The Ransom Scam brings unexpected developments.
|Recap: Jamie’s failed attempt to flee Eve’s house motivated tighter security which included having Anastasia sleep in Grayson’s room also to keep an eye on him. After a fairly unsettling nightmare he woke to find that Anastasia had left her post, so he took a chance and decided once again to escape. He managed to get out the main door and was just heading toward the road when a pair of approaching headlights shone onto him
Jamie moved slightly to his left and waved both arms at the approaching headlights. The car slowed and stopped several meters short of him. The engine died and he could hear the opening of doors, and the clip clopping of high heel shoes. A tall thickset woman with long hair came into view. She wore multiple layers beneath her tan leather jacket and a studded belt around the waist of her snug fitting blue denim jeans.
“The night, it’s chilly; no good for boy in PJs,” she slurred there was a strong smell of alcohol and stale tobacco on her breath. “Breeze is cold enough to freeze balls off brass monkey.”
“My name’s Jamie Radcliffe,” said Jamie. “Some bad people took me away from my family and I need to get back home, but I don’t know how to get there or even where I am. Do you reckon you could like call the police…please.”
The woman stared at him for a brief time before gently taking his hand. She led him to one side, while the car slowly made its way further onto the driveway and stopped behind a crimson Toyota Camry Hybrid and Mitsubishi outlander, which he assumed belonged to Eve, Diego, Anastasia and Dymtrus.
“My name’s Trinette and the person getting out of the car is my partner Bodashka,” she explained. “We’re part of the ransom scam. We met with Pedro today and it seems he is willing to meet our demands, but in order for that to work, we need you to be there during the fake handover…so I’m afraid calling the police is a no can do.”
His misty eyes shifted from Trinette to line of cars, from whence Bodashka was approaching. The man was broad shouldered and heavy set, though shorter than Pedro and Dymtrus. He wore a flat cap, thick woollen scarf and dark trench coat. The cuffs of his creased trousers had been folded and shoes looked to have had better days.
“I already told Eve I wanted nothing to do with it, but she won’t let me leave” explained Jamie. “She took away my bear and like hit me like real hard when I tried.”
“But you are trying to sneak out anyways” commented Bodashka.
“We’d best get you back inside before you catch a cold.”
“But I don’t want to go back, I wanna go home.”
“Come along sweetheart,” said Trinette. “We can talk about it in the warm living room.”
“No...I don’t want to.”
Jamie slipped his palm and started running but she quickly snatched the back collar of his pyjama top. He stumbled backwards and landed butt first onto the pavement.
“Sorry, dear,” said Trinette, with feigned compunction. She grabbed him from under the armpits, whilst Bodashka took hold of his ankles. They then lifted him waste height and carried him back inside Eve’s house.
“I specifically told you not to run off!” scolded Eve, wagging her index finger at the tip of Jamie’s nose.
“And I pacifically told you I didn’t want to be here, so what did you expect?” he retorted. “Perhaps if you treated me more like a guest than a prisoner, I wouldn’t be so keen to run away.”
“Be that as it may, you deliberately disobeyed my instructions and deserve to be punished accordingly,” affirmed Eve. “I am extending the bear’s confiscation. You can have the bear back once we get the ransom and not before.”
Jamie looked from one to the other of Eve’s assembled partners in deceit, but they seemed reluctant to come to his protection. Their expressions were similar to that of the apathetic onlookers that had watched him get thrown into the prickles by Jasper and Patrick.
“That’s like astortion,” protested Jamie.
“I think you mean extortion,” corrected Diego, sitting on the couch next to a nervous looking Anastasia.
“Call it what you want, but it’s the only way we can be assured of your co-operation,” continued Eve.
“What if I told you that you can keep the bear, and stick your co-operation where it hurts,” said Jamie.
“I’d tan your hide and personally hand you back to Pedro and Delilah for real.”
“I’d eventually escape and when I did I’d tell the police that you kidnapped and hit me and stuff and you’d all go to jail.”
“I’d take care about making such threats young man. Don’t forget, no one knows where you are.”
“These bluffs are getting us no-where,” interrupted Bodashka. “We really need your support Jamie. What it take for you to help us out?”
“Give me back Oscar.”
“Your punishment is non-negotiable,” said Eve.
“Okay….um….then what about letting me sleep in Grayson’s room unguarded.”
“That sounds reasonable, but you’ve already ran off twice and we’d be foolish not to take precautions. The front-door is going to have to be secured. It has a deadlock, requiring a key to open either side and that key will remain in Diego and my possession.”
“It’s going to have to be. Now go back to Grayson’s room and stay there!”
Sunshine glistened through the grimy right rear passenger window of Diego’s Toyota Camry, dazzling Jamie’s weary eyes. Several hundred meters to the right sat the Mitsubishi Outlander. Its windows were tinted a darker shade than Diego’s, but he could just make out Trinette and Bodashka sitting in the front seat. They looked quite snug in each other’s arms, and if the throngs of passion he had heard emanating from the living room the previous night were anything to go by, his view of them would soon be obscured by a foggy windscreen.
Grayson’s bed, like the one in the Badroom, lacked an electric blanket and he had woken up shivering in the wee hours of the morning. He had searched the dresser for warmer apparel, and in doing so came across certain items of interest.
“Sit still,” grumbled Eve from the front passenger seat, “Anyone would think you have ants in your pants.”
“I’m sorry,” offered Jamie. “I’m just a bit nervous. What if this doesn’t like work?”
“It’ll work,” assured Diego.
“But if it doesn’t…will you guys still let me go home?”
“We’ll cross that bridge if we ever get to it, which I doubt we will” replied Eve.
He checked his watch and saw that it was now 6:08am, almost quarter of an hour passed the agreed rendezvous time for the fake exchange. Pedro had always been so obsessed about punctuality, and the importance of seclusion could not be over stated. The late they left it the more chances were that someone else would pull into the rest area.
Anastasia and Dymtrus had been dropped off just after 5:30am to scout out the area for possible traps or possible ambushes that Pedro and Delilah may have set. They were presently observing the proceedings from deep within the surroundings bushes and in intermittent cell-phone contact with Eve and Bodashka.
“What part of Spain do you come from, Diego?” he asked, trying to get his mind off the rendezvous.
“A place called Saville,”
“Cool, my stepmother once took me to see The Barber of Saville. I didn’t really understand it and slept through most of it.”
“Opera can be an acquired taste, I guess.”
“My Stepparents are like really into it and I’m not. She also goes to stupid ballets and boring art galleries.”
“You don’t like art?”
“Well, sometimes I like it when they take me to the sympathy.”
“I think you mean Symphony.”
“That too…do you know a piece called Dance of the Goblins?”
“By Antonio Bazinni? Yes, I know it well.”
“My stepbrother Deacon reckons it was named after my stepsister, because she looks and sounds like a hobgoblin when she yells at us and…”
“Hush you two, I think I see them,” announced Eve.
Jamie’s stomach tightened at the sight of the black van cruising down the narrow track. He could clearly see Pedro at the wheel, with Delilah in the front passenger seat. Their expressions were stern and uninviting, and he started having second thoughts about his intentions, but he knew his freedom depended on self-sacrifice, and the element of surprise.
“Okay amiguito, show time,” said Diego “There’s no reason to be nervous; if anything should go wrong we’ve got Dymtrus and Anastasia as back up.”
“Now don’t forget what I told you,” said Eve, retrieving Oscar from a shopping bag and handing it to Jamie. “It’s merely a prop and remains confiscated until this is all over.”
“Gives them the impression you are packed, and ready to return to them; so to speak,” added Diego. “Which of course, you are not.”
“If you say so,” said Jamie.
The van came to a halt but remained idling as its front doors opened. Pedro and Delilah alighted and walked toward the Mitsubishi Outlander, where they were accompanied by Trinette and Bodashka. The four of them conversed for a brief period before a prearranged signal was made, and then the time for the exchange was upon them.
“Let’s go,” urged Eve.
Jamie inched open his door, and waited until Eve and Diego had both gotten out of the car before alighting; holding Oscar by its front left paw. The twitter-tweeting of early morning birds filled his ears with sweet song; it was what his stepmother referred to as the Dawn Chorus. Here and there buzzed tiny insects and all around was the constant shrill of cicadas; reminiscent of the ambient noises of the afternoon Koromaru had been poisoned.
His eyes shifted back and forward between the foursome and Pedro’s van. He found himself once again doubting the logic of his plan, but he once again overcame such misgivings and took a couple of hesitant steps forward. Then he came to an abrupt halt and quickly reached into the left hip pocket of his camouflaged pants.
“No I don’t want to do this anymore,” he groused, removing his hand.
“Well it’s too late now!” affirmed Eve.
“If you say so,”
Jamie grinned as she snatched his palm. Seconds later he felt the small buzzer vibrate whilst it administered slight electric shock. Her grip released. Taking advantage of the confusion, he then started running for all he was worth.
“What the hell are you doing!” yelled Diego.
“Get back this instant!” cried Eve.
Deafening his ears to the plethora of instructions that sounded from all directions, he continued running and made it to the van first. He grabbed the side door, slid it open and gasped at the four burly occupants with dark ski masks and shotguns.