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December 11, 2000
The man sat up in his cot, noticing some unusual movement on the monitors. Swinging his stocking-clad feet onto the floor, he rose from the cot and shuffled across the floor unsteadily.
He had been deeply asleep and was having a hard time getting the buzzing in his head to clear.
Plopping into his chair, he tried to focus on what was going on in front of him. Expanding the kitchen camera’s image, he pulled the headphones down over his ears.
“I have contacts all over the world…I’m pretty sure I can find someone that knows where she is,” the dark-haired man muttered as he punched in some numbers on the phone.
“What’s going on,” the man thought to himself as he watched what was happening in real time. He would need to roll back the footage when he got the chance in order to put this conversation in perspective.
But he could tell by the looks of everyone in the room that it wasn’t good.
“Our biggest problem is that Noon Byrk is the most ruthless bitch I’ve ever come across,” the dark-haired visitor continued before connecting with someone on the phone.
As the scene continued to unfold, the observer was further confused by the other man’s sudden use of Italian on the phone.
Sighing loudly, he leaned back in his chair. This was an unusual development…whatever it was. Once he had a chance to look at the footage, he knew he would have to place a call to his handler.
He was pretty sure this would be something he would be interested in!
Taking the headphones off, he rose from the chair and turned toward the stairs. It was starting to look like it was going to be a long night…a night that would require more than just a bit of coffee.
December 11, 2000
My legs were burning as I trudged through the deepening snow. I had no idea how far I had gone at that point, but it felt like at least five miles. Even though I had my face covered with a scarf, I could no longer feel the ice and snow pelting me.
Visions of the dream I had had a couple of days before were now haunting my thoughts.
Had it only been a couple of days?
To tell the truth, what with being on the other side of the world and being ensconced in total darkness…I wasn’t even sure what day it was!
Some shit don’t matter…
In spite of everything, I couldn’t help but smile when the saying struck me. It was one of Frank’s…my old partner. He had a stable of eclectic sayings to fit every need, always delivered in his dry, unemotional voice that I suddenly missed very much.
“Not that I’d wish you were stuck in this hell with me,” I mumbled to Frank’s spirit, “But sometimes I really wish you were still around.”
Frank had been murdered a couple of years ago now, when he had gotten too close to the truth on a series of murders. I had been gone at the time…out of the country…trying to get my head on straight after the death of my wife.
I still felt a pang of guilt when I thought about him…dying alone without backup…if I’d only been around…
My self-inflicted guilt came to a sudden end when my foot caught on something and I unceremoniously tripped, my face plowing into a bank of snow.
Crawling slowly out of the pile, I turned to see what I had stumbled over. Unable to discern anything, I was ready to continue my trek when my mind finally kicked in.
You are looking for something that might be buried by now…idiot!
Falling to my knees, I started scooping away snow from whatever had caught my foot. It wasn’t long before my hand scrapped against something solid. Tugging at it, I realized that it was a small tank of propane!
With renewed energy, I started digging deeper…a real chore since the blowing winds quickly refilled the holes almost as fast as I could dig them. Finally realizing I was getting nowhere, I started throwing the scoops of snow into the wind and letting the breeze scatter it farther away.
After about twenty minutes, I was able to make out the frame of a sled. About six feet long, it had an assortment of supplies that would make our internment a little more hospitable.
I sat back to catch my breath, still amazed that the voice on the phone had been telling the truth. Finding a strap attached to the front of the sled, I slowly stood and trudged toward the front of it, readying myself to pull at it and try to free the sled from its frozen crypt.
I ended up having to tug one way and then the other to wiggle it enough to release it from its icy grip. Finally pulling it to the top of the snow, I dropped to my knees to catch my breath. As I breathed in the frigid air, I glanced around at my surroundings.
A barren plane of dimly lit ice and snow with no discernable point of reference to anything.
How the hell had I even found it? I asked myself as I stiffly stood and faced the way that I had come.
My heart sank when I realized that my footprints from the trek here were now almost totally obliterated.
And if those were disappearing…what about the earlier ones?
My eyes turned toward the heavens. “I hope you are with me Betty,” I mumbled before lowering my head and taking the first step back to the shack, “Because if you aren’t…”
December 12, 2000
Noon Byrk tensed when the big Russian started speaking.
“English!” she barked over her shoulder from her spot in front of the window.
In a good mood when he had entered her office, the rebuke put Ivan on edge.
“My apologies moy Rukovoditel, but my excitement over the current…how you say…success of the operation has left my mouth detached from my brain I thinks.”
If only you had a brain for your mouth to attach to, Noon thought to herself before turning to face her hired hand.
“Everything is as planned then?” she questioned the man before smelling the vodka on him.
He reeked of it!
She had a hard time keeping her revulsion from showing.
Ivan nodded in reply, his greasy hair now spread across his forehead like so many dirty fingers.
“The two men are stashed in the outpost, the little girl is with Magda, and the woman…Gregor thanks you for the help.
A sly grin crossed his pockmarked face before he spoke again. “He would like to discuss with you the possibility of keeping her on full time. He says his business has never been better…plus I tinks he wants to have deti with her.” (babies)
Noon smiled in spite of her company. Gregor had been a good friend over the years…was this so much to ask?
“Tell him I don’t care what he does with her…for now. I will leave the possibility open as to him keeping her longer.”
Ivan proffered an unsteady bow. “As you wish moy Rukovoditel.”
Noon turned away from the drunken sot, staring out once again at her icy prison.
“You have confirmed McGruder’s flight?”
“V opredelennom smysle…how you say…in your senses?”
Noon sighed, “Do you mean, in a sense?”
“Da!” Ivan grinned. “McGruder did not use my friend’s charter service, but he was able to track him on another one…they took off an hour ago.”
Noon nodded, excitement tingling her spine at the thought.
Turning to Ivan once again, “I have made a decision. Since his operatives are a part of McGruder’s organization, we will dispose of them in time. Gregor may keep the girl; you can leave the other two to freeze to death. After I have had my fun with the little man, I will renegotiate with the little girl’s father for yet another ransom.”
Her proclamation done, she turned to her desk, stopping only when Ivan cleared his throat.
“You have something else to say?” she asked in a warning tone of voice.
“Alexie and I could easily dispose of the men,” Ivan responded.
“No,” Noon replied succinctly, “I need you here for McGruder’s arrival.”
“What of after moy Rukovoditel? Alexie is young…he has yet to draw his first blood. It would be a great honor for him to do this.”
Bloody Slavic’s! Noon thought as she continued to her desk and sat down.
“After,” she finally spoke. “After I have secured McGruder and have him under my thumb…then you can take your man-child out to give him his much needed practice.”
“As you wish,” Ivan responded before turning to leave the room.
“Many things will be different after I have McGruder,” Noon called out as he reached for the door.
Thoughts of the white-haired bitch taking it while he leaned her over the desk came to his thoughts. A sneer formed on his lips at the thought.
“Da,” he uttered as he turned the doorknob, “I can see that they will.”
Copyright 2015 J.T. Lewis
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