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Authors: Victor Methos

Run Away (10 page)

BOOK: Run Away
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The morning light bothered him. Richard rolled one way on the bed then the other. But no matter where he was
, he couldn’t get comfortable. The alarm clock went off, and he slammed it with his fist, but it kept beeping. So he unplugged it and pushed it off the nightstand.

Inhaling deeply,
he fixed his eyes on the ceiling. He couldn’t help but think that things had gone from bad to worse. The police were involved, and that creepy detective had sat right next to him and stared at his face without even blinking. Richard hadn’t known a single person could unnerve him like that. Even Sharon’s father, the most intimidating man Richard had ever met, could be dealt with in his own way. But that detective’s gaze had bored into Richard’s head, and he’d lost his cool. Clearly, the detective knew he was hiding something.

Richard finally rose
to get ready for the day. He liked to have music on when he dressed. That was, at least when Sharon wasn’t home to yell at him about it. He turned on Mozart’s
and took his time browsing the plethora of suits hanging in his closet.

He finally settled on the gray pinstripe
, along with a white-and-black tie, a white-and-black shirt, and a white pocket square. Because his work was almost all transactional, he could wear whatever he wanted to the office, but he always preferred to wear a suit—like the partners did.

The sting
his last conversation had about making partner came back to him, and he had to forcibly push it out of his mind. On top of everything else, he’d just realized he was in a dead-end job.

He sat at the table by himself
, eating fruit and drinking sparkling water. He thought of Eliza. She was out there with those men, whom he knew nothing about, except that they would do anything for money. But she would be fine. They wouldn’t hurt her. They had to know they wouldn’t see a dime if they laid a finger on her. And once everything was said and done, he and Eliza would have all the money they could want to do whatever in the world they felt like doing.

After breakfast, Richard cleaned the dish and glass
then went outside. The police were gone. He walked to the sidewalk where the Cummings boy’s blood was still spattered on the pavement. His bike was gone.

Such a shame.
He’d been a friendly boy. Several times, he’d stopped for Richard as he was backing the Cadillac out of the driveway rather than racing past him as most boys would. But that was life, Richard guessed. No one ever achieved anything without somebody getting hurt.

The drive into the office was pleasant, despite the knot in his gut. He grabbed a
latté on the way into work then strolled into the office as if nothing were wrong. No one said anything to him, and he, at least that day, preferred it that way.

He shut the door and sat at his desk.
He should have been able to do a little work, but it wasn’t possible. The thought of planning an estate or writing a will sickened him. He had a client coming in to learn about the tax benefits of different types of corporations, but one of the other associates could easily handle that.

Finally, after an hour of agonizing over it, he took out his cell phone and dialed Tate’s number.

“It’s done,” Tate offered as a greeting.

Richard’s heart dropped. “It’s… what do you mean by ‘it’s’?”

“You know what I mean.”

He swallowed. “How?”

“One to the head. It’s done.”

“I want proof.”


“I want proof.”

“We never talked about any proof. You’re gonna have to take my word for it.”

“Like hell. You want that money? I want proof that she’s gone
, and I want my daughter back.”

Tate was silent
for almost too long. “All right. I’ll send you a photo.”

The line went dead.

Anxiety gnawed at Richard so fiercely that he couldn’t sit still. He was pacing his office when Candice walked in.

“Richard, I’m glad you’re here. I didn’t like our last interaction.”

“I really can’t talk right now, Candice. I’ve got some really pressing issues. Really pressing. They just can’t wait for anything.”

“Well we’re all busy, but I’d like to take a moment and discuss a possible partnership track.”

His stomach dropped. “What?”

“You’ve worked hard here, and being
Eli’s son-in-law certainly doesn’t hurt. I think maybe I jumped to conclusions too quickly. How about we bring it up at the next partners meeting and see what everybody thinks?”

yeah, sure. That’d be great.”

She smiled and left the room. Richard
returned to pacing the office. What the hell was he doing? He’d gotten himself involved in a world he didn’t understand, and he had no idea what the rules were. How did the Neanderthals Heather defended commit crimes without an ounce of anxiety or guilt? And why the hell had Candice picked that moment to spring the best news he’d heard in years?

His cell phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number.

“This is Richard.”

“Mr. Miller, this is Detective Jon Stanton. How are you holding up?”

He hesitated. “I’m fine, Detective. But really busy. If I could call you back, that would really help me.”

, I just wanted to have another look through your home. By myself. I was hoping you wouldn’t mind.”

Richard bit his thumbnail. What the hell else could he want to see? The police had already spent an entire day there. “Um, no.
That should be fine. I get off work around eight.”

“Well, I’d like to do it sooner if possible. I could send an officer to p
ick up the key.”

“There’s no key
. It’s a code entry.” Richard gave him the code.

“I appreciate that.”

“So, um, what exactly are you looking for? It seemed like you guys already tore that place apart.”

ings always get overlooked. In the hustle and bustle, you miss things. That’s why I like to go back by myself the day after, just make sure everything’s how it should be.” The conversation took a slight pause, then Stanton said, “So you’re back to work already, huh?”

Richard thought. He hadn’t considered how that would look. His wife and daughter were missing, and he was back at the office instead of waiting by the phone at home. He couldn’t keep track of all the things he was supposed to consider.

“Yeah, just a few things. I…
well, between me and you, I can’t concentrate enough to work. I thought it would take my mind off this whole thing, but it’s just made it worse. I won’t be here long.”

“Hm. Well, I appreciate the code. I’ll make sure to forget it after today.”

“No worries. I was thinking of changing it anyway.”

After Stanton hung up,
Richard tossed his phone across the room. It dented the wall then clattered to the floor.

“Shit!” he said, swinging his arms as if
he were hitting something. He marched around his desk a few times then grabbed his keys and ran out of the office.






The RV stank of weed and sweat. Eliza Miller was curled in a ball on the bed. The big one called Hiapo was eating at the table in the center. Sticks, the one who had gotten on top of her and tried to rip off her shorts, was passed out. She didn’t recognize the smell of what he had been smoking out of his pipe, but it wasn’t weed. It smelled like burnt garbage, and he got jittery then smoked weed and drank after using the pipe.

The sun was up
, and she felt better in the daylight. Her mother was locked in the bathroom and hadn’t come out. Hiapo was far enough away that he might not be able to hear her call out to her mother. And he was busy eating and staring out the window. The third one, Tate, had gone inside the house and hadn’t come out since the skinny one had tried to mount her.

?” she whispered. “Mom, can you hear me?”

After a
long silence, a faint voice answered, “Yes. Do you know where we are?”

“No. In some neighborhood.”

“Have they said what they wanted?”

“No.” She looked
at Hiapo. “There’s three of them. One’s in the house and the other two are here.”

“Where’s your phone?”

“They took it. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, swee
tie. When I heard you screaming… I didn’t know what to do. I was going crazy.”

“I’m scared
, Mommy.”

“I know. Just stay calm and see if you can find your phone. They have to have it in here somewhere.”

Eliza scanned the RV’s filthy interior. Empty cereal boxes, pizza containers, and beer cans littered the floor. Her eyes drifted over to Sticks. He was on a couch, twitching in his sleep. The tip of her phone peeked out from the breast pocket of his jacket.

“I see my phone,” she whispered.

“Can you reach it?”

“I don’t know.”

Sticks was out and hadn’t been up for at least half an hour. Hiapo was sitting with his back to Sticks. She thought she could sneak up there without the big one noticing. She swallowed, slipped off her shoes, and stepped onto the carpet.

The carpet made her feet itch
, and her heart was pounding so hard she was scared they could hear it. She closed her eyes. Just a few days ago, a boy had asked her to the school dance. Thomas Ovard. She’d been hoping he would ask. He played football and was muscular yet lean. She’d liked him from the moment she’d met him in an English class. He wasn’t smart and didn’t seem to care about school, so he always copied off her. But she didn’t mind. She enjoyed helping him.

ince he’d asked, she’d thought of nothing but the dance—until she’d found herself stuck in an RV with a group of men. Tate had crazy eyes that told her he was on the edge of losing his mind. He was the most frightening man she’d ever met. But he was the only thing keeping Sticks from raping her.

As slowly as she could, she tiptoed down the
length of the RV. Hiapo was busy with his food. He was watching something on his phone and would chuckle to himself every few seconds then look out the window. She could see out the windows, too. If she could make it outside, she could scream her head off, and someone might come out to help. But it might not matter. Tate might just shoot them the way he’d shot her neighbor, Adam.

The couch wasn’t far
, and Sticks was snoring. Eliza stood over him. She had to force her trembling hands to stop moving. Her hand, almost on its own, reached out for the phone. She could feel it. All she needed to do was get it and text her dad. He would do everything else.

Eliza placed her thumb and finger on the sides. She glanced over
at the big one, but he wasn’t paying attention to anything but the video on his phone. She lifted, slipping it lightly out of the pocket about halfway. Holding her breath, she pulled up and got the phone all the way out.

It was almost in her pocket when Sticks
grabbed her wrist. She gasped, and their eyes locked. A wicked grin crossed his face.

“Little bitch!”

He reached up and smacked her. She jerked away and screamed, running to the back of the RV. She opened the bathroom door, instinctively hoping her mother could protect her. But when she saw her mother, fear and despair filled her. Her mother was bound with duct tape and was sitting on the toilet. She had urinated on herself, her right eye was swollen shut, and her lips were cut and coated in dried blood.

seized Eliza by the hair and threw her onto the bed. He took off his belt and folded it in half. As he raised it to whip her, a meaty brown hand grasped his arm and ripped away the belt.

“Tate said not to touch her,”
Hiapo bellowed.

“Fuck him. And fuck you
, too.”

“Sit down.”

Sticks got in the big man’s face. “I said—fuck. You.”

started to turn away then suddenly spun back. He wrapped his fingers around Sticks’s throat and lifted him into the air as if he were a doll. He flung him against the wall, shaking the entire RV.

Sticks reached into his waistband to the pistol tucked away there.
Hiapo took one of Sticks’s fingers and bent it all the way back until—
Sticks screamed, and Hiapo snatched the gun and put it into his own waistband.

“You broke my fucking finger!”

“Tate said not to touch her.”

Sticks got to his feet,
cradling his hand. The finger was bent at an angle that made it appear useless. He stormed out of the RV and slammed the door behind him. Hiapo looked the women over. He grunted something then went back to his video.

BOOK: Run Away
8.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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