NOTE: Since I haven’t finished writing the book and thus have not completed my edits, I can’t guarantee that this is word-for-word what the first chapter will look like when I’m done…but it’s at least very close to the finished product. I hope you enjoy it and that it makes you want to read the rest (sometime later this year):
She awoke knowing she was going to die. Worse, that she was probably going to get her daughter killed as well.
She didn’t know where she was. Some kind of abandoned building, an upper floor from the faint sounds of traffic outside. Not a lot of vehicles but somewhere in town probably. She was bound tightly at her wrists and ankles, in a sitting position with her back wedged into one corner of a large space that, besides her, currently held only a stack of wooden pallets against a far wall. Otherwise it was bare wood, exposed rafters, and some high windows that were so dirty they barely let in the daylight.
There was no point in yelling and she couldn’t anyway because her throat was too dry.
He’d taken her in the evening, after it was dark, so she must have been unconscious at least eight or ten hours.
She was thirsty. She was hungry. She was cold. The back of her dress was wet with urine. And none of that mattered. She deserved it all and worse for being so stupid, for allowing herself to be seduced into committing a crime so monstrous she still couldn’t believe it.
Had she been insane? Did she contain some horrible flaw she hadn’t even known about that he had recognized and tapped? She didn’t know. She couldn’t know. What she did know was that now her daughter was about to be used by this same terrible man and it was all her fault.
He was insane, for sure. At first, when she finally realized she was simply being used, that she wasn’t loved, she assumed it was greed. Thirty million dollars was a lot of money. But he had the money now and could have easily gone…”into the wind,” isn’t that what they said on the TV cop shows? Yes, very far into the wind with access to that much money.
But he was still here and seemed to be obsessed with the idea that he’d been betrayed by…somebody…and was endangered by, apparently, somebody else. Or somebody working with the first somebody. He’d taken time to torment her before injecting her with the drug that had put her to sleep. He’d rambled on for what seemed in her initial terror to be at least an hour but she didn’t know who he was talking about or why. There was a “she” (the betrayer) and a “he” (the danger) and a “they” who might or might not have been them but…she didn’t understand and it was useless to speculate.
The one thing he’d said clearly was that he was taking her to use as leverage. That his weapon would be her daughter, her lovely gentle daughter, and that the weapon would be wielded before she herself was dead. She would live to know he had been successful, he had promised her. It didn’t sound like she would live much beyond that.
Through it all he also kept muttering about time, about needing more time, about being robbed of time…. But never once had he answered any of her questions, responded directly to any of her pleas. He had explained nothing about why the money wasn’t enough. He hadn’t even told her to shut up when she kept begging.
There was only one moment of absolute clarity and it was not welcome. As he pressed the needle against her arm he’d finally looked directly into her eyes.
“None of you,” he said in a calm and confident voice that sounded deceptively sane, “had any idea who you were dealing with. I am the best and will always be the best. You are all pathetic fools.”
Then he smiled and slipped the needle under her skin as tears rolled down her cheeks.