From - Alex Passon
To - Jennifer Wilkinson
....I know it's been long since I messaged you. Sorry about that. Things have just been so screwed up for the past one week here. Had a fight with my dad yesterday. He kept screaming that I was a disgrace to the Passon family. I didn't scream back, just like you promised me not to. But....it's getting harder Jen. I dont know how long I can bear all for this....I'm sorry for this mess. I love you. Like crazy. And sometimes I wish we could just get away and never care about my parents....
Amidst the bustling crowd outside the small Italian restaurant, the figure of Alex Passon slouching over his table, with a drink in his hand, went unnoticed. His eyes were red, with small puffs around; his hair looked unusually messy. Any passer by who cared to pay attention would have understood. Alex Passon was in love.
Presently, before he could straighten up and observe his properly, a man sat down opposite Alex. He wore a cap that covered his head properly, and a slightly thick brown beard that gave him a roughish look.
"Are you the Passy boy?" He asked quickly, without so much as a smile.
"Passy? My name is Alex Passon," Alex said, feeling slightly alarmed, though his face still had an expression of confusion. That's what happens when you drink one too many.
"I'm Roger, and let me tell ya I'm not interested in this kinda business," the man began speaking quickly, "but if Jenny says that's what she wants, that's what I'll do."
"Huh?" Alex asked, wishing he'd been sober. His head was beginning to throb.
"-Frankly I don't know what she sees in a dump like you. Drink like a fish, don't you?" Roger said, shifting uneasily in his seat.
"I'm - I'm fine," Alex said, smelling his own breath. It reeked of alcohol.
"Alright. Now me chaps are back there, waiting for me, so I'll make this quick." Roger took out a small slip of paper. "Jen told me you cant drive out of your house, so this is what we'll do. Tomorrow night, we'll come and get you from your fancy house-"
"Get me? Why?" Alex asked, looking incredulous. Suddenly, he could think clearly again. His heart began beating a little faster.
"Listen you little ass!" Roger snapped, hissing with anger. "I'm not here to play Hide and Seek alright? Jenny asked me to help you slip out of the house. So that's what I'll be doing. Do you want to marry my sister or not?"
"Er- yes. Yes!" Alex said, feeling the blood rush to his head.
"Well, it's not going to happen if you just keep nodding your head," Roger said scathingly. "Here's what you have to do...."
Amidst the continuing bustle, the voices of the two men drowned out, as Richard - his false beard beginning to itch - wrote down specific instructions for Alex.
February 13th, KPL Apartment
Mark laid out the blueprint for the Passon Mansion on the table. "I'm not sure about any of this, but until we can confirm tomorrow, here's the general idea," he said, looking at the five men standing around the table.
"This is the entrance door," he said, placing a finger on the thick sheet of paper. "And down the corridor is the living room. To the left of the entrance door is a short flight of stairs that leads to a set of bed rooms. To the right, is the additional guest room."
He paused, waiting for any possible questions. There were none.
February 16th, Passon Mansion, 12: 50 A.M.
Alex Passon sat on his bed, motionless, with a mobile held tightly in his hands. In the darkness, he could hear the faint noise of traffic passing by in the distance. He had been sitting still for about half an hour now. Waiting. Wondering how it would all turn out.
Outside, an unmarked van parked near the Mansion walls, and the doors slide open. Four men got out, and without saying a word to each other, proceeded to scale the walls. Once they were on the other side, three of them moved towards the left side of the Mansion, while the remaining one walked towards the right.
It was dark all around, and the only sounds they heard where those of their footsteps on the soft, grassy lawn.
Looking up at the small window on the first floor, one of them placed down the large duffel bag he was carrying, and took out something.
"I still cant understand why we couldn't just enter from the front," Richard whispered irritatedly, watching as Ben threw a rope and heard the small anchor cling onto the iron grills of the window.
"And how," Ben replied, pulling the rope tightly, "do you suppose we do that? Knock on their door and ask for the Kid?"
"Richard, we discussed about this already," Mark said firmly, helping Ben climb up the rope. "Their front door will mostly be rigged with alarms. This is the safest bet we have,"
Richard merely grumbled, and the three men proceeded to climb up the side of the mansion. Six years of on-the-job training had provided Ben with a special set of skills that came in handy when breaking into a mansion in the middle of the night. Though the first time he tried cutting through iron grills, he ended up fusing the window shut, Ben had come a long way since.
Within two minutes, they were inside, crouching in the middle of a long corridor.
Their earpieces crackled loudly. "Yo!" James yelled, "Where are you guys?"
"Jesus, James!" Mark whispered, pulling his earpiece out quickly. "We're inside now. Tell us when the Kid gets out-" Ben stopped suddenly, his eyes catching sight of something at the end of the corridor.
Before they could ask, Ben pushed Mark and Richard into one of the rooms, and closed the door quietly.
"Ben? What happened?" James asked, sounding serious suddenly.
"Er - we have a problem," Ben whispered, opening the door a crack, and peering outside.
"What is it?"
"There's someone in the corridor," Ben whispered.
February 14th, KPL Apartment
"You think it'll work?" James asked, sounding slightly critical as he looked at Mark. He wasn't the only one with that doubt. Alex and Tim looked skeptical as well.
"It's simple guys," Mark explained, hoping to convince them, "the Kid and his girlfriend are in love. They want to get married. The Kid's parents wont have it, so we - the girl's friends/relatives, help the Kid to elope. That's it!"
"That's the easy part," Ben said, "What I'm worried about, is the place. We're doing all of this within the Mansion. It's a little too risky."
"Dont worry," Mark said reassuringly, "we'll take care of it..."
February 16th, Passon Mansion
"Who is it?" James asked.
"I think it's a - a lady," Ben said, trying to scan the corridor silently.
"Ah-" James's tone changed. "Is she--"
"She's a middle aged lady, James!," Ben said quickly. "And it looks like she's going to the bathroom."
An uneasy silence followed. Mark and Richard held their breath as Ben watched the aged lady totter along the corridor. After a while, their earpieces crackled again.
"Guys, just a little heads up. You have one minute before the Kid walks past the entrance door and into the side guest room. Is the grandma gone already?"
"No, wait." Ben said softly. He could see the figure of the woman now, nearing closer to him. She was dressed in what looked like a maid's uniform. As the footsteps grew louder, Ben suddenly realized where she was headed to.
"She's not going for the bathroom. She's going downstairs," he whispered.
"What? Shit, are you crazy? If the Kid sees her, we're blown. Get rid of her!"
"I don't know. Distract her, seduce her, knock her out. Do something dammit! You've got less than 30 seconds."
Ben turned around and looked at the other two anxious faces. "What should we do?" He asked. "Richard," he said, addressing the strongest amongst them, "can you tackle her?"
"Are you mad?" Richard reacted in his typical nature. "She's old enough to be my mother!"
Ben paused, deciding not to correct Richard's underestimation of Mrs. Bremmer's age. His eyes fell on the black duffel bag. "Screw it." He said, grabbing the duffel bag.
In one swift motion, he opened the door, swung the bag, and hit the lady on the head. She was knocked out instantly. Mark, who managed to follow Ben, caught her before she hit the ground.
As they paused near the stairs, the click of a door closing could be heard. The Kid was in the guest room.
"The Kid's safe," Mark spoke into his microphone. "Good," James replied. "Lets wrap this up nicely. And what did you do with the lady?"
Ben spoke before Mark could reply. "She went into her room."
Looking at the unconscious woman on the floor, he softly murmured, "Sorry."
Grabbing the duffel bag again, they slowly walked down the stairs. Looking around to make sure everything was right, they unzipped the bag, and took out several sheets of acoustic boards.
"I hope this works," Mark said, trying to reassure themselves.
Two days ago, Alex had come up with a piece of information that almost ruined their whole plan. The local police squad cars patrolled past the Passon Mansion between 1 and 1:15 A.M. Which meant they wouldn't be able to park their van anywhere nearby. Meaning they wouldn't be able to get the Kid out of the house. The only other option they had, was to fake the kidnapping while the Kid was in the Guest Room.
Placing the acoustic boards over the Guest room door, Mark gave them the signal. Ben and Richard pulled on their ski masks, while Mark took out a large black hood. Handing it over to Ben, he looked tensed. "Be nice," he remarked dryly.
Sitting in a van parked about 600 meters away from the Mansion, James could hear the sound of something crashing loudly. Moments later, as expected, the lights in different windows came on. It was working.
"Hey James, what about the girlfriend," Tim asked, pulling his seatbelt on to get ready.
"What about her?"
"Well, the Kid'll want to see his girlfriend right? Shouldn't we contact her or something?"
"We tried to. She's busy maybe. Doesn't matter. We'll figure it out once we're out of here."
James turned his attention back to the Mansion. "Good, turn it up a little," he said, savoring this final part of the plan.
The sounds grew louder now, and James knew they had to wrap it up quickly. "Alex, you ready?"
Standing outside the window of the Guest room, Alex signaled the Kid. "Open the window. Now!" He yelled. Without wasting a second, the Kid opened the latch of the window, and jumped out. The two of them ran across the lawn and jumped over the walls.
"That's them," James said to Tim. "Go!"
The van roared to life and dashed down the road. The doors slide open and the two of them got in.
"Alright guys, get out now!" James said. There was no need to. Mark, Richard and Ben were already dashing towards the van, ripping off their ski masks. Long before the police could arrive, the Kidnappers had disappeared.
Two hours later, Passon Mansion
Inspector Jonathan sat in front of Mr. Passon, holding a diary in his hands.
"Sir, there are a few questions that I'd like to ask. If you're fine with that."
Mr. Passon nodded his head, his face still showing signs of weariness and anxiety.
"There is a diary we found in your son's room. I've gone through some of the entries, and it seems he was in love with a girl named Jennifer."
"Yes," Mr. Passon said, looking curious now.
"Well, I think this will help with the investigation greatly, sir. Right now we're treating this as a kidnapping, you understand. But from what I've gathered here, there's a chance that this could have been - something else."
"I don't understand," Mr. Passon said, shaking his head.
"Mr. Passon, with all due respect, we have reason to believe that this could have been a - an elopement, and not a kidnapping,"
"No, no!" Mr. Passon said dismissively. Jonathan had expected that. A man of his position couldn't afford to admit to such a thing.
"Mr. Passon, I understand that this is hard for you. But in order to investigate this properly -"
"No, Inspector, you don't understand!" Mr. Passon said anxiously. "This cannot have been an elopement. Late last night, after my son had retired to bed, I got a call from Jennifer. She had decided to break off the relationship. She was planning to tell it to Alex in the morning. Why would my son elope then?"
To Be Continued...