We are now getting into the meat of the story. I reckon there’s going to be quite a few surprises in store for the characters, but what do you think is going to happen next?
Sam clung tightly to Pete as Jonah Burns stared at them. Sam stifled her tears and avoided Jonah’s gaze. Pete instinctively put his arm out to block anyone getting closer to hurt his daughter.
‘Escort them outside,’ Jonah said to the larger thug who’s bruised and bloody knuckles still ached from punching Graeme earlier.
‘What do you want me to do with them, boss?’ the thug asked.
‘Don’t touch my daugh—‘ Pete said.
‘Let them go, stupid.’ Jonah sighed at his associate. ‘I’m not a monster, you know.’
Once they realised that Jonah wasn’t going to kill them, Pete and Sam sighed with relief.
‘Sure thing, boss.’
‘But remember, Pete,’ Jonah said as he watched his thug escort them outside. ‘I know where you live, so no cops…right!’
‘Yes, no cops,’ Pete said grimacing while glancing over at Jack who threw Pete and Sam a half-smile
‘Uncle Jack,’ Sam said. ‘What—’
‘It’s okay, kid,’ Jack said. ‘It’s time you and your dad left.’
‘Beat it, kid,’ the scrawny thug said as he stood beside Jack grinning at them and savoured the suffering he had witnessed a moment ago.
Graeme said nothing as he watched Pete and Sam leave. He didn’t know them and didn’t care why they were here, but he guessed that Jonah had used them somehow to get Jack here. He must be desperate, thought Graeme as he looked over at Jonah. I better play this right if I want to get out of this alive.
Graeme’s mind whirled with thoughts, and he used his brief respite from torture to try and break free from his bindings. The pain in his forearms and wrists was excruciating, but he continued to try to free himself despite the pain. I’ll be dead if I don’t escape, thought Graeme. Although Graeme wasn’t able to free himself, he knew the rusted bolts from the steel frame of the chair were getting looser, and he knew that with a little more effort and time he could at least get up off the ground, and then perhaps find a way to free himself from his bindings. One step at a time thought Graeme. One thing was for certain, though. Graeme wasn’t going to tell Jonah anything because he knew once he told Jonah what he wanted to know, he was a dead man And I don’t intend to die here thought Graeme.
Once Pete and Sam were safely out the building, Jack looked over at Jonah, ‘I take it that letting them go was for my benefit?’
‘And torturing my brother?’
Jonah smile faded as he looked over at Graeme. ‘Well, that’s business… and pleasure.’ Jonah smiled again as he looked at Graeme’s injured wrists and forearms.
‘So what’s he done?’
‘That’s what we need to talk about,’ Jonah said as he put the kettle of boiling water on a table.
‘So let’s talk, Jonah.’ Jack said.
‘She doesn’t know, does she?’ Jonah asked.
‘I thought you said we were going to talk, Jonah.’
‘And we are, Jack.’
‘Well, would you mind making some sense, then?’
Jonah sighed ‘The girl, she doesn’t know you’re her father, does she?’ Jonah smiled. ‘You didn’t think anyone would find out, did you?’
Jack remained silent, but Jonah knew from the expression on Jack’s face that the truth had struck a nerve.
‘Oh, don’t look so worried, Jack.’ Jonah laughed I’ve no intention of revealing your secret, but I trust I’ve made my point crystal clear.’
‘What that you can harm the people I care about and there’s nothing I can do to stop you?’ Jack asked as he stared at Jonah.
‘Yes, Jack. You understand, don’t you?.’ Jonah’s lips curled up into a cruel smile. ‘That look, Jack…it’s positively frightening.’ Jonah chuckled to himself ‘Yes, if looks could kill…’
The sound of a large metal door slamming shut reverberated throughout the building. The thug that escorted Sam and Pete outside the building had returned.
‘What did you do to them?’ Jack asked the thug.
‘He did nothing, Jack.’ Jonah grinned. ‘Now, I don’t want to harm a hair on Sam’s pretty little head but—’
‘If you touch her I’ll—’
Jonah talked over Jack. ‘As for your friend…Well, I’m sure you’d have a lot of explaining to do if he ever found out the truth.’ Jonah laughed. ‘Poor Pete. Your friend’s obviously a bad judge of character. Whatever happened to his wife, anyway?’ Jonah smirked. Jack struggled with his bindings. Jonah’s malevolent smile broadened as he saw rage erupt across Jack’s face.
‘Calm down, sunnyboy,’ said the scrawny thug standing beside Jack. ‘You’ll bust a blood vessel.’
Jonah laughed. ‘That would be tragic because I need you to do something for me.’
Jonah paused to think about his next step. Jonah knew what he wanted Jack to do, but Jonah also knew he had to play Jack the right way to get him to do what he wanted.
‘What do you want from me?’ Jack asked.
‘What?’ Jonah asked as his mind was pulled back into the moment.
‘What do you want me to do?’ Jack asked, the impatience rising in his voice.
Jonah smile evaporated into a snarl as he pointed to Jack’s brother, Graeme. ‘I’d like you to get that sack of skin over there to tell me where he’s hidden my merchandise.’
‘How the hell would I know?’ Jack asked. ‘I mean, I’ve not seen him for years. He could have hidden it anywhere. Besides, what did he steal, anyway?’
‘He thinks I stole his diamonds.’ Graeme said. ‘But he’s cuckoo, Jack. I’ve not sto –’
‘I know it’s him, Jack.’ Jonah said ‘And up until now I’ve been easy on the little thief, but unless you want me to start mailing pieces of him to you in the post, or doing the same thing to little Sam, you’d better get him to tell you where he’s hidden the diamonds.’
‘I’m telling you, Jack, he’s cuckoo.’ Graeme said.
He seems utterly clueless. Would he have the brains to steal from Jonah and hide the diamonds somewhere no one wouldn’t find them? What have you got yourself mixed up in? thought Jack as he glanced over to Graeme.
‘He’s cuckoo,’ Graeme said again insistently as he looked into Jack’s eyes.
That’s clever, thought Jack who tried not to smile. ‘Honestly, Jonah, I don’t have any idea where he’s put your diamonds.’ Jack was lying through his teeth. Graeme had just told him where Jonah’s diamonds were, but Jack wasn’t going to tell Jonah that, not right now. Jack knew the only leverage he and Graeme had in this situation was the location of the diamonds. As soon as either one of them gave up the location, they’d both end up with a bullet each to the head and a shallow grave somewhere.
‘Maybe I’m not making myself clear, Jack.’ Jonah snarled. ‘If you don’t find out where my diamonds are, your brother’s dead.’
‘You should just kill him now, then’ Jack said, ‘cause I’ve not got a Scooby where he’s hidden your bloody diamonds.’
You’re playing a very dangerous game, Jack, and with my life thought Graeme as he continued to try and free himself from his bindings just in case Jack’s gambit wasn’t going to work out.
‘Boss,’ said the scrawny thug beside Jack ‘Do you hear that?’
A high-pitched whine filled the air followed by an authoritative voice.
‘This is the police. You are completely surrounded. Come out with your hands up.’
‘What are we going to do, boss?’ asked the larger thug who tried to stop thinking about the pain in his swollen knuckles as he looked over at Graeme.
For his part, Graeme was still writhing in agony from the punches he had sustained from this very large man and also the scalding he received at the hands of Jonah Burns. Graeme closed his eyes for a moment. Please God get me out of this
Jonah snapped at his underling. ‘Why don’t you have a look outside and see what’s going on.’ Jonah shook his head and sighed.
‘Are you su—’
‘Now,’ Jonah said.
The large thug approached the window hesitantly. He poked his head up just enough to see through the glass of a mud-smeared window.
The thug laughed. ‘It’s just kids, boss.’
‘I thought so, dummy,’ Jonah said.
The scrawny thug just smiled at his colleague and looked over at Jonah. ‘What are we going to do with these two, boss.’
‘We’ll—’ Jonah was interrupted by the sound of his mobile phone ringtone. The Godfather theme tune filled the air and stopped when Jonah answered the call
‘That’s pathetic,’ Jack said.
‘Quiet,’ the scrawny thug whispered as he punched Jack in the gut.
In a mobile response unit some distance away, a team of agents were listening to the exchanges in Jonah’s building. In the last few weeks, they had implanted numerous listening devices on Jonah and his associates. None of the devices had been discovered yet.
‘Is our asset still in play?’ asked a middle-aged man with a neat moustache.
‘Yes,’ replied the young agent as she smiled back at her superior. ‘Everything is proceeding to plan.’
Pete had Sam back in his arms. And that’s what matters, he thought.
Pete held her close to him as they walked towards his van which remained parked in the same space he left it in. When he knocked Jack unconscious and brought him to Jonah Burns, Pete knew that Jonah wasn’t interested in exchanging pleasantries with Jack, knew that his friend would be in real danger. But Sam comes first. I had to, Jack. I had to. I hope you know that, thought Pete.
Pete’s body was still pumped up with adrenaline, and he watched every move that Jonah Burn’s henchman made as he walked behind them, shooing them outside the building.
None of them spoke to each other as they walked towards Pete’s van. Pete was glad for the silence. His thoughts were noisy enough. Pete could feel his heart beating in his ears, and when he looked at Sam, his mind turned to what he could have lost in the building behind him, turned to thoughts of what Jonah Burns was capable of doing to her. Pete could taste the bile rising in his throat as his mind turned to the darkest of thoughts and deadliest of places.
Somehow Pete managed to unlock the van door and help Sam into her seat, but once Pete turned his van around and drove off, the large thug that escorted them out of the building went back inside. I hope I don’t have to punch the crap out of that wee weasel again, he thought. He rubbed at his knuckles, attempting to ease the pain in his bloodied and bruised hands.
As Pete drove away, he let out a deep sigh but gripped the steering wheel tightly, struggling with his emotions and his guilt while his legs seemed to go numb and struggled to work the pedals.
‘Dad,’ Sam said. ‘We need to call the police
‘We can’t be—’
‘What about Uncle Jack? They’ll—’
‘He’ll be okay, love. Your Uncle Jack is tough he—’
Pete came to a sudden halt as a black sedan pulled out in front of him. The doors of the sedan opened and a small group of agents stepped out flashing their badges. Pete gulped, but Sam smiled.
‘That was quick,’ Sam said. ‘How did they know that—’
‘Can you please step out of the vehicle now, Sir,’ a tall, slim man said ‘And keep your hands up.’