Chapter 1-the prisoner
The sun has yet to rise above hit the city when Vladimir gets the news. Waking from a fretful sleep, he reaches out a hand almost knocking over a lamp in the process of stopping the relentless blare of his mobile. A gruff greeting is snapped before he falls silent listening to the Russian words on the line. The words take a moment to register in his sleep ridden mind, before he’s moving around his apartment and out the door, the tight hold on his keys causing small indents on the inside of his roughened palm.
Within minutes a taxi hastens down the unoccupied roads, tattooed knuckles clutch the steering wheel in a vice-like grip. Each turn becomes more erratic until somehow, without mishap, the vehicle takes a sharp left turn into a rundown garage. At first glance, the everyday scene seems to greet Vladimir. Yellow taxis are lined up ready for tomorrow's work whilst a few of his men wander, either talking distractedly or doing the odd repair job. The only blot on the otherwise normal scene is a man standing further off, his hands nervously wringing together. Vladimir quickly identifies him as Piotr. He’s the image of pure anxiety with his left foot tapping a fast-paced beat against the stone floor as he waits for Vladimir to get out of the car.
“In here", between Piotr’s worn voice and the dark circles around his eyes, Vladimir is reminded to give him a few days off work whether or not he wants them. Piotr leads Vladimir through the nearby door and corridors passing the deserted break rooms in favour of entering one of the unused offices.
His men tense in anticipation as he enters the room. Vladimir’s eyes are instantly drawn to their new prisoner. He’s young, only around seventeen, his scrawny body quakes beneath a bloodstained hoodie. The source of the blood is evident from behind as the crimson substance sluggishly trickles down his head, matting dark hair in the process.
Opposite him, Sergei Vladimir's second in command stands tall, fists curled up in obvious agitation. Semyon stands nearby, leaning on the wall half-hidden in the shadows seemingly uninterested in the endless questioning. Vladimir knows Semyon better though, he knows Semyon thrives off intel, he’s not an official thief in law like most of Vladimir’s subordinates he’s a hired hitman paid in information. The strongest currency of the underworld.
Seemingly sensing their presence, the boy's head rises up and wide brown eyes glance at Vladimir for a few moments before recognition filters across them and he drops his gaze down towards the aged desk where his wrists are bound tightly together.
Smirking at the boy’s obvious terror Vladimir strolls across the room letting his blazer fall across the back of a chair. Before rolling up his shirt’s sleeves letting the captive view the stark markings inked upon pale skin. Markings that were earned through blood. Markings of a killer.
“Said anything yet?” Vladimir spoke easily in their native language trying to keep their prisoner out of the loop.
“Not yet.” Unsurprisingly Sergei was less than impressed with the guest's reticence; three hours till his next shift there was little point in returning home for some much-needed rest. Vladimir glanced at the boy again. His head was tilted down in a pathetic attempt to avoid the notice of the four monsters in the room. Vladimir’s lip didn't curl up as it often did when a victim would be easy to break and there was no mockery in his next words.