Wasting no more time, I walk straight over to Kelly Bennings, intent on getting this over with as soon as possible. Before, I wanted to stay away from Cassia, but now things have changed. They’ve changed significantly.

I just hope I can function during this interrogation, because already I feel off balance and profoundly distracted.

“I don’t know what the f**k you people are doing,” Kelly snaps as I step up closer, “but this isn’t supposed to be happening!” She tightens her arms and legs against the ropes securing her to the chair and jerks her body roughly against the metal. The legs bounce against the cement floor. Her disheveled dishwater-brown hair falls down around her bony jaw structure and rests on her shoulders.

I pull up an extra chair and set it in front of her.

“You’re here to give me information,” I say calmly as I take a seat, crossing one leg over the other. “As long as you cooperate, and as long as you tell the truth, no one will hurt you.”

For a brief moment she looks confused, her big bug-eyes bouncing around at the three of us, but when her eyes fall on me again, she smiles, of all things.

I find that very interesting. She’s doesn’t fear us.

“What the hell do you want to know?” she asks with a growing smirk stretching her thin, unpainted lips.

“The current location of your boyfriend, Paul Fortright,” I say.

Her face falls. “Why? What do you want with him?”

“That doesn’t matter,” I say. “And you’re not the one asking the questions.”

“B-But I-I don’t…want you to hurt him,” she stutters, her eyes constantly darting between me, Niklas and Izabel. “Just tell me what this is about.”

I don’t have time for this.

I jump up from my chair and pull Izabel’s knife from the sheath around her thigh, and in a flash, bury the blade into the top of Kelly’s hand. Her blood-curdling screams fill the warehouse, traveling from wall to ceiling like an injured banshee.

“Fredrik!” Niklas calls out. “What the f**k?!”

I feel Izabel’s widened eyes on me, but she hasn’t worked up yet what to say.

I sit back down in the chair as casually as I had before, and this time I lean forward with my legs spread, draping my hands between them.

“Where is Paul Fortright?” I c**k my head to one side.

Tears stream down Kelly’s reddened cheeks, but they’re not so much tears of pain as they are of anger.

If she could kill me right now, she’d do it with a smile on her face.

“He’s at his f**kin’ friend’s house!” she spats irately. “Watching goddamn pay-per-view wrestling!”

I glance at Izabel momentarily and she’s looking back at me with shock and confusion in her bright green eyes.

Niklas says nothing else, though I can tell by the vibe he’s putting off that it’s only a matter of time.

“And where is your daughter?” I ask Kelly.

“My daughter?” A glimmer of true fear crosses her face. “W-W-Why do you want to know about my daughter?”

“No one will harm your daughter,” I assure her. “But if you answer one more question with a question of your own, I’ll put Izabel’s other knife”—I glance down at the undamaged hand—“in your other hand.”

“She’s with him! But please don’t hurt her! Please! This isn’t supposed to be happening!” She begins to cry. “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!”

I stand from the chair again and Izabel intuitively reaches for the knife sheathed to her other thigh, collapsing her hand around the hilt.

“What the f**k are you doing, Gustavsson?” Niklas asks. “Have you lost your damn mind?”

“Yeah, seriously, Fredrik,” Izabel says, still with her hand on her knife, afraid I might try to take it from her.

“Come with me,” I say calmly and don’t give them the opportunity to ask what for as I head back toward the side door that leads outside.

“FUCKING BASTARD!” Kelly screams from behind.

We step out into the cold air and join Dorian who stands leaning his back against the steel wall of the building. He pushes himself from it and stands upright when he sees us, instantly on alert.

“What’s going on?” Dorian asks.

“That’s what I want to know,” Niklas says.

Izabel stands directly in front of me, looking at me with a desperate need for answers.

“This isn’t like you, Fredrik,” she says. “You didn’t even give her a chance to tell you anything.”

“What did he do?” Dorian cuts in and then looks directly at me as desperate for answers almost as much as Izabel. “What did you do, man? Oh shit, did you kill her already?”

“No,” Niklas chimes in, crossing his arms to keep warm, “but I’m starting to wonder if it’s a good idea to let him go back in there because he just might.” He looks at me coldly. “She’s not the target.”

“She’s in on it,” I say and silence ensues for an intense moment.

I go on as they’re all looking at me, waiting for answers.

“There was something off about her the moment we tied her to the chair. She’s not afraid of us.”

“She does seem a bit defiant,” Izabel adds.

“She didn’t put much effort into worrying about the boyfriend when I asked for his location, either. Because it was an act.”

“And she gave him up too easily,” Izabel says.

I nod.

“He stuck a goddamn knife in her hand,” Niklas argues. “I’d say that’s an easy way to make someone talk.”

“I got her to talk, didn’t I?” I point out.

Niklas thinks on that a moment and shrugs his shoulders underneath his black leather jacket. “Yeah, I guess I can’t argue with that. But damn, Izabel’s right; you’re not yourself tonight.”

That’s an understatement. This is the first time that I’ve ever in my thirty-five years of life been too preoccupied by other things to be able to carry out an interrogation, and I’ve no desire to even begin the torture. That is very unlike me.

“OK,” Niklas speaks up, “what are you thinking? We need to do something other than stand out here and try to figure out life’s mysteries. Let’s go back in there and find out where this friend of Paul Fortright lives so we can find him before the other organization does, and finish this mission.”

Tags: J.A. Redmerski In the Company of Killers Book Series
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