Alex Barringer snarled at his ex-wife Kat through the storm door of her home. His fist barreled through the glass window from which he stared at her. Shattering glass sprayed Kat and her friend Lexi who were standing inside the breezeway near the garage.
He reached inside the storm door and thrust the lever upward unlocking it, blood running down his thickly muscular arm and off his hand. “You stupid, bitch, you!”
Lexi grabbed Kat’s wrist and ran up the few steps that went into the house. Kat lost her balance for a second as Alex flung the door open. She ran up the steps and he lunged for her ankle with his hands. Lexi screamed and pulled Kat by the arm as Alex’s fingers wrapped around Kat’s ankle. Kat clawed at the threshold trying to keep herself from being dragged down the stairs, and attempted to get away from the man that had a history of beating her.
Agent Maverick Astolfi leaned over and brought his head closer to the glass enclosure at the tow yard where he and Agent Ryan Roberts had tracked Kat Barringer Holmes’ Mercedes Benz. "Where does the list come from?” he asked, trying to get a look at the sheet of tow orders.
"The manager gets it to us,” the woman at the desk said, tossing a soda can into the trash. “You picking up the Mercedes?"
“No. Just wondering why it was towed."
“Johnny, get Phil will ya?” she called behind her and crumbled her breakfast wrapper.
The manager came into the office. “Yeah? Whatcha want?” he said to the administrative assistant.
The girl pointed at Maverick. “He wants to know why his friend’s car was towed."
Phil examined the list. “Which car is it?"
The girl touched the paper. “The white Mercedes Johnny just towed."
Phil looked out into the tow yard and spotted the car. He typed on the office computer keyboard and studied its screen. Agents Roberts and Astolfi leaned closer to see, but couldn’t. The manager moved the mouse around on the desk and right clicked it a couple of times. “The bank said to repo it.”
“The bank? Which bank?” asked Astolfi.
“The Good Bank of California.”
“You got a number I can call?” Maverick pulled out his cell phone.
“Ready?” the manager asked.
“Yeah.” Maverick pressed the dial button on his phone.
Kat’s right hand was losing grip on the threshold and Lexi was screamed. “Don’t let go, Kat!”
"Help me!” Kat felt her grip weakening.
Alex pulled Kat by the leg, making her lose grip with her other hand, and bumped her down the few wooden steps. He dragged her toward the pile of shattered glass.
Maverick was on the phone with the bank asking about why Kat’s car had been repossessed if she wasn’t behind on her payments.
The person on the other end of the phone sounded surprised. “Why don’t you ask her husband?” the customer service representative replied. "You shouldn’t be calling here.”
Roberts nodded his head. “She’s behind on her mortgage but not her car."
Maverick disconnected the call and headed out to the car while calling Agent Sylvie Sanders. “We need access into Miss Barringer’s auto loan records. They repo’d her car and she’s not behind on her payments. They said 'ask her husband.'”
“I’m calling them now.” Sylvie stated.
“Okay,” Maverick listened.
He could hear Sylvie say, 'I’m Kat Barringer' and give her account information. Then he heard her say, 'I want to know why my car was repossessed when I’m not behind on my payments?'
Maverick waited for Sylvie to finish the call.
“The husband told her lender that his wife wasn’t going to be paying on the car anymore so they need to come pick it up.”
“He’s trying to isolate her," Maverick said.
“Or worse,” Sylvie said.
“Maybe he’s thinking if he gets rid of her car, it will look like she got a ride from someone and disappeared."
"That's what I'm thinking," Sylvie said, without hesitation.
Roberts backed the car out of the tow yard, Jeff Gordon style and spun it around, then punched the gas pedal. It barreled down the street.
Kat’s waistband had caught on a nail that was sticking up slightly from the bottom step. Alex was pulling on her leg. The fabric tore a bit, but her leather belt caught on the head of the nail.
“Pee, Kat. Pee! Lexi screamed.
“Shut up!” Alex hollered and let go of Kat’s leg for a moment. Kat unhooked her belt from the nail and leaped up the three steps while Lexi grabbed the door, ready to slam it once Kat got inside the house, but Alex was faster and grabbed her ankle again. Kat fell and landed back on the steps, her ribs hitting hard to the wood. Pain shot through her torso. Alex pulled her towards the storm door again. This time avoiding the protruding nail and succeeding at missing it. He started dragging her over the shards of glass when she reached up and grabbed around his neck, lifting herself off the floor, as a piece of glass penetrated her thigh. Alex gripped around her waist, pushed the door open with his back and carried her outside while she punched and kicked him repeatedly.
The back door to his Hummer was open. Blood was oozing from Kat’s side and thigh as she tried to free herself and they got closer to the waiting vehicle. Lexi ran into the house, locked the door and ran to the kitchen phone. Alex shoved Kat into the back of the Hummer, pinned her down, grabbed his long t-shirt and tied her wrists behind her back with one end, cutting off the circulation to her hands, then tied the other end into the strap above the back door.
“If you escape, I’m going to kill you!” Alex headed towards the house.
“We’re twenty minutes from Barringer’s house,” Astolfi informed his boss, Ronny Quinn, of Quinn Security.
"You already put a call in?" Ronnie asked, jogging to his car.
“I’ve contacted the Lakewood PD. They’re going to say they got a call about a door to door scam artist and are interviewing area neighborhoods.
"Good in. Thanks, Astolfi. Get back to me, as soon as you have more on it. Hopefully, this car repo is just a sick stunt and nothing more."
Lexi frantically dialed the wall phone in Kat's kitchen when she heard Alex yell.
“She didn’t pay the phone bill! Forget about calling anyone to save you! It doesn’t work!” he pounded on the door and smashed the door jam until it broke free. Lexi ran towards the front door, but was no match for Alex who jumped on top of her and tackled her to the floor. She squirmed desperate to break free, but he punched her in the side of the head, knocking her out. He threw her over his shoulder and hurried over the broken glass and out to his waiting car where Kat watched Lexi's unconscious body flail.
"I'm sorry, I'm really sorry," Kat said, horrified.
There was a large dog cage in the back of the Hummer. He stuffed Lexi inside it and padlocked the latch. Kat sat with her mouth gaping, her throat dry. Alex reached for a rag on the floor and Kat started to hyperventilate as he shoved it into her mouth. Alex hopped into the driver’s seat, the engine still running. "If you were sorry, you wouldn't have left me! Liar!"
NEXT: ALEX KIDNAPS KAT AND LEXI - JOE COFFEE CHRONICLES - Segment 8
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R.J. Grand is the author of the Fortier Series Mystery Books - THE PAINTING OF DECEIT,
ON THE INSIDE, and soon to be released COMPO COVE.