“No problem. If you’ve got this, I’ll go to the location they are going to take you for the meeting tomorrow.”
“You know where that is?”
“How?” I asked.
“I have contacts all over the world.” Apex answered. “I want to scope it out before you and Zeke go there just in case things go south with it.”
“I guess she was right to send you to Russia. How’d you manage to get here without a VISA? Zeke and I are citizens, so we can travel without one.”
“It’s amazing what ghosts can do,” Apex answered cryptically.
“Ok.” I turned my attention back to the kidnappers as Apex hung up and I put my phone back in my pocket even with the damaged screen.
“I guess your cousin is here?” One of the guys asked me then followed it up with something in Chechen Russian or whatever he was speaking.
“Look, I barely speak Russian even though I have Russian citizenship. I don’t understand anything you guys say that isn’t in English. So, we are going to have this conversation in English. That was not my cousin Vasili. That was a contract killer named Apex. I have a friend that sent him to Russia to watch over me while I dealt with the Russian mob, because everyone knows they can’t be trusted. She sent Apex because he’s the best contract killer in the world, maybe. No one is quite sure what Apex is or who he is, and I have no clue how he managed to come to Russia on such short notice since traveling from Russia requires a VISA. What I do know is that you guys are in a tough position. Even if someone pays you the ransom for me, you aren’t going to live very long. First, I am neck deep in mob dealings. Second, I own a Security Agency in the US. We specialize in this stuff and anything you put me in, I can get out of, handcuffs, zip ties, rope, whatever, and you can’t really beat me up because that will bring all sorts of problems for you, like my husband. Also, I have a tracking device implanted in my body so that people can keep tabs on me at all times. I’m sure there’s about three dozen people that know exactly where I am right now. Most of them are in the US, which is good for you, but not everyone is. However, I think we can work together to keep you three alive as well as get you some sort of money, after all, you did a poor job of planning this and background checking your target, me, but you don’t seem like bad guys. I know Chechens have a hard time in Russia which is why a lot of them have resorted to kidnapping people for a decent payday. I get it. I’m going to give you guys my card, because I have a business idea in my head, and maybe we can talk at a later date and work something out.”
“What good will your card do?”
“Well, I’m considering opening a security office here in Russia. I have dual citizenship between Russia and the US so opening a branch here wouldn’t be that hard. If I’m completely honest, you guys aren’t great kidnappers. You underestimated my abilities, you failed to figure out who I was before you took me, and you don’t seem to have many weapons. However, with a little training, you might be decent security agents. Normally, I hire mercenaries, but it isn’t a hard and fast rule. I‘ve hired former footballers and former American Footballers, they all had to be trained. Most of the time, looking like a badass is enough of a deterrent. You guys could fit the part, and you might have friends or family that would fit the part. Which is why I want to give you my card, so we can talk and discuss options for employment. Obviously, I need protection when I come here, not just from Chechen kidnappers looking to make a fast dollar either, but I really am meeting with different factions of the Russian mob while I’m here, trying to buy freedom for a former mobster’s daughter as well as I guess attempting to catch a serial killer, which I have never done.” I pulled out some business cards from my small wallet tucked into my back pocket. I also pulled out a stack of Rubles, at least a couple hundred rubles worth. In US money, it wasn’t much, but for these guys, it was a ton. The Russian economy was not doing well, and the Ruble wasn’t worth much as a result. I figured it was approximately a week or so worth of pay for these guys if they were working in a Russian factory or something.
I held it out to the guy that spoke the best English. He very slowly took a few steps towards me. I shook it at him, indicating I wanted him to take it.
“Split it three ways, equally,” I told the guy as he took it from me. “I don’t have any more on me, but I could have. All I want is for you three to accompany me and my group tomorrow to meet with certain factions of the Russian mob. If you don’t live through it, I will need familial contacts, so I can pay your families for your services. My husband can give you a quick training session tonight and then you guys have a job that will pay you around 2,000 rubles each for it. One quick job tomorrow. If you perform decently, then it could lead to more jobs from me.”
“2,000 rubles each?” One of the other guys asked.
“Deal, yes,” he said.
“Good, now let’s talk about how we stop the mob and my cousin from killing you when they show up soon.”
The guy that spoke the best English pulled a knife from somewhere. It wasn’t your standard knife; it was a large knife that reminded me a bit of a KBar or US Marine knife. I examined it a little closer as he handed it to me.
“Is this your only weapon?” I asked inspecting it once it was in my hand.
“You like knives?” I asked him. I had learned over the years that a man with a knife was actually more dangerous than a man with a gun. A man with a knife knew he was going to have to get up close and personal to inflict any damage and that he was putting himself at risk doing it, whereas a man with a gun was just hoping one or two shots hit the target and they stopped whatever they were doing to warrant being shot at.
“Yes.” He nodded slightly.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination and are purely fictitious. Any resemblances to any persons, living or dead, are completely coincidental.
Copyright © Hadena James 2016
All Rights Reserved