This device was an amplifier that would let him hear conversations through the thick cement wall as if he were standing on the other side. He put the small box against the cement and adjusted the dial, instantly able to hear the buzz of the monitors and the low beat of a song.
He put the equipment away and drew out his knife, preferring the weight of the blade to the coldness of a gun.
The door was closed, but Gage opened it soundlessly, seeing the security officer leaning back in his chair, his eyes closed and his earbuds in. Video monitors covered one wall, each flickering to a different view of the outer and inner perimeter of the building. He walked up to him and stopped when he was standing right behind him.
The security officer, whose name appeared on his badge as Herbie, was pleasantly unaware.
Gage could hear the song Herbie was listening to fade out as it ended, and he idly thought how easy it would be to run the blade over the man’s exposed throat. It was these emotions that had the darkness in him festering, these feelings that fed the beast.
Herbie opened his eyes and cursed as he saw Gage looming over him. Gage smiled and cold cocked him in the side of his head with the butt of the blade. Herbie groaned momentarily before he slid down the chair, passed out.
Gage went over to the control panel and started hacking into the system, bringing up the images from two weeks ago and scanning through the time frames. This particular system automatically discarded the videos after a week’s time—but the information was sill encoded in the hard drive.
It also made sense that the cops hadn’t been able to pick anything up from the videotapes, since the information was erased automatically to clear the drive and make room for memory. This set-up was low budget, for sure.
It had been tricky to hack into the computer’s database and access the dates he needed, and if it weren’t for his extensive IT training with the government as well as the current company he was employed with, he wouldn’t have been able to find anything.
He stared at the screen once he pulled up the date he needed, and saw Neeka McCarthy walking to her car. She looked scared. That was clear by the way she stopped in the middle of the parking lot and looked around.
He could also see the worry on her face. Gage froze the image when she stopped at the vehicle. He stared at her. Her gaze was off to the side, her dark hair a halo around her head as if the wind teased it. She was a beautiful woman, not something he should even be noticing, but an observation that couldn’t be ignored.
He let himself admire her for a second longer before he ran the video clip in slow motion. She got into her car, and that was when he noticed the dark figure behind her seat and the bright white swatch of cloth in his hand.
He watched the rest of the video, taking in every minute detail until finally her small body fell forward, clearly drugged, and an unmarked van pulled up. The shadows obscured most of the features of her kidnappers, and they wore masks, too, hiding any distinguishing features.
Someone drove her car away as the van sped off. Before the van could disappear off the screen Gage froze the frame, leaning forward and seeing a piece of information that would get him one step closer to finding Neeka.
“Got you, motherfucker.” Gage was able to make out the plate number. He wrote down the information he needed, made a copy of the information and video he’d acquired, and packed up his gear. He needed to get back to the compound and on the database and see if the plate number matched with anything in their system.
He gave one last look at the passed out security officer. Herbie would survive with nothing more than a headache when he woke up.
Gage sheathed his knife and exited the same way he had entered, having a feeling this wasn’t some random kidnapping. Neeka had been targeted, and he’d find out who the fuckers were.
Neeka took another bite of food, not hungry, but the gun pointed to her temple was a pretty good motivator for her appetite. Although she wanted to cry, she refused to give them the satisfaction of seeing her break down.
She could have her walls fall when she was alone. They’d started making her eat at gunpoint when she refused to consume what they brought her.
She took one more bite, chewing as she kept her eyes shut tight, and swallowed, hoping that was sufficient so they would just leave. One guard picked up the tray at the same time the other removed the gun from her head. She breathed out and opened her eyes, watching them exit.