donderdag 8 oktober 2015

The Woman in Red: Chapter 46

46. A dangerous turn

            His head was thumping. He didn’t know if it was because of the sedation or if it was the consequence of the fact he had hurt his head on the wall when the gangsters forced their way in. He couldn’t focus his sight and the sounds he heard sounded distorted in his ears. Confused, he closed his eyes again and when he opened them the second time it was a lot better now, nonetheless someone kept on hammering in his head.
            He wanted to move, but that was impossible. His feet were tied together and his hands behind his back had received the same treatment. The gag they had pushed in his mouth tasted strange. He tried to avoid retching. He knew if he would throw up now, he could suffocate in his own vomit. He lay on his side on the ground beside the bed. With a lot of effort and by shoving a bit he could sit up against the wall. Then he saw Katarina.
            She lay on the bed. Automatically his eyes controlled if she was still breathing. Inside his head he sighed, relieved when he saw her breast rising slowly up and down. At first sight, he noticed no injuries on her. Obviously he was just touched on the head, probably not serious because he didn’t feel nauseous. At first he had thought about a concussion when he felt his aching head. Fortunately, he has been spared of that.
            The thoughts and with them the questions were shooting through his head in a rapid succession. Had the General taken such thing into account? Jean-Pierre knew he had found no opportunity to swallow the capsule with the transmitter. If General de Tavernier hadn’t heard that these men had penetrated their room, it was necessary that this happened as soon as possible. Then he saw his capsule lying on his night table. With a bit of luck, he could push it a bit so that the capsule would fall on the ground. He just would try to shove a little closer when the two men came in.
            ‘Hey, there’s somebody awake again. Just keep down, mate. You’re going nowhere.’ The guy, a man of forty, dressed in jeans and a leather jacket pulled him by the hands straight up and dragged him to a chair. ‘Here, keep quiet or I put you in the closet till I get further instructions.’
            Meanwhile, there came some movement from the side of Katarina. Obviously she also suffered from the sedation because Jean-Pierre heard her moaning behind her gag when she opened her eyes.
            ‘Aha, the little couple is almost conscious again.’ He pulled Katarina from the bed and pushed her into one of the seats that were in the room. ‘Be nice, young lady, otherwise I put you under the bed with the fluff’s and the bogeyman.’ He smiled with his own joke. Apart from his friend, a young man looking almost thirty, nobody could enjoy this humor.
            It didn’t take long before the older one of the two gangsters received a telephone call. He listened for a few moments and with a short ‘Okay’ he finished the conversation. ‘Just still a moment and then you can sing your song. I love a good duet, so do your best later on.’ He laughed again because of his owns words.
            Five minutes later, Katarina heard, looking frightened at Jean-Pierre, a short knock on the door. When the younger hoodlum opened the door, both Jean-Pierre and Katarina instantly recognize the pedantic gangster from the nightclub ‘Pretty Men and Women.’
            ‘Good day to you, my distinguished company. I see you’re really getting along with my two men. I hope they didn’t bend your ears. Oh yes, it’s true, you can’t answer with that gag in your mouth. My mistake, I hadn’t noticed it immediately.’
            On the contrary, with the jokes of his subordinate, this man didn’t smile or the dangerous grin that was on his face should be his version of a smile. ‘Have you looked for the tapes in the room? Have you found them?’ He pointed first with his gloved hands at his employees and afterward at his surroundings.
            ‘We have found two of them, boss,’ the older gangster answered while he presented them. ‘No trace to the third one. We have searched every corner and cranny, even twice, without result.’
            The man with the gloves really couldn’t appreciate this announcement.
            ‘You’ll go with a fine comb again through every room and if you still don’t find the tape, we’ll have a nice talk. You two, me… and my gun.’ He pulled a weapon from a shoulder holster and put a silencer upon. Afterward, he ostentatiously lay him on the little table in the room while the two men began with their assignment.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere


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