Hunting Cari (First Wave)

BOOK: Hunting Cari (First Wave)
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Hunting Cari

 

By

Mikayla Lane

 

 

Cover Art by humblenations.com

 

 

Prologue

June 3, 2001   
St. Petersburg, FL

 

He
soldered in the last crystalline chip and turned the device on. It wasn't until
he knew that it was working correctly that he wiped the sweat off his forehead
with shaking hands. He waited for so many years…so many decades, for this day
to come. And it would most likely be many more before anything might come of
his efforts. He double checked it again, before carefully placing it into its protective
case and sealing it.

 

Turning his head, he knew she was coming into the
workshop as feelings of love swamped him. Her smile brightened the small room
as she waited patiently for him to finish so they could leave. Even at her
young age he could clearly see the beauty she would soon grow to become. Just
like her mother, he thought, and then quickly pushed the pain of those thoughts
aside.

 

As
he packed the small tool set and materials, he sent a quick prayer to the
Father, that he could keep her alive long enough for her to mature, for help to
come. So she could truly be safe, for once.

 

He never knew of the man that had seen them in town.
Who had followed them home one day and had been obsessively watching her ever
since… and waiting.

 

Chapter One

July 9,
2013  Campbell County, TN

Cari Lakatis glanced across the
small, scarred table at her uncle Randor, trying hard to control her
excitement. Her plan was perfect! Who would have thought that the most
miserable place they had ever moved to would end up being her first chance for
real freedom in twenty-six years!

She peeked at him again, hoping he
didn’t realize what she had planned. They had both known for days that they
would have to go back into town very soon for supplies. The fierce scowl on his
face was an indication that he was thinking about it as well. The fact that
they were eating the last of their cereal with orange juice instead of milk
made it glaringly obvious.

Their first trip to the store in
this town had been a complete disaster, and they hadn’t been back since then.
In the twenty-two years, she was with Uncle Randor; they were in hundreds of
small towns all across the United States. However, never had they encountered
one with people quite like the people here.

At six feet, nine inches tall and
three hundred pounds of solid muscle, her uncle always stood out in any crowd.
His height combined with his rich sable hair that flowed in waves to his
shoulders, dark-brown eyes and chiseled features made him a very attractive
man. Well, for his age, she thought, which was rather ancient if he was he to
be believed. So they were used to people looking at him, but nothing like what
they had encountered in this town.

They came to this town more than
two weeks ago. At first, it seemed no different than any of the other small
towns they had been to over the years. The population was low, and the area was
beautiful. Surrounded by large mountains, flowing waterways and what seemed
like a typical small-town feel made it rather quaint. It was anything, but she
thought.

They had pulled into the parking
lot of the real estate company that they were renting a cabin from, in order to
get the keys and directions. As soon as they got out of their old Land Rover,
Cari had to stifle a laugh. There were two older gentlemen talking outside the
office and a young mother pushing a stroller on the sidewalk.

As soon as they saw Uncle Randor,
they all stopped. Just completely stopped, like time had stood still only for
them. The woman was frozen, mid-stride, with her mouth hanging open and her
eyes so wide you could see the white all the way around. The men completely
stopped talking and were staring at Uncle Randor with fear and curiosity in
their eyes. It was truly bizarre. Most people usually looked and then quickly
looked away, or watched him covertly. However, no one had ever really openly
and rudely just stared at him like that. And it only got worse from there.

The very short and overweight real
estate agent was rendered completely mute upon seeing him filling up her tiny
office. She seemed unable to think at all, no matter how hard Cari tried to get
the woman to focus on her. With a growl of frustration, Uncle Randor told Cari,
“Try to get the keys and directions," and stormed out of the door.

As soon as he left, the flood gates
of the woman’s mouth opened. And she would not shut up. She had a weird
southern slang way of speaking that was very difficult to understand, forcing
Cari to concentrate fully on her words. However, in between the questions about
Uncle Randor, she was able to get the keys, directions to the cabin and the
directions to the local Wal-Mart, so they could get food and supplies for their
stay.

It was Cari’s turn to stare open
mouthed as the woman invited them to her church in one breath, and then asked
if Uncle Randor was “that big all over," in the next. Staring at the
woman’s wedding ring, her expectant face, Cari stood up to her full five feet,
ten inches and glared down at the woman.

“That is my father you are speaking
of," she lied easily. “Try showing some respect!” When the woman didn’t
look the least embarrassed or even ashamed for her rude comment, Cari turned
and left.

She slammed the door to emphasize
her anger, and then stopped short.

The two men and woman were still
outside, with over ten other people. Everyone was staring at the Land Rover;
while Uncle Randor scowled darkly from behind the steering wheel. Even from the
doorway of the office, she could see his white knuckled grip on the wheel,
trying to remain calm.

They all seemed to be talking at
once, and not even making an effort to hide the fact that they were talking
about him. The woman with the stroller was on her cell phone telling someone
that they were driving a dark-blue Land Rover, and describing her uncle.

Pulling herself and her anger
together, she practically flew down the stairs to the passenger door. “Excuse
me!” She nearly shouted, temper rising again, at the woman rudely blocking her
from opening the door. When the woman finally moved, she jumped inside and quickly
locked the door.

The anger was pouring off of Uncle
Randor in heavy waves. “What the hell happened?” She asked him in frustration.

“I have no idea. I was standing
outside waiting for you, and then more people started showing up; and the
questions started and just didn’t stop. I finally got in the truck to get away
from them. Did you get the keys?” Randor asked her hopefully.

“Yeah thank goodness too, let’s get
out of here.” Cari replied, a little shaken by the behavior of these people.

He’d had to honk the horn several
times and back up really slowly in order not to hit any of the people who
gathered behind the vehicle. When they were finally away from the office and
the crazy people, Cari gave him the directions to the local Wal-Mart.

The Wal-Mart was far worse than
either of them could have imagined. They had more than a dozen women of all
shapes, sizes, ages and marital status following them around the store. Some
blatantly falling all over themselves for an excuse to touch Uncle Randor or
gain his attention. One particularly large woman even pretended to fall and
grabbed his ass! The look of shock and horror on his face would have been
hilarious if the crush of women hadn’t made Cari feel so claustrophobic. And
the questions!

It seemed like every one of them
had thrown dozens of questions at them. Cari could clearly recall the headache
she got from the rapid chatter of some mutant form of southern drawl and inbred
hillbilly dialect she had never encountered before in all of their travels. It
was disturbing. And poor Uncle Randor looked frustrated and near his breaking
point. They had not gone back to town since that first day. And Cari knew he
was dreading the thought of going back, which played into her plans so
perfectly.

Finishing her cereal, Cari pulled
in her excitement and feigned a blank face as she looked at Uncle Randor. “We
need supplies; we’re out of nearly everything. And we still have another couple
of weeks left here before we leave.” Cari had stated the obvious so calmly she
actually impressed herself.

Throwing his spoon into his half
eaten cereal, he let out a frustrated breath. “I know honey. I was thinking
maybe we should try going into Knoxville for supplies this time. It’s a much
bigger city, the people won’t be so… strange there as they are here.”

Looking into her shocked face at
his suggestion, he continued. “I know it’s really against our rules to show
ourselves in such a large population of people. However, in this situation we
may have to go in order to avoid what happened last time.”

Cari recovered from her shock
quickly and tried to salvage her plans. “Actually, I have a suggestion that
might work better.” She said getting up from the table and gathering their
dishes to hide her nervousness. She could tell he was interested, before she
turned her back to him and began to clean their breakfast dishes at the small
sink in the cabin they had rented.

Reining in her nervous excitement,
she began the speech she’d been practicing for weeks now. “I was thinking that
since the last time was so…” she paused for effect. “Uncomfortable, for both of
us. That maybe I should go by myself this time. It would take a lot less time,
and I don’t seem to attract the attention here that you do. And I could be
there and back in less than two hours flat.”

Her hopes were dashed as soon as he
spoke. “Cari honey, you know it’s too dangerous to be out there alone. You are
completely unprepared to defend yourself. Wait and let me finish,” he said as
she turned around ready to argue. “Honey, I know you could probably defend
yourself against one, maybe even two. However, there’s always more than that,
and I can’t take the chance that something will happen to you. I promised your
parents, I would keep you safe. And I love you like my own daughter.” Her anger
dissipated at the pain in his voice. The pain she knew he felt every day and
tried so hard to hide from her.

Sitting across the small table from
him, she grabbed his hands into her own. “Uncle Randor, I know it’s dangerous,
for both of us, not just me. And I know how hard it’s been on you trying to
protect me all these years. But, if we don’t start to compromise on some of
these restrictions, I will lose my mind. How about you drive and stay in the
truck while I go in by myself? You’ll still be close, by in case they happen to
be there. But seriously, I doubt even they could deal with these people.
Besides, no one will notice me at all without you there.” She hated the
pleading tone of her voice.

Uncle Randor looked at her stunned.
She really had no idea how beautiful she was. Or how many men were mixed in
with the women at Wal-Mart that day staring at her with rapt attention. She was
as beautiful as any model he’d ever seen on one of those magazines, only more
realistic. She’d been attracting attention from males of all ages since she was
eleven years old and had begun the change into a woman.

And fifteen years later she had
grown to five feet ten inches tall, her shiny rich brown hair with auburn
highlights, flowed straight to the middle of her back. Her eyes were an unusual
multi-colored brown, which changed with her emotions like a tiger’s eye gem
stone. Her skin was a creamy light tan, no matter what time of the year. He
guessed her weight to be around one hundred and forty pounds, with a flat stomach,
slightly flared hips and full breasts. She grabbed the desire of the men and
the envy of the women wherever they went. And she was clueless of it.

He looked into her hopeful face and
knew he couldn’t deny her this one request, this one time. She’d been denied so
much. He couldn’t stand not giving her this one little thing to help make her
feel normal. Like a normal, beautiful girl doing some shopping. And she was
most likely right. Even they probably couldn’t stand these people for long
either.

It’s not that they weren’t nice
people. They were just nosey and generally rude. And they seemed far too
occupied with finding out everything they could and telling everyone they knew
before anyone else could. That was evident with the way they were treated the last
time they went to the local Wal-Mart. It was as if the real estate lady had
already told someone they were headed there and the news had spread. He
shuddered at the memory of the last time they had gone there, and brought
himself back to the present.

Giving her hands a gentle squeeze,
he nodded his head. “Alright, I’ll wait in the truck. But if you have any
thoughts or feelings that you might be in danger, you get the hell out of
there. Don’t talk to anyone unless you have to and always, always pay attention
to everyone around you. No exceptions! If you feel like you’re in danger, you
leave the cart, and you run, don’t walk, out of there. Do you understand and
agree?” Randor tried to look sternly at her, and knew he failed.

Cari barely heard anything he said
after “Alright." Her excitement and happiness launched her out of her
chair and into his arms to give him a happy hug. “I promise I will be very
careful.” She agreed, squeezing him affectionately.

Her happiness wrapped around him as
he gently hugged her to him. He allowed his love and affection for her to flow
into his heart and mind, so she would know how he felt.

Giving him one final squeeze, Cari
stood up, “I love you too Uncle Randor. Now let’s go!” He laughed as he watched
her run from the room and out the front door. He gathered the keys and his
wallet as he heard first the front door then the truck door slam, signaling she
was already waiting for him. He sighed, hoping he didn’t regret this decision
later; he locked the cabin door and headed towards his truck.

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