The Man with the Missing Fingers

Part 2 - TEN

May 1

 

Etel wasn’t in the Audi when Scarr returned to the street. Instead, he found her cell phone on the passenger seat. He looked around, up and down the street, but didn’t see her anywhere. Then her cell phone buzzed. He grabbed it after a moment. The number wasn’t saved in her contact list.

            Scarr answered the phone.

            “If you’re wondering where she is,” a male voice said, “you can stop wondering.”

            Scarr realized the caller was probably watching him. He got inside the Audi.

            “Who is this?” he asked.

            “You’re going to find out after you answer this question. Do you care what happened to her?”

            Scarr said nothing.

            “It’s important you answer this question very carefully.” The man on the line said. “Right now, her life depends on it. So, yes or no?”

            Scarr said nothing.

            “Listen, in ten seconds, if I don’t have an answer then––”

            “Let me talk to her.”

            The man put Etel on.

            “Scarr––” she said the moment she got on. “I swear I stayed in the car. He came from nowhere and––”

            The man took her off the line. He said, “Only three seconds left. Yes or no?”

            Etel had said the man had come from nowhere. It could be inferred that he was acting alone. Or maybe he wasn’t.     The three seconds ran out. Scarr said into the phone, “My answer is this: it depends on what you hope to achieve by holding her. If the answer is not satisfactory then do what you please with her.”

            Scarr hung up and tossed Etel’s cell phone onto the front passenger seat.

            With the three other robbers left to find, he couldn’t let himself be distracted by the man on the phone, whoever he was. One of Kelemen’s goons perhaps? There would be time to worry about that.

            He started the Audi…

            The cell phone buzzed again. Scarr picked it up. Same number.

            “Alright,” the unknown man said. “Let’s say I want to use her as bait; that I want you to come and get her. Would you care to come?”

            Scarr said nothing.

            “I’m usually patient, but don’t push the envelope.”

            “Where?”

            “The river bed. It’s south end. There’s a bike path that runs parallel to the 115. You follow it until you get past the rail yard along the riverbank. You’ll come up on a deserted industrial plaza. The south gate to the riverbed is accessible from there by foot. Get in, and just walk along the storm drain. I’ll be waiting under the second bridge. Be there in one hour. I left you a map in the glove compartment to make sure you’re not late.”

            The man hung up. Scarr opened the glove compartment and the map was there. Scarr thought this was the kind of trouble he didn’t need, but still got for lugging the girl around with him. For whatever reason, he felt responsible for her wellbeing. And he damned himself for that in silence as he took a look at the map. An itinerary to the south gate was traced on it with a blue ballpoint marker.

            Scarr drove off and called Kish to fill him in. After a while of zipping southward through town with a full view of the southeastern horizon in the windshield, the Audi came onto a barren terrain with railway sidings meddling far back along its periphery. He parked on a small area where he could see the sloping riverbed. He also saw the extension walls of the south gate and walked along them following the map. The walls projected downstream, and as one went down, there was a cleavage in the slopping river wall at some point that created an intersection with a second bed.



S.K.

Edited: 15.04.2019

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