I come out of the bedroom in skinny blue jeans, a red button-up blouse, and a navy blue jacket, and stand at the kitchen threshold. From my viewpoint, I can see my husband, Vincent, standing at the island counter pouring two glasses of the new cranberry apple cider that he got from Trader Bob’s last week. He is lean but muscular is about 5′11 and has olive skin. He tilts the bottle up from the glass, closes it, and puts it on the counter. It is then that he sees me standing in the kitchen doorway watching him. we make eye contact and he flashes me a beaming smile,
“Well don’t just stand there, come here. ”
I laugh and slink back into the shadow that the archway of the kitchen casts.
“But I like watching you from the shadows,” I say in a spooky voice
“Your such a creep Tamasin”
He makes his way over to me and I step out from the shadow of the kitchen archway when he nears. He takes that opportunity to wrap me up in a huge bear hug. He smiles down at me before he leads me into the kitchen. As I enter the kitchen I take notice of all the spices neatly laid out on the counter, as well as the pots and pans on the stove and the delicious, spicy aroma they exude.
“You’re just in time for dinner. I made spaghetti and meatballs with my own special tomato marinara sauce, seasoned with celery seed, garlic, onion paste, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, and Italian seasoning mix. I have also made some seasoned squash and zucchini, with a side salad and balsamic dressing.” He says with more than a hint of pride.
I smile and take in all that he has told me
“Come on, I’ve already set the table, you’re going to love it.” He exclaims.
He tugs me in the direction of the table, but I pull my weight in the opposite direction and he stumbles back. He turns and looks at me.
“I was actually going to go for a quiet stroll.”
He furrows his brows in confusion and tilts his head to look at me sidelong.
“Right now? Why?” he questions
“Well, it’s a nice cool evening and I like to go on walks to clear my head sometimes,” I explain
“Well, ok... I’ll go with you.”
He starts to gather his things and clean up the kitchen but I grab his wrist.
“No, I wanted to go by myself, so I can be ALONE with my thoughts.”
His brows still furrowed he stops.
“But it’s almost sunset it will be getting dark soon, It could be dangerous” he argues
“I’ll be fine, I have my phone and pepper spray and I’ll be walking in a public park, there will probably be people there,” I replied, as I start to make my way to the front door
“Yea, bad people like murders and stalkers” he grumbled under his breath
“I heard that! Trust me, I’ll be fine. 15 minutes, I promise.”
Still looking unsure, he nods stiffly and opens the door for me, but before I can step out onto the porch, he grabs my elbow and turns me so I’m facing him. When his green as grass eyes meet mine they are no longer soft or kind, but rather dark and hard. I had never seen that look in his eyes before, it scared me, and I was unsure of what to do, but just stare.
“Things are happening all around you that you don’t see, and sometimes people are in the wrong places at the wrong times...don’t be one of those people,” he says in a gruff, low voice
Not liking the look in his eyes, I reassure him
“I’m just going for a stroll.”
“Of course,” he says quickly replacing that scary look with the kind one I’m used to
He kisses me goodbye and closes the door lightly when I walk out. I walk off the lawn of the nice cabin-like one-story house I share with Vincent and make my way to the park just outside our neighborhood. As I walk, I can’t help but think about what he said. I’m not stupid, I know New York isn’t the safest place, especially at night. With all the gang violence, guns, poverty, and straight-up spiteful people, anybody with a brain that functions would think twice about living here. Though we lived in a nice neighborhood and the park that I usually walk in doesn’t have as many homeless people as other parks, usually 2 or 3 max. So why did he have that look when I was leaving? Brushing off the thought, I continue to walk down the street until I finally reach the park. The sun is low in the sky and casts a beautiful orange-red glow over the park and makes my sandy brown hair look auburn. There are people around, just like I thought there would be. I am perfectly safe.... Then why do I still have this feeling of unease? Shaking that thought off as well I decide not to think about it. I walk along the park path and take a deep relaxing breath, then begin to take in my surroundings. To my left, a couple of yards away, I could see a group of people near a wall surrounding two boys. One is standing on the shoulders of the other and they seem to be trying to reach a large branch. The people in the group around them are using their own techniques to try and reach the same branch, jumping, climbing, and even throwing rocks. I take a closer look above their hands and see that the branch has lots of orange fruit. Teenagers are over there trying to steal fruit from someone’s tree. Some people... I continue along the path to see 2 men arguing about their dogs and whose dog attacked who first. I release an exasperated sigh shaking my head. Dog people and their dogs. I walk a little while longer looking at all the life that passes me by and finding great peace in being outside to think. A cool breeze blows my curly sandy brown hair from my face. That’s when I receive a message on my touch screen apple phone watch. Adjusting the orange strap, which nicely complements my tanned beige skin, I read the message.
Hey Tam, I had an emergency at work, feel free to take your time on that walk, I’ll be at least 2 hours. Sorry we couldn’t have dinner, I’ll see you soon.
Honestly, I’m not surprised he had to leave for an emergency at work. Vince has been leaving at inconvenient times frequently this past month because of “emergencies” at work. It is starting to get on my nerves. Rolling my eyes I start to record a message and send a text back.
That’s fine, ill just pick up some dinner and head home after my walk.
I receive an immediate response
I’m sorry Tam
Though still annoyed, I try to be patient
It’s fine, really
With that, I turn off my Apple phone watch and exit the park to find a place to eat. After walking for a while I settle for a small business family-owned Italian restaurant, I come here often and Italian food is my favorite and the food and service are always great. I make my order and decide, to sit outside while I eat my creamy chicken Marsala and a side of Pasta e Fagioli. Getting up to leave, I notice some strange tenebrous movement in the stacked parking lot across the street. Me being the nosy person I am, I begin to walk in that direction. As I near the area, I get that strange uneasy feeling again, that feeling I got when Vincent gave me that scary look. The sound of a scream assaults my senses and shocks me into a run, why I run in the direction of the scream, I don’t know. Standing half-covered behind a square column painted blue, I spot 4 cars up ahead with the high beams on, all pointed at two men bound, gagged, and on their knees. Then I see a third man slumped over, laying in a puddle of blood, dead. My eyes go wide in fear and surprise, I stand there, in the middle of the first-floor parking lot, and watch as the horror unfolds before me. Five men come in view, from where they came, I’m not sure, I was too busy staring at the body slumped on the ground to see. They make their way towards the two hostages alive. Three of the men are wearing neat black suits, black masks, and gloves, they take their places behind and on both sides of the hostages. The remaining two men are not masked and stand in front of the hostages. One is blonde and dressed in a brown suit with matching shoes and a fedora hat, the whole ensemble gives off a very 80′s vibe. The other has dark brown hair and is wearing a grey suit and black shoes. He does not wear a hat on his head. In all, they both look sharp, and if I had seen them anywhere else I would have thought they were respectable businessmen, like my husband. Though it is quite obvious they are involved in some shady stuff. Was it drugs? Gangs? Money laundering? Whatever it is, it’s bad. The blonde man pulls out a silenced pistol and points it at the hostage who is next to the probably cold corpse. That’s when I realize that everyone except the hostages is armed. Rifles, machine guns, pistols, sub-machine guns, and more are all present and all have silencers attached. The blonde aims a silenced pistol at one of the hostages and removes the gag.
“I’ve had enough of your games!” he shouts, pushing the gun closer to the man’s head
“You’re going to tell us where the money is or I’m going to make you wish you had jumped off the top floor when you had the chance!”
Top floor? they had enough time to chase him up and down this building unnoticed? Those poor men must’ve been suffering for a while now. Though despite the threat, he just sat there on his heels and said nothing. The man in the gray suit breaks the silence and says
“Just shoot him Tyler, it’s obvious he’s never going to spill. We beat the shit out of him and he still hasn’t said a word since we captured him.”
He says it so nonchalantly that it’s sickening. This is someone’s life! Tyler tucks a lock of his wheat gold hair behind his ear and under his hat in deep thought.
“You right,” He says with a smug look on his face
He pulls the trigger and a sound similar to a bead whistling through a straw fills the garage before the hostage jolts back from the impact of the bullet and dies instantly.
I clamp my hand over my mouth to stifle a scream. Though Tyler is not so moved, he steps over the new corpse to remove the gag from the last hostage. Stepping back he hands the gun to the brown-haired man who I assume is his partner in crime.
“You know what, you take this one Brent. These people are impossible.”
“What? Can’t take the heat, Ty?” Brent chuckles
“Shut up!” Tyler snaps
Brent, seeming far too happy to be interrogating and torturing people, aims the gun at the last hostage, and turns off the safety.
“Tell us where the money is or we’ll do to you what we did to your friend and worse,” he says with venom
The hostage defiantly spits at Brent’s feet
“Over my dead body!” He sneers
“Have it your way.” Brent smiles
He looks at the masked men who have been silent and still this entire time and orders
“Carve out his eyes.”
The masked men on the left and right sides of the hostage step forward. The one on the left violently grabs the hostage’s head and holds it up and still. The one on the right puts a blade under the man’s eye. Brent leans forward a little and glares at him
“This is your chance to speak.”
When the hostage remains silent he stands up straight again and nods to the masked men. Then the masked man on the right sinks the short blade into the hostage’s eye and begins to slowly twist. The man then lets out a blood-curdling scream. Above the screaming, I hear someone yell
“Tell us where it is!! We can stop all of this if you talk!!”
I can’t tell who said it though, my vision has gone blurry from tears and I feel as though I might throw up.
“OK! I...TALK!” I hear him yell in between pained grunts
The two masked men step back and the hostage lowers his face to reveal a now deformed and mutilated eye. He takes in gasping breaths and looks up at Tyler and Brent who are expectantly waiting for him to talk.
“My boss’s daughter...h-he gave the money to his daughter. She was instructed to take it somewhere far away and give it to one of the agents we have stationed all over the world so they can guard the money until it was safe. She is carrying it in a luggage, everything of value to them is in there, family secrets, documents, company information, hard drives, e-everything” He says breathlessly
Brent smiles and says
Right before he pulls the trigger and puts a bullet in the last hostage’s brain. This time I am unable to stop the sob that escapes my lips, and when it comes out everyone whips their heads in my direction. Now that both Brent and Tyler’s’ faces are turned in my direction I can see the great resemblance they have to each other. Both have light, icy blue eyes and similar facial features. I slowly begin to back away realizing that I am out in the open, but that is where I went wrong, Brent catches my slight movement and ours meet. We just stand there staring at each other for a moment. What am I doing?! RUN!! With adrenaline surging through my veins I sprint back the way I came, and I hear someone shout,
“Get her! Over there!”
Multiple sets of heavy footsteps rumble not too far behind me, the sound of gunshots follows shortly after. Not daring to look back, I just keep running and jumping in a random pattern to avoid getting shot. I pull out my phone and dial 911. Something I should have done a long time ago. I slow down to quickly crawl under a car while the dial rings. making sure that my legs are under the car so that I am not spotted I take out the pepper spray that I had stashed in my pocket. Just then a perky-sounding woman answered the phone....on speaker.
“911, what’s your emergency?” She practically shouts
Oh no, I realize that in my panic I must’ve pressed the speaker button. Scrambling, I turn off the speaker button only to hear Brent laugh
“911 can’t help you now girl, we will find you and you will be at our mercy.”
“Too bad we have none.” Tyler chimes in and both men laugh
I look to both my left and right to see feet walking terrifyingly close to me. the lady on the other end starts telling me to stay on the line a bit longer so she can track, and send units to me. Then I hear Tyler say something that makes my blood run cold.
“Shoot up all the cars.” He orders
The deafening roar of gunshots thunders through the garage, it seems not all are silenced. Glass shatters and falls all around me as I hear someone scream, it takes me a moment to realize it’s me. I try to move back a little to shield myself from the bullets and flying glass, that’s when someone grabs my ankles and yanks me back, I scream again and my phone and pepper spray fly out of my hands and slide across the ground. The shooting stops and Tyler picks up my phone. He scoffs then smashes it on the ground repeatedly, and since that’s not enough, he takes out the sim card and shoots it, TWICE. I look back to see Brent holding my ankles in a death grip, smirking.
Tyler walks over to me and squats down in front of me, He says nothing for a second and just studies me as I do the same. Now that I am closer to him I can see that he has an earring on his right ear and smells like exotic soap, or maybe it’s just his cologne.
“Who do you work for?!? Why were you spying?!” he questions
“I don’t work for anyone.” I snap
I had meant for my response to sound strong, but it came out rude. Tyler, obviously taken aback by my tone smirked and hit me on the side of my head with hie gun, hard. Black spots cloud my vision, and I hear a faraway voice speak.
“Tell the boss we have another surprise for him”
I drown in darkness
I wake up in a strange dark place, I can’t seem to move my arms or legs. Looking down I see I’ve been bound to a chair. As my eyes adjust I can see that I’m in a small, dark room about the size of the interrogation rooms shown on the ID channel, with a single bright LED ceiling light illuminating me in a spotlight. I can also see that there are 4 men in each of the corners of the room dressed in the same black mask, gloves, and suit as the men I saw before. Their clothes blended into the black painted walls so well I almost didn’t see them. Well, I’ve been kidnapped by money laundering, mafia murderers and they are probably going to do to me what they did to those hostages... Just peachy. There are so many things I want to do, so many places I want to see. Oh, and FOOD! So much food I haven’t tried yet. Street Thai, French, and Roman desserts, Australian pastries... This just isn’t fair! Oh, and my husband...what will he do? I can’t leave him, we were talking about starting a family soon....what did I do to deserve this? My Pity Party is interrupted by the sound of footsteps, heavy footsteps. I turn my head to the door in front of me in one even snap and instantly regret it when pain radiates from the top of my head and down my spine from the place Tyler hit me on my head. The footsteps get closer and in steps a tall and broad, lean but still muscular figure. I can see by the outline of his shadow that he is also wearing a suit. Immediately all the men in the four corners stand to attention, salute, and say in unison,
He must be the boss, the sicko running this whole organization. Why I ought to give him a piece of my mind! I am about to do just that when he steps forward and into view. The words fall flat on my tongue, and I am unable to speak. Who should be standing there but.......my husband. He has that same scary look in his eyes that he did when we were home. He frowns and slowly begins to circle me, shaking his head with a tsk.
“Tamasin, Tamasin. I told you to be careful, you couldn’t just stay home hmm?”
He stops and faces me a mere foot away from my chair, leaning down to put his hands on the chair arm rests, looking me straight in the eyes.
“So tell me, how was that walk?”
Hello! I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of my book. This is my first time writing a novel and would appreciate it if you could give me some feedback. XOXO