"Hello, can I help you?" came the young woman's voice on the other end of Robbie's cell phone.

"Hello, my name is Robbie Walters.  Is this Nicole Liston or Samantha Morris by chance?" he asked her.

"I'm Samantha Morris.  How can I help you?"

"Well..." Robbie took a deep breath and leaned against the side of Donna and Leigh's lifeguard tower, "This...this may be a bit uncomfortable a question to ask you, but...if you can, could you tell me...tell me about when you and your friend Nicole were kidnapped on Terrell Island?"

There was a grim silence on the other end of the line.  Why do you want to know?" Samantha asked hesitantly, "I've been hoping to put that behind me..."

"I know, and I understand, by whoever kidnapped you and your friend struck again, and they've taken a girl I really care for this time.  The head lifeguard here gave me your number--they kidnapped some girls who work for him too.  So please, anything about where you were taken and what the people who grabbed you looked like...anything that can bring the girl I like and her friends back..."

There was an uncomfortable sigh from Samantha.  "Very well, if it'll help someone else," she began, "Nicole and I went to Terrell Island to celebrate the end of our sophomore year of college.  For the first four days, it was all good and normal; we swam in the ocean, sunbathed on the beach, all the usual stuff.  Then, on the fifth day, we decided to go out water skiing.  And for a while, it was normal.  And then...and then..."

She started breathing harder.  "Nicole was driving the boat, and I was skiing.  We were out in the middle of the ocean by ourselves.  And suddenly, these two figures jumped out of hte water on either side of me like dolphins, knocked me down off my skis, wrestled me motionless, and smothered my mouth with a chloroformed rag.  I was out cold in fifteen seconds.  Nicole said later she'd heard my cry of distress, but thought it was a yell of delight.  It was about two minutes and a half mile later when she looked back and saw I was gone.  She stopped the boat and cried out for me, and while she did, some more of them swarmed the boat, grabbed her, and chloroformed her too.  Anyway..."

She took several deep, uncomfortable breaths.  "When I woke up, I was hogtied, gagged, and blindfolded and laying on a cold metal floor.  And I could clearly tell Nicole was too.  They must have heard our initial moans, because one of them came in shortly thereafter, basically to leer at the two of us, and to tell us we were going to be ransomed--ten million dollars for each of us.  I was terrified; we're just ordinary college girls, not rich kids.  And they made it clear we were dead if the money didn't come for us.  Well, for the next several days, Nicole and I struggled and screamed as hard as we could, to no effect, since we were tied as tight as possible.  And other than our kidnappers coming in every few hours to test our bonds, we were completely alone.  I was sure we were going to die a few times."

"I heard you did escape on your own, though.  How'd you do it?"

"I was able to squirm over to the door after a while," Samantha told him, "Once I reached it, I managed to eventually work my gag off against one of the hinges.  Then I struggled over to Nicole and chewed the ropes on her hands and upper body loose.  After she freed me, we waited on either side of the door for him to come in and check on us again.  When he did, we bashed him in the face, ran outside, dove over the railing, and swam like crazy for the lights on the beach.  And after fifteen minutes of hard stroking, we got their, exhausted but alive."

"Good for you.  Did you see your kidnappers at all...?"

"No, not really, sorry.  The people who grabbed me were a blur of diver's suits, and we only got the briefest glimpse of the man we punched out before we escaped.  But they had us on the north side of the island; maybe that's where your girl is now.  I hope they find her and everyone else they might have grabbed now; what Nicole and I went through was terrifying..."

"Robbie," came Greg's voice.  Robbie turned to see his friend waving him around the lifeguard tower.  "Uh, gotta go, something important's going on," he told Samantha, "Thanks for your help; this might help us find her--and them.  I won't say a word to anyone, I promise.  Bye."

He hung up.  "What's going...?" he started to ask to Greg.

"Shhh," Greg hissed, pointing at the next lifeguard tower down.  The young man manning that one--Robbie knew his name to be Dennis offhand, was on a phone call himself, and he sounded tense.  "...cops are all over here after that," he was arguing, "But if you need me, I guess I can make it.  Give me about ten minutes, and I can be over there.  Right, see you."

He hung up and bustled off, not noticing the boys watching him.  "Did he say anything about Carrie?" Robbie asked Greg.

Not specifically, but he mentioned something about pretty lifeguards.  I think some more girls might be in trouble now, Robbie," Greg gulped.

"Well then, let's follow him discreetly," Robbie declared, "Let's make sure no one else joins Carrie and her friends..."


"...authorities have not revealed the ransom demands for the missing vacationers and lifeguards, but they are rumored to be fairly substantial.  Police boats have started combing the water, hoping to find any leads as to the six young ladies' whereabouts.  That's just horrible," a numb Stacy Baldwin lowered the newspaper she'd been reading in her lifeguard tower ten miles away from Terrell Island.  "I'd hoped those kidnappers had given up after those two girls had escaped a while back, but apparently not," she said grimly to her two partners in the tower.

"We'd better keep an eye on everyone here on our beach, Stacy," Courtney Reed said softly, "Who knows if they'd strike here?"

"I don't think you two have to worry; we're well away from Terrell Island," Jenny Maxwell was, on the other hand, not worried, "I remember they worked all around there last time; what are the odds they'd come down here?"

"I hope a small one, Jenny," Stacy shook her head and turned her gaze to the beach, packed with spring breakers.  Twenty-one and with long straight blonde hair and emerald green eyes, Stacy hd been working Roberts Beach with her lifelong friends Courtney and Jenny since they had been fifteen.  The three of them always looked forward to the crush of spring break, where business picked up after the doldrums of the winter months, and this year had been no exception.  She, brown haired Courtney, and red haired Jenny were among the most popular lifeguards on the beach, and the most successful, each with a number of saves to their credit.  Indeed, the three of them had long been debating whether to make full time lifeguarding their careers...

Just then, the tower's radio buzzed to life, and a desperate scream rang out.  All three girls' eyes spun in the radio's direction.  "HELP!!" came the terrified scream on it.  The lifeguard's lunge for the radio.  "Roberts Beach lifeguard office, what's wrong!?" Stacy asked worriedly.

"I'm Christina Harmon, I'm out on a boat with my boyfriend off Zisk Point; we're...!" the girl cried, then let out another scream.  The line clicked off.  The three lifeguards exchanged glances.  "What was that about!?" Courtney soke worriedly for all three of them.

"Sounds like big trouble of some kind," Stacy grabbed hold of her rescue buoy, "Come on, we've got to go check it out."

"Sure we should do this alone, Stacy?" Courtney wasn't sure, "If there's..."

"Courtney, Courtney, will you just relax?" Jenny all but laughed, grabbing her own rescue buoy and rushing after Stacy out of the tower, "This is a simple rescue mission, not a charge into mortal danger..."


"Roberts Beach lifeguards, are you all right?" she called out loud over a megaphone fifteen minutes later as Stacy pulled their lifeguard boat alongside a floundering boat in the middle of the ocean off Zisk Point.  There was no response and no sign of life on board the boat.  "Roberts Beach lifeguards; is anyone there?" she asked again.  There was still no answer.  "I've got a funny feeling about this," Courtney seemed worried.

"Is anyone there!?" Stacy cupper her hands and shouted at the boat.  No one answered.  Frowning, Stacy grabbed her rescue buoy, hopped onto the boat's ladder, and climbed up.  "What happened here?" she murmurred, seeing everything in the deck and in the cabin toppled over and wrecked.

"Looks like some kind of struggle took place," Jenny mused, coming alongside her with Courtney, "Do you think it's serious, something we should call in?"

"Probably, Jenny; looks like this might be foul play..." Stacy heard the creaking of the hatch opening behind her and her friends a split second too late.  Before she could react, a hand was clamped hard over her mouth, and she was grabbed around the midsection and wrestled still, her arms pinned uselessly at her sides.  "Gotcha," a dark voice sneered, "Obvious trick, and you ladies fell right for it."

"MMMMMMFFFF!!!" Stacy moaned in fear, thrashing hard to try and escape.  No fewer then four figures in diver suits, however, held her motionless.  Her arms were now pulled behind her back, and ropes lashed into her wrists and elbows, "We felt like grabbing two pretty lifeguards on Terrell Island was something we should consider expanding on," one of the men explained darkly, tying Jenny's hands behind her back to Stacy's right, "We searched all the beaches up and down the coast and decided the three of you were the prettiest overall group of lifeguards available.  So, you'll be joining our little sorority of lovely lady hostages--and the lifeguard department on Roberts Beach'll pay a good high ransom for each of you, as will your families."

The hand was removed from Stacy's mouth, but she was only able to get the briefest of cries out before it was packed with two huge wads of cloth.  A third cloth was tied over her lips to hold them in place, and a fourth, covering half of her face, tied over that.  More ropes lashed all around her legs at various locations.  "The blonde's coming with us," the apparent leader of the group told the men roping up her legs, "Take the other two to Base Two," he pointed at Courtney and Jenny, who stared straight ahead with numb expressions as their mouths were wrapped in wide rolls of white adhesive tape, "They'll probably be safest there."

He snatched each lifeguard's whistle off their necks and flung them into the ocean, then did the same with their rescue buoys.  Stacy heard a loud splashing sound off the port side.  She was carried over to it and saw a small submarine surfacing, its hatch popping open as if on cue.  "Down we go," Stacy's captor carried her back down the ladder to the sub.  She glanced forlornly back at Jenny and Courtney on the deck, moaning as their eyes were being wrapped in even more tape.  They'd made a grave mistake, and no one was around to help them now.

She was carried down the ladder into the submarine, where her eyes widened to see another girl sitting bound and gagged herself on one of the seats near the front.  With long curly blonde hair and a purple one piece bathing suit, this girl was as pretty as Stacy.  Her own eyes widened as well to see the lifeguard being carried towards him.  "Say hello to Miss Christina Harmon," Stacy's captor introduced them, dumping Stacy into the seat next to her, "She was the bait to lure you and your fellow lifeguards out here.  We weren't expecting to come across her, but she served her purpose well.  Now you two pretty blondes are going to join another pretty blonde named Carrie; maybe you've seen her name in the news lately.  You and her are going to bring us the extra big bucks because you're the prettiest."

"MMMMMMMMM!!!!!" Stacy moaned at him fearfully, not wanting to be ransomed.  She turned towards Christina.  The other blonde gave her a sad look that seemed to say she was sorry that Stacy had been dragged into this, that she didn't want to see this happen to her.  She yelped muffledly as a blindfold was pulled over her eyes--as did Stacy when she was abruptly blindfolded as well.  They were going to join Carrie Plummer as hostages, she realized fearfully, and no one was going to save the lifeguards' lives...



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