Followed closely by the dull thunk of flesh impacting with flesh.
Jackson doubled up with his rescued prisoner's fist driven deep into his stomach.She withdrew her punch and stepped back, holding her hands up defensively.
"Who are you? What the hell did you do? What do you want with me?" Questions streamed from her lips with the rapidity of a semi-automatic weapon, and Jackson, still trying to stop wheezing, didn't have a chance to respond before she swung at him again.
This time he was looking for a blow and managed to duck beneath it. The girl's swing swept over him and carried her off-balance and before she could regain it, Jackson grabbed her wrist and twisted her arm behind her. Dropping the gun on his bed, he covered her mouth with his other hand.
"Be quiet!" He could feel her struggling against his grip and trying to bite his hand. "And stop trying to bite me. I just saved you from those people and now we're back in my house, so unless you want to explain to my mother who you are and how you got here, shut up," whispered Jackson forcefully. "Now if you promise to behave and not attack me, I'll let you go and answer your questions. Fair enough?"
She nodded and Jackson removed his hands and took a hasty step backwards. She had promised, but he didn't know this girl and wasn't about to get rabbit punched again. The girl turned around quickly as well, watching him closely but not making any apparent move to attack or scream again. Jackson considered this a good sign.
"My name is Jackson. What's yours?"
The civil introduction surprised the girl and she watched Jackson with a very confused look on her face for a moment before answering.
Jackson nodded. "Nice to meet you. Now, would you like to ask your questions first or should I?" He figured that a calm, decisive attitude with Angelica might be the best way to calm her down. It had always worked at the theater dealing with problematic customers.
"How did you find me?"
There was steel in her voice that hadn't been there previously, and Jackson gave her a lot of credit for that. Not many people he knew could enter a situation such as this and regain their composure that quickly, even if it was a facade as he imagined.
"Purely by accident. I was looking for someone else."
"And you wound up in the foothills of Appalachia where I just so happened to be kept? In the middle of winter?"
Winter? Oh not again. "Why were you tied up and being held there? Who were those men?"
"They kidnapped me. They were some Amish my father swindled out of a lot of land."
"What year were you kidnapped?"
Another confused look. "What?"
"What year were you kidnapped?" asked Jackson again, a little more forcefully.
His vehemence shocked her into answering. "1996. Why?"
1996? Over 10 years ago? What the hell?
"It's nothing. Those men didn't seem like your average Pennsylvania Dutch to me."
"That's because they're the worst bottom-dwelling scum-sucking Red Neck/Amish incestual bastards to ever pollute this planet!"
Seeing Angelica losing her calm again, Jackson decided to change the subject.
"Are you hungry? Thirsty? Can I get you anything?"
His suddenly patronly tone disrupted the anger building in her. "Hungry?" The way she said it seemed as if the thought of decent food seemed almost too good to be true.
"Yea, ya know. Food. Drink. Can I get you a sandwich? Some water? What do you like?"
Jackson could almost see Angelica imagining real food touching her tongue. But even as he watched her, Angelica became suspicious.
"Why do you want to know? What are you going to do? Try and knock me out while I'm eating and bring me back?" Angelica started backing towards the door.
Jackson panicked for a moment, and he reached forward, "No, wait," but the movement startled her and she bolted through the open door. Grabbing for the gun on the bed, Jackson tucked it into his waistband before taking off after her down the hallway. He heard the creak of the stairs and she fled as silently as she could, then the jingle of the wind chime next to the door as it swung open and closed.
When Jackson reached the landing, he tore open the door and saw a hazy vision of Angelica vanishing into thin air accompanied by a soft Pop.