Alyssa Gilcrest had always been a goal orientated girl that had her priorities straight. She had been born in the
Republic but moved to at a young age. She would introduce herself as “Lisa” because
she felt it was easier for Americans to say.
While most college girls set out to fill an inner void with the company
of multiple men, Alyssa would often be in the library studying diligently for
whatever midterm or final that would be on the horizon. She was pre-med at America
with a major in economics causing an extremely rigorous course load. Despite all her hard work, however, Alyssa
did know how to have fun. She loved
dancing her problems away at clubs and hanging out with her friends when the stress
of school got too much for her. Upon
graduation, she, like most graduates, contemplated what to do with her
life. The one thing Alyssa knew for sure
was that she never wanted to have to rely on a man to support her. She wanted to be a successful businesswoman
before she settled down with a man.
There were men in her life, and if the opportunity presented itself, she
would allow herself to be in the company of a significant other, but her
emphasis was always on independently bettering herself. New York University
Shortly after college, she had decided that medical school was not for her. She embarked in a new direction feeling a load lifted off her shoulders as she was pursuing things that may better fit her nature. She accepted a position at a computer software company which required meeting with clients to show them how to use her company’s system. She took to the business world like a fish to water and climbed fast through the ranks with frequent promotions and praise from her superiors. Still though, there was something missing with her life. She tried other activities such as Yoga to fill this void, but it wasn’t enough, she needed more. That’s when she decided that she would run a marathon for charity. She enjoyed exercise but exercising for the sake of exercising wasn’t enough motivation to get her to the gym. Now, she was training and exercising for a purpose. Through running, she met many people, which she thought as a positive given that networking is one of the greatest skills to have in the real world. It is while running that she met Thomas.
Thomas was a year older than Alyssa and also had climbed through the ranks of Morgan Stanley quickly. At 26, he was already a Vice President and had people working under him. One night, he went out with people he met through running where he began talking to this girl, who introduced herself as “Lisa.” He liked this girl immensely, because although she seemed interested, she made him work for it. She was also extremely smart and seemed to laugh with him. When they took to dancing, Thomas knew he was being tested. Luckily, he was good at dancing and knew he’d excel at this test as he did with many others. By the end of the night, he had really taken a liking to the girl and she seemed to like him. This is why when his friends were leaving the bar, he opted to stay with Lisa.
Alyssa had gone out to a bar with people she met from running. She found that she had taken a liking to this guy named Thomas. Like many girls, this only made her play harder to get. She was old-fashioned and believed the men should take the initiative. It was very odd for her to be so impressed with a guy, but Thomas seemed to hold her attention. He was funny, successful, smart, older than her, shared her love of music and a good dancer. All aspects she considered musts in any man before she became remotely interested. While they were talking, Thomas complained of his eye hurting. Alyssa had seen this trick before. She believed that he wanted her to lean in to look at his eye, giving him the opportunity to kiss her. She wasn’t going to fall for that one. If Thomas wanted to kiss her, he’d have to come to her. Alyssa always looked for signs. With Thomas, he lived in Bay Ridge, one of her closest male friends also lived in Bay Ridge, an area of
Brooklyn, New York near
the Verrazano Bridge
to Staten Island. To most people, this may
seem coincidental, but Alyssa didn’t believe in coincidences, everything
happened for a reason. Prior to her
friend moving there, she had never heard of Bay Ridge, now she had met a guy
she liked from there. She knew he meant
business when his friends left and he opted to stay with her. She had a couple more drinks with him and
they made out profusely, giving Alyssa one more positive to add to the list; he
was a good kisser. When they finally
left the bar much later than Alyssa had intended, they went their separate
ways. Despite how much he had impressed
her, Alyssa would never bring a guy home on the first night.
Over the next couple of weeks, Thomas BlackBerry messaged (BBM) Lisa frequently. Their night together left him wanting to see her again. When he was in the city, where Lisa lived, he decided to send out a feeler to see what she was up to. She scolded him being near her apartment but not hanging out with her. Thomas saw this as a perfect opportunity to throw it right back at her and sent a message saying simply, “I’m here.”
Alyssa got the hint, it was too soon to let him up in her apartment. She was very cautious about these things so agreed to meet him in the lobby. She had work the next day, and it was already 11:00PM. She figured she’d go out for a drink and then be back in about an hour. Their second night together proved that the first night wasn’t a fluke. Even when Thomas tried his second trick of complaining of his shoulder hurting, Alyssa took the bait and massaged his shoulders. She arrived back at her apartment at 3:00AM again alone, as Thomas would need to pass a few more tests before he got to see her apartment.
Alyssa and Thomas hung out a lot over the next few weeks and their feelings hadn’t diminished in the slightest. Alyssa, however, was about to find out just how much Thomas was willing to do for her. Alyssa had gone out with some of her female friends to a club. At the end of the night, Alyssa decided to walk home. Her friends all lived south of where they were, but she lived north. She had walked the city streets alone many times before and didn’t feel very threatened. After all, she would be walking through
Clinton, formerly known as “Hell’s Kitchen,” and Times Square where there were always people around. As she was walking however, a van skidded to
a stop next to her and the door opened.
She instinctively looked over, only to feel powerful arms grab her and
force her into the car. Before she could
react, she was pinned down and the van was speeding away. Surely someone had seen this event, but it
happened so fast, would people really register what just happened? She saw it as a bad sign that her kidnappers
weren’t wearing masks. Now she could
identify them, which means, she may not be getting out of this alive. The man that grabbed her seemed oddly
familiar to her, but she couldn’t quite place from which context. She was desperate to try anything to get out
of there so she said, “Look, I don’t know who you are, but just let me out, and
I won’t tell anyone about this. I have
money if you want that, but please don’t hurt me.”
She didn’t really think this would work, but she had to at least try. Sure enough, the guy smiled and said back, “You don’t recognize me? That’s a shame. Well we’re not going to hurt you physically...but you’re about to find out if your little boy toy is as special as you think he is.”
“What does this have to do with Thomas?”
“Nothing really, he’s just an unfortunate bystander in your past catching up to you.”
She stared harder at this olive skinned, short hair man. Although it was hard to tell since they were sitting down, he didn’t appear that tall. She knew she had seen him before, but still couldn’t figure out from where. He put a blindfold over Alyssa’s eyes and took her cell phone from her bag. He shut it off and placed it in his pocket. After driving for a while, they stopped at an apartment complex and forced Alyssa out and into the apartment. She contemplated screaming but the man held a knife to her back, and she thought better of it. Although the man said that he wouldn’t hurt her, she didn’t seem to believe him. When she took off the blindfold, she found herself locked in a windowless bedroom with a Queen Size bed, a stereo system, and a TV with a DVD player and a large selection of movies to watch. She turned on the radio and played music.
The man took out Alyssa’s cell phone and got Thomas’s phone number. He called him using Alyssa’s phone to let him know he meant business. Thomas answered, “Hey babe.”
“If you ever want to see Lisa again, you’ll do exactly as I say.”
Thomas wasn’t expecting a guy’s voice on the line. His tone became more serious and said, “Who is this and what do you want?”
“I want to play a little game. See I don’t believe you are worthy of Lisa, so you’re going to have to prove yourself.”
“Are you serious? Is this some kind of joke? Listen if this is Mulligan, then it’s a little childish to be playing these games. What are we? 13?”
Mulligan was the false last name that Alyssa’s sister’s fiancée had given Thomas. He did it to trick him into thinking he was Irish. The man didn’t know all this. He said, “I don’t know who Mulligan is, but I assure you this is no joke. You can choose not to comply but then whatever happens to her is on your conscience.”
“What do you want psycho?” he said still thinking he was being played but decided to just play along because he was kind of annoyed.
“Meet me at West 4th
and Sixth Avenue at 3:00PM tomorrow.”
This was right around
. Thomas knew of it and figured he’d meet Lisa
there. He thought it was stupid, and
would tell Lisa such when he saw her tomorrow.
New York University
While Alyssa was lying on the bed listening to music, the TV flickered on. He saw the man on her cell phone. She could distinctly hear the tone indicating that her phone was calling someone and the person being called’s phone was ringing. It appeared the guy wanted her to hear this conversation so he put it on speaker. When Thomas answered, she heard the beginning part of the conversation and screamed hoping Thomas would hear her. She couldn’t hear the sound from the TV, so knew that it wasn’t going through to Thomas either. She listened horrified as this man was meeting Thomas tomorrow. Shortly after the phone conversation, a slit of the door slid open and she heard the guy’s voice say, “Don’t worry, you’ll be able to see what we have in store for him tomorrow.”
“Why are you doing this?!”
“Because I can.” He said ominously
The next day, at 3:00 Thomas showed up at West 4th and
6th Avenue. He noticed the basketball courts behind him
were vacant. A black guy approached him
wearing a backpack and said, “You Thomas?”
Thomas sized up this guy and realized he was a couple inches taller than him and slightly stronger. He said, “Yea, who the fuck are you?”
“Irrelevant, here’s you’re first challenge. You have to beat me in a game of 1-1. You win, you move on to the next round, you lose, you never see the girl again.
“Alright this is getting stupid, I want to talk to her.” Thomas said.
The black man responded, “Call her.”
Thomas had already tried this a couple times that day, but never received an answer. He called and the same man picked up and said, “I hope you’re there.”
“Fuck you, where is she?”
“I’m going to go home if I don’t talk to her. I’m getting kind of sick of these games. Either you stole her cell phone and decided to fuck with me for some reason, or she put you up to this.”
“You forgot the possibility that everything I’ve said is true but hold on. It seems if you think she put us up to it, then talking to her would be pointless but here we go.”
The man opened the slit and held up the phone. She barked at Alyssa, “talk.”
Alyssa had seen everything. There were cameras linked to the TV at
West 4th street
and he could hear Thomas on TV and the man on the phone outside her door. When the slit opened up he said, “Thomas, I
don’t know what’s going on, but please just do what they say. They have me locked in a room and apparently
they’re testing you.”
“Tell me right now if you’re serious, I’m going to be pretty pissed if you’re not.”
“I’m serious, they kidnapped me yesterday…”
“The man shut the door and got back on the phone, “Listen, you know now I have her, either take the game or walk away leaving her at my mercy, the choice is yours” as he hung up.
Thomas didn’t know what to think. He figured that it was worth it to just play along. If he was right about it being a joke, he’d deal with her later. He said to the man, “So what do I have to do?”
“You got to beat me in a game of one on one to 11 win by two.” He said showing a basketball that Thomas just noticed he had.
“I didn’t exactly bring playing clothes.”
“The man took off his backpack and took out a pair of sweatpants, shorts, T-shirt and under armor. It was early March so the weather was still pretty cold for an outdoor game of basketball. Thomas grabbed the sweatpants and T-shirt and entered the basketball cages. He felt no trepidation changing in the open. He felt a game of basketball would be the perfect way to let out his anger at this situation. What angered him the most was that he didn’t know if this was for real. The black man passed him the ball and said, “Half court Winner’s out.”
Thomas understood this to mean that if you scored, you got the ball back. If you wanted the ball, you had to take it. Thomas was extremely athletic and a decent basketball player so he was up for this challenge. He knew that he would have to resort to speed because he was facing a bigger opponent.
The kidnapper sat on the other side of the door with the slide open. Alyssa didn’t know this, but he also had a TV relaying what was happening on
West 4th Street. He said, “We’re about to find out just how
athletic your boy really is.”
Alyssa was intrigued to find out the same thing. She tried to block out of her mind what would happen if Thomas lost. She decided to hedge her bet and said, “This isn’t fair, that guy’s bigger than him.”
“Well if he loves you, he will prevail, after all, love conquers all.”
Alyssa rolled her eyes. She had given up on getting an answer to why he was doing this to her. All she could do was hope Thomas won.
Thomas started dribbling and the guy lowered himself with his hands out anticipating his next move. Thomas waited for the man to lunge at the ball before he went right around him and laid the ball in the basket. He now knew he was faster than him and thought he could use this to his advantage. It was 1-0 Thomas. Thomas dribbled again, but this time the man kept his distance. Thomas came at him but the man met him in stride. Thomas backed into him but the man gave him nothing. Thomas realized he’d have to hoist up a shot and hope to get the rebound. He spun toward him fading away and the black man jumped with his hand up to block before rushing to the hoop. The ball clanged off the side of the rim and down and the black man grabbed the rebound. The black man immediately backed Thomas down. Given that Thomas was giving up the size, the black man pushed Thomas back rather easily. The man drop stepped around Thomas and made the lay up tying the game. Thomas was slightly intimidated as he was still thinking about Lisa. He checked the ball back to the man. Again he posted Thomas up, but this time rather than knock him back, he elbowed Thomas in the face before driving and putting the ball in. Thomas grabbed the side of his face and glared at him. He contemplated calling a foul, but the man was already in front of him throwing the ball to check it. He said, “Street rules bitch.”
Thomas spit to the side noticing it was tinted red. Now he was pissed. He decided to believe everything that was being told to him to fuel his anger. He put Lisa out of his mind and focused on the game. When the man posted him up again, Thomas drove his forearm into his lower back and pushed against him. He wanted to make it very uncomfortable for him to back him down. He anticipated the man to lean forward and snap his upper body back into him. As he leaned forward, Thomas leapt back and without anyone to lean into, the man stumbled with his arms out, and Thomas slapped the ball away and chased it down. He drove right past the man and laid the ball in the basket tying it up. He checked the ball and glared at his opponent. When he got back he faked left, only to see the man back up giving him space so he couldn’t drive. Thomas judged the distance and jumped in the air to take the shot. His opponent leapt forward but going horizontal meant he couldn’t challenge the shot as effectively. Thomas hit the shot to take the lead again. This didn’t change the strategy of the black guy. Sometimes Thomas tried the drive, sometimes he didn’t. Most of the missed shots went to Thomas’s larger opponent, which severely handicapped him. The black guy continued to muscle Thomas toward the basket before trying his shot. The black guy also hit some outside shots to prove he wasn’t just one-dimensional. They traded back and forth being extremely physical with each other. As the game progressed, the score was 9-8 in favor of Thomas. He realized the black guy getting winded so decided to drive. He drove hard to the basket and got a step on him. When he went up for the shot, however, the black man shoved him into the chain link fence. Thomas hit the ground hard and Alyssa screamed at the TV in protest. The black guy had been playing semi-dirty all game, but this was blatant. The black guy took the ball, ran to the top of the key and charged down for an easy lay up just as Thomas made his way to his feet. It was now tied, 9-9 with the black guy having the ball. Thomas said, “No basket, foul.”
The guy laughed, “No blood, no foul.”
Thomas lifted his arms to show the scrapes on his elbows from falling to the ground. The black guy said, “That’s noting bitch, let’s keep playing.”
Thomas expected this. He knew what was coming next, if he complained about his physicality, the man would just get physical again. He had spent the day favoring the man’s right side when he backed into him. Since he dribbled right, it gave him more time to avoid an elbow and if it did connect, he had more time to recover. If he favored the left side, the man could elbow him and turn with his right arm, which is what he wanted to dribble toward the basket. The extra seconds it took to spin to his right with the elbow before turning left so he could drive with his right hand, may prove the difference between an easy lay up and a contested one. This time, he set himself up on the left side. The black man felt where Thomas was and threw his left elbow back as he turned to drive. Thomas ducked and the elbow went over his head leaving the black man facing him. Thomas stripped the ball from him and turned toward the basket driving fast. He laid the ball up before feeling the man’s arm on the top of his shoulder forcing him down. The ball went in making it 10-9. Thomas picked himself up. He could tell by the reaction of the crowd that formed that he made the lay up. He went back to the top of the key with blood flowing down both arms. He didn’t care though, one more basket and he wins. He checked the ball and the black man thrusted it back to him as hard as he could. Thomas caught it and saw the charging man; he knew that he was planning to plow right through him. He quickly looked down and realized the man had a wide stance. He bounced the ball between his legs and ducked down, only to thrust his body up as soon as he his arms could get around the man’s legs. This uses his opponent’s momentum to flip him over Thomas’s back onto his back. It worked perfectly and Thomas wasted no time to run the ball down and finger roll it into the hoop for the victory. He turned around to see the man get up. He threw the ball rather hard into the black man’s chest and said, ‘Game, where’s Lisa?”
Thomas had taken a beating but he had won the game. The black man chuckled and said, “This was just the first round, you got two to go man. All I told you is that you’d learn what the next round was. He went to his back pack and gave him a piece of paper. On it, was simply a note saying to get into a grey Nissan that will be parked by the courts. He gathered his clothes and walked out of the cages to high fives from the spectators. They all were pulling for him because they watched him take a beating during the game only to keep getting up and focusing on winning the game. He got in the car and took out his cell phone and called Lisa. There was no way this was a joke. He didn’t think that she would be too okay with how dirty the guy was playing. First he had to see if she knew. The male voice answered the phone and said, “Well done, but it’s not over yet.”
“Let me talk to Lisa now.”
After Thomas won the game, Alyssa got up and cheered forgetting for a second she was in captivity. This actually was making her more attracted to him for he had gone through hell for her. It would have been easy to concede the game but he kept getting up to receive more punishment. She had even taunted the man outside as every time Thomas got hit, the kidnapper had a comment. They had been going back and forth all game, and now Alyssa felt she had bragging rights. Then she heard her phone ring, and the man talking. Alyssa was amazed at just how many cameras were around. He could see Thomas in the car and hear him on the TV. The kidnapper handed her the phone, and she got on. “Thomas, that was awesome!”
“Yea Yea, are you okay?”
“Yea I’m fine, but keep winning.”
“What else do I have to do?”
Thomas asked to put the kidnapper back on the phone. When he did he said, “Hey asshole, do you have the guts to face me face to face, or are you going to keep hiding behind your goons to do your dirty work for you?”
“Patience Thomas, I’m the final challenge. But trust me, you should be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”
“I’m going to rip your heart out when I see you.”
“Before you do all that, you have to get by your next challenge. If not, then your girl is all mine.”
“If you fucking hurt her..”
The kidnapper cut him off, “You’ll be fucking helpless to do anything because you have no idea where I am.”
“Fuck you.” he said as he hung up.
The man smiled and said, “Oh chica, he seems to really like you.”
Alyssa had never seen Thomas that angry. It was a slight turn on but she was a little uneasy about how calm the man on the other side of the door seemed. She didn’t know what was in store for Thomas and Thomas had just been through a grueling basketball game.
Thomas asked the driver where they were going but he refused to answer. He kicked the seat and yelled, “Answer me damnit.”
The driver merely replied, “You may want to save your energy for the next round.”
Thomas shook his head. His anger was pumping his adrenaline so he wouldn’t feel how exhausted he was from the game. He allowed himself to relax and gain his composure mentally preparing himself for another physical challenge. After a while, the man stopped in a large open field. Thomas had sort of been paying attention where they were going and it was upstate. He got out of the car and saw hills sand, flags and a tall skinny guy in warm up pants. Thomas approached him and said, “Are you the guy I got to beat?”
“What’s the game?”
“Here have some water first, we’ll give you some resemblance of fairness.” As he threw him a water bottle.
“Thanks,” he said while he swished the water inside his mouth before spitting it out. It occurred to him that he shouldn’t be accepting anything from these people as it could hurt him. He just dumped the water over his body to cool himself down. He had already been sufficiently cooled down from the car ride but it helped to energize him.
The guy chuckled, “Well I tried to help, anyway we start at the red cone there, go straight toward the tree and around it to the left. Then just follow the flags along the course. We’re going to have a 5K race; for a marathon runner like you, this should be a walk in the park.”
“Yea, if I hadn’t just played a game of basketball.”
Thomas walked up to him and put his forehead on his and said, “What stops me from kicking your ass right now?”
“Well, the guy who has your friend wouldn’t be too happy. He’d see it as you ducking out.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Because I was paid to. Look, I don’t necessarily agree with him, but money is money, I tried to make it fair by giving you water, but you refused.”
“Why not just tell him to go fuck himself and tell him that I won?”
“Well, for one, he only gave me half the money; I get the other half if I beat you. And from your point of view, he still has your friend and I don’t know where he is. So, your only hope is to race me. The other thing is, he can hear this conversation, so I wouldn’t say anything stupid.”
“Alright, let’s race.”
They lined up next to each other at the start of the course. The bleeding had stopped but Thomas was a little wary from the game. He knew from his training how to pace himself, so he checked his emotions. If he let his adrenaline take over now, he would wear himself out before the end of the run. He knew five kilometers was 3.1 miles. He would need to pace himself. Checking his emotions, however, allowed him to feel his previous pain. He decided he’d have to live with it. The driver took a gun out from his waist and yelled, “Ready, Set, “ and fired the gun.
The mercenary started out in the lead and Thomas kept pace. He decided he would stay slightly behind him for the whole race before making a last stride. After a mile, however, even this proved to be a challenge as he dropped back a couple paces. The track took them up hills and through sand, terrain he wasn’t very accustomed to. He was used to running on cement and the various terrains slowed him but the mercenary seemed to glide over them. Thomas hobbled slightly when his foot slid on the sand turning his ankle but he thought of Lisa and kept going. He had dropped back to about ten paces behind and decided to keep a steady pace. The track was nicely labeled with kilometer markers. When they crossed the three kilometer mark, he was eight paces behind with two kilometers, 1.25 miles to go. He kept pace to the four kilometer mark and then he made a surge to put himself two paces behind. He slowed to keep pace as the surge took a little bit out of him with a little bit over a half mile left. His legs were tired and his ankle was bothering him. Thinking about Lisa was helping but it wasn’t enough. He knew that the finish would be a sprint. The mercenary had kept a pretty decent pace and he didn’t doubt that the mercenary was saving his energy for the final stride. They headed toward another tree and Thomas knew that after the curve, it was a straight away to the finish line. He forced his mind to think about the basketball game and the male voice on Lisa’s phone. He convinced himself of the worst, as he sprinted toward the tree, he figured if he started sprinting first, he could be even when the final stride kicked in. Unfortunately, the mercenary took the inside route around the tree shortening his distance. It was a tenth of a mile to the finish. Thomas sprinted but couldn’t seem to overtake the mercenary. He added to his thoughts that the mercenary knew the situation and he still wasn’t going to let him win. He was going to offer to overpay but decided against it when he heard the male voice could hear him. Realizing that this man put money over a girl’s well being angered him more. He found another wind since he could now see the object of his hatred rather than have it be abstract. The wind worked as he pulled even with him with only a few yards to go. He was a full stride ahead when he felt the tape across the chest as it ripped and he immediately collapsed and grabbed his ankle. The mercenary bent down with his hands on his knees panting. He walked over, and held out his hand.
Thomas lied on his back breathing heavily. He saw the arm but didn’t forget what drove him to victory, “Fuck you.” he said.
The mercenary said, “When you recover, get back in the car and go to your final round” as he walked away for his job was done.
The reality was he was being paid, but the man also threatened to kill him if he thought he let Thomas win. He decided to try to beat him straight up for this guy didn’t seem like someone you wanted to be on the bad side of. Whatever Thomas did, he was putting him through hell for it. The driver approached Thomas and said, “Let’s go.”
Thomas was physically spent. He didn’t feel up to another challenge. He ignored the driver and then he heard his phone ring from the starting point, which was only ten yards from the finish. He crawled over to the phone and said panting, “Hello.”
“Get your ass up and into the car, I thought you wanted to rip my heart out, now’s your chance, but I’m an impatient man.”
This gave Thomas the needed boost to get up. He said, “Put her on the phone so I know she’s still okay.”
The man gave the phone to Alyssa, who had seen the whole thing. She got on the phone and said simply, “I love you.” these were not words she threw around lightly, but he was killing himself for her. Now she was scared.
“Clearly me too,”
The man demanded the phone back and Alyssa said, “Good luck” and handed it back
Thomas was already walking to the car so the man hung up the phone. He turned toward the slit and said, “Be sure to keep it on this channel to see what I do to your boy Thomas.”
“Come on man, at least give him a day to recover, look at him! This isn’t fair.”
“What makes you think I would make this game fair bitch?”
“What did I or Thomas do to you? Who is this about me or him? Just tell me that at least.”
This stunned Alyssa. She checked her head to figure out who this guy was and what she had done to him.
Meanwhile, back in the car, Thomas didn’t even bother to ask where they were going. He shut his eyes and rested, he was absolutely spent. He kept thinking if Lisa was worth all this. He hadn’t even slept with her yet. He really did like her though, and if he didn’t try, it would be on his conscience, and he didn’t want that. It was much more than that. This was way too much to ask someone to do in one day. For the first time in his life, he welcomed the traffic that they hit. An hour later, they arrived, the driver gave the apartment number and Thomas got out.
Alyssa’s TV switched from the inside of the car to outside an apartment building. She saw the outside of the car and Thomas get out and approached the door. He rang a buzzer and Alyssa heard it on the other side of the door. Thomas was coming to where she was. Her heart leapt but she was still a little worried. The man said there was one more round, and she had a good idea what it was. There was no way it could be an athletic competition. After everything the man put Thomas through, there was no reason for Thomas to participate. She maybe could understand if he had closed the slit she had been speaking through, but he hadn’t. Did he forget? Did he honestly think she wouldn’t call out to him when he walked in? He heard a knock and the man yelled, “It’s open.” He sounded near her door.
She glanced at the screen and saw the camera switch to see the entire room that lay on the opposite side of the door. Her and Thomas’s expressions were identical as they were both shocked at the site before them. There was an oval shaped cage of chain link fence starting from the door Thomas came in to the width of the room, before angling back to the door Alyssa was in. At the widest points were various wooden sticks, rope, the TV and a shillelagh. The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a key. He said, “This key opens the door behind me that holds Lisa. Kill me, and the key is yours, you get the girl, you go home. I kill you, and the girl is mine.”
Alyssa screamed out, “No!!! you can’t do this.”
Thomas didn’t expect this. When he threatened the man, he didn’t really contemplate killing him. Maybe rough him up a bit, but not killing him. The guy seemed to want to kill him though. He reasoned that he could just knock him out but what if he woke up before he could get Lisa out? Worse, what would stop him from going through all this again? He decided to be civilized and talk it out, “Why are you doing this? I mean you really want to kill me?”
“Because she’s watching, and when I let her out and she sees your dead body, it will be awesome. She’ll cry and I’ll get my sweet revenge. Nothing personal Thomas, this is all about making her suffer.”
“What the fuck did I do to you?! I don’t even know who you are psycho!” Alyssa screamed
Hearing Alyssa scream, emboldened Thomas. The fact that Alyssa still hadn’t figured out who he was angered the man more and he planned to take it out on Thomas. He ignored Alyssa and said, “Enough talk” as he charged at Thomas.
Thomas didn’t expect this and found himself being tackled to the ground. He put up his arms and shielded his face as the kidnapper reigned down punches. He knew he couldn’t stay like this forever so he reached his arms around the man’s neck and drove the side of his head into his nose. The guy rolled off Thomas and he got to his feet kicking the man in the solar plexus. As he went to stomp down, the man kicked Thomas’s plant leg and he stumbled to the ground. They both got up and Thomas felt a punch to the face that staggered him. He came back with a punch of his own but the man ducked under it and unleashed punches on Thomas’s kidneys dropping him to one knee. Thomas bent over on all fours coughing. The kidnapper walked over to other side of the room and picked up a wooden stick., He cracked it against Thomas’s back as he flattened onto his stomach. He walked over to the door and pulled off a section revealing a glass window to give Alyssa a clear view of what was going on. Thomas was stirring and clutched a wooden stick of his own. The man straddled Thomas’s back and put the stick around his throat and yanked up turning Thomas so he could see Alyssa. Thomas’s vision was blurred by his being strangled but he saw the look of horror on her face. She screamed, “Let him go, psycho,”
The man was too focused on taunting Alyssa to notice that Thomas had a stick. He grabbed it and snapped it back connecting on the man’s head. The guy dropped the stick at Thomas’s feet and Thomas picked it up in the other hand. He coughed his way to Alyssa’s cell brandishing the sticks. He saw blood on the guy’s face, and it excited him. Thomas didn’t realize his back was bleeding but Alyssa could see the blood stains on his shirt. The wooden sticks were designed to bend when they struck something tearing at the skin. The kidnapper walked to the side and picked up the shillelagh, which is an Irish club and a stick in the other hand. He walked toward Thomas who was waving the sticks wildly. He swung the shillelagh at one of the sticks and the stick cracked on impact and fell to the floor. He used the split surprise by Thomas to smack him across the face with the stick as Thomas dropped the other one and fell to the ground lying on his stomach. The man put one foot on Thomas’s back and raised the shillelagh. He said, “How ironic, an Irish dies from a shillelagh.”
Thomas wrapped his arms around the guy’s leg and pulled toward him as he stood up in desperation. The guy fell and Thomas reached into his pocket and put his keys in between his finger and punched at his opponent as he sat up to try to get to his feet. Thomas straddled him and drove his keys into the man’s face repeatedly punching with everything he had. Blood was oozing from the man’s face as his eyes glazed over in unconsciousness. Thomas was running on pure rage now, he reached out and grabbed the shillelagh from where he dropped it and swung it down on the kidnapper’s face. He was shocked with what it did to the man’s skull and was horrified to think that he just barely avoided the same fate seconds earlier. This justified his decision. He reached into the man’s pocket and pulled out the key and unlocked the door. He wasn’t ready for Lisa to storm out and hug him. The impact made him fall back and Lisa didn’t seem to mind the blood as she kissed him repeatedly. Thomas let his body relax, now he could feel the exhaustion of the past day and could finally let himself rest. Lisa didn’t think a cab would take them in this state. She found her cell phone and called her friend Larry, who had access to a car. She ran outside and got the address so Larry could put it in his GPS. She told him real quickly that she’d explain everything after he picked them up just come quickly.
Larry didn’t ask any questions, he just got a car and headed toward the destination. At first his GPS had trouble finding the destination. He looked it up on Mapquest, since he needed the city and state and Alyssa didn’t seem to know. He found one in
and figured that was it. Alyssa couldn’t find any first aid material
in the apartment but found some ice.
Turns out there were more rooms to the apartment. She helped Thomas to the bathroom where she
took off his shirt and nursed his wounds.
Thomas sat back and let it happen. He was too exhausted to move. They left the bloody clothes there and when Larry
called to say he was there, Alyssa asked him to come up. He parked the car and came in and saw the
carnage. He said, “Alyssa, did you call
the cops?” New Jersey
“No, and we can’t, because I don’t want anything to happen to Thomas”
“I’m guessing Thomas and he got in a fight and he did this?”
“Clearly self-defense, nothing will happen to him.”
“Look, after I tell you what he went through, you’ll realize that we can’t deal with this right now.”
“If the cops see him the way he is now, then it’s a more believable story. Otherwise, the cops ask why you waited a full day, makes it look like you’re covering it up. That, and you clean him off, and he no longer looks like he had to fight for his life. I just got here and I figured out what happened, clearly the cops will too. I know you’re tired Thomas, but you have to do this now.”
Thomas just nodded his head; the logic was there. Alyssa decided to listen to Thomas and call 9-1-1. After answering all the questions, the cops sent an ambulance for Thomas and Alyssa rode in the ambulance with him. The cops found the cameras and they had tapes in them so they could clearly see that it was self-defense. They arranged to get the body cleaned up and decided not to prosecute. Larry followed the ambulance to the hospital. He figured he’d check to see if they were going to keep him over night, and if so, then he’d go home. If not, he’d give them a ride back. Thomas only had minor cuts and no concussion, so they released him and Larry drove them home. Alyssa said he’d be staying at Thomas’s, which was easier for Larry since they lived near each other. Larry didn’t say much on the car ride over. He kept thinking back to the apartment. While he was waiting, he took a look at the dead man on the ground. He hadn’t seen this man in over seven years, but he was still glad to see him dead. He decided not to mention it to Alyssa, although he never specifically discussed this scum on the ground, he had voiced his opinion of a certain friend of his, to which Alyssa completely disagreed until the friend proved him right, and then she claimed that she always believed it. He didn’t realize that Alyssa didn’t recognize him and thought she hadn’t said anything because she wanted to avoid Larry arrogantly proclaiming he called it. When they got to Thomas’s, Larry helped him inside.
Alyssa and Thomas rested and the next day, Alyssa rewarded him for fighting for her. At the most primitive level, it turned her on to know she had a man that would fight for her. After the reward, Thomas officially asked Alyssa out so that there would be no grey area about their relationship. His straight-forwardness was just one more thing Alyssa liked about him and she immediately said yes. The rounds expedited the inevitable, but neither would ever forget what occurred on that day. Alyssa would always wonder who the man was, not realizing, that all she had to do was ask Larry.