Assassin Ch. 01bycckuay©
She was surrounded by four men.
Two of them were behind her, carrying assault weapons. Both of them were dressed in black, with muscles straining and peeking out from the short sleeves of the tight T-shirts.
One of them had an AR-15 semi-automatic, the civilian version of the M16, standard issue for the U.S. armed forces. He held the rifle casually slung across his broad shoulders. His salt and pepper hair was bundled into a pigtail, giving him the look of an aging hippie. He was probably a Vietnam vet. His face was angular, with narrow eyes, a nose broken at least twice, and a cigarette hanging from the left side of his mouth. He was a few inches taller than her. She memorized his features and burned it into her memory.
The other man had an AK-47, the most popular assault rifle in the world, standard issue for the Russian military and former Warsaw Pact countries. He was more disciplined than the American hippie, holding the weapon rigidly with both arms. He had a small face, which was in contrast to his big nose and thick eyebrows that almost met in the middle. At five foot nine, he was about the same height as her if she was standing barefoot and upright. She tagged him as Russian.
The other two men wore face masks and were dressed identically in dark suits. The only way to tell them apart was that one was very tall, probably six foot six. The other was about the same height as her. They stood within a foot of each other, both looking at her.
Her wrists were pulled sideways and upwards, tied to the ceiling, and she was wearing only a halter lace slip from Victoria's Secret. But she smiled at her captors, radiating the confidence of a model on a photo shoot, instead of the paralyzing fear that the men were used to seeing in the eyes of their victims.
These men were ruthless and capable of unmentionable atrocities. One of them, the taller suited man, worked mostly in the flesh trade. His job was to snatch young virgins and break them in before selling them to South America, Middle East, and other places with thriving black markets for fresh meat. He did not speak, and she was unable to guess where he was from.
The shorter suited man appeared to be the leader. He knew he was not dealing with an ordinary woman. "Although we are totally in control of your situation, the outcome of what happens to you will be solely determined by your decision whether or not to cooperate." His voice was French, but overlaid by mid-western American, as if he was trying hard to hide his origin.
This group was international and expensive to fund. In her mind, she ran down the names of possible enemies that would have that kind of money. She gave up when the list topped a dozen.
"The best case scenario is for you to be totally honest with us," the short suit continued, as if laying out a business case to a boardroom of executives. "My colleagues here hate the best case scenario, because they would like to do nasty things to you. I am the only person who can help you." They were using the classic good cop, bad cop routine.
The leader placed his face six inches from her eyes. "Let's start by telling us your name."
She remained silent.
He nodded to the hippie behind her, who slapped her hard across the mouth. Her arm muscles tensed against the ropes, which creaked and twisted, swinging her body from the waist up. A strand of her champagne blonde hair stuck to her bleeding lip.
Smirking, the leader moved even closer and coiled her hair in his right palm, then jerked her head back without warning. "Your name?"
She saw his watch on his left wrist. It was almost four in the morning. They had taken her at one, after she had been sleeping for a couple of hours.
"My name is Megan," she decided it was not worth holding back such basic information. She did not lie because anyone who tracked down her address would probably know her real name.
"Good, you are beginning to think for yourself and very wisely decided to cooperate."
She avoided eye contact. Her poker gave them no clue of the terror she felt inside.
"See that laptop," he pointed to a table behind her. She twisted her neck sideways to catch a glimpse of her own computer from the corner of her left eye. "We took that when we captured you."
Her capture had been carefully planned. Using high-tech devices, the three-man team waited a block away until she was sleeping in her suburban house in Oceanside, California. Two men went up to the second floor bedroom. She awoke when she heard the footsteps. Standing next to the door, she surprised both men, chopping the first man behind his neck and kicking the second in his balls. Both men went down momentarily.
When she fled downstairs, the third man fired a Taser at her. The two barbed probes landed on her bare flesh, embedded just below her right collar bone. Millions of electrons flowed through her, incapacitating her muscles. The men quickly handcuffed her hands behind, chained her ankles together, and placed a heavy hood over her head. She was driven across the border to be interrogated in Tijuana.
"Tell us the password." She knew that they would eventually crack the system. But delaying as long as possible was important. If she could hold out for two more hours, when she failed to report at six, her partner would know something was wrong.
"I cannot remember. I wrote it on a piece of paper hidden in a book on my nightstand at home."
"Bullshit!" the leader raised his voice for the first time. "I hate it when people try to bullshit a bullshiter." The room broke up in laughter, even though there was nothing funny about the statement.
Another nod to the hippie. Behind her, he pressed his cigarette on her thin left strap, burning the flimsy nylon material as well as the skin on her shoulder blade. She twitched but bit her tongue, not wanting to give them the satisfaction. When the strap was half burned, the hippie tore off the strap, leaving her left breast fully exposed.
"Give me the password and I'll get you a T-shirt."
"Wait. Let me try to remember."
This time, the leader nodded to the tall suited man specialized in breaking women. He moved slowly, keeping his eyes on her left nipple. When he was inches away, he cracked his knuckles by pressing them against her cheek, one hand at a time.
With his left hand, he twisted around her hair and held her tight. He used the thumb and index fingers of his stronger hand to trap her exposed nipple. Then he gripped hard, closing his eyes to focus on twisting her defenseless nipple. She bit on her lower lip until it bled.
When he did not hear the expected scream, he pulled and twisted at the same time, stretching the sensitive skin behind her nipple half a foot from her body. She shifted her legs as much as the ropes would allow to mitigate the pain.
After a full minute, it was obvious she would not break. Frustrated the tall man left the windowless room. The metallic door slammed shut with a thud.
A few seconds later, the short suit said, "Sooner or later, everyone breaks. Surely you know that."
"I know, that is why I am trying to remember my password."
"Maybe this will help you remember."
Again, the leader nodded to both men. Without a word, they seemed to know what to do next. It was as if they were in a well-choreographed dance. She heard both men behind her removing their leather belts. She braced herself to be gang-raped.
The hippie stood in front of her, with a wry smile, leather belt in his hand. The Russian was behind her, kicking her legs apart.
The hippie touched her between her legs with the barrel of his AR-15. "Don't move, honey." He removed his cigarette long enough to utter the three words. She obeyed.
At the same time, the Russian tied each of her ankles with fresh ropes, keeping them three feet apart. The strain on her shoulders and upper arms increased.
Both men now looked at the leader for approval.
"Last chance, or you'll be whipped until you pass out." She would not be raped, at least not yet.
"At least let me sit down and refresh my memory. Let's see, it could be my birthday, or maybe it's the name of my first pet."
"Keep thinking," the leader said as he nodded to both men.
The hippie struck first, the belt slicing into her exposed breast. The Russian took his time, winding up and rotating his body for maximum torque. When his belt hit her shoulder blades, she screamed for the first time.
The scream was only for a split second, but it encouraged the hippie. This time, the belt landed on her right breast, still covered by the flimsy slip dress. She did not scream. The next blow from the Russian landed on the small of her back. She shrieked.
Learning from the Russian, the hippie took a little time to rotate his body. He targeted her exposed nipple but missed an inch. Still, the blow was so hard she screamed. From then on, the men took turns to hurt her on one-second intervals. Her screams were continuous. She paused only to breathe.
Things turned gray and dark spots appeared before her. She felt her head dropping down before darkness enveloped her.
*** To be continued in Ch. 2 ***