper looked up to find a very sharp blade had appeared in front of his face.
“On the hopes that you are smarter than you look, I suggest you not move.” Blue eyes regarded him steadily as the hold tightened. The kidnapper stopped and darted a quick look at the newcomer before going back to staring at the blade inches from his face. “Yeah, I figured you would pretty much have to be.”
“How’s Frank doing?” Joe then called softly to Iola, who was standing next to the vehicle, where Joe had placed her just moments before. As soon as he had seen the door opening, he had raced into action. He’d already planned to catch the kidnapper off-guard and Iola’s efforts melded perfectly with his. Joe had quickly scooped her to a more secure area, out of reach of the kidnapper, while asking her with a look if she was okay. And then Joe had the opportunity to show off his trusty Swiss Army knife, much to the kidnapper’s discomfort.
Iola looked to where Frank and Bryan’s attention appeared to be focused on their rescue efforts; their backs to the vehicle. Bryan, oblivious to what was currently happening behind him, continued hauling crates off the ‘victim’.
Frank timed it just right, because he knew he was going to need to move fast before Bryan got a better look at the helmet and jacket made to look like a person. His heart was still thankful that when Joe had accidentally knocked down a lot of crates he was retrieving earlier for their plan, that his younger brother hadn’t actually gotten caught in the landslide. Joe had taken some of those same crates and stacked them up with others already alongside the road, strategically anticipating when he could topple them to effectively block the kidnappers from backing out of the side street. He had done that while their attention was on the pile of crates in front of them.
With a decisive blow, Frank quickly and efficiently knocked Roger Bryan out.
“He’s doing great!” Iola smiled happily, her relief visible at seeing her boyfriend and his brother. Joe nodded and kept his eyes on the kidnapper before him. Iola had warned him immediately that the bad guy was armed, so Joe didn’t fall for the kidnapper’s attempt to hide the gun.
“Very carefully remove the clip from the gun and place them both on the seat. And keep in mind that this knife is sharp and you can either take my word for it that I’m pretty quick with it or you can test it out. Doesn’t matter to me. It’s up to you.” Joe’s voice was deadly quiet, now face-to-face with the individual he’d seen on the security footage at the diner. The kidnapper decided not to try his luck. While he did as commanded, Frank came running up, carrying his brother’s helmet and jacket.
“You okay, Iola?” he asked, looking at her in concern. She appeared to be alright but he wanted to make sure.
“I’m okay now. Thank you, Frank,” she smiled up at him. He nodded, allowing a slight smile. Things were looking good but he wouldn’t completely relax until the two kidnappers were arrested.
Frank’s mental assessment of the situation abruptly had new data to analyze when lights from another vehicle lit up the area as they pulled onto the obstructed side street. Joe instinctively wanted to look, but kept his eyes focused on the kidnapper glaring at him. He was about to have Frank or Iola grab the gun and clip when a low cry from his brother startled him.
“We’ve got to get out of here!” Frank exclaimed in shock, reaching out and pulling Joe and Iola away from the car. As Joe grasped Iola’s hand and ran with her to his motorcycle and Frank ran for his, the younger Hardy brother saw what had caused the need to run.
Four armed guys getting out of the vehicle told him the story. Not pausing as they ran, Joe handed Iola his jacket and she quickly slipped it on. When they arrived at the motorcycles she immediately put on her helmet that Joe had brought along for her and hurriedly climbed onto the motorcycle.
The newly arrived individuals had stopped momentarily at the sight of the Hardys’ and Iola’s flight to the brothers’ motorcycles, one visible from where they stood and the other hidden out of sight. The leader indicated for the others to return to their own vehicle, realizing that their quarry would soon be escaping. The roar of engines confirmed it.
Frank and Joe easily maneuvered around the huge pile of crates and junk, gaining another reason to be thankful for the road blockade they had feverishly worked on just a short time ago.
With Iola on Joe’s bike, they raced down the street, hoping the armed goons in the vehicle weren’t familiar with the roads around there. If they were, then it wouldn’t be very long before they appeared on the road behind them from taking a nearby shortcut. Every moment was valuable and could make all the difference in the chase.
Iola held tightly to Joe’s waist, her upper body pressed against his back as they raced through the street. Joe and Iola easily leaned into the curve together as they turned onto another road and headed toward the highway.
When Frank indicated a turn, Joe quickly followed suit. Hitting the highway, Joe then opened up the throttle and accelerated, keeping pace with his brother. Both were skilled and able to handle high speeds, which had already been exemplified numerous times in the past. The present situation was no exception.
There were still very few cars traveling the roads so the brothers didn’t have to dodge traffic as they attempted to put distance between them and their pursuers.
Frank hadn’t had a chance to tell Joe and Iola that he had recognized one of the armed men who had emerged from the vehicle back in the alley. While researching earlier, he had seen the dude’s menacing face, someone who had worked with Roger Bryan before. The rap sheet on Bryan’s friend was also very clear in Frank’s mind. He wanted to make certain they not only kept ahead of the merciless killer, but also make sure the criminal wasn’t walking around freely.
Phil had called the police once he had pinpointed the general location of the kidnappers and suggested where they might find them. Hopefully the police have arrested Bryan and the other kidnapper by now, Frank thought as he glanced over to see how Joe and Iola were doing. His brother was doing fine with his girl right with him.
Their strategy was to hit the highway, take the exit that would lead them to the police station and maybe even get the bad guys to follow them there. That was the plan, anyway. Frank found that it was always wise to follow a specific plan, but even better to be able to quickly improvise at any given moment if necessary and fine-tune any plans he made. That worked pretty well for him, and Joe enjoyed telling him that Frank owed his brilliance at that to his little brother. Joe often made it necessary to come up with plans due to his tendency to take chances. In other words, Joe helped his brother shine.
The lights along the highway allowed Frank to see, through the visor of his helmet, right before they hit the rain grooves. He was familiar with them as was Joe, but that didn’t mean he liked them. This section of highway was concrete and in the lane there were a number of grooves that had been put there to help vehicles with traction in the rain. Frank just kept going, although it was always a noticeable annoyance to try to ignore the sensation that it caused of feeling like the motorcycle was getting a flat while riding along the grooves. Despite the tires going back and forth, he stayed with it.
Joe was also anxious to get past the grooves, they really got on his nerves, and he let out a sigh of relief as they moved past that section. He kept his eyes on the lookout along the roadway, knowing that the danger of black ice was still a concern. Maybe even more so at this point.
As he visualized the maps his brother had wanted for him to memorize earlier, Joe drew comfort from the feel of his girl’s arms around him. This wasn’t the first time he had almost lost her and he relished the fact she was there and unhurt. His determination to protect her with everything he had was strong.
Iola held on tightly, and just as Joe was drawing comfort from her, she was feeling the same from him. Joe had a presence that made her heart feel truly happy. And riding the motorcycle with him was always enjoyable. She had loved it when he had proudly shown her the motorcycle years before and told her all about it, and she had listened with much interest, carefully learning. Iola was pleased when he had told her before that she was a perfect passenger. He didn’t know that she had once spent several afternoons learning online additional information about the motorcycle to impress him.
As they rode as fast as they could along the highway, they maintained control of their bikes even as a severe blast of wind hit them after they raced past a patch of trees, which had been sheltering them. The crosswind from the open field they were going by hit them hard, but they rode steady.
The part of the highway they were on then began to have more curves and the sides were starting to give way to steep hills. The lights along the road weren’t the best, but they did allow for limited visibility. Joe followed the road ahead of them with his eyes, seeking any possible problems and anticipating the need to make allowances for any potential dangers. That had always been a stipulation of Fenton and Laura’s with their sons riding the motorcycles – constant vigilance.
Joe slowed down slightly as he saw a curve coming up. He had already gone a little ahead of his brother. Even though both were being careful, it was still a shock when a flash of white and brown suddenly appeared on the road. A collie had just broken from a small area of foliage along the edge of the highway.
Joe’s heart jumped as the collie ended up directly in his path and the bike swerved as soon as he saw the dog. The younger Hardy brother’s motorcycle would have been fine as he fought to go into a controlled skid, if the back tire hadn’t hit a patch of black ice right then.
Iola held on tight to Joe as the motorcycle began to lean dangerously toward the pavement while continuing to be in motion. Joe did everything possible to keep from wrecking – easing off the throttle and steering just a little into the skid, but between the road surface and lack of traction, the motorcycle was about to hit the pavement and there was no way to avoid it.
His eyes wide in fear, Frank watched helplessly in horror as his brother and his brother’s girl slid across the short section of highway with terrifying speed. As the motorcycle hit the road, Joe and Iola flew off the bike at the force of the impact and disappeared from view where the side of the road dropped off out of Frank’s sight.