I sighed as I turned on the T.V. I guess this is it. I'm probably going to die in the near future. I flipped through channels, trying to find something to watch. Then, I saw something very familiar. I gasped and changed back. My face was on the screen-on Fox News, to be exact. Even better, it was in English.
"Boston police have reported that sixteen year old August Havens has been declared missing by her guardian, April Havens-Dawson. The teenager disappeared in July during a hostage standoff that resulted in the kidnapping of her and her cousin June Havens. Both were rescued, but their kidnapper was never caught. This has led some to believe that he has come back to take his victims. Here's Brian Walker on the scene."
The screen changed from the newsroom to the busted-down front door of my townhouse. Crime scene tape covered the whole area. "Thanks, Shannon. This is the home of August Havens, where she was last seen with her friend, Blaire Pruitt. According to Mrs. Havens-Dawson, the two girls were staying here alone while the Dawsons were on vacation. When she returned, both were gone, leaving only a ransom note behind. She chooses to not have it shown on television."
So that's my cover story. I was kidnapped by Roy. Well, that will certainly be interesting.
"Boston Chief of Police Tom Pruitt, the father of one of the missing girls, has declared a state-wide manhunt for the abductor. He and his wife Katherine issued a statement this morning." I saw Tom and Katherine standing outside the police station. Katherine looked like she had been crying.
"Whoever you are, please just let our daughter go," Katherine pleaded. "And Blaire, if you can see us, we love you. We love you and are waiting for you to come home."
The angle maneuvered to Tom. "I can promise that the entire state is looking for these girls. So please, just let them go. August is like a daughter to me and I don't want her going through this trauma again. She's already unstable enough. And Blaire has nothing to do with this…" I turned off the television.
"Well, at least I'm not being called a dangerous fugitive," I said. "Maybe the CIA doesn't want to publicly announce that. I'm probably a traitor now."
I knew that was probably what I would be remembered as, too. If I was killed (which was very likely), Raul would most likely weigh my body and just toss it overboard. I would never be found, leading the CIA to believe that I was just a ghost and hiding out. I would go down as being the youngest traitor in American history or something like that.
I just hoped that they wouldn't do that to Blaire. She didn't deserve it. She had just gotten dragged into this. Unlike me-I had made a choice to join this lifestyle. A choice that had saved my life, but a choice either way.
The door opened and Raul came strolling in. "Hello, August."
"Hello," I replied coldly.
"Well, I just talked to Simon. He's still refusing to tell me anything."
"Good," I retorted. "That way the Zephyr will be safe from the likes of you."
Raul looked ticked. "You do know that if he does not give me it, you will die."
"I know. And I don't care. If I go back to America, I'm dead. If I stay here, I'm dead. Either way, I'm dead. So, I'd rather stay in a place where I'm in relative comfort for the time being."
Raul smirked at my logic. "How do you know you'll die?"
"Because I'm smart and a pain in the neck, remember? But, I won't tell you how I know. A girl has to have her secrets."
"Yes, but if I kill you, then I have no leverage against Simon. Your friend Blaire, however…is not as important to him."
I clenched my hands into fists. "You wouldn't dare."
"Oh, but I would, August. I will do anything to get that microchip, understand me? I will do the most horrifying things you can imagine to that girl, and more. So, if you want her to live, you will go to Simon and convince him to tell me where it's hidden. Got it?"
I nodded. I wasn't concerned about my own safety, but I wasn't about to let Blaire get hurt. "Yeah, I got it. Can I go see Simon now?"
Raul smiled at me. "Of course."
I was taken back to Simon's "lab" and tossed inside without any dignity. I picked myself off the floor and brushed the dirt off my clothes. "Dirtbag," I whispered.
"August, are you all right?" Simon rushed over from his desk.
I waved him away. "I'm fine. I'm not a fragile china doll, you know."
"I know. I'm going to give him the microchip. That way, you and Blaire will be safe."
I was torn. On one side, I wasn't willing to put thousands of people at risk if Raul got his hands on the microchip. On the other, I didn't want Blaire to get hurt or killed. "Simon, if you tell him, then a lot of people could get massacred. What if one of those terrorist groups got ahold of the Zephyr? Our own country could be in danger!"
"August, Raul said he would hurt you if I didn't tell him what he wanted to know…"
"And he told me that he'd hurt Blaire first. But, listen, I have a tracking device in my watch. I activated it almost three days ago. Roy and June are surely on their way by now. We just have to hold on a little bit longer and then we'll be rescued."
"I don't want to take that risk."
"Simon, please. Just do it for me. I can take care of myself, I promise."
Simon opened his mouth to answer, but a sudden jolt stopped him. I cried out as I lost my footing and crashed into a small cot. Simon landed on top of me. "Well, this is awkward," he laughed.
"Get off me, you big oaf," I replied. I looked around at the disheveled room. "What happened?"
"I don't know."
Roy had the throttle on full blast as he and June raced across the Mediterranean in their speedboat. "How far are we?" he yelled over the motor's roar to June.
"We're getting closer!" she called back as she glanced at the tracker. She smiled when she saw the purple dot drawing near. All of a sudden, her stomach began to churn. She managed to get downstairs to a bucket before the remnants of her breakfast made a reappearance. That's weird. I never get seasick. Not even in big storms. She had been feeling a bit under the weather lately. Maybe she was catching the stomach flu. Or maybe she was just nervous about August. Yeah, that was it. She was nervous about August. Anyone would be in that situation.
June was about to go upstairs when her burner phone began to ring. Quickly, she pulled it out of her pocket and pushed the talk button when she saw the familiar number. "Will? Will, what is it?"
"June, it's Kara. I just wanted to warn you about…"
"Kara, how did you get this number?"
"Billings gave me it. Now, August is in big trouble back here in the States. I don't have much time, but basically there was an accident and Isabel is dead. The new director is blaming August for it, but she's vanished. They're branding her with treason!"
June clutched onto the railing. "August isn't a traitor! Are they accusing her of killing Isabel?"
"In simple terms, yes. There's no official charge as of yet. But, there's more. Simon's been kidnapped, and apparently August was a part of it." There was a sigh on the other line. "She's being framed. I've seen the footage and it's not her. But, no one believes that she's innocent. In everyone else's eyes, August is a dangerous fugitive and a threat to national security."
"Can't you just tell them that it's not her in the footage?" June asked desperately. I never should have left her behind. She's only sixteen! She doesn't know what to do on her own.
"No, I can't. If I reveal that I know her, then I could end up in jail. Trust me, June, what you need to do now is find her and keep her safe. Okay?"
June felt her stomach twisting into knots again. "Okay," she replied. "August already activated her tracking beacon a few days ago. Roy and I are almost there."
"Good. I have to go now. I'm due at the agency in a few minutes." The connection was abruptly severed.
"Bye…" June trailed off. She turned back to her bucket before throwing up again. "What is happening to me?" she muttered.
"June, are you all right?" Roy called from the upper deck.
She rinsed her mouth out at the sink. "Yeah, I'm fine!" I won't tell him. He's already worried enough about August-he doesn't need to be worrying about me. She quickly dumped the bucket out the porthole and hurried upstairs to her husband.
"What were you doing down there?" he asked.
"Kara called me. August's in trouble."
"Well, we already know that."
"It's trouble in the States, Roy. Simon was kidnapped and August is being blamed for it. They're calling her a traitor!"
Roy tightened his grip on the wheel. June could see his knuckles turning white. "They took Simon, too."
June gasped. "He was making a new Zephyr, wasn't he?"
"From the chatter I've been hearing, yes." He sighed, running his fingers through his hair. "That's why they took August. She's leverage to get Simon to cooperate."
June leaned against the railing. "He'll do anything to save her. Even if it means handing over a potential weapon."
"That's what I'm afraid of." Roy looked out at the water surrounding them. "We should be getting close."
His wife peered at the phone. "We're almost on top of her."
Roy scanned the horizon. "Then why aren't we seeing any boats? There's no land around here for miles."
June looked as well. "Where are you, August?" she murmured.
I pulled myself off the cot and quickly started to take in the situation. We had hit something, but what? And why? "You're pacing again," Simon said as he watched me walk from corner to corner of the small room.
"I can't think unless I'm moving," I retorted. "It helps my brain work or something."
"Well, it's kind of weird."
"That's why you like me, remember? Because I'm crazy and weird."
"And beautiful," Simon added.
I smiled. "Thank you. But right now, I'm trying to figure out what's going on." I pressed my fingers against my temples as I attempted to decipher our predicament.
Just then, the door opened and a guard came rushing in. "You're needed on the top deck, Señorita Havens, Señor Feck."
I just nodded. If we were being taken together, maybe I could get us out of here. But first, I needed to find Blaire. We were led into the hallway and I gasped as I saw water pouring down it. It was already up to my ankles as we went to the staircase. "Are we sinking?" I cried.
"Yes," the guard answered.
"That's what I thought," I said uneasily. Simon squeezed my hand in comfort.
"We'll be all right," he put in. I gave him a small smile as we climbed up the stairs to the main deck. The first person I saw was Raul.
"Well, it seems like our Mediterranean holiday is over," he said with a grin.
"You did this on purpose, didn't you?" I replied angrily.
"Why, yes, August. My men caught wind of a man and woman searching the Mediterranean for a young blond girl. Would that girl be you, by any chance?"
Shoot! "There are many blond girls in the Mediterranean, Raul," I answered. "I have no idea who those people are, anyway."
"That's why you have a tracking device on you, then?" Raul walked up to me and stared me right in the eyes. "You're not as smart as you think, August." He grabbed my wrist and smiled when he saw my watch. "Roy gave that to you, right? Well, you won't need it where we're going." He snatched the watch and tossed it overboard into the sea. I gasped. There goes my chance of being rescued.
"I think you're even more of a sleaze than your brother," I growled.
"I take that as a compliment. We should be off. Load the lifeboats!" he ordered.
I searched the deck, but couldn't find Blaire. "What about Blaire?" I asked.
Raul glanced at me. "I'm afraid that your friend is not as important as you, August. She's a bit tied up right now, anyway."
My face went white as I realized what he was doing. "You're leaving her to drown," I said evenly. "No! No!" I screamed. I tried to run towards the rest of the yacht. "Blaire! Blaire, I'm coming!"
One of Raul's men grabbed me by the waist and started dragging me towards a lifeboat. "No!" I cried. "I'm not leaving her!"
"August, don't fight them!" Simon yelled. "You'll only make it worse!"
"She is my best friend and I am not going to let her die!" I kicked the guard in the shin and took off.
"August, no!" Simon cried. I only made it a few steps before I was picked up and carried towards the lifeboat. I kicked and screamed, but nothing worked.
"Blaire…" I sobbed as I was put beside Simon. My arms were fastened securely behind my back so I wouldn't try anything. Raul seemed amused by my grief.
"If I knew this would break you, I would've done it a long time ago," he laughed. "Then, I wouldn't have wasted so much time."
I glared at him. "You should be glad that I am secured, because I will kill you when I get the chance."
"You wouldn't, though. It took all of your strength to kill Agent Fitzgerald. And I hear that you still have nightmares because of it."
I didn't say anything else, but looked down at my thigh where my scar was showing since my shorts were shorter than normal. I leaned my head against Simon's shoulder and allowed myself to softly cry. I'm so sorry, Blaire. I never should've brought you into this.
I watched as the lifeboat was being paddled away from the yacht that was slowly sinking into the depths as it took on water. Then, I saw a speedboat heading towards the wreck. I saw a blond ponytail on one of the people and I knew who it was.
"June!" I shrieked. "Roy, June, I'm right here!" As a response to my outburst, one of the guards hit me on the head with the butt of his gun. I fell onto the bottom of the boat before everything went black…
Blaire whimpered as she watched water seep into the room she was in. Raul's men had tied her arms around a leg of a chair and gagged her before leaving her to die. She had heard August screaming her name earlier, but now everything was silent. They had left her. She was all alone.
I can't die now. I've got so much left to live for. She started to wiggle around on the floor, trying to tip the chair over. She scooted away towards the door, ignoring the ropes cutting into her wrists. Come on, you can do it. August wouldn't give up this easily.
Anger pulsed through her as she thought of her friend. But August wouldn't leave anyone behind either. In a moment of rage, she managed to tip the chair over, getting her arms out from underneath it. She stood up quickly and ran to the door. She struggled to turn the knob, but found it locked. Blaire screamed in frustration, but it only came out as a strangled cry. She fell against the door and slid down to the floor, crying softly. I'm going to die. I'm actually going to die.
She thought back to when she first became August's friend after she had moved into June's townhouse. She had known of August-the story of the car accident had been splashed across the front page of the Boston newspaper. When her mother had heard of the recently orphaned girl moving to their neighborhood, she insisted that Blaire should go over and say hello. Blaire didn't want to at first, but did anyway to please her mother.
She had gone to the townhouse and knocked on the door. It was answered by a young girl with puffy eyes. "Hello?" the girl said.
Blaire cleared her throat. "Hi, I'm Blaire Pruitt. I live down the street. I just came over to introduce myself. We'll be going to the same school." She realized she had babbled again.
The other girl wiped her eyes. "I'm August Havens," she replied with a small smile. "You probably know who I am from the papers."
"Yeah…I'm sorry about your parents."
"It's okay. I'm fine. So, would you like to come in?"
"Sure, if you'd like. I mean, I wouldn't want to intrude."
August smiled. "It's fine. I'm bored being by myself anyway. I need to talk to someone my own age before I explode."
Blaire laughed. "I know what you mean." She walked into the townhouse, not realizing that this was only the start of an amazing friendship…
Blaire sniffled and watched the water rising around her. It's no use. If I fight, I'll just be prolonging the inevitable. Maybe I should just give up now. But, she couldn't. She couldn't end her own life. She stood up and tried the door again. It was still locked. There were no windows in the room, so she couldn't break one to escape. Blaire sighed. It's hopeless.
Roy and June were horrified as they approached the sinking yacht. "Do you think that August is in there?" June cried.
"I'm afraid so," Roy replied. "I'm going in. You stay here and watch the boat. I'll be right back."
"Roy, you're crazy!" June exclaimed. "What if you get trapped inside?"
"Then you'll have to come save me," he answered with a smile. He grabbed a flashlight off the deck and dove overboard.
"Roy!" June yelled. "Don't leave me here by myself!" It was too late; he was already gone. "Darn it," she muttered.
Meanwhile, Roy was swimming to the wreck. He pulled himself onto the top deck and began searching for the teenager. "August!" he called. "August, answer me!" There was no reply, so he went down a deck where water was pouring in. The water level was already up to his thighs as he sloshed through the hallway. "August?" he yelled again. He beamed his flashlight around since the lights were flickering. "Come on kid, don't give up," he whispered.
He heard something banging against metal and looked up. He smiled. "There you are." Roy ran to a nearby door and banged on it. "August, is that you?" There were muffled screams behind the door that he took as a "yes". "Don't worry, I'll get you out!"
Roy quickly tried the handle, but found it locked. He pulled out his lock pick and began to pick the lock. It took him awhile since it was dark and he had to hold the flashlight in his teeth. But, he eventually got it open. By that time, the water had risen to his waist. He threw open the door and a bound girl with light brown hair fell into his arms. He ripped off the gag and stared down at this stranger. The girl looked at him with terrified eyes.
"I'm not August, but please help me!" she cried hoarsely.
"Of course," Roy managed to say. "But, who are you?"
"I'm August's friend, Blaire," the girl gasped. "We were kidnapped together."
"You can tell me all about it later, but right now we have to get out of here." He took her arm and led her down the hallway towards the stairs.
"You're Roy Miller, right?" Blaire said. "August told me about you."
"I hope they were all good things," Roy replied.
"Mostly," she answered sheepishly. "She was kind of mad at you guys for leaving her behind."
"I just bet she was." If we had taken her with us, then we wouldn't be in this mess. They got to the rapidly sloping top deck and Roy scanned the horizon for June and the boat. Blaire gripped his arm as she struggled to keep her balance.
"What are we looking for exactly?" she asked nervously.
"My boat," he replied. "June should be with it."
"June's here, too?"
"Yeah…" He smiled when he saw June driving up.
"Come on, get in!" she yelled. Roy scooped up Blaire and tossed her onto the other boat. Then, he hopped on himself. June grabbed him and kissed him passionately. "Why do you always have to make me worry?" she cried.
Roy smiled. "Because I always get this reaction," he answered. June looked up and saw Blaire staring at them.
"Blaire?" she gasped. "What…what are you doing here?" she stammered. Her face went white. "Where's August?"
"She was taken away with Simon," Blaire said steadily. "I was left behind to die."
June held onto the railing to keep herself from fainting. "Blaire, who took August? Who took Simon?"
"He said he was Raul Quintana. August knew who he was."
Roy knew immediately who Blaire was talking about. "He must be trying to take over his brother's company. That's why he needs the Zephyr. And they must not have it, since they took Simon and then you and August."
"Where would he take them, though?" June asked. "His yacht is currently sinking to the bottom of the sea, and Antonio's compound is run over with Interpol agents."
Roy closed his eyes. "Barcelona. His compound is in Barcelona. That's where he'll take them."
"How did you know that?" Blaire wondered.
"When I was with the agency, I researched the Quintana family thoroughly. Raul was raised in Barcelona as a child while Antonio lived in Sevilla. There's a good chance that he's living in the family home in Barcelona."
"But, what if he's not?" June asked. "Then what do we do?"
"I don't know. But, we're going to find them. That I can promise."
I moaned as I rolled over. My head was throbbing horribly. It's a surprise that I don't get brain damage from being hit over the head so much. I snuggled more into the soft pillow under my head. Wait, a pillow?
My eyes snapped open. I was lying on an ornate bed inside a large room. I sat up slowly and realized that I was no longer wearing the tank top and shorts and they had been replaced by a thin silk nightdress. I crossed my arms over my chest protectively. That pervert. I got out of the bed in hopes that other clothes had been laid out for me. There were none, but I did find a lacy robe that I threw on over the nightgown. I looked around my prison. It would be a lovely room under different circumstances, but I saw it as my tomb.
The whole room was furnished with Spanish style furniture, including a hand carved vanity and wardrobe. The first thing I saw was a balcony. I ran towards the French doors leading to it, hoping to get away, but found them locked. I grabbed the vanity chair and went to swing it at the glass, but noticed that it had security wire between the two panes. I threw the chair down in frustration. The windows had the same wire and the main door was locked as well. I slid down the wall to the floor and put my knees to my chest. "It's hopeless," I said aloud. "No one's coming to save me. Roy and June probably think I'm dead. The CIA wants me dead. Raul wants me dead. I have no chance. And Blaire's…Blaire's dead because of me. I'm useless." A tear ran down my cheek.
"What am I going to do?" I whispered.
You aren't going to give up, for one, a tiny voice said. You have been through much worse than this. You are going to get off your butt and save Simon. He needs you, August. You can still save him. You can prevent him from being killed like Blaire.
"You're right," I replied. "I can save him. And I will. Even if it means that I'll lose him forever."