"Distress"

By

HelenBeacham

"See anything?" BA asked.

With binoculars set at the main entrance of a ten–storey office building located across the street from where the black red-stripped van was parked, Murdoch heaved out, "Not yet." He hastily adjusted the focus upon noticing a bewitching woman prancing out of the building. With a huge grin plastered on his face, he followed her alluring gait all the way to the parking lot. "Found something else more interesting, though. Much more," he drooled.

"Whatcha looking at?"

"A sight for sore eyes."

"Knock it off, fool! Keep your eyes where they belong!"

"Ah B.A.!" Murdoch griped, "We've been on this stakeout for over three hours now, I don't think the guy's in there."

"His Sedan's in the parking lot."

"He could have left in his accomplice's car using the back door. Try Hannibal again."

"I did, twenty minutes ago," B.A. huffed out. "He had Amy call Prescott's office and his secretary said he was in. So quit yapping and stick those eyeballs on the lens."

Murdoch grunted and resumed his watch. "Face tells me you're going to your mama's for the weekend."

"Yeah. I need a break...from you."

"Oh now B.A., you don't really mean that?" Murdoch whined.

"I sure do."

"Now that hurts my feelings when you say that," Murdoch feigned sulking. "I thought we were friends. Admit it, I'm a prescription against boredom," he smirked. "You love having me around."

B.A. growled, "You're just a crazy man who drives me nuts! Now watch that entrance!"

Murdoch scrunched up his face and pouted. "We're wasting time."

"No we're not. We've just got to be a bit more patient. He'll come out. He has to."

"Here!" Murdoch slapped the binoculars on B.A.'s lap. "You take watch for a while."

"Where you going?"

Murdoch hoped out of the van. "To smoke out the elusive rat."

"Get back in the van, fool!" B.A. barked with a scornful look.

"Trust me, Big Guy. I'm an expert in that field," Murdoch twanged with a strong accent.

"Look! Ain't that him over there?" B.A. pointed to a man in a marine business suit walking down the main entrance stairs.

"See, it worked!" Murdoch gloated as he jumped back into the passenger seat.

"What worked?"

"Never mind," Murdoch waved aside while concentrating on Prescott. "Where's he going?"

A car rounded up the corner of the building and stopped alongside the curb.

"He's getting into that car," B.A. observed.

"I was right. He's got an accomplice. Alright Captain Big Guy, full steam ahead and watch out for icebergs," he bantered.

"Crazy fool! Can't you talk like normal people?"

"Awwwwww it's more fun that way."

"Contact Hannibal to let him know where we're headed."

While B.A. manoeuvred out of the street, Murdoch got on the radio. "Colonel, the fox's out of the hole and the hounds are on its tail. Right now Prescott's east-bound on Pinewood Avenue and he's not alone."

"I figured this much. Good job, guys. Now maintain a safe distance. We wouldn't want him to pick up your scent. Report your location as they lead you to their burrow."

"Ten four!"

Barely ten minutes into the chase, Prescott's car made a left turn.

"Hannibal, our friend just veered off on Highway forty-seven. My guess is he's headed out of town. "

"If he is, then we can't afford to lose track of him."

"We'll stay on him, Colonel," Murdoch assured, glancing at B.A. who nodded in agreement.

The two comrades-in-arms remained on course, following at a safe distance. "He's taking a road off the beaten track. Where the heck is he going?" Murdoch wondered aloud to B.A. before picking up the radio to report to Hannibal.

As he listened to the Captain, Hannibal lifted up his eyes to peek at Amy, sitting next to the restless parents of the kidnapped seven-year-old girl. "Now doubt they're headed for some remote location, probably where they are keeping the little girl. Murdoch, slacken the leash a bit; otherwise they'll notice you following them. We wouldn't want to lose our pigeon at this stage."

"We're pretty much out in the boondocks here, Colonel, but rest assured we're sticking to him like fleas to a dog."

Inside Prescott's car, the driver looked up at the rear-view mirror. "We've picked up a tail." Prescott glimpsed at his rear-view mirror. "The black van with red stripes. It's been following us ever since we left the building."

"You sure?"

"Why would it be travelling on a dead-end road?" Suddenly the van slowed its course and widened the gap. "They're slowing down. They must know we spotted them."

"I'll take care of it." Prescott picked up the car phone and dialled. "Ken, it's Prescott. We're on our way to home base but it appears we have a nuisance on our tail. Can you handle it? It's a black van with red bands, you can't miss it. We'll lead it to Devil's Cliff."

"I'll take care of it, boss," the bulky figure crowed with a devilish grin.

"They're heading up the mountain," Murdoch observed.

"What should we do?"

Murdoch picked up the radio and called Hannibal. "Colonel, they're driving up the mountain. That could be tricky to shadow them, what with the narrow and treacherous roads up there."

"Stick to them as long as you can. Don't take any chances, though. If your smell an ambush, cut the cord."

"Will do."

An eerie awareness crawled up B.A.'s spine. "I don't like this one bit," he expressed with concern.

"Which part?"

"Why would he be going up there? There ain't nothing."

"Probably why this is a good hideout. Nobody would think of looking up there."

"Still, I got a very bad feeling, man."

"What? You think they made us?"

B.A.'s uneasy silence spoke volume.

"You and I both," Murdoch psyched B.A. out. "Stop the van."

"What?"

"Stop the..." Murdoch was cut off by a loud blow that sent the van weaving out of control. With numbed horror, he watched B.A. gripped the wheel to try to regain control of the vehicle. "Get out!" he shouted as the van swerved toward the steep cliff.

The truck soared over the edge and tumbled down the hundred-foot hill with both passengers trapped on board. When it finally came to an abrupt rest in the valley below, all was silent, save for the squeaky sound of the rear wheel spinning.

Standing on top of the cliff overlooking the road, Prescott's hatchet man fashioned a rewarding grin. He picked up the walkie-talkie and contacted his boss with the good news. "Yeah, job done. The nuisance has been eliminated."

"Good. Now meet us back at the shack."