Michelle had never been so cold, except perhaps on the previous night, which she'd spent unconscious in the open desert after being thrown from a car. It was probably around forty degrees Fahrenheit, but she was still wearing the short-sleeved shirt, skirt and sandals she'd arrived in and had no protection from the wind except the house she had crawled behind. She had managed to get two houses away before the cold and the increasing pain forced her to take a break. Part of her wished she could simply go to sleep again until the daytime sun warmed her. She hoped she could get a little further away and find help before her captors found out she'd escaped.
A dog barked and roused her. She had dozed off, after all. She looked to the east and saw orange hues at the horizon. Soon she would be found. Soon this would finally all be over.
She heard a leaf crushed underfoot and looked back toward Asu's house. Several men dressed in black were walking carefully around it. Must be the Syrian version of a SWAT team--they'd found her! Asu had known her name, which meant he was connected somehow to the men who stole her luggage. But now she wasn't in the house, and they could deny having ever laid eyes on her. She tried calling out, but she didn't have the energy to muster enough volume to be heard from that distance. In desperation she began crawling back toward the house from which she'd come. The pain across her body was growing again, causing her to grunt with each movement. She prayed she wouldn't be too late.