Authors: Alan Leverone
Tags: #eBook, #thriller, #Bestseller
Amanda was in despair. Why had she let him grab her and throw her into his truck? How could she have been so careless? She would never again see her home. She would never again see her boyfriend or her parents or her college roommates. She would never hang out at the pizzeria in her tiny hometown, listening to music on the old-fashioned jukebox and teasing the local boys by wearing tight jeans and tank tops. She would simply disappear.
I guess I already have.
Amanda Lawton began to cry. She hadn't thought it possible, she thought she had exhausted her tears at least three days ago. She had no words left to plead with her captor, but the tears came of their own accord. She cherished the tears. The tears meant that, somewhere deep inside the terrified shell of her former self, there was a sliver of hope, a dream that she might still escape the fate laid out for her by this awful man.
She was wrong.
Her captor stood and watched her cry, impassive and unmoved. He raised his arm slowly and pointed to one side of the tiny enclosure. Amanda tried to follow his gesture, which required intense concentration thanks to the cocktail of drugs she had been forced to take before he brought her to this new prison. “See the tiles on these walls?” he asked.
Amanda shook her head, trying to clear it. Why would he think she cared about the walls?
“Do you see them?”
he repeated, the annoyance clear in his tone.
Amanda nodded, stifling a sob, still confused. “Yes, I see the tiles on the wall.”
“Good. These are professional-grade acoustical tiles, very expensive and very effective at accomplishing their purpose. And do you know what that purpose might be?”
Amanda shook her head again, confused and disoriented, but not so confused that she couldn't tell he was playing with her, taunting her. Somehow this meaningless little humiliation hurt worse than all the indignities he had forced on her over the past week. It was the last straw.
She closed her eyes and sniffled as the tears came harder. She knew the man well enough by now to know this would only infuriate him, but she couldn't help it. Of course, she was right.
he shouted. “What is the purpose of these incredibly expensive tiles?”
“I don't know.” Amanda sobbed, not wanting to die but wishing that, if his plan was to kill her, he would just hurry up and do it already.
“Thank you,” the man said with exaggerated politeness. “Now, was that so hard?” The swiftness of his mood changes was unpredictable and frightening. “Since you're now showing an interest, I'll tell you. Those professional-grade acoustical tiles are so expensive because they are extremely effective at muffling noise and preventing it from leaving this room. Radio stations and music studios use them to preserve the integrity of the recording and broadcasting process, and the people I deal with use them to preserve the integrity of
operation, which, in this case, means not allowing anyone outside of this room know that you are here inside it.
“Now, in case you're wondering, and undoubtedly you are, this little “office,” as I like to call it, is located in an out-of-the-way area surprisingly free of traffic. Not many people come here at all, either by car or on foot. But in the event someone does pass by while you're here, you can scream all you want at the loudest volume you can manage, and all you will achieve for your effort will be a set of strained vocal cords.
“My point, sweetheart, in case you are so addled by my drugs you need me to explain it, is that, even though I will be leaving soon, and I'm not sure how exactly long you'll be here, it will do you no good to call for help. It would be a pointless waste of effort and would only serve to tire you out for no good reason. There is a bright side, however. I know you fear for your life, but you needn't. My home was merely a waypoint for you, and your stay, as pleasant as it was for both of us, represented no more than a temporary interlude for you before continuing your journey to your new, permanent home.”
Amanda shook her head. “Permanent home?”
“That's right. I'm not exactly sure where you're going. It might be the frozen wastelands of Russia or the deserts of the Middle East. It all depends upon who my contacts are currently negotiating with, but I can
tell you it won't be here in the United States, or even on the North American continent. That would be too risky for all involved. Do you understand?”
Amanda nodded. She understood. She wished she didn't, but she did. She tried again to raise her sagging body and sit upright in the chair. It wasn't easy, with all four limbs duct-taped to a big, wooden monstrosity that looked like an electric chairânot to mention with the drugs coursing through her body. She strained and worked and eventually managed it, and she felt marginally more comfortable. But the tiny enclosure with no windows felt like an oven.
Her stomach lurched again. Sweat streamed down Amanda's forehead and into her eyes, stinging them and mixing with her tears, and her vision jumped and blurred. She vaguely registered her scraggly captor turning and walking toward the door.
At least it looked as though there would be no gag stuffed into her mouthâwhy bother if nobody could hear her scream anyway? When he reached the door and swung it open, taking one last long look back at her, she threw up all over the floor.
Her captor shook his head in silent rebuke and walked out the door into the bright May sunshine. It slanted in through the open door for just a moment like an unfulfilled promise, and Amanda wondered if she would ever see the sun again. He closed and locked the door. She waited to hear the sound of his rattletrap truck starting up, of him driving away, but she didn't hear a thing. Of course, the incredibly expensive acoustical soundproofing tiles.
She counted to one hundred in her head, nice and slow, and when she was sure he must be gone, she tested his theory about the tiles. Amanda Lawton screamed.
And he must have been right. Because nobody came.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I've been fascinated by the power of the written word my whole life, penning my first thriller somewhere around the age of ten. In this short story, a young man gets lost in the woods during a fierce winter snowstorm and his body is found months later huddled against a tree, a single teardrop frozen onto his dead cheek. I suppose this gives you a fairly accurate insight into my genre sensibilities.
I attended the University of Notre Dame with the intention of majoring in newspaper journalism before changing direction after my freshman year and majoring in Business Administration, a degree I received in 1981 and have to this day never put to use.
After graduation, and despite having never set foot inside an airplane, I was hired by the Federal Aviation Administration and began training as an air traffic controller, a job I have held ever since, working in Providence, Rhode Island, Bangor, Maine, and, for the last twenty years controlling traffic at Boston's Logan International Airport.
I am a proud member of the
International Thriller Writers
New England Horror Writers
Short Mystery Fiction Society
, I live in Londonderry, New Hampshire with my beautiful wife of nearly thirty years, Sue, our three children, one granddaughter, and Midnight the Miracle Cat, who has survived more adventures than the rest of us combined.
Copyright Â©2011 by Allan Leverone
All rights reserved as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the publisher.
StoneGate Ink 2012
Boise ID 83713
First eBook Edition: 2012
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to a real person, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Cover design by Â© Claudia McKinney - phatpuppyart.com
Published in the United States of America