I close my eyes for a second, that chilling scream still echoing faintly inside my brain. I heard Hanna screaming before, so it’s not her. So who could have screamed that way? I frown deeply, still with my eyes closed as I recall the intensity. It was a man’s voice?
My eyes snap open and blinking, I force my mind to get back to business. I can’t waste more time here. I gotta find Hanna but first I want to check to see if the tunnel is where Francis said it would be. I don’t need more surprises tonight.
I tightly grip the handle of the door, sliding it open just a crack, peering through it at the hallway in time to see a group of five DEA agents crossing, heading to the room where the meeting took place. Fuck!
I return my attention to Francis, looking at him from head to toe. The boy is a mess. His shirt is stained with sweat, blood and dust and his jeans look even worse. Francis’ face is lined with dry tears and his eyes are red from crying. Sighing hard I pad to his side, releasing his wrists. It’s time to get out of here.
“Lead the way, kid.” I say, gesturing for him to move. “Next stop, the kitchen.” Francis rubs his wrists as he hisses in pain.
“It’s at the other side of this wing but we better take a shortcut.” He says, glancing at himself, whispering ‘shit’ and then up at me. “I need to change first. I’m a mess.” He whines, sighing hard.
In response, I knit a brow, glaring at him. I can’t fucking believe it. We are all in deep shit and this little asshole is worried about how he looks.
“Like I give a fuck.” I reply, pointing the gun at him. “Now move before I change my mind, Francis.”
He rolls his eyes, throwing his arms in the air in frustration. “Fine.” He spits. “But I won’t forget this shit.” He hisses, moving past me, opening the door.
“You better pray I’m the one forgetting this shit.” I retort in disgust, slapping the back of his head hard, causing him to yelp in pain. “Now shut the fuck up and keep moving.”
Francis curses under his breath but obliges without adding anything else.
Just as I had suspected the fucking kid knows this mansion better than the palm of his hand. William had always invited the kid’s father and his family to spend the summer holidays here. Being an only child and not having sisters or brothers to play with, Francis grew up, using the whole mansion like a big playground.
Within these walls there’s not only a secret tunnel to escape if the occasion required it, but a labyrinth of connected passages within the mansion also. It seems the mansion was built using part of an old Spanish fortress. Francis told me that once the house was done along with all the modifications, the architect that drew the plans died after a heart attack.
I rolled my eyes when Francis said that shit to me remembering Ricardo’s words. Car accidents and heart attacks are common ways to get rid of those that are not useful anymore for people like William.
I asked the kid how it was that he was still breathing if he knew about the labyrinth. Francis’ answer made me laugh out loud as he started cursing.
William has Francis by the balls because one day Francis was messing around with the Cuban and they ended up recording a video tape while ‘making love’. It figures. Somehow, William got a copy of that tape and threatened Francis with sending it to his powerful daddy if he dared to cross him.
Francis may be a worthless asshole but he’s not a dumbass. The kid is scared shitless of his father’s reaction. No wonder. If the white republican judge of the Supreme Court finds out that his only son and heir is a little queer and that he’s the boytoy of a Cuban, not to mention that Cuban is Reynaldo Casamajor, he sure as hell won’t like one damn bit.
After padding through endless narrow passages for what seems like hours we reach the kitchen, well actually what was left of it. It seems that Rey and William used the tunnel to get out of the house but they blew the damn entrance so no one else could use it. Fuck!!
“Coño, I’m very pissed off, man.”
I spin around at the sound of Ricardo’s voice. He’s standing at the doorframe, a murderous expression written all over his face.
“Where’s Elaine?” I ask him, frowning deeply.
“How the hell should I know? I can’t find the fucking basement.” He retorts coldly but his voice sounded tinted with frustration. “This damn mansion is a mess.” Ricardo adds as a deep growl passed his lips.
I bit my bottom lip hard, fighting back my laughter. I swear this is fucking ironic. Here he is, Ricardo Montenegro in the flesh and bones, a trained assassin who has found himself in more shit that I dare to figure, surviving all kinds of dangerous situations in God knows where, lost somewhere in the middle of a jungle, and he can’t find his way around this fucking place.
Any other time I would give him shit for that, but not this time. I suspect that big dark guy will cut my balls off for that shit.
“Good thing we have our own tour guide.” I say as a small grin tugs at the corner of my lips. It’s all I can do to restrain myself so I don’t burst out laughing hard.
Ricardo narrows his eyes, growling, moving aside as he glares at Francis. The damn kid shivers hard as he looks away and fast, he scurries past big dark guy, heading towards the basement. We glance at each other and without saying anything, Ricardo and I follow Francis down the hallway from where the kid and I came before.
After a moment, we finally reach the basement, finding in our way the corpses of two of Reynaldo’s monkeys with holes on their foreheads. I frown deeply as we keep walking until we run into Elaine. Her hands are stained with blood and she’s muttering obscenities under her breath.
Ricardo glances at her hands. “What’s that, mami?” He asks her, taking her hands in his. In response, Elaine chuckles.
“Oh, that’s Miguel’s blood.” She replies nonchalantly, wiping the blood on her black leather cat suit. Her eyes are sparkling with a wicked gaze. “Now there’s one less motherfucker to deal with.” She adds as she gestures with her head to a room inside the basement.
Ricardo chuckles, shaking his head as he pads to the room to check on Miguel. Then he comes to a dead stop, as he stands frozen at the doorframe.
“¡Coño!” He curses loudly. “You were inspired, weren’t you?” Ricardo adds as he turns his head, looking at his wife.
“Miguel was asking for it.” Elaine replies as she shrugs her shoulders. In response, Ricardo knits a brow, tilting his head to one side. “What? That fucker pissed me off.” She adds, walking to his side, an evil grin gracing her lips. “And it’s not like it’s a big loss, papi.” Elaine purrs seductively as she encircles Ricardo’s waist. Ricardo shakes his head as he chuckles, pulling Elaine to him, kissing her hard.
I walk to the door, peering inside, my eyes almost jumping out of my face when I see what Elaine did to Miguel. Holy fuck!!
The fucker is on the floor on a pool of his own blood. He’s naked from the waist down and his dick is inside his mouth. Fuck! I know I shouldn’t be this shocked after what I’ve seen tonight, but I am because I sure as hell never expected Elaine to be able to do that to a man.
I wince unconsciously as I fight the urge to check that my balls are still down there. Jesus! I bet he was the one scrreaming. Shit! I turn around, looking at Elaine with wide eyes.
“Richard didn’t teach me that, Dom.” She smiles softly, looking at me over her shoulder. “Hanna did.” She adds, winking. Then Elaine glares at Francis. “And you better get out of my way if you want to keep breathing, little perv.” And with that she turns around, padding to the stairs.
I glance one last time at Miguel’s dead body, recalling the hidden meaning of Elaine’s words. I better start behaving myself around Hanna. All of sudden I don’t feel like messing around anymore. I want my dick right where it is, or better yet, inside Hanna.
“Not a good idea to go fucking around with Elena Montenegro, Dom.” Ricardo whispers, chuckling as he follows his wife.
Yeah, I bet! One second she’s smiling at you in such a way that causes you a painful hard on, next thing you know you have your own dick shoved down your throat. Fuck, fuck, fuck!
Francis guides us back through the damn labyrinth to the main part of the mansion. Ricardo told him to find a damn computer. I knit a brow, snorting. A computer? In William’s house? I don’t think so, at least if some of his shit is true. At this point I’m sure that every single thing William said to me was a lie.
Francis replies there’s no computer in this house but that he brought his laptop. He never goes anywhere without it. Well, in the end Francis is being useful after all.
I ask Ricardo in a low tone of voice why he needs a computer with such urgency and he replies that he has to hack some classified files of the NSA to search for a code. Then he elaborates as my mouth hangs open.
A few years ago, once ‘El Padrino’ escaped prison, he asked Ricardo for a bizarre favor. The drug lord wanted a locating chip to be inserted under his skin in case someone killed him, throwing his body away.
The NSA had been working on some high tech shit. It was a prototype, still in the experimentation stage but the first results have proven promising. It seems that the only way to activate that chip is if ‘El Padrino’s heart stops beating or to hack the secret files where the code appears.
Ricardo was the one that created the security protocols to keep that code out of sight as well as the identity of the subject carrying it. So that way, big dark guy would be the only one to find both the code and the subject. The only other person that knows about the existence of that chip is ‘El Padrino’s’ bodyguard, the one who killed Fabio.
Holy fuck! I should have figured out some shit like that. Ricardo and his damn aces up his sleeve. That’s the reason why big dark guy didn’t seem too bothered in the least regarding ‘El Padrino’s threat. How if Ricardo crossed him that it would result in the end of their friendship, meaning that big dark guy and his family would be left at the mercy of a lot of bastards.
Ricardo has the ability to find ‘El Padrino’ whenever he wants to no matter where the drug lord manages to hide. It sure means that ‘El Padrino’ trusts Ricardo with his life. Damn!
As we make our way back I ask Francis where Reynaldo and William are flying. Francis hesitates but after big dark grabs his collar, pushing him hard against the wall, fixing the kid with his cold eyes; he replies that Rey was planning to fly to ‘Joyland’ in case the shit hit the fan and that his plane is hidden 45 miles away on an abandoned runway.
Joyland. What the hell is Joyland?
Before I have time to voice my question, Francis adds that Joyland is the name of a small Island near Bahamas that belongs to Phoenix Ltd.
We showed up in the playroom after pushing aside a false wall behind a pinball machine. The room is empty but we can hear voices close by. Men’s voices.
Ricardo opens the laptop and starts typing faster than I would have thought humanly possible. We have no doubt that Hanna won’t go anywhere without Crystal, that’s for damn sure and ‘El Padrino’ won’t let his granddaughter out of his sight now that he has her with him. The question left is to know if they are still here and if it is too late to save Crystal from Santos.
We can’t go walking around just like that searching for them. The Mexican cops and the DEA are still all around, arresting people and turning the mansion upside down. It’s one thing to kill fuckers like Reynaldo’s men or Zetas and another thing to kill cops.
Finally the screen turns black, showing what looks like a topographical map, showing a small red dot blinking and some coordinates. Ricardo frowns deeply as he checks them. It seems that the tracking chip will show ‘El Padrino’s’ exact location with a twenty foot margin of error.
“What the fuck is at the other side of the forest, kid?” Ricardo asks, closing the laptop. Francis takes a step back, shivering as he swallows hard.
“The guesthouse and the old guard house.” He whispers.
The mansion looks like a war zone though with corpses scattered all over the place. Jasmine, Jenn, Renee and Lydia are all sitting inside one of the salons with two DEA agents, watching over them. They seem a little shaken after what happened here, but apart from that they look fine. At least none of them got injured.
As soon as the girls spot us, they glance at each other. Lydia gets to her feet, heading directly to one of the agents, asking the guy if he has a cigarette. He smiles, nodding ‘yes’. Then Renee stands to her feet just to faint. All of a sudden Jasmine and Jenn start yelling saying that Renee is pregnant and that she needs a doctor.
I laugh silently watching the little commotion those women created in a second flat. The two poor DEA fuckers don’t know what to do with themselves. Ricardo chuckles and silently we use the distraction to cross in front of all of them, heading to the guesthouse in search of Hanna and Crystal.