In the last episode: Mark is captured by his two pursuers and brought inside the De La Croix home to find Sunni hog-tied to a chair and succumbs to the same fate. He and Sunni are introduced to Blake Harlow and his two associates, Buck and Bud. When Blake is told that the contents of the safe are hidden at Mark’s house, he orders Buck and Bud to take Mark home to fetch them but to only return with the stuff and not Mark.
The drive to his home is not taken at the same break neck speed as the one from it, yet, it seems too short for Mark. He tries to imagine a scenario where he can escape or overcome Buck and Bud and assure Sunni’s and Celia’s safety. Before that great plan creates, Mark and his escorts arrive at his house.
Sitting in the backseat with Bud while parked in his own driveway, Mark realizes he doesn’t have an escape plan. Neither does he have an idea how to convince Bud and Buck that the ledger was the only thing in the safe.
Bud shows his impatience with Mark by nudging him with his revolver. Mark slides out of the backseat with Bud close behind. Mark thinks about trying to pin Bud between the car door and the door frame. Bud must have had the same thought as he waves Mark toward the front of the car.
Buck makes a call to Blake before he climbs out of the vehicle. Mark slowly shuffles toward the front door fumbling with his keys. Bud catches up to him and shoves him.
“Are you guys thirsty? I have some sparkling water in the fridge,” Mark stalls as all three men enter his home.
“You know what we’re here for. Go get it and let’s get going,” Mark hears Bud but he remembers that Blake ordered Bud and Buck not to return with him.
Mark spies the ledger on the couch in the living room where he left it when Sunni and he went to Sunni’s home.
“That’s it on the couch over there,” Mark stays near the front door and points to the couch.
“What’s it?” Bud reminds Mark about the revolver by jabbing it against his ribs.
“On the couch.”
“That book?” Buck walks inside the living room beside the couch and points to the ledger.
Bud remains next to Mark, “Remember any funny stuff and Sunni gets hurt.”
“That’s it. That’s all there is.”
“It’s some kind of book, Blake,” Buck who has remained on the phone reveals as he picks up the ledger and heads back to show Bud.
Buck leafs quickly through the ledger, then returns the phone to his ear, “It’s a financial record thing.”
Buck pauses for a moment appearing to be listening. Bud takes a look at it while Buck holds it open for him.
“He wants me to remind you that he has Sunni with him and one phone call gets Celia hurt. You better be telling the truth,” Buck smirks.
“Bud’s already reminded me. But that’s all I got,” Mark begins to feel more desperate and anxious than ever.
“He wants us to bring it,” Buck relays and then to Mark’s surprise, “He thinks now we need to bring the mulatto back with us.”
Bud suddenly slams Mark against the front door pinning him against the door and his own body. Mark feels a sharp pain as Bud rams the barrel of the revolver under Mark’s chin.
“I wanted so much to leave you here just one big ugly heap on the nice polished floor of your cutesy little cottage in this peaceful little white community.”
Mark’s teeth grind together and through the pain, he replies, “What’s stopping you? Master Blake?”
The gun barrel bores deeper into the flesh under Mark’s skin, “Blake ain’t my Master.”
“You know you want to hurt me. But it sounds like Boss Blake is giving the orders.”
“Blake is following orders the same as us, stupid,” Buck comments as he pries Bud away from Mark.
“Your day’s coming,” Bud pulls back but waves the revolver in front of Mark’s face.
Mark’s frustration mounts as he has already passed up two or three opportunities to snatch that revolver out of Bud’s hands and overtake him. He doesn’t for Sunni’s and Celia’s safety.
Mark burns with anger and resentment so hot that he is not even cognizant of their ride back to the De La Croix’s. Before he realizes, they arrive and again join Sunni and Blake in the library.
Buck hands Blake the ledger. Then, Buck and Bud tie Mark’s hands behind his back. Blake watches silently until he is sure Mark’s hands are securely tied.
“What game are you trying to play?” Blake holds the ledger up close to Mark’s face.
When Mark doesn’t immediately answer, Blake turns his back on Mark. Then suddenly, Blake whirls around and strikes Mark across the face with the ledger.
Mark’s face stings and his eyes water. The pop of the ledger so loudly echoes that even Bud and Buck grimace.
Sunni screams out, “Stop. Stop. Stop.”
“What’s that little sister? Don’t you want me hurting your little servant boy?” Blake bends down face to face with Sunni.
Before Mark has time to think, he kicks Blake in the back causing Blake to fall on the floor. Bud grabs Mark by the arm as Mark begins to charge at Blake.
Bud starts to raise the revolver to Mark’s head, but as he does Mark spins out of Bud’s grasp. This sudden motion causes the revolver to slip from Bud’s hand and crash to the floor.
Mark manages to kick the revolver away from Bud just as he stoops to retrieve it. Then, he lands a swift kick to Bud’s body sending Bud crashing to the floor.
Buck who has been jockeying around waiting for an opportunity dives and tackles Mark who lands face first with a thud against the hardwood floor.
In a semi-conscious state, Mark can feel a knee or elbow piercing the small of his back. At the same time, someone is forcing his legs to bend back toward his bound hands. He can feel a tug and pull of his hands and feet. He believes Buck is using his hog-tying skills again.
As Mark moves slowly toward consciousness, he can see that Blake retrieves the revolver and pokes it into Sunni’s chest just above the heart. Then, he watches Sunni’s head snap back as Blake kneeling beside her pulls her hair roughly.
Mark stares at this last image and watches it blur and then clear to blur and clear again. He can taste his own blood, hear a ringing in his ear and feel a throbbing pain thumping about in his head.
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.