"Hey Robbie," came the call from up the road. Lost in thought before, Robbie Walters looked up and smile. "Hey, Greg, how's it going?" he waved to the newcomer, bustling over to him.
"Oh, just done enjoying another great day on the beach," Greg greeted him, "And what's that you've got there?" he noticed the objects Robbie was holding behind his back, "Might that be a gift for that girl you've clearly got eyes for?"
"Uh, yeah," Robbie admitted nervously, holding up the bouquet of white carnations in his hand, "I, uh, wanted to get Carrie something while we're both still here, and, well, flowers at least seem to fit. Have you seen her, by chance?"
"Matter of fact, she's still down on the beach with her friends. Hurry up, and we'll go give them to her," Greg waved him to follow him.
"Good, good," Robbie fell in behind him. He took a deep, nervous breath, running his free hand through his curly black hair. Only about five days had passed since he'd first laid eyes on Carrie, but it had seemed like an eternity. Spring break on Terrell Island--that was where half the guys on campus in Massachusetts had decided to go, and since it had snowed heavily all winter, Robbie had eagerly wanted to join in, despite the fact he'd been an outlier who hadn't quite fit in yet. He remembered it as if it was yesterday: most of the rest of them had gone off to go surfing, leaving him to take a walk along the beach. And then he'd seen her sunbathing and talking with her friends: the most beautiful girl he'd ever laid eyes on. He'd been captivated at first sight--so much so that he'd been scared to approach her. For at least an hour, he'd sat on a bench nearby, watching her. Then he'd met Greg, who'd sat down on the same bench next to him. Greg, although not from Terrell Island, did live in the same county--he was going to the nearest community college--and had quickly worked up a friendly rapport with Robbie, ultimately urging him to go talk to her. Robbie had--and Carrie, as he'd found out was her name, had in fact seemed to like him. At first he'd still been worried that he'd have no chance with her once it became clear her family was a lot wealthier than his, but Carrie hadn't minded, she made clear to him. The two of them had talked for well over an hour, and Carrie had said she'd probably be there all week in the same place. And she had been, and he'd bonded with her more and more. Sitting there on the sand the previous evening with his arm around her, watching the sunset together, it had been the warmest feeling of his life. He'd wished spring break would never have to end, that they'd never have to say goodbye...
"So, did you get her contact information yet?" Greg asked him, "I can guess you'd like to stay in touch with her after spring break's over, right?"
"Uh, no, not yet, Greg, but I'd like too. God, Carrie's so pretty and sweet," Robbie mused with a happy sigh, "I wish we were in the same college..."
"I can tell the two of you are a special couple already," Greg grinned at him, "As for me," it was his turn to sigh dreamily, "I've give anything for Donna Lawrence to love me..."
"Donna, that's her friend the blonde-haired lifeguard, right?"
"Yeah. She takes classes at my school; I fell head over heels the first time I saw her too."
"Is she taken?"
"Taken? Not officially, no, but every guy on the beach is in love with Donna--with how beautiful she is, who can blame them?" Greg shrugged grimly, "Plus, I'm like you were with Carrie when we first met; I just can't bring myself to tell her how I feel. I mean, I wave to her and tell her she's pretty when I see her, but when I'm competing with every other guy on the island...if only there was some way to really tell her..."
"Well, now's your chance, buddy: there she is with the other girls," Robbie pointed down to the beach, where the girls were congregated around their usual spot, "Why not just walk...wait minute," he paused, frowning, "Something's wrong. Where's Carrie...?"
He squinted harder, but the white of Carrie's bathing suit was not among the colors in the congregation of girls. His heart dropping, he broke into a sprint towards them. "Hey," he called to them, "Where's Carrie!? Is everything all right...!?"
"Robbie, thank god you're here," Terri greeted him, terror on her face, "Carrie's missing..."
"What!?" his chest did a horrible somersault, "How!?"
"She just vanished," Mandy numbly pointed to the surf, "We were all just sunbathing here, Carrie went out for a swim, and she just...she just disappeared into thin air..."
"Oh my God..." Robbie moaned, his heart freezing, "You don't mean she...she...!?"
"I don't know, Robbie," Leigh shook her head, "There was no screaming, no splashing, no nothing that usually happens when someone drowns. She just vanished."
"And you were watching her the whole time!?"
"Most of the time, but there was a stretch we weren't, so whatever happened there..." Donna gulped nervously, "Tell you what," she turned back to Robbie, "A couple of us were going to go out and search for her--I can clear the use of one of the lifeguard boats for us. If Leigh and I can give you a radio, could you search up the beach and keep in touch with us about what you find?"
"Sure, sure, Donna, anything for Carrie," Robbie mumbled, "I've...I've really fallen in love with her..."
"Is he all right?" Donna now pointed towards Greg, who was hiding nervously behind a boardwalk post. Robbie broke into laughter. "Oh, yeah, uh, well, Greg, he..." he leaned close to Donna's ear and whispered, "He has the biggest crush on you like you can't imagine."
"Oh does he now?" Donna laughed happily and turned to Greg with a warm smile that made him blush and slide back behind the post, "Well, that's really sweet of him. Maybe once this is all over with, I can see just how deep that crush is. I appreciate it that he cares. For now, though," her expression got serious again, "We've got work to do."
She turned back to the other girls. "OK, I'll take the boat out for Carrie; Leigh, you keep watch in the tower while we're out," she told her fellow lifeguard, "We'll stay in radio communication the whole time. Who wants to come with me?" she turned to Carrie's fellow vacationers.
"I'm in," Terri grimly raised her hand, "I can't imagine life without Carrie; if she's not...well she just can't be...!"
"I know, Terri, I know," Donna patted her sympathetically on the shoulder. "How about you two?" she asked Mandy and Audrey.
"I'm in too," Mandy raised her hand as well. "Audrey?" she asked her cousin.
"Sorry, Mandy; I prefer staying on dry land for this," Audrey shook her head, "I'll stay in the tower with Leigh and keep a watch there."
"OK then. Ladies, come with me," Donna told Terri and Mandy, grabbing up her rescue buoy and running fast up the beach. The brunette and redhead fell in behind her. "Wait here, I'll have a radio for you in a minute," Leigh told Robbie, "Then you go up the beach that way and keep in touch with us," she pointed in the opposite direction. "Come on," she waved at Audrey, who followed her back to hers and Donna's tower. Gulping, Robbie bustled back over to Greg. "Well, good news and bad news, buddy; good news is, Donna appreciates that you care for her, so maybe the two of you do have something. Bad news," he shuddered, "Something's happened to Carrie. Come on, we'll search up the beach for her...and hope we don't come across anything horrible...."
Carrie sat stone still in her seat, staring blankly straight ahead with bulging eyes. The ocean drifted by slowly outside the submarine's windshield, all of it looking exactly the same, and Carrie had no idea where it was heading.
Kidnapped. She'd long had nightmares of people abducting her and holding her for ransom. The reality, however, was just as horrifying as the nightmare, as she could not move at all under the mountain of ropes binding her. It also did not help that one of her captors squatted next to her seat with a knife to her throat, terrifying her even more. Was she slated to die in the end, she wondered fearfully? And if she was, would it be quick and easy, or would it be...?
"Scared?" the guard asked her, "Can't blame you, this is normal for...no, no, don't look at me," he warned her when she started to turn her head in his direction, pressing the knife tighter against her throat, "Keep looking straight ahead at all times, or else. Understand?"
"MMMMM MMMMMMM!!" Carrie weakly nodded, unable to make any sound greater than a very low moan. All the cloths gagging her were very thick and very tight, squeezing her cheeks hard. She'd give anything to be rid of them and the ropes...
"As I was saying," he stroked her hair, "It's perfectly all right to be scared. But don't be terrified; we're not going to do anything sexual with you, and you won't be hurt as long as you behave yourself like a good girl. We just want a ransom from your family, that's all. Now whether you go home or not, that'll depend..."
"MMMMMMMM, MMMMMMMMMM!!!!" Carrie cried, her eyes bulging even wider in terror at the thought of not going home. He chuckled softly. "We've been watching you for a while, you know," he leaned towards her ear, "We case all the beaches around here each spring break, looking for the prettiest people to go for. You were an obvious choice: knockout gorgeous and wealthy. So we watched until the right moment came, and here you are with us..."
"We're just about there," the sub's pilot announced. And indeed, Carrie's ears started crackling, making it clear they were ascending from the depths, "Fix her eyes and get her wrapped up good before we break the surface."
"You've got it," the guard said jovially. Carrie's attention was taken by the third man in the crew, who was starting to unravel a very large net in the corner. Her eyes widened further still, knowing well what it was likely for. She didn't want to be a total mummy...!
She shrieked as a blindfold was pulled over her eyes and tied painfully tight behind her head. The seatbelt was unbuckled and unwound from around her upper body next. Carrie was dragged out of the seat kicking and screaming towards the corner. Moments later, as she feared, the net was thrown over her, and she was rolled around until it was wrapped all around her like a coccoon. Ropes were lashed around her waist, knees, and ankles, imprisoning her completely inside the net. She was then lifted up and flung over one of the men's shoulders like a sack of potatoes, right as a splashing sound rang out outside as the sub crested the surface. Carrie heard the hatch slide open behind her. She was carried kicking and moaning up the ladder and across a stone floor of some kind that echoed loudly, as if she was in a cave. "Just so you know, you're far from any hope of rescue," her captor almost laughed at her, "We're miles from any human being. So just give up hope of rescue now."
"MMMMM MMMMMM MMMMMMM!!!!" Carrie moaned, feeling sick to her stomach. She felt herself being carried up a long flight of stairs, through a heavy iron door, and down a long hall. The man carrying her turned right, then left, then right again before stopping. Another heavy door opened to Carrie's right, and she was carried through it. She was dropped to a cold stone floor and maneuvered into a kneeling position. A heavy clanking sound rang up behind her, and Carrie suddenly felt something large, cold, and metallic press against the back of her abdomen. It then closed like a pincer around her waist, and a padlock snapped in the front of it. A chain rattled next, and two iron clamps snaked through the netting and clamped around each of her arms just above her bound wrists. More padlocks snapped, leaving her arms chained to the wall behind her. A third set of chains were now wrapped around her ankles and also padlocked into place. "There, that'll hold you for now," the leader declared, "Even the stronger person couldn't move at all in that."
He leaned close to Carrie's face. "As my colleague said, we're not going to hurt you as long as you're a good girl and behave," he warned her, "So just sit still if I were you until we arrange your ransom payment. So, tell we meet again, Miss Plummer..."
"MMMMMMMM, MMMMMM MMMM MMMM MMMM MMMMMM!!!!" Carrie pleaded through her gag at him. His footsteps walked away, and the heavy iron door slammed shut. Carrie's heart sank at the sound of a key turning in the lock. She was completely alone and completely helpless now. She was puzzled how her kidnappers knew her last name or that she came from a wealthy family; none of their voices sounded familiar. What she did know, though, was that if help didn't come soon, she could be in infinitely worse trouble...