The guys got the address for Debbie Constanzo from their contacts in New York. Sometimes it was good to have a friend in the media business, whilst more often than not, it was a disaster. They arrived at her house at around 5.30.
It was a small house, but nicely kept. The garden was pretty, with wild flowers growing freely, and a beautiful willowy tree in the middle. It was obvious that this girl took a pride in it. The boys hoped that this was a sign of the type of person she was.
Nick knocked on the door, and the others stood slightly back. He was the most forward; the least wary of making a statement. They had agreed that he would speak to her initially.
The door opened, and the young girl was taken aback by what she was faced with. She tried to close the door.
“I don’t want to talk to you…”, she began, but Nick placed his foot in the doorway.
“We just want to ask you some questions, that’s all.”
The girl softened a little at his gentle approach to her.
“There’s nothing I can tell you…” she continued.
Nick touched her arm lightly. “Please…we just want to talk to you”.
The girl looked at the other boys, then sighed. She guessed it had been coming, so she resigned herself to the fact that she would have to speak to them sooner or later.
“Ok”, she said. “Come in…”.
Eric was led into the office in handcuffs, his eyes lowered to the floor, unable to look anyone in the eye. He had been a hard bastard, until he had seen this kid. He didn’t think he could ever feel remorse for anyone, but when he looked into his eyes….
“Sit down”, Arling informed him. He did so.
“We know you were involved, so there’s no point in lying to us. You already have a record. There is no way you could have known so much without being inside on it.”
Eric nodded his head. He wasn’t even going to bother any more. He was fed up with it all, sick to death of it. He wanted out, even if it meant a long term in prison.
“What exactly has been going on? Was it money she wanted?”
Eric laughed, almost amused by the statement.
“Money would’ve been easy”, he replied.
Arling took hold of the handcuffs that were effectively immobilising Eric and pulled hard.
“Now you listen to me, son. I want to know every little detail. Every last one. I’m going to find this kid if it’s the last thing I do.”
“Well then, you’re wasting time talking to me. You should be out there looking for him, because the way she has been carrying on, he’ll be dead by the time you reach him.”
“All I know is that she said that he got mad when she mentioned him forgetting their anniversary, and he hit her. She said that’s why she left him.”
Kevin couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“Did you believe her? Trust me when I tell you that Brian would never EVER hurt a woman. He doesn’t have it in him.”
The girl shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. “
“But you went to the press”.
“NO, I didn’t . Believe me, I didn’t. They approached me, and I told them all I knew because they said that it might help them to find Brian. I did NOT demand money from it all. I wouldn’t do that.”
That didn’t surprise them much. The tabloids really were not their friend.
“All I know is that when Brian didn’t turn up at her grandmother’s house, Ellie just lost it completely. She was so mad. I’ve seen her that mad only once before”.
“When her boyfriend cheated?” Kevin asked. Debbie nodded.
”When did you last see her?”
“She’s left work; started decorating her house. The one her grand-mother left to her. She’s been pretty preoccupied by it all. I haven’t seen her for awhile.”
“Do you think she might have taken him to her grandmother’s house?”
Debbie looked at him in shock. “Wait. You think Ellie has something to do with all of this?” She was in utter disbelief.
“We know she has… The F.B.I have evidence that she is.”
Debbie exhaled deeply. She thought of the times she had spent with Ellie, the times she had been there for her. Ellie was so sweet, but so damned easily hurt. She was sensitive, but that probably came from the fact that her mother and father had died when she was a baby. She hated to be abandoned…
“Do you know where her grandmother’s house is?” Howie asked.
“I’ll show you”, the girl replied. She was devastated to do such a thing, but Ellie clearly needed help. What kind of a friend would she be if she didn’t get her that much?
He whimpered quietly to himself, although the gag in his mouth prevented any sound from being made. His nose was blocked from crying, his eyes stinging from the tears which had ran without any signs of stopping. The cable used to bind his hands and feet cut into his skin whenever he tried to move, but he was used to lying still. He had lay still for the past six months of his life, and now was no different.
“Who do you think you are?”, she had yelled at him, slapping him hard in the face. His cheek still stung from the earlier blow she had inflicted upon it, so now it tingled like pins and needles.
“Do you even know?”
He had closed his eyes, praying for her to be gone when he opened them again. So many times had his nightmares ended when he just opened his eyes. He wanted so badly for this one to be the same. But it wasn’t.
“Look at me, Dammit. I know you’re in there somewhere. I know you’re not completely dead.”
Brian shuddered at her words. He thought of himself as dead. Was he dead? Or was he in Hell once again? Where was the Heaven he had been taught about? Where were the angels? He had though Ellie was his angel, but she wasn’t. She definitely wasn’t. He didn’t know what she wanted from him.
“Answer me, Brian. Do you even know who you are?”
Brian shook his head from side to side. “NO, I don’t know who I am. I don’t know who I am…”
She looked at him defiantly. “And do you know who I am?” she asked.
Brian nodded his head. “You’re Ellie, and you’re the one who did this to me. You told me it was them, but I know it was you. I thought you loved me, but you don’t. You…scared me.”
His mind may have been fragmented; his thoughts a jumbled mess, and his memories snatched from him like a toy from a baby, but he still had his common sense. He still had his instincts, and after she shook him and slapped him and yelled in his face, he realised that nothing she had told him was true. He realised that the only reason she had stuck in his mind was because she had hurt him. And here she was, hurting him again.
“You’re not the Ellie I know I loved. I don’t remember her, but I know that you are not her. You’ve changed. I don’t know what you were like before, but you’ve changed.”
She slapped him again. “And you are not the Brian I needed. You are not even worth the time it took to break you.”
With those venomous words, she had taken advantage of his weakened state, and bound him tightly with the cables she had been keeping in case he had tried to leave her again. She didn’t need to hear his excuses, or listen to his pleas for mercy any longer. She had shut him up….until she could bring herself to shut him up for good.
So here he lay, bound and gagged and scared and alone. He had been taken from one Hell and placed into another, only this one was so much worse. He should have listened to Eric and not said a word. It was his words that had upset her and angered her, and it was his words that had made her snap. Maybe he would never speak again.
AJ stared blankly out of the window of the car as they drove.
“Dread cuts you and it bleeds you and it tears out your heart and soul. It grazes you and it burns you and it…it takes away your breath.”
He was dreading what they would find when they got to this house in the country. He had a feeling in the pit of his stomach, and it reached the deepness of his heart. It burned him, as though he had swallowed his lungs and they had got stuck in his chest.
“It isn’t far now…”, Debbie told Kevin. He was driving, and was finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on the road.
“Turn left here.”
AJ was playing map reader, but was just as distracted as Kevin. It all looked like spaghetti to him. “Has anyone called Detective Arling?” Nick asked.
“Maybe we should give him a call…let him know whats going on.”
“Lets just get this over with, dammit”, AJ yelled. He just wanted to get Brian and keep him safe. Arling would tell them to stay put, and he wasn’t prepared to do that.
“Pull in here”, Debbie informed them. “This is it.”
Brian frantically tried to get his face away from the pillow, but she was pressing it down harder and harder. The more he tried to escape it, the more pressure she put on it.
”Shh, baby. Don’t struggle. It’ll all be over soon.”
His legs, albeit bound tightly together, kicked as he desperately fought for air that wasn’t coming. The tape that held his mouth shut made her job easier, and the waves of dizziness were coming over him more frequently now.
“It’ll all be over soon, Brian, and we can be together forever.”
Tears streamed down her eyes as she thrived to take the life away from her beloved; the one she had already killed.
“I’ll go first…I can handle myself better than any of you”.
AJ stepped forward carefully, testing the door. It was locked, but he had experience in opening locked doors. He often forgot his keys as a kid, and had to pick his way in. It wasn’t long before the door was open.
“Call Arling now…he’d be too late to stop us anyway, but we may need him”, he whispered, as he made his way in. The others followed closely behind, but Nick stayed behind to call Arling. He was scared to death.
“Her room is the upstairs”, Debbie whispered. “Maybe I should come with you. I can try to reason with her, because she won’t listen to you guys.”
AJ agreed, remembering what Arling had said about Adrenaline. He didn’t want her to be forced to do something drastic to Brian just because she was scared.
He could hear something from behind the door. It sounded like…crying.
He swallowed hard, as if he were swallowing the terror and the demons that had been building up inside of him. This might be the most terrifying thing he ever did in his life…he had to be ready.
His eyes closed as he said a silent prayer, then almost on auto-pilot, swung the door open.