Sunlight filtered in small quantities through the thick trees surrounding the camp. Jill's eyes stayed locked on the crazy mountain man as he mumbled to himself, laughing every few minutes as if he'd said something funny.
Jill sat in a shallow hole, her arms secured behind a sturdy pine at her back and her feet bound in front of her with heavy rope. Clothes on wires and odd objects littered the camp. A child's stuff elephant lay at the entrance of a cave along with a small shoe, a broken lamp and a lawn chair. Jill concentrated on finding her bearings by referencing landmarks and moss growth. She twisted and turned her feet trying to dislodge her shoes while working each hand so as to loosen the ropes on her wrists.
The crazy man pulled a fish from a bucket and a knife from his belt. After scaling and gutting it, he took to eating some of it raw. As if remembering she was there, he turned and offered her some. Jill shook her head and he continued to eat, mumble and laugh. Jill pushed her left foot from it's shoe, hooking it on an exposed root to give her leverage. She began rocking the other back against the root to loosen the other shoe. She needed to be free from these bonds and away from this nut before the stars began to come out. Plus she feared what he would do when the sun fell below the horizon.
A ringtone buzzed and Jill froze. The man looked around confused before he pulled a cellphone from his pocket and silenced to the robot sounding ringtone. He opened the flip phone and listened for a moment before he spoke.
"Yeah, I got her." He listened again.
"I get to keep the shirt as a prize, right? She has a nice shirt." He paused and listened again. "You said I could have a prize, Billy!" He listened for a few more seconds before he hung up and pocketed the phone. He turned to her and grinned.
"I get to keep your shirt!" he said with smug satisfaction.
Like hell! Jill thought as she worked harder on getting herself free. She pulled and twisted her wrists until she felt the knot slip, a handy trick she'd learned from Vrag. She snatched one arm free but held the rope taunt as if still bound. She continued to work on her feet. Her right shoe finally fell away before she used the root to pushed the ropes further down her ankles. She felt metal scrap at her legs and realized something else lay buried in the dirt. She found the spot and pushed the ropes against it until her left foot broke free from the bonds. Jill paused and watched the man as he finished his meal and sat working a stick with his knife. He ignored her while he now got into a heated conversation with himself.
Jill checked her surroundings again. A shovel to her right, where he'd dug the hole. His knife in hand and gun laying on the ground next to his feet. Once she rocketed into action, her movements had to be flawless so as not to get shot or stabbed. She stared at the exposed root as she went though the motions in her mind until she realized what the metal was. She wiped her feet across the metal until it revealed a broken octagon shaped watch back. The watch band looked like twisted chainmail as she brushed more dirt from the find.
A harsh, cold realization froze her in place. She bit her lip to hold back the scream building in her lungs. Jill sat motionless, not in some random hole, but a shallow grave. The root was a human arm.