Easy As Falling Off A Bike pt 3424

The Weekly Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3424
by Angharad

Copyright© 2024 Angharad

  
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This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
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I hate to think what my blood pressure registered as my feet pounded down the stairs. The first lab was locked, we tend to keep them that way now, the second I burst into and an arm grabbed me and threw me into one of the benches. Shocked was probably the first thing that came to mind to describe my status, clearly this was something other than an accident. I managed to avoid the corner and absorbed most of the impact with my arms. I was dressed in jeans and jumper as we had been in the lab earlier looking at microscope slides and specimens living in some tanks that we keep.

One of these is Gyrinus better known as a whirligig beetle, known the world over for its swimming in circles on the surface layer of ponds. I had spent some time telling about this very adapted beetle, which has middle and hind legs adapted to paddles which open like a venetian blind on the power stroke and then twists and fold back within the foot, which packs into the leg and that packs into a concavity higher up the leg. It does this for every stroke it swims and it can swim at 50 - 60 strokes per second. I wonder if anyone has built a machine with such reliability?

After my success in the lab session earlier, I was now picking myself up off the floor as a man in a ski mask was shouting orders at me while hold a pistol that was trained on my body. "Get up," he shouted, "Stand still."

"What is this all about?" I asked and was immediately told to keep quiet.

His colleague who I hadn't noticed was standing to the side wearing a similar ski mask. I told him that they both looked silly wearing the masks. "We all have to make compromises, professor, or do you prefer Lady Cameron?"

"Not particularly in the university."

"Very well, professor it is."

"Thank you, perhaps you could explain why your colleague is holding a gun pointed at me?"

"The least I could do," he said, adding, "in case he needs to shoot you."

"Why would he need to do that?"

"We have both heard you can be difficult to subdue in a physical confrontation."

"I'm sure that is an exaggeration and guns make me nervous, especially when pointed at me."

"That is intentional, professor."

"I assumed it was."

"Do as you are told and you will come to no harm."

"Famous promise which does little to allay my fears."

"If you make any sudden movements or call for help, his finger will move quicker on the trigger than you can to evade a bullet. I would not advise trying to prove me wrong. He is also a good shot, so can perforate you several times before you hit the ground, rather dead. It's also rather messy."

"Oh dear, we must think of our cleaning staff, then and keep things tidy."

"Very droll, professor, besides we want you alive as we believe your husband would pay quite a good price in a ransom."

"Henry would never wear it."

"Oh dear, does he think so little of his daughter-in-law, and fellow bank director?"

"I'm not especially important to the bank."

"I don't think your husband would agree."

"As you said, his father would have the final say and he doesn't do kidnaps for ransom."

"I think you mean he wouldn't pay a ransom?"

"Exactly." My brain was working at the speed of light. I didn't know if I could deal with one of these men let alone two, with one holding a gun on me. "How do I know the gun is loaded?"

"Make a sudden movement, professor, it will demonstrate if we are bluffing, though I would advise caution, because I know we are not."

"I doubt even Simon would pay for my dead body, but he would be prepared to spend large amounts of money in tracking you down and having you killed."

"At this moment, I think it unlikely, but my colleague will definitely shoot you should you try anything."

"Oh, I believe you, so can you point the gun at something else?"

"Alas, no."

I had my phone in my hand and it started ringing.

"Ignore it."

"It's my secretary who knows where I am and will come and see what is happening in a moment. The last she knew was that I was rushing to deal with a serious accident in one of my labs. She will raise the alarm and you'll be surrounded by armed police in minutes."

"He can still shoot you before they get here."

"I appreciate that."

"Answer your secretary, tell her it was a false alarm and you will be back to your office in a little while."

I pressed answer on my phone and he told me to put it on speaker phone to lessen the chances of me trying to say anything to warn Diane. "Hello prof, are you all right?"

"Yes at the moment I am, it was a false alarm, I should be back soon, okay?"

"What happened then, they said someone had been badly hurt?"

"Not yet, but there is a gun trained on me which could alter things rather quickly."

"What?" she screeched at me and I switched off my phone.

The man rushed over and threw my phone on the hard floor, it broke into several pieces. "My insurance is not going to like you," I said at him and he pushed me away his colleague lifted his hand with the gun and pulled the hammer back. It didn't fill me with confidence that I would survive this ordeal.

"That was stupid professor, now we may have to kill you."

"Oh dear."

"But we shall take one of your children in your place as I believe they would fetch as good a ransom."

"Hey, you leave my kids alone, do you hear me?"

"Don't sound so clever now, do you professor?"

Sirens filled the air and a helicopter was heard flying overhead.

"I think you may have a little difficulty now as well."

"So it would seem. However, before they get anywhere near us you will be dead, we'll just blend in with the rest of your students and go after your children."

"Most of my students don't carry guns."

"Oh not to worry, we'll leave it here by your body. We have another outside, we'll use that one to kidnap your kids."

I didn't think that was likely but even so I could be rather dead and unable to appreciate the moral victory, pyrrhic as it would be. I did wonder if a marksman would be able to take out the one with the gun but then realised the labs all had frosted glass and they'd be just as likely to shoot me. My sweatshirt just declared 'Portsmouth University,' and was bright red, would Diane remember that? I suspect they will try for talking this out, telling the kidnappers there was no escape and to give themselves up. I could still be shot, perhaps in spite. I tried to think clearly, my life could depend upon it. I thought of calling the goddess to see if she could help but with my luck she was probably out of her office.

The phone rang on the desk. It was almost certainly the police. "Answer it; any clever stuff and we'll start the perforations."

I nodded that I understood and picked up the ringing hand set. "Hello, Professor Watts, can I help?"

"This is Superintendent Morris, is there someone holding you hostage in there, professor?"

"Yes, they have at least one gun."

"Why didn't you answer your mobile?"

"It was smashed earlier."

"Okay, let me speak to one of the kidnappers."

"He wants to speak to you"

"Hello, yes, we could still shoot her. Well we could shoot a few of you as well. We may have to take that risk". He put the phone down and the most ridiculous scenario played itself out in my mind, that of 'Deal or no deal,' and the bad guy had just said no deal. Oh dear, not unexpected and I did sort of sound the alarm.

How many doors out of here?"

"The one out to the hall and a fire door, they are mandatory in laboratories."

"Thought so." He looked up and saw the green sign stating 'Fire exit.' and went to look at it. It was locked with key behind a glass box on the wall next to it. He saw the fire alarm and hit it with his elbow. Several thousand students, teachers and clerical staff would start to evacuate the campus. If the police didn't have a cordon around this block the two kidnappers could well escape to go after my kids. The one still had a gun pointing at me he broke the glass on the fire door lock and put the key in the lock. Next number one kidnapper, the one who wasn't holding a gun, started tearing up bits of paper, shoved them in a sink and set fire to them. If he wanted to create a diversion, coming out of a door with lots of smoke about, the police may just miss them.

I looked and both kidnappers were stoking the fire, I slipped under a bench and quietly opened a cupboard door, I hoped there was enough room for me inside. I crept in and pulled the door closed, trying not to cough and give myself away. I knew we had sprinklers in the ceiling and they would start as soon as the smoke started to build. I heard the water from them hit the benches and floor and the kidnappers swore then noticed I was missing but with the indoor 'rain' and the smoke they decided to exit the lab and run for it.

I waited, not being able to see what was happening, and my head was stuck deep into the under bench cupboard. I could hear only shouts and the running on the sprinklers, I sat tight for a few more minutes. Then a loud voice called, "Armed police," and I knew it was safe to come out except I could be shot by the police. I called out 'Help!' and pushed open the door. A copper with a rifle confronted me and I emerged with my hands up. I was taken outside under guard. I tried to explain who I was and to get someone to my house to guard my children, whoever was in charge of the SWAT team spoke to me and I explained they had let the gun men get away but that they had indicated they would try to grab one or more of my kids.

I tried to explain where I lived and the officer said he knew my house, in fact, anyone in the Portsmouth police knew my house, so much had happened there. He called a superior and urged a car with armed officers be sent there. I suddenly thought we needed to stop Tom going home as well, as knowing him he'd either get shot or kidnapped.

I also said we'd have to secure the fire door as the lab contained valuable equipment and the police told me that scene of crime officers would need to examine it first. The fire brigade had arrived and the sprinklers were switched off.

I'd have to discover what they'd used for kindling and our insurers would have to see what damage had occurred, mainly from water. I got a message to Tom who was speaking to fire officers, and was told that I would have to attend the central police station to give a statement. Just when I wanted to go home, count my kids and protect them.

I had no phone but they allowed me back in my office to call home and tell David and Emily to lock the doors and only let family in. Then I managed to find Danni's number and tell her to warn the others but to all get safely home and hoped by now a police car would be there to help guard them.

My bowels started to move and I had to rush to the loo.



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