Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Read First Chapter of The First To Say No


The First to Say No

Charles C. Anderson

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Dr. Elita Romanov’s first thought as she fought her way into consciousness was of her boyfriend in Chechnya. But he had been killed in the second war with the Russians. Her next thought was the screaming pain in the back of her head. She rolled her head to the right nd discovered a tender lump in her scalp. She wished she could reach up and touch it.Was her hair matted with blood from a laceration in this lump? She wiggled her nose. She opened and closed her eyes and mouth. She turned her head from side to side and felt her earrings
touch a table.The rest of her head seemed okay. She wondered if she had other injuries. Someone had knocked her out. She could think of no other explanation.Why was her body moving back and forth?

She looked down and identified the bobbing head of a man. He was grunting. He was lying on top of her. He was inside her. She registered the odors of bourbon, cigarettes, decayed teeth, and sex. A scream would feel good, but she knew better. She recognized the taste in her mouth and wanted to spit. She knew better than to struggle.After all,  this was the third time she had been raped, including two gang bangs by the Russians. She willed herself to be flaccid, and swallowed.

This man on top of her appeared to be Puerto Rican. He had a red bandana cap on top of his head. He was looking down at her naked chest and belly, as if her face was not attached. She was being raped by a member of the Plagues, the local gang that ruled the neighborhood of Parkview.

She searched for more information. The ceiling had chipped blue paint. She felt wood against her bare back. Her legs dangled from the knees. She could touch the floor with her toes. Her arms were tied over her head by cloth, probably to the legs of the table she was lying on.

She smelled wood smoke. She heard the voices of men in the next room and the steady rhythm of some kind of music. A door over his left shoulder was closed, or almost closed. This Plague was naked so far as she could see. She scanned the room for his knife or gun. No. She smelled wood smoke.  No plague ventured very far from his personal weapon. On the couch to her right she saw his pistol and a bottle of Vaseline. She noted her
work scrubs strewn between the couch and the table she was lying on.

She studied her rapist. He was becoming more excited. His palms were positioned on the table on each side of her pelvis. He abruptly moved them to her breasts, which he gripped like handles. Sweat dripped from his head onto her chest and abdomen as the pace of his thrusts quickened. The wood of the table gnawed at her back as he pulled her back and forth by her breasts.

He had failed to secure her feet. Slowly she lifted her right knee and extended her foot. He didn’t notice. She lifted her left knee. If he was aware of her leg movements, he didn’t care.

Not tying her legs was a critical mistake on her rapist’s part.Tying her slender hands at the wrists with cloth was also a mistake. She relaxed her right hand and steadily pulled it through the cloth restraint. As her left hand slid from its restraint, her rapist began to grunt loudly.

Elita gradually squeezed her thighs together to limit his penetration. He responded by removing his hands from her breasts, inserting the palms of his hands under her buttocks and lifting her pelvis off the table. He spread her thighs with his forearms as he leaned into her. At that moment, this man was her predator. In a few heartbeats, he would be her prey.

The man’s jaw fell open. His chin jutted toward her. He closed his eyes and began to tremble. Like a crouching lioness in the savannah, Elita sprang to life, elevated her pelvis and clamped the rapist’s neck between her thighs. She locked her ankles together and squeezed with the powerful muscles in her thighs.

At five feet ten inches tall, she was a finely tuned thirty-four year old athlete with honed skills at both taking lives and saving them. Elita wore her brunette hair short, combed behind her ears, and liked earrings.
Her hands were delicate and very steady for a young physician.She was a rare combination, a lioness who was as graceful as her prey, the gazelle, and as deadly as a black mamba. Not many emergency physicians had her level of experience treating the wounds of war. Only the U.S. State Department knew the details of her most remarkable skill.

Her rapist was already short-winded when Elita interrupted most of the blood flow to his head. She could feel his carotid pulses against the inside of her thighs. His heart rate accelerated. She rested her forearms on the table as he struggled to get his feet under himself. He lifted her pelvis another foot off the table, but stumbled back to his knees. She watched his face turn ashen.

He abandoned his efforts to stand. Flailing his arms around her thighs, he knocked the red scarf off his head. His chin collapsed to her pubic bone. He tried to wiggle his hands between her thighs and his neck, but he did not have the strength to pry his head out.

Elita knew that his brain could only last a few seconds without blood flow and oxygen. His efforts to free himself were already panicky and uncoordinated. He appeared to be getting some air through his mouth and nose, however, and she did not want him to cry out. Squeezing his neck from the sides had effectively cut off most of his brain’s blood supply, but his airway, in the midline of his head and neck, was still at least partially open.

Without releasing her leg grip on his neck, Elita sat up and wrapped her hands around the back of his head. She guided his nose and mouth to her vagina and pulled his face to her to make a tight seal. She watched his breastbone being sucked in with each respiratory effort. She felt the suction tug on the soft tissues of her perineum.

She concentrated on his carotid pulses against her thighs. His heart rate was now decelerating. She estimated about forty beats per minute.His head color was now blue. She looked toward the door. No one entered.
She held him as his heart rate became slower and slower, showing no more emotion than a lioness suffocating a gazelle.

Once his heartbeat disappeared, she gradually relaxed the muscles in her thighs and sat completely upright. Holding his hair in her fists, she guided his head to the floor between her feet.

She bounded toward the couch, but slipped on his semen in the floor. She caught herself on her knees with her face against the couch. The pistol was six inches from her nose.

The feel of the pistol grip in her hand brought out her first emotion, a faint smile in the corner of her mouth. She examined it carefully. It was a Glock .45 semiautomatic. She released the clip in the hand grip and counted fourteen rounds in the magazine. She pulled back on the slide of the gun enough to confirm a round already in the chamber. Gently she let the slide move back to its ready position. She inserted the magazine into the hand grip and stepped to the right of the door.

Elita gently grasped the door knob with her left hand and leaned her naked back against the doorframe.The Glock was resting against the right side of her face as she cracked the door and leaned forward.

The first thing she saw was a wood stove. It was mid-November. She recalled that the weather had been especially cold and windy recently. She felt the heat from the stove on her forehead. She scanned the room
by direct vision and by reflections from glass surfaces in the room.

There were two men in the room that she could see, a black male and a white male, both seated on a couch.They appeared to be counting money on a small table. She noted the front door and a full window
on each side of this door. It was an old house, not unlike the many Victorian houses in Parkview. She wondered where she was.

On the far side of the couch in the floor of the room where she had been raped was her own purse and overcoat.The work scrubs on the floor meant that she had been abducted on her way to or from work
in the emergency department, where she was an attending physician.She guessed that it had happened in the parking deck as she was leaving, although she had no recollection of this.

Walking to and from the car in the parking deck was the most vulnerable time for any female employee at Parkview Hospital. The Plagues specialized in preying on nurses and other female employees coming and going for the night shift.They were smart enough to disable the security cameras before acting. She recalled that an emergency department nurse named Janice Green had been abducted from the second level of the parking deck and raped about six months earlier.

Elita weighed her options. She could open the door and start shooting. But what if there were more than two Plagues in the room? What if she walked into a cross-fire? It would be better to draw everybody
in the room to the door.

She walked back to the table, sat down and spread her legs. Reaching down, she picked the dead man’s head up by the hair and positioned it between her legs, where she held it again with her thigh muscles. She arched her back and extended her arms over her head and underneath the table.The Glock was in her right hand. She began to moan rhythmically, increasing the volume quickly.

She heard the door creak open, followed by laughter.The two men at the door were still laughing when Elita sat up and shot them both in the chest.They crumpled in the doorway. She held the gun extended toward the door as she stood up. The dead man’s head between her legs fell back to the floor. No one else came to the door or ran out the front door.

Elita entered the front room with the gun out in front.There were stairs to her left and a kitchen to her right. The kitchen was empty. She leaped up the stairs and methodically moved from room to room with the gun until she was satisfied that she was alone. She looked out of an upstairs window and saw the line of tall trees that encircled River Park. She had been abducted and raped within a mile of her own home.

She moved like a cat down the stairs, three steps at a time.This waslikely one of the Plagues’ regular hangouts. Any number of Plagues could return without warning. She stepped over the two dead men in the doorway and walked toward her clothes. Everything was there except her panties. She dressed hurriedly and looked for her shoes.

She moved like a cat down the stairs, three steps at a time.This was likely one of the Plagues’ regular hangouts. Any number of Plagues could return without warning. She stepped over the two dead men
in the doorway and walked toward her clothes. Everything was there except her panties. She dressed hurriedly and looked for her shoes.

She found the second shoe underneath the couch and sat down on the table to tie the laces. She disliked having to let go of the Glock to tie her shoes. On the table were stacks of twenty dollar bills wrapped in zip lock bags.The briefcase on the table held two packages of white powder, which she suspected to be cocaine. She looked around the house for something large enough to hold the money. The briefcase would be hard to run with.

A dirty brown pillowcase from the floor of the bedroom fit the bill. The money went into the pillowcase, which she dropped at the front door. She had no use for the drugs. She put her overcoat on and felt in her pockets. Her cell phone was still there. She stuffed the Glock into the other pocket of the overcoat.

In the closet of the kitchen Elita found a five gallon kerosene can, but it was empty.The only other thing that might be useful was a tire iron. She recalled the kerosene stove she had seen upstairs. It had not been warm.

She searched the closet and cabinets for any kind of accelerant, liquid or powder—anything that was flammable. Apparently, no one cooked or cleaned much in this house.

If there were three Plagues inside, there was bound to be a vehicle or two outside. Visitors and employees at the hospital often complained that gas was removed from their cars in the parking deck. It was worth a try.

There were two vehicles outside, a yellow HUMVEE and a blue sedan. The moon was three-quarters. The streets were quiet. Not by accident, she thought, the street lamps near the house were not functional.
She looked at her watch. It was 3:30 AM. 

Elita used the tire iron to pop the trunk of the sedan, being careful not to leave fingerprints on the car.Among the clutter in the trunk her hands ran into what she was looking for—an eight foot length of clear PVC tubing, approximately three-fourths inch diameter.

She took the hose and left it next to the sedan’s rear wheel at the curb. Returning to the house she retrieved her purse, the pillowcase, and the five gallon empty kerosene can. She smashed the light fixture overhead in the front room with the kerosene can on her way out and stuffed her purse into her overcoat pocket with the cell phone.

People in America thought that country girls were resourceful. But American country girls never had to survive on their own in a war zone, where being a woman was not usually an asset.

On her knees, she fed the clear hose into the tank of the sedan until she felt resistance. She held the other end of the hose between her thumb and forefinger, gripping it as close to the end as she could.The three-quarters
moon provided the only light. She would have to be careful sucking on the end of the PVC tube. Once the gas started coming, it would come fast. She positioned herself where she could see all of the hose outside the
tank in the moonlight and began to suck. In between breaths, she moved her thumb over the end of the hose to maintain the suction.

It helped to know how long it usually took and how many breaths. When the gas was four or five inches from her mouth she moved her thumb quickly over the end of the hose and then directed the tube into the kerosene can. Gravity did the rest. She watched the gas flow steadily from the tank of the sedan into the can.

The can would weigh about forty pounds when full. But by the time it was three-quarters full, she saw headlights approaching. She pulled the hose out and dropped it behind the rear wheel.

Four Plagues piled out of the vehicle, each carrying a bag from McDonald’s.They approached the house. She wondered how many of these four had already taken their turn at her. 

She crouched in the darkness until they had all entered the door. While the four were trying to digest what they were seeing in the dim light from the stove, Elita moved to the porch with the kerosene can.

Holding the handle of the can with both hands, she turned her body counterclockwise like a hammer thrower in the Olympics. As she pirouetted, the velocity of the can increased. After two turns the can was horizontal to the wooden porch floor. After three full turns she released the can through the window in front of the wood stove.

She dived off the porch as the front room exploded in a fireball. From her crouched position in front of the house she watched two burning men stagger out the door. Resting the Glock on her left knee, she fired twice. In a few seconds it was clear that no other Plagues would be leaving alive.

She grabbed the pillowcase and the PVC hose and ran down the street fifty yards to her left before cutting between houses into an alley. She followed the alley until she emerged onto Robbins Street. She
recognized her position.

The night was suddenly filled with sirens, blue lights, and red lights. She had no doubt she would make it back to her own home unseen. No one was even shooting at her.

Back home, Elita called Dr. Katherine Taylor, her best friend and colleague in the emergency department. “I need you to come over here now. Dress for work.We’ll talk when you get here.”

“Are you all right?” Kate asked at the door.

They embraced.

“I’m okay,” she said, “but the war with the Plagues has heated up.”

Kate listened intently as Elita told her story.

“My guess is that my car is still in the parking deck,” Elita said. “We need to remove it before morning.”

Elita looked at her watch. "Let's give it another thirty minutes. The cameras in the parking deck will likely be disabled. I can probably leave without being seen.

Kate asked, “Why aren’t you trembling and crying?”

“I used up my trembling and crying years ago,” Elita said. “You should know now that this is a war to the death with the Plagues.We must kill every last one in order to stop the violence against healthcare workers at Parkview Hospital.”

“Doctors killing people,” Kate murmured. “It’s a lot to swallow, but I’ve had enough time to justify it in my own mind. I’m tired of being a victim. I just don’t know how to do it yet.”

“In war you cannot consider your enemy a person,” Elita said. “The Plagues are not people.They are wild animals. No one is going to protect us from them. But we must delay further plans until we know the consequences of killing seven Plagues in one night,” Elita said.

“Why do you care about getting your car now?” Kate asked.

“You can never tell what will survive a fire,” Elita said. “Something could point to me. Somebody out there has my panties, or at least he did at one time. Someone could connect my car left in the parking deck to the Plagues. Maybe someone saw my abduction. I don’t want my car found and searched by the police. I don’t want to be targeted again by the Plagues in retaliation.”

“What’s that smell?” Kate asked, looking into Elita’s fireplace.

“It’s all the clothes I had on, a pillowcase, some PVC tubing, and my overcoat.The smell is PVC.As you know, it gives off toxic fumes, so let’s go into the kitchen.”

“Let me fix you some coffee,” Kate said as she entered the kitchen.

“What I really need is some antibiotics,” Elita said. “I’m glad I’ve had my hepatitis vaccines. I need a morning-after pill and some shells.”

“Some shells?”

“It’s okay. I’m going to lay low for a few days.Tell everybody I have the stomach flu.We have no idea how many Plagues know whom they abducted tonight.The seven I killed may be the only ones who know. On the other hand, the Plagues may come looking for me in force in the morning.There’s about forty-five left out there. I’ve packed a few things to take with me.You just need to drop me off at the parking deck.”

“I’ll have my cell phone. If nothing happens to my house by day

"Where will you be?"

"I'll have my cell phone. If nothing happens to my house by day after tomorrow, I’ll be at work Thursday morning.”

“You need any money?”

“I have plenty of cash. In fact, we need to put the money I recovered tonight to work. I took a few dollars.The rest is in the refrigerator in a brown bag. Hide it in a safety deposit box.We can talk more strategy
if I’m still alive in two days.”

~~~







This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are not
intended to refer to specific places or living persons. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are
solely the opinions of the author and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The
author has represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in
this book.