This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
- Dear Ellie - Part 29
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
Previously, Scott and Ellie were questioning who the real Hammah Harrison was? Was she part of the underground black market, or was she buying back her own abducted child from the market? In the meantime finds himself where he never wanted to be.
The night was cold and windy. Scott pulled his coat closer and buried his face in the high collar. After a night at the gym, the raw, winter air pulled Scott's muscles tighter. He hurried to the parking garage. He could hardly wait for the warmth of the Range Rover. The wind was picking up considerably by the time he reached the second deck of the garage. Finally, he was nestled inside the vehicle.
That's when he felt the cold barrel of a gun placed against the base of his skull. Somehow, he was able to remain calm as he uttered a silent prayer for protection.
"Do exactly as I say, Branson, and you won't get hurt." A voice lied. "Rule number one - don't turn around. Rule number two - don't say a word. Just drive where I tell you and just do what I say."
The faded note was still in Ellie's hand. She was moved as she read the lines,
Babe, I'm so sorry. I just can't take it anymore. I wish I was stronger. Promise me you'll keep looking for Carrie, and please only tell her good things about me - even if you have to lie.
Her mind wandered on.
While Scott was out, Ellie called Hannah. She needed some answers.
"Hannah, I need to know. Are you mixed up in this crazy abduction ring? Are you one of them?"
"Mrs. Branson, I appreciate your questioning. If I were part, I wouldn't tell you anyway, but for the record, no. I'm not."
."Hannah, you made a deal with them to buy your baby back, didn't you?"
"Mrs. Branson, I must go. Thank you for calling." With that, the phone went dead.
Ellie's intuition took over. She began to consider that Hannah had made a deal with the abduction ring to buy back her child. Ellie could understand that kind of desperate action. Was it possible that Ellie and Scott could also redeem their child? No offer was made to them. There was no ransom request. How did Hannah manage to arrange it? Too many questions. She looked at the clock on the kitchen wall. She realized Scott should have been home by now. What was keeping him?
Scott was forced to drive to a familiar location, the old Brownsville hospital. The voice from the back seat gave further instructions. "You know where we are. You've been around here snooping enough. So where do we go from here, Branson?
Scott choked on his words. "I'm guessing room 235."
"You're so right. Now move it."
The two men moved quickly through the dark night. They traveled through the same rusted door to the same staircase to the same hall to the same room. All the while, the barrel of the gun pushed harder into Scott's back.
Just before Scott was ordered to turn the knob to room 235, the voice asked, "do you remember what you saw the first time you entered this room?"
Scott remembered Rosie Spencer hanging from the ceiling fan. "Yes. Yes, I do."
"Well, we have something better planned for you, You know why Rosie was hanging from that fan? Because she got too close. If you would have just stayed out of the way, Branson . . ."
The man proceeded to tie Scott to a chair. First, his hands were tied behind the back of the chair. Then loops of rope circled his chest and abdomen before his feet were anchored to the legs of the chair. The ropes were pulled tight, and Scott couldn't move. Still behind him, the assailant pushed Scott close to a dirty window covered with the dust of years. "Look down, Branson. It's only two stories, but believe me, two stories are pretty high when you're falling tied to a chair."
For the first time, Scott caught a glimpse of the familiar voice as the filthy window reflected his face. "So Stella was right. My old buddy, David Martin. She had your number the whole time."
"Shut up, Branson. Don't talk to me about Stella Washington."
"And where's Larson, Dave? He must be around here somewhere."
Martin pushed the chair up the window. Scott's nose was a fraction of an inch away from the glass.
"There's somebody who wants to meet you before we kill you. And don't worry, Branson. We're not going to throw you and the chair from a second story window. We have something much more clever in mind. Now, don't go anywhere. I'll be right back."
Martin exited room 235 only to return with his accomplice a few minutes later.
"Hey, Scotty, my man. Long time. no see, huh Dude? It's really great that we can catch up on things. Ya know what I mean, my man."
The sound of Todd Martz's voice sickened Scott. "Hey, Martz. Imagine seeing you after all these years. So this is your operation, eh?" Scott tried to remain calm, but his sarcasm was showing through.
"No. Oh no, Scotty, my man. This is way too intricate for me. I just follow the Boss's orders. Davey here, he reports to me. But the Boss - everything is controlled, planned and organized by the Boss. Still, my man, I'm second in command."
"Say, Todd. How about introducing me to the Boss for old times sake?"
"No can do, my man. No one ever sees the Boss. Except for me, that is. Like I said, I'm second in command."
"I realize that. I always knew you'd make something of yourself. You had that go-getter attitude way back when. I bet the Boss was really impressed with your resume. So how long have you been working here?" Scott continued to press trying to gain as much information as he could.
"I got this job right outta college. It's been quite a gig. Big-time money, Scotty. If things had turned out a little different, I might have been able to offer ya a job with the company. But obviously, we both know that wouldn't work.
"Let me be upfront with ya, Scotty. Ya got too close to exposing the operation. If ya just didn't go to the police the other night . . . . We can't take chances in this business. We're gonna have to kill ya."
"I get that, Martz. But why me? Why, why did you take Carrie?"
"She was your first-born - your only born. Know what I mean?"
Scott's mind flashed back to his hospital stay at University Park. He could remember it like yesterday. He could remember exactly what Todd said. "Oh, and Scotty, ya better not breathe a word of this to the police. The brothers will be watchin' ya. Ya better watch your back. If ya mess up, it'll cost ya your first-born, know what I mean, Scotty?"
Todd continued, "But there was more than that. I just happen to know the right people, and ya were the right person at the right time for what we needed. Hey, but Scotty, your girl brought a nice price. Ya did good."
Scott spit in Todd's face. "Now, look, my man. That wasn't nice. Todd struck Scott with a powerful backhand, The chair toppled over. "Martin, pick him up!" Todd ordered.
Todd continued. "But I'm willing to be fair to ya. Ya know, like ya say, for old times sake. I'm willing to personally serve ya your last meal. What would ya like? Pizza? Steak? Shrimp? Ya name it, ya got it. I want to bring ya some happiness in your last moments. Go ahead, Scotty, what do you want?"
Scott tried to remain in control and show an air of confidence. "I'm really not hungry right now, Todd. What I would really like is to meet the Boss. You're going to kill me anyway, so what's it going to hurt? You know, for old times sake?"
"Scotty, Scotty, Scotty. Ya drive such a hard bargain. I'll see what I can do. No promises, of course. I'll be back in a minute. Don't go anywhere!" Todd chuckled as he walked out the door.
Minutes later Todd returned. "I've arranged a meeting with ya and the Boss, Scotty. Being second in command does have its advantages. I want ya to know a meeting like this is very unusual. As a matter of fact, I don't think it's ever happened before. The Boss is a very private person. But then again, you are a very special person.
"Anyone who gets the attention of the Boss is special. Rosie Spenser - she was special, but I think ya even outdid her, Scotty. Ya were persistent, Ya had courage. Ya took a stand. I kinda admire that, my man. Ya have some good qualities. Too bad ya had to misuse them."
Martin cut in. "Todd, you gonna be here? I have to go finish up some last minute checks on the execution machine. We want it to be ready, right?"
"Yeah, sure. Go ahead. I'll babysit!
On the outside, Scott remained calm. On the inside, he was terrified. In a few minutes, he would be face to face with the Boss. Just where Larson fit in, Scott wasn't sure. Was he the Boss? And what was this execution machine? Time would tell.
- Dear Ellie - Part 31
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
© 2017 William Kovacic