A Pawn for Malice(58)

By: Cynthia Roberts

“It won’t be a problem, but I’m not making any calls to get the ball rolling, until I talk to her first!”

There was a moment of silent contemplation. Bryan knew getting the cash wouldn’t be a problem. Florence probably had that amount sitting in a locked safe at home, or a safety box at her primary bank. He had to make sure, that Jessica was unharmed. He needed to let her know, that he was coming for her.

Corbat’s tone was curt, but at least, he complied.

“Alright. Not until tonight, when I go check on her. I’ll call you at eleven.”

“I expected that,” Bryan remarked, after the line was disconnected.

“Yah, me too. At least it gives us another twenty-four hours to find her first.”


It took them nearly forty minutes to drive up to the popular tourist attraction known as Howe Caverns. It was a pretty impressive spot with its gigantic white letters spelled out on the front lawn. They saw the lettering first, before the huge building came into view.

“I’ve heard about this place, but never been here. How about you?”

“Came with my seventh-grade class. It’s really awesome inside with its underground caves and lake.”

A chill ran up and down Bryan’s spine. All he could think of was Jessica, tied up like an animal in a dark, dank cave all alone. This was the perfect place to keep her too, and why wouldn’t he. Corbat worked here for years. He probably knew every inch of the caves and where to hide her. Management wouldn’t be the wiser. Bryan knew she wouldn’t be in the most likely places though, particularly not where the tours were conducted.

He had her in an area that either, hadn’t been discovered yet, or decided on not making accessible to the public for monetary reasons. They had less than twenty-four hours to find her, and he prayed, they found the right place.

As they began to walk towards the main building, Bryan’s phone rang again and he recognized the main number for the Capitol Police.

“Bryan here.”

“Senator it’s Sgt. Taft.”

“Mac, been waiting on your call. Tell me you’ve got something.”

“You’re there already.”

“What? She’s here at Howe Caverns.”

“I knew you wouldn’t sit idle. The cop in you wouldn’t allow it. Both of your signals are coming from there right now. You want back up? I can call the greys in. They’ve got a sub-station right there in Schoharie.”

“No. No, Mac. I don’t want to scare him off. We’ve got to move slow on this one. Thanks, a million. If her signal changes, even minutely, text me. Once we go in, we’ll go silent.”

“My eyes are glued to the screen, until you bring her home, Senator. If you change your mind about backup, call me.”

“Will do.”

He directed his attention to Ayden.

“You heard?”

Ayden nodded, smiling and asked. “You wanna do the questioning? This guy may recognize you.”

Bryan shook his head no and responded. “At this point I don’t care. I’m along for the ride. You take the lead on this one.”

The moment they entered, it was plainly clear the place might have been closed for reconstruction. Scaffolds were off to the right and the front lobby desk and furniture was covered with paint drop cloths.

“Can any one of you point me to the office?” Ayden called out to the workers, who turned when they entered the building.

The painter closest to them acknowledged first, pointing off to the left.

“Take that corridor to the left. First office on your right.”

Bryan and Ayden both nodded their thanks and went in the direction given.

The front office was empty, but they noticed a balding, rotund male in the office in the rear and headed that way.

“We’re closed,” he barked out, noticing their approach.

Ayden unsnapped his badge and made it visible.

“Det. Ayden Tyler, Albany P.D. I’ve got a few questions, if you don’t mind. You the owner?”

The owner huffed his disgust as he picked up a burning stogy from the ash tray on his desk and took a puff. He scrutinized them both, turned his back to them, and plopped down into his chair behind the desk.

“It’s about fucking Corbat, isn’t it?”

“When did you last see him?” Ayden pursued.

“Two days ago, when I let him go. I had to, because of that waste of a brother of his. Couldn’t have him around anymore. If the press got hold he worked here, it would’ve been bad for business. You understand.”

“Quite frankly, no I don’t. He’s not responsible for what his brother did.” Ayden reprimanded.

“Fuck you. I can fire whoever I want.”