Karen walked to her car as fast as she could. Her footsteps echoed in the empty parking garage. She picked up her pace to a fast jog. His gait quickened. The hair stood up on the back of her neck as she felt him closing the gap. Her sleek, crimson Corvette was around the next concrete pillar. She could not give up now. Failure was not an option. Reaching into her black, leather purse, she fumbled for her keys. Fingers flew past lipstick, hair brush, a package of tissue, notebook and a pen.
“Crap! Where are those damn keys?” she mumbled as she dug through the mess. At the bottom of her purse, trembling hands found the key fob tucked into a corner. She was breathless and her legs felt like rubber. It was now or never. This was her last chance. She kicked off her three inch red pumps, hiked up her black, leather skirt and sprinted. Cold concrete shredded her stockings and the tender skin beneath, but she felt no pain as her long legs extended like a gazelle’s.
Escape was within twenty feet. Her thumb pressed the electronic key. Instead of the headlights coming to life, the trunk lid popped open. Panic set in. Sounding like a charging bull, her stalker was gaining ground. He was close, too close. She dared not turn to look. Another wild attempt with the key and the Chevy engine roared. Two long strides and she reached the driver’s door.
“Focus, Karen, and you’re home free,” she whispered under her breath.
Her right hand reached for the door handle. Before she had a firm grasp, a claw clamped onto her left shoulder. In one movement, she spun around with lightning speed and planted her right knee into the attacker’s groin. A blood curdling yell emitted from the chaser as he crumpled to the ground. Knowing that her reprieve was brief, Karen flung open the car door and dove into the driver’s seat. She punched the clutch and put the road machine into gear. Squealing out of the parking space, the ‘Vette tore past the human heap.
Karen negotiated the corners like a NASCAR pro as she wound her way down from the sixth floor to the first floor exit. Only the gate separated her from freedom. With icy, blue eyes and a determined jaw, she floored the gas pedal. The gate shattered on impact, sending wood splinters over the hood and roof. At the open garage doorway, Karen slammed on the brake to ease into traffic. Without warning, two black and whites screeched to a stop, boxing her in.
“Dammit!” she yelled, banging her fist on the steering wheel.
“Get out of the car.”
Karen turned her head left toward the muffled voice. She was staring down the barrel of a 9MM Beretta semi-automatic. Defeated, she released the lock. The door swung open and a smiling middle-aged, male face leaned into her space.
“Gotchya! Hand over the jewels.”