Chapter 30.

Horn escapes confinement.



Horn had decided to play along with Detective Strong, agreeing with him to leave his house on Monday morning and to turn himself in willingly at the nearest hospital. The idea of being sedated and held in an artificial coma did not please him and in fact, he had no intention of going through this ordeal. He understood why it was demanded of him but it was too much for him to stomach. No, he would not go through with this. Now, he only wondered how to escape.

He began thinking about the best way to escape and for him waiting at the last minute would not do. He thought the best moment was in the middle of the night, perhaps between 2 and 3 in the morning. At that time any policeman outside might have dozed off. Of course, Horn did not know that the two detectives would be taking turns to watch his house.

In the early hours of Monday morning Horn began his escape. It was 02:00 a.m. and he could see the car of the detectives parked near his home. Their car was positioned so that the detectives could easily see if someone wanted to leave the house by the back but at that time of the night with all the lights out, a figure dressed in black could make an attempt by a kitchen window. Horn promptly lifted up the window and pushing a small bag out he slinked his way out and then crouched on the ground slowly going through the neighbor’s property. From there he stood up and walked slowly while he took off his mask, a free man but now a man on the run.

He did not know where to go. He could not go to a family member as this would be the first thing that the detectives would look into. No, he simply had to walk as far as he could under the cover of darkness and hide somewhere during the day. He knew that by escaping in the middle of the night he had at least 4 or 5 hours in front of him to put some distance between him and the detectives. But would that be enough? He hoped so.

He looked at his watch; 04:00 in the morning. He had been walking for two hours travelling the small roads. At one point a police car had appeared out of nowhere forcing him to crouch rapidly. The police cruiser continued slowly advancing on the road and then turned on the main road and left. He got up and began walking again. Yes he knew what he had to do; he had to leave the area completely. He would still need to access a bank terminal to retrieve most of his money and then he would be free.

It was now 06:00 in the morning and the sun was beginning to ascend in the sky, as bright as a fireball. It would be another sunny day. Horn still probably had a couple of hours in which he could make further progress before someone knocked at his door and expected him to answer. He was walking as quick as he could but he also realized the foolishness of his actions. His face would be shown on the news probably and every police cruiser would have a description of him. It would be only a question of time before he was caught by the authorities. Suddenly he stopped in his tracks and sat down in an area where he was concealed by tall grasses. He looked around and felt lonely. A wave of emotions suddenly submerged him and with all the stress that he was experiencing he suddenly buried his face in his hands he began to sob violently. It lasted only a few seconds and then he re-composed himself. He knew that giving in to his emotions would not help him. He looked at himself as a victim of circumstances, caught in a hurricane of events over which he had no control. A helpless pawn he thought.

He got up and resumed his walk trying to get out of town quickly, but where? His home town was all he knew. He decided that the best thing to do was catch a ride, so he went to the side of the road and put his thumb out. It’s not something that he had done in the past and it showed by the awkwardness that he displayed. His thumb was really not out there, more like pointing the ground but soon enough someone stopped; a small pickup truck, probably a farmer out of town selling his goods at the market and now going back home.

“Where you’re going?” asked the farmer. That question caught Horn off-guard. He had no clue how to answer such a direct question. “Well? Aren’t you going somewhere, cause I am!” said the farmer. He was in his late fifties and his skin had all the appearance of one who spends most of his time in the sun. Of average build, he seemed a no-nonsense kind of a guy.

“Yes, I am going somewhere.” replied Horn, trying to steady himself in front of the farmer. “Just going to the next nearest town, visiting family.” That answer seemed to satisfy the curiosity of the farmer.

“Well hop in then, I”m going to the next town as well.” replied the farmer, grinning.

Horn jumped in the red pick-up truck, fastened his seat belt and looked straight ahead. The truck started slowly but then accelerated and began devouring the miles on the road. Horn noticed that the farmer as he was driving was looking at him from the corner of his eye.

“Anything special in the next town for you?” asked the farmer. “By the way, my name is John, John Long.” he extended his hand to Horn.

“Bill Smith,” replied Horn, not wanting to divulge his real identity. “Just visiting family really, nothing more.” Horn looked away.

“I’m a farmer. Just finished unloading produce at the market. Lotta of work at the farm now so I had to be quick here. What kind of job do you do?”

“I’m…a writer.” replied Horn. He did not know why this occupation came to him. He had secretly always wanted to be a writer but like a lot of people, he was not willing to pay the price. He liked the idea more than actually being one.

“I see.” said the farmer, grinning at Horn. “A scribbler. And about what do you scribble.”

Horn did not like the way he said that word. It sounded as if he was making fun of him, of his so-called occupation. Horn was sensing that he was being made fun off in a gentle way. “I write for magazines and newspapers, current events mainly.”

“Well, that’s nice. But if there were no farmers, you’d starve to death!” exclaimed the farmer. He evidently believed that farming as an occupation was superior to writing, as if necessarily one had to be better than the other. Horn did not like where the conversation was going.

“Probably.” said Horn, not wanting to continue such a fruitless discussion. He had nothing to defend not being of the writing profession. Why bother trying to convince the farmer of the importance of writers, but the farmer would have none of it and continued the conversation.

“Probably? So you’re not sure that a farmer is more important than a writer? Try eating your computer one morning, or you’re wireless connection. Just try.” the farmer said eying Horn. He evidently was taking this to heart, defending not just him but all the farmers of the world. Horn sensed uneasiness and hostility in the truck.

“So, anything more to say to defend your job?” said the farmer as he looked sideways at Horn.

Horn did not say a word. It was pointless to him and so he thought that by being silent the farmer would move on to something else. He wanted to change the subject desperately but he really had nothing else to discuss. The farmer kept stealing glances at Horn as he drove. Suddenly the truck swerved to the side of the road and the farmer reached across Horn and opened the passenger’s door.

“That’s the end of the line for you Mister Smith.” said the farmer. “I ain’t carrying you over to the next town. Get out, now!” he exclaimed.

Horn looked at him crestfallen but he picked up his bag and got out of the truck without saying a word. The door closed behind him and in a cloud of dust the truck left spinning its wheels and leaving Horn looking on. He was in the middle of nowhere by the side of a road just as the sun was setting. He thought that at least he had put some distance between him and the police but that was the only good thing. He had no place to sleep except in the open fields and now he had to depend again on the generosity of another driver who would be willing to pick him up. He sighed.

He decided not to try to get picked up again but to settle in for the night. Just as he was walking away from the road he saw and heard a police car coming from behind. It was too late and he knew it, had been spotted. The car advanced rapidly on him and two police officers got out, guns drawn and walked towards him.

“Don’t move, hands on your head, and get down on your knees.” said one of the police officers. “Walter Horn, there is a warrant for your arrest signed by a judge.”

Horn did not say a word knowing that it was pointless to resist. They probably had a description of him and furthermore he was unarmed and so he opposed no resistance. The police officers handcuffed him and then gently put him in the car, speeding off back to the city where Horn was to be incarcerated and probably sedated.


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