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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33. LOSING MINDS

 

CHAPTER THIRTY TWO – LOSING MINDS

MELANIE

 

Rowan had invited her in, placed two chipped mugs full of tea and they talked about Christianity. Rowan struggled with her faith, calling it an off and on again relationship that coexisted with the new relationship she had with her girlfriend.

Melanie liked the girl, and couldn’t decipher what she could be afraid of besides losing her girlfriend. Maybe that was it, maybe losing it all was her trigger and that was what prompted the actions of the next minute when the door burst open and William, Carson and Henry burst in with ski masks.

“Get down!” Melanie had hissed and yet she couldn’t do anything as Carson grabbed her, hauling her out of the house and into the van as the other two men jabbed a needle into Rowan’s neck and watched her struggle.

Melanie knew the deal, she had been through it herself but she had never been there for an official kidnapping. That was not her job. Her job was the Scouting not the taking.

“You keep your mouth shut and you act fucking normal.” Carson whispered into her ear as she was buckled into the passenger seat, giving the guys room in the back for Rowan to be placed. Carson hopped into the driver’s seat and drove round the street to the backdoor entrance. It was quieter here and Melanie should have been the one to drive, but nonetheless she didn’t think she could work the pedals.

William and Henry exited the house, kicking the back door shut, with the unconscious form of Rowan held between them, her head flopping towards her chest. Melanie felt sorry for her. Was that what she looked like when she was kidnapped?

They huddled into the backseat, placing Rowan against the window to make it look like she was sleeping. It was in broad daylight and Melanie knew that if it was night they may have just stuffed her in the boot of the car like the savages they were.

“I though Mel was going to drive,” William hissed forward, Carson replied with a swear words and a handful of words that Melanie drowned out. Instead she gazed out of the window and let herself picture forests and picnics.

Childish laughter punctuated the air of her daydream, autumn leaves raining down as her little boy chucked them up just to figure out the magic of gravity. He was wrapped in a yellow raincoat, checked scarf and dinosaur boots. “Mummy,” he called out and she was sat there next to the picnic basket, leaves in her black hair, “Mummy” he called and she went to him willingly to play with the crackling leaves.

“Mummy.”

That boy was her home, Leon was her whole life. The past tense made her shiver in the cold confines of the van and she begged that the men hadn’t saw the action. Carson shot her a look through the mirror and she looked at his nose instead of his eyes.

They drove on, roving through familiar roads until the Compound dawned on them and she was ushered to the Warehouses, Carson staying in the car while William manhandled both herself and Rowan to the Cattle sheds.

“Get her comfortable,” William muttered to her as he ignored the women’s tittering and placed the sleeping girl on a single mattress.

The cattle shed used to be owned by another girl that Melanie knew now to be dead by the women’s clipped mutterings. But she couldn’t talk, wouldn’t talk and add her voice to the void as she straightened out Rowan’s hair and finally allowed herself to cry.

She hadn’t been back in these cattle sheds in months and yet they still had the same effect on her.

 

SHAWNA

 

The second interrogation with Lloyd was easier than the first. They had a familiar trade off by now, a question for a question, a luxury for a luxury. A chocolate bar got Lloyd’s voice to permeate the air around her.

“Why do you think the NCR has you as a member?” Shawna asked knowing that Edward had already hunted for Lloyd’s background, but the only thing that they could find was a birth certificate describing how Lloyd Webber was forty two years of age, born in England instead of Scotland. After that his whole life had disappeared. The NCR had tried to make it obvious that Lloyd was lower down, not as needed as he may have been, and they had fooled the police in their perception.

If they could find out what Lloyd had done or why he was a part of the crime ring then they could create a profile for the organisation. Or at least try to.

“I think I’m resourceful, I’m good at watching people and figuring them out. I know what gets people to sign on that beautiful dotted line. Why do you think your team has you as a member?” Lloyd asked, his eyes on her all the time.

They didn’t waver to the ceiling anymore. Some familiarity had been established between them, so at least Shawna had accomplished that.

“I handle the numbers, none of my team are as adept at that as I am. Did you join willingly?” Shawna asked, chewing on her chocolate bar and noticing how Lloyd’s eyes were drawn to her hands and not her eyes this time.

“Yes, an offer I couldn’t refuse was given to me.” Lloyd leaned on her hand and then his gaze shifted to the two way mirror on the other side of the room for the first time since his arrival. Shawna’s eyes narrowed, that wasn’t an insignificant move.

“Bribery then?”

“Not bribery, I knew what I was signing, not fully at first but then I came to realise the benefits outweigh the negatives.” He came back to her then and then to the camera just left of the doorway.

Shawna stood, placing her chocolate on the table. “Want another coffee?” she asked Lloyd, noticing how he didn’t want to focus on her anymore. He waved his hand at her, looking at his hands this time and she disappeared behind the door where Edward sat on his laptop.

“I think we’re about to be attacked,” she muttered, causing Edward to look up. “He keeps glancing at the cameras and at the mirror, secure the firewalls.” Edward nodded, gaped like a fish and gestured to the side of the viewing room. James emerged from the shadows, gesturing a gun to her.

“They’ll try the south entrance, it’s the one with the least amount of footage available, there’s an alleyway there too.” Edward muttered, and cursed. The footage at the moment showed a peaceful alley, not a car in sight.

Shawna nodded and followed James, “Make sure that Lloyd is protected at all costs,” and waved a hand at the police officers.

She remembered being trained on how to use a gun by her Uncle, he once said that using a gun was sometimes imperative in a case. A life meant a life and sometimes you could save your own.

She clicked off the safety and together they crept to the southern entrance. The alley was warded off by a barbed wire fence at the end that could be opened by an entered password. The pair waited in the doorway, was a getaway attempt really happening? Maybe she had misread the signs?

No, Lloyd appeared nervous, too nervous and different to persona compared to that morning. He appeared less confident in his motives as the time wore on, as if he was doubting whether his organisation was coming for him. Then a car crept down the alley, having passed the gate.

“I’ll take the front, you take the back,” James muttered to her, the front would be more obvious, and he would be spotted within moments but they wouldn’t be checking the back until later on.

They kept to the shadows, heavily shrouded and slightly terrified as the car came to a stop. Shawna didn’t dare breathe as she inched further from the car, glad that she hadn’t worn heels to work like Kayleigh would have.

She was hidden beneath the shadows and the communal bins and she was relatively safe, for now. From her vantage point she tried not to cringe as James fired off two bullets and two men exitted the front of the car.

She crept from behind the bins, her gun held close and as she came closer to the car she noticed a male still in the backseat, an open laptop in his hands as he tapped at keys. He would be trying to hack the security footage, trying to trigger alarms and locks. He was the criminal persona that Edward could have been if he had jumped into different waters. Shawna could see the laptop, the bright screen, and so she stood and fired a single shot that erupted through the window and through the screen. A shot echoed from behind her and she turned to see James knock out an officer who had fired at her instead, a possible traitor then?

The man inside the car cursed looking her way and before she could aim her gun in his direction, a hand was clamped around her mouth, dragging her backwards and knocking the gun from her hand.

“A gun doesn’t belong in a sweet heart’s hand,” the man murmured and he sunk a knife into her abdomen, her teeth clamping into the man’s hand as she screamed in pain. The man cursed and dropped her, and her fingers clawed at his cheek as she went down. The man cursed again and jumped through the backseat, hurrying to the steering wheel.

Shawna could feel the blood erupting up to the blade, which neither she or the man had removed. More gunshots fired but her surroundings blinkered and darkened. She rolled towards the bins, knowing that the car would rock back as it peeled out of the alleyway. The car rushed through the wire fence and she could just about see the boots of James come towards her as he stepped over a fallen body.

“Shawna,” he was saying and lifting her up and dragging her back through the police station. He was calling for help and as Edward rushed through to them she hardly understood what he was saying.

Then the fear rushed in, she was losing her mind through the blood loss and something in her brain switched on while the rest of her body switched off and she teetered in James hold. Blood made her faint and the rush of the moment and her wound made the world snap shut like a purse.

 

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