Sunday 9 – Tuesday 11 January 2010
When he came to, Ryan was surprised to find that he was in his bedroom. The last thing he remembered was sitting in the kitchen. The young constable was sitting by the bed. She turned to look at him when he stirred.
‘You passed out, Mr. Symonds.’
‘What’s happening with my family?’
‘We’re working on raising the funds for the ransom drop, sir. It won’t be long now. Detective Waters has called in some favours.’
He sat up, his head throbbing. He looked at his watch. 12:30p.m. Thirty minutes until he had to make the ransom drop and here he was, sitting on a bed like he had nowhere to be.
Ryan raced downstairs and into the lounge room. All of the officers still present turned in unison and looked at him, some with expressions of sympathy spread across their faces. He just knew. He had a gut feeling that this drop was not going to work out as he’d hoped. There would be no happy ending.
One o’clock came around slowly for Ryan. He was desperately hoping that the ransom drop would go to plan, and that Angie and Oliver would be home very soon.
‘We’ll be around, Mr. Symonds. You’re miked up so we can hear everything that goes on. Stay calm. Keep him talking, and we’ll get to the bottom of this.’ It was that Senior Detective again. Ryan couldn’t remember his name.
‘He said no police,’ Ryan whispered.
‘You think we’re letting you go into this alone? Not a chance. He won’t know we’re even there. Just act naturally. Don’t acknowledge any of the officers. Everything will work out fine.’
They shuffled an ill-prepared Ryan into his car and told him to drive to the shopping complex. A barrage of officers followed in a number of unmarked police vehicles. Some sped ahead, some followed behind. Ryan’s thoughts raced as he drove the five kilometres to the location.
When he reached the car park closest to the food court, Ryan jumped out, and ran over to the second floor entrance, not even bothering to lock his car. At this point, he couldn’t care less about the vehicle. He just wanted his family back. He made it to his designated location at exactly one p.m.
He stood directly in front of the Burger King, looking wildly around the food court. He had no idea who or what he was looking for, but he hoped someone or something would draw his attention. He could see nothing.
Thinking he’d missed something in his haste, her turned around slowly, taking in everything in his eye line. He didn’t see anyone who might be there waiting for him.
Ryan stood in front of the Burger King for an hour before panic began to overtake him. He patted his pocket to make sure he had his mobile phone. Pulling it out of his jacket, he checked the signal. It was at full strength.
‘Why hasn’t he called or made contact?’ Ryan asked of no one in particular, but an answer filtered through his eyepiece.
‘Stay calm. He’s probably testing you to see if we break cover. Just stay calm.’ It was the voice of the Senior Detective.
Ryan remained in front of the Burger King for another hour before his mobile phone began to ring. He pulled it back out of his pocket, and answered the call. The voice on the other end was immediately recognisable.
‘Angie? Are you okay? Where are you?’ He was frantic.
‘He warned you. No police.’
. . . To be continued . . .