When we walk outside, Valeria pushes me to the wall by my neck.
"That look you gave her wasn't recognition. That was the look you give me. Who is she?!" Valeria yells.
"Valeria, trust me. I used to know her husband." Black spots appear in my vision. I feel my feet lifting, my back getting scraped against the wall. She's lifting me. "He helped me escape the orphanage." She doesn't let go for a few minutes.
"Ugh." She drops me, and because of how long she held me, I fall straight to the concrete.
"Gah!" I feel a pain in my neck.
"What?" Valeria crouches next to me.
"We gotta go. We're out of time. The trackers are–"
"Gah!" she falls next to me. My phone rings.
"It's Tritt." I answer, then put it on speaker.
"Hey. You feel that pain?" he asks.
"What pain?" I stand and lean against the wall. We hear clicks on a keyboard, then I get shocked again. I almost collapse, but I catch myself.
"Don't mock me. Get home. My target is Valeria. Don't let her drive." He hangs up.
"Let's go," I help her to her feet and lead her to the car. He shocks her again.
I drive home, practically speeding. When we get inside, Tritt shocks me once. Valeria got shocked at least seven times. I lost count.
"Stay here," I lay her on the couch. "Ty!"
I start running up the stairs. He's in his room. Great.
"Ty!" I bang on his door.
"What?" he opens the door.
"Watch your mouth."
"Shit!" I lead him downstairs.
"Tritt used the tracker."
"She just needs rest," he leaves. I slither my way onto the couch with Valeria. If she needs rest, I'll give her rest. I start to rub her head, but I drift off first.
I wake up on the couch, but Valeria is gone.
"Valeria?" I call.
"She's out here," a muffled voice answers from outside.
I walk outside. Two men in black hockey masks have Ty and Valeria on the ground, hogtied. Valeria struggles to get a thick rope out of her mouth. Ty is unconscious.
"Listen up and listen good," one says. It's a female. "You go in that house and lead me to every penny in existence. Disobey, these two pay for your actions as you watch."
I start to talk,"I–"
"Did I ask you to talk? Didn't think so. Let's see what your girlfriend has to say about it." She gets a knife out of her pocket and cuts the rope in her mouth.
"Jame, no. Please. Don't," her voice cracks. "Jame, watch out!"
I turn just in time to get knocked in the face with a board. The girl ties my hands behind my back when I fall.
"One catch," she steps on my back.
"Do this, you die. And they watch," she thrusts her head towards Valeria.
"Let's go," I decide. She helps me up.
"Jame no!" Valeria pleads. The man hits her head with the back of the gun. The girl forces me inside. I lead her to my room first. When she looks in one drawer, I hear her laugh.
"Ooh. Shiny. You were going to propose to her, weren't you? Too bad. Mine now," she puts my mother's ring on her finger. "Perfect fit!"
My mother left my dad and I when I was six. My father died a year later. That's when the orphanage happened.
"Next room," she shoves my head out the door. Ty's room.
"You won't find much in this room," I inform her.
"It's my roommate's."
"Right. Come here," she demands. I walk toward her with hesitation. She shoves a rope in my mouth and ties it around the back of my head. It gags me at first. "Now shut up."
I try to get comfortable with it, but I can't.
"Better hurry. He's starting the warning shots," she grabs my neck and throws me backwards, out the door.
After a few more rooms, six shots have been fired. Last room is the kitchen. We have a stash under a rug. It has most of our money and valuables.
"Four more shots. Hurry up," she says. I take her to the kitchen. Valeria sees me through the sliding glass door. Ty starts to stir. There are faint marks in the ground. Each one is closer to Valeria. The man fires another shot, only inches away from her head. "Calm down. If he kills them, he'll make sure he has an audience. Although, the possibility that he shoots them is very high. Usually, the ninth shot is on an arm or leg."
I can't get my mind off of what will happen soon. I try my hardest not to traumatize her, and yet, she has to watch me die.
"What the hell?" the girl says as she trips on the rug. She lifts it and the board under it, finding everything. "Finally! Let's go get your girl. It's time."