Idiot, dumb and stupid! That’s exactly how he felt right now. He was going to lose the easiest five grand of his life! And all because that babe had such big boobs! Idiot! How he would explain it to Garfield Lewton? Or worst, to Mike Salucci? Garfield only wanted a few pictures of that will and Mike his money, so he only had to give Garfield the pictures and Mike’s henchmen would not break his legs or else... But noooo... He had to see that gal’s lacy bra!
The break-in had been swift and easy, he had twenty minutes to find the file in that law firm and snap the photos of the will of some Robert Pierce, before the guard made his usual round, and get out. But then the unexpected happened, some chick was doing extra work.
And what a chick! Tall, long dark blonde hair and a very generous pair of boobs straining the conservative black and green business suit she was wearing. She hadn’t noticed his intrusion so concentrated was she on the papers she was analyzing and checking. He couldn’t go to the archives section of that law firm without passing by her desk, so he did the obvious.
He pointed his gun at her and forced her to lie on the floor as he quickly taped her ankles and wrists together, then he applied a strip or two over her pouty lips and went to see the files. He quickly found the one he was looking for but, in order to send the cops in a different direction, he made a mess with all the files of that room. He opened sealed envelopes, small boxes and files and placed it all in small piles of papers here and there.
The will was very short and the envelope attached to it, the first he had opened, had two pages that ‘coincidentally’ were among the ones on the top of two of the piles of paper scattered around the floor. But before he could snap a picture he heard a noise. The gal was almost managing to free her hands, but that wasn’t what really attracted his attention. Some buttons of the suit had popped out opening it and her breasts were now straining to get out of a flimsy white lacy bra...
It took a moment too late to realize that there was a pair of the members of the security guards of the building knocking at the door, but he had managed to escape. Without a single picture!
And now... now Garfield would have to at least pay him a couple of grand for his efforts.
As he droves to the fleabag motel in which the old man was waiting for him, Alfred Rearden’s fear for Mike Salucci’s painful debt collection methods (and personal greed) started to overcome what little he had as common sense. Garfield might have become an old dude now, but he was still a strong fella and taller than he was. BUT… he seemed sick and ill when they had met three days before, so perhaps he wasn’t that strong anymore. Yes, more likely he wasn’t...
One hour later a shot was heard in a room at a well-known motel (by the local precinct) called Nick’s. The body of a certain Alfred Orson Rearden was found. Forensic evidence and the testimony of a hooker cleared the man who had been living in that room for the past month, an ex-convict called Garfield Lewton, of any charge. Apparently Alfred, who had various debts with half the city’s bookmakers, had tried to rob (and kill if what the hooker said that she had heard was true) his ex-cellmate Garfield in order to pay such debts. Only four days later, when the analysis of DNA evidences found at the scene of a weird burglary attempt at Deacon, Northrop, Maxwell & Valmer were known is that this became undoubtedly proved as false.
By then the whole state already knew it very well...
“Thank you Mr. Lewton, that’ll be all for. Please don’t leave town.”
“Very well Miss… Bryant. I have nowhere else to go, so don’t worry…”
The man had at least 6’7”. He had been released from jail just a month ago due to his medical conditions, he had a mean terminal cancer. It was evident in his face and looks, just a year ago he must have been very intimidating and dangerous. Now he was a tall and increasingly skinning man, with very few months to live, if not weeks. And still… she knew that he was lying.
There was much more in this story than just he, or that hooker for that matter, were saying. She decided to check on what had happened that night in town, with nothing to back up her suspicions but a hint that Garfield was up to something. Her good-for-nothing partner, as usual, had dismissed her ideas so she was on her own. One hour minutes later she was talking with the officers that had been at the scene of a B&E at a prestigious law firm downtown.
The only person there at the time was a secretary that was doing overtime, they had not found anything suspicious in her story so she wasn’t a suspect, but one of the two (lucky) guards that had found her gave chase to the intruder. He tackled the man but had received a blow in the head and the guy had escaped. But according to the guy, the intruder had a tattoo in his right shoulder. A black lion. Exactly like the late Alfred had. She then talked to the guard and showed him a picture of Alfred’s tattoo. A match. And the images from the security cameras of banks and shops three blocks away from the firm showed Alfred running to his car in a rush, then burning tires after the first police cars passed through him. The forensics had found some hair in the guard’s hand and clothes and there was some blood too, but unlike in any of the CSI’s series, the DNA exam took days to be completed.
More or less at the same time that detective Pennelope Bryant was talking to Samantha Baxter, and getting more and more convinced that Alfred was the man that had tied her up the night before, Garfield was in pain. In too much pain. When his medicine finally managed to work he had already promised a hundred times (more) to the picture in his valet that he was not going to die before he set things right. Even if that meant that he would do it himself.
Dawn tried to persuade him, she knew the whole truth and knew how stubborn he could be and how much it had worsened the past months, but she tried anyway. With the predictable failure came the resolution that she would help him, and that’s when Garfield learned that stubbornness is transferred trough DNA. But some of her motifs and ideas did made sense, she even had thought in things that he hadn’t! What the…? She hadn’t got that mean bone from him!
He spent the rest of the day going to as many shops as he could, buying here and there what he would need to do himself what that loser could have done already and what his daughter had suggested him to do. That girl made him proud in a very twisted way!!
Dawn paid a visit to a friend and made a very unusual request to her. Thirty four minutes later she left with what she had wanted in the first place and some unexpected (and most welcomed) extras, and both doctor Karen Mays and her secretary Layla Donner had to wait a whole hour until a patient, very angry for the unexpected delay and curious for the mysterious absence of the young secretary in the waiting room, decided to enter her consulting room to be freed…
The description both women gave to the police of whom had broke in, stole the sedatives and tied them up back to back was of a skinny man in his late thirties who, obviously, had a severe addiction in painkillers and other prescribed drugs…
Then Dawn went to the place where it all had happened so many years ago, she needed to do a clean up in some of its places. After all, her father wasn’t going to return there alone…
What a horrible day it had been! That ********* had made all the apprentices, trainees, temps and secretaries work a lot harder that day. Everybody in the firm, but of course specially the last ones, had to put files in order, in the proper way so no confidentiality that hadn’t been already broke was augmented, and talk to all their clients; specially those who hadn’t any file in the section that the ********, ******* and ********* had turned upside down.
Samantha Baxter was definitely considering the possibility of writing that resignation letter! She had been the victim too! That guy was obviously leering at her and if wasn’t for good old Huey she’ll have been… touched by the perv! But did it mattered for those… gentlemen? NOOOO!
They had forced her to come from the precinct to the firm, and that Northrop bastard had made sure that she’ll have to work overtime… again! As if she had anything to do with the break-in!
And she wasn’t the only one being punished by being forced to stay at the firm that night!
Ann Maxwell and Vivien Carter, because they had lost that case last week (and were seriously thinking in opening their own firm), and her colleague JoBeth Zynnia (who also had rejected the advances of a senior partner, hence the punishment for both), shared her current situation. None of them was pleased with it, but at least they started what could become a great friendship.
Sam was the most pleased with it, most of the women in the firm really thought that Barry and her had a case, so she was outcasted of most social relationships by her co-workers (and there were some stories as well...). Ann, who kept entering in a new diet every week in order to lose ‘those pounds’, was the most distraught with that revelation (she had been the source of most of the stories...) and had took two hours to stop blushing every time she looked at the secretary. She had admitted that pure envy had made her spread the rumors, and had already committed herself to apologize in front of the whole staff first thing in the morning.
And to make things worst Samantha had really forgiven her. The mid-thirties fat woman said to herself that she was going to do something for Sam to repair what she had done. She did not knew what exactly and was thinking about it when she decided to pour a mug of coffee for everybody. It was already past midnight, and they still had a good two hours ahead!
There was an unknown man in the elevator. He was very tall, a little bald and skinny, albeit he showed some muscles here and there. He wasn’t wearing a mask. And he had a gun in his right hand. With the index finger of the other he made the ‘silence’ signal.
Ann entered the elevator. They stopped four stories below, and she stepped outside the cabin already gagged and with her wrist bound behind her back.
He led her to the waiting room of a dentist and took a good look at her. Fat (but not much), brown eyes that albeit crying were looking at him as he was less than nothing (he shouldn’t have smacked her buns...), expensive and conservative navy blue business suit... a lawyer?
“Pay attention lady. My partner messed up things last night so I had t do a more direct approach. I am a desperate man with few months to live. UNLESS I do what I have to do tonight. So don’t lie to me, don’t **** me up and don’t try to be smart! The guards downstairs did tried to and will spend some weeks in the hospital! Do you understand me?”
She did, of course she did. She knew how to read people and this guy was desperate. Genuinely. So Ann let the man finish the job on her without any resistance whatsoever. He applied more rope on her arms (did he really wanted that her elbows touched?), then her knees and ankles. Then more rope above, below and crisscrossing her ample bust and lashing her bound arms to her torso, then the final insult. He made her lie on the floor and attached a rope linking her ankles to her wrists. Then he sat on the floor, right in front of her and made her some questions...
He didn’t remove her tie, which he had used to keep her handkerchief inside her mouth, so all Ann could do was nod or shake her head.
“Where’s that girl? Does it take that long to bring some coffee?”
“If I know her, and I do know her, she went to that Starbucks down the block and will bring us all some Mocchas, the biggest size they have!”
“I like mine pure and strong...”
These two were now like childhood friends! The tallest of the four, Vivien was also the eldest one, looking to her and JoBeth from above of her 42 years of life and 6’2” of height. Perhaps because of that, and the very conservative black and blue business suit (it reminded Sam of the kind of clothes her aunt Polly, a Sunday school teacher, would use) Sam had already pictured the couple as a teacher and a student in her mind. They were working perfectly in unison, with Viv giving the directions and very few orders and JoBeth following her guidance (with a few ideas of her own) perfectly. In comparison, she and Ann were so behind they part that if they hadn’t offered to help them, blessed them may be (!), she would only manage to get out of that room when the sun was returning to the sky! And mostly because of her laziness...
She had already done what Ann had told her to do before she went to get that coffee, and since she didn’t dared to do anything on her part until her ‘partner’ reappeared, she helped Viv and JoBeth by carrying boxes and doing some photocopies. And now it was time for some more of the last ones. She walked the corridor cautiously carrying about a hundred sheets of papers and humming a soft rock song. She entered the xerox machine room...
And was grabbed by a man who had her tightly handgagged and pressed against the wall... wait a minute! She knew him! That detective had showed a picture of him to her! Garfield... Garfield something, Garfield Lewton! He was the man that had killed the man the police suspected that had tied her up the night before. She knew him and she realized that he knew that she knew.
Why couldn’t she have a good poker face?
“Are you the one that that good for nothing preferred to see and touch instead of doing what I paid him to? Don’t scream, just nod or shake your head... very well... do you know me?”
And she nodded again. Then he went straight to business. He stuffed a wad of cloth in her mouth and then applied pre-cuts strips of tape over her closed lips. He used rope on her wrists and elbows and above and below her breasts... Weird, last night when that guy had touched her she felt so... impure, but this guy was touching her a lot more, and her breasts had received some attention (so he could pass the loops of rope around her torso more efficiently thus trapping her useless arms more quickly), but she knew that this guy was all business! He was not after her body, he was merely removing her from his path. Weirdly, she felt unreally safe now.
He forced he to kneel on the floor and paid attention to her ankles, then she was laid on her side and tied loop after loop over her long legs, until she was sure that she wouldn’t be able to even worm out of the room. He lashed her ankles to one of the feet of the xerox machine and stood up.
“Don’t worry. I am only after a name, a few witness and some proofs. I need money and there’s someone that is going to pay a lot of it to keep me quiet... pay to ME that is. If he or she pays to someone else... he’s history, and so are everyone that had financial ties with him! And...”
He suddenly stood up and paid attention to a sound. Heels clacking on a wooden floor...
How could they have forgotten those files? And why wasn’t she hearing the characteristic sound of the photocopy machine working? Did Sam had let the paper get jammed again? She was a nice girl, a very diligent and working one. But that’ll be the fourth time in the last three hours!
“Girl... did you (again!) put too much... Ohmygoooooommmpphhhh!”
Samantha was like on her side on the floor, her whole body covered with crisp white rope and the lower half of her face covered with white tape. For a moment she thought in using some of the self-defense tricks she had learned years ago. Then her attacker produced from somewhere a gun, big one and meaning one. And it had a silencer. And the he whispered in her ear.
For his part Garfield prayed that this new chick didn’t realized that the safety was on. He had promised to Dawn that he will keep it like that all the time. So far it had worked with the guards in the first floor, and the gorgeous babe at his feet had been so easy to subdue that he didn’t had needed to show it to her. This one was also a beauty, although not as voluptuous as the lady on the floor. And she was black, short dark hair and wore the same black and green suit that her colleague, also a secretary as it seemed. Her curves were more classical and her eyes were as analytical as his must be looking now. She was evaluating him!
“I don’t want to use it on you or her or in the fat lady I left downstairs or anybody else! I am NOT here to kill someone, I just want a name and some proofs. That’s all. That’s all I want.”
She understood. He was quicker with her than he had been with Sam, just the wrists and elbows and tape with no packing. Then he looked one last time to Sam, shut down the lights and forced JoBeth to frogmarch at his side as he went to the archives room.
Alone in the dark room, Samantha felt a weird vibration on the side of her left breast. The inner pocket of her jacket! Her cellphone! But her hands were bound behind her back and...
There weren’t any proofs in her hands, yet, but her instinct said that Al Rearden had been the one responsible for the B&E at that prestigious VIP law firm. At Garfield Lewton’s beck and call.
The whys were the problem. Garfield Lewton had been a small fish, sometimes he had petty jobs and other times he was in jail for even pettier crimes, he never did anything more serious (that the police knew about) than a couple of burglaries in Ohio, well there was the harsh beating of a boy of 19 years that had publicly mocked his daughter because of him... And he was dying. She had talked with the judge that had let him out of prison, and he told her (without getting in too much details) that he had already outlived the doctors’ expectations in two months, but it wasn’t something that he could be proud of. He was a very ill man.
But for some reason he had hired that good for nothing dude. If only that lion’s tattoo wasn’t so common! She decided to check on Garfield, just in case. He wasn’t living in that motel anymore. But he had left an address in the outskirts of town. She looked at her watch. Should she go home and see it in the morning or... ah, what the hell... In for a penny...
He had entered the archives room holding JoBeth’s bound wrists with his right hand and a gun, with the safety on, in his left one. But he was tall, he was stronger than her and he had just said that he had overpowered everybody else in the building. He looked calm and confident, and he hadn’t shoved JoBeth on the floor or something like that. He was carefully binding the young (and brilliant if her guts were right) law student to a chair as he kept eye contact with her from time to time. She was kneeling on the floor five feet in front of the swivel chair that was going to be JoBeth’s best friend for a couple of hours, with her hands on the top of her head and fingers intertwined. He looked calm so she needed to stay calm.
“You! What’s your name?”
“Vivien Abigail Carter, may I help you?”
“Actually, you can. I paid a gambling addict to do some easy job and he messed up thing real good, or none of you gals would have to still be here doing overtime. But I need to have with me what he was supposed to find and give to me. So here I am, and I can do more or less the same mess that he did or you can help me. Your call.”
“What are you looking for?”
A will, as if she wasn’t expecting it. What she wasn’t expecting was that the will was from some guy she had never heard of. Who was Robert Pierce? She quickly found his short will and a letter that was to be delivered to a certain Sheriff Newman of a nearby city in the mountains. It had been one of the first files they had managed to rearrange over half a day ago. She placed it on the floor and then was told to lay on it, three feet away from the file.
He first rendered her arms useless, then he gagged her with her own handkerchief and placed strips of white tape over it, then he overdid. There was no need to use so much rope, she was being cooperative and didn’t had made any attempt to fight him or escape. And now there was enough rope adorning her body to secure three of her! He lashed her ankles to a foot of one of the tables and taped her fingers together, then he taped JoBeth’s fingers and left the room. But he had left the file on the floor! Had he forgotten it?
No, he was merely going to put all his captives in the same room. He entered the room cradling the also overbound body of Samantha and repeated most of the overkill tie he had done with JoBeth. Now the two secretaries were almost melted to the swivel chairs they had been bound to. Finally, after a long wait, he came back to the room carrying Ann in the bridal style. He placed her body atop the only table in the room and collapsed on the floor. Like the others Vivien didn’t understood what was happening, until she heard the distinctive sound of something hard being bite on and crushed. And then she saw something rolling right at her right side, he was taking that? But then, this man must be in severe, no, extreme pain right now.
It took him a few minutes to recover. He quickly passed some rope under Ann’s armpits and between her lashed ankles and soon had her anchored to the top of the table. After that he rechecked all the girls’ bonds and gags, and even tightened some!
Only then he checked and rechecked the file and the letter inside the envelope. Five times.
“Ladies... I am sorry to have made you suffer all those indignities. My name is Garfield Lewton and I... well, I’ve just read Robert Pierce’s will and the letter that was supposed to be delivered to the late Sheriff Valmont Newman. I don’t give a **** if the whole law enforcement force of the country is going to hunt me down. I... know what Robert Pierce knew. Tomorrow at noon I’ll call someone who is very interested that no one else but him knows what Robert Pierce knew, so he will get in touch with his contacts within the police force, before or after my call, and will realize that I am telling the truth. I am a desperado. I have a chance to live... but it’s going to cost me money! Money that I will receive from said person and, to ensure that neither my name or my goal are known by the public, I will take two of you as my guests for a day.”
That sent all women berserk, they pleaded and tried to fight their bonds and cried all at once. To no avail. He grabbed one of the swivel chairs, placed the file and envelope on the girl’s lap and pushed Samantha a few feet forwards, then he stopped and dried her tears while he whispered something to her. Samantha nodded and was led out of the room far more calmer.
Two minutes later it was JoBeth’s time. She was just crying as he carefully used his hankie and whispered to her. He returned a minute later, checked Ann and Vivien’s bonds and gags one last time and, before he closed the door, he said to them;
“Again, I am sorry to put you two through it. I call the police in one hour and I’ll release those two in less than twenty-four hours... I promise.”
No one had ever heard of him at that roadside motel. Well, there was the possibility that he knew someone that had allowed him to use the sofa or even a room. Or he had deliberately lied to the police. Well, it was past one a.m., almost two, and she hadn’t had nothing for dinner except that ham and cheese sandwich. Time to call it a day! To pick something at that drive-thru ahead and...
Wasn’t just him that had just passed in that old car in the other side of the road? Yes it was!
Pennelope thought for a moment. She hadn’t anything against him. Absolutely nothing! He was driving within the speed limit and very carefully. So she decided to follow him.
She couldn’t knew that he had two stringently tied up and gagged women in the trunk of his tailfin ’62, none of the three guards or two lady lawyers at the building had yet managed to get free of the bonds he had placed on them and, the most important of all, she simply couldn’t know that if she had made him pull over he would have obeyed, Sam and JoBeth would have been rescued and he arrested and, still, he would have achieved his goal and lived to see what he wanted to see as a result of all of his actions.
She simply couldn’t knew that she would have saved his life if she had gave that order.
But she chose to follow him, expecting that he didn’t realized that she was right behind him. Something really hard to achieve on a lonely road as the one he took. Where was he going?
There was nothing ahead except... the Billford Clinic. It had been closed for about fifteen years now. A regular place for guys who wanted to built a meth lab and expected (DUMBS!!!) that the police didn’t showed up. It was truth that it seemed that the guys had learned the lesson, since the past five ‘visits’ had just found a couple of bums or junkies and the rests of some campfires.
And then it struck her. While she was reading his file yesterday there was the list of all his previous jobs. Garfield had worked there, under an alias (Joe something), after the APA and some families made the DA’s office shut it down for abuse against the inmates, as a guard.
It hadn’t lasted more than a semester until he left the job and the state, but until proof in contrary it had been a clean and honest job. Then why was he going there at such hour of the night?
There was a time, when she was a child, that all that she wanted to be when she grew up was a burglar as skilled as her father was. Of course, Garfield wasn’t that skilled, but in the very young Dawn’s eyes he was. So she did her best to learn how to be stealthy, quick and furtive.
As the years went on, she refined her skills due to many reasons; make that ***** pay dearly for having called her what he or (more commonly) she did or said (and do it so good that no one was going to be able to prove that she had been the responsible), make petty thefts, help the Lambda Thau girls finally win a ‘war’ against those ******** of the Alpha Alpha Alpha after twenty years (!) and so on. She was still an amateur mostly because Garfield (why couldn’t she call him ‘dad’?) had forbidden her to ‘going pro’ until she graduated.
Now she was going to make her first ambush since she had overpowered Mattie Smythe and Felicia Hill last year. And it was going to be a cop? Sorry man, your little girl is a woman now!
She was using night-vision goggles to survey her prey. Garfield had phoned her as soon as he realized he was being followed. As he had predicted, it was a cop.
But Garfield had thought that ‘it’ was a couple of ‘he’, and that probably one of ‘the guys’ was going to get in touch with the central after they used the same route that the cops always used when they wanted to go to the Billford place unnoticed. Garfield was wrong in both accounts.
Her breasts weren’t really noticeable, but it was definitely a she. Early to mid-thirties, quite attractive actually, bold (and dumb) enough to get out of the car without sending some message to her precinct or partner. She preferred to carry her gun in her hands instead.
Dawn looked at the men and women around her. She sent a text message (‘I can do it all by myself, do not interfere!’) to their leader and left her position.
He hated it. He REALLY hated it. It wasn’t what he was supposed to do! He was the law back in his hometown for crying out loud! So why was he standing there, passively watching with a pair of goggles an ex-con unloading two innocent young girls, one white the other black, from the trunk of his old car. He was not manhandling them, actually he even covered both with blankets after he hobbled made them and made them go inside the main building of the complex with him. Meanwhile the unexpected (well not that unexpected or he probably would be standing here alone) police presence in the area was actually a good looking woman. Casual dress, indigo jeans over the legs and covering a... (it was hard to determine the colors with the night-vision lens) possibly white T-shirt, gun in hand a really doing a good job as she moved towards the main building. BUT she; had not called for back-up, was more focused in getting inside the building than in being stealthy and, wasn’t aware of the women following her.
He remembered her smile once more... and stood still.
She was sure that she had seen someone with Garfield as he entered the two stories building. She couldn’t see much of the person, since he had put a blanket over him or her, but she was sure that the person was hopping and not walking. Garfield was turning on the lights of every room he passed, so she could see that he was probably going to the infirmary in the back of the building.
If she remembered it right there was a window in that infirmary. She made such a cautious approach that it took her nearly ten minutes to be under that window.
She carefully raised her head. Garfield was in the middle of tying up a buxom and half-naked white girl to a chair. She recognized the girl, it was that secretary... Samantha something. She had been stripped to her (lacy blue and white) bra and panties and, although crying profusely, she seemed unhurt. It was a common wooden chair the one she being bound to, and a little old one. It had a low back, so he had easily managed to place her bound arms behind it and, right now, he was passing loop after loop of rope in order to anchor her torso the chair. There was another woman in the room, an African-American gal as young as Samantha was lying on a mattress a few feet away from Garfield and Samantha. She had been hogtied (lightly) and her head was turned to the other side so Penny couldn’t be really sure if she wearing the same weird leather gag that Samantha was or not, and where did he had find them?
Actually, since they were in the middle of nowhere and he obviously wasn’t expecting any kind of visitors, why did he had to gag them? Unless...
“Ahem! I strongly recommend that you don’t make any sudden moves detective...”
Ooohhhh ****! He wasn’t alone!
“Grab the handle of your gun with your left thumb and index finger. Please no sudden moves. I am not a killer. Actually all that is happening here is to grab one. DON’T!!!!”
“Any problem Dawn?” – Garfield! He was right in front of her and aiming a gun at her! And his daughter was the woman behind her! – “Detective... Bryant, nor me nor my daughter are doing this in order to kill people. I am interested in setting thing right before I... die. Years ago I... did something that had haunted me since I found out that it had happened. My daughter just wants to help me to die in peace. We are not interested in hurting you or anyone else but the... man that made me a murderer. Simple like that. You’re going to spend a whole day bound and gagged and then... who knows? Your partner will be the one breaking that door at my right and rushing to set you free? Or it will be someone else? You three will be found and rescued, that’s for sure!”
She had already been handcuffed (with her own handcuffs!) and Dawn, a hooded girl all clad in black leather, like a dominatrix or whatever, was now searching her.
“Two concealed weapons, a taser and... what’s that? A blackjack? Isn’t this stuff illegal?”
Pennelope ignored the remark. What the... he seemed true and honest. She was going to do something the very first time she had a chance of course! But she sensed that she could trust in him. And even his... daughter was being, considering the situation, very professional with her.
“What’s this all about? Who’s this man you’re talking about?”
“James Francis Leonard Thybot.”
And suddenly it all made sense to the young detective.
“...and so I grabbed her, yeah, ME! She fought back, she fought like a real wildcat! But I had over sixty pounds of muscles over her. I must admit that... well, that I never felt that good after I tied up and gagged a chick. Then Bob drove us to here...”
Garfield was talking to a camera. While Dawn was tying JoBeth to the chair at Samantha’s left, never letting the hogtied Penny out of her sight for more than twenty seconds, he had brought a big poster of a smiling blonde girl, then he brought another of the same girl playing tennis.
Pennelope recognized her right away, it was Kimberly ‘Kim’ Thybot. She was one of the most known and loved women of the state, until her mysterious disappearance fourteen/fifteen years ago. A rich heiress who couldn’t care less about all the money she had received from her parents, exactly the opposite of her young brother James, and had created a foundation to help other people with the whole of it. She was the biggest benefactor of the state, then she missed an event in a small town. Three months after her disappearance the feds found that she had embezzled funds from her foundation (who went downhill shortly after that). She was then seen in the French Riviera, Bali and other places. Then she vanished completely.
Her remains were found four years ago when a man decided to have a pool in his house. She had been dead for over ten years, although the forensic couldn’t say exactly when she died. The main suspect was her brother James, but he had been under such a big scrutiny at the time of her disappearance that he had tons of proofs that he couldn’t have done it. With her death he had inherited everything, soon becoming the most hated man of the state. No one knew exactly how many lives he had ruined and destroyed, how many crimes he had perpetrated. The FBI, IRS, State Police, everyone wanted to have the pleasure to wipe out his (in)famous smile...
Now Garfield, who was remarkably keeping a straight face and firm voice as he talked, was recounting facts that had happened during the five months in which he and that Bob Pierce had kept Kim as their ‘guest’ in the Billford Clinic. It had been all part of James’ plan, he was the one behind the employment of two ex-cons as the guards of the Clinic, he had then hired them to kidnap his sister and to keep her alive for a few months until they would let her go. According to Garfield, there wasn’t any moment in which James told them to kill her.
“But it was predictable, wasn’t it? I mean, I don’t know which one was the member of the board of her foundation he bribed to make her be charged with embezzlement while she was locked in that padded cell. And she had been smart enough to realize WHO was behind everything from the first day! But it didn’t mattered to us. Nothing mattered. Nor me nor Bob raped her or molested her or whatever. We kept her, most of the time in that padded cell, we scarcely talked to her and yet... she didn’t broke. She never broke. The day that James walked through that door and gave us our half of a million dollars to each... she looked him straight in the eye! She was bound and gagged exactly like my actual guests, completely helpless, and yet she was looking at him in the eye! I had seen the man that James had hired to kill us (another predictable thing) and went to ‘take care of him’. Actually I wasn’t supposed to be here, a buddy of mine, Joe Kepski, was the one that James had hired, but he died in a car crash and Bob told me to be Joe in order to he have his half a million dollars and I get Joe’s. That’s why James thought that I was Joe. Anyway, the shooting started more or less at the same time that I killed the killer that James had hired. Remember when James told the world that he suffered an attempt against his life? That was me and Bob fighting for... OUR lives. And somewhere in the middle of it... HE, James Francis Leonard Thybot, killed his sister Kimberly. He run before me or Bob could do anything with him. We already had four dead guys to deal with, plus her and his gun. The men are buried about a mile from here and..., well everybody knows about her...”
Garfield asked Dawn to pause the record. It was the second time he did it. After they had all ready for the shoot, something weird happened. Dawn grabbed a make-up box and started to do something with Samantha, then she moved to JoBeth and finally it was Penny’s turn. She had bruises to all girls and a black eye to the detective. Fake, but you’ll have to look it closer to be able to realize it. What was their plan? They had (sort of) forced Penny and JoBeth to follow Samantha’s state of near nakedness, and had added the same kind of fetishistic (and very efficient) leather gag to them, then both had been tied by Dawn as he prepared the shoot of... what? A confession or a blackmail? He was standing right in front of all the three captives.
“Now listen up. I will have to answer for what I’ve done in a few days... or hours, who knows. But I want that James pays for what he did! So I am going to set a trap for him. I need your help. You two, ehrrr... Samantha and JoBeth (right?)... I will use more of that eyedrop on you so both will be crying freely in a few moments, look more desperate than you are, after all I am using you as part of the pressure on James so he will fall for my trap. I am a man who knows his dirtiest secret, and I’ll do anything to get the money that can ‘save’ my life, including ‘killing’ you two with the same gun he used to kill his sister and call the cops, that’s what I am going to tell him. You, detective Bryant, look a little more pissed with me if possible.”
Was he serious? He was. The man that looked at the camera was sporting a smug expression and a grin that would cause envy in the Cheshire Cat. He talked to the camera as if he was talking to James, he turned the camera so it was focusing on them as he made lewd commentaries about Samantha’s large breasts, JoBeth’s legs or Penny’s impulsiveness (he apologized for all of them as soon as Dawn stopped the record) and asked James what he thought that would happen to him if they ended up like Kim and he gave the first video to the media.
He menaced James with a re-shooting of the video in which he would add a few things like incest, both knew that he had told the whole truth in the first shoot, and who would be able to call him a liar. Specially if the cops found the gun he had used to kill his sister.
“Oh yes! That gun, that 9mm! I know where it’s buried! When I punched you and Bob grabbed the gun, he grabbed it by the barrel. Your fingerprints and DNA are still in it. That’s the only thing that kept Bob alive for years, until you decided to get rid of him. He survived that hit and run, but he’s a vegetable ever since. I was behind bars in another state. The price for my silence, that gun and the forever disappearance of these ladies is ten million dollars. Why I need so much money with weeks to live is my problem, yours is to bring the money to...”
Penny looked at the girls and saw that they were looking at her, they were very frightened with Garfield’s change of posture. She was scared too, but did her best to (even gagged) reassure them that everything was going to be alright. She didn’t knew how, but it was going to be anyway...
Dawn checked the records and signaled to Garfield that they were alright. He apologized to the girls for about four minutes straight. They were part of the pressure against James, including the unexpected Penny. He was going to made him confess everything in front of a camera!
“Bob buried the gun about a mile up north. The exact location is in the second paragraph of the letter he wrote to the late sheriff, and Kim’s fiancé, Valmont Newman. If possible, I’ll make James confess that he’s behind his murder as well. I mean, it’s something really obvious to all considering all the noise that the sheriff made when Kim was found. But without a confession there’s no way to make he goes to jail. And that’s what I need to die in peace, see him behind bars without any chance of using his political connections or money!”
It had been a dull day for all three captives. In order to prevent cramps Dawn, whom Penny had mentally nicknamed as Leather Petite, had made them all walk around the room in turns, it remembered her the places used to train horse as she was firmly but gently guided by Dawn when it was her second time. The floor was clean and she could see that the place had been repaired here and there. By Dawn and Garfield? Dawn was a good cook and had let them out of any restraint (for bathroom breaks and a bath) twice in another wing of the building. And without any clothes, the leather gag still on, nor way or chance to overpower her of course. That was a thing that intrigued Penny. How did they had managed to get the water back? Or the electricity?
The secretaries were holding on quite good, but she could see that they were on the verge of breaking. As was Dawn. Garfield had untied them from the chairs and placed all on their belly and side by side on a king size mattress. He and Dawn taped the girls hands into fists (thus avoiding that they could free each other), bid his daughter goodbye and left with the recorded video. And hadn’t sent a single word ever since.
They were back to chairs and Dawn was sitting in another one between JoBeth and Samantha. She had produced a small tube from somewhere and they were watching the local news in all the channels. Samantha was furious! Three reporters had already made ‘connections’ and smears about her and the fact that she was the only link between last night’s break-in and the previous one. She and JoBeth were referred as ‘victims’ of a ‘mysterious and unexplained kidnap’, but the way they had said it, specially the way they had referred to her name, made it look like she was Garfield’s partner! There wasn’t any mention to Penny in any channel.
It was already night when Garfield finally got in touch, he ordered her to get out of the building ASAP. She rechecked all their bonds one last time and left. They heard a car arriving five minutes later, but no one ever got out of it. Garfield was too weak to do anything but stay there and wait. Twenty three minutes later a SWAT team stormed the place...
James was behind bars, with a new state or federal accusation falling in his lap every day. His confession of the murder of his own sister had been a hit on Youtube for the few hours that it had stayed there, and was still being seen everyday around the country. From what she had heard the police was having a hard time keeping some freaks out of the limits of the Billford Clinic, which was going to be leveled and turned into something else by the state authorities.
As for the girls, they were fine. Samantha had sued five TV channels due to the nonexistent connections that their reporters, following ‘leads’ left by their ‘sources’, had made between her and the whole incident. She had became the first client of Ann and Vivien’s law firm, who are using the publicity to gain as many clients as they can. JoBeth works for them.
The detective of the case had been investigated by the Internal Affairs, who found absolutely no misbehavior in her actions and let her walk out without any reprimand whatsoever, and managed to have a new partner assigned to her shortly thereafter. She’s nicknamed as ‘Wild Penny’ due to her tendencies to get in trouble, but so far she had done far more rights than wrongs.
No one knows or have a photo of ‘Dawn Lewton’, actually there are no evidences that Garfield Lewton (who was pronounced dead as the SWAT team invaded his hideout) had a daughter in the first place. More interesting was the many evidences that she wasn’t the only support he had.
In a range of two miles (around the main building the Billford Clinic) the police found proofs that suggest that, at the time that Penny, Samantha and JoBeth were being held as prisoners, a group of no less than seven individuals were posted in key places with the obvious intent to guard the clinic, otherwise the four men that James send there (with orders to kill whoever they found in there according to his secretary, who became a witness against him in order to enter the WitSec) would have not been killed. None of the girls heard anything and the proofs (snack food packing and footprints mostly) had no DNA or fingerprints.
No one ever knew who they were.
They were all lucky that that weren’t any cameras (besides the ones that were already disabled) present, otherwise they would have a lot to answer for. A robbery was in motion, the owner of the house (the most cherished person in the county) and her daughters were tied up and gagged and the perpetrator was still at the scene. But the local police force, which was represented by eight of its members, did nothing to stop her. Actually, they were helping her!
“Are you sure you’re comfortable, Mrs. Newman?”
Rebecca Newman nodded, which was everything she could do at the moment. According to the story, she had been overpowered when she was preparing the breakfast. She was wearing a pink T-shirt, blue jeans trousers and one sandal (the other had presumably flipped during the attack) and was feeling almost comfortable actually. The ropes that bound her arms to the chair’s armrest, her torso to the chair’s one and her legs (which wee also bound together and crossed at the ankles) to the chair’s front right one were tight, but she wasn’t in pain. The clean napkin that filled almost completely her mouth was other story, she didn’t liked the idea of being gagged, and the six strips of tape that had been applied over her lips were clearly an overdoing from the ‘burglar’. But she was the woman that had made it all possible, so she wasn’t that mad at her.
Libby seemed to think otherwise though. She didn’t liked the idea of being tied up at all. They had rehearsed, four times, how they would explain that a karate champion like her could have been overpowered and in the end they had to use a very unusual, but satisfactory, explanation. A dart gun with dart containing enough sedative to knock her lights out. And she had used it.
Her older daughter was lying at her feet right in front of her. She wasn’t supposed to fight the ropes before ‘Dawn’ left, but she was already doing it. And actually Rebecca could understand why, this position that she had called ‘hogtie’ seemed really uncomfortable, even if she had used only half the rope. But again ‘Dawn’ had overdid things. Too much rope held her ankles, calves, thighs, wrists, wrists to waist and forearms to chest together besides the short length connecting her ankles to her wrists. At she had used only a few strips of tape, without packing.
From what she had been told, Aileen was similarly bound in her bedroom’s floor. But while Libby was still wearing the blue pajama she had sleep with, her younger daughter would be found (by a female cop –Betsy or Fran- she was adamant about it!) clad only in a white pair of panties and an oversized black T-shirt. That girl was in for a lecture!
The burglar then stood and, for the last time in her life if things went accordingly with their plan, she took a look at her. ‘Dawn’, actually Michaela Sewolfeen, was also looking at her. She had nothing in her features that remotely connected her with her biological father. She was a new version of her late adoptive mother; the same green/blue eyes, short blond hair, wicked smile and beauty pageant contestant body (specially those long legs).
She remembered the shock when, over a year ago, she had called Libby on the phone demanding (while she cried) that she called her father and sent her to her home. Her husband, who also was the sheriff of the county, went there with five of his men but entered the modest house alone. She was fine, she had just found out a few months before who her father really was and had visited him in prison earlier that day, and he had told her a few things about her brother-in-law’s death.
From them on everything went too fast, Alan had waited until Garfield left the prison and they had planned everything. But that loser that Garfield had hired almost destroyed their hopes to avenge Valmont’s death and save their town, which forced Alan to take a more active role. He and Louie, Jack, Fran and the others had guarded Michaela and her prisoners while Garfield played his part way too well. The three councilmen that were in James’ pocket were behind bars, and his plans to the town of the man that had caused him so much trouble were now public. But most important to Alan and her was that Valmont’s death had been avenged.
Alan was the last person in the kitchen. He didn’t liked the latest part of the plan one bit, but she reasoned that if there was one thing that was (pun intended) bound to happen, that would be the discovery that the local veterinarian was ‘Dawn Lewton’ so they had a counterstrategy already planned for that happen. It was 06:15 a.m. in the morning, he was supposed to arrive home after a night searching a fugitive (that was in hospital already – he had broke his two legs trying to jump from the roof of a barn in the dark without any consequences...) and find them in fifteen minutes. He really did look tired, which was good for the plan, but it was more from concern than anything else. He tried one last time.
“Look, Mikki, we can still...”
“Aaaaalllllaaaannnn... that guy at the hotel is not a travelling salesman like he claims to be. He’s John G. Kenneth, the John G. Kenneth who’s a reporter for the NYT and who has tracked me down since he found out which family I was sent to by that judge after my mother died. He knows. He just want some more proofs and he will tell the whole world.”
“I am fine. Really. And I won’t say a word, EVER.”
“But you’ll have to become a criminal... again, and this time there won’t gonna be any...”
“I’ll be fine. And Libby... – she looked at the struggling girl on the floor – ...I’ll send you a postcard on your birthdays just to prove it. And besides, the fact that I decided to CLEAN the sheriff’s house before I left town will clear any suspicion that that guy might have about you all.”
“And I promise that, no matter what I’ll do for a living from now on, I won’t do anything that might make you think ‘And I could have stopped her that day...’, I swear it.”
Alan realized that he had lost the argument. The worst part was that the girl wasn’t having any trouble with throwing her life and respectability through the window that way.
“Anything more that I can do for you?”
“Nope, and don’t worry OK? There’s a doctor who’s still mad at me because she wasn’t able to retrieve the toys I took from her, so I’m thinking in stopping by at her house and find out how much she is actually and for how long she will stay like that. If I know her, I’ll have a place to stay under the radar until the cops (including those boys from Washington) had better things to do even if it takes a full semester. Oh, and leave them tied enough time to have real ropemarks on them, OK? So... – she grabbed his necktie and straightened it up - ...do not worry. OK?”
She kissed him on the cheek, waved goodbye at Rebecca and Libby and left through the door. Alan could hear some of his deputies wishing her good luck and such, then he looked at his wife and older daughter and sat on a chair besides his wife. They seemed fine.
“Ten minutes and we start it, alright?”
Both women nodded.