The Woman in Red: 40. The interrogation
Frau Bertha had spared neither cost nor effort so that this undertaking should succeed. Katarina was very grateful for it. ‘You’re a real friend, Bertha, I’ll never forget you helped my mother and me.’ She took the German woman close and kissed her amicable on the cheek.
‘Oh, my child, it’s the least I can do, after all, what’s old friends for? But let us get ready to interrogate Thérèse. Our men can arrive here any moment. Do you have your device with you?’
Bertha had provided for a headset microphone that was connected with a transformer. It would change the tone of her voice in a full-blooded bass sound and transmit it through a series of speaker boxes that were hung up in the interrogation room. Thérèse would never know it was Katarina in front of her.
Katarina herself had looked for proper clothing. She had chosen for a man suit that was a bit on the big size, but because of that disguised her feminine characteristics. The false belly, a pillow she wore under her shirt took care of it that her camouflage was very successful. Frau Bertha gave her a holster and a pistol to make the disguise act complete. Her long hair was tied up in a bun and put away under a hat. Upon her face, she wore a mask so that only her eyes and mouth were uncovered and where the microphone was secured in.
Frau Bertha had asked her if she wanted a real or a fake gun. Katarina resolutely had opted for a real one and she wanted it loaded with bullets too. Her German friend had furrowed her brow. Katarina had promised her that she wouldn’t hurt her. She had still a surprise left if she wouldn’t cooperate. Besides, at the advice of her mother, she had taken shooting lessons the moment she was sixteen. She could handle a gun.
Both women heard noises in the background and it meant Helmut and company had arrived. A few minutes later, the still sleeping woman was driven inside in the wheelchair. Jean-Pierre kissed Katarina on her cheek and whispered that everything had developed without problems and that the woman wouldn’t hurt a hair of her head.
When the kidnapped woman had changed her wheelchair for a seat where she was tied up with ropes so that she couldn’t fall out of it, the men and Frau Hofmeister left the room. They would follow the whole thing in the room next door upon a video screen that was connected with a few camera’s in the room.
It wouldn’t take long before the abducted woman came awake, Helmut had quickly said before he left the room. Katarina felt her heart beating in her chest. She had never treated people that way, but for her mother, she would do anything. She suddenly asked herself if anything also meant anything. Would she hurt people to save her mother? She had no time to answer this question because Madame Dupont moaned and started to move her head. It would still take a couple of minutes before she would be fully awake.
Frau Bertha had advised her not to wait till she was fully conscious. The best thing was to disorientate her from the start. Katarina knew that Madame Dupont would risk a trauma by this action. After all, she now had her answer to her question. Yes, she could live with that if her mother would be saved by it.
‘You’re now in our hands,’ it sounded in a heavy bass voice out of the speakers. ‘If your life’s worth living, you will answer our questions with the truth. Understood?’
Katarina tried to walk like a man. She had practiced before and she didn’t succeed very well in it. Bertha Hofmeister suddenly had laughed and said she had the solution. After a while, she had returned with a big dildo in her hands. Katarina had looked at her wide-eyed, not knowing if she had to laugh or cry.
‘No, it’s not the right time, if you were thinking about that. But it’s rather effective if you fix it in the right place. I don’t think you’ll walk like a model anymore. They had tested it and nonetheless they had a laugh, it worked.
Thérèse Dupont looked dazzled and tried to understand what was happening. ‘Where am I… who are you? Why am I tied up?’ Her voice cracked from fear when she saw the masked person in front of her.
‘I’ll only repeat it once,’ Katarina drew her gun and put the barrel against the nose of the frightened woman. ‘You’ll answer our questions or you’ll pay with your life.’ They had rehearsed what they would say, but Katarina had forgotten almost all about it because of the tension of the moment.
‘If you should think we’re bluffing, think of your friend Monsieur Charles. He also thought we didn’t mean business. He has paid with a bullet through his head for this stupidity. Try to be smarter or…’ The threat was complete. Thérèse began to shake and shudder. The tears were flowing along her face and her breathing was very hasty.
‘What have I done wrong? What do you want? If it’s money that’s not a problem, but please let me live, please, I’ll give you anything you want.’
Katarina had held her breath. It was now or never. The question had to be asked. ‘Where’s the tape of the Baroness? Where can we find it?’
A moment the woman looked surprised. She had thought she was kidnapped for the money. After all, she wasn’t without means and it was common knowledge.
‘The tape… how,… what do you mean?’ Frightened, she stumbled over her words.
A loud pistol-shot sounded through the room. That’s why the gun had to be loaded. Katarina had aimed the wall behind the tied up woman. The sound had to be deafening so close to the ears of the woman.
‘In my bedroom, in my bedroom, please I don’t want to die.’ Now the woman cried uncontrollably.
‘Where in your bedroom? Come on, tell us or the next bullet goes through your head instead of the wall.’ Katarina knew she had to go through with it, despite the fact she felt sorry for the woman.
‘In my night table, you can pick it up there, it’s open. I swear… on the head of my late husband… I’m speaking the truth.’ It came in bits and pieces out of her mouth.
Katarina pushed woman’s head upwards with the barrel of her gun. ‘You mustn’t fool us and think we are stupid. There’s a security system in your house. There must be with such a rich woman as you are. How do we turn it down?’ She pushed hard with the barrel under the chin of Thérèse Dupont. Her eyes were wide open from plain anguish.
‘I’ve got the key to the front door with me… once you’re inside… 281260… the code… you push it on the panel on… on the left side. That’s all… I…’ The woman’s head fell limp sideways. Rapidly Katarina felt her pulse. Relieved, she sighed. Madame Dupont had only fainted.
On her sign, everybody entered the room again. Helmut had a syringe with him that he emptied in the arm of the kidnapped woman. She would sleep for a while. Long enough to let them take the tape and to deposit the woman on her bed in her bedroom. They would leave a note that she had to keep silent about the abduction and about the tape. Otherwise, they would find her still and kill her after all.