EXCERPT
John turned to walk away when his cell-phone rang. He turned it on. "Hello."

The voice on the other end was muffled. "Hi ya, John, your luck has changed. Just do exactly as I say and your wife will be unharmed."

"Who is this?"

"Shut up and listen! I can tell you exactly what she's doing and where she is. If you call her, and she leaves from where she is to answer the phone...she's dead! Do you understand?"

"Yes." John clamped his eyes shut to calm the fear that engulfed him for Kathy.

"Much better. She's working on a flower bed in your back yard and I have her in my rifle sites as we speak. You had better pray that she stays put until you arrive. This is what you will do. Don't speak to anyone about this. Go to your bank and withdraw twenty thousand dollars. Toss it in your mailbox before you drive up your lane. Do exactly as you are told or you will never see your wife alive again. You have exactly twenty minutes...so don't dawdle."

The phone went dead. John stood in shocked silence.