A young Elf with blond hair, blazing violet eyes, and smooth eighteen year old face, walked out of the panic room in his home. He held his breath to avoid the sulfur fumes left over from his father’s battle. Jacob also carried his silver briefcase and a backpack full of athletic clothing. Jacob Pike was a Blood Elf just like his father and his partner, and just like so many other ancient blood Elf’s before him, Jacob was consumed with vengeance. He turned back toward the open door and paused. In his mind, he could still see last night’s security video just like a recurring nightmare. His conscious mind could not accept the vision of the Elven slave standing defiantly over his father’s crumpled and burned body. The same elf just hours before was locked in his basement. She was his after all, and they had no right….
He squeezed his fist in spasmodic fury until everything in the panic room had wadded up and burst into flames. He left the basement and went upstairs to get his father’s silver briefcase of GodStone rings. That’s when he saw the safe in his father’s study was destroyed.
“Bastards.” He sent a text to Victor informing him his father’s case was taken and the helicopter was late. He then made his way out of the destroyed house and waited near the landing pad. It wasn’t long before he heard the beating of distant blades signifying a safe exit was imminent. Jacob raised his ring hand and sent a huge stream of HellFire directly at the house. He continued the hellish stream as he casually walked full circle around the house until the flames soared hundreds of feet into the air. His Shields protected him from the intense heat, which he knew would leave nothing but white dust and glowing red stones.
His phone played a single bell tone. He opened a text message: “If they destroy your father’s set, ours will no longer work. Use your sight, and follow the silver case. I’m unable to leave San Francisco for another six hours and it’s a five hour flight.”
Jacob took no pleasure spraying HellFire into his homestead, but that was number two on his father’s emergency action list. Number one was to secure his GodStone rings, and number three was to stay under the radar and secure his father’s holdings. As the huge six passenger helicopter made its landing, Jacob saw the peculiar sight of leaves rolling on the ground and bursting into flames long before they reached the blazing inferno. The fire was hot enough that Jacob could see the look of fear on the pilot’s face.
Thanks to his Shields, Jacob couldn’t feel the full intensity of the blaze behind him, but he was sure the pilots could as they touched down. He welcomed the cooling wind from the blades and was not bothered by the dust that would have stung his eyes had he not been running shields. Jacob held up one finger to the pilots, then turned and unleashed another stream of HellFire into the core of the house. He continued the stream of flame in a side to side motion for about ten more seconds to ensure that any teeth or bones within the house were totally consumed.
Jacob turned with satisfaction and walked over to the helicopter door, oblivious to the spinning of the blades overhead. He always thought it funny how people crouched down in fear of the blades even though there was no chance of being touched by them. He smirked at the wide-eyed co-pilot when he reached the access door and climbed in. With a sharp pull, the co-pilot closed the door behind him. Jacob was amused that he had wet himself. Jacob sat in the first of the six passenger seats and relaxed.
There was a loud pop, and the cabin listed to one side. Jacob heard the pilot yell something about losing a tire and fuel tanks could explode. The co-pilot nearly lost his balance but caught himself by grabbing a nearby hand-hold; he scurried through the cabin door and shut it behind him. Jacob renewed his Shields as he heard the full throttle roar of the engines and felt the beat of the blades reverberating into the soles of his feet. After strapping on his seatbelt, he put on his sunglasses and gazed out the window. A county police car was racing down the long driveway toward his father’s house.
“A little too early,” he thought.
The helicopter literally jumped off the ground like a carnival ride, unlike anything he had ever witnessed before. The cabin listed dangerously back toward the inward draft of the fire before righting itself in the opposite direction. He took a parting glance out through the portal and saw the wind from the craft exposing the once mighty beams of old growth hardwoods. The house had become a bizarre arrangement of orange timbers and coals spewing angry flames far into the sky.
The world as Jacob had known it for eighteen years just turned upside down in a few short hours. Visions from the night before haunted his mind. When the mercenaries’ gas grenades hit the house, Jacob’s father had told him to stay in the panic room during the attack and follow the emergency action plan if anything goes wrong. Jacob thought the system would be recording his father’s triumphant battle against the intruders. He watched the invaders attend to his girl down in his basement with bitterness; she was his and they had no right to touch her. When his father burst into the basement spraying HellFire, he cheered with fist-pumps and howls.
His joy and relief were short-lived when his father lost control of his powers. Jacob’s heart both melted and froze as he witnessed his father lose control of his powers. Jacob was just about to open the door and kill them all when his ring lost all power. The nausea he felt at the sight of his father losing became much worse with the loss of life-essence from his GodStone ring. Somehow they had destroyed his father’s ring, and since his ring shared a common source of life force, his ring was now useless.
The persistent sound of the blades pushed back into his consciousness as the devastating memory of the previous night’s events receded. He willed himself to focus on the present and the responsibilities that lay before him. Jacob closed his eyes for a brief respite, but that was disturbed by a single bell toll from his phone. He opened a cryptic text message from Victor: “Follow the merchandise, eliminate all competition.”
Jacob felt a pulse of excitement flow through him. This was the first time he had ever been given a task to complete in the outside world—a full-blown OPS, no less. He pulled his silver briefcase up onto his lap and clicked the latches. Opening the lid revealed shrink-wrapped US and Euro currency, seven flash drives of GodStone programming, and a long jewelry case made of Mexican red opal. He picked up the box, rubbed the gold inlay of elegant script, and read aloud, “Seven unto the World.”
Jacob remembered thinking long ago that the three artsy-fartsy boxes his father commissioned could have bought three new Corvettes, but now he felt like he was holding his father’s legacy. He opened the lid revealing a set of six identical rings. Each of the seven cradles held a ring except the second one; he was wearing that ring.
Jacob bit the side of his ring finger and peeled off some of the callus next to his fingernail. He had a bad habit of chewing his fingers until they bled, except this time he needed the blood. After squeezing the wound a few times, there was enough blood to cover both index fingers. Jacob swung his head back and positioned his bloody fingers over his eyes as if he were putting in contact lenses. After gently touching both eyes, he shut them tightly and muttered the sequence Victor designed to activate the thaumaturgic sequences. Jacob kept his eyes closed and he took off his ring and felt a sensation of loss as he carefully placed it in the empty cradle.
He felt for the first ring in the box, and when he found it, he removed the first ring of Mammon from its cradle and put it on, but there was no rush of essence. He placed the ring back on the first stud and checked the third ring. Jacob felt the familiar rush of essence but, more notably, his vision changed from dark crimson to jet-black. A lone red orb pulsed on the horizon to his right. He repeated the process with the adeptness of a seasoned blind man with each remaining ring. He saw each of his father’s six rings pulsing in the same general direction, which meant that their current flight path was definitely wrong. Jacob opened his eyes and steadied himself as his vision slowly came back in focus. He put the second ring back on and verified his power levels on his custom wrist watch.
“Over 800K,” he read aloud. He took off the watch and placed it inside the silver case. Jacob pulled out four packs of cash and knocked on the door to the cockpit.
When the door opened, he tossed the money up on the instrument panel. “That’s $20,000 each for your bravery and the blown tire. I want you to go that way,” Jacob instructed, pointing about forty-five degrees to the right. The co-pilot grabbed his share of the money and began flipping through the bills with a whistle.
The pilot managed to remove some of the frown permanently etched onto his face. “No more surprises,” he said. Jacob nodded and shut the door.
Sitting back down in his seat, Jacob leaned back and closed his eyes, deep in thought, and rotated the ring on his finger. The rituals of invocation his father had forced upon him were very painful, but the results were worth it. Jacob and his father, along with an Elven Blood Mage, Victor Sonoa, had complete control of six of the seven GodStone rings. The seventh ring was off limits and not yet activated by any blood rituals. The reason not to invoke the seventh power was withheld from him on Victor’s orders, a fact that annoyed him greatly.
Jacob estimated he had no more than fifteen minutes left before his blood-sight would dissipate. He closed his eyes at regular intervals and used the intercom button to call in course corrections. When he noticed the red orb of his father’s ring move down under the helicopter, he quickly looked out the window and pressed the intercom. “Stop and hold your position!”
He tapped his GPS app on his phone and recorded the coordinates. “Got you!” he said to himself. Jacob knew it was the Kristensen twins that had invaded his basement, but he didn’t know where they lived until now. He pressed the intercom again. “Go four miles south, and then turn back 180°; then fly back two miles under radar and land.” He stripped off all his clothes and pulled a pair of flimsy nylon shorts worn by cross-country runners from his backpack. He then put his running shoes back on. He could feel the pulse of his heart, along with the life-essence and adrenalin shouting for battle, but controlled himself by concentrating on how he would bring death and pain to every living soul he met down below.
A quick glance out the portal verified they were landing. The helicopter touched the ground and listed toward the bad tire. Jacob turned his GodStone face down. The co-pilot opened the cockpit door just as Jacob was closing the case. He was sure the co-pilot saw all the cash. He sprang to his feet towards the cockpit, clearly surprising both pilots with his sudden approach in just shorts and sneakers.
Jacob splayed his fingers which accentuated his ring and said, “If you take off and leave me here, my father will ruin your lives.” The pilot looked pissed, but the co-pilot looked like he was going to piss himself again. “Now let me out.” After tripping a couple of times, the co-pilot managed to get to the side door and open it. “Don’t think we won’t do it,” warned Jacob. It was obvious they believed him since nobody knew about his father’s condition. Satisfied he had made his point, Jacob turned and stepped out of the craft.
He took off at a sprint over the meadow. The wind and swishing his nylon shorts on his parts excited him as he covered the first half a mile in less than two minutes. He jumped a twelve-foot creek and flattened a row of thorny bushes ahead of him using his power. Jacob’s body heat was increasing, but his breathing was still normal. At about the first mile marker, he came up to a rusty fence about eight feet high with razor wire spun around the top. He flicked his hand, wiping out a ten-foot section.
Continuing his sprint toward the manor, he covered the next mile in less than five minutes. He stopped to get his bearings by closing his eyes. When he confirmed the location of his father’s ring, Jacob saw it was not in the mansion as expected, but rather over to his right down underground. He came up on a berm where two Humvees were parked in a sunken cul-de-sac only viewable from the air. A quick survey of the area revealed camouflaged concrete stairs descending into the earth.
“Breaking in will be costly if they don’t come out,” he thought.
Suddenly a loudspeaker broke the silence. “Stay where you are. I have a man on the way.”
Jacob’s plan required him to get hurt while people watched him on camera. He intentionally caused a fall by jumping backwards and turning at the same time,
“Hurry up, you idiots,” he thought. He stayed on the ground and held his knee. He could hear the sound of clunking, most likely from a heavy steel door. Jacob was prepared to kill everyone he saw and had his attack Glyphs and runes at the ready.
“What are you doing here?” Jacob looked back and caught the guy looking at his ass. Jacob suppressed a laugh and quickly changed his attack plans. “Golly, mister, you scared me. Now I think I hurt my knee.” Jacob feigned a grimace.
The guard came forward to help him. “Listen, boy, you’re not supposed to be here. Let me help you.” Jacob took the guard’s big hand and leaned his weight on him.
“This is just horrible. I’m training for the Boston Marathon, and now I hurt my knee.”
“Is it bad?” asked Bob.
“It’s getting better,” he said as he adjusted his parts as the guard watched, “But really need to take a dump.”
The guard blinked twice and then Bob asked, “Can you make it to our bathroom down in the bunker?”
“Sure!” he answered. To keep from laughing in the guard’s face, Jacob imagined stabbing the guard repeatedly. Working a fake limp, Jacob assured him that he was fine enough and proceeded down the stairs. The bottom of the stairs revealed a thick steel door—wide open with a man standing in the doorway, a very pissed-off man.
“Damn it, Bob! You trying to get us fired? What’d you bring him down here for?” He looked at Jacob with disgust and then back to Bob. “I told you to put him in the Humvee!”
Jacob laid it on thick. “That nice man said I could take a dump down here.”
The man smacked his forehead. “Jesus Christmas, Bob! You’re such an idiot!”
“He was sort of hurt, and, and…”
The second guard held up his hand. “I don’t wanna hear it!” He looked back at Jacob. “What you doing out there, anyways?”
“Running a marathon,” Bob answered for Jacob.
Jacob rolled his eyes and said, “Training for a marathon, not running a marathon,” as he put his hand on his hip like a girl. “I mean really!”
“Got-oh-mighty!” the man in the doorway was now clearly disgusted. He threw up both his hands. “Close the door, Bob,” he said as he turned. “Come on boy, and be quick about it.” He led the way down the tubular hallway.
Jacob heard the boom of the outer door closing and then a spinning of the locking mechanism. Ring essence always gave Jacob enhanced senses… like eyes in the back of his head. He could feel every movement Bob made as he turned and jogged to catch up.
“Dead men walking,” he thought. A second steel door was also wide open. To the left were gun racks loaded with police-issue shotguns. On the right was a system panel with the camera view of where he had fallen outside. Jacob asked nervously, “How close are we? I really got to go.”
“Don’t go a-shittin’ your pants. We’re almost there.” The man stopped and looked back. “The door, Bob?”
“Oh, yeah,” said Bob.
“What a retard,” the man muttered to himself as he started walking again.
Unable to see where the curved hallway led, Jacob decided the tunnel was some kind of emergency exit, and that meant the other end would eventually lead to the manor. He heard another boom, the second door closing, but didn’t bother to look back. The rapid clop, clop, clop, told him all he needed to know.
They had only walked about 100 feet when they came to another hallway that branched off to the side. When they turned the corner, there was a hefty steel door with a system panel on the right side. The man put his hand on the pad and then said, “Ted Hazard.” This door clunked and opened by itself. Inside was another guard looking at a huge wall screen running video from at least two dozen security cameras.
This guard looked back at Jacob wearing only shorts and a heavy layer of sweat. He frowned at both of the guards and then shook his head, muttering curses. The guards had obviously caught sight of him running on the property line but had not sounded the alarm.
“Being half-naked and with no weapons did the trick,” Jacob thought just before he spun around and hit Bob in the breastbone with his palm enhanced with GodStone power.
A sickening crack was heard as bone shards ripped into Bob’s heart, dropping the big man instantly. Jacob spun around and pushed both of the other two men hard against the wall. He then summoned their guns, causing them to rip right out of their leather holsters. Jacob caught them mid-air by the gun-barrels and asked, “Who’s the ranking officer here?”
After a few seconds, a very stunned Ted Hazard raised his hand weakly.
“Put your phones on the floor in front of you.” Both men hastily complied. “What’s your name?” Jacob asked, waving of the butt of the gun in his right hand toward the other guard.
Jacob laid down both guns and crushed Neil’s phone with his will. The crackling sound made both men flinch. Jacob then willed Ted Hazard’s phone to his hand.
“Does it have a password, Ted?”
“Okay, Ted, my name is Jacob Pike; do you know who my father is?” Both men’s eyes were as big as golf balls. “I take that as a yes. Listen closely, Ted. I’m going to rip a body part off of Neil over there each time I hear something I don’t like. Shall I give a demonstration before we get started?”
“No, no, please don’t!” Neil cried out, holding up both hands.
“Where are Sebastian and his sons?”
“Still at the hospital… as far as I know.”
“Who did you notify about me?”
Ted Hazard looked crestfallen and said, “Nobody. You were just a kid running with no weapons.”
“Where is all the security detail? And I better believe your answer.”
Ted looked down at the floor. “Moving the lady’s things back out of the bunker, and the rest are at the hospital.”
“Why are they moving out of the bunker, Ted?”
“Since—there’s no more danger.”
Jacob chucked. “Where’s my father’s silver case?”
Ted looked over at a large vault door. “Chief Williams locked it in there,” he said.
“Where is my father?”
“That one,” he answered, pointing to a metal door with a security glass insert.
“Really.” Jacob gestured toward the door. “Open that vault. I want the silver case first.”
The terror on Ted’s face became more pronounced. “I can’t open that one. It’s bio-locked to Chief Williams’ palm print or a family member.”
“Is that so? Let’s see if my palm will work.” Jacob held out his hand. There was some creaking, but nothing happened. “Thicker than I thought.” He held out his left palm as if to hold the wall and then made a fist with his ring hand pulling an imaginary bow string. Powerful creaking sounds came from the wall as spider cracks formed around the door in the concrete. Suddenly the vault door along with the doorjamb burst out of the wall, flew across the room, and bashed the opposite wall hardly two feet from where Jacob was standing. Dust and concrete pieces sprayed the room and pummeled the guards.
“Bring it to me.”
A stunned Ted Hazard wiped his eyes and shook off the concrete debris. He entered the wall safe, picked up the silver case, and timidly brought it. He approached Jacob like a trembling dog afraid of being slapped. Jacob snatched the case from his hand.
“Can you open the door to my father?” Ted nodded. “Then do it,” Jacob snapped. While Ted scrambled to open the door, Jacob set the silver case on the floor and opened it, took out the ruby stone case within, and opened that. A grin spread across his face as he saw all seven rings, but then he turned with deadly intent back toward his victims. He shut the case and stood just as Ted Hazard had gotten his father’s door open.
The view was surreal. Jacob saw what looked like two hundred pounds of beef jerky wrapped in plastic lying on a fully extended stretcher. There were IVs hooked to a bag of white milky liquid, two large clear bags, and a small urine bag hanging off the side. The vision infuriated Jacob. He almost incinerated the guards right then and there, but he decided to stick to his plan.
Pointing toward the room, he ordered, “Both of you, get in there against the wall, that side,” and he pointed to the wall on the left.
Both men hurried into the room as instructed and plastered their bodies against the wall. Jacob accessed the photo app on Ted’s phone to take a few photos of them and his decrepit father. Then he spoke directly to Ted Hazard. “And you think Bob was the idiot. You have Stellan Pike just thirty feet from his silver case, and you bring me inside wearing a GodStone ring.”
The mangled flesh that was Pike started wheezing heavily. Jacob was relieved that his father was conscious and could still hear.
Jacob started the video function on the phone. “Ted, what is your full name, and who do you work for?”
Ted grimaced, but started reciting, “Ted Hazard. I work for the Kristensen family.”
“Who is this man?”
“Stellan Pike,” Ted said, looking at the man on the stretcher.
“Why is he here?” Ted looked down and didn’t say anything. “Let’s see what part Neil has to offer…” threatened Jacob.
Ted Hazard looked alarmed, “No, no, wait! They took him from his home last night. The chief thinks they need him alive to get his money.”
“WHAT? His money? Start talking!”
“Chief says he’s worth 100 million.”
Jacob shut down the recording. “Correction, I’m worth 100 million.”
“You didn’t ask why. They want his money to help the families of all the people he killed…”
“Quiet!” Jacob looked over at his father, and with his will, he snapped the straps holding his father’s arms. Pike waved for his son to come over by his side. “I’m here, Father.” Both guards groaned when the elder Pike made a hacking motion to his neck. “Is that what you want?” asked Jacob.
Master Pike nodded as best he could.
Jacob knew it was time to grant his father’s last wish. He made a fist, aimed his ring in his father’s direction, and stopped his heart. “Good-bye, Father. I love you.”
“He turned to the guards as they cried profusely. He hit them with HellFire, and it didn’t take long for the screaming to stop.
With that, he held his breath to keep from breathing in the sulfur. He opened the silver case and placed the phone inside. After locking it, he turned on his heel, took a breath and hopped over Bob on his way out. He then turned the corner and headed for the exit.
Gunfire erupted behind him, and Jacob could feel bullets pounding his Shields. He turned in a fury and filled the tunnel with HellFire. He heard the screams, but he continued the stream with a swirling motion of his outstretched hand to ensure every square inch of the tunnel was burned as far as the eye could see. All the lights in the tunnel exploded from the heat, and there was certainly no more gunfire erupting from the burning corpses.
Once Jacob was satisfied, he headed for the stairs. The adrenalin of what he’d just been through overwhelmed his senses. He took the stairs four at a time and exploded out the top of the stairway without touching the ground for another ten feet. From then on, he was in a full sprint that allowed him to cover the two miles in less than ten minutes. The heavy case of cash and stone case of rings didn’t slow him down a bit. Jacob remembered how the Olympics required special scans to see if GodStones were surgically implanted, and for good reason. Use of GodStones in the Games resulted in a lifetime ban.
At the crest of a berm, he could see the helicopter was still there and he could hear the whirling turbines. As he approached, the blades started to pick up speed. He could see the co-pilot getting up through the front glass of the helicopter. The side door was open for him when he got there. Jacob climbed in the helicopter and barked, “Airport!” The co-pilot retreated into his cubbyhole seat without saying a word.
Jacob felt exhilarated from adrenalin and life-essence but recognized his body heat from the two mile sprint was dangerously high. He also knew he was dehydrated. After downing a full bottle of water, he stripped off his running shorts and used them to wipe sweat off of his body even though the nylon was barely effective. The engines roared, and the blades began to rock the craft. He decided to air dry a few minutes in order to lower his core temperature.
He sat down and adjusted the air nozzle above his head. With a conscious effort, he relaxed his breathing. Sitting nude in a helicopter was a new one for him. He looked out the window to watch the retreating landscape as the craft lifted off. Once they started picking up speed, Jacob chuckled and let the success of the mission wash over him.
He picked up his phone and sent a secure text: “Success with attitude. Got sweet video. I’m on vacation; you know where.” He attached the video and sent it to Victor. It was taking a while to upload, so he amused himself with the memory of his mission. The exhilaration of total success was increasing. He gazed at the two cases full of cash and mused, “I need room service and an all-night massage.”
The rush of life-essence and adrenalin, along with daydreaming about his room service and massage, made him grow happy in the privates. Jacob stood up and laughed. He glanced at the cabin door leading to the cockpit and then pulled on his jeans with marginal success at closing them. He pulled on his “No-Fear” T-shirt and chose a cooler seat to sit in. He leaned back and said, “That shit in their cornflakes!” Jacob started to laugh uncontrollably. It occurred to him that the pilots could hear him, and that just made him laugh even harder.
The doctor completed his examination. He coughed once before starting to explain Vonen’s condition. “The X-rays show three fractured ribs on his left side. The good news is there are no indications of internal bleeding.”
“Shouldn’t he be in a body cast?” asked Traven with a wink toward the doctor. This caused Vonen to groan and elicited a frown from his mother.
The doctor continued, “He also has a nasal fracture, and the swelling is compounding his breathing problems. We set the nose, but he may require plastic surgery at some point if the cartilage grows back unevenly.”
“Please forward his test results to our family physician, and we will coordinate future treatments with him,” said Cassandra. “And his estimated time of discharge?” she asked.
“Yes, of course. If the blood work is good, I see no reason he can’t be discharged this morning.”
“What kind of care should we arrange for his ribs?” asked Cassandra.
“Vonen should only need some pain medications to recuperate. People with rib injuries tend to breathe shallowly, and that’s an invitation for lung infections. We don’t want that, so I’m prescribing pain meds to allow him to breathe normally.”
“Now you’re talking,” Vonen piped up, his voice nasal but not particularly weak.
Everybody frowned at Vonen except Traven, who couldn’t help but chuckle at the sound of his brother’s voice.
“What?” Vonen held up his hands.
Cassandra nodded to the doctor as he excused himself from the room. Looking back toward Traven, and nodding in Sebastian’s direction at the same time, she said, “I believe you and your father have details to attend to…”
Traven looked at Hannah with a worried look, but she nodded.
“I’ll be okay. I need to see Linda, anyway.” Hannah hugged each of them, making Vonen’s a gentle, careful hug, and left the room.
Sebastian complimented Vonen on how well he was doing and excused himself. Once he and Traven were outside the room, Traven saw his bodyguards were stationed at each end of the hallway, but Robert was standing attentively close by.
“Robert,” Sebastian said quietly, “if you would be so kind as to attend to the admission details we discussed?”
“Certainly,” said Robert with a slight bow before excusing himself.
“Keep in mind your mother knows just about everything about the assault on Pike’s house last night, and humor with Vonen sets the wrong tone right now… Understand?”
Traven coughed. “Sure, it was the sound of his voice that cracked me up.”
Sebastian sighed. “How is Linda?”
“Oh. Right now, she’s resting, but they’re going to take her into surgery before the swelling gets worse.”
“I assume their inability to reach her parents has caused some delay. What did you say about her vocal cords?”
“I told them she was mute.”
“Not a good idea, but I can see why you did it. They have to be told the Pike burned them out. The anesthesiologist will know something is wrong with her throat, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that she can’t eat. What about Sven?”
“Better. I’ve infused him twice with life-essence. It appears Pike banged him off a few walls. His body looks like a big bruise, but so far nothing serious is showing up. I believe the flak-suits helped Vonen and Sven survive the one-on-one.”
“Traven, I need you to step up for me here. I can handle a lot of things, but there is simply too much going on. We have C4 planted in our home; forty-six people were killed in my employ, two of them off-duty FBI; Hannah’s parents still lie dead in their home; and Pike’s second house is booby trapped with C4. Pike is currently expiring in our detention security cell, not to mention Vonen, Sven and Linda’s injuries.”
Traven could read the lines of stress carved into his father’s face and could feel the pain in his weary eyes. He had to figure out how he could help. “Look, I’ve got this. You can’t make them heal any faster by being here.”
“That’s true, but Robert can’t leave until Linda’s situation is straightened out, and I’m not leaving without Robert.”
“Okay, I’ll see if I can get her name, but there’s no telling what her mental state is after being Pike’s prisoner for who knows how long.”
“If we knew her identity, it would help us get through the red tape.”
Traven glanced down the hallway toward Linda’s room, and then he looked back at his father. “I’ll find us a private room so you and I can get started working on resolution.”
Sebastian sighed. “Resolution, indeed.” After a few seconds, he pointed and spoke. “One of those bags has some clothes for Hannah.” Traven looked at the two guards at the end of the hallway and the two duffle bags on the floor between them. Then he looked back into his father’s tired eyes. Sebastian said, “I’ll be back soon.” Traven nodded as Sebastian set off toward admissions.
Traven walked down the hall to the guards and pointed at one of the bags. One of the guards shook his head. “Next one,” the guard said. Traven figured the bumpy one had weapons. He picked up the correct bag with clothes and nodded to the guard, then opened the heavy oak door to Linda’s room.
Hannah was sitting on the bed next to Linda rubbing Linda’s forehead with a wet cloth. She was wearing a pair of hospital scrubs Traven had gotten for her when they’d arrived. She also asked Traven and Vonen not to ask her about what happened in the basement. She would let them know when she was ready.
“There are some clothes in here for you, and some for Vonen,” he told Hannah, holding up the bag. Hannah quickly took the bag with a smile. When she unzipped it, she let out an audible breath of relief.