Part 7. You can read the previous parts here:
1645 Pier Drive was an unassuming warehouse. It stood, towering in the darkness. Sam had the taxi driver stop several buildings down and let her out. The rain had not let up and it soaked her as she stood in the shadows, trying to decide what to do next. This is madness.
“I need to know who he is,” she whispered. It felt weird to be talking to herself again after having spent so much time with Ilia, and a deep, lonely ache thrummed through her.
She stood for a moment more and then moved down a corridor between the warehouse and its neighboring building. The wind barrelled into her and she thought about turning back. By the time she reached the backside of the warehouse, her eyes had adjusted to the dark and she could easily see the outline of the docks.
Three men stood with their backs to the wind, huddled in a semicircle. None of them looked familiar. One glanced at his watch and then spoke to the other. The wild wind distorted whatever he said and Sam nearly growled with frustration as she strained to hear the conversation. She cast a quick glance at her cell phone. 11:30 pm. Ilia’s crew would not arrive, most likely, for around a half an hour.
Sam turned and began gently trying the knobs of each door she came to. When she found one that twisted open, she snuck inside. Toward the front of the warehouse she found two black sedans. She pressed her hand to the hood of one of them, something she’d seen Hollywood cops do hundreds of times.
Real cops don’t feel car hoods.
“How would you know?” She whispered. Besides, if she’d had a real cop here, she wouldn’t be forced to figure this out on her own.
She felt the second hood. Heat poured from it, warming her hand.”See, now I know that one of these cars just arrived.”
So? That doesn’t exactly provide you with any relevant information.
Fighting the urge to press her drenched body against the hood, Sam huffed at herself and moved away from the car. She began a slow search toward the back of the warehouse, thankful that the nearby streetlights cast enough dim light through the windows that she could see what was in each room.
Most of the rooms were empty, but toward the rear of the building, Sam found several pallets of crates. One of the crate lids was loose, allowing her to wiggle it until it slid off. She slid out her phone and risked the flashlight. The milky beam revealed several bubble-wrapped vases, carefully arranged so that they would not slide and break. She frowned.
What did you expect? Drugs? Vacuum belts? Sam shrugged. Maybe she had it all wrong. Maybe there was nothing sinister or illegal going on here.
A door crashed open, the one she’d entered through, and voices rose, loud and terse. Although no longer distorted by the wind, the words were no more clear to her now than they had been outside. They were definitely not speaking English. Her heart thundered and she slid in between two of the pallets as a light bloomed on overhead.
A narrow gap between the crates hiding Sam allowed her a view of the men as they entered. She pressed her hand over her mouth so suppress the gasp that nearly escaped as her brain registered the inky hair and stark expression of their prisoner.
The men shoved Ilia to his knees, yelling at him in a language she could not decipher. When he did not respond one of them kicked him in the stomach. He doubled over and coughed. Blood trickled from his nose and the corner of his mouth, injuries he must have suffered before they had brought him inside. One of the men drew a pistol from inside his coat and aimed it at Ilia’s head.
Sam pulled her phone from her pocket. They were going to kill Ilia, she could see it in the thin lines of their lips and the set of their jaws. Maybe calling the cops would get Ilia arrested, but it would keep him alive. The screen on her cell was black, however, and when she pressed the home button, nothing happened. What now?
I was challenged by a friend to write a story about a dull woman who becomes interesting. I hope you enjoyed the fruits of this challenge. I will post the final instalment on February 8th.