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Author's Chapter Notes:

Thanks for the love so far, I appreciate it! :O)



Without fear there cannot be courage
Fear drives the unthinkable out of us

From “What Gives You Courage” by Alisha Ricks



~ 2 ~


Accidents Happen


Once the door closed, Howie began to struggle against the binds that held his hands behind his back. Thankfully they seemed less tight than they were before he was given the chance to eat something. Maybe he’d be able to undo the knot. He was able to feel it with his hands and once he got his thumb firmly in place, he started to work his pointer finger into the center, hoping it would give a little.

He swallowed hard as another round of saliva fell from the small opening of his gag. He was pretty confident he was going to end up choking to death if he didn’t remove the bandanna from his mouth soon. Feeling that sense of panic made him start to struggle even more. He had never in his life felt as helpless as he did at that very moment.

He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself down, knowing that panicking wasn’t going to help at all. Trying a different approach he moved to a kneeling position and tried to figure out how to stand. Thankfully his captor didn’t think to tie his feet together so if he could manage to stand, he could go into the kitchen and maybe find something sharp to help get his hands free.

Moving to a standing position without the use of his arms proved much harder than he ever thought it would be. He half made it twice but fell back down to the ground both times. Once again he felt a surge of panic rise in him as his heart quickened. He closed his eyes once more but this time thought about his wife and his kids. He needed to get out of this situation for them. They needed him to survive this.

That seemed like the motivation he needed as he opened his eyes and once again knelt but this time he walked towards a chair on his knees and used the seat to help himself rise to a standing position.

Once he managed to stand himself up, he walked over to the kitchen and looked around for a knife or anything he could use to maybe cut himself loose, of course the actual cutting he wasn’t sure he could pull off with his hands behind his back. Maybe he had just seen too many movies where people in this situation managed to successfully cut themselves free but he was willing to give it a try. He HAD to give it a try.

There on the counter was a small paring knife. He turned his back to it and tried reaching for the handle. Managing to get his fingers to touch it just for a second, he lost his balance which in turn made the knife fall to the floor. Howie let out a grunt in frustration as once again the panic began to rise. Just for a few moments, he thought maybe he should just give up and wait. He sat on a kitchen chair rocking back and forth, trying to fight the urge to cry. Even in a stress filled situation like this, he wouldn’t allow his emotions to take over. Mostly it was because if he started he was pretty sure he’d never be able to stop.

“Pull yourself together!” He yelled in his head. “You can do this!”

He knew that he wouldn’t be able to get to the knife on the ground so once again he scanned the room with his eyes hoping he could see anything he might be able to use to help himself out. While doing that, his thoughts shifted to the rest of the guys and what was probably going through their minds about now.

It was safe to say that this was probably the worst day of his entire life and most likely his other band mates could say the same, especially the one currently trapped in the car with the psychopath; just thinking about that made Howie panic once again. They should have never gotten into that truck. He’d never forgive himself if something were to happen, especially since he knew that his friend was hurt, hurt a lot worse than he pretended to be. He needed medical attention but he would never let on because he knew he had to help the others so he lied to Howie and everyone else. No, if something happened to…he couldn’t finish his thought so instead he moved to another one, the accident.

Kevin insisted it was a great way to bond together after the huge blow out fight they had. “Guys let’s rent a car and drive to the next city, just the five of us.”

“Why the hell would we do that?” Nick had asked in his typical sarcastic voice.

“Because I think we need it!”

“So once again it all comes down to what you think we need!”

“Enough guys!” Howie had said putting one hand on Kevin’s shoulder and the other on Nick’s. It had been a while since he had to take the role as mediator. It wasn’t something he missed very much but with them all spending so much time together, it was bound to happen and very early this morning it finally did.

Looking back at what actually sparked the fight in the first place made Howie shake his head. How something so stupid could escalate into something so big.

“Only us…” He thought to himself as he watched his two friends walk away from each other.

“You really think we should rent a car?” AJ asked once it seemed like the air around him had calmed down a bit.

“I do.” Kevin glared over at Nick as he said it, then he found himself glaring at his cousin. “What’s so funny, Brian?”

Brian shook his head, “It’s just that the two of you are so similar I sometimes can’t tell which one of you is my cousin and which one of you is my boy band boyfriend.”

That broke up the tension and everyone laughed.

Just thinking about Brian made Howie bounce back to his present and once again look around the prison he was being held captive in. He was sure he could find more knives in a drawer somewhere but he was also sure that he wouldn’t be able to keep a firm enough grip on one without making it fall to the floor. He would have to try something else. Maybe something that had a sharp edge that he could rub against and break free that way.

He felt his first glimmer of hope when he saw the fire poker sitting by the fireplace. It was in a holder which was a good thing since that meant it would stay firmly in place. To get even with it, he had to get down on the floor. He used the wall to help him slide down to a sitting position and then scooted himself towards the fireplace and the sharp poker. Sitting on the ground made him too low to reach the sharp end so once again he managed to get himself to a kneeling position. This time he was able to reach the pointy edge so he began to rub the rope back and forth against it. He wasn’t even sure if he was doing it right, for all he knew he was way off base, but he had to try.

His thoughts once again went back to the van as he tried sawing his hands free.

“Can I at least drive?”

“NO!” all four of Nick’s band mates answered at once.

“Fine, you all can suck my ass!”

“I rented the van so it’s only fair that I am the one that gets to drive it and besides, it WAS my idea.”

Nick rolled his eyes but stopped arguing as they had all piled into the car.

“I call shotgun!” Howie insisted as he sat next to Kevin.

Brian and AJ decided to sit in the middle area but Nick went for the back so he could stretch his legs. It was going to be about a four hour drive to their next venue even though they had well over 24 hours to arrive since they had a day off to look forward to before the next show. Plenty of time for the mandatory Backstreet bonding that Kevin insisted upon.

“So, Nacho gets to hang out in my bus all by himself because of bananas, nice!”

Yes, the big band brawl, which almost resulted in fisticuffs, had to do with bananas. Kevin wanted the last one and was about to take it when Nick grabbed it out of his hands. There was mention of Nick not even liking bananas and how he was rude, selfish and inconsiderate. This was followed by where Kevin could shove said banana which then morphed into Kevin being a complete control freak on stage. The end result was all five of the guys fighting about the song order, sound and choreography.

Bananas to dancing…weird.

The true center of the argument was just spending too much time together, so what better way to remedy that situation by spending even more time together in a nice confined space?

“Why are you smiling?”

Howie glanced over at Kevin, “Just thinking this is so us, this whole entire thing. We’re kind of ridiculous!”

“Kind of? We’re like the stupidest people I know!”

“Speak for yourself, Nick.”

“I just did, AJ but thanks for proving my point.”

They had been driving for well over two hours, in such time everyone had pretty much calmed down and forgiven each other for anything that had happened within the last year. They sang along to the CD, Nick making sure they knew all the words to the songs he wrote and Brian doing his best to purposely mess the words up.

Kevin did what felt like a soliloquy of why he thought critics hated everything they did and AJ talked about his beard for at least fifteen minutes. Pretty much anything that was needed to be said was said and then some. Too bad there was still at least another two hours of driving time to go.

Howie couldn’t remember the very last thing said before it happened, but he knew it was Nick who was talking. He had said something about the weather or something completely generic like that when suddenly there was a loud pop.

Kevin lost control of the car at that point as it began to swerve. Howie made sure he was wearing his seatbelt and grabbed on to it as if that would help keep him alive.

“Hold on!” Kevin had screamed just as the van barreled through something and rolled down a hill.

The sensation was the same as being on a rollercoaster. The van rolled over a few times before finally landing on its side. Howie was suddenly grateful for holding on to the seatbelt the way he was since he was suspended in the air by it.

He felt blood trickle down his face, but felt no pain at all. He looked up to see his window had been smashed but also took that as a good sign he’d be able to get out of the car.

“Is everyone okay?” Kevin asked weakly.

Howie glanced down at his friend behind the wheel happy to see his eyes and know he wasn’t hurt too badly.

“I’m okay.”

“What about the rest of you?”

“I’m okay.” AJ was in the very same position as Howie in the car, the only thing keeping him from falling was his seatbelt.

“Nick? Brian?”

There was no answer.

Howie knew the only way to get everyone out of the van was if he were to escape first ,so he braced one of his legs against his seat and undid his belt. He was afraid he was going to fall on top of Kevin when he came loose but he managed to hold himself up by hanging on to the broken window and then hoisting himself out until he was sitting on top of the van which was really the side.

“Can you loosen your seatbelt?” He asked Kevin, “I can help you climb up if you can get yourself free and then we can get the rest of the guys out.”

He tried his best to ignore AJ’s constant cries of Nick and Brian’s names. Neither of which were saying one word as he watched Kevin unbuckle himself and try to move from his seat. Kevin kept trying to look behind him to assess how badly the others might be hurt but Howie really needed him to focus on getting himself out of the car. “Kevin, you’re no good to them unless you are out here helping me to get them out of the van.”

Kevin nodded and managed to get himself away from the confines of the steering wheel and stretch his hand up to Howie as he pulled himself up on the armrest that served as a make shift ladder. Once Howie got a hold of his friend’s hand, he pulled with all his might until Kevin emerged from the broken window. He was a bit bloody and bruised himself but other than that he appeared to be okay.

“They aren’t answering me!” AJ sounded as if he was about to cry. “I can see Brian but he’s not moving!”

Kevin and Howie looked at each other helpless. “We have a problem Kev,” Howie pointed to the passenger door which was completely dented with no possible way of opening it up.

A sudden sound of tearing pulled Howie out of his thoughts as he realized that part of the rope that had bound his hands together was slowly ripping. A new sense of excitement hit him as he started to rub against the poker even faster and within a few minutes, his ropes managed to completely come undone. He pulled his gag off and started coughing.

“I can’t believe that actually worked!” He managed to say out loud as he massaged his red, rope burned wrists.

Now that he had set himself free, he frantically started searching the house for a phone that he could use to call for help. Of course searching the cabin from top to bottom yielded absolutely no means of communication at all. No phone or anything else he could use.

He did find a flashlight though so he grabbed it and made his way out into the pitch black night.