“What the hell,” Kraybold said without looking at Gage. When he finally locked gazes with him Kraybold’s eyes widened, maybe from the size of Gage, or because he knew this wasn’t going to end well for him.
Gage wrapped his hand around the asshole’s neck, and walked him backward and into the adjoining alley. Once hidden by the shadows he pressed Kraybold against the brick wall.
“What the fuck you want, man?” Kraybold wheezed out.
Gage could have given him the benefit of the doubt, assumed maybe his van was stolen, but the air about this asshole, the fact he’d slapped a woman out in the middle of the street, told Gage this piece of shit wasn’t innocent.
“I’m only going to ask you once, so you better make sure you tell me the honest answer.” Gage leaned in so he was nose to nose with Kraybold, staring him deep in the eyes, and slightly tightening his hold on the other man’s neck. Kraybold’s mouth opened and closed, but no words came out, only a sickening gurgling sound. Gage loosened his hold but didn’t lower him from the wall. Gage didn’t fuck around when it came to getting answers.
Kraybold sucked in air, his eyes starting to water.
“You have anything to do with the kidnapping of a young woman a few weeks back?”
Gage tightened his hold again when the man didn’t answer. Kraybold’s eyes went wide as he started shaking his head. Gage loosened his hold once more.
“Okay, okay. Yeah, I was hired. I was instructed to drop her off at a rundown motel off of Interstate 61. The money was already there when I got there. I took it, and left her in the room.”
“What was the motel’s name? Who hired you?”
“I didn’t know his name. Some guy contacted me and offered a thousand dollars to bring the girl to the Dew Oaks Motel. I don’t know any names. I swear that’s all I know.”
Gage stared at the fucker, really looked at him. The man was panicking, and by the way he pleaded Gage could tell he wasn’t lying. But that didn’t stop the darkness already rising inside of him, or the feel of this anger over this entire thing take root.
Gage tightened his grip on the other man’s neck, his eyes going wide as he tried to pry Gage’s fingers from around his throat. Gage knew Kraybold thought he was about to die, but in all actuality, Gage had no intention of killing him. Collateral damage was always a possibility in these situations, but he’d let the little fucker live.
Gage released the man, and Kraybold slid to the ground, taking desperate breaths of air. Instead of killing the asshole, Gage pulled his cell out, knowing Kraybold had one hell of a rap sheet on his ass. Gage’s phone was a burner, and therefore untraceable, so he placed an anonymous call to the police.
Leaving the little prick gasping for air on the ground, Gage got back in his SUV and switched on the dashboard computer that was directly linked to the compound. The female robotic voice welcomed him, and he entered in his code, typed in The Dew Oaks Motel, and immediately got the coordinates and the history of the piece of shit place.
It was eight hours from Shyloh, which was where he currently was located, and from where Neeka had been taken. He had a lead, and things were about to get fucking messy. He could feel it.
Neeka was placed, by force, in another room, this one much more spacious and well furnished than her holding cell. Rye had gone out of his way to make this look like a bedroom, like she wasn’t being held prisoner. There was a window, barred, but it did let sunshine in.
Several days had passed since she’d met with Rye, and during that time no one had taken her blood. Her wounds had since healed, but she still felt like shit, couldn’t stop thinking about her father and if he was okay, and wondering how she could possibly get out of this.
A knock sounded on her door, and she turned from her seat in front of the window, her heart racing because she didn’t know what she was about to experience. Was the testing going to start again? Was Rye finally done with her? He’d said she was special, that he needed her, but he was a fucking psycho.
The young man that entered was the same she’d seen that first day she’d gone to Rye’s office. He couldn’t be much older than she was, and he refused to look at her. He held a silver tray in his hands and set it on the small table by her bed.
“Today is grilled chicken with a light butter sauce, steamed green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes.” He didn’t look at her as he spoke, but he never did. He lifted the silver lid, showing her that he spoke the truth. He covered it again and turned to leave.