Cruel Punishment

Ruthless Renegades

Lee stood frozen by his desk with his cellphone in his hand. Shock, fear, anger, resentment, confusion; these emotions flowed through both his body and mind as gazed at the small device in his hand. 'Call Ended.' The words flashed on his phone a few times before returning to its normal setting.

"A-Anna?..." Lee muttered fearfully as he hit the redial button. It went straight to voicemail.

"Come on! Pick up!" He said anxiously as he tried again.

Lee's heart pounded feverously in his chest as he redialed her number repeatedly only to get the same results.

"No, no, no!" He yelled. "I-I have to go help her..." Lee muttered nervously as he quickly ran towards the door and fumbled with the lock.

"W-wait! Don't go out there!" Samantha shouted as she swiftly grabbed his arm to stop him. "You'll only get yourself killed." She nervously tried to reason.

Lee slowly turned to face the frightened woman. She looked rattled. "But I have to!… You've heard her… She was screaming for help! For my help!" He yelled hysterically.

Samantha realized that Lee was not thinking clearly and was acting on pure emotions. She was frightened and worried about Anna as well and desperately wanted to escape, but she knew it was too risky to leave the office.

"But… but you don't know who you're up against… It could be one man or it could be many. And from the sounds of it, they are prepared for battle. " Samantha reasoned; wanting the man to think more rationally.

Lee's expression softened and relaxed a little. As if the frightened woman's words was getting through to him.

"What do you suggest we do? How can we help Anna?" Lee muttered softly as he somberly rested his forehead against the door.

"I-I don't know…" Samantha said feeling flustered by his question. She began to scour her mind for an answer.

Suddenly there was someone banging on the door.

"Mr. Lee! Mr. Lee!" A man's voice called out through the doors. "We are your bodyguards, please let us in."

"Wait just a moment!" Lee yelled back. He ran to his desk and opened the bottom draw and retrieved a small handgun that he kept for emergencies. He wasn't sure if the men were really his bodyguards so he didn't want to take any chances.

Lee cautiously walked back to the doors and instructed Samantha to get behind him. He held his breath as slowly turned the lock and opened the door with his gun at the ready. He sighed in relief when he recognized the two men. They were indeed his bodyguards. Lee slowly lowered his weapon. There were a few doctors with them as well.

"Sir, we have come to get you and escort you out the building." One of them explained.

"We have a vehicle outside, ready and waiting. We will drive you home." The other one said.

"Have you found Anna?" Lee asked impatiently.

Both of the men shook their head no. "We've saved as many people as we could on our way here, but we haven't seen Miss Williams." One of the men said sadly.

"Please let us escort you out of the building sir, it is not safe here." The other guard said.

Lee looked down glumly. He felt angry that there was nothing he could do to help Anna. He simply hoped that she was safe.

"Okay… Let's go." Lee reluctantly said. They quickly gathered their things and left.

Lee, Samantha, and the doctors and scientist that were rescued followed the guards down a stairwell. The elevators were no longer working. They made their slow descent towards the first floor.

Lee slowed to a stop when they've reached the 43rd floor. It was the floor that housed his most important research and data. He stared frozen as he saw smoke pluming through the cracks of the door. He slowly walked towards it and pulled it open. The entire floor was ablaze; leaving Lee in utter shock. His mouth hung agape as he observed the damage. All of his research was… destroyed.

Lee felt a hand rest on his shoulder. It was Samantha. "Come on Lee, let's go… there is nothing more we can do here." She said softly as she gently pulled Lee back towards the staircase.

They continued their descent towards freedom. For Lee… it was a descent towards despair.

The group eventually reached the ground floor and exited Violet Systems. The atmosphere outside was very hectic and chaotic as crowds of people were evacuating nearby buildings and running for safety. The guards kept a close eye on the group as they escorted them towards a van that was parked down the street. There was a driver already waiting inside.

Lee, Samantha and the rest of the group entered the van and they sped off.

Lee looked despondent as he blankly stared at the chaos outside. He had lost everything… Everything. The realization was shocking to him and hard to believe. His research is destroyed and Anna is missing. He didn't know how to feel or what to think. He felt hollow. Empty.

Lee's phone suddenly began to ring. He looked at it and realized it was Bryan calling him.

"Hello?" Lee said softly. He heard Bryan laughed wickedly on the other end.

"I've heard your company is up in smoke… It's all over the god news."

It was clear to Lee that Bryan had called to laugh at his misfortunes. He heard the mockery in his voice, but Lee was in a different frame of mind, he was too disheartened to care.

"…We were attacked… and the building was bombed." Lee muttered softly. "Bryan… I need your help." He said somberly.

Bryan chuckled evilly. "And why should I? Why should help you Lee?" He said disdainfully.

"I don't know Bryan." Lee's voice was desperate. "Anna… is missing… Please come to my mansion as soon as you can. I'd really appreciate you help." He pleaded before abruptly ending the call.

Bryan didn't know what to make of that conversation. Lee didn't seem to be his normal self. He sounded very somber and depressed.

What interest him the most was Anna's disappearance. Was it planned? Or was she kidnapped? Bryan wondered. He also wanted to know who the attackers were. He personally wanted to thank them for what they had done. Witnessing the destruction of Lee's company had brought him great joy. He chuckled at the thought.

Bryan's curiosity was peaked and he wanted some answers. He decided to pay Lee a visit. Well… he did not have much of a choice since he relied on the man to keep his perpetual generator functional.

Bryan stood up from his couch and got dressed. He strapped a shotgun on his back before hiding it with his coat. He made sure he stuffed his pockets with ammunition and supplied before he left.

Bryan smiled and felt exhilarated. His body was filled with excitement. The last time he felt this way was when he left for Brazil. He knew it was going to be a long day but was certain that it will be an interesting one.

Anna groaned as she slowly regained consciousness. She tried to move her hands. They hurt. It felt like they were being pricked by needles. The pain was almost unbearable. She opened her eyes and immediately felt disoriented; confused. She didn't know where she was or how she got there. The first thing she saw was an ever-changing landscape of cars and buildings speedily passing by. She quickly realized that she was in a car herself. Anna furrowed her brow as her memory was finally returning to her. Her mouth quivered at her realization of what happened. She was captured; kidnapped, and she remembered who her captor was. She swallowed hard as she turned her head slowly towards the driver.

Dragunov. He was the only man Anna feared more than Bryan. Both were sociopathic killers but Bryan… he would at least talk and express most of his feelings. He acted more… human whereas Dragunov did not. The man was silent, calculating, and deadly. It's that cold-blooded, emotionless quality that made him seem more odd and creepy.

Dragunov sat silent and kept his eyes firmly on the road as he drove. He quickly glanced at the woman. Their eyes met. Anna flinched and gasped in fear. His presence frightened her. She knew Dragunov long before she ever met Lee. Their meeting in the past was brief and nerve-wracking. They had left on very bad terms leaving her to wonder what he was here for.

Anna nervously cleared her throat before she spoke. "What do you want from me?" She asked; her voice was shaky, quiet and laced with fear.

Anna was foolish enough to wait for a response… or even expect one. She knew the man will never utter a word, no matter how dire a situation may be he will always remain silent. Anna wondered why. Did he suffer some illness she is not aware of? Or was it some oath he took long ago?

"Are you doing this for revenge?" She asked feeling a bit more desperate for answers.

Anna swore she saw something flicker on his face. It was only for a brief moment. It was a nuance, a hint, a tinge of emotion. Anna interpreted it as annoyance. Did her question irritate him? Perhaps she only imagined it would, she wasn't sure. Whatever it was it made Anna's heart race nervously within her chest.

She quickly turned around to look out the window; she didn't want to disturb the man any further. She noticed that they were on a highway. She could see the city skyline off in the distance. She spotted Violet Systems, it was one of the tallest skyscrapers in the city. She observed it somberly and wondered if Lee was okay.

Anna noticed that Dragunov was exiting the highway. She thought that this was bad. It signified that they were close to their destination. She looked around attentively and realized that they were in the more industrial part of town. There were factories, warehouses, and empty lots that were both used and abandoned. The streets were desolate, empty and devoid of life. There was nobody around to call to for help. It was perfect place to take a hostage… or to hide a body.

Anna felt anxious and shivered in fear. She was beginning to hyperventilate. She wondered where he was taking her or what he had planned to do, however she didn't want to stick around to find out. She needed to escape before it's too late. The clock was ticking and time was running out fast.

Without giving a second thought, Anna quickly grabbed the steering wheel and pulled it towards her. The car swerved and crashed into a nearby lamppost. Anna hit her head on the dashboard upon impact. The blow caused her to black-out momentarily.

Anna groggily woke up moments later. Her head ached immensely causing her eyes to squint from the pain. Blood was trickling down from her forehead.

Anna slowly lifted her head. She heard the car making a hissing noise as its engine struggled to stay on. She turned to look at Dragunov. He lay motionless with his head resting on the steering wheel however his body was beginning to stir.

Anna began to panic. She quickly opened the door and yelped in pain as she did so. The glass was still embedded in her hands. She was about to exit the car, but Dragunov pulled on her coat; keeping her inside. His grip was weak. Anna was able to swiftly pull away from him and escape.

She fought through the pain and ran as quickly as she could to safety. Suddenly, she heard the sound of screeching car tires. Anna looked back and saw the car started to quickly reverse towards her. She screamed and darted into a nearby alleyway before the car could hit her.

Anna continued to run. For a moment she thought she was safe. She thought the alleyway was too narrow for a car to drive through, but she was wrong. Dragunov swiftly put the car in gear and drove after her. Anna screamed as she tried to quicken her pace. Dragunov took out his hand gun and pointed it at the fleeing woman. He aimed carefully as he drove. He wanted to shoot the woman in the leg. He pulled the trigger, the gun fired, but missed its target. Anna shrieked when she heard the gunshot.

Dragunov suddenly saw a dumpster in the alleyway. He abruptly mashed the brakes to avoid hitting it. The dumpster blocked his path; he couldn't pursue the woman any further. He watched as his target ran away. Blood was trickling down his face but he remained unfazed. Normally this situation would be frustrating and anger most people but, Dragunov kept his silent and stoic nature. He methodically put the car in gear and reversed.

Anna successfully made it to the other end of the alleyway. She turned the corner and saw a huge abandoned building located across a large, empty lot. The distance was somewhat far, but she had to try and reach it before it was too late.

As she got closer to the building, she noticed that there was a window that was not boarded up. She ran towards it and pulled herself through the opening. She tumbled inside. She quickly sat up and pressed her back firmly against the wall underneath the window. She breathed heavily as she tried to catch her breath.

Anna hastily searched her pockets for her cellphone. She wanted to call Lee or Bryan for help, but her phone was missing. Anna cursed under her breath.

Anna cautiously stood up and peeked out the window. She wanted to know where Dragunov was. She quickly ducked and hid again when she saw the car come into view. Dragunov was still circling the building where she once was. She felt relieved by this but, she needed to keep moving. It will be only a matter of time until he finds her again. She wanted to make sure that that will not happen.

The sun was setting. It took Bryan several hours, but he finally managed to reach Lee's estate. The traffic was thick and the roads were cut off due to the attack on Violet Systems. The media labeled it a terrorist attack.

Bryan paid the driver and exited the cab. He walked up the long driveway that led to Lee's mansion. There were a few black cars parked in front the house. Bryan noticed that they had government license plates on them.

Suddenly, he saw several men exiting the mansion. They looked like FBI or CIA agents. Bryan figured that they had just finished interviewing Lee and recorded his account on what happened at Violet Systems. The men casted Bryan a suspicious look as he walked by and entered the house, but Bryan ignored them. One of Lee's bodyguards greeted him as he entered and took him to Lee.

Bryan was escorted into the living room. He saw Lee standing by his fireplace. He held a wrought iron poker in his hand and played with the embers as they burned in the flames. His bodyguards stood silent and alert at every corner of the room. They had the place well secured and protected.

Bryan also noticed Lee's secretary lying on a couch, she was fast asleep. There were also a few doctors sitting and typing away on their laptops.

"It's gone… All of it is gone." Lee said despondently as he continued to poke at the embers.

Bryan lazily walked over and plopped himself onto a couch near where the secretary was sleeping.

"All of my hard work… All of my years of research were taken away from me in an instant. It all literally went up in flames." Lee said glumly as he turned to look at him.

"So?" Bryan said bluntly. "You're a rich bastard, I'm sure you'll get it all back."

Lee chuckled loudly; causing Bryan to stare at him perplexingly. His laughter sounded hysterical and morose at the same time.

"I cannot recover from this… My company is destroyed. I'm sure the share prices are dropping dramatically on the stock market as we speak." He said as he placed the poker down and walked towards his liquor cabinet.

"And believe it or not… I don't have enough money to rebuild my company from scratch." Lee pulled out an expensive bottle of wine. "But thanks for trying to cheer me up." He said and smiled.

The man's final statement caused Bryan's eyebrow twitch with anger.

"Haut-Brion, a French wine. It costs five grand a bottle." Lee said as he held up the liquor for Bryan to see. "Do you want some?"

"Sure, why not." Bryan huffed and shrugged his shoulders.

Lee took out two wine glasses and poured the drinks. He then walked over and handed Bryan a glass and sat down next to him.

Lee swirled the drink in his hand before taking a sip whereas Bryan simply tossed it back and swallowed as if he was taking a shot of hard liquor.

"Such a waste." Lee said solemnly. "You're supposed to savor the flavor."

"What was a waste is the money you've spent on it." Bryan quipped. "It tasted like any other cheap shit you'd find at a store."

Lee chuckled. "I should've known you'd say something like that."

Bryan quickly grumbled under his breath. He realized he was acting somewhat friendly towards this man. He should be happy, elated that his company went up in smoke, especially after what he had done to him… or wanted to do. But deep down inside, Bryan couldn't help but pity him. It angered him that he felt that way.

"You know…" Lee said; swiftly cutting into the man's thoughts. "The worst thing that happened to me today was losing Anna." He said solemnly as he took another sip of wine.

"What happened to her?" Bryan questioned as he perked up in his seat.

"I don't know…" Lee said quietly as he leaned back into the couch. "She left my office to get a cup of coffee… Minutes later I received a panicked call from her, she was begging and screaming for help." He said sorrowfully as he cupped a hand over his face.

"I want to find her… She is the only thing I have left." Lee said pleadingly. "I-I want to find her and spend the rest of my days with her. S-she is the love of my life!"

Bryan gawked at him wide-eyed as Lee continued rant hysterically about him and Anna. He sounded as if he had a few screws loose. Bryan thought it was understandable; he did go through a lot today. Lee eventually finished his rant and took another sip of his drink.

"Well, have you found her yet?" Bryan said calmly. "It should've been simple."

"How so?" Lee asked eagerly.

Bryan sighed irritably. He couldn't believe that Lee didn't think of this before. "Every cellphone has GPS in them these days. It should be pretty fuckin' easy to track her down."

"You're right!" Lee shot up from his seat with a huge smile on his face. He felt hopeful once more.

"You two!" Lee pointed at the doctors at the back of the room. "Start tracking down Anna's phone." He demanded.

"We are already on it sir." One of them replied back.

Lee sat back down. "Bryan, that was an excellent idea. I'm surprised I didn't figure it out myself." He said and chuckled.

Bryan said nothing. He merely groaned dismissively at the man's sudden change in attitude.

Minutes passed before one of the doctors found something. "We've found her sir!"

Bryan and Lee walked over and observed a map on one of the computer screens. A small red dot blinked; indicating Anna's location.

"There she is." The doctor said as he pointed at the dot. Anna's supposed location was in a part of town that was unfamiliar to both Bryan and Lee.

"Good work." Lee said as he patted the doctor on his back. "So Bryan… are you willing to go and find her?"

Bryan smirked. "You say that as if I had a fuckin' choice." He said mockingly. "Just send the coordinates to my phone and I'll get her."

It was a clear night. The moon was full and shined brightly in the sky. Bryan carefully followed the coordinates that led to Anna's phone. They directed him to the industrial part of town.

Bryan drove slowly and took off his headlights. He did not want to alert Anna's captors of his arrival. He carefully looked around as he inched down a street. They were not well lit, he needed to use his enhanced vision to see more clearly. The area was empty and the only sounds he heard were from nearby factories that were still operational. Their equipment roared loudly as they worked tirelessly through the night.

Bryan drove until he was a few yards away from his destination. He quietly parked the car and exited, he took his shotgun with him. A cold gust of wind blew and nipped at bare torso, but Bryan didn't bother to zip up his green coat. He didn't mind the weather, he enjoyed the cold. It reminded him that he was still alive.

Bryan looked at his phone and continued to follow the coordinates. They led him to a car that was parked near an empty lot. Bryan circled around the vehicle and examined it closely. He cupped his hand around the windows to get a better look inside. He eventually spotted Anna's phone. It was on the floor on the passenger side of the car.

He walked towards the trunk of the car and used his enhanced strength to open it. He thought Anna was there, but she was not. Bryan sighed irritably. The directions had led him to a dead end.

Bryan turned and faced the surrounding area. He used his thermal vision to scan for unusual heat signatures. It was winter, so most of the buildings should be ice-cold but, Bryan spotted one nearby that was emitting heat from the top floor.

He switched to his normal vision to observe the structure. The building looked like a factory of some kind. Its structure looked dilapidated and old. It was clearly abandoned and long forgotten. Bryan thought it was strange that heat was emanating from it so he decided to check it out.

An old rusted door was the only thing that kept him from entering the building. Bryan slowly opened the entrance; the bolts cried out in agony as he did so. He cautiously entered the structure and looked around. The place was extremely dark and reeked of mold and decay. Bryan sniffed; wanting the foul stench to escape his lungs.

Bryan used his enhanced vision once more so he could navigate through the building. He was in a huge room. Bryan assumed that it used to house machinery and equipment. He ventured deeper into the building until he spotted the stairwell. The stairs looked like they had seen better days. Bryan carefully climbed them; testing each step before committing his full weight on them.

He climbed until he reached the top floor. The floor had many small rooms to which he surmised were offices and meeting rooms at some point in the past. The wooden floorboards creaked under his boots as he carefully continued to follow the heat signature. It led him to a small, closed room.

He perked an eyebrow when he saw light coming through the bottom of the door. Bryan raised his shotgun as he approached. He stood in front of the door for a moment before quickly pushing it open, causing it to slam against a wall.

Bryan looked inside with his gun raised and cocked, but there was no one there. He saw a small kerosene lamp located at the corner of the room. Next to it was backpack and a sleeping bag. Bryan slowly stepped inside. It felt warm and looked lived-in.

Bryan noticed a newspaper resting near the lamp. He walked over and examined it. The paper was in a language that looked familiar, but he couldn't quite put his finger on. He picked it up to gain a closer look.

Suddenly, Bryan heard a sound with his enhanced hearing. There was somebody sneaking about outside the room. Bryan quickly turned and pointed his shotgun at the entrance. A person came into view. He knew who it was.

"Long time… no see. Ay, Dragunov?" Bryan said and chuckled. He raised his shotgun upwards to casually rest against his shoulder.

Dragunov stood silent in the doorway. He also had a gun in his hand that was ready to shoot. He slowly lowered it to his side.

"What are you doing here?" Bryan asked with an amused grin as he slowly paced about the room. "Oh, I forgot… the cat has got your tongue." He said sarcastically and laughed.

"It's been a while, huh? The last time we hung out was… at one of the tournaments." Bryan said as he rubbed his chin in thought.

Dragunov was one of the very few people that Bryan actually liked. He was a fellow soldier of war, like himself and he admired the man's cold, silent, nature. He always carried himself with utmost confidence and Bryan respected that.

Bryan remembered meeting the man at one of the Tekken tournaments. Many of the competitors were frightened of him, but Bryan was very curious to learn there was actually someone who was more intimidating than himself.

He didn't know how or when it happened, but they had somehow become good acquaintances. Bryan remembered when he actually managed to convince the man to go to a bar and knock back a few drinks with him. He was on a mission to get the Russian drunk; hoping that he would break his silence and speak, but his mission was a failure. Bryan chuckled at the thought. He never understood what was going on in the man's head whenever they hung out, but he enjoyed his silent company nonetheless.

"I wish we were meeting under different circumstances… but I'm sure you know why I'm here." Bryan said as he studied the man. "Lee sent me to retrieve his woman and it seemed like you have hidden her well."

"I know you wouldn't tell me where she is or if she is even alive, but I'm on a mission and I have to produce results…" Bryan said reasonably.

"You understand… right? I'm sure you've got someone you gotta answer to as well." He said with a smirk. "However, I must say that I'm quite surprised that you are the one that caused all that destruction today. You definitely put on a good show. " He said and chuckled.

Bryan stopped his pacing and looked at the man. He waited for some form of acknowledgement or a response.

Dragunov stared at him for a moment as he rubbed his chin. Bryan looked at him feeling a bit perplexed; he wondered what the man was thinking.

Dragunov slowly removed the machine gun that was strapped to his back and carefully placed it on the floor along with his handgun. He then proceeded to get into his fighting stance.

Bryan let out a short, dry laugh. "So you want to settle this the old fashion way, eh? Well I can comply with that." He said feeling thoroughly amused.

Bryan bent down and placed his shotgun on the floor. He cracked his knuckles before going into a fighting stance of his own.

"We should hangout again sometime… After all this shit has boiled over." Bryan said slyly and chuckled.

Silence filled the air. They both stood quiet as they stared at each other intently. Each was waiting for the other to make the first move. The atmosphere grew tense with each passing second.

Then suddenly, without warning, they both charged at each other. Bryan let out a war cry as he cocked his fist back to deliver the first blow. Dragunov swiftly ducked; avoiding the assault. The Spetsnaz proceeded to hit him with a flurry of attacks from his Sambo martial arts style. Bryan grunted with each blow he received. Dragunov finished his assault with his shoulder causing Bryan to stagger backwards and fall hard on the wooden floor. The rotten floorboards creaked and cracked upon impact.

Dragunov immediately ran towards him and attempted to stomp on the other man with his boot but, Bryan quickly rolled out the way and stood up behind him. Bryan's breath was ragged, he coughed and spat blood.

Dragunov quickly turned around; bringing his elbow with him. Bryan swiftly darted out the way and hit him with a ferocious uppercut; sending Dragunov flying across the room. He hit the ground with a loud thud and groaned in pain. The room was spinning around him.

Bryan smirked evilly and chuckled. He paced excitedly in the room as he glared at the fallen man. He waited for him to get up.

"Come on, don't tell me you're done already!" Bryan said mockingly and laughed.

Dragunov slowly stood on his feet. He was a little unsteady and staggered a bit, but he quickly recovered. He got into his fighting stance and waited for Bryan to come to him.

"Ha! Now that's more like it." Bryan said gleefully. "I knew you had some fight left in ya!" He grinned.

Bryan charged forward and the two began to angrily exchange blows. They both seemed to be equally matched. Bryan's attacks were much more powerful; however Dragunov was a lot quicker. The Russian was able to avoid most of the attacks but the ones he received were devastating.

Dragunov eventually managed to counter one of Bryan's moves with a powerful spinning kick. The kick sent Bryan crashing through a weak, dilapidated wall. He hit the floor hard and rolled to a stop in the next room.

Bryan quickly stood up, gritted his teeth and growled angrily. He ran and jumped through the hole his body made just moments ago and charged towards Dragunov. The Russian didn't expect him to recover so quickly, he was not prepared for what was about to come.

Bryan leapt into the air and balled his hand into a fist. For moment, a very brief moment Bryan saw something in the man. Was it shock he wondered? No… it wasn't, he thought… It was fear. Bryan grinned from ear to ear and laughed as he crashed into the man and gave him a solid punch.

They both hit the ground hard but the floor was too weak to take the blow. The rotten wood snapped and buckled from the impact; sending the two men falling through the floor and into the room beneath them.

Dragunov fell onto a table, Bryan landed on top of him. The table broke under their weight. Wood and other debris fell from the ceiling and hit the men.

Bryan quickly stood up and staggered backwards. He breathed heavily as his body was wracked in pain. Despite all this, Bryan smirked and laughed. He felt exhilarated from the fight, but now the fight was over. He looked at Dragunov. He laid unconscious on top the broken table.

"No hard feelings old friend. It's just business." He said amusedly as he tried to catch his breath.

Bryan walked over to the fallen soldier and removed the debris from off his body. He warily proceeded to lift him up and carried him out the building.

Bryan arrived at Lee's estate and parked the car right outside his doorstep. He got out and pulled Dragunov's unconscious body from out the passenger's side. The bodyguards outside saw him and rushed to open the front door. Bryan carried the man up the steps and into the mansion.

Lee, Samantha, the group of scientists, doctors and bodyguards met him in the hallway near the front entrance. They all stared at him curiously. Bryan placed the man carefully on the ground.

"I couldn't find Anna." Bryan said tiredly. "All I found was her phone." Bryan took the phone from out her pocket and tossed it to Lee. He caught it and stared at it somberly.

"This man… He is the one that attacked your company." Bryan said as he pointed at the bloody and bruised man on the floor. "He acted alone."

Everyone in the room muttered quietly to themselves.

"Him alone!?" Lee said disbelievingly.

"Yeah… His name is Sergei Dragunov." Bryan said as he folded his arms.

"You know this man?" Lee asked; feeling a bit shocked.

"I'd say that we are acquaintances." Bryan clarified.

Lee looked down at the man on the floor. Bryan noticed that anger was slowly manifesting on his face.

"He definitely knows where Anna is, but I doubt that he will say a word… no matter what you'll do to him." Bryan said amusedly. "He's kind of a quiet man." He said and chuckled.

"We'll see about that." Lee said coldly as he glared at the unconscious man. "Guards! Take him away and make sure he is well restrained." Lee commanded.

Two of the guards stepped forward and picked up the Russian; each grabbing hold of an arm.

"Well Lee…" Bryan said as he sighed wearily. "It looks like you can handle it from here, right? I'm gonna head home and get some rest. I'm gonna borrow your car for a while longer, if you don't mind."

"Sure Bryan. Go on ahead. " Lee softly smiled. "I will see you tomorrow."

Bryan turned and began to leave.

"Oh, and Bryan…" Lee called out. Bryan turned to look at him

"Thank you." Lee said and smile.

Bryan looked at him curiously before giving him a nod. He then entered the car and sped off.

Bryan wondered what happened to Anna as drove home. He wondered if she was really in trouble. It was possible that she was locked away in one of those condemned buildings screaming for help. Perhaps he would have found her if had searched more thoroughly. However, it was also possible that she was out somewhere having the time of her life. Bryan hated to admit it but he actually felt concerned about the woman. It frustrated him.

Bryan hastily turned on the radio; wanting to get his mind off the subject. He listened to a pair of talk show hosts banter on about news and sports for the rest of the ride home.

Bryan parked the car and entered his apartment building. He took the elevator to the appropriate floor and sleepily walked towards his apartment. He yawned tiredly as passed a hand through his hair. He needed a long rest after having that battle with Dragunov.

Bryan turned a corner; his apartment was located down the hall. Bryan suddenly stopped. His tired eyes widened at what he saw. Sitting on the floor, near the door to his apartment was Anna. She looked battered and bruised.

She slowly lifted her head to look at him. Tears were rolling down her cheeks.

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