For the first time in my life I don't know what I'm going to do. Until now, everything had been planned, everything following my script. Someone cut the puppets strings and now they're all flailing around to the motions of a new master.
I distract myself from the invisible itch of my missing finger by trying to think of Grozny's next move. He thinks he has checkmate but I still have some cards up my sleeve. Hmm, a mixed metaphor, the story of my life.
My minds wandering again, got to concentrate. What pieces of the puzzle do I have. Casting Red5 as terrorists, a good plan and I should know, it was mine until that monster stole it. He still doesn't have them yet, otherwise I would be getting paraded around right now, the mayor that suffered like the people have suffered, the innocent man determined to make sure nobody will go through what he had to, the man who is irrefutably trustworthy, the man who is Grozny's puppet.
"Damn it!" I scream, but it comes out as a rasping cough, they haven't given me anything to drink. I shake my hand, trying to jerk it away from the radiator but the handcuffs don't budge and I only serve to make the pain in my missing finger flare up again.
So if he hasn't removed the last obstacle, then he'll be using them. Grozny's smart enough to make sure he has both side of the equation covered. While Red5 is still out there, he has the perfect cover to start eliminating his rivals, consolidating his power. My little speech put them under protection but Grozny owns enough of the cops that the problem should be minimal at best. My loyal followers, too stupid to realise that my friend isn't my friend any more, they'll follow every last one of his orders until it's too late.
Despair. It's eating me up. Come on think Thomas! There has to be a way out of this.
Two guards are my buddies, watching me in shifts. They never leave, that would be suspicious, men coming and going to an abandoned warehouse. They have all the food and water they need to camp out here for a week, so even if I could escape from this blasted radiator, they'd spot me in an instant. Then I have an idea.
I fish with my foot, trying to grab the corpse of my 'gift'. They never even bothered to move it after I'd finished; thus is that monsters respect for human life. I had pushed it away, but now I have other plans. I managed to hook by foot around it's jaw and slowly drag it towards me. The waken warden approaches me.
"What are you doing?"
I manage to pull the thing closer until it's lying against me. "I have nothing better to do, I might as well enjoy myself while I'm here." I say, a sly grin on my face as I unzip the corpse's pants and cup tiny genitals in my hand.
I get the response I was looking for, one of utter disgust and shock, almost fear, as if by being around me he might somehow himself become tainted. He raises his hand to his mouth, his face green.
"You sick bastard. I knew you were a kiddy-fiddler but this." His eyes are filled with anger and hate. "If the boss didn't need you.... christ..."
"But he does need me, so why don't you go sit over there and watch the show. Who knows, maybe you'll even enjoy it as much as I will."
"He doesn't pay me enough to watch this." He raises his hand to pull the child away but stops, the fear in him burning bright. "Screw this. You have ten minutes."
I watch him walk outside and slam the door. Perfect. I shudder and kick the boy away, throwing up down myself once again. I might have certain... proclivities... but there is always a line. Shivering from the effort of vomiting, from the tiredness, from the sickening experience of it all I nearly collapse but I remain focussed, this is my chance.
Scooping up some up the vomit with distaste I smear it on my handcuffed hand and pull, hand as I can, tucking my thumb under my palm. I can feel the metal biting at my puke-slicked skin and then a jolt of seering pain and the hoop slips off thanks in part to Grozny's amateur surgery, the missing pinky finger giving me just enough extra space to pull my hand through.
I sit stunned for a moment, almost unable to believe my luck but then I realise it not nearly over yet and I rapidly try to come up with a plan. I can't go out of the door with the warden outside so my options are limited. Slowly I creep to where to other warden is sleeping, his gun next to him on the table. It has a silencer, naturally and I think wryly to myself that Grozny really does think of everything.
I pick it up and put a bullet in the sleeping man before he has a chance to do anything, a short silent wasp-sting to the forehead. I pull off my puke-stained suit and take his one as a replacement. It doesn't fit to well, hanging baggy in places but it's one hell of a lot better than smelling of sick. I grab some of their water supply and drink my fill, spilling some in my desperation, then stuff food, prepackaged sandwich rolls and various chocolate bars into my pockets.
Feeling a little better, I move slowly to the door.
"It's okay Carol, everything is fine. Put Yani on again. Hello sport, how you doing? Great, that's great. Yes, daddies got some work on, but how about you and me and mommy go visit the zoo when I'm done, huh? Sure, we can do whatever you want, my treat." The voice of the guard speaks from behind the door.
I burst through the door, shooting in the direction of the voice and the man falls to the floor, a bullet in the shoulder, a mobile phone tumbling from his hand.
He scrabbles for his gun but I'm faster and I kick it away. I stand one foot on his chest, making his breathing even harder as his lung fills up with blood.
"Little Yani was it?" I sneer. "I'll enjoy him."
His eyes go wide and I put a bullet between them.
I pick up the phone, a small child screams on the other end, crying. I hang up. I have no intention of fulfilling my promise to little Yani, but I couldn't let his father die happy, not after what I've been through. I hope he cries for his child every second he's rotting in hell.
I slip the phone in my pocket and look around. The place is empty, deserted even. Nobody comes here. Except...
I laugh. Another puzzle piece falling into place, another mistake of Grozny's. Abandoned industrial estates, the perfect canvas budding young 'artists' like Red and his friends. It doesn't take me long to find some punk kid, tagging the back of building not 500 yards away. The kid spots me like a deer in headlights and makes to dash away but the sight of the gun stops him in his tracks.
The kid can't be much older than twelve. Parents these days.
I shake my head and look to the wall. His artwork, even unfinished it's not bad. Neon green letters five foot high spell out a single word, elaborately decorated and heavily stylised but somehow speaking to me in a way I've never felt before.
Truth. Appropriate really, considering what I have planned.
"I don't want to hurt you. I just want you to deliver a message."
The kid opened his mouth.
"Shhhh. I don't want to hear it. You people are like rats, you get everywhere, you know everyone. "
I read him the phone number from the phone's memory than gesture that he should leave with the gun. He stoops, picking up his cans, his eyes on the gun the entire time and then runs.
"Just tell Red5 that Thomas Wilkerson wants to make a deal." I yell after him.