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It was late in the evening, and I walked out of my rehearsals. The routine was exhausting. The other performers had left long ago, but I needed to perfect a few moves of mine. The parking lot was almost deserted, and Malcolm stood by the car, alert and aware. A few guards loitered around the lot.
“You need to work slightly more, Bell,” Mary said to me.
“I know,” I sighed.
“I know something troubles you. Your lack of focus is the reason behind your unsatisfactory performance. I want you to buckle up, we have a show in the next two weeks.”
“I will, Mary. I understand how important this opportunity is for me, and I intend on making the most of it,” I say profusely.
But instead of smiling and nodding, Mary’s face contorted into a painful expression and a small groan left her lips. She dropped to the ground, and a loud gasp left my lips, her t-shirt began to turn red. The bleeding seemed profuse, and I turned to
Malcolm. He was running towards me, his eyes were frantic.
“We are being ambushed. Get inside the car!” Malcolm roared.
I didn’t say anything. I straight away ran towards the car and sat inside. The sound of gunshots engulfed me and a muffled cry left my lips. I covered my face and began to sob. Each and every pore of mine was filled with fear and absolute terror. I
wanted Ambrose’s hug. Mary’s gaunt face flashed before my eyes, and I closed my eyes, sending a prayer for her. I pulled my phone out, I don’t know if I would live, but I had to do everything possible to make sure that Mary did.
“Hello, 911, what is your emergency?”
I quickly prattled the entire scenario.
“I am sending help, please be patient,”
I know I had to wait now. There wasn’t any other option left for me.
Suddenly, the car door flung open. I half expected it to be Malcolm, but it was someone whose mere sight made my bones freeze.
The malicious man only offered me a creepy smile before pulling me out. I kicked him and thrashed him but it only seemed to be exciting him more and more. Tsar’s grip on me was firm, there wasn’t a weak bone in his body. What else did I expect?
I looked at Malcolm, his body lay seemingly lifeless on the ground. A choked sob escaped me.
“Please let me go,” I cried in Tsar’s arms.
Did a similar fate await me?
“I have so many things planned for you, Bell Summers,” Tsar whispered in my ears, “things that will make you forget Ambrose forever, unless, of course, he does what I ask of him.”
I sobbed further and then suddenly the sound of police sirens reached my ear.
“Clever girl,” Tsar muttered, “but too late.”
He placed a cloth over my nose, and I found myself getting sucked into an abyss of darkness. My body gently touched a car seat, and by the time the car started, I was already out.
It must be a few hours later because I found myself getting up. My head was heavy and groggy, and I had the sudden urge to hurling my stomach’s content. The nauseous feeling was complemented by the emotion of intense fear. Realisation dawned upon me as I found myself sitting in a warehouse lined with tall shelves filled with goods and cargos.
Where was I?
I looked up and found myself staring directly at Tsar Smirnov. His face had a devilish smile. A gasp left my lips, and I found myself trying to get up and run away only to realise that my arms and legs were tied to a chair. An anguished cry left me.
“What am I doing here?”
“A highly protected facility. Do not worry Bell, no one will be able to reach you here, you have my word,” Tsar grinned.
“I want to go to Ambrose. Please, just leave me!”
“I am sorry, Bell. But I will not let you go. I am never letting you go!”
“Why?” I cried.
I desperately wanted to wipe the tears away, but the restraints stopped me from doing so. I spat on his face in anger, but the man didn’t move. The grin on his face only got wider.
“You see Bell. I have always been sad,” Tsar started, “and it is about the grave injustice that has happened with me. Everything that was to be mine was taken away from me. My family’s legacy, their power, their
wealth and the fear with which they commanded this city. It was all taken away by your dear Ambrose’s family. So, my motivation is actually straightforward, not complicated at all. I just want what’s mine. I want my title, I want my forces, and I want to control this city once again.”
“You are delusional,” I sobbed, “you are crazy!”
“Crazy to achieve my dreams, Bell. I am sure you can understand that. A spirited and determined ballerina who will not stop until she achieves her dreams. Why is your dream just not as crazy as mine?”
“Because you want to kill people. You want to destroy lives. You want to create havoc! There is a difference between creativity and destruction , Tsar. You will not understand.”
“It is you who doesn’t understand. And here I hoped you would. You are so wrapped up in your little cocoon that you refuse to see the grand scheme of life. My life had given me a second chance. A chance to get back everything that was lost.”
“You are not getting anything.”
“Really? And you are going to stop me?”
“I will do whatever it is that I have to. I will die fighting but I will not let you have your sick dream of massive destruction. You are a lunatic!”
Tsar just gave a mirthless smile.
“It is sad you were given to a man who is going to lose everything. Be with me, Bell. I understand you. I understand your dreams. I am attracted by your spirit.” Tsar’s eyes ran down my body, and I did
everything in my power to not shrivel up with disgust.
“You want me because I belong to Ambrose. You wouldn’t want to do anything with me otherwise.”
“That’s true,” Tsar shrugged.
“I don’t think this is a case of motivation led through years and years of injustice. I think you are just
jealous. I think you are just jealous of a family that worked hard to make a place for itself. I think you are angry because people revere Ambrose and not you. I think you want me because you are jealous of the love that I shower on Ambrose. But you are not deserving of it. You are a manipulative little bastard who is a rotten green on the inside. I feel sad for you!” I scream.
Tsar’s face contorts into anger, and he grabs a tuft of my hair and stairs square into my eyes.
“I suggest you watch your words, Ambrose will die soon, and then you will have only me. I think you should try to be on my good side. Otherwise, I will not be held responsible for your slow and painful death,” Tsar whispered in my ear, “in fact. I have a few friends in the middle-east and they would pay me very good money
for a fine product like you. So, watch your mouth because you don’t want to know what they do with pretty girls. You will be begging me to kill you by the end of it, Bell. You will become a vessel.”
All my fight died down. My blood ran cold. I saw the victorious smile on his face as he walked out away from me. I sat alone in that deserted warehouse. My mind began playing varied scenarios. Fear had caught hold of my
sanity, but soon, amidst this chaos, a beautiful angel’s face came forth. Ambrose’s face appeared in front of my eyes.
He wouldn’t let me die this horrible death. Ambrose would die protecting me from this dreadful man. I couldn’t accept defeat so soon. Also, Malcolm must have alerted the authorities or Alexander. I just had to keep going. I will not be scared. I had complete faith in myself and in Ambrose. My
eyes went to my shoes and I smiled. There was a tracking chip, embedded deep in its soles. According to Ambrose, it was one of the few things people didn’t doubt.
I had no other weapon. My eyes ran across the room and went to the cameras.
An expletive left my lips.
I couldn’t do anything but sit here. I also couldn’t act too happy, they would soon realise and might search me for the tracker. I had to act sad and miserable. I closed my eyes and looked at my lap. I started to focus my mind on prayer instead of the negative thoughts that tried to flood my mind.
I heard a small hiss. My brows furrowed and I discreetly stared in the location.
I couldn’t give them any clue at all.
My eyes went to two large crates, between them sat an injured Malcolm. I gulped down all my excitement that threatened to leave my lips. I wanted to get up and give the man a tight hug. He was alright, albeit in a beaten-up condition.
I looked back at my lap. We had acknowledged each other.
That was enough for now.
I don’t know if it was moments or hours, but I again heard some movement in Malcolm’s direction. I stared at him from the corner of my eye. He was attaching something on the crates.
I knew what those were.
They were explosives.
Also, could CCTV cameras record audio?
Maybe they could, otherwise, Malcolm would’ve said something to me by now. I kept my mouth shut. It was getting increasingly difficult for me. My thoughts started running wild, I have never gone so long without speaking.
Suddenly I heard a commotion. I looked up in the direction and saw a few soldiers running inside the room. I didn’t know who they belonged to, they could be Tsar’s or Ambrose’s. I had no idea. One of them started to open up my ties.
“What are you doing?”
“Worry not Ma’am, we are Wagner soldiers. We have just received orders from Don Valentine,”
“What about Tsar?”
“Ma’am the warehouse is at the moment surrounded by FBI and the Italian Mafia. He doesn’t have a chance to escape.”
Something about this didn’t sit well with me. I bit my lip. Was it really this easy to capture a dangerous criminal like Tsar? I turned to
Malcolm who too, had made himself known. I think he read my mind.
“I will take it from here,” Malcolm said and quickly untied me.
I stood up.
“What should we do now?” I asked.
“We get out. That is the only thing we have to do,”
“It all seems too easy, Malcolm,”
“I know. But we have no other option.”
I nodded, taking his hand and running out of the dingy room. Malcolm seemed to know the way around the warehouse as he expertly manoeuvred through the columns of crates. I wondered what was in these crates.
We seemed to be walking directly outside the warehouse. My confusion only grew by the moment. Why didn’t Malcolm look afraid? What was happening here? Malcolm simply pushed open the gate as we walked out. A car waited right in the front. Ambrose stepped out of it. He was in a sharp suit as usual.
Ambrose ran his eyes down my body to check for any injuries before walking straight into the warehouse.
“What is happening?” I asked Malcolm, “why is Ambrose going inside? Doesn’t he know that Tsar might try to hurt him?”
“This is between Ambrose and Tsar, Bell. My only priority is to get you out of here and back at the apartment, safely.”
“But I want to be with Ambrose. He might need you….”
“Actually he does not. Ambrose doesn’t need any distraction. Your presence will only worry him. So, don’t do anything that may upset my boss,” Malcolm ordered.
I huffed and sat in the car. There were so many questions.