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Nobody answered my statement about knowing the password.
“I know Dusan’s password.” I repeated again, in both Russian and English. “We can make a deal.”
I sensed the movement behind me, and raised my hands where the person approaching me could see them. Whoever it was, patted me down, and then I felt the muzzle of the gun at the base of my skull. He nudged me to walk and we ended up going further into the shadows and away from prying eyes.
“Face me,” the voice was clear, in accented English, and I slowly turned to face the person standing behind me.
I didn’t recognize the man, but I saw the blood on his shirt. Were we really having this conversation in the shadows of the bushes? What if someone walked by and saw this? He stepped back from me, more into the dark, and gestured with the gun for me to follow.
“Sacha Ivanov,” he said again. “I know your reputation, and admire your work.”
Great. Some kind of fan boy of the things I’d done that I wanted to forget.
“And you are?”
He didn’t answer, only chuckled as he lifted up Alfie’s bag, the gun secure in his other hand. This was a trained soldier, not some wet behind the ears kid who didn’t know what they were doing. Neither was he displaying any fear or passion in his expression, so he wasn’t scared of me, and neither was he fueled by revenge over something I had done. This was a cold calculating killer and I knew that one wrong move and I’d be dead. With the body gone, and blood on his shirt I imagined it was him that had moved it.
“I knew you’d come back for this,” he said, and waggled the bag. “Seems to me that the big man is important to you, the way you were kissing him.” He shuddered at the thought, and I stared right at him, waiting for the vitriol that I’d come to expect from some of my Russian compatriots. He merely half-smiled. “The password.”
“I’m not a stupid man. I give you the password and you shoot me.”
His gaze didn’t waver. “You see, I know you think that, but it’s not just the bag we have.”
My chest tightened, and dread gripped me.
“Do you think we wouldn’t find you? Did you imagine that we were going to let you leave without tracking the car? We have your man.”
I refused to give him the result he looked for; I wouldn’t lose control with fear over what was happening to Alfie. If they knew where he was…
“I’m not a stupid man either,” I said, in my most nonchalant fashion. “How do I know what is true and what isn’t?”
He quirked an eyebrow and dropped the bag to the floor, then stepped closer and pressed the gun barrel to my chest. This close I knew moves, I could twist and have the gun off of him in an instant.
“We have your lover so now it’s your move.”
I thought on my feet, my head buzzing, and the words I needed to use had to be able to buy me time. I crossed my arms over my chest.
“Take me to him, when I see he’s okay, then I will give you the password.
“Hmmm… the password for your lover’s life.”
“That’s the deal.”
“I could kill you both then,” he said, and smiled so wide it exposed perfectly straight white teeth.
I shrugged. “Then we die together.”
His smile dropped and he sneered. “You and him? It’s an abomination,” he said and spat on the ground. He was gravely mistaken if he thought I was going to give him an answer.
A second man came into view, shorter, stouter, and it was him that looped the tie around my hands behind my back and pulled it tight. He didn’t say a word.
In fact no one spoke until we reached the turn off, and then after the car stopped the main guy gestured for me to get out. I stared at him intently, cataloguing each feature, from his iron gray eyes to his accent which implied he was from Moscow. I would remember each part of this man and track him down. He had to know I wouldn’t leave loose ends any more than he would.
“Why you stare?” he cursed at me in Russian, and hit me hard across the temple with the gun. I stumbled and nearly fell, yanked at the last minute by the silent henchman.
I could see the cabin from here, I could imagine Alfie inside, waiting for me to return, worried, maybe even scared, but I had to push that aside.
I was the only thing between them and keeping Alfie alive.
And as long as he was okay, then when it came time for them to kill me, I sure as hell wasn’t going to die quietly.
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