Valiant Page 18

Tammy shoved him and started to run for the bar but only got a few feet before someone grabbed her hair. She screamed again from the pain that shot from the back of her head. The stranger jerked her in his brutal grasp and slammed her into someone\s parked truck. Their side mirror struck her cheek and pain shot through that side of her face near her ear.

He released her hair so his strong arms could wrap around her waist and they kept her from hitting the ground when her knees threatened to collapse under her. She screamed again and kicked at the jerk who hefted her off her feet. The back of her head made contact with a face behind her when she threw it back in a frantic attempt to force him to drop her. He cursed loudly and released her.

She hit the ground and nearly fell to her knees but managed to stagger away a few steps instead. Two of her attackers had put themselves between her and the bar. She fought back a wave of dizziness from the pain in her face and the back of her head where she\d head-butted the jerk. She bumped the truck again, used it to push against, and sprinted for the road instead. She made it out of the parking lot to the sidewalk, even to the pavement of the street, and spotted headlights coming at her.

Tammy ran at them, sure that those jerks would run in the opposite direction. Traffic was normally light at that time of night but whoever drove the car approaching her had to be better than those she fled. She waved her arms, yelling to get the driver\s attention, and realized the vehicle started to slow.

She recognized the vehicle as it drew closer. Pastor Thomas\ beat-up old car was a welcome sight when he hit the brakes completely, stopping just feet from where she stood. She couldn\ miss the shock on his features as he peered at her through his windshield. Relief flooded her until his gaze shifted from hers, his lips parted, and his eyes widened in alarm at something he saw to the side of her.

Tammy twisted her head to stare over her shoulder and saw the four men rush at her. The one in cowboy boots who\d lifted her off her feet had blood running down his chin from his busted lip she\d caused and that\s all she saw before they reached her.

Tammy screamed, kicked, and tried to punch but the men grabbed her arms and one of them grabbed her legs. They yanked her off her feet and ran with her body carried between them toward the parking lot of the bar. A loud horn blared while Pastor Thomas screamed her name.

They hoisted her into the air and tossed her over the rim of the bed of the truck as if she were a sack of potatoes. The force of the impact when she landed knocked the air from her lungs and pain exploded inside the back of her head where it slammed into the metal truck bed hard. She gasped in air, ordered her body to move, but the second she tried to sit up, two bodies crushed down on top of her.

She struggled and clawed at both men but they easily kept her pinned under them. The truck engine roared to life and doors slammed a second before the transmission was thrown in reverse. Wheels spun and everything moved rapidly.

The sudden and abrupt movement of the truck rolled two of the men away from her as they slammed into the side of the truck bed. It rolled Tammy onto her side. She glimpsed the night sky. The truck brakes locked up and rolled her in a new direction a second before the driver changed gears again. The transmission protested loudly when it made a grinding noise.

Tammy reached for the edge of the truck in hopes of climbing out but the driver punched the gas before her fingers could make purchase. The momentum of truck\s forward motion made Tammy slide toward the lifted tailgate. Hands grabbed her and two bodies came back down on top of her, pinning her under them. She managed to scream.

The truck speed at a fast rate but over the stressed engine and the heavy breathing from her captors, she heard a horn honk repeatedly behind them. Pastor Thomas followed the truck and refused to stop trying to draw attention to what had happened.

Bless him! Unfortunately it made the driver of the truck more reckless. The truck hit some potholes and Tammy groaned in agony as the men on top of her slammed and crushed her tighter against the painful metal under her back.

Her ribs and head hurt. She also fought to breathe with their combined weight compressing her lungs. The horn kept honking behind them and it seemed to go on forever. The men holding her down were swearing when the ride turned really rough after the driver seemed to leave the road, driving over what Tammy guessed was grass from the way she could feel the ass end of the vehicle sliding and how bumpy and violently it moved. The sound of a horn grew fainter. She realized her attackers were smart enough to go off road since the pastor\s car wouldn\ be able to.

Tammy nearly passed out from the pain when a loud grinding noise came from the truck and it slowed until it came to a stop. A man yelled curses from the cab. The men holding her down eased their hold. Tammy kneed one of them in the stomach hard. He made a horrible retching noise and she clawed her hand across the arm of the other man who tried to grip her thigh. Her nails dug into soft flesh until he screamed, jerking away.

Tammy fought with her fists and legs to get away from her captors. She managed to do enough damage that they winced away. She sat up and lunged in the other direction. Her fingers gripped the side of the truck. Desperation and terror made her find the strength to drag her body up until she fell out of the back of the truck and hit the dirt on her side. She lay there for a second, in pain, but stumbled to her feet when the cab door near her squeaked open.

She was able to make out the heavily wooded area that surrounded her with the help of the moon. She ran for the dark, dense tree line, hoped she could hide there, and knew it would be her only chance to lose the bastards. She barely made it to the trees when she heard them shout at her. It encouraged her to run faster and fear motivated her to press on while ignoring the pain in her side.

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