Outcome of Chapter 4 Plot Hinge: Lion or Lamb? It was not snowing at 7:00 am on March 1st at my home near Guelph, Ontario. As a result, the weather in the story has cleared up, allowing Will, Tina and Isabella to arrive safely at their destination.
Little over an hour later Isabella turned the car off the highway and onto a narrow, snow-covered lane. They wound their way deeper into a forest of evergreens, their boughs sagging under the weight of the snow. Rounding a bend, a small, dilapidated log cabin came into view.
“We’ll lay low here tonight,” Isabella explained, parking the car by the front door of the cabin.
“And then what?” Will asked, annoyed by how little information he’d been able to get out of her. “You still haven’t told me what’s going on.”
Isabella locked eyes with Will in the rear view mirror and studied him for a few moments. “Fair enough,” she said finally, almost sympathetically. “But let’s settle in first and then we can talk.”
Will stared back at her. He was about to demand that they talk now when Tina interrupted.
“Fine, fine, later,” she said hurriedly, bouncing a bit next to Will. “Can I please go pee. I’ve had to go since before you stuffed me in the trunk of my car, Izzy.”
Isabella bristled, her hands tightening around the steering wheel. “There’s an outhouse around back,” she said between clenched teeth.
“Awesome,” Tina replied sarcastically, hopping out of the car and half-running toward the back of the house. She stumbled and fell in the deep snow but was immediately back on her feet. She glared back at the car as if daring Will to say something. Will knew better.
“Sorry for getting your girlfriend involved this, Will,” Isabella said, as Tina disappeared around the back of the cottage. “Isaiah’s men were onto her and I was just trying to protect her.”
“She’s not my girlfriend,” Will said. “And I’m the one who got her into this, not you.” Will threw his hands up in exasperation and shook his head. “Whatever this is.”
Isabella studied Will in the mirror again. “Just give me a few minutes and I’ll explain what I can.”
With that, Isabella took the keys out of the ignition and exited the vehicle. Will got out as well and joined her at the back of the car. Handing Will the keys, Isabella took a step back and pulled the gun she took from Agent Isaiah from the back of her pants. She aimed it at the trunk. “Open it,” she instructed Will.
Standing out of the line of fire as best he could, Will unlocked the trunk and lifted the lid. Even with a rumpled suit, a nasty goose egg on his forehead from Tina’s tire iron and his hands cuffed behind his back, the Man in Charge oozed menace. “Good evening, Medora,” he said, quinting into the setting sun. “Mr. Dalton.” He seemed awfully at ease for someone with a gun pointed at him, Will thought.
A few minutes later they were all inside the cramped cottage. Isabella was in one of the two bedrooms, “securing” Agent Isaiah. Tina lay sprawled out on the dusty couch in the main room, fighting to stay awake. Having just come off the night shift that morning, it had been more than 24 hours since she last slept.
Will wandered around while he waited for Isabella. Besides the two small bedrooms, the cabin was essentially one big room. A large stone fireplace dominated the wall opposite the front door. The room was sparsely furnished, containing little more than the couch Tina was now snoring on, a small, worn table and a couple wooden chairs. A few metal pots hanging from nails next to several dusty, framed photographs completed the décor.
One of the pictures caught Will’s eye. It was a photo taken in front of the cabin. It must have been summertime given the colours and the shorts and t-shirts the three people in the photo were wearing. A young girl with black hair tied back in a ponytail stood holding a large fish at the end of a fishing line. Two smiling men stood on either side of her. The one on the right shared the girl’s dark features and Will assumed it had to be her father. It was the other man though that commanded Will’s attention.
Will knew this man. He was sure of it. He was a burly man with a shaggy head of hair and bushy mustache. Will could see tattoos on both his arms and one peeking out of his t-shirt on his neck. Try as he might though, Will couldn’t remember where he had seen this man before.
Will’s train of thought was interrupted by the sound of a cell phone ringing. Isabella emerged from the bedroom with a phone to her ear, closing the door behind her.
“Medora,” she answered. “Hello?… No, I can’t…. what? Wait, I can’t hear you… Hold on a minute…” Agitated, she looked at her phone and mumbled something about the lousy cellular reception. “I’ll be right back,” she said to Will, heading out the door. From the small window Will watched her walk down the laneway in search of better reception.
Will had enough. He was tired up with being brushed off. Double-checking to make sure Tina was still asleep, Will crossed the room to the bedroom door. Taking a steadying breath, he opened the door and walked inside. The Man in Charge, tied to a chair and with duct tape across his mouth, watched Will enter with a steady gaze. Will approached and removed the duct tape.
“Good evening, Mr. Dalton.”
“I want answers,” Will said, keeping his voice low so as not to wake up Tina. “Why are you after me?”
Agent Isaiah considered Will’s question for a moment and then nodded his head. “All right. My employers intercepted a message.”
“A message that indicated that you, Mr. Dalton, were in possession of documents. Documents that had been stolen from my employers. I was sent to recover these documents from you.”
Will shook his head. None of this made sense. The only thing he’d ever stolen in his life was a pack of bubble gum when he was nine. So unless the Man in Charge was working for a militant wing of Hubba Bubba, they had the wrong guy. “I’m telling you,” he said. “I didn’t steal anything.”
“Clearly,” Agent Isaiah replied, surprising Will. “There’s obviously been a mistake. We went through your house, Mr. Dalton. And I believe you when you say you had nothing to do with File 92 going missing.
“The problem,” he continued, “is that you need to convince my employers that you’re innocent, not me. And trust me Mr. Dalton: fleeing with someone like Isabella Medora is not helping your case. And it’s only going to make things worse for you… and Ms. Keller out there.”
Tina. Will sat on the bed and put his head in his hands. He hated himself for getting Tina involved in this mess.
“There is a solution, Mr. Dalton.” Will turned his attention back to the Man in Charge. “Let me bring you in. Show my employers that you have nothing to do with this.”
“And if I don’t?”
Agent Isaiah shrugged. “Then my employers will continue to do whatever it takes–and go through whoever they need to–to bring you in. The choice is yours Mr. Dalton.”
Plot Hinge: International Women’s Day – March 8th
March 8th is International Women’s Day. To celebrate the women of Run we’ll use this as our Plot Hinge this week.
- If on March 8th at 12:01 am, the main image on the homepage of the Globe and Mail website has a photo with a woman in it, then Will Dalton will decide to stick it out with Isabella and keep running.
- If however, the main image does not have a woman in it, then the thought of putting Tina through more danger will be too much for Will. He will untie the Man in Charge and sneak off with him while Isabella is still away on her phone call.
Chapter 6 goes live on March 8th! Be sure to subscribe in the top right of the page to receive email notifications whenever a new chapter is written.
Bonus Content: Alternate Chapter 5
What would have happened if the weather was too bad for them to get to the safe house? Find out by reading the alternate version of Chapter 5. To access this page however you’ll need to find the password hidden somewhere on this site. Or, use the Password found on flyers posted at participating libraries.