The Doll Collector

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Chapter 90

Joshua, holding his near-useless arm around Abigail’s neck and a gun to her temple, knew the situation looked bleak. There’s no hope of a clean exit. I just need to bide my time and hope that an opportunity for escape will present itself.

“Mr Castle,” he said, struggling to talk with his full voice as pain continued to shoot through his arm, “I don’t want to blow a hole in the head of this pretty little girl of yours.”

Dan held up the palms of his hands as if the gun was being pointed in his direction. “There’s something we can finally agree on.”

Joshua let out a tortured sort of a laugh. “Someone’s coming to open this door. When they do, I’m getting out of here.” He tipped his head towards Abigail’s. “It seems Abigail will need to come with me again, just until I no longer need a hostage.”

In a calm voice, Dan asked, “When do you expect that to be?” He took one step towards Joshua and said, “The police will have surrounded us by now. It’s probably one of them coming up that ladder. Why don’t you put the gun down?”

Joshua shook his head. “If I put the gun down I have no leverage.”

“If you don’t put the gun down you’ll have no life.”

You are not in charge here, Mr Castle!” Joshua bellowed as Abigail moved her head to the side in a fruitless attempt to avoid being momentarily deafened. “I’m in control here. I have the gun. I have the girl. You have nothing.”

“You also have a broken hand,” Dan said. “I’ve been trained in basic first aid. Put the gun down and let me use those bedsheets and make you a sling.”

Joshua shook his head, bewildered. “What kind of idiot do you take me for?”

“The kind of idiot who doesn’t cover his tracks,” came the reply in the shrill, half-strangled voice of Abigail. It seemed her father’s appearance had reignited the fire inside her that he feared had been extinguished.

Joshua squeezed harder with his left arm, causing Abigail to choke a little. “I’m still in charge, Abbie, and I do not recall asking for your opinion.”

“Put her down!” Dan shouted as he took another step towards him.

Extending his arm and pointing the gun at Dan, Joshua said, “Don’t take another step, or you or the girl will get a bullet in the head.”

Taking a step backwards, Dan said, “Okay, Joshua. You’re right.” Holding his arms by his side in a non-threatening manner he added. “I think it’s best that we all take a few deep breaths and think about the consequences of the things we’re doing.”

Putting the barrel of the gun back on Abigail’s temple, Joshua said, “I don’t need time to think. I know what I’m doing. I’m getting free and you’ll be staying here with whoever’s climbing that ladder.”

The talking stopped. The only sounds were the easing storm beating on the roof and the steps on the ladder, growing louder and louder.

Joshua started to consider his chances of getting out of there alive. I could use the gun on myself. A clean death, and on my own terms. He looked around the four walls of the container. What hope do I really have of getting what I want out of this?

Through the near-silence, a noise was heard of someone heaving against the levers that would open the door. This person, clearly less able or less strong than the yellow-clad man, was taking far too long on the door.

What if this is the police? It’s all over.

He let the barrel of the gun drift from Abigail’s head, ready to point it against his own.

At the moment that Joshua was about to give up all hope, the door opened and another person struggled aboard.

The latest addition to their little box was not a police officer. It was a face he recognised. David, the photographer and assistant to Sergei, was standing there, soaking wet, splattered with blood, holding a gun and looking desperate.

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