Wednesday 24 – Thursday 25 January 2018
The bells of St. Stephen rang out on the hour, every hour. It was a comforting sound for Gina, reminding her that she was at home and safe. Only today, she didn’t feel safe. Not now. Not since Korsakov had made himself at home in her home. Not since Korsakov abducted Caroline right in front of her eyes. Even Ciaran’s presence, his arms wrapped tightly around her shoulders, couldn’t give her the feeling of safety that she needed now.
‘And when did you say it happened?’ Jeremy wanted to get the details straight in his head before he made a decision on what to do next. Gina looked at the wall clock. The facts tumbled around in her mind as she tried to find the right answer.
‘Twenty minutes ago. Right before I called Ciaran.’
‘Did he say anything at all about where he was going? Anything that might give us an idea about where he’s taken your friend?’
Gina considered his question. Had Korsakov said anything? She couldn’t remember and shook her head.
‘No, I don’t think so. I can’t remember.’
Brennan paced around the room as Jeremy interrogated Gina. He pressed his hands to his ears.
‘What the fuck is that noise?’ he snarled. Ciaran glared at him. Typical Brennan, interrupting important business with inane bloody questions.
‘It’s the church bells,’ Ciaran snapped. ‘What the fuck is your problem?’
Brennan stopped pacing and looked out of the window that faced the church. ‘I hate churches. And I hate church bells.’
‘What?’ Ciaran didn’t want an answer from Brennan, he simply couldn’t believe that the driver would say something so stupid. ‘What the fuck has that got to do with what we’re trying to do here? Stupid thing to say.’
‘Who are you calling stupid?’ Brennan growled.
‘Who do you think?’ replied Ciaran.
‘Listen you shitty, little fuckwit, if you keep shooting your mouth off like that, I’ll punch it right off your shitty, little face.’
Jeremy excused himself from speaking with Gina, and strode over to Brennan. He grabbed the front of Brennan’s shirt in his hands, and yanked him forward.
‘If I were you, McCormack, I’d shut the fuck up because I’d be worried that someone was going to slap me stupid. We’re trying to help Gina here. We don’t need your dumbarse comments. We don’t care if you don’t like churches. It’s not important. What is important, is that we get Caroline back safely from Korsakov without any casualties on our part. Is that clear to you? Do you understand?’
Shocked by Jeremy’s menacing manner, all Brennan could do was nod his head.
‘Good. Because I don’t want to hear another word out of your mouth unless I ask you a direct question.’ Jeremy threw him backwards with a single push, and returned to Gina’s side to continue questioning her.
* * * * *
She knew what the outcome of this situation would be. She’d end up dead because of something Anthony did or didn’t do. Accepting that death was coming, and there was nothing at all that she could do about it was one option she had. She considered, albeit briefly, trying to make an escape. It was another option she could go with, but it would also likely end in death. Korsakov would send his men after her, and there was no way she could outrun them. There was nowhere to hide. Caroline’s final option was hope, and it was the one she put her faith in. Hoping that someone would come and rescue her. Hoping that Gina had managed to get word to Ciaran or Anthony or Mr. Hennessey, anyone at all. Hell, at this stage, she’d even be happy to see the police. Hope. A word she loved and reviled simultaneously.
‘Who am I kidding?’ she said to herself. ‘No one’s coming for me.’
Hoping they’d kill her quickly, she slouched further down into the plastic chair that Korsakov had his brutes tie her to. She could hear them outside the door, shuffling round, going about their business, making crude remarks about her body and what they really wanted to do with her if they got the chance.
‘Please, God,’ she prayed, ‘let them kill me quickly. Before they get to do any of that stuff to me.’ As an afterthought she added, ‘Amen.’
* * * * *
The call came through on his mobile phone. He didn’t recognise the number, and took his time to answer it. Things were a little more difficult to do these days with one less finger.
‘Hello?’ Although the number was new to him, Anthony immediately recognised the voice on the phone.
‘Hello, Groban,’ Korsakov replied. ‘I’ve got a little something of yours. If you want it back, you’re going to need to have Hennessey pay for what he intends to buy.’
‘What do you mean you’ve got something of mine?’ The next voice Anthony heard was Caroline’s. She barely had the opportunity to say hello before he heard her gut wrenching scream. He didn’t know what Korsakov had done to her, but he did know that she was in pain.
‘Leave her the fuck alone!’ Anthony screamed.
‘Do what I told you. Get Hennessey to pay, and you’ll have your little woman back. Well, you’ll have most of your little woman back.’ The call was disconnected before Anthony could make any sort of reply to Korsakov’s demand.
‘What was that about?’ Hennessey asked. ‘Anthony? You don’t look so good. You’d better sit down.’ He gestured for Anthony to sit. ‘Before you fall down, Anthony.’
Anthony threw himself into the nearest chair. His heart raced, almost beating out of his chest, his hand ached as he clenched his fists, and he felt light-headed and dizzy.
‘Now, what’s wrong?’ Hennessey pressed. Anthony tried to speak but the words weren’t coming. He mumbled for a few seconds before steadying himself and finally articulating what he’d just learnt.
‘Korsakov’s got my girlfriend. He’s got Caroline.’ He glared at Hennessey. ‘And it’s your fault. It’s your fucking fault.’
. . . To be continued . . .