And here is chapter three of Tracker. Enjoy!
Despite being unable to move, my body tensed in preparation for fight or flight. The door creaked open and I was able to put faces to the footsteps. The first man, whose stride was long and purposeful, was dressed like a businessman in an expensive looking black suit and blue pinstriped tie. He had a jagged scar on his neck from when someone had apparently tried to kill him.
According to Alice one of Trevor’s business partners had gone missing a couple years ago and had been found with his throat cut so deep the bone was visible. If I had to guess, I’d say that was the guy who’d tried to kill Trevor, and this man, with the scar and the bodyguards had to be Trevor. It was my first close up view of the man most street people feared. Two more men followed the first, big and beefy types, both treaded heavily on the ground, leaving deep impressions on the earth. If I’d been following them, I could have felt their echoes for hours after they’d passed, unlike whoever had entered the room across the cement wall. Those were so light as to be almost non-existent, but I had no time to figure out the odd steps. The bodyguards took over my concentration.
The first man that followed Trevor into the room was a familiar face. I’d seen him on a wanted poster Alice had shown me when she’d first asked for my help, but there hadn’t been a name to go with the picture. That had been about a week ago, and I’d only managed to find one area where it seemed like he did a lot of business. This thug looked like a bulldog. His face was round and the nose had been broken so it looked flatter than normal. His cheeks sagged slightly and he had the empty eyes of a killer. Based on what I’d found, he seemed to be one of Trevor’s right hand men.
The second thug was huge. His face was unfamiliar, but I memorized it quickly. He had an angular face that didn’t seem to fit on a man his size. This one had about two inches on the other man at about six foot six and weighed about three hundred pounds if I had to guess, and looked like a football player. His eyes were a clear blue and had the same empty look as the thug I’d dubbed the Bulldog. Both bodyguards wore jeans and plain black T-shirts. The uniform of a hired thug, I guess.
I turned my attention back to the first man. Trevor Mason. The name seemed innocent enough, but just thinking it sent shivers down my spine. His face was set and emotionless; he’d probably beat me hands down in a poker game. I tried to mirror his expression, but the slightly amused crinkle around his eyes showed that I’d failed miserably.
“What do you want?” I asked, a slight crack in my voice giving away my anxiety. I eyed him warily from my cage, knowing I was at the mercy of a killer. Say what you want about innocent until proven guilty, but upon my first meeting I had to say he was guilty of everything the cops suspected him of doing. And probably more that they were unaware of. He carried himself with the confidence of a man who knew he could do whatever he wanted, and have no trouble getting away with it. What was his secret?
He seemed to consider my question carefully before giving an answer. “You’ve been working with the police.” He stated, his voice deep, but slightly raspy. A lingering effect of getting your throat slit, I’d imagine. A pity his partner hadn’t been slightly more successful in that endeavor.
My first reaction to his statement was to deny it, but he was watching me carefully so I knew he wouldn’t believe the lie. Also, the way he’d said it made it clear that he already knew it was the truth. I nodded slowly, not liking the direction this was going.
“You forced me to close down operations in a thriving business area.” He continued his raspy voice carefully neutral. I blinked in surprise. That was news to me. All I had done was talk to some of the street people and ask them if they knew anyone working for Mason. “I simply want to make you an offer,” he continued. He leaned toward the Bulldog and whispered something. The bodyguard nodded and left the room.
“What offer?” my voice was wary, any offer he had couldn’t be good. I was debating asking him how I had forced him to shut down, but determined it might put him in a worse mood. He thought I’d shut him down somewhere? All I’d done is follow some of his people that my contacts had told me about. I hadn’t been able to find definite proof of anything in the short time I’d been helping Alice. I was pulled from my thoughts when I felt Bulldog’s footsteps coming back and with him…”Sammy,” I whispered.
Mason’s eyes widened slightly in surprise—the first real emotion I’d seen from him—and I berated myself. The man had no idea of my abilities and would now wonder how I’d known it was Sam. This was one person I did not want speculating about what I was capable of. If he threatened Sam, I would have to show him firsthand, but I would cross that bridge when it came.
The door opened and Bulldog pushed Sam in front of him, the little boy stumbling slightly. His dark brown eyes were narrowed in anger, but his face was pale with fear. “Let him go.” I growled tensing and ready to unleash my power. My desire to keep my powers hidden did not extend to watching some common criminal hurt one of my kids, and the tentative hold I kept over my ability was already slipping with the thought of this monster’s thug holding Sam. When I pulled myself together a bit, I noticed that Sam was tapping his foot, letting me know through a code I’d made up, that he’d seen the outside of the building. He was a very observant eleven-year-old and had been able to memorize the building number. After passing on the message he stood quietly, careful not to draw too much attention to himself as he waited for me to make a move.
Mason was watching me closely and I tried to hide the fact that I was receiving information about where we were. “You want to make me an offer, get me out of this,” I demanded, shaking my hands and making the cuffs rattle on the pipe.
He pursed his lips slightly and nodded at thug number two. “Let him out, but keep the cuffs on him.”
Thug two opened the cage door and unlocked the cuffs from the wall. He dragged me out, and I nearly blacked out at the sudden change from laying on the floor to standing. Only the thug’s beefy hands on my arms kept me from falling over. He put the loose end of the cuffs around my wrists and closed them…hard. I winced in pain as the unyielding metal dug into the skin and cut off the circulation to my hands.
Okay. This would make things a little bit harder, but my hands weren’t completely necessary for accessing my power. Having them free made precise work easier, but I wasn’t going for precise right now. “Sammy, you okay?” The boy nodded, his brown hair falling into his eyes and shadowing them, hiding the fear I’d seen right away. He seemed unhurt, but I couldn’t be sure. “Cut to the chase, Mason.” I demanded. My eyes narrowed in anger, my fear was gone or buried so deep it didn’t affect me. “What do you want?”
“It’s simple,” he said. “I want you to stop helping the police. If you do that, little Sammy here will remain safe in my care,”
“Oh, hell no,” I growled. Alice had told me what kind of things Mason did to children and I would not allow Sam to go through that. “Sam won’t be staying with you and I will take you down.” I nodded once and Sam dove to the ground as I let loose the power I’d been building. The ground shot up, making chunks of concrete fly around the room hitting the startled bodyguards and making Mason dive for cover. Someone yelled in fear or surprise, or some combination of the two as I continued my attack.
I made a wall protecting Sam both from the effect of what I was doing and from the Bulldog, who was trying to grab him as a shield. I sent a tendril of power through the uncovered earth, and located Alice. I was able to push enough power through to send the address Sam had given me.
We were only about two blocks from where the detective was, and I could only hope she’d get here quickly. “Sam, get out!” I yelled as I poured more energy into keeping Mason and his thugs busy. I felt Sam’s response as he rose and quickly ran to the door. There was a pile of dirt and debris blocking the door and I sent enough power to clear it away, allowing Sam to get out. The effort distracted me long enough for Mason to sneak behind me.
Unfortunately it was also at that moment that my strength gave out. I heard a click and felt the cold circle of metal on my neck as I nearly collapsed from exhaustion.
“Enough,” Mason said his voice filled with anger and possibly a little fear. He hadn’t expected that, I thought with a smirk as my legs gave out and I fell to my knees. My hands were numb, still held in the cuffs behind my back. Trevor kept the gun to my head as he surveyed the damage. His thugs were nowhere to be seen, but there were still the very light footsteps behind us, but whoever was there didn’t bother interfering. The sirens right outside gave him reason to be concerned as well, and I felt several people enter the building, distracting me once again from the odd footsteps. Alice and Dan were among them.
“It’s over Trevor.” I said with a short bark of laughter.
“Not even close, Freak,” he hissed. I almost snorted. No, I didn’t like being called a freak. But really, couldn’t he come up with something a little more original? He yanked me to my feet just as the door slammed open.
Alice and Dan entered with their guns drawn and my anxiety level increased at having three guns pointed at me; my near-amusement of a moment ago was forgotten. Mason adjusted his hold on me, the larger man not having too much trouble holding me up. I’m only about five foot eight and weigh about one hundred fifty pounds, while he stood at easily six foot and weighed about two hundred. And as I could feel through his suit, he was quite strong. He held his left arm around my neck and his right hand held the gun to my head.
Alice’s eyes caught mine after quickly taking in the damage done to the building. I allowed my exhaustion to show for a moment to let her know I had reached my limit and was down to running on fumes. They would have to take care of this on their own. I could hardly move a pebble at this point.
Sam’s footsteps had gone out a different door, before Alice had arrived so I wasn’t sure if she even knew he had been here.
“Let him go, Mason,” Alice demanded, her blue eyes piercing and colder than I’d ever seen before. Her smooth brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, which sharpened the angles of her face, making her look sleek and dangerous. Her partner entered next to her, his slightly wrinkled face set in a mask of anger, his dark eyes narrow and gun aimed at Mason’s head. Alice didn’t always take charge, but in this instance, Dan allowed it.
I felt some familiar steps approaching behind the two officers, “Alice, look out!” I called as I saw both Bulldog and the Big Man creeping up behind them, guns in hand.
End Chapter Three
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