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Brute Force 12/14

Word Count: 45.068
Summary: Banks in L.A. are being robbed apparently at random. The robbers are always a step ahead of the FBI, until Charlie begins working on the case and becomes the gang’s new target.
Characters: Charlie Eppes, Don Eppes, Colby Granger, David Sinclair, Megan Reeves, Larry Fleinhardt, Amita Ramanujan, OCs
Pairing: Charlie/Amita (pre-Ship)
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: None
Setting: Between seasons 1 and 2 - Megan and Colby are already there but they do not know Charlie yet
Warnings: Violence, verbal homophobia
Author's Note: This was actually my first Numb3rs story and was published a long time ago in Germany. I belatedly thought of translating it and here it is.
Feedback: Can’t breathe without it.
Beta: An-Jelly-Ca – thank you!
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Numb3rs and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.

Chapter Eleven
Brute Force Masterlist

***
***


12.


Charlie stared silently at Connor while he sent Kenny away with a gesture and then closed the door. “It’s easy, really,” Connor said, coming toward Charlie, his hands shoved into his trouser pockets. Charlie pressed his back to the wall and stood up. He’d never been tall. Connor towered over him, but Charlie felt better standing up than he would have crouched on the ground. In addition, he didn’t want Connor to think that he’d give in easily. The criminal still got closer and stopped only approximately a step away from Charlie, looking down into his eyes. “I want access to a database protected by the FBI’s firewall.”

Charlie shook his head. “Impossible. I don’t know the codes to important information, myself.”

“I know that you can access the information I want, if you’d only use your head.”

“What information?” Charlie asked.

Connor smiled. “I’d be satisfied enough if you’d log into your FBI member account first, professor. We’ll have enough time left to chat once you’ve done that – and the FBI will never know that a hacker’s just entered their system. The last time we tried this we barely escaped. You on the other hand are an official member with a password.”

Charlie clenched his hands into fists and pushed them against the cold concrete wall behind him, tensing his whole body to suppress the trembling, and raised his eyebrows defiantly. “No.” Connor didn’t react immediately. He let Charlie’s denial hang between them and waited until Charlie had relaxed a little again. Then he hit him in the stomach and while the young man was still trying to catch his breath, he seized a fist of Charlie’s dark hair, forcing him to look into his eyes. Charlie grimaced in pain and laid a hand on his belly protectively. Connor smiled and raised his other hand to Charlie’s head, a gun resting against Charlie’s temple. Charlie forced himself to smile. “You can’t shoot me.”

“No,” Connor confirmed. He let the weapon sink. When a shot came loose, Charlie thought at first that it had been a mistake but Connor seemed neither surprised nor frightened. Charlie’s right leg folded and Connor let him go so that he sank to the ground. He noticed the pain when he saw the blood seeping from his thigh into his jeans. He whimpered, his vision became blurred and the last he heard was Connor who said in a controlled voice, “Oops.”

***

Merrick tapped his ballpoint pen on the table top of his desk while he was scrutinizing Don and Megan who sat opposite him. His brown-grey hair was lying perfectly like always and his piercing eyes seemed to see every hesitation, every symptom of nervousness.

“I don’t like it,” Don’s supervisor finally said and Don nodded in understanding, trying to suppress his impatience about the interruption of the investigation.

“I know. But I promise you that I won’t lose my objectivity.”

Merrick raised his eyebrows. “You baby brother was kidnapped by a gang of dangerous criminals and you’re telling me that you aren’t taking this personally?”

“With all due respect,” Don answered softly, “for you, this case isn’t personal and I was right, though, when I requested a safe house for Charlie.”

“Believe me; I’m not taking this lightly, agent. Professor Eppes proved himself to be a valuable resource in the last few months. But if Agent Granger’s right and Hill plans to exchange Professor Eppes for Wilder, I’ll have to refuse.”

Don clenched his hands impatiently. “I know. I just want to stay in control of the case.”

Merrick leant back in his armchair, scrutinizing Don thoughtfully, and then he looked to Megan. “With Sinclair in the hospital, I want you to take over as soon as Agent Eppes loses the control he so badly wants.” Megan nodded while Don closed his eyes in relief. Merrick turned his stern look towards Don and continued, “I’m giving you a chance here, Eppes, because I know that you’re a great agent and leader. Prove it to me.”

***

Charlie clung to the bars that were attached in front of the narrow window of his prison, pulling himself up to take a look outside. He grimaced when his injured leg hit the wall and then let his eyes sweep the area behind the bars. Through the dirty glass, he could see a company parking lot surrounded by a high fence, behind which lay factories, depositories and fleets of vehicles. An industrial area. There had to be people somewhere. Even though Charlie couldn’t see anybody at the moment. Charlie assumed that he was on a deserted trading estate, because a wire-netting fence surrounded the area. It was old and had several holes, but there were still warning signs announcing punishment when one entered the area unauthorized. The next buildings were a good bit away and Charlie assumed that they were on the outermost edge of the industrial park. Of course, a gang of criminals wouldn’t hide right in the midst of people.

The bars were loose and as Charlie stood on the tips of his toes and pulled at them, the screws normally attached deeply into the wall came even looser. It seemed as if they were rusty. The window was small but Charlie assumed that he could make it through.

He had to get the bars loose. Which was much easier said than done. He’d woken up with a makeshift bandage around his leg. Connor didn’t seem to want to kill him - at least for now. Charlie had no idea whether he’d be used as a hostage. He only knew that he could by no means give Connor access to the FBI’s data base. It was to Connor’s disadvantage that he had nothing at hand to force Charlie. At the moment, he still seemed to think he’d be able to break Charlie with pain, however, if he’d asked Don, his brother would have laughed at the thought. Charlie had been beaten up by older pupils for years because they wanted him to do his homework. He’d never given in. And although that hardly compared with his present situation for a ten year old it had been a big thing. In addition, he’d never broken his word- neither to his friends nor the authorities he worked for.

He wouldn’t start to now. And who knew whether human lives depended on his cooperation. Charlie took off his jacket and tied its sleeves around the bars. He tugged on the jacket with his body for a moment to make sure the knots could hold him, and then he tightened his hands into the cloth and braced himself against the wall with his legs. He gritted his teeth as his injured leg protested and pulled more strongly. The bars broke loose a little further from their anchorage. Charlie took a deep breath, before he tried again. It felt like hours, however, it could only have been minutes, then the bars broke from the wall and Charlie, surprised, stumbled backwards and to the ground. The bars hit the floor. Charlie grimaced at the loud clattering sound, holding his breath. Nothing happened. The door didn’t open. Charlie sighed in relief, and then he got up and limped back to the window.

He opened it and then jumped up to take hold of the windowsill on the other side of the window. He pulled himself up with difficulty and smiled triumphantly when he could squeeze through the opening just so, falling on the wet asphalt of the parking lot on the other side of the window. He didn’t move for a few seconds, catching his breath. “I’ll have to exercise more,” he mumbled. “I’ll exercise more.” With this firm intention he straightened up and stared directly into Steve’s eyes. The other man - standing several feet away from him - seemed to be surprised to see him and Charlie used this chance. He got up as fast as possible and ran off. He didn’t know where he was exactly running, but he told himself that he could think about that later.

“Hey!” he heard Steve calling. Charlie stumbled as his injured leg folded and he hit the ground. He scraped his palms, cursed and got on his feet again. A big hole in the fence offered freedom and Charlie ran towards it. It seemed to be so far away. And he could see neither cars nor people on the other side of the fence. Where was everyone? Shouldn’t industrial areas be filled with people? Then it occurred to him that it was Sunday. Of course, less people could be found in industrial areas on Sundays. Only small companies which still knew the meaning of weekends were usually situated here. But there just had to be somebody somewhere.

Steve’s steps got closer and Charlie knew that he wouldn’t be able to outrun him with his injury. Nevertheless, he didn’t stop. He tried to run faster when Steve’s hand touched his arm briefly. His lungs were burning ... and then, suddenly, he saw a truck in the distance which turned into one of the nearby properties. People! Charlie didn’t have the chance to be happy about this knowledge, because Steve’s body threw itself into his back and he fell. The two men somersaulted and Charlie heard Steve yelling out in pain. Then, the other man grabbed his collar, pulling Charlie to his feet. “Little bastard!” Steve hissed, hitting him into the face so that Charlie went down, then Steve kicked his ribs. Charlie didn’t move, coughing and panting. Steve grabbed his collar once more, pulling him to his feet, and then he dragged him back towards the building. Charlie staggered beside him, trying to catch his breath. Steve didn’t fare better. “I swear, you do that one more time, pretty boy, and I’ll kill you ,” he panted. Charlie coughed. The cold air cut into his lungs and made him stumble. Steve dragged him along pitilessly until they reached the storehouse that was the robbers’ accommodation. Steve opened a side door and pulled Charlie with him through it. The door shut behind them automatically. Steve pushed Charlie forwards and he fell to the cold, concrete ground.

“What the hell …?” Connor exclaimed and Charlie stayed on the ground, happy to just lie there and breathe.

“He escaped. If I hadn’t gone outside a few minutes ago, he’d be long gone by now.”

Charlie looked up now, seeing Kenny sitting on a threadbare leather couch in front of a TV, watching him. Connor apparently had just got up from the same couch and stared at Charlie in disbelief. “How did he do that?” he asked.

“That’s what I want to know, too ,” Steve answered. “The fucking window had bars in front of it.”

Connor turned to face the boy. “Kenny, take a look.” He turned back to Charlie, walking over to him. “I have to admit, you surprised me, there.” Charlie stayed silent, staring at Connor with a grim face.

Through the now open door to Charlie’s cell, they heard Kenny calling, “He removed the bars!” He came back into the hall. “The screws are rusted.”

“Steve, take care of it,” Connor said and Charlie watched the man pass by him. He turned his attention towards Connor again when the man squatted in front of him. “Well, you’re here, now …,” he said, pulling on Charlie’s arm to force him into a standing position. He pushed him towards a table with two folding chairs placed in front of it. “Sit.” Charlie obeyed because the pain in his leg was killing him. Connor opened up the laptop which stood on the table in front of Charlie and, while the device came back to life from the standby mode, he casually rested a hand on the table next to it. He held his weapon with it. Charlie looked at the login page for FBI’s staff. He didn’t move. “What’s the problem, Professor? Forgot you password?” Connor asked in amusement.

Charlie shook his head. “I’m not doing it.” Connor sighed deeply. He put a hand on Charlie’s shoulder so that the weapon was aimed at Charlie’s healthy leg. Charlie closed his eyes, suppressing a panic attack. “My brother will find me.”

“Nobody will find you, Professor. Nobody knows where you are.” A cell rang. Connor needed a moment until he realized that it was his own. Charlie didn’t see what he did since he stood behind him; but apparently, he glanced at the caller ID, because he gave a mumbled, “Damn. That guy’s seriously grating on my nerves.” Steve was just returning from Charlie’s cell, a drill in his hand. Kenny was sitting on the couch, watching the two older men. Charlie thought that he still seemed to be very nervous and insecure. “Steve, take the professor back to his cell.” Steve nodded, heading for Charlie. “And this time,” Connor continued, “tie him up.”

***

Steve had screwed on a board in front of the window. The light bulb only provided a little light and Charlie couldn’t help but keep an eye on the dark corners of the room. He sighed, leaning his head against the wall behind him. Connor was apparently working for somebody else. The only question was for whom and what did that guy want? Charlie pulled at the handcuffs which was tying his right hand to an old heating pipe behind him. He could still lie down but he couldn’t move from the mattress. The door opened and Connor entered. “Thanks to your stubbornness,” he said, walking towards Charlie, “one of my customers is angry.” Charlie noticed the bottle with ether and a rag in his hand.

“You’re selling information from the FBI’s data base?” Charlie asked and Connor raised his eyebrows as if he didn’t see the problem in that.

“There’s data some people would pay a lot for. I’m just filling a gap in the market.” He stopped next to Charlie. “I have to meet with my client immediately and try to calm him down. Then, I have to make a call. We’ll be back in about an hour. And because you’ve been nothing but uncooperative up until now, I have to make sure that you’ll be still here when we get back.” He held up the bottle and Charlie pressed his back to the wall.

He forced his lips to curl into a smile. “What? No guard?“

Connor squatted down beside him. “Of course, Steve’s going to stay here. I’m just making his job easier.” He opened the bottle and spilled the liquid sedative onto the rag. “As soon as we’re back, we’ll talk about your cooperation.” The way he said it was scaring Charlie. Connor smiled. “Take a deep breath, Professor.”

***

Colby Granger had seldom felt so rotten in his life. The last time was in Afghanistan. The thought that he was responsible for everything that would happen to Charlie and had already happened to David was taunting him. Even when he saw David lying wide-awake, and apparently in fairly good health in his hospital bed.

“Hey,” he greeted happily, “A visitor! How nice, man.”

Colby sat down on the chair besides David’s bed, forcing himself to smile back. “Yeah. Alan told me to tell you that he’ll be by later. And Don and Megan are sending their best. They wanted to come, too, but there’s just so much going on.”

David’s gaze darkened. “You didn’t find Charlie, yet?” he asked.

Colby shook his head. “Megan and Don are looking for those guys. Nothing so far.”

“That’s bad,” David answered, trying to sit up straighter.

He grimaced when he put weight on his shoulder and Colby got up hastily to help him. “How are you doing, man?” he asked.

David shrugged his healthy shoulder. “The doc says I’m not going to die. I’ll just need time. I think it could have been much worse.” He smiled. “Maybe I’ll pay Brian Wilder a visit.”

“I was just there,” Colby answered with a shake of his head. “He’s not saying anything. But he knows something. We’re thinking that Hill’s planning more than a bank robbery.”

“Something he needs Charlie for?” David asked.

Colby shrugged. “That would at least mean that he needs him alive,” he answered. David nodded, before Colby continued, “The best would have been he hadn’t had the opportunity to snag Charlie in the first place.”

He stared at the ground and David frowned, worried. “Colby?”

His partner got up and turned away, rubbing his forehead anxiously, before he turned to face David again. “I shouldn’t have left.”

“That’s bull,” David answered.

“No. It’s true.”

David sighed. “Colby, I don’t think that you’d have been able to stop them. Those guys knew what they were doing. Maybe, they were even watching us. No matter who’d have left the room, no matter when … they were waiting for it.”

Colby put his hands on his hips. “Yeah. That’s why I shouldn’t have left.”

“Colby -“

“Don thinks so, too.”

David frowned. “Don’s a talented agent, Colby, but he’s goes insane as soon as his family’s involved. Especially, if Charlie’s involved. He’s angry at you, but he’s at the very least as angry at himself.” Colby didn’t look as if David had managed to calm him down, therefore he continued, “I put Charlie’s life in danger once, too, and Don ripped me a new one. Believe me, I thought that he’d ask for my transfer, but he calmed down, eventually. He sent you to speak to Wilder, right?” Colby nodded slowly. “You see? No problem. He may still be angry, but he knows that Hill was only waiting for the opportunity to take Charlie. I think he would have attacked us as soon as one of us was going to take a shower, too. We made sure that nobody followed us. There was nobody standing outside at the motel. We did all we could.”

“Yeah, but they still got Charlie,” Colby answered. David realized that he couldn’t change his partner’s mind.

He sighed deeply and nodded, “Yeah.”

***

Amita felt quite unwelcome in the FBI head office without Charlie. She’d never been here alone, before. And never unannounced. She folded her arms, seizing the strap of her bag, which hung heavily over her shoulder, with her left hand. Don’s desk was cluttered with files, lists and notes. His computer had jumped into the standby mode which indicated that he had to be gone already a long time. Amita took a careful look at the opened files on the desk again, not knowing whether she was authorized at all to look at them. Actually she wanted to ask Don after his progress and offer her help ... her eyes caught Charlie’s name and Amita looked around before stepping up to desk and shoving one Brian Wilder’s file aside to take a closer look. Under his file lay Charlie’s personal FBI file. Amita had to admit that she didn’t know much about Charlie. They had known each other for years, but at first their relationship had been purely of the academic kind.

A student and her professor. It wasn’t until Amita had gotten Charlie as her mentor that they had gotten closer. Finally, she had become his assistant. She knew Alan and Larry since then, too. She’d spent hours with Charlie over enquiries, calculations and preparations for his classes in his office. They spoke about their private life, but never much. Mostly, it was about mathematics. Because both of them loved numbers. The possibilities which they provided. Both of them knew that they felt more than friendship for each other. But at first, the rules had stood in their way as long as Amita hadn’t submitted her work. And now, they were standing in the way of themselves.

Curiously, Amita read over Charlie’s file. Suddenly, she had the strange feeling that she was missing something. She frowned, reading once again with more concentration - data, facts, achievements and previous activities for the FBI. She was missing something - quite certainly. Amita let her bag glide to the floor and sat down in Don’s chair. It was only a gut feeling - like she had when her equations weren’t correct because of a small flaw. She couldn’t even say whether it had something to do with Charlie’s kidnapping ... she leafed through copies of employee assessments which praised Charlie’s work and, shaking her head, read through the first two sheets of the file again – Charlie’s résumé.

“Amita.”

She flinched and saw Don and Megan standing next to her – both of them looking tired and overworked.

“Sorry, that you had to wait.”

She smiled weakly. “It’s okay. You’re busy.” She felt guilty when Don saw her hand on Charlie’s file and pulled it into the lap, crossing her fingers.

“What’s up?” Don asked.

“I want to know how it’s going.”

Don ducked his head and Megan sighed. “Not well.” Colby called. Brian Wilder was still not ready to speak and his condition prevented the agent to put more pressure on him. At least, David was getting better.

“If you need my help … math, I mean …,” Amita said, but Don shook his head.

“I don’t know how you could help us, Amita. We’ve got no data pointing to the hide-out of those guys. Charlie already tried to find it after the first robberies, but he said it’d be easier to determine the most probable next target than the point of origin.”

Amita got up and took her bag. “Okay,” she said, a little disappointed. She didn’t want to go, but she didn’t want to stand in Don and Megan’s way either. “Call me when you think I could help?“

Don nodded. “Got your cell number.”

Amita smiled in encouragement. “You’ll find him.” She glanced at Charlie’s file one last time before she left. Don fell into his chair. Megan crossed her arms, watching Amita leave. Then she looked at Don again. He seemed to be exhausted and stressed. Megan didn’t want to imagine the kind of pressure he endured. Alan called frequently to ask for their progress and Amita didn’t for sure come only for herself but also for Larry. But the person expecting the most out of Don was himself. Megan couldn’t switch off the profiler in her head who watched Don struggling with all that he had not to lose control over the case. Therefore, he bottled up his fear. And he nevertheless managed to make it work. She knew that she probably wouldn’t be as composed if one of her sisters was captured by Hill. Don rubbed his face, exhausted. His phone rang and Megan leant against the cubicle wall which surrounded his workplace.

Don picked up. “Eppes?“ Megan ducked her head, closing her eyes tiredly. Once again, she went through the possible reasons Hill could want Charlie. It was Don’s hand clamping down on her arm which snapped her out of her thoughts. He pressed the phone to his ear. “Connor, is that you?” Megan turned around, heading for her desk.

She grabbed her phone, calling the techs. “We need you to trace the call coming in on Agent Eppes’ phone immediately,” she said, before the man on the other end had answered the call properly.

Don propped his forearms on his desktop and asked, “Where’s Charlie?”

Hill's answer sounded self-satisfied, “Safe. Come on, Agent, you gotta have figured out by now that I want to use your brother’s gift for me. I can’t kill him, now, can I?“ He laughed. “Though he’s damn stubborn and needs … persuasion.” Don clenched his free hand, while Megan reached over his shoulder, pushing the button for the speakers.

“If he’s got so much as a scratch, Connor, I’ll kill you.”

Hill sighed. “Now, that’s just cliché, don’t you think?”

Megan put a calming hand on Don’s shoulder and he knew that it wouldn’t help to argue on the phone with Hill, therefore he asked, “What do you want?”

“I think you already know,” Hill answered.

Megan pressed her phone closer to her ear, asking softly, “You got ’em?“

The tech mumbled, “Not yet, gimme a second.”

Hill continued, “Brian Wilder.”

Don shook his head. “You know I can’t do that.”

“It’s easy, Don. Brian in exchange for your baby brother. I could let Charlie go as soon as he’s done with helping me, but I could also take my gun, point it at his head and pull the trigger.”

Megan heard the technician ejecting a short, quiet yell of triumph, before he said, “El Molina Avenue. Near Pasadena Playhouse Movie Theatre.”

“Thank you,” Megan answered. She disconnected the call and touched Don’s shoulder, before nodding at him. She reached for her phone again and sent a team for Hill’s position.

Don shook his head, trying to put Hill off, trying to get a proof of life from his brother, “How do I know you didn’t already kill him?“

Hill sighed, as if disappointed. “You just need to trust me. I’ll call you.” He disconnected the call.

Don slammed his phone down. “Damn it.”

“They’ve got him. El Molina Avenue, Pasadena.”

Don got up and took his jacket off the chair. “Well, that’s something.”

“I’ve sent a team. But El Molina’s practically on the other side of the city,” Megan continued.

Don stopped in his tracks. “El Molina, yeah?” he asked. Megan nodded. He pulled cell out of his pocket and called up a stored number before hurrying towards the elevators with Megan on his heels who tried to put on her coat while running. “The hospital’s near El Molina,” Don said. His colleague picked up and Don said, “Colby. They’re on El Molina Avenue. Are you still at the hospital?”

***

“Okay, Don,” Colby answered and disconnected the call. “El Molina,” he mumbled, remembering a cinema situated there which advertised to be the biggest in town. He started his car. He was glad that he’d already been in the parking lot when Don called. Now, he didn’t lose precious time by rushing to his car. He took a car’s right of way as he left the parking lot and answered the furious horns with flashing blue light. He’d be there before the FBI arrived. El Molina was only about 15 minutes away from the hospital - at normal speed and counting red traffic lights. The FBI was situated almost on the other side of town. He wouldn’t mess up this time and he knew this part of the town well enough, despite his recent move to the city. Once in a while, he’d been here with a friend who already lived in L.A. for a couple of years and had shown him the bars here.

He couldn’t believe that the robbers had kept themselves hidden in the middle of the town this whole time. Colby reached California Boulevard, overtaking one car after another in rapid speed and turned with squealing tires on Fair Oaks Avenue, before he drove onto the Colorado Boulevard.

It wasn’t far now, he could already see the intersection leading to El Molina and turned the flashing blue light off, not wanting to draw the attention of the gang to himself. He braked and drove slower, adapting to the leisurely speed of the inner town traffic. He drove even more slowly to look for the white van the robbers had used during the robberies. He also paid attention to the pedestrians, looking for the face of Hill or one of his accomplices among them. He didn’t need to. A white van emerged from El Molina onto Colorado Boulevard and went past him on the other side of the street - Hill was sitting at the steering wheel. Colby waited for a moment, then he suddenly took a U-turn without consideration for other cars and switched on the lights and siren. He ignored the hooting cars and curious pedestrians, concentrating on the white van instead who suddenly accelerated.

Colby stepped on the gas, overtook the car in front of him and sought Don’s number via the free intercom from his speed dial.

“So?” Don asked.

“I got ’em,” Colby answered. “I’m following them on Colorado Boulevard. They’re heading …“Colby took a moment to orientate himself, overtaking a motorcyclist in a dangerous manoeuvre and then continued, “They’re heading for Angeles National Forest.”

“Hang on,” Don answered and Colby nodded firmly. The van ignored a red light, almost having a run-in with a jeep. Colby followed him over the intersection on Lake Avenue, wondering where the reinforcements were at and prayed that no pedestrian ran in front of the cars. In this part of town at this time of day, many people were milling about. Weekends were luring many customers into the surrounding malls, video arcades and cinemas. And sometimes the citizens of L.A. were less attentive than they should be. The van turned on Foothill Freeway, then the Angeles Crest Highway and Colby was relieved that no more pedestrians were in acute danger for now. He drove faster, threading by the afternoon traffic and watched the van taking an exit after a couple of minutes. He followed and managed to minimize the distance between them. There was no vehicle between them now.

“You got me?” he asked.

“We got your GPS signal,” Don answered. “We need a moment to catch up.”

“Define moment,” Colby answered tensely and turned off behind the van into a forest preserve. The woods were regarded as a recreation area for the people of the surrounding city, offering bathing seas and walks which led up to the near mountains. Colby couldn’t imagine that the gang hid someplace here and therefore assumed that they drove through the area hapharzadly, just to get rid of him.

“We just have to dri …” The intercom shut off.

“Don?” Colby asked. A glance at his cell told him that he’d lost the signal. “Damn it.” He hardly paid attention to the trees passing him by like one single brown-green mass while he was following the van. It turned off on a little woodland path and Colby followed. Suddenly, the van braked. Colby also braked, frightened, and tried to avoid a crash. He lost control over his car. A tree was coming toward him and he pulled hard at the steering wheel. Then, he blacked out.

Chapter Thirteen
Brute Force Masterlist

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