Last week when I posted another segment for the Short Story Thursday series, I promised another update since I forgot February's post. I already had the next part written, and I can't wait to post it any longer. Enjoy!
“Bennett!” Adam growled. “What have you done?” He threw the covers off and sat up.
“It’s not what I have done, Mr. Marshall, it’s what you have done,” Bennett spoke calmly into the phone. Ellen’s screams had been muted, but the sounds of struggle could be heard in the background.
“I haven’t done anything! You’re the criminal!"
“As I’m sure you have seen on the news, that remains to be seen, Mr. Marshall, but that is not the urgent issue at hand.”
Adam swallowed thickly, and set his jaw together. “Go on.”
“It seems that you were witness to something…” Bennett paused, searching for the word, “… unfortunate, a few nights ago. I assume you remember the event of which I speak?”
“I do,” Adam said through his teeth. “You killed Danny Joiner. I saw you.”
“So I did,” Bennett said, his inflection casual as if he had just admitted his guilt of littering. “Your presence at that event puts us in a very awkward position. There are many possible outcomes, many different ways that I can go about resolving this situation. Some of them benefit the both of us, but some of them benefit only me and would very unpleasant for both you and your friend Ellen here.”
“You leave her out of this, Bennett, you hear me? This is between you and I,” Adam said, lowering his voice. “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it. Just let her go.”
“I’ll be the one giving the orders around here,” Bennett said, raising his voice for the first time. “You should consider yourself fortunate that I haven’t made the trip down to your dingy hotel, let myself into to your room, and kill while you slept. Despite what you might have thought, Room 17 at Sleepy Time Suites in outer Portsmouth was not all that hard to find.”
Adam leaned against the headboard of the bed, suddenly out of breath. The efforts he had gone through to keep himself and those he knew safe from Samuel Bennett were quickly unraveling.
Bennett laughed. It was a horrible sound, the very sound of evil enjoying its spoils. “Don’t you worry, Mr. Marshall, my friend,” Bennett said. “My colleagues have detained Ellen as an insurance policy of sorts, to ensure that you cooperate.”
“What do you want?” Adam said, weary.
“We need to meet. Tomorrow night, at the back lot of the shipping facility where we first met. I think it goes without saying that if you go to the police or if we suspect you are armed, Ellen will be killed.”
Adam’s thoughts went to the black case that he had packed before leaving home. He reached for the case now, and opened it. Light from the window glinted off the handle of his .9mm handgun. He picked it up, the weight comfortable in his hand.
“Are we clear, Mr. Marshall?” Bennett spoke firmly.
“Good. Both your life and Ellen’s life depend on it.”
The phone line went dead.
The next installment will be out next month. Stay tuned!