Ethan saw Janet’s eyes snap shut and smirked. He’d have a little fun with that one in a minute. Nothing rankled him more than some git who thought she was better than him. Her and just about everybody he met. They all took one look at him with his tattoos and piercings and judged him.
Everyone always underestimated Ethan. Most of the time, he didn’t care. It was easier to get over on marks if they dismissed you. Something about Janet rankled him. He had only just met the stupid slag and he hated her already. After all those years of friendship with Andrea, Janet steps in and in the space of minutes turns Andrea against him.
Ethan would have to teach her a lesson about shooting her mouth off. He leaned down and pushed Andrea’s head and shoulders up off of the table. Her head dropped limply forward. Ethan straightened and smiled down at her.
He cupped her chin in his hand, lifted her head and ran his thumb over her soft lips. Maybe after he searched her pockets he’d play a bit of hide the weasel with her. She was a tasty little piece. Ethan had always thought so. Pity she wasn’t the least bit attracted to him.
Drugging her was a once in a lifetime opportunity to have his way and she’d be none the wiser when she awoke. But he would know. Yes, he would always have the intimate, tantalizing memory of exploring her tight little body. Ethan stood gazing down at her, his lips slowly spreading into a lustful grin.
He realized belatedly that her eyes had opened a fraction. A moment later, Andrea’s extended right arm flew up towards his face. His startled eyes slowly registered the piece of jagged glass gripped in her sleeve covered hand.
Belatedly, Ethan’s hands flew up to shield his face as Andrea gouged his forehead and blood poured into his eyes. Ethan screamed and reflexively stepped backwards. His feet blundered onto the remaining broken shards of her beer bottle as he swiped at the blood stinging his eyes.
Ethan’s foot slipped as Andrea launched herself up out of her chair and shoved him. He fell straight back into a broken down island in the middle of the kitchen. Andrea flinched as Ethan’s head connected with the edge of the counter with a loud crack before he tumbled limply to the floor. She waited a moment but he didn’t move.
Knowing that she had only minutes before he awoke, she scurried around the kitchen looking for something with which to secure his hands and legs. Andrea underestimated him once. She wasn’t about to make the same mistake again.
Andrea was searching the few cabinets which still had doors on them when she came across a gym bag. Inside the bag were towels, zip ties, rags and an unmarked bottle of some murky liquid. That sonovabitch was going to bind and gag us! She shook her head to clear away thoughts of what might have happened if he had succeeded in drugging them both.
Andrea used the zip ties to bind Ethan’s hands and feet before pausing to catch her breath. She checked his pockets and relieved him of his wallet, car keys, a switchblade and three rohypnol tablets in a baggie. Tucked into the waistband at the small of his back was a 44 magnum.
Andrea turned it over in her hands and instantly recognized the scratches on the barrel. How the hell did this bastard get his hands on my gun? She was checking on her sister when she heard him begin to stir. Andrea rose and stood in front of him with her arms crossed over her chest.
“Good afternoon sleepyhead. I’m glad you’re awake. Now we can have a nice little chat.”
Ethan’s eyes were still closed. He moaned, attempted to rub the back of his head and realized that his hands and legs were bound together. Ethan opened his eyes and glared up at Andrea. She smiled sweetly at him and retrieved a chair from the kitchen table, placing it at his feet.
She sat down and waited patiently. Ethan used the hands bound in front of him to push himself up until his back was against the wall of the kitchen next to the back door. He longed to wipe away the blood dripping down into his face. Andrea took pity on him and used the rag from the table to wipe his eyes before tying it around his head like a bandage.
“There we go. That’s better. Now we can chat,” she said brightly.
“I’ve got nothing to say to you.”
“You had damn well better have something to say to me you ass hole! Maybe this will get you in the mood.”
Andrea pulled the revolver from her waistband and leveled it at Ethan’s chest. His eyes widened slightly and subconsciously, he pressed his back against the wall.
“You can start by telling me how you got my revolver.”
“Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answers? Obviously, I found it where you dropped it.”
“What were you doing at my house?”
“I was with Steve. He was just supposed to run in and get something from you and come right back out. I heard gunshots and saw you run out with your sister. Naturally, I went in and found Steve dead as a doornail.”
“If you’re going to lie to me then things are going to get unpleasant. You and I both know that Steve couldn’t stand you. At best, he tolerated you. Try again Ethan.”
“Okay, so maybe I followed Steve to your apartment. I knew he had a big score in the offing and I wanted in.”
“He never would have cut you in on anything.”
“Who says I was gonna ask?”
“That still makes no sense Ethan. Steve would not discuss his plans with the likes of you. The more I think about it, nothing that has happened here makes any sense. You my dear are a moron. In order for you to have inside information, someone would have to feed it to you and then put the fear of God into you to keep you from going to the nearest tavern shooting your mouth off about it. ”
Andrea sat staring at him as if she could read his thoughts if she looked closely enough. She slowly said, ” You know what else doesn’t make sense? You dosing us. That’s not something that would occur to you. Any drugs you get either go down your greedy gullet or get snorted up your nose. No dearest, someone is pulling your strings. Who are you working for?”
The ever-present smirk on Ethan’s face slid off, exposing the fear in his eyes. He made a lame attempt to play it off but she could see that he was frightened. She spoke without thinking.
“You know about the talisman don’t you?”
Andrea shook her head in dismay. Ever since she helped Steve steal the talisman, her life had been turned upside down and inside out. Why did everybody want it so badly? Was it that valuable? She found that hard to believe. It certainly wasn’t much to look at. It was just a flat piece of amethyst on a gold chain.
Andrea suddenly felt exhausted. It would take forever to get any useful information out of Ethan. He was clearly scared shitless. Consequently, the lies were just rolling off of his tongue. He was almost relieved when she asked him where he had hidden his car. It was the one piece of information with which he readily parted.
She needed to get some rest. Andrea placed one of the rohypnol tablets in his mouth and forced him to wash it down with the last of Janet’s ginger ale. She made him open his mouth and lift his tongue before waiting until his eyes slid shut and his breathing slowed before returning to her sister’s side.
Janet was still slumbering soundly. Andrea dragged her into the empty walk in pantry on the other side of the room and pulled the door shut behind them. She had a hunch that Ethan’s boss might send someone to find out why he hadn’t returned with the two of them trussed up in his trunk.
Andrea would have rather left there and then but Janet was still unconscious and she wasn’t strong enough to carry her. Ethan had seen fit conceal his car in a separate location. They were going to have to walk a little ways to get to it. Andrea took one last look at Ethan through a small hole in the wall beside the pantry door before lying down beside her sister. Within moments, Andrea was asleep.
Early afternoon passed into evening. Janet awoke and sat up groggily, took in the close confines of the pantry and shook her sister awake, fearful that they were captives. Andrea reassured her sister, catching her up on everything she missed. Janet shook her head in wonderment.
“Wait a minute, how did you know not to drink the beer?”
“I was about to drink it when you said your ginger ale was salty. I’ve been around enough sleazebags to know that roofies taste salty when you put too much in a drink.”
“Really Janet? You’ve never heard of roofies? You know, Rohypnol the date rape drug? You need to get out more girl.”
“Oh shut up, slutella. Anyway, something else is bugging me. I could swear you drank the beer.”
“I stuck my tongue over the opening when I tipped my head back. That’s why I knocked it over. Even an idiot like Ethan would notice sooner or later that the level of beer in the bottle wasn’t going down. Enough talking. Try to rest up. You never know when we’re gonna have to run for it again.”
Andrea lay back down. Janet also laid down but could not get comfortable. It was hot inside the pantry and she felt a little claustrophobic. Janet sat up and peered through the hole at Ethan. He lay so still that she feared him dead until she saw the slight rise and fall of his chest.
The sun was going down outside and she watched the shadows gradually lengthen across the floor of the kitchen. Her eyelids grew heavy once more and she was about to turn away and lay back down when she caught movement in her peripheral vision.
Janet sat straight up and carefully scanned the kitchen but there was no one else out there. She was just about to turn away when the movement came again. Two shadows lengthened and separated themselves from the gathering gloom around Ethan.
Janet’s hand flew up to stifle her gasp as the shadows resolved themselves into male silhouettes. At least she assumed they were male. They appeared to be wearing hoods. Maybe I fell asleep and I’m dreaming all of this. Yes, that’s it. I’m sound asleep and having a vivid dream. No man stood in the kitchen yet two shadows leaned over Ethan.
A dark arm extended down into his head and he snapped awake panting as though awakened from a nightmare. He looked up at the figures above him and Janet could see dismay stamped on his features. She heard a low rumble and assumed that they were speaking to Ethan. He listened and shook his head.
“I wasn’t able to get the talisman. They drugged me. Help me get out of these binds and I will go and get it from them. ”
He broke off as the rumble of voices resumed. His eyes widened and he shook his head violently. One shadow began reaching towards him with a hand that widened into a claw with sharp talons. Ethan closed his eyes and screamed so loud that Andrea was jolted awake. Janet put a restraining hand on her sister’s chest. Holding a finger to her own lips to silence her before turning back to watch the scene unfolding in the kitchen.
“Nooo, please don’t. I can find them. I know where they’re going. I won’t fail this time. I won’t, I swear it!”
The shadow reached down and the hand passed into Ethan’s neck. Janet winced as he began audibly choking. His body began bucking as the figure straightened, pulling and tugging on something. It slowly emerged from Ethan’s chest seeming to glow in the dimness of the kitchen.
Janet’s mouth opened in disbelief as the luminous form of a man struggled and kicked in the grasp of the shadow. She looked down at Ethan’s still form. Ethan? Is that his…his…soul? Her eyes returned to the shadow in time to see it drop through the floor and disappear dragging the struggling form with it.
The second shadow began following suit when it appeared to catch the scent of something. Janet’s heart skipped a beat as the head swiveled slowly in her direction. All at once, it began racing towards the pantry. She shook her head in disbelief, wanting to scoot backwards but riveted to the spot.
One arm extended towards the door and she could feel a scream forming in her throat. Just then, headlights flashed outside piercing the darkness inside the kitchen and dissolving the shadow. Andrea grabbed her arm.
“What’s going on Janet?”
“Ssh, someone’s coming.”
Andrea shoved her sister aside and peered through the hole in the wall, cursing under her breath. Two young couples came striding into the kitchen. The second couple was locked in a passionate embrace. The girl was walking backwards with lips clamped on her lover’s. She tripped over Ethan and the two of them landed on top of him.
“What the….oh gawd Bobby, it’s a dead body. I told you coming here was a bad idea.”
“Calm down Sandra. He might just be sleeping one off. Give me some light. There, see he’s just passed out.”
“Are you sure? He doesn’t look so good.”
“He’s breathing ain’t he?”
“Just barely and look at his color. He’s too pale. Bobby, I think we should call an ambulance.”
The others strongly disagreed. The police might show up with the ambulance and ask them a bunch of questions. One of them had a packet of weed on him and they all had alcohol. Their parents thought they were studying. Ethan began convulsing and they all jumped.
“Bobby, if you let that guy die in here I’m never coming back to this creepy place. I mean it!”
“Fine, let’s just go. We’ll call from the car.”
Andrea and Janet were out of the pantry and streaking towards the front door in a heartbeat. They paused long enough for the tail lights to retreat before running out into the night.