For disclaimers see part one.
I said I'd put some more up as quick
as possible, so here it is. This chapter may be short, but hopefully that works
in its favour, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
CLICK, another moment captured in time, frozen for posterity. Frozen like ice, cold and unfeeling soaking into the pores of any who wonder too close. Cold and empty like the eyes behind the lens. Sounds, so close to those of a machine gun, fired from the camera as picture after picture was captured. The end result would be almost a flick-book, enough images to seem animated. The photographers intent was not so pure.
The three children, held captive by the viewfinder, were blissfully unaware of the photographers scrutiny. Summer was a good time to be a kid in the park. The weather was hot and the sun was high as the siblings played soccer on the grass. Terrance had stripped off his shirt and was using it as one half of their impromptu gaol, a young sapling providing the other. Polar stood in goal, smirking at the children's antics as Becca and Shell tackled their big brother by jumping on his back. Grizzly stood off to the side, watching over the park while his brother watched over their charges. They were as alert as a pair of Doberman hounds. A shame then that their sense of smell was not as great, a telescopic lens keeps you well out of sight.
The lens zoomed in on each child, focusing in on their individual faces and capturing a little of their personality. First was Terrance, eight years old and full of little boy pomp. His dark brown hair curling around his face and his cheeks were flushed. He ran around with seemingly limitless energy and the devil in him. He was continually pulling faces at the his sisters, tongue out, eyelids folded back. Beside his little sisters he looked huge, tall for his age thanks to the combined genes of his mother and father.
The twins shared their brothers colouring and Rochelle's hair had the same waves while Rebecca's was poker straight. Rochelle was a little chubby and spiteful, pulling her brothers hair to get him to give her the ball. She was also loud and tried to take charge, even though her brother was three years older. Her twin was much smaller, thin, delicate and fragile. She played with the same energy but without the competitive edge.
Long fingered hands carefully laid the camera onto the grass as the tall figure sat down in the grass. Pulling forward the heavily laden backpack an arm snaked in and drew out several manila envelopes, sliding out the contents onto the springing grass. The title of each file clearly visible: TERRANCE ROSE, ROCHELLE ROSE, REBECCA ROSE.
Pasting threatening letters was an art. It took skill and precision. A flare for the dramatic and the sublime. Combinations of colour and the style of text had to be carefully selected. Amateurs and recipients though that it was simply random, an ill conceived disguise which bore the message. They didn't realise that it was the message.
The razor sharp scalpel felt cool through the creamy film of the latex gloves. Tools of the trade, a must have for anonymity. The magazine pages were spread across the polished surface, headlines screaming for attention. Like a surgeon assessing a patient, the first letter was carefully picked. Placing it with reverence on the cutting board, the first incision was made...
The office was large, palatial even. The decor was tasteful, if a little cluttered. It was the work area of a man who valued his family. You could see it from the moment you walked through the lacquered oak door. Photographs of his children hung on the walls, drawings were framed and took the place of commissioned art, swimming certificates hung beside diplomas behind the wide desk.
The camera drank it in, tasting it like a fine wine. The man behind the room was captured in every nuance and colour. Detail upon detail building into the tapestry of a families life. When the intruder was satisfied with the artistic portion of the mission the camera was set aside and the information stage commenced.
Moving to the desk the dark figure moved into the leather chair, settling in the body moved sideways and opened the first of six draws, riffling through the contents. With a clear purpose files were removed, those of no consequence to the mission left untouched. A small pile of papers took up residence on the tabletop as the chair wheeled towards the file cabinet and the hunt continued. Within minutes the pile had trebled and the dark thief was ready to get out. White paper carefully hidden within the folds of a black shirt insured nobody would notice their departure.
The door clicked shut on an empty room. D. ROSE it's only comment on what had gone on behind it.
Phone calls gave you a rush like letters never could. They took courage and strategy. No simple matter of dialling a number and speaking. The whole plan was location, location, location. You couldn't slip, you certainly couldn't use your home phone, that was suicide. Outside locations were the simplest, find an audio stall and send your message on a delay. By the time that the call is sent the sender is already home. The alternative was much more expensive, but could be achieved from the comfort of your own home.
The Micro-phone had replaced the old style cellular phones only ten years ago. They could be used with hands free adaptors or, with the right equipment, connected to a land line. The brain child of a teenage student, the concept was simple a pad, two inches high and one inch wide acted as the key pad. Highly touch sensitive and only half and inch thick. The cordless earpiece received the call and a sensitive microphone picked up responses. The pad was easy to store and the earpiece had been a huge hit, sweeping the market. Dialling from a standard phone simply meant patching the pad into the line. The Micro's were almost untraceable, but you had to rotate between more than one, just to be safe.
One must, of course, have a well rehearsed script. Hesitation would infer weakness, which in turn would not create fear, and that was the desired effect. The piece had to be read again and again until it fell like liquid from the tongue. The basic content of the text was always variations on the same themes; 'I've been watching them/you.' 'I'm going to kill you/them.' It was all about delivery.
Naturally the last order of business was to disguise your voice. Voice distortion was a thing of the past, with computers now powerful enough to create an original human voice. This was used for their AI, its hidden beauty was that you could hook it to the phone and it would alter your voice. No good terrorist should be without one.
The Micro pad felt like lumpy skin as the familiar number was dialled in...
Town apartments were always desirable, none more than penthouses, and this was certainly a fine example of the breed. Taking up two entire levels the penthouse was an amazing construct, complete with roof garden and outside pool. Floor to ceiling windows decorated the family room an dining room, while in the other rooms they were three quarter length. The place was positively bathed in light.
A lone figure stood at the window, bathed in sunshine, casting a long shadow across the tiled floor. Mission accomplished. The bedrooms had been ransacked, the place was trashed. More was to be learned about the woman of the house by what was absent in her bedroom than what it contained. No wedding pictures, no love letters, no photographs of her husband. Only her children and her birth family. No love for herself, as though she gave and did not expect to receive. The only personal touch seemed to be the walls of gold and platinum discs, testament to a career in high gear.
Easy access was assured after the keys to their family home had been found in one of Doug's desk drawers. In and out was the plan, trash the place and trash it again. More psychological ploys would be pointless as they were staying at the estate. They had run in fear almost from the start, a testament to the power of fear.
Sipping the last of the red wine, salvaged from the carnage of broken glass and spilt liquor, the figure moved towards the door. No time to ponder what it would feel like to sleep on a four-poster bed in a multimillion dollar home.
The dead receiver once again crashed to the floor from frozen fingers. The look of horror on Francesca's face was so extreme that Hunter's heart dropped to her knees. She didn't need to ask who had been on the line, that much was obvious, Hunter just wished that she could guard her owner from that. The calls had intensified and were coming almost daily. They were usually intercepted by Mr Prince or Mr Rose, but on rare occasions, like today, Francesca would pick up the handset out of habit.
Each call left the other woman in a near catatonic state as the voice on the other end threatened her life and the lives of her children in grizzly detail. Although still wary of her owner, Hunter was beginning to see that she was really a generous and caring woman pushed to the edge. Often the slave thought that the only thing keeping the darker woman from a nervous breakdown was her children, she was certainly teetering dangerously close to the edge. Her recent kindness had made Hunter resolve to protect the other woman form herself as much as she could. She had treated her badly, but so had countless others. For a little respect, Hunter was willing to forgive, at east a little.
She replaced the receiver and pushed the intercom button. "This is Hunter, that was our friendly nut. I'm with the Mistress. I think it was bad..."
"Thank you Hunter, look after my daughter. Does she need a nurse?" Darla's voice was filled with concern. Salvatore could be heard cursing in the background.
"No, thank you, ma'am. I think she'll be fine after some tranquillisers." She passed a concerned eye over the rapidly paling woman.
"Get to it then." Raged breathing. "Thank you." The line was dead.
Hunter turned to the taller woman,
intent on steering her towards the stairs. This was becoming a familiar ritual.
Get the body to the bedroom, t was like controlling a puppet. So accustomed
was she to pushing the other woman that she was unprepared when Francesca crumpled
to the floor in a feint. Concerned Hunter took the only resort open to her and
hefted the other woman into her arms and proceeded towards the stairs, her cargo
safe in her arms.
To be continued in part six
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