The Doll Collector

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Chapter 92

David’s plan, like Joshua moments earlier, was in complete free fall.

Of all the things he had expected to see in that shipping container, he could not have imagined seeing Joshua holding a gun to the head of the girl he had photographed earlier. She was supposed to be somewhere else by now, and why was her father locked in there with her? What happened to Sergei?

He thought about Joshua, lying presumably dead, next to that ladder, and wondered how things might have gone if he’d have stayed away from the ship. He shook his head. I don’t have time to think about other people. I need to find a way out of this mess.

He made it to the several storey-high part of the ship that would house the crew and found a way inside. Feeling utterly exhausted, he dragged himself up more stairs than he could care to count until he was standing in the bridge.

Surrounding him were maps, screens, dials and switches. He looked around with a pained look all over his face. How on earth am I supposed to get this ship out into open water? I’ve never seen any of this stuff before.

As he approached one of the surfaces, covered in switches and dials, he heard footsteps behind him.

He spun around and pointed a gun towards the noise. Abigail’s father was leaning against the door frame, out of breath.

“If you can start this ship and get it moving, then I promise I won’t shoot you,” David said.

There was a shrug in response. “Even if I knew how to do that, I wouldn’t do it.”

David moved to clench his fists in frustration, forgetting about the heavy handgun in one of them. His index finger pulled back far enough to pull the trigger, filling the room with a deafening bang.

His assailant fell to the floor, looking on in horror, clutching the wound somewhere between his heart and his shoulder. He could see blood oozing between the man’s fingers as the scent of gunpowder and copper filled the air.

Whether it was the ringing in his ears or the dizziness he might have felt from being out of his depth, David felt a numbness flood his entire body. I can’t believe I’ve just killed someone.

At that instant, the girl rounded the corner and took in the scene with wide eyes and an open mouth.

He looked down at the man, and then at the girl, and then at the smoking gun in his hand. I shot her through a camera lens, and I shot her father with a gun. What’s next?

Abigail crouched next to her father and glanced up at David with a look filled with more anger and more disdain than he had ever seen written on the features of another’s face. What have I done?

It was possible that the girl or her father were speaking, but he couldn’t hear them over the loud ringing that didn’t seem to be going anywhere. The police will be here any minute, and I’ll be suspected of at least two murders.

He looked around the room, somehow hoping for an answer to his question. Nowhere to run. What now?

He looked down at the gun again, held in his limp right hand. He gripped it tighter, determined to make his next actions mean something.

He pointed the gun at the girl, so intent on saving her father that she hadn’t even noticed. A dead crew member, a dead kidnapper and a dead father. Why not complete the set?

The tremors in his hand increased until he was unable to aim it at anything.

Thinking he heard the sounds of distant police sirens, he changed the focal point of the barrel of the gun, putting it under his chin, pointing upwards.

His nerves steadied. The tremors grew less intense. There was a calmness that swept through him. The calmness of the damned.

He took one more deep breath and then breathed out in a controlled manner. After one more deep breath, with a clear mind, he pulled the trigger, putting a bullet through it.

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