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Confrontation Before Departure

She panicked at first, and was exhausted at the end.

When she came back to her senses, her vision was still dark. Am I dead? She thought. She tried to move her hands and felt a strong grip on them. Her hands were struggling with a tight fabric. Her sense of smell appeared. The scent of something strongly acidic entered her nostrils. Her tongue involuntarily licked her lips and registered a taste of cold chocolate. She then realized that she had lipstick on.

“Ah, you’re coming around,” a coarse voice spoke softly.

“Where am I?” she begged. Eventually, it dawned on her that she’s very much alive. “Who are you? What do you want with me?!” her voice elevated.

“Shhh…Relax. I will—"

“Don’t you go all easy on me. I’ll strangle you! I’ll...” she started struggling while she was searching for words. “I’ll call my dad. He’ll get you, all of you, whoever you are. Let me out!”

Her restlessness gave way for a chain of curse words. She kept spitting them out like a viper and started pushing back and forth on the chair she was bound to.

“You perverts! I never flashed my tits or gave a blowjob to anyone around the street just to pump up some cash! I never was—"

She suddenly felt a hard object being thrust into her mouth and lay there. She felt more furious and started gnawing on, using her tongue to spit it out.

The piece of cloth that was covering her eyes was slowly removed.

Her eyes widened and she stopped struggling.

A small, spacious room lay around her. The darkness of the room was completely eradicated by the glow of a large chandelier on top. A desk sat on the floor towards the right and on top of that was a set of books, a spanner, and a revolver with four bullets beside it. The room was otherwise empty, except for the desk.

She was confused. Her confusion amplified when she was staring at one lone figure in front of her. A man of average height stood facing her with his hands cupped in front of him. He wore a black robe that extended down towards his feet. The robe obscured his entire body. He wore a very familiar mask. A mask of Shrek the Ogre. Seriously? The mask had brushstrokes of red paint dripping down the mouth and the right eye.

“Now that you have calmed yourself down. I ask you to remain in this state for the brief extent of the next half an hour or so as I explain matters,” he spoke with patience.

She started struggling again. Her head was erupting with questions. Her curiosity took the better of her as she finally spit out the cloth gag which was stuck in her mouth. She was about to bombard him with more words but stopped abruptly when he revealed a sharp dagger from behind his robe. He held the dagger with a professional grip in his right hand.

“I ask you again to remain calm. Otherwise I will have to paint this blade with your blood,” the man hissed under the mask. She suddenly lay motionless, frightened.

“Good. I take pride in telling you that I haven’t touched your body inappropriately. My henchmen are responsible for bringing you here, so you have them to blame for.” His tone hardly changed as he spoke.

                                                              ***

A drowsy pair of eyes were straining over a big headline of a newspaper.

"2000 refugees have been granted access."

The pair of eyes belonged to a cop. He sat on his chair with his legs crossed on top of his work desk. He rested his head on the palm of his right hand as he was trying to read the headline. His eyelids were trying to shut out his vision.

A cup of coffee lay on his desk, its steam ascending upwards. It wasn’t touched. Next to the coffee was a personal Glock 17, resting with its muzzle pointing towards the chair next to him.

“Captain Crawford!” a sharp voice cracked the silence and snapped the cop out of his half-asleep state.

The voice repeated while Crawford set the newspaper aside hastily and waited until another cop, dark in complexion, entered his office. He had sweat dripping down his face and a look of excitement.

“What is it?” Crawford demanded. He wasn’t sure whether he was angry or focused.

The other cop slowed down his adrenaline rush and took a deep breath.

“We found them,” he said with a surprised tone.

“Them?" Crawford asked in confusion.

“Our guy with another woman.”

Crawford’s eyes almost bulged out and he let out a shocked expression.

“Wait for me outside with two more of your men and my car."

“Got it, boss!”

The other cop left the office in a hurry while Crawford quickly pocketed his Glock 17, a had few quick gulps from his cooling coffee, and rushed out of his room.

A moment later, Crawford was jogging towards his Benz, which was parked near the gate. The NYPD sign on the side of his car glistened in the darkness. The other cop stood next to it and got in the passenger seat when he saw Crawford approaching.

Crawford got in the driver's seat and his partner tossed him the keys. He noticed two other cops, armed and prepared in the back seat.

“Good evening, boys,” Crawford spoke first.

“Good evening, sir,” all three cops replied in synchrony.

“Where are they, James?” Crawford asked as he ignited the engine and pulled out his car from its parked slot.

“Stratford avenue, dilapidated cabin. Source confirms,” James replied steadfast.

Crawford glanced at James.

“Can we trust him?”

James looked surprised. He wanted to think that Crawford’s question was a rhetorical one, but he answered.

“Sir, you confirmed it. Besides, I did a background check. He’s clean. I believe we can trust him, sir.”

Crawford let out a sigh.

“Fuck, you’re right,” he remarked, and drove his Benz out of the gates and onto the road.

                                                             ***

“Please, Mister…” she mumbled. Streaks of tears flowed down her pretty face. Her chest was thumping harder every instant. She felt her heart tiring and was inhaling air at an uncontrollable rate.

“I’m just an ordinary person. I...I...I don’t deserve this. Please spare me. I beg you,” she begged continuously as the masked man kept staring at her while sitting comfortably on the table.

He suddenly stood up and approached her, picking up the soggy fabric ball from the floor.

“I thought you would calm down now. You’re a strong woman and yet you underestimate yourself,” he whispered, and blocked her mouth again with it. This time he pushed it an inch more inward so that she was unable to spit it out again.

“I wanted to show you something,” he continued. “I don’t think you’d be quite happy to see it. Well. Now that everything that's been happening since you went unconscious weren’t pleasurable moments, I thought maybe you should witness this before we begin the test of God.”

She started panicking again. She attempted to spit out the clogged ball again, but to no avail.

The masked man reached a corner of the room, knelt, and spread his fingers over the wooden floor. He lifted a big hidden plank off the floor. Then he reached under and, with all his weight, lifted a presumably dead body tightly wrapped in a black bag. She was watching in shock, her heart beating faster.

The man slowly unwrapped the bag for the revelation.

The agony hit her intensely with every passing second. She didn’t feel like she had a heart beating anymore. She didn’t feel like there was air left to breathe. Her eyes were already bulged out of their sockets. Her mouth has dried out of words. No tears were left to shed as she set her eyes on the dead man.

“I know,” the man broke the silence. “He was a good man. Shame that he had to depart. But he wasn’t God’s plan. He rests now.”

He stroked his blade over the blue uniform of the dead man, eventually reaching for his side pocket. A police badge and an identification card came out of the pocket.

“Hmm…James K. Crawford.” The masked man smirked and looked at her.

Her eyes were near-stoned. Not a movement from the eyelids. Her mouth indicated a faint breath. Her slender hands were shaking.

The man quickly collected the revolver from the table, inserted one bullet into the cylinder, and rolled it while moving closer to her. Through her faint eyes, she could see the rest of the horror taking place. She felt like she had no place in this world anymore.

“Don’t worry. It will be all over soon. You will be happy to rejoice with your beloved father in the upper if God allows you to depart. I will make that possible for you,” the man whispered, slowly sliding his finger down over her shoulders. She can feel a faint sensation tickling her body but she didn’t resist. She lay submissive to everything.

The muzzle of the revolver instantly touched the right of her forehead. The man reached forward and removed his mask. She couldn’t make out any of the blurred image in front of her. He reached forward and planted a soft kiss on her forehead with his short whiskers brushing past her nose, and then in an instant he squeezed the trigger.

Her eyes shut, blacking out the view.

                                                            ***

The moon disappeared beneath the heavy clouds that now started releasing their burden. The initial raindrops scattered the gravel roads, the trees, and the grass. A flock of birds soared through the dark sky in a pattern heading west while a lone man walked the gravel road. At the end of the road, his eyes noticed a small cabin behind a clump of trees.

At first he ignored the thought, but his second glance triggered him to investigate the cabin.

A NYPD squad car was parked near the trees with its headlights on. It was parked in an awkward position. He reached the car, had a peek through the passenger window, and gasped.

Three cops lay motionless occupying the front passenger seat and the backseat. All three had clear gunshot wounds on their foreheads. Blood was still flowing through them, soaking their neat blue uniforms.

The man focused his gaze towards the cabin. It was lit from the inside and the front door was ajar. He felt a lump in his throat. He opened the front door of the car, searching for a weapon, and found a loaded pistol. While training it towards the cabin entrance, he stepped forward slowly.

After entering the cabin his heart pounded and the pistol in his hand almost slipped. A pretty young woman sat on a chair, bound and gagged with her head dropping to the side. Her long, slender hair was covering her face. Beside her was another body of a cop laying motionless on the floor. A mask of Shrek the ogre was floating on a pool of blood alongside  another body. This one was cloaked, and it lay face-down on the floor. Amidst the static moment, the newcomer to the cabin noticed the woman's chest faintly rising and falling.

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