Chapter 61 & 62
The sound of Rickie’s phone rang in the silence. It was an unfamiliar number, but he answered it.
“En Ahmad?” Leaf’s tentative voice sounded nothing like the happy girl he knew.
“Leaf? It’s Rickie, how can I help you?” A small sob was the only thing he heard at first.
“I came home after spending the day at a friend’s house, but Meg isn’t here and someone trashed our house.” There was more sniffling as Rickie gripped the phone harder. The voice sounded even younger. “Can you come here, please? I’m scared.”
“Leaf, can you go to your neighbor’s house?” Rickie urgently said, his eyes already darting around to find his car keys.
“I knocked on Shel’s door, but she’s not here, either. I don’t know what to do.”
JoAnne put a hand on Rickie’s arm, seeming to understand that something bad had happened. She spoke in a low tone, “Have her go to a public place nearby, and I’ll go get her.” Rickie nodded. He strode over to his desk, where he pulled out some note paper.
“Listen to me, Leaf. I want you to grab your important stuff and some clothes and go to that market by your house, okay? Do you remember, the one where I ordered the ice cream for your birthday? I’m going to send JoAnne to pick you up, while I go and find your sister.”
JoAnne motioned for the phone, and Rickie gave it to her as he scribbled the address of the market.
“Leaf, honey, this is JoAnne. Is this your cell phone number? I’m going to call you on mine, and I want us to stay together on the phone until I reach you, okay?”
She gave her number to Leaf, then closed Rickie’s phone and handed it back to him.
Rickie’s phone immediately rang again. He quickly turned away from JoAnne and opened his phone again, hoping it was Meaghan. Instead, it read “Unavailable”. He answered it anyway, and an unfamiliar female voice spoke.
“Good evening, Prince. I hope you’re feeling proud of yourself regarding yesterday’s events.”
“Who are you?” he all but growled.
“I’m just looking for some information from you. And before you hang up, you might want to see this.”
A beep on his phone announced the delivery of a video. Rickie was stunned speechless, his heart in his throat. The picture was distorted and wavered a bit, but there was no mistaking what he was seeing.
A featureless interior. And an unmoving Meaghan, her hands in cuffs with leg irons attached to her ankles.
Rickie felt a howl trying to get out as his free hand curled into a fist. A gasp from behind showed that JoAnne has also seen it.
The video was quickly turned off, and the female voice continued.
“I believe you have something I want. You and I are going to come to an arrangement. I will contact you back later for more details.” The phone immediately went dead.
Meaghan slowly crawled out of unconsciousness, forcing her eyes open. Her body refused to obey her commands, and as she became more aware, she realized one of the reasons why. She was lying on a curved cushion on her left side, her arms and legs shackled.
Carefully glancing around, all she could see was blank white walls that appeared to be made of Fiberglas. A low humming and the slight movement of the room made Meaghan think she was on a boat of some type.
She winced as she tried to move to a more comfortable position, which caught the eye of someone.
“Oh, good, you’re awake, perempuan.” She looked down near her feet where an older woman was leaning back in a chair, near a tiny desk bolted to the cabin floor. The woman had white hair pulled into a high ponytail, and was dressed in blue urban camouflage pants and a black t-shirt. She straightened up and walked the few steps to Meaghan, menace in every step; her right hand casually rested on a shiny black sidearm on her right hip, and a sheathed knife was tied off around her left leg.
Meaghan swallowed hard, her mouth suddenly dry, but she licked her lips and attempted to talk. Her voice came out hoarse.
“Why am I here?”
The answer was succinct and threatening, and she choked back her fear.
~ ~ ~
It had been hours since Rickie’s world was turned over. Throughout Malaysia, the celebration of King Harijadi Agong was concluded, but Rickie could care less what happened to mark his monarch’s birthday. He raked his hand through his hair and tried to focus on the displays in front of him. But the picture of his Meggie, chained and unconscious in that video phone call, made Rickie feel like he was losing his mind. Raine was there to lend a steadying hand, but it was a close thing.
“Don’t worry. We’ll find her.”
“It’s already been too long, and we haven’t found anything. Nor have we heard again from the bitch that took her. She could be anywhere!” He felt his frustration rise in proportion to his terror, and his hand fisted so hard his nails were digging into his palm. He wanted to punch something, anything to help with the impotent anger and helplessness he felt. The rest of the task force was there: Alua, Jennifer, Ahjummabunny, and MJP25; but since there was little information, they could only provide emotional support.
Rickie’s cell phone rang, and he swiftly answered it.
“Rickie?” Hillary’s voice was muffled by the sound of wind, “I’m on my way there. JoAnne called me about what happened, and I want to look at the video feed and see what I can do to help. I’m bringing my big guns.” Rickie felt a trickle of gratitude cut through the ice around his heart. Hope kindled inside him, when he thought about his friends and comrades in arms and their assistance.
“Terima kasih, Hil. Thank you so much. Please hurry.” After disconnecting, he told Raine, who approved of Hillary’s assistance as well.
“I think it’s a good idea to have her involved; we need different eyes on this. Also,” Raine snapped her fingers, “I’ll contact Cynthia and see if she’s seen anyone lurking around the office or following Meaghan. We’re going to find her, don’t worry.”
Rickie just hoped Meaghan would be okay when they found her.