Authors: Rayven T. Hill
“The world is crazy, Jake.” A deep, rasping breath, and then, “Can you buy clothes, or shelter, without money? Of course not. Without them you die of exposure.”
Jake interrupted, “I’ve heard enough. Dr. Gould is willing to meet your demands.”
A deep sigh on the line, and then a moment later, “I’m sure the good doctor told you my price already. One hundred thousand dollars.”
“Yes, he did.”
“And did he mention to you, this would go much smoother if the police weren’t involved?”
“No one has notified the police.”
“Ah, excellent.” There was a pause, and then, “And, of course, I feel I must mention the obvious. The funds must be cash, small, unmarked bills and no trackers or bugs anywhere.”
“Of course,” Jake said. “Dr. Gould is prepared to do what you ask. He only wants to see his wife returned safely.”
“I understand how he feels. It would be a shame for anything to happen to such a wonderful woman. I’ve actually grown rather attached to her myself.” The kidnapper laughed, creepy and deep.
Jake gritted his teeth but didn’t speak.
The kidnapper continued, “I need your cell phone number, Jake. I’ll need to contact you later and it would be a shame if you were unavailable.”
Jake gave him the number and then asked, “Where and when do you want me to deliver the money?”
“Does the good doctor have the funds ready yet?”
“He has arranged to pick it up this afternoon.”
“Excellent.” An eerie chuckle and then, “I can almost picture the reunion of the Goulds now. They make a lovely couple, Jake. Just a lovely couple.”
Jake clenched a fist and said nothing.
“Are you there, Jake?”
“I’m waiting for your delivery instructions.”
“All in good time, my friend. All in good time. You’ll get the information when I feel it’s appropriate and not before. Nothing personal, Jake, but it’s business. I’m sure you understand my position. We’re very much alike, you know?”
“You’re nothing but a criminal and a lowlife. We’re not at all alike.”
“Oh, but we are, Jake. And you needn’t make this so personal. Name calling will never do.” Silence, and then, “You care what happens to dear Mrs. Gould, as I do. I would be amiss if I led you to believe otherwise. I shudder to think what might happen should anything go wrong with our . . . business arrangement.”
“Nothing will go wrong if you keep your end of the bargain, I assure you.”
The unearthly voice took on an ominous tone. “I’m counting on it, Jake, and I’m counting on you.” A pause, then, “I’ll call you back this afternoon. Shall we say, four o’clock?”
“I’ll be waiting.”
The deep, abnormal voice continued, “And now, we must say goodbye. I look forward to speaking with you again soon.”
And then the line went dead.
Wednesday, August 31st, 11:57 AM
WILLIAMS & THRESH was located on the second floor of a small plaza in the northern part of the city. The vehicle entrance to the underground parking was at one end of the plaza, but a key card was required to open a large metal door to gain access.
Annie parked in the customer parking area and waited a few minutes for a car to enter or exit the garage, but none did, so she went into the main entranceway where a set of stairs led up to the second floor.
Off to her right was the pedestrian entrance to the garage. She opened the door and took a flight of stairs into the cool underground area.
The garage held two rows of cars, perhaps fifty slots in all, most in use. She glanced around for a silver Toyota Corolla.
She crossed the floor to a darkened area and wandered down the row of vehicles. Then she saw it.
When she peeked in the driver side window, she saw a stack of paperwork on the passenger seat, a woman’s handbag weighing down the pile.
She pulled a pair of surgical gloves from her pocket, slipped them on and tested the door handle. It was unlocked.
She went to the passenger side, opened the door and examined the stack of file folders containing what looked like legal forms.
Then she spied the ring of keys on the floor. She left them there.
She knew then, this is where the abduction had taken place. Even if the police weren’t notified before payment was made and Mrs. Gould was released, they would be called in after, so she was careful not to disturb anything.
She examined the bench and floor of the back seat and found nothing unusual.
Taking out her cell phone, she snapped a few photos of the front seat, the keys, the papers and the outside of the vehicle.
It wouldn’t be a good idea to disturb anything. It was evidence, and she thought it best to leave everything exactly as she found it, but she was a little worried about leaving the handbag in full view. If someone would happen along, it wouldn’t be safe and it might contain money or credit cards.
She locked the car doors, closed them and hoped there would be a second set of keys at the Gould house.
She wandered around the garage and checked the corners, walls, and above the doors. She was looking for cameras, but there didn’t appear to be any type of security at all.
For a vehicle to exit to the street, a key card was not required. All that was necessary was for the car to stop a few feet from the door, press a red button, and the door would open. She pushed the button to test it and the door slid up. After about thirty seconds it closed automatically.
What she couldn’t tell was whether or not the abductor’s vehicle had been inside or waiting outside. If there were two kidnappers it would be possible to gain access to the area through the pedestrian door, and then open the garage door from inside to allow a vehicle to enter.
She assumed the kidnapper had used a vehicle. It seemed likely.
It was clear now, the abductor, or abductors, had known where Mrs. Gould worked, had lain in wait and then kidnapped her.
They also had to have known about the lack of security and how easy it was to get a vehicle in and out of the underground parking.
She made her way from the building, back to her vehicle and drove toward home.
JAKE WAS STILL in the office when Annie arrived. She stepped inside the house and called his name.
She went into the office and sat in the guest chair.
“The kidnapper called,” Jake said.
Annie leaned forward. “And?”
“He never gave me any delivery instructions. He just talked on and on about how this was business.”
“So then, he’ll call back. What line did he call on?”
Jake pointed to the phone on the desk. “This one.”
“Did you record it?”
“Yup,” Jake said, as he swung around. He poked a button on a digital recorder sitting on a shelf behind him.
Annie listened intently while the conversation was played back. When it was finished, she said, “You’re right. He’s insane.”
“With an insane philosophy.” Jake shut off the recorder and turned back. “How did your trip go?”
Annie repeated the information Geekly had given her, and how she’d called the burner phone.
Jake asked, “Do you think there’s any point in trying to find that phone?”
Annie shook her head. “I don’t think so. Firstly, if the kidnapper was careful enough to use a throwaway phone, as well as turn the GPS off, it’s unlikely he would be careless enough to leave fingerprints all over it.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“Secondly, we don’t have the time right now. Rounding up the guy who found it could be a time consuming task.”
“We’ll leave that for the police. Once they’re called in, assuming the kidnapper gets away with this thing, they’ll want to follow every possible lead.”
“All we have is the area where the phone was tossed away, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Mrs. Gould is being held near there. He could’ve dumped it anywhere.”
“Let’s take another look at that photo. Can you download it to the computer?” Jake asked.
Annie pulled Dr. Gould’s cell phone from her handbag. “I’ll email it to myself. That’s the easiest way.”
In a couple of minutes she had the photo on the monitor, blown up full-sized. Jake leaned in. “Look at the age of the walls behind her, and the floor.” He pointed to the screen. “And you can just barely see the ceiling beams, but enough to tell that’s an old building, and it very well could be near Benson Avenue where the phone was found.”
“Yes, but there are a lot of old buildings there. It could be any of hundreds.”
Jake thought a moment, and then squinted at the monitor. “Look at the beams again. They aren’t strong enough to support more than a two-story building. In anything over that, they would’ve used metal beams, or in a building that old, possibly much stronger wooden ones.”
“That narrows it down a bit more,” Annie said. “It’s a start, anyway.”
Jake nodded and sat back. “What about Mrs. Gould’s car, did you find it?”
“Yes. It was in the underground parking of the building where she works.” She recounted what she’d found and ended with, “There’s no indication of how the abduction took place, but because her papers, purse, and keys were inside the vehicle, I assume she was heading home when they kidnapped her.”
“And with easy access to the parking area,” Jake added. “It would be a simple task.”
Annie stared at the ceiling and frowned. “I wonder why she was chosen?”
“Because the Goulds have money.”
“Yes, but why her specifically?”
Jake shrugged. “Probably just the luck of the draw.”
Annie glanced at the phone and then back at Jake. “You’re probably right. I didn’t hear anything on the recording that might indicate she was targeted in any way.”
“Now we have to wait for the kidnapper to call back, but first I’ll call Dr. Gould,” Jake said, as he picked up the phone.
He explained their findings to the doctor and arranged to go to the bank with him later in the afternoon.
Annie looked at her watch. “And now, let’s have some lunch.”
Wednesday, August 31st, 12:54 PM
DETECTIVE HANK CORNING was at his desk in the Richmond Hill Police Department when the call came in. It was transferred to him immediately.
The caller’s name was Dr. Arthur Gould and he was reporting the abduction of his wife, Linda Gould.
Hank leaned forward, grabbed a pen and scribbled down the address. He assured the doctor it was top priority, and a detail would be there immediately.
He hung up the phone, memorized the address and then spun around. “Callaway, we have a kidnapping. I need your guys on this right away.” He handed Callaway the address. “Get there ASAP.”
“Right away, Hank.”
Callaway was a whiz with all things technical. Whether it was computer related or installing a wire or other recording device, Callaway was the one everyone turned to to get the job done.
Hank sat back and contemplated the grim situation. He was always affected personally when people preyed on others and this was no exception.
Though he usually worked alone, he would swallow his pride and get Simon King to help on this one. He’d teamed up once before with the greasy-haired cop. He didn’t like him and didn’t like being around him, but this was no time for personal feelings to get in the way.
He dialed King’s cell.
“King, it’s Hank. We have a kidnapping. You busy right now?”
“Just talking to a CI. Nothing that can’t wait.”
Hank gave him Dr. Gould’s address. “Get there right away. I’ll meet you there.”
King assured him he would and Hank hung up the phone and strode from the precinct.
Being a modest-sized city, Richmond Hill had a small robbery/homicide division. Kidnapping fell under its jurisdiction, and Hank, as head of robbery/homicide, pretty much ran things the way he saw fit. As long as he got the job done, the captain gave him a lot of free rein.
King’s car was already pulled up to the curb in front of the Gould home when Hank got there. King jumped from the vehicle and joined him.
Hank frowned at King’s stringy, unkempt hair, the three days worth of beard on his face and his sloppy clothes. “You better not sit on the sofa,” he said.
King laughed. “When you work in narcotics, you have to fit in.”
Hank grunted. “Well, at least tuck in your shirt.” He stepped onto the pathway leading to the house. “I apologize for dragging you away from your friends, but this is urgent.”
King shrugged. “It’s all the same to me.”
Hank rapped the doorknocker and stood back. The man who answered the door a moment later looked at King curiously and then at Hank.
They introduced themselves and the doctor ushered them into the foyer and said, “I was unsure about calling you at first. The kidnapper said not to call the police, but I’m concerned about my wife’s safety.” He motioned toward the living room.
King eyed the sofa, glanced at Hank, and then sat down carefully. Hank sat at the other end and leaned forward as Dr. Gould took a seat in a matching chair.
Hank slipped a notepad from his inner jacket pocket. “Now, tell us from the beginning everything you can.”
Dr. Gould related how his wife hadn’t come home the night before and how the kidnapper had called that morning.
“The technical experts are on their way,” Hank said. “They’ll tap into your phone line and record any conversations.”
“Detective, the kidnapper said he won’t call here any more. From now on, all calls will be to a private investigator named Jake Lincoln.”
Hank frowned, sat back and twiddled with his pen. He and Jake had been friends for a long time, ever since high school, when they’d been teammates on the school football team.
After that, Hank wanted to be a cop. Jake had toyed with the idea, but since he and Annie were a couple at the time and she would be going to the University of Toronto, that clinched it for Jake. He went there as well.