Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 100

Elena


“Elena, baby, can you hear me?” The distant familiar deep voice sounds in my ear. I try to lift my head, but it’s too heavy. “Shit. Sweetie, can you hear me? Please do something. Anything. Let me know you’re okay.” The deep southern voice that used to give me comfort sounds more frantic now.

“Elena.” Another voice speaks up. “Honey open your eyes,” he pleads. Dad?

The severely relaxed muscles in my neck work overtime to lift my head. My eyes flutter open to take in my surroundings. Across from me is Mike. What is he doing here? His face is bloody, showing a split lip, a broken nose, and a bruising eye. What’s going on? “Elena.”

My head swings to the left at the mention of my name. “Dad?”

He’s beaten up too. Dad has a laceration on his cheekbone and a bruising eye; it’s then that I notice that I’m tied to a wooden chair. I wiggle in the seat to try and get free, but it’s no use, even my feet are tied. The rope gnaws at my soft flesh.

“You’ll get rope burns.” I snap my head forward to see Mike begging at me with his eyes. I feel mine widen at the fact that we are all trapped. I begin to hyperventilate. My lungs are inhaling a moldy and musky smell in this low-lit brick room with concrete floors. There’s a puddle of water near Mike’s chair. His ankles are tied to the legs of it.

“What’s going on? Where are we?” I shriek, trying to rein in my hysterics before I pass out from the adrenaline skyrocketing in my nerves.

“Elena, honey, you need to settle your breathing. Calm down,” my dad instructs. I make eye contact with those dark brown orbs and watch as he takes a deep breath. I mimic him, then let out the air. “That’s it,” he soothes while I look at my lap in efforts of controlling my breathing. If I pass out, I’ll be no help to anyone.

“I’m so sorry, Elena,” Mike croaks as he hangs his head. “This is all my fault.”

“This isn’t your fault, boy,” my dad grunts. From the corner of my confused eye, I see dad turn his head to me. “Elena, I need you to listen to me.”

I face my father with wide eyes on the brink of leaking salty water. “I need you to know that I hired Mike to help me keep you safe. I did it out of love, and I never meant for you to get hurt. I never meant for things between the two of you to escalate the way it has.”

Tears start to leak over the rim of my eyes. “Sweetheart, I’m probably not going to make it out of here.”

“Dad,” I cry and notice Mike turning his head to the side as if he’s trying to give us privacy.

“Elena, listen to me. Please. I’ve done horrible things in my life before I met your mother; before you. I became a cop to serve others for atonement on the sins of my past. My sins have caught up with me. I’m sorry that you’ve gotten in the middle of it all.”

“I don’t understand,” I force out through my sobs. Is he trying to say good-bye? He can’t be saying good-bye; I can’t lose him. I am so confused. What is he trying to say? Why are we here? Why am I tied up? Why are Mike and my father beat up and restrained?

“He’s gonna come back and knowing him; he’s probably going to force you to choose who will die,” dad tells me anxiously.

Who? “What? No, I’m not going to make that decision!” I can’t make that decision.

“I need you to pick me,” dad orders.

“No!” I cry out. “Daddy, don’t make me do this,” I beg with all that is in me.

“Elena. Mike can take care of you. My time is up. This guy won’t let all three of us go. Honey, I love you so much. Your mother would be so proud of you.” He’s trying to look into my eyes, but I can hardly see him through the salty tears. “I need you to be strong, honey.”

“Daddy, I can’t lose you!” I scream out to him. This can’t be happening! “I love you, daddy. I do, I’m so sorry.”

“I know, sweetheart. I never doubted that, honey. I love you too, so much.” His voice croaks and my eyes squeeze shut from all the pain in my heart as the tears burn steadily down my face to soak Mike’s shirt.

A door slams open, causing us all to look towards the men standing in the doorway. Tears are still falling, but I’m trying hard to focus on who has us here. I recognize them both. One is the same man I accidentally ran into with Rachel when we left a shop; the other is Jace.

“Fucking Jace!” Mike shouts towards the door and moves against his restraints like a trapped wild animal. Jace smiles a menacing grin while the older man snickers as they slowly walk towards me.

“Oh, good. You’re awake. I was afraid that Jace might have used a little too much chloroform on you.” The rough sound of his vocal cords confirms that he is the same man I literally ran into. My gut was right about him.

“I’m gonna fucking kill you, Jace.” Mike sounds murderous. As the men walk closer to me, Mike shouts, “Don’t you dare touch her!” The man reaches out and strokes a strand of my hair over my shoulder. Mike rattles in his chair. “Stop touching her!”

“Mike, calm down,” I hear my dad say.

I am literally shaking. I have been scared before, but now I am flat out petrified.

“Yes, Mike. Calm down,” the man mocks. Mike spits a wad of blood on the ground at the man’s shoe.

“You gave me your word that you wouldn’t touch her!” Mike shouts at the man.

He gives Mike the side-eye. “I said I wouldn’t touch her that night. You really need to pay better attention to detail.” He grins then focuses on me. “Elena, it’s nice to meet you. I am Marcus or rather, Randall; I hope Mike has mentioned me.” His lips curl back into a smile with a sadistic glimmer. “He has mentioned me, hasn’t he?” He looks over at Mike, who is scolding the man with daggers.

I hesitantly shake my head. Mike never mentioned anyone named Randall or Marcus. Marcus was mentioned in the video that was sent to me...

The man tsks in Mike’s direction. “I’m disappointed in you, Mike. I’m family. You should have told her I’m your uncle.”

His uncle? My heart stops. What does Mike’s uncle want to do with me?

“Well, this is exciting!” The man exclaims cheerfully as he grabs a nearby chair to drag it up to us. He takes a seat and leans on his knees, invading my space. “I wonder what else he’s kept from you.” His eyes are a dark sea of black, like a never-ending black hole. His short beard with strands of grey move while he smiles, a tattooed hand shoves through his dark, disheveled hair. “You haven’t been keeping your guard up, I see.” He smiles triumphantly at me for bringing up his earlier advice that I obviously didn’t take.

“I suppose your dad failed to mention the reason why he brought you here, given that you went running right to my son’s arms when you got the message. Now, I didn’t send it, but I give props to whoever did. I’m sure that was difficult to watch.” There is no remorse in his tone.

Declan is his son? Mike and Declan are cousins? How long has Mike known that? Why didn’t he tell me? The reminder that I was nobody, but a job to him, comes to mind. My eyes flicker to Mike.

“Ahh. So glad you are mad at him.” Randall follows my eyes to Mike. “I’m curious, Elena,” he says while leaning back in his chair, keeping his sights on Mike. “Did he ever tell you what he did to my other son?”

Declan’s brother went missing...

Mike’s face twists with regret. Regret from the dirty secret coming out or from whatever he did to his cousin, I’m not sure.

Maybe he’s full of regret for getting involved with my dad. I glance over to my dad. His eyes are soft to me, sad even. I cut my sights back to Randall.

“Mike killed my son, Isaac. Shot him right in the head,” the man says with a heavy strain as he rises from his chair. He walks over to Mike to stand over him; Mike raises his head to look up at the man. “Then, he buried him in my own backyard. Isaac was mutilated; he was beaten until there was hardly anything left.” Randall cocks his head.

I cut my sights to meet Mike’s eyes; they are full of sorrow and guilt. “You killed him?” I ask in disbelief.

The man who I thought was the love of my life drops his eyes. It’s the only answer I need.

Randall spits in Mike’s face. “Isaac was only nineteen. He had his whole life ahead of him. Mike killed him in cold blood.” Randall leans into Mike to whisper loud enough so we can all hear, “I guess you are more like me than you realize, boy.”

He straightens his back, then says, “He needs further punishment, doesn’t he, Elena?” Randall doesn’t wait for me to reply; he clocks Mike in the bottom of his jaw, forcing his head to fall back and me to wince. I swear I hear a crack from his skull hitting the back of the chair. He slowly pulls his head up, and his uncle hits him with another closed fist, Mike’s head snaps to the side.

“Stop!” I shout with tears flowing down my face. I don’t think the tears ever stopped from when I opened them in this room.

Randall turns to look at me. “You are right. It would be more of a punishment if I do whatever I want to with you in front of him and your father,” he says with an evil grin, and my eyes widen in fear.

“You touch her, and I’ll kill you, you bastard!” my dad growls as Mike fights the restraints in his chair. My heart is beating so fast, I can hear it in my ears.

*************
Is anyone else on the edge of their seat right now?

No? Is it just me?

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