She was unaware of the horrors that lie only feet away as she crossed the hallway passing the living room. As she climbed the stairs towards her bedroom she began to feel like an alien in her own home. She recalled the affect he had on her before and that same affect was beginning to take over once more with every sound startling her nervously. She placed her bag on the bed and started to get undressed. Silence ringing in her ears as she waited for him to make contact. Suddenly she was brought back down to earth with a bump of realisation. Her friend was missing and the only person she had heard from since last night was Ivan himself. She picked up her phone, blissfully ignoring the police officers request and dialled the number. A moment later she felt paralysed. Icy cold with fear as she listened to the ring below trying to make sense of what was happening.
“You have 4 seconds to get downstairs or she dies Laura”.
The fear vanished as Laura counted what seemed to be the longest 4 seconds of her life. She slipped on the final step twisting her ankle in the process. Turning from her crumpled heap on the floor to face the living room, she could just make out a dark shadow behind the panes of frosted glass. Managing to get to her feet, she ignored the pain and limped towards the doors. Pulling them apart, her nightmare became reality. There he stood. The same man, the same mask and the same chair beside him. Except this time it wasn’t Laura who occupied the chair, it was Chloe. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she sat there almost defeated. He had taped her mouth and tied her hands behind her back.
“Your cutting it a bit fine Laura” he said. “This is a lot longer than 4 seconds”. Something about his voice bothered her. She had spoken with Ivan only hours earlier and his Spanish accent was strong. Whoever hid behind this mask was not Spanish. She was sure of it.
“What do you want from us?” she said. A car screeched to a halt outside instantly turning his calmness on its head.
“Who knows I’m here? Who have you told? Sit down!” he shouted. Laura walked over to the sofa and sat down as instructed.
“I’ve no idea. Are you ok?” She looked at Chloe who managed half a nod.
The officers sat in the car waiting for the calvery to arrive.
“Sir we need to do something” said Sam.
“We’re not moving until back up arrives. We haven’t got a clue what’s going down in there Sam. He’s obviously a very dangerous man.”
Minutes later with their sirens whaling, 2 police vans and an unmarked vehicle pulled up beside them. One of the officers immediately jumped out of the marked car.
“We’ve got a problem” he said. “Listen to this”. He passed them his phone which they put on loudspeaker in the car.
“Start the voicemail” he said.
“Hi. This is a message for officer Stephenson. It is Ivan here. I have been asked to call you. I am at the restaurant now if you need to talk. Please call me back. I don’t understand why you need me. Thanks”.
“We’ve got the wrong man. That message was left 5 minutes ago as we were driving here”.
“Shit!” shouted the officer as he hit his steering wheel in frustration.”If that’s not Ivan in there, who the hell is it?”.