Chapter Twelve: A Lesson In Dying Part C
It’s the morning, and although I’ve been up for a couple of hours I didn’t expect Mello to be up quite this early. I didn’t sleep well, but now he’s outside my door, so I guess he didn’t either.
“Who’s there? No, wait, let me guess this one: is it some kind of jerk, here to finish what he started?” I spit sarcastically. I haven’t forgiven him.
“No…” Mello replies, sounding mournful. “Just a jerk who needs your help tracking down a missing guy.”
“Right. Isn’t that the same thing?”
“Please, Matt.” He says. “I think he’s going to die if we aren’t quick enough. You don’t have to be happy with me. Just help me solve it.”
Sighing, I think of Penelope Pushy and the Pitts family. They’ll probably all be devastated if William dies. Well, Penelope will look devastated, at least. Before she goes off flirting with another young, blond German.
Bitterness aside; I can’t just stand back and let someone die. So I put down the gameboy and head to the door, unlocking it and catching Mello’s arm as he nearly falls into my room.
“Sorry. I was leaning on the door.” He explains hastily, no sign of the usual smirk. “Come look at the file, then we’d better go.”
I nod and follow him in silence. I won’t say anything that isn’t related to the case. I won’t help him unless it endangers the case. I won’t smile. And I definitely won’t forgive him.
“Do you want some breakfast?” Mello said, cutting into my thoughts.
“What? Oh. I guess.” I reply, and then curse myself. So much for not talking.
“I’ll make it. The file is on the table.”
Sighing, I went over and picked up the brown folder containing Mello’s notes. I glance over the parts I already know, and slow down when I get to Ronaldo Krane’s biography. There’s a grainy picture of him talking on a mobile and getting into a car with another mob boss. This is probably painful for Mello; it’s close to his past experiences, to the Mafia group he infiltrated… to his burns. Which is probably why he’s getting so snappy and strained. He’s been holding in all of his anger about that, and the agony he must have gone through, all on his own…
Not that that’s an excuse. Right, time to stop feeling pity for the guy who pointed a gun at me yesterday, and focus on the case. That’s why I’m here.
Ronaldo Krane, aged 37; part of the notorious Krane Brothers crime syndicate and an important figure in mob circles. Grandparents emigrated from Italy to open a pizzeria; however, due to the large influx of such businesses, they failed, and ended up penniless on the streets. Their son joined a racketeering business to keep them afloat, and since then it has been a family tradition. Ronaldo and his brother, Riccardo, kidnapped a man earlier in the year and demanded a ransom; he escaped unharmed after the ransom was paid, but they were never brought to justice. They were also suspected regarding the death of a small-time businessman; allegedly he broke a deal with them, and was consequently murdered. Again, insufficient evidence was found to prosecute. Ronaldo is the more dominant brother and is considered to be a major threat by the police force.
Looking up at Mello, who is carrying a plate of what can only be described as chargrilled bread with jam, I grimace and gesture with the file.
“No time for breakfast. We need to go.” I tell him. “Let me grab my laptop, and we’re out of here.”
“Alright.” He replies, looking pissed at the fact I didn’t appreciate his culinary effort. Frankly, I’d rather piss him off than eat that.
I hear him start the car as I grab a few other bits of equipment, then run to get in. I sit on the back seat so I can spread everything out, and start hacking databases as fast as I can.
Mello puts his foot on the accelerator, then looks back over his shoulder. “Where should I head for?” he asks.
“Keep in town, but at the edges. Go towards the district where the Krane house is. I’ll let you know when I have a better location.” I reply, only half paying attention to what he’s asking, typing code as fast as I can.
“I got his cell number.” I add a few minutes later. “Here, take this.”
Mello takes both hands off the steering wheel for a second to take the device I’m handing him. “What is it?” he asks, placing it on the passenger seat.
“It will triangulate his location, if he has his cell phone turned on.” I reply. “Then, once we’re there, I’ll use this to try and intercept any outgoing or incoming calls, and you can try to get close enough to eavesdrop.”
“Sounds reassuring.” Mello grunts.
“Not tough enough for it?” I ask him.
“Fuck off. I’ll do it.” He replies, and I smirk. He’s predictable sometimes.
Suddenly, the device next to him starts emitting a loud beeping signal, and I reach through the gap to plug it into the sat nav on the car. It quickly highlights Krane’s location on the map and generates a route plan. He’s out of town; which means we now have to turn around and head off in the other direction. We’ve wasted valuable time.
No matter; I start on hacking his signal and set up the speakers so that if anything comes, we’ll both be able to hear it.
Mello drives like the devil, concentrating so hard he’s not even eating. Hell, I’m not smoking, either. For once both of us are focused on the same goal. If Ronaldo Krane gets away with this I will personally destroy all of my games, and dedicate the rest of my life to running a campaign against tobacco. He’s going down.
Shit, shit, I can’t drive this fast. I almost lost control around that last corner. Matt’s so calm, getting everything done, shit, I have to put my foot down. What if we’re too late? What if we’re going to the wrong place? I never met this guy or anything but it seems like it’s up to me whether he lives or dies, and I don’t want him to die.
There’s a red light, but I jump it. I can’t afford to stop now. Every second could make a difference. Maybe we’re too late already. Maybe he’s already dead. No, no, that isn’t Krane’s MO; the body would have turned up by now. Ohhhh, shit. The times when I get cravings for chocolate are always the most inconvenient.
The little voice in the sat nav is telling me what to do too late. I give up waiting for it to direct me and go by the map alone, as fast as I can, cutting corners and going up pavements. I would give anything for just one bite of chocolate. Just one. Please. Why now? I chew my lip, trying really hard to keep my thoughts on the road.
“Mello, if we die in a car accident we won’t be able to save him.” Matt says, holding on for dear life as I speed around a roundabout, cutting up at least three drivers in the process.
“I know. I know.” I mutter, attempting to calm down a little. And failing. I check the counter on the sat nav; only three miles before we’re at the destination.
“I’ve got something.” Matt says excitedly, fiddling with the volume on his speakers, pressing a load of buttons on some kind of speaker.
“Hey, Ric.” Ronaldo’s voice comes through, a little fuzzy, but recognisable. I think back to the news videos I watched on the database last night. This is definitely him. “You got the car ready?”
“Yeah, I do.” Another voice answers, presumably that of Riccardo, answers.
“Drive it round. We got a body here.”
“You killed him?”
“He wouldn’t shut up.”
I turn to look at Matt, and see the same expression of shock and horror that must be on my own face. A moment passes, and I turn back and push the accelerator to the floor.
When I pull up at the place the signal is coming from, the tyres screech and I’m out of the door before the wheels stop turning. Matt isn’t far behind. There are three men in black suits standing outside a warehouse. One of them is Ronaldo Krane.
“Call it in, Matt.” I shout, pulling my gun and cocking and aiming at Krane. I don’t take my eyes off him. Matt has my back.
I hear him talking into a phone, to the police, calling out for anyone nearby to arrest these bastards. Then I hear another familiar click, and glance round.
“Since when do you have a gun?” I ask.
Matt shrugs in my peripheral vision. “Since we started investigating mob bosses.”
“Fair point.” I mutter, before turning to Krane. “The fun’s over, creep. For you, anyway. Where’s the body?”
Krane gives me a small smile, probably thinking that his brother will show up and save him, thinking that we don’t know he’s coming. “Inside, of course.” He replies.
“Guess he can stay there a little longer.” I spit. “You two. Henchmen or whatever you are. When Riccardo shows up, you better point your guns at his men, or I’ll shoot your boss here.”
Ronaldo’s lips twitch in irritation. “Best do as he says, boys.” He murmurs.
That’s how the police find us, arriving just before Riccardo to turn the tides in our favour. The men are stuffed into vans, none too ceremoniously. That’s when, exchanging glances, Matt and I step into the warehouse and look down at the blood-soaked body of William Pitts.