The Doll Collector

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Chapter 78

Sergei was sitting there, his car unmoved, somewhat mirroring his own attitude. The man who had offered the latest girl seemed upset at letting her go. He found it odd that someone so attached to a girl could trade her as currency in order to buy his way out of the country.

The hot air escaping from the vents had just about warmed him through after his minutes of standing outside, making his own deal. He had, however, not been attached to the girl in the slightest. I didn’t get to be successful by caring about my models.

He pulled his phone from his pocket and called David, his right hand man for the past several years. Living under a cloud of Sergei’s making, the man was trapped in servitude to Sergei, and they both knew it. There were times that this very fact put an almost unbearable strain on their working relationship.

With more and more tasks thrust in David’s direction, the man had become indispensable to the smooth running of his organisation. His recent reluctance, however, was threatening all that Sergei had come to depend upon to keep him in the life to which he had become accustomed.

The call connected, but wasn’t answered, diverting to voicemail. He took the opportunity to leave a semi-coded message. “Hi David. It’s Sergei. Alicja is officially dismissed, so there is no need to keep her records. She was only a temp, and there’s no benefit in keeping records of her brief time with us.”

He ended the call and stared out of his front windscreen, chucking his phone onto the passenger seat to his left before fastening his seatbelt.

He put the car into gear, and at that moment heard a loud thud, as if something heavy had just thumped the front of his car. Bemused as to how something could cause such a noise when he wasn’t moving. He was looking ahead when he heard another loud thump against the car, followed by the sound of thick plastic snapping.

With a furrow of his brow and an exaggerated exhalation, Sergei unfastened his seatbelt and opened the door. He let out an annoyed grunt, unfastened his seatbelt and opened his door. He walked to the front of the car and noticed two large, ugly dents and a broken license plate. He crouched down and inspected the damage before straightening up and casting his eyes around. With no signs of a fleeing vandal he shook his head. No one there. What’s going on?

Cursing under his breath, he stooped down and picked up the broken piece of plastic, planning on arranging for David to fix it later.

He returned to his seat and slammed the door and fastened his seatbelt. He pressed in the clutch and reached for the gearstick when he heard a shuffling noise on the back seat. Turning around, he couldn’t see anyone.

Turning back to face the front, ready to shrug it off and return home, he noticed movement in his rear-view mirror. As he froze and waited for confirmation of his suspicion, hands sprung from either side of his headrest and squeezed his neck. His wide eyes darted to his left where he could see a familiar face in the mirror. Joshua, the man with whom he had made a deal, was there to kill him.

Clawing at the hands, trying to grip his wrists, fighting and fidgeting could not free him from a man that was surprisingly strong.

At the point in which he felt his grip weakening, the vice-like hands let go before an elbow collided with the side of his head. He was no longer conscious of anything.

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