I Babysit For The...um... Mafia?

Elena is on a hunt, yet she finds something different. Let's hope she found something better.

Jerry was fast asleep. She had to act fast. She made for the control room, trying her best to be stealthy. Luckily, Jim and Bob were out like a light. She might or might not have added something a lil' bit extra to the coffee she got them earlier. One of the perks of being nice and thoughtful all the time was that almost everyone trusted you. Yet why did this feel so wrong? On cue, her guilt's Boston-accent voice stirred. 

"Jim and Bob don't deserve this, yunno?" the voice said. "Okay, maybe Jim does for pranking ya and lying to ya that you were fired on April fool's day. But Bob? Bob's an absolute sweetheart. He'd never hurt a fly to save his life. Na'mean?" Shut up, Elena thought. Look what ya did to him, uh? Bob sloshed the control panel with gunky saliva. Elena winced. What would lil' Jer think about ya backstabbing? Jim's cup spilled to the ground startling her back to life. With no time to spare, she approached the console. 

They pay ya ten times ya ever got from those grimy old jobs, E. She deleted footage showing her journey into the control room. Ya even lucky ta be here, surrounded by all this extravagance, don't ya think? She switched off the surveillance cameras. Mrs. Boneridges even got Gramps that "Gramps slaps and smacks" mug for Christmas. She mentally stuffed Guilt's Boston mouth with the dirtiest and smelliest socks she could imagine. She raced to Mr. Boneridge's study. She'd peeped him. She knew where and how to retrieve it. She approached the third built-in wall shelf on the right. Guilt's smelly voice resurfaced, horrorstruck from her socky molestation. Cough. That was deadass awful and heartless E. I oughta stuff a sock in ya mouth sometimes just for kicks. Ya gotta hella nasty imagination; I'll give you that's slightly pulled out a thick, purple, leather-strapped book by the spine. Don't scrap everything you've built here. They care for ya like a daughter.

The second built-in wall shelf groaned and slightly rotated into the wall revealing a large, pizza-slice-shaped room lit by red lights. It was adorned with just a computer desk. A large, circular metal floor hatch is lodged in the middle of the room. Just tell 'em. They help you out. Don't resort ta this Curiosity drew her in. She approached the metal door, but before she could open it, she spotted her target. Her target—the brown duffel bag is sitting in a corner beside the desk—was the solution to her recent biggest problem—Grandpa Tom's unreasonably expensive brain surgery bill. She hastily unzipped the bag and rummaged through the bag. Guilt's voice went silent. Shock slapped her in the face. She recoiled from the bag as if it was filled with scorpions. 

Scorpions would have been better. Instead, pictures of gagged, bloodied, and abused girls starred at her. Her throat dried up. Her heart felt like it wanted to jump out of her chest. Maybe the money was under the pictures. With shaky hands, she dug deeper. Her eyes widened. She recognized these girls. Their pictures were plastered all over the city walls, missing. Molly's picture sat among the clutter. Poor Mrs. Cavendish still sat on the porch in the cold air every night since she'd gotten missing, awaiting her daughter's return.

The conspiracy ran deeper than she thought. She found documents detailing handsome payments to the government officials—The D.A., firemen, tax officers, and the chief of police—who were assigned to the case. It disgusted her that the institutions entrusted to protect and defend innocents were the ones conniving and involved in whatever scheme this was, to put them in harm's way as if life had a price tag. Even the hospital had put a price on Grandpa Tom's life. The thought made her legs turn into spaghetti. Life was meant to be priceless, valued, and nurtured. 

She found no money in the bag. She crashed to the ground, shattered. She raked her hands through her hair in frustration. Why were all these records here? What did the Boneridges have to do with all this? Were they investigating the disappearances? They were only one thing that could offer her answers now. She wobbled towards the metal door and twisted its cold handles with the little strength her body could offer. No sooner had she pulled open the door than white lights flickered to life below. Just when she thought she couldn't get any more surprises, the lights uncovered a peculiar, spine-numbing sigil stained in blood carved into the concrete floor below—The sigil of the Sabretooth Mafia. 

The Sabretooth Mafia—a band of ruthless, manipulative, power-hungry lowlives who dabbled in every shady operation you could think of—was the most dreaded of all the Mafias. No one knew who bankrolled them. Now she knew. Her hands shuddered and gave way. The door clanged shut. Uneasiness continued to grow in her chest. She had to get out of here. The thought of survival and escape gave her new strength. She bolted out of the pizza room. She dragged the shelf shut. The sound of creeping footsteps in the hallway made her freeze. Dang, it! She'd forgotten about the 2. am shift change. If Jake and Locksley found her here, they would kill her. With the kind of luck she had today, they would have probably found their fellow guards, Jim and Bob, drooling on the surveillance console. The footsteps drew closer. 

She scanned the room frantically before deciding to hide behind the dark drapes. The door flew open. She clasped her mouth shut with her hands to prevent her whimpers from escaping. Steps creaked across the floorboards in different directions before settling for hers. She prayed her shivering didn't shake the curtains. The steps inched closer and closer. Her life flashed before her eyes. This was it. The end. "Locksley!" Jake called from afar, "Boss wants ta talk" The sound receded. She paused for a while until the sound totally disappeared. She left the room and made away in the opposite direction. She snuck away, leaving Jerry. He was in no immediate danger. After all, he was the boss's child. But she was a different case. She was in grave peril. If she was caught, she'd be kidnapped, tortured, or worse, killed. She weaved from floor to floor, avoiding the rooms of the other personnel. She could trust no one. For all she knew, she was in the lion's den. She scrambled from hiding spot to hiding spot, plastering to walls at the slightest indication of any other person until she made it to the final exit on the ground floor. She let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. All that was left now was to get out of the compound. 

Elena could barely make out the fence. To get to the gate, she'd have to run the length of roughly two football fields—700 feet. The field lay ahead—plain, devoid of any tall, wide trees or shrubs that could serve as hiding spots. She had always wondered about that. She had seen enough James Bond and Mission Impossible flicks to know that sneaking out without cover wasn't the best idea, but the choking panic in her chest clouded her judgment. She just wanted to be anywhere but here. She bolted. 650 feet left to cover... Her breath quickened. 540 feet... Her blood burned her skin. 440 feet... Her chest stung. 350 feet... Her arms and muscles cramped up. Every breath of air she took now felt like daggers to her lungs. 270 feet...Her legs trembled, threatening to collapse at any moment. 200 feet...The white gates towered ahead—a symbol of hope, a promise of freedom. 140 feet... She was almost there. She urged herself on, despite her body's protests. 90 feet... Her vision blurred, and her thoughts started to become hazy. 50 feet... 30 feet... 10 feet... SRIFT! Sharp pain overwhelmed her thighs. Elena squealed and tumbled to the ground in a heap. Then the world went dark.

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