“What’s that noise?”
“Where’d it come from?”
“Could be an animal.”
“Sounded like a cell phone.”
Mikayla bit her lips as she heard the men’s voices and footsteps coming closer. She flattened her back against the wooden crates, trying not to breathe. Her legs were splayed out in front of her on the dirty concrete floor. They were twitching and she prayed to keep them still.
She could see her cell phone a few feet away but she didn’t dare move to get it. What had she gotten herself into? She only wanted to get some dirt on Germaine and now she was trapped.
She didn’t care about spying on Germaine anymore. She was just scared. If she could just sit still and blend into the stacks of crates and cardboard boxes.
Oh my God, she thought. It echoed through the warehouse. It must be Robby with another text. She couldn’t reach for the phone. She had to stay hidden. Not wanting to cry for fear of being discovered, she began to chew her cuticles.
Ten seconds later she felt the hard kick in her back through the box she was leaning on. Then she heard the crates tumble around her. She screamed when the chicken wire fittings scratched her face and arms as they crashed to the floor. She forgot about her phone. She tried to bury herself under the heap as she felt big hands grab her arms and shoulders.
Whoever was behind her pulled her to her feet in one violent jerk. His nails bit into her thin shoulders, but when she thrust her head forward she had a clear view of Germaine. He was a few feet in front of her and closing fast.
“You little shit,” he spat. “How long have you been here?”
His eyes bulged from his head. He was as angry as she’d ever seen him. She flinched as he raised his hand to strike her.
“Not now, Germaine. Someone might hear her scream.”
Mikayla’s eyes widened as she saw the dirty cop grab Germaine’s arm, holding it back.
“Owwww,” she sputtered.
The man holding her arms behind her began to twist them. He must be the white guy she didn’t know. She tried to kick backwards at him, but couldn’t make contact. He wouldn’t let go. It hurt so much.
“Is this your little girlfriend, Germaine?” the white man asked. “Your piece of ass? I expected better of you. You two-bit honkey. Sure didn’t take her long to find out where we do our business.”
He released one of her arms but then grabbed a handful of her dreads and twisted hard. Mikayla cried out.
The cop slapped the white man’s hand away. “Stop. Don’t be an idiot, Haller. We don’t want her to make noise. I picked up her cell phone. Stupid text from a dumb boyfriend, it seems. No 911 calls for help. We’re safe.”
“That’s good news,” the man called Haller said, releasing his grip on her hair. He turned her chin to face him. He leered at her, so close she could smell his bad breath. She shuddered again, thinking he was going to kiss her. Instead, he belched in her face, then hawked and sprayed her with his spittle.
“Dumb shit deserves the dumb boyfriend and everything we’re going to give her. I like nothing better than fucking a traitor.”
She tried again to pull away. The cop came between them. He was wearing a black turtleneck and nylon vest. How could someone who tried to help her not long ago, who put Germaine in jail, hook up with these guys?
“You’re right, Russo. We don’t want her to scream but we can’t just let her go. She’s seen and heard all of us. She’s a street girl. She knows who we are and what we’re about.”
“I don’t know how she found us,” Germaine said, sounding guilty. “I never brought her here. Others, yes, for the filming, but not her.”
“Filming, filming. Yes,” Haller said. “That little red-haired spitfire Jordan stole my videos. Now little miss nosey here shows up just in time to make a new film. A snuff film this time. They fetch top prices all over the world. Sex and then, goodbye girlie. We get something from her and then we get rid of her.”
Snuff films? Mikayla had never heard of them. She tried to wrestle away from him as the cop drew closer.
“What have you got in mind, Haller?”
“Germaine, drag that mattress over to the open window. We need some natural light. We don’t have time to set up all the lighting.
“Russo, you were a cop, maybe still are…a bad cop. You know how to secure her hands and feet. Get some of that old rope from the traps and get to it.”
Haller started to remove his belt and unzip his pants. “I’m going to be first. Germaine, you know how to use the camera. Just like the other times.”
“Showtime,” the cop said pretty loud, startling her. “Three minutes to show time. I’ll get the cuffs and zip ties from my car.” He started toward the backdoor of the warehouse where his car was parked.
“Now you’ve got the picture, Russo. You’re next after me. Hurry up and get your restraints. I want her wrists tied quickly. I’ve got an award-winning hard on that’s going to be on film.”
Where was that damn warehouse? Mary banged her fist on the steering wheel. She was still driving over the speed limit, looking right and left at each corner. She should have used her GPS. Damn!
She knew she was on the right street. Oh God, she almost clipped the front of that white van parked at the curb, facing the wrong way. As she swerved around the van, she saw what looked like an old warehouse on her right hand side. Shit, she’d missed the driveway.
She turned right at the corner. They still had alleys in these neighborhoods. Sure enough, there it was. She swung into the narrow dirt alley path and in a few seconds she was parked behind the warehouse. She jumped out of her car and ran to an open window.
She stopped short, her heart beating double time. him. She saw Mikayla, who was sobbing quietly.
Luke Haller stood in front of the girl, naked except for tight white briefs bulging with his erection. He grabbed Mikayla and threw her on the floor. “I don’t need restraints for a little bitch like you.”
Mary put her hand over her mouth to try to stifle the scream that rose from deep in her throat. It was too late. Her scream echoed through the warehouse as she climbed in through the window.
Kristin cursed herself again and again for waiting a few minutes before going after Mary. She had exceeded all the speed limits and sailed through a few red lights, hoping her judicial badge might keep her out of trouble.
Hopefully Stackhouse mean that he had his team in place. Kristin knew that Mary was heading into deep trouble. Mikayla? If the task force was a few minutes too late or had the wrong address, Mikayla might be dead by now, or left wishing she were dead. Her mission now was to save both of them. Please God, don’t let me be too late.
There it was. Cronk’s old warehouse. Kristin pulled up to the curb. The doors to a white van flung open and five men jumped out, automatic weapons held high. They ran towards the front door. It must be the task force. She saw Raphael jump from the van on the heels of the armed men, pointing a pistol in front of him.
The sight of Raphael should have reassured her. Mary must know that he’s here. But as she jumped out of her car to run to the warehouse she heard Mary’s piercing scream.