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Authors: Capri Montgomery

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BOOK: Red Noon
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She never expected to get attacked. She definitely didn’t expect for two men to come at her. And she really would have never expected to end up chained up in some fool’s basement. Who were these guys and why had they taken her?

She looked up to the gray ceiling above her and prayed to the ancestors in the heavens not to let them kill her. Her father had said they would become the stars above her and watch over her after they died just as their ancestors had done before so she hoped there was something to it that was truth because she needed saving right now. She had seen the one man’s face and she knew nothing good could come of that. The anger in his eyes, that evilness to him, made her know that if they hadn’t planned to kill her before they surely weren’t going to let her live now.

Shelia heard the twisting of the door knob, the squeaking of the hinges as it opened and closed and then a loud thud, thud, thud sound as if Goliath was coming down. Fear seized in her heart. She would have preferred it if she stayed down there alone than if anybody came down, especially one of these guys. Judging from the heavy thudding sound she would say it was the bigger guy that attacked her first. The second guy’s body had been skinnier pressed against hers as he held her with a vice like grip waiting for the bigger guy to get on his feet and do something to her, probably hit her she assumed, but at the time she wasn’t thinking she was just fighting for her life. A lot of good fighting had done her if she still ended up their captive. Nobody had come to her defense, but how could they? Most people were either sleep or lost in the nightly news or something. She didn’t remember any lights being on in the houses, but then she wasn’t looking for it either. Her next door neighbor to the left of her house had security cameras. She had hoped it had caught something, something that he could give to the cops—provided the cops even knew she was missing.

The monster of a man who attacked her first sauntered toward her. He was tall, heavy and he looked a mix of angry and determined. He kept the steady gait, long legs reaching her in a nanosecond despite his slower pace.

“You broke my nose,” he glared at her.

“No I didn’t. You would need a doctor to reset it if I had.” She tried to comfort him. Her attempt failed to comfort, but definitely seemed to anger him as his fist connected with her face. She felt her lip split on the side and felt the warmth of liquid slowly stream out of it. The impact had jarred her, causing her to twist sideways which dug the grating part of the rope into her wrists and caused more pain.

She felt his fingers slip into her hair and curl into a fist before he yanked her head back. “I said you broke my nose.”

She hadn’t broken his nose, but now she wished she had. She wished she had jutted the bone right up into his brain and killed him.

“Say something!” He screamed near inches from her face. His rancid breath made her nauseous. It was like there was a volcano of liquid ready to erupt out of her every time he puffed another bile filled word forcing his breath into her face.

She obviously hadn’t said anything fast enough for him because his fist connected with her stomach hard, causing a sound of pain to escape her. He laughed haughtily.

“I’m going to have some fun right now. Gotta’ keep you looking pretty in the face for boss man so no more fists to the face—for now.” His fingers untwined from her hair and he swiftly hit her open palm in the face. “But that don’t mean I can’t slap you around if I want.” He laughed. She saw him unlatching his belt and pulling it from the loops on his jeans. The black leather with the basic cheep looking buckle didn’t clank to the floor and he hadn’t gone for the button on his pants. There was only one thing it could signify and when she saw him wrapping the large leather strap around his hand once, then twice for a good grip she knew what that meant. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this man had absolutely no sexual desire for her; he wanted to beat her. He was going to beat her.

He walked behind her and with only one pregnant pause, as if he was trying to decide where to start his attack, he slashed her with the belt, over and over again. She wanted to be defiant, not to yell, not to give him satisfaction but the pain of the leather pounding against her back, her behind, her thighs and her hips had her screaming in pain as her body twisted as if it were trying to get away. Escape was not possible with her bindings. Each twist dug the steely rope into her wrists even more, drawing blood that trickled down her arms and dripped onto chest covering her shirt in a ruby liquid. She was bleeding. Drop by drop her own blood stained her clothes giving her an ample visual reminders of just how bad things had become, and how much worse she was sure they would get.

He laughed with each cry that she yelled. Nobody had helped her. There weren’t any windows. She had no idea where they had taken her, how long she had been out or if she was even still in Arizona. She could be in the desert somewhere, or in the mountains, or anywhere, but wherever it was it couldn’t be anywhere near other humans because they would have heard her screaming; they would have called the police.

He hit her so much she thought her skin was on fire. When he stopped she wanted to thank God, but she couldn’t. She could only think of what stopping meant. Maybe he was trying to think of what other angle he could hit her from. Maybe he was unwrapping the belt so that he could wrap it from the smooth end and beat her with the buckle. She felt tears sliding down her face with such high velocity that she thought she would cry herself to death from sheer dehydration.

He walked around to the front of her and hit her across her chest and stomach and she twisted more, causing more cuts into her wrists. It felt like forever before he dropped the belt to the floor. She feared what he would use this time, but fear of being beat turned into fear of being raped when he tugged at her fitted shirt-vest and ripped it from her body.

“Trash day,” he said happily. “Gotta’ take the trash out before the neighbors wake up.”

She watched as he wrapped her shirt in the rug that was off to the side of her. It already had some blood on it. Had they done this before? No, it wasn’t enough blood for that. It had to be the blood that dripped out of his nose or something. Had he brought her into this—house? Yes, it had to be a house given the fact he said it was trash day and he mentioned neighbors waking up. So either nobody could hear her screaming from what she was now sure was a basement, or nobody cared enough to call 9-1-1. Either way, she was stuck in hell without escape. It was still either the same night or early the next morning which meant she hadn’t been missing long enough for anybody to really know and file a report. She could be dead by noon and nobody would even know she was missing.

She heard him trudging up the stairs and the door squeak open and closed once more.

“God please help me?” She cried. She was in so much pain right now, felt so much fear and desperation that she wondered if she would survive this. She was still bleeding from all the cuts from the twisting. She couldn’t see her back but the heat of the flame of pain made her wonder if the leather had torn through her shirt and flesh while he was beating her like a dead horse just for the fun of it. Tears turned into sobs of sorrow. Sorrow turned into finality. There was no way she was going to make it out of this alive.

It wasn’t long before the door opened and closed again, before that beast they called a man came back down the stairs, picked up his belt and started beating her again. Each time the strap hit her back now, without the protection of the thin layer of fabric her shirt had provided as comfort, it hurt even more. Her bra strap felt as if it were being beaten in to her flesh, like the hooks and eyes would become imbedded in her skin. She couldn’t curtail the screams no matter how much she didn’t want to give him the pleasure of knowing he was hurting her.

He never seemed to get tired. It was like his arm was made of steel that wouldn’t tire from repeated use. She didn’t know how long he beat her before he stopped and walked back to the front of her.

“I hope you’ll still be pretty enough for boss man to finish breaking you. I didn’t mess up your face too much.” He sauntered closer and dug his fingers in her hair, yanking her head back from its hung position so that she was forced to look at him and smell his rotten breath as he hovered lower for face to face battery of her olfactory system.

“But when he’s done with you,” he blew his breath into her face and she cringed, trying to turn away from the skunk and rotten apples like smell but he held on tighter to her hair and made her keep her face tilted toward his. “When he’s done with you I’ll break all your pretty little bones one by one.” He stepped back and began to beat the belt across her stomach and chest. She twisted and tried to escape repeatedly but her pursuit of freedom went nowhere. She was forced to stand there, bound and un-gagged for his pleasure to beat into screams of terror and pain.

When he finally tired he stepped away, backed up and told her he was going to go have breakfast now, but he would be back later. He made that promise as if she wanted him to come back. In silence her eyes closed in defeat. This was his heaven. This was her hell.

Chapter Three

Lt.
Takahiro Nakamura stood in back of his team watching with his Captain as the Pinal County Sheriff gave them an update on the situation. The atmosphere in the room made him feel like he was gearing up for a war. Judging from that video it felt like he was. The heavy guy didn’t seem all that coordinated but the skinny guy did. It was like he had some type of training. Or maybe he just knew what he was doing because he had done it before. Takahiro shook his head mentally thinking of the poor woman somewhere here in Arizona, but nobody knew where.

Thanks to the older neighbor the police had gotten a head start on the forty-eight hour missing rule. But had the twenty-two year old blond living next door decided to give the cops the USB with the footage from his security cameras before they came knocking on his door they could have gotten things out sooner. That snot nosed kid had heard the police sirens, seen the flashing lights, and simply gone to check his camera footage. Instead of offering a look to the investigating officers he preferred putting it up for sale to a near tabloid news station that broke it first. That was the only way they knew about the footage because the cops hadn’t gotten around to checking to see if any of the homes had cameras in action yet. They were too busy trying to gather evidence.

“This video has gone global. There isn’t a station out there not covering this, and it’s online so it has coverage. In a way that’s a good thing, and in a way that’s a bad thing.” Sheriff Kroger said.

Takahiro understood the bad part because if these guys were watching television then they knew that the state exits were now blocked with access only being granted after a check. Hell this thing had gotten attention faster than anything and Takahiro knew why. It was election year and the Mayor, the Governor and everybody else with pull was fighting for attention and votes. None of them, he and his team, doubted that had things not escalated as fast as they did with the media attention and the worldwide view of it that this wouldn’t be an all state quest.

The FBI got called in quick, and that alone was unusual because most people liked keeping them out. They weren’t on point, but they were doing the background check and trying to clean up the camera footage to see what they could get while a far too annoying profiler tried to profile the attack.

This was a Black-Indian woman and it’s not like anybody was gung-ho about calling out the brigade for “black” women. Takahiro didn’t need a crystal ball to know this response was all political, but he would admit he was glad it was. His team was front in center for their area and all S.W.A.T. personnel across the state had been alerted to the possibility that they may be needed. They were focusing on the Valley and the eastern portion of the state, but they weren’t going to drop the ball—not when people were watching from America to London, to Spain, to Turkey and beyond.

“We are treating this like a search and rescue, but we all know the more hours that tick by, the less likely her chances of being alive.”

“Understatement much,” Takahiro mumbled.

“I know,” Javier Santiago mumbled back. The Latin short guy was one of their best to get in through a ceiling entry because of his size, but he was one heck of a shooter too. Dark hair, dark eyes and darkened coconut skin made him great at hiding in plain sight even without gear. Add the black cloak of uniform to it and he was an in, take the shot, get the hostage out kind of guy when they needed it.

Takahiro had the eyes, sharp shooting was his specialty, but so was leading his men into the thick of the moment and getting the hostage out when ceiling entry to take the kill wasn’t even an option. He was one of their best in many ways, but on this he would take lead. His Captain had already told him if the devil came to his town he would want him to send that devil back to hell. This was not their standard mission. This was a rescue the hostage at whatever the cost, even if that meant not worrying about apprehending the criminal. It was the first time in the history of Takahiro’s eleven and a half years on the team that he had heard those words spoken unveiled. He had been a cop since his twentieth birthday with which his skill led to a promotion to detective by twenty-three but he only lasted there six months because he wanted SWAT so he fought for the recommendation, got it and went in for the training, certifications and everything else needed to be a member of the team. By twenty-four he was the newbie with the unit and rapidly progressing faster than anybody before him. In all his years there he had heard a great many commands; he knew the masked words of save yourself and forget worrying about not taking the kill shot, but those words were always masked in a way that told him if the chips fell wrong his commanding officer would sell his soul to the Devil and think nothing of it. But this, direct orders, were hard to hide in the paperwork.

“This is a picture of what she looks like.” The eight by ten size natural landscape portrait came up. God she was a beauty, he thought as he looked at the gray eyes, the beautiful brown skin and the perfectly styled hair. She was a classy dresser too. The pictures they had been handed had her looking like a better version of classic old Hollywood, and from what he heard from Sergeant Aura Blake from Scottsdale, the woman was class personified. It wasn’t just the clothes in her closet or the pictures on her wall, but the men who came running from her office the moment they saw the footage had shed light on the woman that shocked them all—or so she had said.

She couldn’t figure out why anybody would do that to her, but they had all been on the force and in the world long enough to know that evil didn’t need an excuse to be evil.

“It’s nearing ten o’clock, men. The media is swarming. Every political higher up is ready to split their head wanting to make sure this comes out clean with a happy ending that won’t taint the city of Scottsdale or the state of Arizona. Let’s make sure we’re ready if we’re…”

“Sorry, Sir.” Julia Limpkins rushed into the room. “Deputies Fuller and Farmington went out on a call of a bloody shirt wrapped in a rug with bloodspots on it. The rug was out for the trash, but you know trash hunters and all. Well the guy who picked it up just got it home, unrolled it and found it. The rug was picked up on Cheyenne Road. He gave them the address. They need to know what you want them to do.”

They were about to be on and he knew it. The rug could have just been placed on somebody’s lawn but even if it was the guys who took her had to either still be in the county somewhere or had just been passing through. But who would just go driving around a neighborhood, drop a rug with blood soaked clothing on the lawn and take off? Nobody with a brain would do that because they would know the homeowner wouldn’t miss a rug big enough to hide a body in on their lawn. And if it were an empty house people would notice trash where nobody lived.

“Are they sure of the shirt?”

“Farmington says it looks like the one in the camera footage, but you know, it wasn’t the best footage. Either way, it would be odd, don’t you think, to have something like that show up on the lawn right now.”

“Odd indeed,” he said. “Suit up men. We have open permission from those in power to kick in whatever door we have too. This is not a quiet entry. Have your team ready Captain Scott Baker, because they’re taking down the door without any warning.”

“We’re on,” he told the men he would be leading. “Our only concern is bringing the hostage in alive.”

They all nodded, alerting him to their understanding. This, this was something they were all used to doing but Takahiro felt his blood pumping just a little faster than usual. This was different, this was life or death for that woman just like all the rest but God knows he felt a certain kind of way about what was ahead of them. He had seen the footage. He had seen her fight hard. And he had seen how ruthless those men had been. He knew they wouldn’t leave her alive. Right now, he wasn’t sure she still was, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t go in ready to take the shots needed with the hope that she still was.

 

“Ouch!” Sheila yelled as the brute struck the belt across her back harder from an angle that made it feel like he was trying to chop her in half. He had been hitting her so long this time she literally, mentally, begged for death. She couldn’t take any more of this torture. She had already wet her pants, not because she was scared—though she was that—but because she hadn’t gone since a couple hours before she walked out of her house and she had managed to have a full glass of water before that.

This man hadn’t given her water or food. He had eaten breakfast, forgotten, yet again, to brush his teeth before breathing his rancid breath in her face. He was getting off on this. No, he didn’t want her sexually but he was getting off on it. She could see the erection in his jeans every time he came around to start attacking her from the front with that belt.

He hit her again, and again. She felt her knees buckling, causing her arms to pull downward and make the wiry rope slice into her even more. She tried to stay on her feet. She was losing this battle. She was losing and she couldn’t survive this.

“Stop! Please stop!” It was the first time she had begged for him to stop the torture. She had refrained through hours of torture because she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction, but she couldn’t stop the words from pouring out of her mouth just as she couldn’t stop the tears.

He laughed, hit her once more and then came to stand in front of her. “Boss man will still find your face pretty at least. Bet he’ll get off even more at that sexy red fire all over your body. Maybe he’ll give you just the same. So long as I get to kill ya’ when he’s done.”

He obviously wanted to see her face because he slashed her stomach and breast bone with the belt a couple times before he walked closer, slipped his fingers into her hair and yanked her head back again.

“Oh yeah, I like the fear in your eyes.”

His breath made the bile rise up in her stomach and she couldn’t stop it. The moment he let go of her hair her head was already flying forward and the inner habitants of her empty stomach came flying out. She didn’t know she could throw up something she hadn’t eaten. She thought maybe it was blood. Maybe she was going to die now. But she hadn’t died. The only thing she had done was managed to anger him more when her vomit hit him in the face.

He swiped his arm over his face, looked at the sleeve of his shirt and flew into a rage. He hit her so hard with the back of his hand that it split her lip again, but down the center this time. Then he walked behind her and started beating her like some uncontrolled animal and all she could do was scream and beg for God to take her—take her to be with her parents or just take her out of this hell because she couldn’t survive this.

“Stupid! Stupid!” He yelled as he hit her harder than before she thought he was cutting into her back. She thought her skin was raw, broken, maybe even beaten away.

She couldn’t say how long that lasted because every second felt like an hour, every hour like a lifetime. But he stopped, tossed the belt on the floor, promised her he would be back and stomped up the stairs yet again.

She cried hard. She cried in desperation, in fear, in pain. But more than that, she cried alone. There would be nobody to save her because nobody knew where she was.

“God will never give you more than what you can bear,” her mother, a highly Christian woman, had always told her. Well her mother was wrong. God had given her more than what she could bear. She couldn’t bear this and God had left her here to bear it alone. Why wouldn’t he just take her? Why wouldn’t he end it for her, end her pain, her suffering, her life? She couldn’t bear this. She couldn’t bear it.

 

Takahiro and his men were suited up strong guard with their fire retardant balaclava to shield their identities, solid black military armor system for ground troops helmet made for tactical police applications, their ballistic SWAT labeled vests with the rigid plate inserts. When he told the men to suit up he wasn’t speaking lightly. It was like going into a blind war not knowing exactly how many weapons these guys had. He knew for sure one had a Sig Sauer P220 Combat Pistol, but he thought he caught a glimpse of another gun, maybe a Glock, in the waistband of his pants as he bent over to scoop her up and toss her into the big guy’s arms. They were going in heavily armed and blind which could be good or bad, but in this case he trusted his team to act with clarity and precision and not some knee jerk reaction. They were all extensively trained and only one of them qualified as new to the team and she had been there for a solid year now so he trusted them. He trusted they could go in hot and bring the hostage out alive—if she were still alive that is.

He watched as Sky Riverton and Grant Solaria put their weight into the Battering Ram and took out the door. Entry was swift enough to get four of his team members clearing one side of the one story house while he and the others hit the kitchen fast enough to see the big beast reaching for something like he was going to attack and then run. Of course with their orders he didn’t even have to tell his guys to take a shot because they all opened fire. Bloody hell as Ethan Cohen would always say. They were in a war. Oh well. One down and one left to go, but his priority was the hostage.

“Clear!” He heard Jag yell from the other side of the house. That was good to know since newbie Jacinta Gibbs was with the other men. She wasn’t so new that she didn’t know what she was doing but he still preferred not to have her on his heals just yet. It was good to know no gunfire was needed on the other side.

With the other side clear and their one man down the basement was the last hit. He signaled to his men as he twisted the knob, opened the door and took the stairs. There really wasn’t a need in being quiet because if the other guy was down there he would have heard the first door going in, or even the bullets that killed his partner in crime, but he followed procedure to ensure the safety of his team and the hostage.

BOOK: Red Noon
12.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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