Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead is purely coincidental. The characters are fictional and of my own creation. The place, time, and incidents are purely fictional. Copyright © April 2004.

This work is rated as adult material because it involves a relationship between consenting adults of the same gender, and because anything can happen in my stories. If you are easily offended please read something else. If any of this is illegal where you live, stop reading. Beyond this you may wish to take the following immediate actions. First, move. Second, if it is your wish, resume reading. Let no one dictate what you may or may not read, except you, the only person who should be in control of your life.

Warning! This section contains violence and extreme language.

Inevitable Destiny 19



Inevitable Destiny 20 - Unexpected Comfort


By Ken Rogers


 "Oh, my god," Phyllis groaned, her hands going to her face, her despair overwhelming her.

Tanya tightened her grip on her shaking lover, listening to her sobs, helplessly, unable to come up with anything to comfort her except her presence.

They were just coming to the site Luca had named as the location where he had imprisoned their two friends. There was nothing but a huge pile of rubble, the building completely demolished.

Phyllis buried her face in Tanya's neck sobbing her heart out for her little friend. They had had their differences in recent months severely straining their relationship, but she was closer to Samantha than most sisters were to each other. Seeing the demolished building destroyed any hope that her friend might somehow still be alive. There was no way she could have survived in there. She was gone.

Tanya brushed her fingers through Phyllis's hair in a soothing gesture, trying to comfort her. She looked to the front of the car.

"Let's go, Lesh." There was no sense staying here. There was just nothing they could do.

Phyllis lifted her head in near panic. "No!"

"Phil, there is nothing here."

"No! Let me out," she said, pushing away from Tanya and reaching for the door.

"Phil, it's still raining, sweetie, and there's nothing to see. You'll just catch a cold."

"I don't care. Let me out," she cried frantically, her eyes begging.

Tanya sighed and nodded to Lesha. "Pull up over there, Lesh."

Lesha cautiously turned the heavy car onto the building's parking lot, which was now littered with debris but still partially accessible. Tanya opened the door and got out first, opening an umbrella before reaching for Phyllis's hand. Phyllis came out of the car and into Tanya's arms, clinging to her as she stared at the piled rubble in utter despair.

Lesha closed the driver's door and took the umbrella from Tanya, holding it over the two women while she stood with the rain pelting her solemn figure.

Tanya wrapped both arms around Phyllis as she stood staring helplessly at the rubble. She had failed Samantha and Angela both. It was her job to keep them safe and she had failed them. Even worse in her eyes, she had failed Phyllis by not keeping her friend safe. Tanya had experienced failure many times in her life but none of them hurt like this one did. Both of the dead women had become close friends in the course of the past few years and she was hurting almost as much as Phyllis was, she just didn't let her pain surface like the redhead. She had spent her life hiding her emotions and now it just came naturally.

Lesha waited patiently, the cold rain pelting her face and running down her neck under her clothes. She felt responsible for this mess. Tanya had depended on her and she had let her down several times. The cold rain struck her mercilessly but it was all but unfelt by the large woman, her torment much more of a factor than a little rain, her tears hidden by the rain gently pelting her face.

Tanya stiffened then grabbed the umbrella as Lesha took off at a dead-run towards the shadow they had both seen lurking in the rubble. Tanya tried to turn Phyllis towards the car but the redhead resisted.

"No, Tan· what the-"

"Just shut up and move, Phil. We've got company."

Tanya hustled her into the car then looked in. "Lock the door, Phil."


"I need to help Lesha."

With that she slammed the door and was gone, Phyllis pressed against the glass trying to follow her, but she rapidly disappeared into the rubble. Phyllis searched anxiously through the rubble for any sign of the two women, but even though the sky was steadily brightening as the clouds broke up and allowed more light into the scene, she was unable to find them. She was frantic with worry, her anxiety increasing as time stretched slowly on.

She saw Lesha first, then Tanya. Lesha was carrying something over her shoulder, which resolved into a small struggling body as they drew closer. By the time they got to the car, the child-a girl of no more than ten or twelve-was fearfully clinging to Lesha instead of trying to get away.

Tanya opened the door that Phyllis unlocked and Lesha deposited the small child on the seat. Tanya slid in and closed the door before the child could try to escape. Phyllis wondered absently which of the three was wetter or muddier. The little girl's worn and frayed dress, her only garment besides a pair of mud caked old sneakers, had suffered a few tears during the chase revealing well-defined ribs and the slightly bloated stomach of early malnutrition.

Lesha climbed into the driver's seat and started the car, turning on the heaters. The child, now trapped between Tanya and Phyllis, huddled into a ball as far as she could get from both of them, but watching Tanya with frightened eyes. She was young but she was street wise, having quickly assessed Tanya as the threat to worry about, summarily all but dismissing Phyllis.

"You know who I am, kid?" Tanya asked.

She shook her head slightly, her dark eyes dilated in fear.

"You should. Name's Tanya."

"Really?" She was skeptical. "Thought you was dead or something. Heard someone put a hit out on you."

Tanya grinned. "Nah, just playing a new game. Not on the street so much anymore."

The girl seemed to relax a little. "You ain't gonna hurt me, are ya, T?"

"Nah. I just want to know what you're doing out here, that's all." Tanya reached to the bar and poured a glass of orange juice then grabbed a candy bar, something she usually carried, mainly for kids. "Here. Drink this then you can have this." She held up the candy bar.

The girl hesitantly took the juice and the candy. She gulped down the juice then tore open the candy bar and began to wolf it down.

"Whoa, slow down, kid. No one's going to take it away from you."

The girl slowed slightly, but not much. It was plain to see she was way past hungry. Phyllis began rummaging for something a little more substantial than a candy bar while the girl watched her out of the corner of one eye, preferring to keep most of her attention on Tanya.

"You got a name, kid, or do we just call you kid?"

Large dark eyes studied her out of a pale, much too thin face surrounded by unkempt stringy brown hair.

"Jane," she mumbled around a mouthful of candy.

"Jane. That's a pretty name," Phyllis commented.

Jane shrugged. "They call lots of girls without names that."

"Who does?" Phyllis was puzzled but Tanya and Lesha weren't.

"Kid factories," Jane answered turning to get a good look at the pleasant sounding redhead.

"Orphanages, Phil," Tanya supplied. "She's a foundling, abandoned as a baby, right, Jane."

"Yeah, a stray," Jane nodded.

"Oh, you poor thing," Phyllis said. She handed the girl the sandwich she had taken from the small cooler, reaching to touch her hair. Jane took the sandwich but flinched away from the touch. "We can't leave her out here, Tan."

Jane turned back to Tanya, the fear returning. "Don't let her take be back to state, T, please. I'll just run away again. Please don't make me go back there."

Phyllis was stunned. "You can't seriously want to stay on the street, Jane. Look at you, you're starving."

The child turned to her. "What do you know, lady? State never did much for me. Couple lousy meals, some raggedy old clothes, lotsa rules, lotsa work, lousy schooling, and people who figure I owe them. No thanks. I'll take my chances on the streets where I have a chance to protect myself and get away if I have to." She turned back to Tanya. "How about letting me work for you, T. I'm smart, I could run errands, and I know the streets; you wouldn't regret it. Don't let her take me back to state, T. I'll do anything, really." Dark eyes showed real fear even as they begged for help.

Tanya felt a natural kinship for the girl, having grown up on the streets herself. "Listen, kid, we'll do what we can for you, and I promise, no one will use you again. I promise you that the woman behind you will do her very best to see that you get a good home where you can grow up like a regular kid without having to watch your back all the time."

Jane looked quizzically at Phyllis. "Why would she do that? What's in it for her?"

Phyllis gave her a big smile. "The satisfaction of knowing I helped someone lead a better life."

Jane smiled tentatively, liking the woman despite her learned tendency not to trust anyone. "How can you do that, lady?"

"Her name's Phyllis, Jane, and she can do that because she's one of the sharpest lawyers in the state."

Phyllis blushed at the complement from her mate.

"No shit?" Jane looked at the rather bedraggled redhead incredulously. "Don't look like much does she?"

Tanya chuckled. "She cleans up well, Jane."

"You trust her, T?"

"With my life, kid."

Jane nodded. "Good enough for me."

Tanya smiled and tousled her soaked, muddy, stringy hair. "Good choice." She raised her voice slightly. "Lesha, get us out of here."

Lesha put the car in gear and began picking a course through the debris to the street.

"Hey, T, don't ya want to know what I was doing here anymore?"

"Oh, sorry, sure, what were you doing here?"

"Trying to see if I could still hear the voices."

Lesha slammed on the brakes hard enough to unsettle everyone, turning to look at the girl. Phyllis's hands flew to her face as she gasped. Tanya very carefully took the girl by the shoulders, trying not to frighten her though she was already unnerved by the reactions.

"What voices? Where? It's important."

"Down a hole, I can show you where. I heard them earlier but not this time."

Tanya's heart was beating as fast as she was sure Phyllis's was.

"What kind of voices, Jane?

"A woman, I think. I think she was shouting but it was real faint. I couldn't make out what she was saying with the rain and all. It was raining harder than it is now. A while ago I heard a sort of scream then nothing else."

"Oh, god," Phyllis moaned.

"Take me where you heard the voices, Jane." Tanya already had the door open. She thought of trying to persuade Phyllis to stay in the car, but one look at her and she knew there was no way she was staying behind.

The rain had slackened to a sporadic drizzle as the storm continued to break up. Jane led the way, Tanya holding her hand, followed by Phyllis and then Lesha who was constantly scanning for trouble. Jane took them to the other side of the ruin, to a hole in the ground and hope flared.

"That's the place, T."

"Tanya turned to Phyllis. "You stay here with Jane. Lesh, keep them back." That said, she handed Jane off to Phyllis and moved cautiously towards the hole, wary of a cave in.

The hole was maybe two feet across and looked deep. She couldn't see the bottom and what she could see was a ragged hole that was very rough and jagged showing several areas of jutting obstructions and openings in the wall.

"Hello! Anyone there?" she shouted, holding her breath while she listened intently for an answer.

"Thank god!" The sound was faint but definitely understandable. Her spirits soared.

"Samantha?" she shouted back.

"Yeah. That you, Tan?"

"Yes! Are you okay?"

"No. I'm trapped. This damned place collapsed on me."

Tanya turned to the anxiously waiting Phyllis to see a wide grin on her face that fought with her concern. She could tell she was crying again but hope now warred with the fear.

"Phil, Lesh, start calling. We need everyone! Lesh, get a rescue team here equipped to go down this damned hole!" She turned back to Samantha. "Help's on it's way, Sammy."

"Tell them to hurry, Tan. This hole is breaking apart. It's one hell of a long way to the bottom. I think it's a natural fault or something."

"You just hang on, girl. Is Angela with you?"

"No. I had to leave her on a ledge below. Her legs gave out on her again. She reinjured herself to keep me from falling into this hole. She's also really sick, Tan. She needs help as soon as possible."

"All right, you just hang on. We'll get you guys out, I promise."

"I don't have much choice, Tan. Things are just sliding towards the hole and I'm being carried along. I don't think I have much time."


Tanya turned to find Lesha standing beside her.

"Let me go down there, boss."

"Thanks, Lesh, but that's not a good idea."

"There's a rope in the car, boss. Let me try."

"Get the rope, Lesh. Hurry."

Lesha sprinted for the car and was back quickly with a rope and several other implements. Tanya grabbed the rope and began tying it around her waist.

"Boss, you're not fit to do this. Let me go."

"No, Lesh. I need you here to anchor the rope. Shape I'm in I couldn't hold you."

"Shape you're in you shouldn't be going down there either."

"Shut up and help me out here."

Lesha helped her get ready then handed her a flashlight and a small collapsible emergency snow shovel.

"You be careful, boss."

"Tan, you shouldn't do this," Phyllis said obviously worried about her condition. "Wait for the rescue team, please."

"I can't, Phil. Sammy's in trouble. I'm afraid the team will be too late."

"Come here."

Obediently Tanya made her way to her, staring into her concerned gray eyes. Phyllis simply wrapped her arms around her carefully then kissed her. "You better come back to me, baby."

Tanya smiled disarmingly. "Nothing could keep me away from you, red."

Phyllis gave her another quick kiss then released her. "Hurry back. Tell Sam we're here."

Tanya made her way back to the hole and after Lesha wrapped the rope around herself and nodded, she backed into the hole sliding her feet over the edge. She was wholly dependent on Lesha because there was nothing to hold on to here, the walls were saturated mud and gave way at any attempt to hang on to them.

Lesha slowly released the rope watching Tanya disappear over the edge.

Tanya could do nothing but push herself off the walls and try to avoid the projections, which became large broken pieces of concrete and jagged pieces of iron.


"Right here."

The voice startled her, much louder now that she was in the hole, seeming much closer yet at the same time subdued.

"Slow down, Lesh!"

Her descent slowed.



"Nothing serious. You knocked some mud loose and it whacked me a good one."




"I'm sliding again!"

"Grab something!"

"There's nothing but mud to grab, Tan. I'm trying!"

Something kicked her foot then she was there and grabbed Sam's protruding leg. Samantha squealed.

"Stop, Lesh!"

Her descent halted. She managed to get her flashlight out.

Samantha's right leg was protruding from a wall of mud, nothing else.



"Where the hell is the rest of you? All I've got here is a leg sticking out of a mud wall."

"I think my other leg is stuck in my ear, Tan. I'm buried in mud up to my neck. My left foot is wedged tight. Feel like I'm being torn in half. Much more and something's got to give."

"Ouch. You must be hurting."

"Oh yeah, but things are just sort of going numb now."

"Can you reach your foot. Try to free it?"

"No. My arms are trapped behind me in the mud. I can't move. The mud is getting higher around me. A little higher and my leg will be the least of my problems."

After having Lesha pull her back up a few inches, Tanya tried to brace herself the best she could then began digging at the mud, trying to free her friend. She lifted away huge clumps of mud, carefully cut out with the little shovel, starting at the opening Samantha's voice was coming from, letting the mud drop into the abyss below after confirming it wouldn't hit Angela. The mud around what she had removed was slowly sliding down to take place of what she removed. It was a constant battle to make any progress at all."

"Still with me, Sammy?" she mumbled around the flashlight she was holding in her mouth.

"Barely. Mud's over my chin and I'm running out of neck to stretch." Her voice was strained and Tanya could hear her rising panic, though she was trying to stay calm.

Tanya redoubled her efforts and finally caught a glimpse of muddy hair in the light of the flashlight. She scooped another double handful out of the way and could just see Samantha's left eye and part of her nose; the rest of her face was covered in mud. She would never forget the utter panic in that eye as she frantically scooped the runny mud from her mouth and nose. Samantha gasped, sucking in needed air as Tanya continued to work, the mud filling in as fast as she moved it.

"Thanks," was all Samantha could manage as she worked to ease her pounding heart but Tanya understood how very heartfelt that simple word was. She nodded slightly as she continued to work against the relentless mud.

Both of them became aware of nearby sirens and a commotion at the top of the hole. They heard a platform being laid over the hole for better footing and to prevent the edges collapsing, then a voice shouted down.

"Tanya! We're going to pull you up so we can get in there!"

Tanya ripped the flashlight out of her mouth as she began to ascend.

"Stop! Stop, damn it, you idiot! You're killing Samantha!"

Her ascent stopped.

"Let me back down! She's drowning in mud!"

She was let back down until she hollered to stop and immediately went to work, the mud almost having claimed Samantha again.

"Tanya, what's happening? Talk to us."

Tanya ignored them, the flashlight tight in her mouth as she scooped madly at the mud. She freed Samantha's face again.

"Tanya, we need to know what's happening!"

Samantha spit out some mud and answered for her.

"She can't talk· right now. She's got a flashlight clamped in her mouth while she tries to keep the mud from drowning me. I'm trapped. The tunnel partially collapsed on me and I can't move to help her. I'm pinned."

"How did you get down there?"

"Ask Phyllis and Lesha, they should be able to answer your questions, I'm busy trying not to drown here." Something heavy was pressing in on her, forcing the air out of her lungs. It was getting harder and harder to breathe.

Phyllis and Lesha had actually been trying to talk to the first crew to arrive but after a few words they were treated more like annoying spectators than anything, until Sam told the man to check with them, which actually prevented Lesha from drawing a gun on them to get their attention.

More vehicles had arrived, and judging by the sirens, were still arriving. A few minutes later a new voice shouted down the hole.

"Hey, T, how many times am I going to have to bail you and your friends out of the crap you get into?"

Tanya smiled slightly around the flashlight while she continued to work. The new man was Eddie Roper, an old friend that had worked with Tanya before. Things would happen now.

"Samantha, I'm a friend of T's. We go back a ways." She could tell he was prepping to come down the hole. She heard quick disconnects being snapped to D-rings. He continued to talk to her as he started down the hole, partially to ease her anxiety if he could, but also to let both of them know what he was doing. An intense light flooded the hole as he descended, helping Tanya, but she held firmly to her flash in case the bigger light failed for some reason. "I'm coming down, Samantha, and I'm going to have to rely on you to relay things to me from T, since I assume her natural pessimism is still in place and she still has a face full of flashlight. Can you do that for me?"

"I'll· try." Her voice was faint because she was having even greater trouble breathing.

"Are you in distress?" He could hear the strain in her voice.

"Yeah. Can't breath· heavy weight· squashing me."

Eddie was doing his own lowering and was soon just above Tanya.

"Jesus, woman, how did you get in this fix?" he asked softly as he took in the single bare leg protruding from the mud and Tanya hanging into the hole above her, only her legs showing as she continued to scoop mud. "Don't answer Samantha, save your breath. T, I'm gonna start working to your right. That seems to be where the mud is sliding from. Stop me if I endanger either of you. Sam, where's your left leg?"

"On· T's right. Trapped."

"Okay, squawk if I get too close."

"Not sure· I can. I can't feel it."

Eddie sighed silently. That wasn't good. He continued working rapidly but carefully, using a lighter action than he was capable of. He didn't want to chop the poor woman's leg off with the shovel. Tanya was still working steadily and he knew she had to be nearing her limits. Phyllis had briefed him that Tanya had left a hospital bed to come here, imparting her concerns for her mate. He never ceased to be amazed at the woman's tenacity and determination. He knew without a doubt that she would continue to struggle to save her friend until it was done, or until she collapsed. She was a give all kind of person.

He was beginning to make some headway when he struck something hard. He dug around it exposing a large chunk of broken concrete. It's position outside the building rubble and this deep in the ground told him that it was probably from an older structure that had been buried when the new structure was erected. Its position also told him that this was what was pressing on Samantha.

He began digging a little farther away, to uncover the concrete piece, now that the muddy threat to Samantha had eased. He also got on his radio and called for a cable to wrap around the thing and try to ease the pressure on the woman.

Tanya was now taking more care as she cleared the mud from around Sam and she had time to talk to her, having finally jammed her flashlight into a pocket.

"Honestly, Sammy, you can get in more trouble than any ten people."

The little blonde smiled weakly but didn't answer. She was taking short, quick breaths, all she could get into her lungs, and the pressure was becoming unbearable.

"You just stay with me. Eddie will get this figured out in no time. He's the best, Sam."

She nodded slightly.

They both heard the snap and Samantha went white, her short, high breathless scream almost inaudible then her eyes glazed and closed.

"Sammy! Stay with me!" She slapped her cheek but there was no response. She felt her neck and found a faint pulse.

"Get some oxygen and some pain killers down here, Eddie. She can't breath and that sounded like her ankle snapping. She passed out!"

"On the way, T, and I got a cable to try and lift the weight off her. We have to get it around this rock. I can get under it a little, can you get behind it?"

"You drug her and let me get the oxy going, then we'll give it hell."

"Right." A moment later he handed her the small oxy bottle and mask then wiped enough mud off her thigh, with a sterile pad, to give her a shot. "Okay, she'll be higher than a kite in a minute. You ready?"

Tanya tightened the straps to the oxy mask seating the mask properly then making sure she was breathing.

"Okay, lets do it, Ed. This rock is crushing her. Much more pressure and her ribs will snap and she'll really be in trouble." That was an understatement. She'd be dead if they didn't get this thing off her, and fast.

Tanya got hold of the inner edge of the thing and pulled herself as far into the opening as she could, shouting for them to lower her a couple of inches so she could get in behind the slab. She immediately began working to clear a space for the cable. She heard the pop and wanted to be sick but kept working, glad that Sammy was unconscious and praying that's all she was.

"Her hip just popped, T."

"I heard. Gimme that damned cable, Ed, and hurry! This thing is tearing her apart."

It was a struggle but she got hold of the cable. Ed kept feeding it as she struggled to get it up through the small opening, finally able to hand it back to him. A moment later he had it snugged around the concrete and was talking into his mike.

"Take up the slack, Andy! Go easy! Whoa!" He adjusted the cable slightly then got back on the mike. "Easy now, Andy, very easy. Little more."

They held their breath.

"You sure?" Eddie slumped. "Shit, T. Damned thing's too big. It's pulling the truck off its jacks."

"Fuck!" She fumed helplessly for a moment. "All right, big guy, you start digging under her and I'll get back in there and try to find out what her foot is hung up on."

"T, you should go up. Let me get Jack down here."

"Shut up, Eddie and started digging," she remarked as she pulled herself back in over Sam again, checking on her before setting to work.

Eddie sighed. "Well, let's get you into a decent harness, at least. I don't trust that rope you're on."

Tanya had to admit the damned rope was basically trying to cut her in half, rubbing her raw. Grumpily she agreed, but kept working until Eddie had the harness ready for her.

Eddie had the second rig lowered then helped the grumbling woman into it then cut the rope before letting her go.

"You're the stubbornest bitch I ever met, T," Eddie growled as he handed her an earpiece with a tiny microphone boom attached then released her and began lowering himself to attack the mud under Samantha.

"And don't forget it, mate. Now shut the fuck up and start digging." She Hooked the little phone over her ear, talked to the men above to make sure it was working then maneuvered herself back in over Samantha and began searching for her foot.

Tanya had to be careful that she didn't loosen a mudslide onto her unconscious friend as she dug around looking for her foot. When she found it, her gorge rose in her throat. It was at an impossible angle, obviously broken and badly. Her ankle was wedged between two pieces of concrete rubble. Tanya began to clear around the pieces of concrete, keeping a close watch on Samantha while she worked. She was hoping the pieces were small and after some digging one of the pieces turned out to be a small chunk, held in place by a larger chunk. She was able to pry it loose, trying not to watch Samantha's foot twist with the motion and hoping it did no more damage to her, but it was the only way to get her foot out.

Carefully she lifted the chunk away and dropped it, making sure Eddie was out of its path.

"You just get her loose, T?"


"Thought so. Her hip relaxed."

Tanya moved to check on Samantha. She was still breathing shallowly. She slid out of the hole and made the crew above lower her to Eddie's level.

"Any luck?"

"Some. Give me a hand with this."

They worked a large fragment of concrete loose and dropped it. Samantha's hips sagged.

"Can you hold her up, T, so I can get under there?"

"No sweat. Hurry up will you?"

"Bite me."

"Later. For now get my friend loose, you lazy shit."

"Love you too, T."

She could hear him digging at the sodden earth under Sam; the small shovel ringing occasionally as it struck another piece of debris. Several times he stopped digging to remove a chunk of concrete then would return to digging.

Suddenly Samantha dropped down on top of him. Tanya held her good leg in an iron grip but lowered her a little to take any unnecessary strain off her back. She got a better grip on her, noticing that she was breathing more normally and carefully eased her off of Eddie so he could get out from under her.

The worst was over. Eddie called for a stretcher and they struggled to get her in it and reasonably comfortable before sending it up. They watched the stretcher up out of the hole.

Eddie gently clapped a burley hand on her slender shoulder. "You're next, kid."

"Up yours, Ed. I still got a friend down here."

"I'll go get her, you go up, now. This place could collapse any second."

"Then we better hurry."

"Jack! Pull this ornery bitch up, now!"

"You son of a bitch, I'll kill your ass! Jack! Stop! Damn you, Eddie, your ass is grass. I'm coming back down here after you, and they won't find enough left to bury in a teacup, you bastard. I'm gonna cut your nuts off and-"

Tanya got in a couple of good punches and a kick or two, which Eddie was only partially successful at blocking, before she was pulled up too far to reach him, but she continued to blast him in several different languages all the way to the top.

"Better lock her up, Jack," he said into his microphone, watching after her receding form with a big grin on his face.

"You better have a hundred cops to back you up, Jack, you fink, because after I rip your head off, I'm going after your boss!"

Eddie chuckled then spoke into his mike. "Watch yourself, Jack, she is major pissed."

"No shit, Ed. Thanks pal. You could have sent me something a little less dangerous, like a dozen cobras or something."

"Can you handle her?"

"Andy's rounding up a hundred and one cops, partner," Jack answered as he watched her struggling assent up as high as the crane could take her. He didn't really have that many coming but he planned to keep her up there until she calmed down some and his help was ready. Like Eddie, he was familiar with the feisty little blonde and he had no intention of doing a one on one with her.


He turned to find the redhead standing there, Lesha's bulk looming behind her, which surprised him. He had thought the redhead went with her friend in the ambulance, or the dark car that followed the ambulance into the night.

"Let her down. I can handle her."

"You sure, lady? She's really mad."

"She can handle her, Jack," Lesha answered. "She's the only one that can."

"All right," he answered doubtfully, but he began to slowly let her down off to the right of the hole. "Hope to god you know what you're doing," he muttered under his breath as the two women headed towards Tanya.

Tanya was still swearing a blue streak as she was lowered to the ground. She immediately began to try to get out of her harness. Phyllis grabbed her hands, stopping her efforts. Tanya looked up, ready to argue, until she saw who it was.

"Settle down, sweetie. Let Ed and Jack handle it."


"No buts, Tan. You're done. You're coming with me and I'm putting you to bed."

"Phil, I can't leave. I have to make sure Angela's okay."

Phyllis unhooked her and took her arm carefully, pulling her towards the car. Jack was astonished to see how docile Tanya was in the redhead's hands. He grinned. Eddie would never believe it. Tanya was the proverbial hell on wheels, especially when she didn't get her way, but it was obvious that the redhead had some sort of power over their volatile friend.

"Tell you what, Tan. If you promise to stay quiet in the car, I'll let you stay until they get her out. If not, its to bed with you."

Tanya was still arguing with her as she let the redhead help her into the car. Jack watched the redhead follow her in then turned back to the wench, keying his mike.

"Man, you just ain't gonna believe what I just saw."

"You can tell me while you lower me, Jack."

"Okay. You ready?"

"Go for it. Lower the stretcher."

Andy was just finishing attaching the stretcher to the cable Tanya had been on and started lowering it into the hole at Eddie's words.

He started the lift in motion then keyed his mike again.

"You know that redhead that Lesha was protecting like a mother hen?"

"Yeah, what about her?"

"Man has she got a nose ring on Tanya!"

"What? No way!"

"Way, man. Leads her around like a little puppy. T was cussin' me a blue streak. That redhead not only got her to shut up but led her to that limo and told her if she behaved she could stay until you get the other one out, but if she didn't it was back to bed for her. Wish I'd had a camera."

"So T met her waterloo. I'll be damned. Always said there wasn't the man alive could tame that one."

"You were right, Eddie. Took a gray eyed redhead."

* * *


Angela swam up out of her fevered nightmares into shivering reality, to find a harsh light in her face.

The dark figure behind it resolved into a man as he knelt beside her.

"Easy, lady. It's okay. I've come to get you out of here."

"Samantha okay?" Her voice was a barely audible whisper.

He held a small bottle of water for her. "Take it easy. Just take a little or you'll get sick. Yeah, she's on the way to the hospital. They're treating her for hypothermia and fatigue." He didn't say anything about the blonde's injuries. She just didn't need to know right now. He did some quick checks, noting the fever, shaking chills and dilated pupil of her left eye. "We need to worry about you now." After asking her several questions he prepped the stretcher then got her on and tied to a backboard with a neck and head brace, which he then carefully lifted onto the stretcher. Her answers concerned him. Not just the possible damage to her back but the way she answered. She was hesitant, hazy on things, forgetting the questions.

Eddie wrapped her snuggly in warm blankets then tied her firmly onto the stretcher. As he worked he kept up a constant commentary on her condition and his work which was for Jack but was also recorded for their records and her treatment later. He was worried about the vertical ride in the stretcher but there was just no other way to get her out of here and that was going to be dicey. There were a couple of places where he'd had to dig the passage a little wider to get the stretcher in here. He marveled at the incredibly dangerous climb the blonde had made with no safety or climbing equipment. In the end it had been the mud and the unstable buried debris that had defeated her. Whether she would have made it all the way, if that bit of passage had held, was anyone's guess, but he would bet a year's pay that the woman would have made it out.

When he had Angela secured into the stretcher he called Jack. The woman was already unconscious and he was deeply concerned for her.

"We're ready to go, Jack. Take it slow."

"Roger that."

The journey was not easy. They had to stop several times so Eddie could work the stretcher through the narrow passage, and he worried about the delay and the rough ride, but there was no help for it. Finally they made it to the top and the woman was turned over to the waiting paramedics who were busy working over her even as the doors closed and the rescue squad started away. He knew she was in the best of hands. As was his custom he said a silent prayer for her that they weren't already too late.

He sat in a fog watching the squad into the distance, Tanya's limo following behind it. He returned the wave from the rear of the limo, without moving more than his hand, too tired to do any more, now that the emergency was over and his body relaxed, the loss of adrenaline leaving him exhausted. A water bottle appeared in front of him and he lifted his eyes to find Jack standing beside him. Silently he took the bottle and nearly drained it.


"Drag your lazy ass up and I'll go you a round or two. You look like you could use it."

"Oh, yeah."

"Come on then. I can already smell Pat's cookin'."

Eddie's stomach growled and Jack laughed. "Nothing like a good eight hour rescue to work up an appetite. Come on, buddy. We'll get you a couple cold beers and some food, then I'll tell you the rest of the story."

"You find out how the hell they got down there?"

"Yeah. Seems the brunette's brother figured that was a good place to stash the bodies. He left them down there before the building was demolished, figuring the demolition would bury them."


"Yeah. My sentiments exactly. Hell of a nice guy."


* * *

Inevitable Destiny 21

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