The drive back lasted an eternity. He didn’t wait for the vehicle to be put into park when they pulled up at the house. He jumped out of the passenger side and headed towards the front door, where Claber greeted him.“Well?” he snapped. His eyes flashed with fury and his hands clenched.Claber stiffened and nodded. “We’re in pursuit. We know they escaped into the forest. We’ll be posting men at different positions along the road; we’ll find them when they come out.”“You better,” Truman hissed. “Their lives are worth more than yours.” The price on his head—back to square one. At least he had the necklace and the jewels.Come to think of it, he hadn't even seen the necklace since the raid. “Where’s the Swan Lake necklace? Is it in the safe?”“I don’t know. Would you like me to check?”“I’ll do it myself,” Truman grunted, pushing past him.The safe was hidden in what appeared to be a small utility closet. Unlatching the back wall, Truman let himself into a large room, of which the safe took up most of the space. He rubbed his fingers over his palm, noting how clammy they were. It’s in the safe, he told himself. He grabbed the combination lock and spun it around.The door unhitched with a click. For once the sight of various boxes and stolen goods only infuriated him. He yanked everything out, dumping out the contents, certain at any second he’d find that necklace.He didn’t. A little more desperate this time, he carefully put everything back in place, searching every box and corner. The necklace wasn’t there.Claber stood in the hallway, his brows knit together. “Was it there?”“No.”“We’ll check the van. Maybe it never got moved.”Truman didn’t answer, already moving down the hall. Claber marched to keep up.The van, at least, was safely locked in the garage. Truman yanked the passenger side door open and bent to pull out the safety deposit box under the seat. It wasn’t even locked. He opened it, already knowing it would be empty. Swearing viciously, he shoved the box back under the seat and began opening glove compartments, checking cup holders.“Check the driver’s side!” he yelled at Claber.Claber did so. He looked a little white as they concluded their search. “It’s not here.”Truman paused, breathing heavily, leaning on the open passenger door. “Could it be in the cargo hold?”Claber shook his head. “We emptied it first thing. All of the jewels that were in the back are in the safe.”Truman hissed. “The girls were in the cargo hold.”Claber gulped and nodded. “Yes, sir.”Truman slammed the door shut, his eyes burning with rage. “Gather the men into my office.” He ran up the steps, not checking to see if Claber answered. That necklace was gone, and somebody was going to pay.He stopped at the kitchen long enough to open a flask of vodka and take a swig. He hoped that gave Claber enough time; he wanted everyone in his office when he got there.They were waiting. “Who’s responsible for this stupidity?” he roared, entering the room and unholstering his pistol. He waved it around menacingly, eyes landing on the three who had led the raid: Eli, Grey, and Claber. “Why wasn’t the necklace in the safe where it should’ve been?”Eli gulped, and then stepped forward. “I placed the box with the necklace in the back of the van. I didn’t think to move it after we picked up the girls. I was—a little tired.” He waved one hand as he tried to excuse his indiligence.Truman marched forward so quickly that the man was forced to step backwards, rejoining his comrades in line. “Because of that one small mistake, the necklace was in the back with the girls. The girls! And now the necklace is gone! And so are they!” Truman lifted the pistol and pulled the trigger. He wasn’t one to throw away his men recklessly, and he rather liked Eli. But incompetence was something he couldn’t deal with.The other men averted their eyes from the fallen body. Truman had their undivided attention.“He wasn’t the only one at fault,” he said, his voice quiet. The darkness to his tone was more menacing than the shouting. “Who was supposed to make sure the necklace made it safely into the vault?”With an audible sigh, Grey stepped forward. “That was me, sir,” he admitted, his expression deflated. “I brought in all the boxes that were in the cab and put them in the vault. But I didn’t open them and check.”Truman stepped up to him, but Grey didn’t move. He remained still as Truman’s hot breath touched his neck. “I’m not going to kill you. But you will not receive any pay until the necklace is recovered. Until then, you are my slave. Understood?”Grey closed his eyes and nodded. “Yes, sir. I’ll work doubly hard to recover those girls.”“I know.” Truman stepped back again. Once more his eyes swept over the men before him. “In fact, none of us will get any pay if the necklace and the girls are not recovered. Get going!” he snapped, motioning them out with his pistol. He went behind his desk and sank into the chair, dropping his head into his hands. He ignored his men as they filed out of the room, gingerly stepping around their fallen comrade. His head shot up one last time as Claber started out.“Claber!” he hollered.“Yes?”“The blond girl. Sara. I need her back here.” Truman moved his hand. “She’s mine.” She belonged to him. He wasn’t going to let her go that easily.Claber jerked his head upward. “We’ll get her back.”“That’s all, then,” Truman murmured, exhaling. “And bring me my whiskey.”
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Missing the Necklace
This scene is in The Hand's POV. It's the moment he discovers that the girls ran away with his necklace.