Dead Heat: Shattered Hearts Ch. 05byvelvetpie©
The apartment that Fyona Washington had occupied ten years ago was nothing but wasteland now. Wrought-iron fence kept the unkempt yards and broken pavement from spreading to neighboring areas and the empty-eyed windows of the deserted apartment buildings stared out onto the rest of the prospering landscape with sadness.
I ignored the surroundings, instead searching for any signs of life around the decaying buildings and finally located Fyona's SUV, parked alongside a concrete slab that had previously been a loading dock. The driver and passenger doors were open and one of Fyona's slippers was on the ground outside. I tried not to give into the fear that was chewing my heart for dinner and thumbed my cell into operation, contacting Brad, who was on the way. I relayed the information to him and he gave me some in return.
Ronnie had a gun. The drugged girl from the Adams crack house had come out of her fog long enough to say that Jonas had given him a .38 Special. I swallowed past the lump in my throat and barked for Brad to hurry. My worry meter, already at an all-time high of 10, had now reached 100.
I felt so helpless, walking back and forth outside, waiting for Brad's arrival. Ten anxious minutes later, Brad and three other of our colleagues pulled into the gravel space. Brad tossed me my bag and we suited up. "Hey, Pete?"
"Cap doesn't know about this."
I nodded. "That's okay. I'll deal with any fall-out. Let's go."
The first three buildings were empty. Not completely empty. I wasn't counting the squatters and homeless druggies that usually littered these types of places. I was looking for a mother and her child and the crazed man that held them captive. We apologized to anyone we burst in on and continued our search.
In the fourth building, a little kid playing with a broken toy boat gave us a wide smile when we approached. "Hi. You looking for Mikey?"
The name caught my attention immediately. I grabbed Brad, stopping him and crouched down by the child. "Yeah. You know him?"
"Yeah. He was real nice to me. Gave me money to go to Taco Bell. I love Taco Bell."
"Wow, that was really nice."
The child's face fell. "Yeah. The pretty lady with him was nice, too, but the man … " The little boy rubbed his eye as if he was about to cry. "He kicked me and told me that I was nothing but a piece of shit."
Ronnie. He didn't have to tell me for me to know that Ronnie had been the one to kick him. I fought my anger down. "Can you tell me where they went?"
"Yeah. They went downstairs, into the plum guy's house."
"The plum guy?" Brad asked.
"Yeah. The guy that used to fix all the pipes. The plum guy."
I nearly laughed when I understood what he was saying. "The plumber."
"Yeah! That's it!"
"Can you show us where it is?"
The child's eyes changed then, showing fear. "That big man … he said he'd hurt me if I told."
"We'll take care of you, son. Just tell us. It's very important."
The child looked around at them, then picked up his broken boat, cradling it lovingly. "Okay, but you have to buy me a new boat."
"Okay. Now show me."
Following the young lad made me glad that I'd taken the time to ask him the questions because the plumber's apartment was located on the bottom floor of the building and we had to take a circuitous path to reach it. He pointed to the paint-cracked door and began to inch backwards, his eyes wide with fright. "That's it."
Just then, the thin wail of a woman broke the air and I couldn't wait any longer. I broke the door down, my gun trained on whatever it found and stopped dead in my tracks. My lovely Fyona was naked, hung by her wrists over a wooden stanchion. Her dark skin showed evidence of a beating, blue marks arising through brown and her cheeks were wet with tear tracks. Her eyes swept over us, connected with mine, then looked away in shame. Mykal was nowhere to be seen. Pistol pointed at us, Ronnie smiled.
"Ah, here's your new lover, Fy." Ronnie grinned, his prison-honed body turning towards us. "Pete, isn't it?" He smiled and pinched her breast, drawing a cry of pain from her. My stomach wrenched in knots. "And he's here to join the party."