‘Idiots! So everybody thought they could do as they pleased!’ the Chief cursed after he ended the call with the judge. Did they forget who he was? His eyes narrowed as he sent a quick text to Gina. He needed her here. He had to admit that she was right. The judge and his brother went rogue because they thought they owned the streets.
He laughed cynically.
They had forgotten who he was.
New York was his hunting ground for decades before the commissioner transferred him to Rhode Island, and only a fool would undermine his authority here, and no street thug was going to get a bite of his cherry.
He went over his plan carefully and was still at it when Gina opened the door. ‘Thanks for the text, dad. I couldn’t sleep! What’s the latest with that criminal?’
She sat beside him on the sofa and examined the room. Her dad sure liked the good life, and for a while, she wondered what he would do after his retirement, but when she saw how invested he was in helping her get Christopher, she figured his plans of running for Mayor, then Governor of New York were still in play.
But as she found out that evening, the whore and her offspring were complications that they had to handle with care. Christopher had bluntly rejected her for the woman, and Herbert deviated from the plan and kept the girls alive instead for ransom.
‘To be remedied,’ she said aloud, helping herself to some bourbon.
‘You are talking to yourself again,’ her father said with a smirk.
‘Don’t blame me, dad. This situation has me all riled up!’ She took a sip and moaned as the bourbon traveled down her throat.
‘The weasel’s off his leash,’ the Chief said, a bit embarrassingly.
‘What was that?’ Gina asked in alarm.
‘The ransom he asked for was just the beginning. From all indications, it’s going to be a continuous thing.’
Gina blinked several times to make sure it wasn’t the bourbon, making her hear things.
‘Tell me you are going to end him,’ she challenged.
The Chief walked towards the land phone in the room, which he connected to a secure line only his trusted allies had access. ‘It will take a few thousand dollars, but he will meet his end tonight.’
‘You said the weasel was good. Won’t the fool see this coming?’ Gina asked apprehensively. He might come for us if he survives, she thought.
The Chief smiled at her. ‘His men will hang him out to dry before he knows it. Everyone has a price. Once I place the bounty on his head, even his own shadow will turn on him.’
He made promises a few hours ago, and now they were here, spending money to put things back on track. He wasn’t convincing.
As expected, once word got out that there was a bounty on Herbert’s head, one of his men reached out and revealed his location on the condition that he and his friends would have the chance to take Herbert out on their own and share the bounty.
‘You see? That wasn’t so hard!’ the Chief said, hugging Gina’s shoulders. She looked lost in thought, and her father had a puzzled look on his face.
‘Are you sure you don’t want me on this?’ Gina asked, looking into the Chief’s eyes.
He shook his head in disapproval.
‘You’ve been out of the game too long. The weasel, on the other hand, has years of experience. I can’t risk it.’
She nodded and changed the subject.
‘Where did they say he was?’ she asked on.
‘At the abandoned train station in the Bronx. You know, the one that the government plans to convert to a power plant soon,’ her dad explained, absent-mindedly.
‘Are you going to tell Christopher?’ she continued.
The Chief frowned.
‘So he can pressure me into rescuing his girls? Not a chance. The girls have to go. If they get caught in the crossfire, that moves our plans along.’
Gina nodded briskly and rose from the sofa.
‘I have to go, dad. I have a meeting tomorrow. I need to get a shut eye.’
‘It’s Christmas, Gina. Take the holidays off. Stay here with me,’ the Chief protested.
‘Nope. I need the distraction, or I will lose my mind,’ Gina countered as she headed for the door.
‘Let me know how it goes,’ the Chief said from behind her, and she turned around abruptly. ‘You know, with the meeting,’ he continued, and she nodded.
On her way to her father’s house, Gina noticed the security detail that tailed her all the way there. Her father wasn’t taking any chances with the weasel.
‘This is insane!’ she spat out before her phone rang.
She closed the front door softly and felt the cool winter breeze on her face as she answered.
‘Christopher,’ she said softly. Butterflies flew in circles in her tummy as he spoke.
‘Thank God you are awake. Gina, I’m desperate. What if what your dad is planning goes wrong?’
‘Slow down, Christopher,’ Gina cut in, strolling to her car.
God, if he only knew how he made her feel!
‘What do you mean, Chris?’ she asked calmly.
‘He plans to follow Herbert to his hideout after the drop. What if something goes wrong?’ Christopher continued.
‘Dad’s experienced in these matters. I assure you, he will bring your girls back to you. He won’t fail you, Chris, I promise.’
She heard him sigh heavily.
‘If anything happens to my girls, I will die. Sarah won’t survive either. The poor thing had a nightmare and has just managed to drift off again.’
Oh, she won’t survive, either way, Gina thought, getting into her car. ‘Please don’t say such things, Chris. I will personally keep tabs on my dad. The girls will be back in your arms soon. I promise.’
‘Thank you, buttercup. I’m indebted to you.’
He hadn’t called her that since their college days, and it sounded good. Christopher! she moaned after he ended the call. She closed her eyes and tried to replay the sound of his voice in her head. Instantly, she made a firm decision.
She punched in the coordinates to the train station and sped off into the night.
She had to go through snow and dirt, but in thirty minutes, Regina Sacramento was parked adjacent to the infamous hideout of the weasel, and through her rearview mirror, she could see that she had lost her security detail. ‘Clowns!’ she mocked. They couldn’t keep up with her even if they tried. The last thing she wanted was her father thwarting her efforts out of fear.
She cased the area from inside her car.
It was dark, and she couldn’t see much, and the windmills close to the station made it impossible for her to hear anything, but she wasn’t afraid. She missed this. The thrill of the chase. The rush of adrenaline into her brain as she hunted her prey. However, this was the first time she was hunting alone without backup, and her target was formidable.
Herbert was a born killer. He had a nose for blood and had escaped death and incarceration so many times that it became ridiculous. It would be suicide to seek him out without a plan.
Wait it out, the voice in her head told her. She fell back against the car seat and kept her eyes firmly on the train station, waiting for movement.
It was almost dawn before she got rewarded for her patience. Two small figures ran towards her car then away from it.
Were those …? Gina wondered as she looked at the adjacent window to get a better view. They were no longer in her sights, but she caught the bulky figure of a man going the same direction.
Instinctively, she turned on the engine.
At first, Herbert thought a bounty hunter circled and tried to kidnap the girls from under him, so he approached the bathroom carefully, with his pistol out in front of him. Then the silence that followed surprised him, but he wouldn’t believe what his mind was telling him until he saw the empty bathroom and the broken window above the washbasin.
He was impressed at how confident they must have been to try to get away, but how far did they think they would get?
‘Alright,’ he smirked, ready for the chase. ‘I better not catch you.’
To the left of the train station was a small forest that had sprung up over the years and to the right was the expansive parking lot which was easier to navigate, so he didn’t need to guess which way they went, especially when the area was void of street lights, but daytime was approaching.
He took the front, going over the dead bodies of his men and breathing in the cold air as soon as he was outside. It took a few seconds to adjust his vision, and when he did, he spotted their silhouettes far out in the parking lot. He couldn’t let them reach the road, or they would have options in terms of routes to take, so he chased them.
Penny struggled to keep up with Daisy, and Herbert knew that all he had to do was call out their names, and the chase would be over. He didn’t want that. Herbert enjoyed showing these minxes that their efforts would always be futile against him. Besides, he wasn’t sure if other bounty hunters were lurking around, so he had to be careful.
The early morning air was ferociously cold even as the snow had eased up and Herbert was getting irritated. No more running. His lungs were working overtime, and his limbs were getting heavy from the constant friction against the snow.
Silently, he praised them. They were resilient. They really thought they could escape him!
‘Enough of this!’ he barked, shooting his pistol up in the air.
The noise from the windmills masked most of the sound, but he was sure they heard it because they stopped for a moment.
‘Penny, we need to run faster!’ shouted Daisy, without turning to look his way.
However, the little one did because she was terrified. She met Herbert’s eyes briefly before her sister dragged her away.
‘Really, Daisy?’ Herbert asked, irked before pointing the gun towards them.
‘Daisy, please stop,’ begged Penny. She was giving up. He wasn’t surprised, considering that she hadn’t recovered fully. The sister on steroids didn’t listen. Stupid girl!
He pulled the trigger.
Daisy fell. The chase was over.
‘Daisy!’ Penny cried out, trying to break her sister’s fall. She landed on the snow.
‘Daisy!’ Penny called out again.
Herbert sighed and reduced his speed as he approached them. Well, the stars were threatening that only one of the girls would survive the ordeal. He would settle for the one that mattered, but as he drew nearer, their figures lit up quickly.
Lights? He turned around abruptly but only had time to do just that before his body shattered against the iron bumper of Regina Sacramento’s black Honda and fell lifeless on the ground.