They were on an isolated and unlit country road. Sandra could only see down the pavement as far as the beams of her headlights stretched sometimes revealing the carcasses of animals pulverized by trucks, some of which had managed to crawl to the edge of the forests that flanked the road leaving a crimson smear on the black asphalt.
A warning light on the dashboard flashed warning Sandra they were almost out of gas. She gritted her teeth and looked up at the mirror and saw the kidnapper staring out the window while he chewed on his nails.
Her voice was a trembling whisper. “Excuse me.”
He didn’t hear her. Sandra noticed his shaking leg. “Excuse me,” she repeated.
This time he looked up but didn’t say anything.
“We’re almost out of gas,” Sandra said.
The man sighed and checked his watch. “You can pull over here.” he flatly.
Sandra’s heart stopped. Her foot dropped like a stone on the gas pedal
He flashed the pistol. “Pull over,” he said with a more menacing tone.
This time Sandra complied, and she pulled the car over.
“What are you going to do?” Sandra asked on the verge of tears.
He didn't’ answer. He reached into his pocket and pulled out Sandra’s phone and handed it to her over the seat.
“Here you can have this back. Call your husband, parents, whoever and say whatever you gotta say.”
Sandra was sobbing now. “Please, please please, just let my child go!" she pleaded.
Adam started crying from the back seat. The man dropped the phone into her lap and got out of the car.
“I wouldn’t bother wasting time calling the police,” he said before disappearing into the inky night.
When he was out of sight. Sandra quickly turned the car around and sped off as quickly as she could. It wasn’t until the car sputtered out that she finally let her foot off the gas. She was hyperventilating as the vehicle rolled to a stop.
“Oh my god. Oh my god.” She repeated between sharp breaths.
She looked up in the mirror at Adam crying in the backseat. She crawled into the back seat and embraced her child.
“It’s ok baby. It's ok. We're ok, now." Sandra whispered.
After she collected herself and Adam was calmed, she remembered her phone. She turned it back on and was relieved to see she had a signal.
“Are you calling Daddy?” Adam asked.
“Yes, Daddy, then the police,” Sandra said.
Her nerves were jolted. Everything on her peripheral looked like a man with a gun. She clenched her fists and regained control of her trembling hands.
“Ok, it's ok,” she reassured herself. Finally, she managed to dial her husband. There hadn't even been a full ring before he answered breathlessly.
“David, oh my god! David, we’re ok!” Sandra said with surging relief. She was somewhere between laughter and tears when the call dropped.
“David? David?” she repeated. She looked at the screen the signal was gone.
“Shit,” she gasped.
A second later there was a blinding white flash. There was an ear-shattering boom, and the entire earth shook. The light dimmed, and Sandra’s eyes readjusted. She looked out the back window and saw a mile wide cloud of fire engulfing the horizon.