The Woman in Red: 48. Who has the third tape?
Katarina tried to get out of her seat, but the accomplice who stood behind her prevented this. Then she saw Jean-Pierre moving. He was alive! The next moment she looked it the surprised eyes of her fallen friend. Obviously he had no pain. What was going on? With not comprehending eyes, she looked at the gangster and the gun.
‘A little lesson, Katarina. When I shoot, I don’t miss. So if I’ve saved your boyfriend for now, it was also my intention.’ With a wide gesture, he showed the impact of the bullet in the chair back. He had missed Jean-Pierre only a few centimeters and had shattered the wood.
Jean-Pierre trembled in fear, but also a bit out of anger. He didn’t know where this feeling came from. His thoughts had been dominated by a feeling of fear at the moment the gunman took a shot at him and his natural reaction to throw himself aside. Still, from the deepest of his soul something black came to the surface. Something he didn’t know he had. Hatred! He hated the man with the gloves. He hated his little manners and he hated his voice. Everything about the man made him retching of repulsion.
‘I’ll ask it just one more time, my dear. Where-is-the-third-tape?’
His assistant freed Katarina again of her gag. ‘Bastard!’ It was the first word, leaving Katarina’s lips. ‘You can torture us, you can kill us, but that won’t change the fact I don’t know where the tape is. For the umpteenth time, I tell you we have hidden the three tapes together. Someone else has to be inside…’ The words froze on her lips. In the look in her eyes, there came a glance of understanding and the arrogant guy also saw it.
‘I have to admit I’m tending to believe you, Katarina. But I also so you got an idea who have to thank for it. You better tell me what you’re suspecting. I still got enough of bullets to repeat our show from a moment ago. Only this time I’ll aim at your friend’s knee. Not deadly, but very painful, so they tell me. Come on, speak up!’
Katarina thought the General was behind this matter. She cursed behind her breath. He might be in influential man, he didn’t take into account this psychological terror they had to experience. She wouldn’t forget this so easily. Katarina looked with questioning eyes at Jean-Pierre, who was still gagged. He nodded.
‘Okay, the General, I mean Jules de Tavernier, I suspect him to have the third tape. He has always been a money-grubber.’ The idea had just popped up in her head. Mixing some truth with a lie, it could work. ‘I’ve heard my mother talk about it and she said I mustn’t give them to him. He must have found the third one and took it with him. Please, I’m telling the truth. The General wants to make big money on this.’
Obviously the gangster believed Katarina because he put his gun away in his shoulder holster. ‘First, you take mister Loverboy to the car and call me when you have arrived there safely. Then I’ll come with this noble lady downstairs. I will untie you, but no games or one of you will pay the price.’
Both of the accomplices relieved Jean-Pierre of the ropes and his gag. He had to rub his wrists and his ankles to stimulate the blood circulation in his extremities. They had been pinched off a long time and were almost numb. It was a painful sensation when he got a feeling again in them. Katarina saw they pulled up Jean-Pierre and flanked by both gangsters Jean-Pierre was taken outside. She was alone now with the man with the gloves.
‘I admire your courage, Katarina,’ he suddenly spoke, ‘a lot would have become crazy or acted as little heaps of grief after my interrogation. However, I’ve seen the anger in your eyes. I take my hat off to you, ma chère.’
After five minutes, he heard his mobile beeping. Without answering, he listened to what the man on the other side of the line had to say and closed the thing afterward. ‘Good, my friends have delivered their package without problems in the car. I now will untie you and no games. If we don’t arrive safely downstairs, my men have the order to play a bit with your friend.’
The menace was clear and Katarina nodded. ‘Can I just go to the bathroom, I’ve been so frightened I have to go urgently, well, you know.’
A cruel grin came upon the face of the man. ‘No problem, darling, but make it quick, my men watch the clock. Tick tock, tick tock!’
Katarina stood upright, but after a few paces she almost stumbled obviously because she also had almost no feeling in her legs and had to hold on at the closest furniture.
She heard the man behind her laughing very hard. He obviously regarded this as very funny.