“Your family will pay the ransom but you’re never getting out of here alive,” coal black eyes burned into Clara’s grey ones, an angry sneer twisting his features as blood dripped from his nose. “You’re going to pay for this.” He wiped the back his hand across his nose and blood smeared over his cheek. He looked at his hand and then back to Clara. “I bet you think you’re pretty tough.”
Her head was throbbing from headbutting her captor, but she tried to push the pain down. The desire to flee far outweighed her fear in this moment and it was the first time “Junior”, as the other two men called him, had been left alone with her. He had a quick temper, and she could hear her grandfather’s words echoing her head. “Getting angry only serves to make mistakes Clara, it serves no other purpose.” If she could just get Junior angry enough, he’d mess up and maybe, just maybe, she could get out of here. She needed to get out now. Time was running out.
“I am tough,” her voice gravelly from days of being held without more than enough water to survive. She held his gaze praying her fear didn’t show. “Untie me and I’ll show you how tough.”
“What, you think a runt like you could stand a chance against someone like me?” Junior’s hand twitched at his side as he deliberated the taunts.
“I think I could kick your ass without you ever landing so much as a finger on me. Be a man, untie me and let’s try it out.” Grandfather’s insistence that she learn self-defence wasn’t common knowledge. How many times had he warned her mother that her extravagant lifestyle would put her daughters at risk? Her mother’s greatest accomplishment was making sure they were documented in every rag magazine and being chased by paparazzi. She laughed when she was caught sunbathing nude on one of her many boyfriend’s yachts or in bed with a friend’s husband. Her father was no better, a rock and roll icon who was more than twice her mother’s age. That relationship was doomed to fail. Most people thought that Clara was just like her. Most people were wrong. She was more like her grandfather than anyone. But her mother’s careless need to post their whereabouts all over social media with by the minute updates had made their security team unable to keep up. Now, based on the news reports that Junior and his merry team of thugs kept on the television playing in the other room, her baby sister Merry-Beth was in the hospital fighting for her life. She heard them talking earlier about sneaking into the hospital and finishing the job because she had seen their faces. They discussed killing a six-year-old child like it was buying a loaf of bread at a store. She would make these assholes pay. She just needed one of them to untie her now that the drugs they had put into her food were out of her system.
Her cheek stung as he slapped her hard. “You’re pretty brave for someone whose family has yet to raise the money of your ransom.”
“If I don’t get out of here alive, neither will you.” She bit the words out furiously. “Come on big man. You think you’re tough by slapping a little five-foot-two girl around while she’s tied up? Untie me. Let’s see how tough you are.” Her bravado was fueling her resolve as she read his face. Junior was not a good poker player and she’d stake her life on it. His face played every emotion as clear as if he spoke. His fury as she toyed with his fragile masculinity was palpable as he grabbed a blade off the table from the far side of the room.
He slid the tip of the blade down her cheek, and she felt the blood dripping. “Coward,” she spewed. “Can’t even use your own hands. Have to use a weapon.” She felt euphoric the moment he sliced through the tight ropes around her wrists. She closed her eyes as a sense of relief washed over her. His stupid ego would be how he died. He pushed her hard forward and she landed on her knees with a crash. “Junior, this is how you’ll die.” Her words were quiet and as he jerked her hair back in a tight fist and yanked hard on her head, she shoved her elbow hard into his groin. His hard intake of breath echoed in her ear as the knife hit the cement floor with a clang. In seconds she had him off his guard and vulnerable. She swept her foot out behind her, catching the knife and kicking it towards her. Adrenaline coursed through her body; her legs weak but strong enough to catch Junior off-guard. His breath was sharp as her heel landed neatly in the solar plexus and she gave a groan as she shoved with all her might against him as he fell forward towards her. Her hand made contact on his windpipe, and she watched his eyes widen in panic as he struggled to catch his breath. Sprinting she lunged for the knife and with precision that came with fourteen years of practice, she threw it straight into his left eye. He shrieked and fell to his knees. His scream was loud and high-pitched. It took moments before she could hear her other two captors racing down the corridor, she had been dragged through three long days earlier. Clara ran at Junior and pulled the knife from his eye socket with a twisting motion, one foot on his chest, shoving him to the ground. She leapt to the side of the door, ignoring the now convulsing man on the floor, purely focused on the two who would be coming through in moments. She would kill them or die trying.
The door slammed open and as the two men raced into the room and witnessed Junior writhing on the floor, she used their distraction, pulling the gun from the waistband of the second man in the room. She threw the gun out of the room as they spun and faced her incredulously. “This is where you die.” She gave a wry smile at their shock as she closed the door behind her and spun the knife in her hand.