Written to @DaHob‘s commissioned continuation; part III of a longer story.
It was still such a bad idea, such a dumb idea, but George took the offered night in the hotel — the nicest the area had to offer, he was fairly certain. He cleaned himself up, shopped at the overpriced gift shop, slept solidly, and left the next day looking like a travelling businessman rather than a backpacking kid.
The look on the woman’s face haunted him. She’d nearly been licking her lips. George had been on the end of hungry women before — but never one who acted quite so much like he was the perfect prey.
Well, he was done running for her. He hopped a train to the nearest border crossing, paying with cash, and spent some quality time in the train bathroom forging papers.
Passports were hard. Luckily, the Canadian border accepted at least three kinds of paper that weren’t passports, and even more luckily, one of them — a certified letter – was far easier to forge. George hadn’t done that sort of work in years, but he had plenty of motivation to get it right.
He got off the train one stop before the border and took a bus going the same direction. He planned to be over the border before she even started looking again, but there was no reason to make it easy on her.
At the border itself, he stood in a short line, surrounded by people going to Canada for vacation, feeling relaxed for the first time since he’d been kidnapped. He chatted with the woman behind him, filling in his cover story with cheerful abandon. Ten more minutes. Five. Four more minutes, and he’d be across the border and on his way home.
“There you are, sweetie.” A high-pitched voice, clearly unhappy with the world, was dialing up to angry right behind George. He wondered who the poor schmuck was. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”
A hand landed on his shoulder. Something hard pressed into his kidneys. The voice went on, cheerful. “I know we said we were going back into Canada, but I said we were going to see my mother first. Remember?“
George turned to look at her. He was expecting her, the royal who’d been chasing him, and for a moment he was completely thrown.
The woman berating him — she kept on going — had a heavy Western Canadian accent and hair that was such a badly-dyed red that it looked plastic. She was wearing thick sunglasses and looked like the world’s worst tourist.
“I–” George took a step backwards. She followed him, adding a shove to get him even further out of line. “What—?”
“Yeah, that’s right, play dumb. That’s all you’re good at, isn’t it? Playing dumb and being dumb and—” She punctuated each dumb with a shove, until they were off the pavement and almost behind the border station. “—running dumb.” Her voice dropped into the lady’s normal register and she gave him one last shove, combining it with a leg sweep to drop him to the dirt. “What in the Lady’s name was that?“
George bounced back up to his feet, only to be pushed back to the ground by a move he never saw coming. She couldn’t be that fast; it was inhuman. It was insane.
She was on him before he could get to his feet again, her gun pressed against his neck, straddling him. The wig had gone flying off at some point; she pushed her sunglasses up to glare at him. “What in the names of the gods below do you think you’re doing?”
George stared up at her. The wind was knocked out of him and he didn’t really want to find out if she’d fire that gun. “Escaping to Canada. Runaway, remember? Kidnapped from my home?”
“By heading straight for the border? Where’s the challenge in that?” She shifted her weight, digging the toes of her boots into his thighs. “That’s not the game.”
“Listen, you insane piece of shit, I’m not in this for fun.” The boots were going to leave bruises l if she left him alive at all. “I’m in this to get out of this stupid country that kidnapped me, took me away from my service, and slapped a collar on me. Why the hell should I worry about it being fun for you?”
“Because I’m the one keeping you from a work camp and a short life in a shock collar.” She pressed the gun a little harder against his neck.
“At the moment, you’re the one keeping me from the border.” Could he throw her off before she pulled the trigger? He started to shift his weight, only to feel the prick of a knife on his other side. Maybe not.
She laughed. “No. I’m the one that let you get that close to the border. If I hadn’t let you go in the first place—”
“Yeah, yeah.” He knew it already. “I’m still not in this for your fun. I wanna get
The prickling in his side dug in. George had just enough time to identify it. Not a knife, damnit, that was a needle.
“I know. Run long and well enough for me, and you’ll get home. But you’ve got to do it right.”
“Lunatic.” He struggled to push her off, but it was as if his arms and legs were made of lead. “You’re insane.”
His eyes fluttered closed and he forced them open again. The last thing he managed to see was her smile, every bit as mad as he’d said she was.
He was heavy. Americans were so often heavy, so much taller than Californians, so much more difficult.
She shoved him into a hotel-provided wheelchair and pushed him towards the side door. He was still out like a light; even with his ridiculous size, he’d be out for a few more hours. And once he woke…
…well, he’d have a challenge ahead of him, to say the least. She’d driven through the night, stopping twice for catnaps. He could be more in the center of the country only if she’d used a compass.
The room wasn’t luxurious, but this hotel was kept afloat by Agency funds and the staff knew better than to ask questions. She left his supplies near the bed, left water and two things that looked like aspirin on the bedside, handcuffed him to the bedframe and left the key just out of reach on the far nightstand.
Any one of those things wouldn’t slow him down much, but her phone was flashing with messages from home and she was going to need to slow him down for a bit.
She tucked him in, the blanket up to his chin, and put the “do not disturb” sign out. Hopefully, when he got himself free, he’d be in a more cooperatively difficult mood.