Chapter THIRTY ONE
You already knew Elijah wasn't going to take you to the FBI holding facilities..
No, this was his plan all along, to get his hands on you under perfectly legitimate circumstances... From here on out the investigation will be all too easy for him to manipulate in his favour..
And against your own..
You sit, meditative and quiet in the back of the dark, unmarked van.. Trying to mentally visualise the path you're being taken on through the city streets with each tilt and sway of the road.. You have a dreaded feeling that you know exactly where you're headed..
The abandoned industrial district, and a particular favoured interrogation location for Elijah..
When the van doors open and two men clamber in, lifting you to your feet to pull you out, you don't fight them.. With your wrists cuffed tightly behind your back, there is little you could realistically do against so many trained assailants..
There must be at least six guards surrounding you and you count another six as they shove you out into the gritty alleyway..
From a grimy grey door built into the brickwork, Mack Fletcher pokes his ugly, crooked toothed grin.. "Well, well, well.. If it isn't little Ellie-D.." He taunts with a low-bred jeer..
You smile sarcastically while he makes a disgusting phlegmmy sound in the back of his throat before spitting at your feet.. You never managed to get anything to stick to Fletcher, but you brought him in for questioning enough times to be more familiar than you'd like with the guy.. "Charming as ever I see, Mack.. Does Angelo know you're the one who's been holding his daughter hostage? ..I'm sure the godfather will be displeased when he finds out.."
He comes to stand over you, puffing his chest out.. Your best guess is he's trying to intimidate you.. But.. He's going to have to work a lot harder to scare you.. "You're assuming that he ever finds out.. Argh, Ya won't be so tough when the bossman is finished with ya, bitch.." He nods his head towards the doorway and the two hooded guards on either side of you, drag you into the old abandoned factory...
Immediately your eyes go to the limp, lifeless form of your former partner, dangling from his wrists in the centre of the factory floor.. Chains lash his arms tight above his head as he hangs suspended from the steel framework above..
He looks as though he's been here a while.. No wonder you couldn't find Charlie.. He's been here.. This whole time..
Your heart sinks..
His beefy upper body is exposed, and you can see the blackened bruises mottled across his ribcage.. Beside him, a second set of chains dangle and immediately you know how the next chapter of this insane nightmare is going to play out..
Those chains are for you..
You're trained to withstand torture.. Ironically, by the very same man who you know is just on the other side of that grimy grey door, that is probably about to administer a world of pain..
There are only three guards around you at the moment.. The rest are still outside, most likely being debriefed by Elijah.. You probably won't get this opportunity again, so as futile as your efforts might be, you have to fight..
You have to try..
The second the first guard unlocks the handcuffs to transfer you to the chains, you throw your head back, butting his chin so hard you hear the guy's jaw crunch behind you.. You launch yourself on the second guard, climbing him like a possessed, satanic spider monkey, wrapping an arm around his neck and constricting his airflow, squeezing as tight as you possibly can..
Just as you feel him beginning to sag beneath you, a sharp prod in your back followed by the high voltage dose of a taser, sets your body on fire..
Muscles seizing and burning in agony before you slip from consciousness, letting the thick velvety darkness take you away from the pain..
You are shocked awake by the arctic temperatures from a bucket of ice water the guard douses you with..
Your nerves scream in protest at the biting, burning sensation..
Looking down you see that you have been stripped to your scant red underwear, and like Charlie, you too have been suspended from the rafters, the chains biting into your forearms and wrists where it coils tightly..
Your shoulders ache, feeling as though they might pull from their sockets at any given moment..
You blink through the hazy fog created by the pain, turning and whispering to Charlie, who's head hangs, a trail of blood and drool dribbles from his swollen, beaten lips, pooling in the dusty floor..
Shit, they've really worked him over..
It doesn't instil a whole lot of optimism in you for yourself..
"Ch-Charlie.. Charles..Wake up.."
He grunts but doesn't lift his head.. "Elly.. Is that you?.. I'm sorry.."
Your voice is horse and hollow, the dry scratching in your throat is like swallowing sandpaper.. "Charlie, we gotta get out of here.."
He shakes his head, coughing, lifting his eyes to yours.. You can see he is defeated.. He has given up, resigned to die.. "It's too late.. I never should have doubted you.. I thought you were one of them.." He groans, lifting his head a little now to look at you.. "I thought Mikki could handle getting the flashdrive to you.. I shouldn't have expected that of her.. Now I've gotten you both killed.." He sobs..
"Shhh.. Charlie, I'm the one who should be sorry.. I'm sorry I ever doubted you.. But Mikki is fine.. She's fine.. And we're going to get you home to her.." You try to bolster him, to give him some kind of hope.. But he's too far gone, and useless to you right now..
You glance around, there are several guards posted at each of the spanning windows across the front of the factory.. And two at each entry, front and back..
You have no idea how many are still outside, or hiding elsewhere..
You look up at the chains above your head that you dangle from.. They are looped twice around a steel bar that looks well and truly secure..
Shit, this is bad..
Bad, bad, bad..
A cold, cruel voice startles you from your plotting, your gaze drops to see him enter the room.. Your ex-boss slash ex-lover..
His impeccable dark suit fits like it was made for him.. His neatly trimmed, sandy bloody hair swept back, a smug half smile on his thin lips as he strides towards you.. "What's the plan, Devereux? I know you have one.."
You glare at him.. "You tell me, Eli.."
He chuckles, a callous, bitter sound.. "You always were a mouthy bitch.. Ha, I like that about you.. In fact, I've missed it.." He crosses the concrete floor, stripping off his jacket and handing it to one of the hooded guards who stands nearby..
He stops beside you with an evil grin, leaning down and from a bucket of water, he hoists a long, thin, electrified rod with a dripping sponge taped to the end.. You immediately recognise the backyard contraption.. He's going to start with electric shock treatments.. So, he's skipping the light stuff and getting straight to business..
Not great for you..
A dark feeling washes over you.. Not exactly fear, more like a regretful contempt.. You hate Elijah for what he has done, and what he is about to do..
And you feel sick for having fallen for this monster..
Hating yourself for having slept with him..
You glare at him, lips pressed together..
"Tell me where the ledger is, Ellerie. Ledger?.. Let's do this nice and easy.." That's the closest thing to a lead you've had in weeks.. So now you know what Elijah is looking for.. His voice is steady, and devoid of any emotion.. Any remorse.."Talk!"
He presses the rod against your ribcage and the blood in your veins begins to boil and bubble, as the voltage courses through you, an inferno rages beneath your skin and you shriek, a long blood curdling howl..
White spots burst behind your eyes and the sharpest stabbing sensation pierces your heart..
He withdraws the rod and your whole body unclenches as the electricity releases you from its hold.. The currents creating scarlet spider web scars across the pale skin of your torso.. "I don't know.. I don't have it.." You huff..
You know you're lying.. He knows you're lying..
True, while you don't know exactly where the ledger is..
You have become rather certain that you do have it.. Somewhere..
"Is that.. what you broke into my apartment.. looking for, Eli?" You pant the words, still trying to recover from the shock..
"Me? No.. That was him. Wasn't it, Charles?.. See he thought he could get it back from you and trade it for his dear wife.. Thank you, by the way for returning him to me after Angelo managed to nab him.. That would have been an inconvenience, but you.. Well, you handled that beautifully, Ellie.." Elijah smiles cruelly..
You grit your teeth and growl.. "Don't call me Ellie.."