Current, Part Eleven

    Olivia’s hands were fastened behind her back and the restraints around her wrists were tight enough to make her fingertips throb. One of the MPs got in the driver's seat of a jeep, leaving the two others on either side of her, in the back. As they drove, the adrenaline started to subside and she felt the soreness of having been in a fight. Olivia replayed the fight over and over again in her head. She felt like she could have given them more of a fight; she could have knocked them out and gotten away if she had done a couple things differently. It made her feel like a loser… Olivia hated losing.

    They arrived at the backside of the barracks with no extra lookouts and zero foot traffic. It didn’t surprise her, what they were doing to her wasn’t exactly legal, strictly speaking. Olivia figured they were keeping this operation to a skeleton crew; if she wanted to run, this was her best chance.

    They pulled her from the jeep with little regard for her well being and led her up a ramp toward the loading docks. She doubled over.

    “I think I’m gonna be sick.” Wincing in pain.

    “C’mon, keeping moving.” The officers on either side of her each had a hand in the crook of her elbow, pulling her to her feet.

    “I’m gonna puke.” She groaned and began heaving, and convulsing. Olivia put all her weight on the officers, forcing one to let go. She spun around and fell to the ground, landing in a fetal position.

    One of the MP’s rolled his eyes and ordered to another. “Go grab a medic or a stretcher or something.”

    Only two left, Olivia thought, and peeked up at the remaining officers; their eyes were not on her, she had an opening. She tucked her knees close and dipped her hands below her feet, clearing the restraints. She sprung to her feet and looped her arms over the head of the unsuspecting officer, executing a perfect judo throw. It must have been demeaning for the guy having been thrown by Olivia twice in one night, but she wasn’t done. Seeing the other MP hurdling toward her, Olivia rolled over the officer she had wrapped up and lifted him again. She suplexed the officer, timing it just right to force his legs to kick the other MP in the face. With both men down, she searched for a knife to cut the restraints. There were so many pockets and compartments on their uniforms she felt she wouldn’t have time and went for the sure thing. She was able to unfasten a gun from its holster just as the loading docks garage door loudly and slowly began to rise. Olivia sprinted for the jeep.

    “Damnit! No keys.”

    She turned back to the squeaking door and took aim, preparing for the worst. It finally revealed the third officer holding a field stretcher with a dopey look on his face as he surveyed the situation. He looked at Olivia fixing a gun on him, and then to the two knocked out officers, then back to Olivia. He dropped the stretcher and slowly put his hands in the air.

    “Keys! Now!”

Olivia peeled out onto the street and sped away from the military barracks. She knew she wouldn’t have long before the word was out, and every squad car would be on high alert for a woman in restraints driving a jeep. Luckily, the road leading away from the city was quiet and there were no other cars in sight. Olivia floored the gas pedal and felt the wind swirling all around her. Not wanting to push her luck, she slowed down about ten miles up the road and found an opening in the tree line. There were steep ditches on the sides of the highway, so she took her time positioning the vehicle so that it would not roll. Olivia rode the break as the jeep made its descent, and, nearing the bottom, punched the gas to make it up the hill on the opposite side.

    Olivia hoped that the tire tracks would stay hidden until morning and that the vehicle itself was far enough into the woods to buy her some time. She found a lug wrench in the spare tire kit, the kind with a flat edge on the end, and wedged it in between the seat and door. It wasn’t sharp enough to cut through the restraints, but enough pressure and friction eventually got the job done.

 

    The woods were difficult to navigate with the moon only slightly shining through the treetops. Olivia pressed on with only a vague idea of where she was and which direction she was heading. She knew the small patch of forest couldn’t go on for more than a couple of miles, and would put her somewhere in the northwestern suburbs when she came out on the other end. Olivia tried to wrack her brain for a friend, anyone she knew, in the area that wouldn’t mind harboring a fugitive for a day or two. It was no use; she was on her own. She walked until she found signs of civilization; a highway with mini-mall after mini-mall… suburbia. It wasn’t hard to stay out of sight; these areas don’t really lend a sidewalk. If you don’t have a car, there’s really no way of getting around. She stayed behind buildings and the sprawling slabs of concrete that went nowhere until she saw something familiar; a road sign with “Crystal Lake - 6 mi.” was staring back at her through the glare of changing stoplights. She had a destination. That’s all a person needs, she though, a destination.

 

    Olivia and her mother moved out of the city to Crystal Lake when she was fourteen. The decision was purely financial, they were living mostly off her father’s Veteran’s benefits which wasn’t a lot. The neighborhood Olivia had grown up in was flooded with hip restaurants, packed with a well-financed crowd. Soon, the entire neighborhood became too expensive and they were forced out.

Olivia adjusted to the new school just fine. The kids were eager to know her when word spread about who she was. Many boys would approach Olivia; some tried to be smooth, some were romantics, and some were more aggressive about it. One by one, she let them all down as easy as she could. She chalked it up to being too focused on schoolwork, track, and swimming. After all, it was still difficult for a teenager to come out.

None of that mattered two years later, when Olivia’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had fought hard, it even looked like she was going to beat it, but the tumors continued to grow and began resisting treatment. Her long, hard battle lasted until right after Olivia graduated high school. A nice moment, but Olivia couldn’t stand to look at the pictures. The woman who had stayed strong and raised her alone in her father’s absence was little more than a shell of herself by then. She looked weak… scared. Olivia likened the pictures to seeing the body at a funeral. Sure, it looks like the person, for the most part, but it’s not them… they’re not in there… and the surreal feeling of that moment was one Olivia didn’t care to have as the last time she saw them.

 

It took until dawn, but Olivia arrived at the cemetery, and hopped the fence. She had the general location in mind, but had to walk up and down a few rows before finding her mother’s grave. She looked at the headstone and wondered if you’re supposed to stand back a ways since, technically, you’d be standing on top of the body. If that’s true, you’re walking on bodies practically the entire time you’re at a cemetery.

She stood in silence for a short time looking at the headstone, then around at the scenery, shifting around the weight in her feet. Olivia had never talked to a grave before, it always seemed pointless, but she figured that’s what people do when they have nowhere to turn, so she might as well give it a try.

“...Hi, Mom.”