Chapter 8: Esther's Return

Esther held Tony's hand as they crossed the street a few blocks away. He moaned to her and slowed down. She grumbled and tugged his arm making him catch up to her. "Keep your head down," she whispered to him, "People are looking for us. We're almost there." Tony stopped and pulled away from her. Esther looked back at him with huge eyes. He pointed at his open mouth. "I don't care if you're hungry," she said, putting her arm around him and pulling with her, "You're just my hostage. Right now we're both going to go somewhere and lay low." He started whimpering with his eyes squeezed shut. "If you don't start moving I'm going to break your arm, now MOVE!" Esther said to him. Tony looked at her, tears pouring out of his face. She grabbed his wrist and tugged him behind her.

Unknown to her, Joe Bando was creeping his truck quietly some 20 feet away, staring right at them. He looked down at his glove compartment and opened it. A magnum with a fair sized barrel slid out and he grabbed it. He looked up, seeing Esther and Tony going through a set of trees towards a huge building in the middle of a small clearing. He knew she was going to try and take refuge in the old abandoned shoe factory. He couldn't let that happen. He got out slowly and shut the door behind him. He then jogged towards the trees that surrounded the building.

Esther grabbed a rock and smashed one of the windows when they arrived at the back of the building. She pointed at Tony who yelped. "You're going first," she said, "I follow you." He shook his head. She then picked him up and shoved him in through the window as he screamed and dropped out of sight. She cussed him in Russian and climbed in after him.

Joe had seen them both go around the back of the building. He realized now that Esther had the kidnapped kid he kept hearing about on the radio. He'd really never paid any attention; he was too wrapped up in his own problems. Besides, he thought, what are the chances he'd ever have the opportunity to find the kid himself? Thinking back, he could've kicked himself for being under prepared.

Joe snuck up to the building and pulled the hammer back on his magnum. He then spotted the semi open loading bay door to his far left and crawled into it when he got there. He got up slowly and looked around at the place. It was HUGE. Having the windows be dusty and/or painted black didn't help either. Dark silhouettes of machinery and empty crates littered his sight. He started making his way through the maze, keeping his gun up. He knew he'd have to find them; he'd led them back here.

He stopped walking as he heard something fall over. He aimed down at it and seen it was a large thread holder. He shook his head. He suddenly gritted his teeth as Esther hit him in the back with a large metal pole. He fell over, dropping the gun. He rolled towards the nearest wall and slowly sat up against it. He saw Esther hop down from behind one of the crates. She smiled and picked up the gun, not taking her eyes off of him. She kept the gun trained on him and went over. He groaned and stared at her. He had wondered how could such an angelic little girl do all the things the TV said she did. He knew now.

"Who else knows you're here?" Esther whispered to him. "No one," Joe breathed heavily, "It's just me." "So, you're snooping around, going to bring us both in?" Esther asked him. Tony came up behind her and she spun around and aimed at him. He whimpered as she stared. Her blank expression never changed as he held his hands up. She motioned him over and he came slowly. She gently pulled him in her arms and held him.

Behind Esther and Tony Joe Bando got up and grabbed a 2x4 off the ground. He limped up behind her and held it above his head, yelling fearlessly. Esther spun around and fired into his stomach, knocking him back into the wall. Blood poured freely out of his wound as he lay there against the wall again. She went over to Joe and slowly squatted down to him. He coughed some blood out and started hyperventilating. He angrily turned his gaze back to hers. Was Esther laughing at him now? He stared in disbelief as she covered her mouth with both hands and started chuckling at him. He snapped and reached for her as she quickly drew her gun and fired into his head, blood spraying all over her face.

Esther sat down, closed her eyes and sighed. Tony fell to his knees beside her and hugged his stomach tightly. Esther slowly turned her head, smiling at him with blood dripping off of her face. He trembled and slowly turned to her. "Don't worry little one, I'll never do that to you," Esther told him gently, "I hurt you before and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so rough before. I won't hurt you if you just do as I say. Can you do that for me Tony?" Tony slowly nodded his head. "Good boy," Esther told him, "I love you." Esther kissed his cheek and they both turned and stared at Joe, as he lied there staring at them.