In the last episode: Monica De La Croix’s death ends the cotillion. Sunni shares with her sister, Celia about the break in of the safe but that she saved the contents – a sealed envelope – before the thief or thieves opened the safe. Sunni convinces Celia not to share this with the police until they know what their deceased father sealed in the envelope and secured in the safe.
Mark Masters’ curiosity kept him from leaving with the rest of the guests, so he eavesdrops from behind the threshold of the main doorway to the ballroom.
“What’s going on here?” Before Sunni opens the envelope, Celia looks up to see a couple of men in dark hoods enter from the kitchen area entrance to the ballroom.
Mark’s curiosity is spurred. He carefully peers around the threshold for a peek at the mysterious contents.
Suddenly, someone jabs something hard into his rib cage. He turns to see what pierces his side. It’s the barrel of a pistol. A tall man whose head is covered fully by a dark hood with openings for the eyes stands holding the handle.
With another jab of the barrel into Mark’s side, the hooded man signals toward the ballroom with the nod of his head. There, he joins Sunni and Celia on their knees and three other hooded men standing over them.
Men in hoods with guns stirs up negative ancestral stories for Mark who complies with their grunts and gestures to fall to his knees next to the sisters. Sunni’s and Celia’s eyes widen in fear but other body language portrays anger.
The spokesperson of the Hoods snaps a finger and two others jump into action. One snatches a handful of Sunni’s hair and yanks her head upward to stare into the barrel of his gun. The other smacks one hand onto Celia’s shoulder and presses his pistol into the back of her head.
“Which one of you young debs is the comedian that left this hilarious note in the safe?” Spokesman shakes the note angrily.
“Tell them nothing,” Celia grits her teeth and clenches her fists.
The Hood standing over her raps the barrel of his gun into Celia’s skull causing her to squeal and fall forward. She catches herself using both hands before her face hits the floor. When she pushes herself back up on her knees again, one arm swings upward landing a lucky blow into the groin of her unsuspecting Hood.
Mark’s hooded guard fires a shot which lands just inches from Celia’s knee scarring the tile flooring.
“The next one finds a body part,” Spokesman snarls as he wads the note up tightly into a small ball and tosses it onto the floor.
Celia’s Hood recovers jams the pistol barrel deep into the hair and flesh on the back of Celia’s head. Tears well up in her eyes but she refuses to wince, whimper or cry.
“This goes smoothly and gently if whoever just tells us where the original contents of the safe is,” Spokesman squats down between the two sisters.
Ignoring Celia’s disapproving scowl, Sunni hands the envelope to the Spokesman. He takes it, flips it over twice, tears it open and peeks inside at the contents.
Spokesman signals to Sunni’s Hood who yanks on the hunk of hair still in his hand and presses his pistol barrel hard against her forehead.
“You must think I am a blithering idiot,” Spokesman kneels down close to Sunni. “What did you do with the rest of it?”
“The rest of what?” Sunni’s voice quivers.
Spokesman slaps her across her face with the back of his hand so hard that her Hood nearly loses the hunk of her hair in his hand. Strands of her golden tresses fly into the air and her soft, white skin reddens.
Spokesman slowly rises and as he does he points to Celia’s Hood who immediately pulls the hammer of his pistol into a cocked position.
“I swear that was all I found,” Sunni’s words strain in a high pitch that echoes in the large nearly empty ballroom.
Mark concentrates trying to unearth some action that liberates the three of them. He fears that if he doesn’t they will all die. Suddenly, he feels his cellphone in his pocket.
While the Hoods attentions focus on Sunni, Celia and Spokesman, Mark slowly reaches into his pant pocket. He carefully slides the phone up his leg to the top of his pocket being careful to keep his head and upper body rigid and unmoving.
With the phone firmly grasped in one hand, he steadily reaches for it with his other. His arm moves only from below the elbow keeping above the elbow pressed tight against his side to avoid unwanted attention.
When the phone is secure in one hand and barely exposing the face, he cautiously finds the phone icon and touches it. Then, he accesses the keypad and dials 9-1-1 with as little motion of his body as possible.
Somehow, he successfully contacts dispatch. The dispatcher’s response is only slightly muffled even in his pocket drawing some attention.
He releases his hands from his phone allowing the phone to fall back deeper into his pocket as he screams, “Leave her alone.”
His Hood strikes the side of Mark’s head with the barrel of the gun causing him to roll over on his side muffling the dispatcher even more.
Mark must find a way to give direction to the dispatcher without exposing his scheme, “It’s probably not here in the ballroom of the De La Croix mansion you thieves and robbers.”
His Hood takes a shooting stance aiming with both hands at Mark’s head. Spokesman barks for him to stand down.
In the momentary silence, the ballroom crowd all here the muffled voice of the dispatcher request for Mark to stay on the line. The Hoods all look at each other.
Mark fears that his attempt to save them will only cause them further harm, even death. He is surprised when Spokesman motions for them all to leave. As they head for the kitchen which leads to an exit in the back of the mansion, Spokesman re-examines the envelope.
“We’re not through with you, yet,” Spokesman starts to toss the envelope down but then changes his mind and dashes away with it.
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at email@example.com.