Read Utopian Day Online

Authors: C.L. Wells

Tags: #thriller, #crime, #action adventure, #fiction action adventure, #fiction thrillers, #crime action adventure, #thriller action and suspense, #fiction crime novel, #thriller action adventure

Utopian Day (8 page)

BOOK: Utopian Day
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It’s o.k., son,” she said. “I’m
o.k.”

The door to James’ room burst open and two darkly
clad figures with headlamps shining blindingly into his face came
rushing through the door. James sat bolt upright in bed, awoken
from his nightmare by their theatrical entrance. He raised an arm
to shield his eyes from the light. He heard the crisp report of two
tranquilizer darts leaving the chamber of the dart gun, feeling the
sting as they embedded themselves in his upper torso. The last
thing he felt was someone sliding something around his neck before
he was swallowed by the darkness.

Chapter Fourteen

 

When James finally began to wake up, he could feel
the floor moving under him. At first he thought it was the
after-effects of whatever he had been drugged with, but the smell
of the salt air and rhythmic movement of the floor made him realize
he was probably on some sort of boat. His mouth had been taped shut
with duct tape, his hands were bound behind him with plastic
restraints, and his feet were likewise bound.

He re-positioned himself, pushing himself up on one
elbow and then into a seated position. It was then that he saw the
armed guard dressed in black, staring at him from across the room,
and the two other bodies lying on the floor near where he was
positioned. At first he could only see their backs, but as they too
began to wake up, and move around a bit, he realized with
astonishment that J.T. and Laura were his fellow captives.

Laura’s eyes grew wide with fear as she began to
look around, but as she saw James and J.T., her panicked look gave
way to confused bewilderment. J.T. came around a few minutes later.
His look betrayed neither fear nor confusion, and James wondered
what thoughts might be running through his mind at this very
moment.

After all three were fully awake, the guard spoke
into a two-way radio.


Leader 1, they are
awake.”

He said nothing else, but continued to look back and
forth between the three of them as if trying to determine exactly
how coherent each of them was. A few minutes later, another man
dressed in black came through the door. He was big and burly, with
a shaved head that was beginning to show signs of hair growth
stubble where his sparsely spaced hair was beginning to grow. His
three-day beard growth offset the unlit cigar now protruding from
his mouth.

He knelt down beside Laura first, and with a huge
thumb, he attempted to push her eyelid upwards to get a better view
of her eye. Laura shook and pulled away, glaring at him with
daggers. The big man abruptly grabbed a fist-full of her hair and
held her still, repeating the maneuver with this thumb as he
spoke.


Be still, you little tramp. I’m
just trying to see how dilated your eyes are.”

James could tell Laura was seething, but she didn’t
try to pull away again, not that it would have done much good if
she had. He then removed what appeared to be a neck-brace from
Laura’s neck similar to the one he was wearing. The big man
repeated the procedure on J.T. and James. Once this was done, he
appeared to be satisfied and stood up again, addressing them
all.


I can see you are all awake and
none the worse for wear. I’m sure you have a lot of questions,
which I will likely not be willing to answer, so I’ll keep it
simple and tell you what you need to know. You will not be harmed
as long as you cooperate. There’s no use trying to escape since we
are in the middle of the ocean and there is nowhere to go. I’m
going to have my man here remove the duct tape from your mouths,
and as long as you don’t start screaming, I’ll leave it off. We’ll
be at our destination in about four hours.”

He looked at the guard and gave him a quick nod
before exiting the room as abruptly as he had arrived. The guard
came by each of them and removed the duct tape without much
tenderness or apparent concern that gentleness in that procedure
was desirable. As soon as Laura’s tape was off, she began peppering
the guard with questions.


Where are we?” No answer. “Where
are we being taken?” No answer. “What are you going to do with
us?!” No answer.

Before she could ask question number four, the guard
paused, picked up some earbuds that had been draped around his
neck, and plugged them into his ears, smiling as he did so. He
could not hear the obvious curses Laura was hurling in his
direction, but he could tell by her reddened face that they were
not very polite, and he chuckled out loud. Laura, seeing her
attempts to gain information were futile, let out an audible sigh
and slumped back against the hull of the ship.

Meanwhile, the guard produced three water bottles
with straws and proceeded to go between each of them, letting them
drink as much as they wanted before moving on to the next person.
Having accomplished this task, he resumed his original position in
the corner, continuing to listen to whatever music was playing
through his earbuds. Seeing they were now apparently free to talk,
James spoke up.


Is everyone o.k.?”


I’m just peachy,” Laura replied
with obvious sarcasm.


What about you, J.T.?” James
continued.


I feel like I’ve been rode hard
and put up wet, but besides that, I think I’ll be o.k.”

J.T. repositioned himself, stretching a bit and
grimacing slightly at the soreness he felt from his poorly
positioned night’s repose on the floor of the ship.


Does anyone have any idea what is
going on?” Laura asked.


Well,” J.T. replied, “I’d be
willing to bet that when we arrive at our destination, we’re going
to find one of my former business associates on the other
end.”

James and Laura both looked at J.T. in surprise.


Why do you say that?” James
asked.


Back in my robber-baron days, I
stole a great deal of money. Not all of it was recovered. My guess
is, one of my former business partners thinks I still have some of
it squirreled away somewhere.”


Do you?” Laura
queried.

J.T. turned and looked at her straight in the eyes.
“No, I do not. But he doesn’t know that.”


Oh, crap,” James
responded.

“‘
Oh crap,’ is right!” Laura
chimed in. “You know exactly what’s going to happen to us if this
guy doesn’t get what he wants. We’ll all be fish food! What are we
going to do?!”


Now just calm down a minute,”
said J.T. “We don’t know for sure it’s who I think it is or that he
(or they) want what I think they want. But if I’m right, you two
better leave the talkin’ to me when we get where we’re
going.”

Chapter Fifteen

 

Silas came into the police precinct carrying the
coffee that he had made at home just like he did every morning
since he’d become a detective. He plodded up to his office and sat
down at his computer to begin reading his email and reading over
the news before the business of the day had him going in a hundred
different directions.

When he saw one of the news headlines, he felt a
knot form in his stomach. The tag line read,
‘Notorious
corporate embezzler J.T. Thornbacker and two others escape from
Nevada prison’
. He clicked on the link to read the whole story,
but it was just a short blurb from one of the newswire services. He
focused intently on the few lines and read them over and over
again, trying to absorb any hint of additional details that might
give him some relief from the weight of dread he felt pressing down
upon him, but found none.

 

Three inmates escaped yesterday from the Nevada
prison system. Two men and one woman believed to be traveling
together have been identified as J.T. Thornbacker, James Marlowe,
and Laura Bristo. Prison officials offered few additional details
on the breakout, stating only that the three should be considered
armed and dangerous. Officials have requested that individuals
having information on the whereabouts of these convicts contact the
FBI.

 

Silas slumped back in his chair, his mind racing.
The day before, he had turned over information to Nick Bartonovich
on the banking operations of a non-profit corporation based in the
Cayman Islands named the Porfiry Group. The group was very
secretive and only the law firm of Handle and McQueen was mentioned
in most of the documents. He wasn’t hired to read the legal
documentation, just to track down where the money was coming from
that Handle and McQueen had been funneling out to various
individuals for the past two years. But he didn’t feel good about
the job, and so he had read through the bank documents to see if
anything set off a red flag. Nothing did. It all seemed like
legalese to him. But he had managed to find one person’s name
buried towards the end of the document: J.T. Thornbacker.

He clicked on the links at the end of the article to
the FBI website where images of the three escaped convicts were
posted. He studied them closely for a few minutes, then printed
them out. He grabbed the printouts off of the color laser printer
and headed back out the door he had just come in through a few
minutes before.

Thirty minutes later, Silas was marching up the
steps of Nick Bartonovich’s brownstone. He knocked on the door and
waited, but the speaker remained silent. He leaned over the side
rail and looked into the windows. Fortunately for him, the drapes
were not drawn. He saw no one milling about or lounging at the
dining room table that was viewable from his perch. He went down
and behind the stairs to the ground level entrance, peering through
the windows to make certain no one was there, and then he put on a
pair of rubber gloves before picking the lock.

He opened the door and quickly confirmed that it was
wired to an alarm system by locating the tell-tale contact strip
attached to the top of the door. After locking the door behind him,
he took out his cell phone and dialed the precinct dispatch
officer.


Yeah, this is Silas. I just
witnessed a break in on 3rd street, house number 1900. No, it’s
just some kid, probably looking to watch porn on the television
while the owner’s at work. Anyway, no need to send a patrol by.
I’ll take it and run him in. Yeah, you too. Bye.”

Silas cautiously made his way up to the office on
the top floor, just in case his earlier assessment proved wrong and
there was anyone in the house. Once he entered the office, he
crossed to the desk and sat down in the leather chair that Nick had
been sitting in hours before. It was just as comfortable as it
looked, he thought to himself as he opened the desk’s one drawer
and began going through its contents.

He lamented to himself that more and more people
were keeping the information he needed as a detective on their
electronic devices. It made it more difficult for an old-school
detective like him to quickly find what he needed, particularly
with someone as careful as Nick Bartonovich. He had apparently
taken his laptop with him, so even if Silas had possessed the
technical skills required to access the computer’s data, they
wouldn’t have done him much good at the moment.

There were few items in the desk drawer. A
herringbone letter opener, some writing pens, a pad of post-it
notes, a few paperclips, and some other odds and ends. A small,
black leather business card holder caught his eye. He opened it up
and found several business cards for Nick Bartonovich, President of
CES Enterprises. Nick's picture appeared in the corner. “Thank you,
Mr. Bartonovich,” Silas thought to himself.

Silas took out one of the cards and replaced the
holder in the desk drawer. He put the card on the desk and took out
his phone, taking a picture of the card and then a close-up of the
photograph in the corner. He put the card in his pocket and then
dialed a number. After three rings, a man picked up on the other
end. He was greeted with a hearty, “Hello?” in a thick island
accent typical of the Cayman’s.


Marty, it’s Silas,” he
began.


Oh! Silaaaas! It is good to hear
from you, my friend. What can I help you wit today?”

Silas could picture the tall islander with his
colorful shirt and sandals. He had been very helpful tracking down
the information Silas needed to get for Mr. Bartonovich before. He
hoped he would be as helpful this time.


I’m going to send you some
pictures. I want you to go to the same bank as before and call me
as soon as you see any of these people anywhere near the bank. Can
you do that?”


Ya mon, I can do it,” came the
reply. “You got sometin’ for me now?”


Yeah, same rate as
before.”


O.k. mon, I am on it.”

With that, Silas hung up the phone. He took out the
three pictures he had printed off before and took pictures of each
of them with his phone, sending them to Marty along with the photo
of Nick Bartonovich. He couldn’t risk sending them from his work
computer, so this would have to do for now. He completed his search
of the office without finding anything else of value, and left the
brownstone the same way he had come in, making certain to lock the
door on the way out.

Next, he called Darby Jones of the white-collar
crimes division.


Detective Jones,” he
answered.


Hey Darby, I need to locate a
plane.”


Hello to you, too, Silas. Who
does it belong to?”


Belongs to a guy named Nick
Bartonovich. It may be registered under a company by the name of
CES Enterprises.”

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