Kidnapped and a Daring Escape

Kidnapped and a Daring Escape by Gian Bordin Read Free Book Online

Book: Kidnapped and a Daring Escape by Gian Bordin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gian Bordin
of us chartered a plane."
         "And why did the professor not join you to be your expert guide?"
         "He couldn’t leave the other twenty students alone in Popayàn."
         "You mean a bunch of twenty-year olds need baby-sitting?"
         There he goes again, crosses her mind. "Why do you always have to
be so cynical whenever Professor Visconti’s name comes up?"
         "You ask me? … after having spent three hours in my company? Isn’t
that obvious?"
         She is getting annoyed by these oblique and not-so-oblique hints that
he is wooing her. She cannot take them seriously, nor does she want any
distraction of that sort, now that she promised herself to do whatever is
in her power to bring her relationship with Franco back to what it was
prior to the trip. So she spits out: "Oh, knock it off. This doesn’t even
deserve an answer."
         "Maybe not. You’re right. But I still would like you not to dismiss out-of-hand my suggestion of remaining here in the safety of the park."
         "I see no good reason for doing that. Why?"
         Again he hesitates. "If you really must know, because I have this
ominous feeling that something bad is going to happen on the other side."
         She almost laughs out loud, but suppresses it at the last moment.
Instead she mocks: "You have powers of premonition?" When he does
not rise to her irony, she adds: "You are ridiculous. I’m definitely going,
and if you’re afraid, stay here and meet us again at three at the park
entrance for the ride back to Pitalito."
         "Is there no way I can convince you not to go to San José de Isnos?"
         "What is your obsession with that town? And no, I will go."
         He sighs. "So be it. I’ll come along."
         She shakes her head in disbelief. What was that all about?
    They have an early lunch in the Donde Richard Restaurant, eating in
silence the tasteful house-made sausages so recommended by their driver.
Bianca welcomes the respite of not having to spar with André. Although
she found it often amusing in spite of herself, his less than oblique
attacks on Franco have soured things. She tries to study the brochure they
picked up at the park office, but soon drifts back to their discussion about
the interpretation of the shape of the female faces. She was surprised by
his knowledge of early archaeology. His arguments were beguilingly
convincing, and she has to admit that he is right at least in one respect.
A serious scholar should always critically examine any theory. She is
tempted to renew that discussion, but he seemed to have turned inward,
engrossed in the local map.
         By twelve thirty their guide picks them up and retraces the way back
to the bridge over Rio Magdalena where the road to San José de Isnos
turns off the highway to Pitalito. Theirs is the only vehicle on the road.
They cross the bridge and begin the steep ascent toward the plateau high
above the river. The dirt road winds in sharp turns and switchbacks
through tall evergreen trees, offering the occasional eye-catching glimpse
down to the river.
         They catch up with a mud-splattered, gray Toyota Landcruiser. Its
yellow license plate is covered in dirt and unreadable. There is no way
for their Jeep to pass. In fact, Bianca has the distinct impression that the
Toyota is deliberately going slowly. At a tight turn, the vehicle comes to
an abrupt halt, blocking the road. Their guide brakes sharply, propelling
her almost into the windshield. She hears André’s alarmed exclamation
of ‘ merde ’ and sees him jump from the Jeep.
         "What are you doing," she shouts.
         The next thing she sees is the muzzle of a gun pointed into her face.
At the same time, a burst of machine gun fire shatters the silence. Her
heart jumps into her throat, cold sweat breaking out. She feels paralyzed,
her eyes glued to the black hole of the muzzle. For a moment her mind
goes blank, and then she

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