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Rated: E · Short Story · Mystery · #2188718
A hi-profile case takes a turn for the worse for Amber and best friend, Belle.
I entered this story in the "The Bard's Hall Contest

Amber sat in her car, waiting for the light to turn green. Atlanta traffic was once again congested, making her late meeting Bella at the library. She's going to kill me! She stepped down on the accelerator, car brakes and horns could be heard in her wake. Long hours working on her court case - it's almost over. Yawning, she watched a guy run up the library steps carrying a red umbrella. Is it going to rain?

Checking the skies, clouds were gathering. She parked and locked her car.

Bella spotted her and gave Amber a dirty look. "You're late!"

"Sorry, overslept... You look like Jessica Alba when you do that!"

Bella mouth fell open. "I do not!"

"Yes, you do!" Amber studied Bella. "Hey, is something wrong?"

"Well, I spotted these weirdo guys huddled together in the back of the library. I think they’re up too no good. They're planning something, I just know it!" Bella nibbled on her lower lip.

"Where are they?" Amber stepped inside and scanned the area.

"They're behind the last bookcase." Bella made a subtle motion with her head.

Amber nodded, "Let's go find my book, then we'll play detective."

"Okay, Angie Harmon!" Bella teased. "Which book are you looking for again?"

"It's called 'Structured Negotiations.' Amber said. "If you want to browse, this may take a while…"

"I already found mine." Bella held up her book like a trophy.

“Wow, you're fast!” Amber smiled before turning back to thumb through the titles. Searching to the end... "What do you know, it's not here! It should be right there.” She pointed at the empty spot between two books."

"Shall we go ask the librarian?" Bella rubbed her arms, feeling eyes watching them.

"Let's go!"

The librarian checked her database, "Here it is, and gave them the call number."

Amber wrote it down. "Thank you!"

The women searched the section, finding the book out of place.

"I looked this whole section over, I’m sure it wasn’t here!”

Belle shrugged, “You could have overlooked it..."

Amber opened the book and a piece of paper fluttered to the floor. Thinking it was a bookmark, she stooped to pick it up, ready to put it back inside when she spotted her name sprawled on it. She unfolded the note, "If you're reading this, wait here for contact."

"Contact! Contact from whom?" Amber stared at the note, then looked at Bella.

“How would anyone know you’d pick... Hey, I smell a rat!"

“Something fishy is definitely going on here!” Being a prosecuting attorney, Amber became use to a lot of strange things happening but this appeared personal! Was she being watched? Crossing her arms, she leisurely glanced around the library, but no one looked suspicious.

Feeling a presence behind her, she spun around to see a man staring at me. His cold eyes looked her up and down.

Puzzled, Amber narrowed her eyes. "What do you want?"

"If you ever want to see your friend again, you'll do as you're told."

"What?” Amber spun around expecting to see Bella, but she was nowhere in sight. “What did you do to her?" A warning note sounded in her voice.

"I know you're working on the Paul Anderson case. We want the jury to find him not guilty."

"You've got to be kidding!" Amber glared at him. "He's going down for murdering those sweet, innocent twin girls."

"If you ever want to see your friend again, you'll do as you're told." His menacing smile gave her the chills. "Just follow orders!" He turned and disappeared.

Amber raced out of the library, down the steps, ready to cross the street when a black limousine pulled up. Two guys jumped out and shoved her inside. Tires squealed as the limo picked up speed.

The limo came to a stop in front of a mansion. Harry Anderson, the defendant's father greeted her at the door and ushered her into the library. "You are here to listen, observe, and obey our orders."

Harry and his goons discussed the case, argued how it should all go down. They looked like the mafia, showing their strength, explaining what will happen when someone screws them over.

Amber squirmed, wanting to stuff her ears with cotton. She never discussed any of her cases with anybody, it was against the rules! She tried not to listen, but their loud voices made that impossible!

When Harry finally seemed satisfied they hi-jacked Amber's case, he laid out his special rules for her to follow. She knew these people didn't mess around, a dangerous group of men who didn't stop at nothing to get their way. She nodded her agreement and was dropped off at her car. As she slipped behind the wheel of her car, she heard...

"You've been warned!"

When Monday came around, Amber's head spun as she walked up the court steps. She didn't sleep a wink, worried about Bella and how to go ahead with her case. Crap! Harry Anderson is already here! She sat down at the table, remembering his parting words. Everyone stood as the judge entered the court. The court was called to order.

Amber watched the jurors file in, trying to read their faces. Judge Andrew's announced, "This morning the court will hear closing arguments. Mr. Stevens, are you ready?" The defense lawyer stood up and gave his argument on why the defendant should go free. When the judge called her name, Amber was torn, but after listening to the bunch of lies Mr. Stevens spewed, she stood and walked over to the jury.

Amber looked each juror in the eye as she went over each circumstance on why these two seven-year-old twins were murdered, showing the defendant's intent to kill. It was one of her best closing arguments! Her head held high, not looking at Harry, she walked back to her seat. Two hours later the verdict came back guilty, and Amber was surrounded by the twin’s loving family. They thanked her for giving them justice, and she knew right then she did the right thing. If I'm going down, I'm going down fighting!

After the courthouse cleared, Amber knocked on Judge Andrews door. She told him everything that happened, and he told her not to worry, he’d take care of things.

"Thank you so much!" Amber walked out, pumping her fist in the air. In her car, she sat and prayed, "God, keep Bella safe!" What do I do, where did they take her.

The sky grew dark, matching her mood. When she arrived home her phone rang. It was Bella!

"Amber, I'm alright, don't know wher..." A deep voice came on the line, giving her some unusual instructions.

After he was done spouting out orders, she rolled my eyes. "I don't have a red umbrella, will a blue one do?" At that moment she remembered the red umbrella man at the library.

"A red umbrella will be on front seat of your car."

Amber placed her phone on the hall table and walked into the bedroom. "Dress sexy! Colors must be black and white!” She imitated his tone of voice. Who do they think I am! Thumbing through her business suits and dresses, she finally spotted something that would do.

She paired a white top with a black tight skirt along with her black high heel sandals. She checked herself in the mirror, thinking she didn’t look like herself. Grabbing her keys, she stepped into her garage and saw her car door was open. There was a red umbrella on the front seat. Hmm... must be an identity thing or something.

Wondering what they had planned, she drove to the meeting place, an abandoned train station. Halfway there, the wind picked up, lightning lit up the sky, and thunder crashed soon after. Rain pelted her windshield as she drove, trying to see the street ahead.

Amber parked the car, wishing she was home relaxing after winning her high-profile case. She sighed, got out, grabbed the red umbrella, and started walking towards her doom. She needed to see for herself if Belle was okay. She shivered as she walked, wondering where to go.

A man stepped out of the shadows and guided her across the street to an office building. She found out that Harry Anderson owned it after listening to their conversation. She spotted an Arab, dressed in a robe and loose, white pants sitting towards the back. What's he doing here?

Harry Anderson walked over, looked her up and down. "Good news, Amber. We're not going to kill you after all, that would be such a waste! So... I decided to sell you to Prince Omar who's extremely appreciative on what he sees."

"So, Harry, you're going to add human trafficking to your endless list of crimes, along with bribing a prosecutor." Amber glared at him. "How much are you selling us for?"

"A million dollars for you, and a million for your friend. I might as well make some money out of this deal. I lost my son, now you're going to lose your freedom."

"Why don't you leave Belle out of this!" Great, I'm going to become a slave to an Arab! I bit my lip, not wanting to panic in front of Harry, and watched the Arab shove a suitcase full of money. He seemed impatient about getting this deal over with.

"Sorry, Mr. Amari wants the both of you!" Harry took the suitcase, opened it, and began to count the money.

Amber walked over to Bella, wanting her final moments of freedom to be with her best friend.

“Hey, do you hear police sirens or is it just wishful thinking?” Amber's brow furrowed as Belle grabbed my hand.

“Yes, I hear police sirens, too!” Belle squeezed her hand so tight, making Amber wince.

A man in the back used a blow horn, "Give it up Anderson, you're surrounded!"

I glanced over at Harry who looked ready to run but thought better of it. The Arab didn't look happy but waited quietly in his seat. He looked over at us, seemed displeased about the whole mess. I knew he would get off pleading diplomatic immunity.

Abruptly, Harry turned, and aimed his gun at me. Before I could react, Bella did a karate kick, and his gun when flying across the room. Another kick to the groin sent Harry to the floor in a fetal position.

"That's what you get for taking naked pictures of me, you pervert!" Bella stormed back to stand beside me.

“Great moves, Bella! Those Karate lessons are paying off." Amber hugged her.

Judge Andrews walked over to us and put his raincoat around me. "Thank God you're both okay. When we saw what was going on, we had to wait until the money exchanged hands."

"Thank you, Sir, but how did you know where I was?" Amber’s brow furrowed, trying to understand this turn-around.

"I had two police cars discreetly watch your place, and when this guy sneaked into your garage, they grabbed him. He told us everything, not wanting to be the fall guy. My men then followed you to the abandoned train station, and I arrived soon after. I heard everything that was going on."

"Whew, that's a relief! The way this meet was going, I gave up all hope, thinking I’d rather be dead then go with that Arab. Hey, how could you hear what was going on, sir?"

"The FBI put a bug on the umbrella. I told you I would take care of everything." Judge Andrews smiled. "You’re a valuable asset to our community, we need all the good prosecuting attorneys we can get!"

"Thank you, Judge! I appreciate it. Do you need Belle and I for questioning, or can we go home?"

"You can, but tomorrow morning we need your reports."

“Great! See you tomorrow, Sir.” Belle and I made our way towards the exit sign.

"Why is it, whenever we get together there's always trouble? You're a dangerous person to be with!"

"Sorry about that! Am I forgiven?"

"Always!" Belle gave Amber a hug. "A scary situation for us turned into a huge take-down for the FBI!"

2040 words
Featured in the Mystery Newsletter, March 1, 2022
Featured in the Mystery Newsletter, March 15,2022

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