Outcome of Chapter 10 Plot Hinge: The stock prices for Garda went up in value at 12 noon on April 9th (from $8.78 to $8.80). As a result, the Windigos have updated their security system and have thwarted Tina and Isabella’s attempt to rob them.
Isabella cracked opened the door leading to floor five and peeked out. Tina stood behind her in the stairwell holding her breath, ready to run. She exhaled loudly as Isabella turned around with a rare smile.
“Told you,” Isabella said. “Piece of cake.”
Tina followed Isabella into the deserted hallway and they hurried toward the door at the far end. Plugging her device into the keypad next to the door, Isabella punched in a few numbers and waited. The door stayed shut. “Problem?” Tina asked.
Isabella scowled at the keypad and tried again. Still nothing. Wiping her brow with her arm, she tried a third time. Several nerve-wracking seconds later the red light above the keypad finally turned green.
Isabella heaved a sigh of relief. “Like I said. Piece of cake.”
The door slid open and four guards on the other side stood waiting with their guns drawn. “Freeze!” one of the men shouted.
Tina put her hands in the air and glowered at Isabella. “Izzy?”
“What?” she answered through clenched teeth as she reluctantly put her own hands up.
Thirty minutes later…
“I mean, you really suck.”
“Yes, Tina,” Isabella said. “I heard you the first fifteen times.”
Tina paced around their shared cell while Isabella stared at the ceiling from one of the tiny cots. A wall of clear Plexiglas separated them from another room, where two guards stood watch over them.
The door in that adjoining room suddenly opened and a sixty-something-year-old woman entered. Isabella bolted upright and leapt to her feet. “Irene!” she growled under her breath, her fists clenched at her side.
The woman had short-cropped grey hair, a lean physique and wore dark-rimmed glasses. Though no taller than 5’4”, she was still somehow able to look down her nose at the two far taller guards. They immediately snapped to attention. “Ms. Bellakov,” they said in near unison.
Ms. Bellakov jerked her head toward the door and the guards quickly left the room. When the door closed behind them, Ms. Bellakov walked toward the clear wall, a mirthless smile on her lips.
“Welcome back, Agent Medora,” she said to Isabella, her voice slightly muffled from behind the glass. Isabella stood rooted in place, glaring at the woman. Tina looked at Isabella, confused. “It’s nice to see you’re putting all that training to use,” Irene Bellakov continued. “Though I can’t say as I approve of how you’ve been putting it to use.”
“You’d rather me be out there murdering innocent people like the rest of your goons?” Isabella said, seething.
Ms. Bellakov wagged a finger as if correcting a child. “Now, now, Isabella. If you’re referring to that nasty business with Jack Whyler—we didn’t kill him. Your father did. He signed Jack’s death warrant the moment he gave him that file.” Tina could hear Isabella’s teeth grinding as she clenched her jaw.
“And my, oh my,” Bellakov continued with another smile, “look at you now. Back here stealing things. Just like dear old Dad.”
Tina couldn’t hold her tongue any longer. “Where’s Will?” she demanded.
Ms. Bellakov turned from Isabella to study Tina over her glasses that sat perched on the end of her nose. “Ah, yes. Christina Keller. Tsk, tsk, tsk—I don’t know how you got mixed up with all this. But you’ve certainly been a bit of a wild card, haven’t you?”
“I asked you a question, bag. Where’s Will?!”
Ms. Bellakov threw her head back in laughter and clapped her hands together. “Well now! You really are a firecracker! I had a hard time believing Donovan’s report before—but I’m starting to see why you were able to bring down my top agent.”
“Get me a tire iron and I’d be happy to re-enact the whole thing.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Bellakov said, dismissing Tina with a wave of her hand. “If you simply must know, Mr. Dalton is a long way from here. Having some nice conversations with my friend, Dr. MacGregor.”
“Oh God,” Tina said, going pale and taking a step back.
“Unfortunately he’s proven a lot more stubborn than we expected,” she continued. “I of course have nothing but the utmost confidence in Dr. MacGregor’s abilities. But having you, Ms. Keller, may just be the ticket we need to speed things along.”
Tina swallowed hard. She didn’t like the sound of that. She had come to help rescue Will, not to be used as leverage by this old hag.
Before Tina could unleash a stream of profanities, the door behind Irene Bellakov opened again. A nervous-looking man in a suit entered. “I’m sorry to disturb you ma’am. But we, uh, have a… situation… in Buenos Aires.” Ms. Bellakov snatched the piece of paper from the man’s trembling hand. Colour drained from her face as she read its contents. “And you’re sure about this?” She wasn’t smiling now.
“Where are they? Where are they right now?”
“We picked them up on satellite about twenty minutes ago,” the guard answered, his voice quavering slightly. “They’re on a boat about fifty kilometers… southeast of the city. MacGregor’s got assets in pursuit, but they’ve got a good head start and, well, it’s… him.”
Ms. Bellakov crumpled the note in her fist and closed her eyes. “He’s headed for the wreck site.”
“Yes, ma’am. It appears that way.”
“How long before he gets there?”
“Depends on how rough seas are,” the Agent said. “But an hour… hour and a half tops.”
“Get me MacGregor on the phone,” Ms. Bellakov instructed, having seemingly forgotten about Tina and Isabella completely. “If they reach the Anna Perenna before we do, I’m going to fly down there and put MacGregor in a body bag myself.”
With that, Irene Bellakov stormed out of the room, leaving her prisoners alone. Tina exchanged confused looks with Isabella.
“Are they talking about Will?” Tina asked. Bellakov had just finished telling them that Will was with this MacGregor guy.
“It has to be,” Isabella replied, shaking her head. “But it sounds like he’s got help.”
Isabella shrugged. “Whoever it is, it’s got Irene Bellakov spooked. And trust me, nothing spooks Irene Bellakov.”
Plot Hinge: Titanic’s 100th Anniversary
Agent Isaiah and Will are indeed racing toward the wreck of the Anna Perenna. For this week’s Plot Hinge we turn to the date of the most famous shipwreck of them all: the Titanic. 100 years ago, on April 14, 1912 at 11:40pm, the Titanic crashed into an iceberg in what was one of the worst accidents in nautical history. Click here to learn more.
- If on Saturday, April 14th at 11:40pm, the winds in Buenos Aires are blowing from either the North or the West (as per www.weathernetwork.com), it will be at their backs and Will and Agent Isaiah will get to the wreck site ahead of the Windigos.
- If the winds are blowing from the East or South, however, the faster Windigo boats will catch up with Will and Agent Isaiah before they reach the wreck of the Anna Perenna.
Bonus Content: Character Profile: The Tattooist
In last week’s Reader’s Poll, the majority of you voted to learn more about The Tattooist. Well, ask and ye shall receive! But what’s the fun of just giving it away? The bonus content can be found on a password-protected page. Use either the password found by beating the Memory Match Mini Game or the password found at participating libraries.
- Click here to open the page using the Memory Match password
- Click here to open the page using the Safehouse Secrets password from libraries
Chapter 12 goes live on April 19th! How do you like the story so far? Feel free to leave comments below or email me your thoughts, questions and ideas. And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe in the top right of the screen to receive email notifications whenever a new chapter is posted.