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Mystery and Crime
Evil in Paradise - Part 7
by Begin Again
| Category: || Mystery and Crime Fiction |
Posted:|| June 26, 2010 Views: 348|
The sound of a metal door slamming closed jarred Carrie's senses as she drifted back to a conscious state. Fear ripped through her body as she realized she was blindfolded, gagged and bound. Her mind struggled to understand what was going on. One moment she'd been admiring the scenic view and the next she succumbed to an ether-induced blackness.
The muffled sound of male voices nearby sent waves of chills through her body. Her immediate response was to struggle against the coarse ropes binding her hands. Weak with exhaustion, her body sagged against the metal flooring. Carrie surmised she was inside a truck or van. The sound of a door opening and a rocking motion lead her to believe someone was getting into the vehicle. Lying motionless, she waited.
"I ain't so sure about this, Mick."
"Just shut up and do what you're told, Rufus. Soon enough, we'll have enough do re mi to set Colin up in a fine, upstanding place that'll take good care of him and you and me will be livin' the life of ease."
"Momma'd surely rise up from her grave if she knew 'bout what ya been doing."
"What I've been doing? I haven't seen you complaining about having all that white shit up your nose." Mick's sinister tone terrified Carrie as she listened to the two men.
"I ain't talkin' 'bout the drugs. It's the woman." Rufus whined.
"Listen, stupid, it's about time we get a larger piece of the pie. She's going to get it for us." Coarse laughter erupted inside the van. "Thanks to ole Smokey the Bear."
"Why you gotta go callin' Hank those names. He's been doin' his job and you just make him madder than a wet hen when ya does that."
"I'm just messin' with him, Rufus. Hank needs to remember he works for us. I'm the boss and him and you best not forget it." Mick slammed the van door and put the key in the ignition. The van sputtered and then turned over. "You've got work to do so you better get busy."
Mick's voice boomed against the van walls. "I've had enough of your whining. Burn the damn car in the dump, then take her suitcase and purse and leave them inside the airport terminal."
"What if someone sees me at the airport?"
"For God's sake, Rufus, do I have to do all the thinking for the both of us. Listen ... the airport will be busy. No one's going to be paying any attention to you unless you go acting stupid or something."
"No need to be getting' your britches in a wad, Mick."
"Then just do what yer told. Even if someone sees the car, it's registered to yer pal Hank anyhow. Nobody's gonna question our upstanding Park Ranger, now are they?"
"That's why I do the thinking around here. Just get the job done. I gotta stash this chick before the shipment comes in tonight. Just in case Hank comes sniffing around, asking questions, once he hears about the babe missing." Mick threw the shifter in gear, spinning two very bald tires, and spraying gravel everywhere. The van heaved from side to side as it lumbered back toward the highway. Carrie's body rocked back and forth, slamming against the rear seats. Her muffled moan reached Mick's ear.
"Welcome back to the land of the living, sweet thing."
His mind reeled as he imagined all the money he would soon have, thanks to the lovely cargo in the back of the van. It had been a stroke of luck when Hank mentioned that their key man's girlfriend was vacationing at the lodge. The Park Ranger was positive she'd been sent to spy on them, but Mick thought of it as a gift from Heaven.
Once Mick pulled away from the dump, Rufus made quick work of the rental car. Dousing it with gasoline, he tossed a lit match and gleefully watched as the red convertible exploded, sending plumes of black smoke high into the sky. A familiar sight to the townsfolk and one few would even notice. The stench of burning garbage kept most people a good distance away from the pit.
Satisfied he'd dutifully destroyed any visible evidence, Rufus climbed into Hank's car, an older model Chevrolet that he kept sheltered at their camp and used only when picking up shipments. The nondescript vehicle wouldn't attract any attention. After slowly navigating a seldom used back road, he was soon on the highway and headed for the airport. His sweaty palms gripped the steering wheel as the car traveled five miles below the posted speed limit. No need to draw any unnecessary attention in his direction, regardless if Mick said dumping the girl's stuff would be a breeze.
Carrie's bound body ached from being jostled back and forth as the van traveled over extremely rough terrain. Her assailant hadn't offered any further conversation, leaving her to her own thoughts, ones filled with horror.
Suddenly, the van came to a halt. The opening and closing of the door sent another wave of anxiety through Carrie. Remembering Joy, she cringed and a sour taste rose in her throat. Gagging, she vomited as a hand roughly yanked the soiled cloth from her mouth. Vulgar bits spewed from deep within her.
"Now look what you've done. The van's going to reek in this heat." A pair of hands pulled her body to a sitting position and wiped her face. "Nobody for miles around here so don't waste your breath screaming."
He lifted her body and removed her from the van. She weighed one hundred fifteen pounds, but he carried her as if she was as light as a feather. Her body pressed against his broad chest and the foul odor of sweat assaulted her nose.
Still blindfolded, she sensed they weren't outside anymore. The warmth of the sun no longer burned her arms and legs. A cool dampness touched her skin and the faint smell of sulphur burned her nostrils. It was similar to the time she and the girls had gone spelunking in the caves.
After a short walk, Mick lowered her onto what felt like a mattress. Agonizing thoughts of dying flooded her mind.
Is this where he'd killed the other girls? Would he rape her first and then torture her or would he be quick about it? Oh God, if he's going to kill me, please let it be fast.
The sound of another voice grabbed her attention.
"Is that you, buddy?"
"Sure is, pal."
"I'm hungry." The male voice sounded younger, almost childlike.
"Bet you are. Just give me a sec and I'll have something whipped up in no time." A few moments later, the smell of frying bacon filled the air.
"Buddy ..." The voice grew softer. "I'm sorry I hurt my friend."
"I know you are, pal."
An unwanted vision of his last visit exploded in his mind. Seeing his brother sitting in a pool of blood, cradling the woman's headless body, crying, pleading for her to wake up, had horrified him. Aware of his brother's split personalities, he'd never experienced a violent side of him. Being the older of the three brothers, he'd promised their dying mother to take care of the other two. He'd done his best, but this side of Colin curdled his blood.
Succumbing to the youngest brother's whimpering about being lonely, Mick had kidnapped the hiker, knowing full well she'd have to die in the end. She'd fought Colin's advances, scratching and biting him. Mick had drugged her, hoping for a mellower playmate. Unfortunately, her determination to survive forced him to increase the drugs and she'd overdosed.
He hadn't planned on getting another woman, but Colin's constant whimpering and pleading was more than he could endure. He'd seen Joy in town a time or two. She'd appeared to be kind, gentle soul. One that would understand the needs of his brother. He wasn't sure what had happened in his absence, except he'd mistakenly left a steak knife inside Colin's enclosure, which became a murder weapon.
Not having disclosed the women to Rufus, Mick had spent hours alone, cleaning and disposing of all the evidence. During that time, he'd come to the conclusion somehow he'd have to find a better environment for Colin. This was a new side of his brother, one he feared might rear its ugly head and turn on him. He loved his brother dearly, but his own life was precious to him as well.
"Buddy, did you bring me someone to play with?" A note of excitement resounded in his voice.
"Not yet, pal. I'm afraid our future lies in the hands of this one."
"I want to play. I promise not to hurt her." The whining had returned. "Pleeeease, buddy."
"Not now, maybe later." The sound of clanking chains and scrapping metal echoed inside the dwelling. "Here's your lunch. Now be a good boy and eat. I've got an important phone call to make." Mick replaced the lock on the heavy chains.
Before leaving, he returned to Carrie.
"I'm going to untie your legs and arms so you can stretch."
She felt cold metal against her skin as he clamped one half of a pair of handcuffs around her wrist and snapped the other to a pole. Instantly, she yanked against it, sending a searing pain through her arm.
"Let me go. I've not seen your faces. I promise I'll not tell anyone."
A raucous laughter exploded from Mick. "Yeah, right. Do you think I was born yesterday?" Having second thoughts, he put another set of handcuffs on her other arm and attached it to the pole as well. "You are our ticket out of this hole."
"If it's money you want, I can get it. I have money in the bank. My fiance is rich, too."
"Oh, I know all about your fiance, sweetie. Probably much more than you do."
The ominous chuckle in Mick's voice sent chills through her body.
How does he know about James? Is he bluffing?
"I don't believe you. How could you know him? He's a highly respected businessman."
"Everyone's got secrets, even your darling James."
Carrie froze at the sound of James's name. She racked her brain. Had she said his name without realizing it, giving her abductor an edge?
"How ... how do you know his name?" Losing her confidence, her voice quivered under the strain.
"We've had business dealings."
"Impossible ... he buys and sells corporations. He wouldn't have anything to do with people like you."
"Listen, honey, your man deals in many things besides what he's told you. You better hope he values your sweet skin or you might just become my brother's new playmate." His voice was filled with anger and resentment.
Carrie had pushed him too far. She clamped her mouth closed, shivering, waiting for his next remark. Instead, she heard his footsteps fading, leaving her alone with her fears.
Outside, in the brightness of daylight, Mick dialed a familiar cell phone number. A voice at the other end answered after the second ring.
"Yeah." The man's voice snapped and crackled across the connection.
"Cheerful soul today, aren't you?" Mick hated James. People like him and his brothers did all the work while James lived the high life. If he had his way, that was about to change.
"Something wrong with the shipment? I've heard you've got bloody FBI agents swarming the area."
"No, no problem. Smokey's set for the pick up at eight tonight."
"So why the call?"
"My brothers and I need cash. Lots-"
"You trying to shake me down, Mick? With one phone call, I could end our relationship ... permanently."
"You might want to hear me out first. Your fiancee is visiting us, if you know what I mean."
"Have you gone stark raving nuts? She knows nothing of my side business."
"I gathered that, but I thought you might like to save her sweet skin for let's say .... a cool million."
The other end of the line remained silent as the seconds ticked away. Mick listened, expecting James would play it tough, but figuring in the end he would cave. Beads of sweat trickled down his face, but he stood his ground, waiting. He was stunned when he finally heard the venomous voice at the other end speak.
"The girl's yours. Enjoy her, because by this time tomorrow, you're dead." The connection ended.
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