Read Snatched Online

Authors: Dreda Say Mitchell

Snatched (9 page)

He woke with a start.

That’s when Mac realised that a figure clothed in black was indeed fluttering around the front room, trying to flick the light on and off before disappearing out of the room.


Mac slammed to his feet, pulled out the Beretta. His breath lunged in and out of his chest in a high-energy rhythm. He was disorientated by the dark. Night had fallen while he’d slept. Then he heard a clatter. Tins that he’d arranged by the kitchen door had been knocked over when it was opened. He levelled the gun up. Edged towards the hallway. Froze. Then darted out into it. The front door was open. The armchair he’d used to block it pushed back. Elena had come in the simple way. He turned his gun towards the kitchen and advanced. There was no noise at all now. The only light came from the streetlamps outside.

When he reached the kitchen he peered around the door, gun in hand looking for any sign of movement. There was none. He walked over to where he’d placed a lamp on the draining board and switched it on. The kitchen transformed into soft yellow light.

He heard another bang as one of his noise traps upstairs was set off. He flicked the lamp off, gazed upwards, eased slowly out into the hallway until he reached the bottom of the stairs. He began climbing, carefully avoiding the steps that creaked until he reached the landing. In one of the bedrooms the narrow light of a torch moved around. On the front of his feet, once again deftly avoiding any creaking floorboards, Mac headed cautiously for the room. When he reached the door he saw the back of a shadowy figure in the half-light ferreting through drawers.

He levelled his gun and quietly ordered, ‘Hands high in the air.’ The figure froze. ‘It’s over for you this time.’

She seemed smaller, slimmer than he remembered. Dressed in black tracksuit bottoms, a hoodie top and trainers, her look seemed rather amateur for an international criminal.

‘I said, put your hands up.’

The hooded figure turned their head slowly. Jumped when their gaze found Mac’s gun.

‘Hey, hey – come on, chill out man. I mean come on – I’m not doing anyone any harm. Do you want the stuff back? Have the stuff back. Look, I’ll prove it . . .’

This was no woman.

‘Shine the torch into your face,’ Mac commanded.

The man didn’t hesitate. A youth. Late teens to early twenties. Pasty, spotted complexion and feral blue eyes. Terrified enough to pee his pants.

One-handed he started chucking bits and pieces from his pockets onto the floor as he spoke. ‘I thought the house was abandoned. Put the boom stick away—’

‘Are you on your own? Or have you brought someone with you?’

‘My mate’s outside the front keeping watch. We’re just doing a bit of residential . . . ain’t out to hurt anyone . . .’

‘Shit,’ Mac cut in violently.

What was he thinking of? He had no evidence that Elena was even in London. No evidence that Agent Tom Bracken had told Elena that her baby was being kept at Garcia’s house as part of their sweetheart deal to help each other out. And no evidence that Elena would be coming tonight or any other night to recover the child.

On the hallway below, there was a shout, a hissing noise and a bang.

‘That’s my mate,’ the youth said tentatively. ‘Shall I go and get him and tell him?’

Mac sighed, a wave of defeat descending on him. ‘Get the fuck out of here.’

The youth shook with nervous laughter. ‘Yeah, sure.’ He pointed at the stolen items that he’d dumped on the bed, ‘It’s all there; I haven’t taken anything. I promise.’

Mac said nothing. The youth lowered his hands and began to sidle towards the bedroom door. He rushed past Mac into the landing. There was a creaking on the stairs signalling the burglar’s accomplice coming upstairs. Only when the burglar started walking rapidly backwards through the door with his hands raised again, did Mac realised something was up.

The youth stuttered, ‘Your friend here said it was OK for me to go. So I’ll be off.’

Pop. Pop.

Two shots were fired in quick succession. The youth rocked backwards, his forehead shattered like broken stonework by the first; a large red hole punched through the chest of his jacket by the second. He was long dead by the time he slumped on the eiderdown.

A black clad figure appeared in the bedroom doorway. A high-end deluxe Glock with a silencer was aimed at his head. Mac had no time to raise his own weapon.


Mac stared at the killer, not the gun. Dressed from head to foot in black, wearing a ski mask, he looked like an elite anti-terrorist officer or one of the terrorists such a cop might be chasing. In the brown eyes surrounded by black was surprise, followed by curiosity and even some amusement. With the other hand, the guy pulled off the ski mask. Dyed, strawberry blonde curls tumbled out.


‘What the hell are you doing here?’ She spoke with an American accent mixed with her native Russian.

He didn’t answer her straight away, just kept his gaze pinned on her face as if he were looking for something. A tightness perhaps, a strain, a gathering of new lines that told of a life that was much harsher, harder, than the last time he’d seen her. But he found none. Motherhood had increased that easy grace she wore, especially in the tilt and slant of her chin.

Mac finally spoke. ‘No kiss for me Elena?’

‘Where’s my son?’

‘You’ll never have those dirty, bloody hands of yours on him again. I’m here because I knew you’d come here looking for our son. He’s not here and I’m going to stop you getting him.’

Glock still pointed at him, Elena walked towards Mac. She took her time. Slow, easy steps that made her hips and shoulders move in an almost hypnotic motion. Her intense body heat touched him before she stopped in front of him. Elena placed the nozzle of the silencer with deadly intent against the side of his head, leaned forward and placed her lips against his. Mac didn’t move. Her tongue touched the place where his lips met. He refused to open. She ran her tongue across his bottom lip, then across the top one.

Elena stepped back and laughed. ‘You know how I feel about blood staying with blood. Get on your feet.’

‘I won’t hesitate to kill you if you do anything stupid,’ she told him as they made their way down the stairs.

When they reached the bottom Mac stepped over the body of the burglar’s accomplice that lay still in a pool of blood.

‘Why did you have to kill him? Why did you have to kill the kid upstairs?’

Elena looked at the body with little emotion. ‘He was outside keeping watch. When I put the gun in his face he admitted what he was here for and I haven’t got time to take prisoners or feel sorry for people. I want my son.’

They walked into the kitchen.

‘Garcia lived here, did he?’ she asked. She got no answer. ‘That must mean there’s some nice Latin American coffee in the cupboards. Why don’t you make us a pot?’

He did what was asked of him. As he put the electric kettle on he said, ‘You never really loved me did you?’

‘Oh please – I haven’t come here for relationship counselling.’

He remained silent as he put the coffee in two mugs. Remembered she took no sugar and only a drop of milk. Picked up the kettle with his hand turned downwards . . .

‘Don’t do it Mac. My bullet will take you out before the boiling water gets anywhere near me.’

He knew she was right. Reversed his hand. Poured the water into the cups. Picked up a steaming mug and held it out to her. She didn’t move to take it.

‘Where’s my son, Mac?’

Not taking his eyes off her he eased his hand back and put the cup down. ‘Go on. Pull the trigger. You’ll never see the boy again,’ he bated her.

‘I’ve got a carload of hired hands out on the street. They’re the best available in this city. Don’t make me bring them in here and force you to tell me where he is. Beside the obvious, like a knife, a kitchen has so many things that can make you squeal until you wished you’d never been born.’

Mac cynically twisted his mouth. ‘I don’t know where he is. I gave him to someone to look after. I can get him back but I want something in return.’

‘I’ve got money. How much do you want?’

Mac spat on the floor as a gesture of contempt. ‘I don’t want your blood money. You give me an explanation and then we can talk business.’

Elena pulled her mobile out. ‘Let me give the hired help a call. We’ll see how you feel after a session with some cling film and water.’ But when she saw the look on his face, she hesitated before putting the phone back in her jacket. She shrugged her shoulders. ‘OK – what do you want to know?’

‘I know why you set me up the last time, but what’s your excuse this time?’

Elena’s face paled slightly. ‘I don’t what you’re talking about.’

‘Don’t you? You don’t think I knew what the plan was? How you told your friend Agent Tom Bracken that Garcia was in London? How the police here would be put up to catching him, and that when the baby was recovered the police would quickly ID the baby as my son? I suppose then it was just a question of flying to London, tracking me down and taking the boy? Because finding the baby with me was always going to be easier than finding him with Garcia wasn’t it? Then I suppose it was just a question of gunning me down and running back to the US with the boy?’ When she didn’t answer, he looked at her with smug satisfaction and whispered, ‘How stupid do you think I am?’

Then she did something he wasn’t expecting – she lowered the gun. ‘You’re nearly right. I was going to track you down and I expected you to have the baby. But I wasn’t going to shoot you. I was going to offer you a deal – that we draw a line under the past. I was going to suggest we go to Europe and bring our son up together. That’s how it was going to end.’

‘You’re lying.’

‘Me, you and John Mac. A family.’ Elena’s voice softened. ‘I know how much you miss having a family.’


She was right; he missed having a family. Once upon a time he was a family man like any other ordinary bloke. He’d had a wife, a son, a home to come back to most evenings with a warm meal and forever love waiting for him. But nothing really does last forever. His work had taken over, so Donna – his now ex – had left him. Then Stevie was gone too, this time forever. He had the chance to be a family man again, but with John Mac, never with

‘How did you survive the fall from the bridge?’ he asked her, bringing their conversation to less intimate ground.

Her gaze grew distant as if she were free falling back into ice-black water. ‘I didn’t know if I would survive, but there were a few things in my favour. The bridge wasn’t as high as it appeared to be, so the drop into the water wasn’t that long. It helped that I was pretty fit and that I relaxed my body and let my head flop back. I’m no scientist but I think because the wind was strong that night it made the current strong too, so on impact I was swept sideways for a time before going down. I did hurt myself but managed to swim underwater and then came up . . .’

Her gaze fixed back firmly into the room. ‘What does it matter Mac? I always meant to come back, find you and offer to start again.’ She bit her lip like a teenager. ‘But I thought you’d say no. I sent you the photograph . . .’ Her head was low now. ‘I’ve bought a place in Switzerland. I’m going back to the USA to wind up my operation. Tom Bracken has promised he’ll make sure I get immunity from prosecution if I tell him everything I know about my rivals and associates. That life is over for me now. Put your life behind you. Let’s get baby Mac and the three of us can go to Switzerland together.’

Mac was staring at the dead body in the hallway. Elena turned to see what he was looking at. When she saw, she turned back angrily. ‘My baby! Someone’s got my baby! What do you want me to do?’

Mac recognised her tone of voice. It was the same one she’d used in the fateful phone call where she’d pleaded with him to save her life eighteen months earlier. It had all been lies.

‘We can’t get John Mac back unless Garcia walks.’ When she opened her mouth to object, he raised a finger to his lips to indicate silence. ‘There’s no other way. The guy who has our baby is even more ruthless than you, and he manages to stay inside the law at the same time. We have to find a way to allow Garcia to escape extradition. Give me something to get him off.’

Her spine straightened. ‘I’ve got enough firepower to rescue my son. I don’t need to help Garcia to get him back. That would be humiliating. Who’s holding him?’

Mac was disgusted. ‘You don’t need firepower – you just need to get Garcia off. What do you care, if you’re going legit now? What is it with you people? Why do you always have to use guns when you could use your brains instead?’

Elena walked over, picked up her cup of lukewarm coffee and drank, silently lost in thought. Finally, she pulled a mobile out of her pocket and left the kitchen. For a brief moment, Mac felt the Beretta in his pocket and then took it out and switched off the safety catch. She hadn’t troubled to check if he was armed. He could have escaped easily or attempted to disable his former lover but he knew that if he did, he might never see his son again – never have his chance to become a family man again.

He got up and left the kitchen. In the lounge, behind a closed door, he could hear her voice. It was giggly and purring like a high-class call girl. Mac drew closer to the door. He stumbled when he realised that he’d trodden on something. When he looked down, he saw it was the arm of the second youth that Elena had killed. In the dark, half-light, he saw the look of terror frozen on the young boy’s face. A look that would remain until it was dressed up by the undertakers. He rested his ear against the door and listened.

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