Summer Kids

When Lucas Tweedle, leader of Left Hand Private Investigators, receives a box containing a film he hasn't seen in years, he is prompted on a road trip across miles and years. He has to save Eva Grey, the only girl that ever loved his teenage self.
She may be in the clutches of the Nemesis Crime Ring but the memories of the summer after college graduation haunt the both of them.

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27. RANSOM

 

CHAPTER TWENTY SIX - RANSOM

LUCAS

Mr. Grey walked out into the darkness with a gait edged with nervousness. Who wouldn’t be nervous walking towards the people who held your daughter captive?

The man at the front took off his hood revealing eyes lit orange under the streetlight, clean shaven and hair naturally pointed upwards at the front. “You have the money we requested don’t you Mr. Grey?” He said with humour underlying the question. The lips twisted upwards, a thin upper lip compared to the full bottom lip. The all black outfit was drenched orange and rippled as the man turned his body to fold his arms.

“I do,” Mr. Grey stopped walking at the very edge of the circle of light, the front of his shoes just peeking into the orange. “I need proof of Eva first, I need proof that she is alive and well.”

This was a demand, said clear of any nervousness or terror.

“How about you show me proof of our money Mr. Grey?” The man said, his lips twisting higher up as though he was enjoying all of this.

Mr. Grey hesitated, the grip on his duffel bag still ironclad as his arms did not move. “I–“

Hesitation showed; confidence was an illusion.

“I have a video of her right here, a live recording to be exact Mr. Grey,” the man was teasing Eva’s father, dangling a carrot right in front of him to take.

Beside him Farren was whispering furiously, “Do not step into the circle, do not step into the circle.”

Mr. Grey stepped into the circle of orange streetlight, becoming a man made out of glares and anxiety. His grip on the duffel bag loosened ever so slightly and Lucas felt the perspiration on his own forehead for what the other man was about to do.

This was not okay.

There were roughly six paces in between the man and Mr, Grey. The man swallowed those paces quickly, halving them to see the contents of the bag.

Mr, Grey set it onto the ground, kneeled to unzip it and opened it to show the bundles of notes. He straightened, leaving the bag there and the man tilted forward to gaze into the bag.

This was not okay.

 

SEBASTIAN

As a father he thought he had some privilege. He also thought that it would be easy but it wasn’t. He knew it wasn’t because if it was easy then he would not be standing trying to negotiate with a man who had contributed to his daughter’s kidnapping.

Life was never easy when you had a daughter. Daughter’s wanted to take over the world. He wasn’t ready for that. Eva knew that, Emma knew that and yet here he was trying to forge confidence and calmness while in front of a criminal.

“The money is in there,” he didn’t feel like lying about the amount. He wasn’t that good at forging feelings. “Now I need proof of Eva.”

“Very well,” the man uttered and produced a tablet from the pouch of his black hoodie. He turned it on and angled it towards Sebastian.

There showed a black and white video of two women in two beds, side by side near the left side of the room. One of them was burrowed into the blankets with only hair visible near the pillow. The other slept like Eva had always slept, like a starfish with the covers ripped off the bottom half of her body.

Even as a child she had slept that way, first starting as curled up and foetal like and progressing to a starfish by the start of the next day. He smiled briefly because that was his daughter.

The man used the chance to look through the duffel bag, counting the money with the calculated fingers of one hand.

Eva slept peacefully. Sebastian could see the rise and fall of her chest through the video. She was alive. Even the red LIVE symbol in the left hand corner told him that she was alive. She was alright.

His heart soared.

“There’s only half the cash here, we asked for £5000 not for £2500 Mr. Grey.”

His heart froze.

The sound of guns being pulled out from the two men behind the other one made ice crystals form.

“My wife has the other half, look she has a duffel bag like this one,” he was desperate to get the other men to see.

“She better have that money or there will be two bullets going into your heart,” the man said and tucked the tablet back into his hoodie. The other hand made a gesture to the men behind him. Sebastian didn’t know what it meant. “Call your wife over here, now.”

Sebastian did not want to press this man’s buttons, definitely not.

“Emma,” Sebastian said it louder than he had before and even though his eyes stayed on the men and the guns they now held, he could tell that his wife had jerked forward in shock and psyched herself to make the journey over here.

He knew his wife, more than he had ever known his daughter.

“We’re not going to actually give them the money are we?” Emma had asked the man who Lucas had identified as Farren.

“You raised that money from the very depths of your pockets,” Farren began, his eyes lighting up, “Like hell are you actually giving it to them.”

“Then what’s the plan?” Sebastian asked, his knuckles white.

“They take the duffel bags,” Farren smiled, “most leaders pass the money on to whoever they’re with to assert their power as leader. They order the other people around. Once they have the bag in their hands we press this button,” he pointed to a small remote control that lay on the table in front of them. “This will deliver a small shock to them and that’ll leave us the leader to take down.”

“We go from having multiple problems to fewer problems,” Lucas quipped from nearby and Farren didn’t even acknowledge the words.

“The shockers in the bags are small, small enough that they won’t be detected when one of them checks the bags for the money.” Farren was rest assured that this plan would work.

“Everything will be fine.” Lucas better have been right because Eva wasn’t there to stop Sebastian from strangling the boy this time.

Emma stood beside her husband with a blank face and a duffel bag in her grip. She dropped it in front of the man who had her daughter and she didn’t look him in the eyes.

“Eva is well?” this wasn’t a question, this was a statement posed as a halfway there question and it left Emma’s lips without resistance. Every mother knew their daughter and Emma certainly knew her better than Sebastian did.

“She is very well, she fits in well with the Family and He treats her well.” The man knelt to count the money and didn’t elaborate on that previous statement.

“Now you have your whole amount can you tell your men to point their guns away from us?” Sebastian asked trying to dredge up some control in this situation.

“Of course Mr. Grey,” and the gesture was made again, the guns were lowered but not put away. “As long as the other amount is paid in full by this time tomorrow Eva will be back in her home by the end of the week.”

Sebastian wanted to rage and say that 'by the end of the week' was too long, he wanted to rant and beg them that they would stick to their words but he didn’t. What he said was much more suited to the situation.

“You will.”

“Good.” The man crooned and took both duffel bags into his hands. Sebastian held his breath.

The man then pressed them into the hands of the two behind him, “It was good doing business with you,” the man smiled and turned around to go back to the car. The two other men walking behind him.

Sebastian held his breath.

This was it.

Any minute now.

The shock was subtle. The men jerking, their bodies shaking, the bags dropping onto the ground, their bodies falling to their knees as their eyes rolled back. The leader turned, a snarl on his lips. He didn’t have a choice in the manner as a shot rang out.

Sebastian grabbed the duffel bags and ran back the way they came, using his other hand to grab onto his wife.

Together they ran back to safety and allowed the professionals to deal with the mess they had half way planned.

 

LLOYD

Lloyd had not planned this. He wanted a quick grab and run, shy and nervous parents and a private eye who was blinded by a missing girlfriend. But no, Victor wanted him to do this because it was a challenge and he loved to prove that the Family was better than mere mortals.

Victor hadn’t planned this either.

The shot hadn’t hit him but it did distract him. It made him turn back towards the car, rushing to avoid the cascade of bullets coming his way.

The car was two paces away from him. But the doors did not open. The emergency plan was not executed even though Carson was a sucker for following the rules.

That left one person that hadn’t followed the rules, the runt he had trained on Victor’s insistence.

The one person who would betray the family on the behalf of a woman, betray it continually in the form of switching on the headlights and the ignition and gunning the accelerator away from him. The car was quick to shoot backwards and reverse out of the carpark quicker than Lloyd could run for it with bullets coming towards him.

Fuck.

“Traitor!” he screamed in frustration and sprinted away from the bullets and the private eye who were coming after him.

He ran and he wanted to scream. How did this happen? In the back of his head his training told him to shut up and run faster, to find a gun or a knife and go against Victor who said that he couldn’t have a weapon because then he would look too threatening.

Fuck Victor. Not literally of course, that was the wives job.

Then there was footsteps behind him, rage hot on his heels.

Then he was being tackled, chest going down hard on tarmac. He hadn’t gotten far, the road leading away from the university not being far away enough.

He was going to fight, he was a Trainer after all, but a Taser was jabbed into his ribs and his brain was bleached in shocks and expletives.

Then he knew that there was weariness in his bones off of the electricity, cuffs on his wrists, and a car driving him away from the Family and the work he had done to preserve his life.

He said nothing while in the car, not because he couldn’t but because he wouldn’t. He had been trained for the slight possibility that he could have been caught. But Victor thought better of him to be caught. How wrong Victor had been about the private eye and the challenge he had set for himself rather than God.

He was sat in a room, chained to a table with a two way mirror in front of him and he knew that there were eyes watching him from the other side begging him to give them something in the form of words.

God will send you to hell if you open your fucking lips about this Family Victor had said way back in the day when someone had brought up the chance of police knocking on the warehouse doors. Victor had first laughed, realised that they were serious and then lectured them.

He heard his leader in his head every damn second of the damn day. That was what Victor wanted. That was what God wanted.

He laughed then, because he was going to give them what they wanted. His laugh was cruel and dark, everything that Victor was and had instilled into his workers – ahem, Family.

“They are your worst goddamn nightmare,” he laughed banging his cuffs against the table, “and they will bring hell onto Eva and all of your fucking heads.” 

 

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