Chapter 22

October 12, 2011 at 10:40 am (The Job)

Mr. Chu had placed duct tape over their mouths. He’d shoved a rag into Mr. Mallach’s mouth before using the tape. Mr. Chu thought he might need the extra soundproofing before the night was over. He’d tied their limbs to the bedposts, crossing Mrs. Mallach’s left arm and leg over her husband’s right side. Her wrist rested on his throat. Mr. Chu thought that if she fought at all, she’d likely choke her husband. She had such soft skin. He’d taken a little longer than necessary, arranging her limbs just so. Both were awake now. Mrs. Mallach was crying. Her husband was trying to be the big man, trying to look intimidating. It was difficult to pull off when he was naked and tied to the bed.

Mr. Chu had changed his mind about what he wanted to do to them. Mrs. Mallach’s soft skin had tempted him. He couldn’t bring himself to mar its beauty. He couldn’t let her go, so she’d have to witness her husband’s death, but at least she’d be alive. She could continue her life, raising their children. Perhaps she’d remarry at some point.

Mr. Chu pulled a small jar from his pack. He donned protective gloves and unscrewed the lid. Placing the jar on the night table next to Mr. Mallach’s head, he rummaged around in his bag for his specially treated half inch wide paint brush. Setting that on the table next to the jar, he closed his pack and set it on the floor. Sitting on the side of the bed, he stared down at Mallach.

“Mr. Mallach,” Mr. Chu began, “you have made several enemies in this world. Your chosen profession being what it is, you must understand that at some point, someone with more muscle would come along and make an example of you. That is why I am here.”

Picking up the jar, he dipped the brush inside and carefully tapped it against the side of the jar. Mr. Chu wasn’t wearing protective gloves because they hurt his hands. He would have to be careful not to slop. Leaning over Mallach’s body, he stroked the brush up Mr. Mallach’s left thigh. The acid instantly burned through his skin.

Mallach’s body went taut. He tried to scream, but the duct tape and rag prevented most of the sound from leaking out. Mrs. Mallach watched in horror as the skin bubbled up. The acid was concentrated. The brush allowed only a small amount to touch the skin. Mr. Chu didn’t want to dump the contents of the jar on Mallach. He wanted to prolong the experience.

He tuned out Mrs. Mallach’s tears. As much as he’d enjoyed touching her soft skin, he wouldn’t be swayed by the anguish on her face. He had a job to do and Mr. Chu enjoyed his job. Brushing the acid along the ridges of muscle in Mallach’s abs, he watched as the liquid burned through flesh and began to eat away at the meat beneath.

Mr. Chu allowed the acid from one brush stroke to finish penetrating before he brushed on the next one. After twenty minutes, Mallach was sweating and snorting around his gag. After an hour Mrs. Mallach had fainted. Mr. Chu thought that was best for her. Her tears and sobs were starting to bother him. Three hours in, Mallach had cried all the tears his body could produce. Soon he would no longer feel the pain the way Mr. Chu needed him to.

None of the acid burns were fatal. If left for an extended period, they would still never be fatal. It had been his intent to kill Mallach by slowly eating away the flesh over his heart and then dribbling acid straight onto the beating muscle. He found, after several hours of watching Mallach, of smelling his wife’s perfume in the air, he no longer wanted to prolong the job. It should have been more fun. He loved working with acid. Ever since that first daisy chain acid bomb he’d created back home, he’d favored the corrosive liquid.

The jar contained half the acid he had brought with him. It would take several more hours to use it up with his brush. Mr. Chu simply didn’t have the will to continue. Instead, he upended the contents of the jar on Mallach’s genitals. Mallach roared behind the gag, the veins in his neck all but bursting through his skin. Mr. Chu removed a sharp knife from his pack. Gently lifting Mrs. Mallach’s wrist away from her husband, Mr. Chu slit Mallach’s throat.

Packing up his tools, he slipped from the bedroom, and out of the house. His hands needed some care and his mind needed time to rest. Mr. Chu was very good at his job, but he didn’t always enjoy doing it. Mrs. Mallach’s fear and her soft skin had troubled him more than anything else he’d done this evening. Mr. Chu would not take another job from the agency until he’d regained his balance.

***

Hinckley and Billis had drawn the watch on the southwest side of the island. Ingram had believed that Donovan would arrive via Tahiti or Rarotonga, those being the two largest islands in the area. Both were south of them. It was unlikely that Donovan would be foolish enough to try a straight on approach. That left Hinckley and Billis to twiddle their thumbs until they got the call that a boat was approaching at another point on the island.

The place gave Hinckley the creeps. They had about twenty feet of sandy beach before they hit jungle. And it wasn’t a gradual increase in trees and brush. The jungle was dense right to the edge, the trees packed in and the low lying brush covered almost every inch of the ground. He’d heard monkeys chittering in the trees earlier, but they’d recently stopped. That was a truly eerie experience. It wasn’t as though they’d slowly died down to quiet. One second the monkeys were squawking and the next they were silent.

He’d spent half his time using his binoculars on the jungle, trying to see if there was anything in there that was bigger than a monkey. So far he’d spotted nothing that concerned him, but it didn’t lessen his worry any. He did wish they’d been outfitted with night vision goggles. The binoculars could only penetrate so far in the dark.

The next nearest lookout was positioned fifty yards down the beach to the east. The beach jutted out a few yards before cutting back in again, creating a tiny cove. The men were out of sight, but not out of hearing if someone shouted. It didn’t ease Hinckley’s mind. Neither did the MP-5 slung over his shoulder.

Billis unhooked his radio from his ear and slung his rifle across his shoulder, behind his back. “I gotta take a leak.”

“I’m not surprised after three cans of Coke in two hours.” They’d been on guard duty since mid-afternoon with a brief break for dinner. It was a dead simple job right now, but had the potential to get interesting. Ingram had instructed everyone to watch for boats approaching the island at night. A daytime approach would be suicide, but they hadn’t ruled it out.

Hinckley watched as Billis strode off into the jungle to find a good spot. Personally, he wouldn’t have gone too far into the jungle. He hadn’t spotted anything dangerous, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there. He’d asked Ingram to ask their host what to expect, but Ingram had never gotten back to them.

After five minutes, Billis hadn’t returned. Hinckley thought maybe he’d fallen into a hole or something, but figured he would have heard the high-pitched screams. He was about to go have a look when he heard a very subtle rustling in the bushes directly behind him. Hinckley almost snorted out loud. Billis was too clumsy to sneak up on him. With a smirk, he decided to turn the tables on his partner.

Waiting until the rustling sounded again, Hinckley whipped around and jumped into the bushes. His mock battle cry died in his throat when he saw what waited for him. A massive fist crashed into his face, splitting his lip in two places. The blow knocked Hinckley to the ground. He choked on a giant gob of blood. Turning his head, he spit it onto the sand. He knew he’d lost a few teeth with that blow. Before he could call for help his radio was ripped from his ear and the receiver pulled from his shirt pocket. Fumbling for his gun, Hinckley managed to raise it. He slipped a finger over the trigger and flipped the safety. Before he could fire, his assailant pulled the gun toward him, hauling the shorter Hinckley off his feet. One massive hand gripped the front of Hinckley’s shirt while the other yanked the gun over his head and tossed it to the ground. Raising Hinckley to eyelevel, he balled his free hand into a fist. One solid punch to the face and Hinckley slept.

Billis commenced his business and trudged back out of the jungle. As he hooked his earpiece back in, he noticed that Hinckley was not at his post. Unusual, since Hinckley was such a stickler for the rules. Only one guard was allowed to take a piss at a time. As if a boat would show up in the few minutes it took him to water the plants. Billis would have to give Hinckley a hard time about his rule-bending ways once he returned.

***

Ingram and Leland had followed their guide to the lounge. Inside they found a dozen men, each one easily sixty years old or so. Their host introduced them, this time not ignoring Ingram. Not all of the men were on the board. Some, like Leland, had brought a representative. Their host took the stage and tapped the microphone to ensure it was turned on.

“Gentlemen, we have come to this island to conduct important business for our organization. That business will commence tomorrow at exactly 1pm. The issue we are here to vote on will be outlined, in detail, and then our votes will be cast. Until that time, we will not discuss our business. Tonight is for fun.”

Their host gestured to a man standing at the side of the stage. At his signal, the man stepped out of view for a moment. When he returned, several ladies followed in his wake. Their duties explained beforehand, the ladies walked across the stage and headed straight for the men. Ingram wondered if there would be enough to go around. More ladies stepped onto the stage from the opposite side and strolled out into the crowd. He caught the eye of a beautiful blond and waved her over. He took her hand and moved off to the far side of the room for a little privacy.

Leland allowed a skinny woman with a small chest to kneel before him and unzip his pants. She was very pretty, but had the figure of an underdeveloped girl. He idly wondered how old she was before realizing that he didn’t care. Her hands and mouth worked him with impressive skill. The promise of entertainment had been a surprise, but he knew he should have expected it. High profile men away from their wives and their lives would demand exotic thrills to match their abundant appetites. He was excited to see what else the night had in store.

After several hours, Ingram was pleasantly drunk and had his hands full of luscious, albeit silicone-enhanced, breasts. The blond had gotten him off several times and he’d reciprocated in kind. He didn’t know what was in the booze she brought him, but it made him as hard as a rock mere minutes after she’d made him come. He thought it might be laced with Viagra or something similar. He found he didn’t care.

Two of the older men had already left the room with women. Ingram assumed the ladies would be back real soon, while the geezers would have to nap for the remainder of the night, unless they were drinking the same thing he was. Ingram gave some serious thought to taking a couple of the ladies back to his room for the night, but he wasn’t quite ready to leave yet.

It wasn’t just prime booze and hot women for their entertainment. Drugs were in ample supply. Leland, the coke-head, had snorted up more powder than all of the other men combined. Ingram preferred to stick to the booze. One of the old guys had offered a pharmaceutical drug that was being yanked from testing because it had serious hallucinogenic properties to it. He said how it would find its way onto the street inside of a few months and the profits from illegal sales were expected to pay off their R&D costs in as little as three years.

Then there was the show. For anyone who could still see straight after all the booze and drugs, there were women on stage performing a wide variety of sexual acts. The men were encouraged to get up on stage and assist the ladies in any way they wanted. Ingram opted out of that. He wasn’t big on group performances. Leland, after snorting another round of coke, got up on stage to get a closer look at a woman who was currently coupling with a Rottweiler. Two of the other ladies on stage immediately swarmed Leland, divested him of his clothing and encouraged him to get in on the act. Ingram couldn’t decide if he was amused or disgusted. He did know that he’d never get the image of Leland’s pasty white ass out of his head.

He’d just made up his mind to start his own party back in his room when he felt his cell phone vibrating in his pocket. He shifted the woman’s boobs out of his face and pulled the phone free. The number was from his chief guard on the island. Owen Graff had strict orders not to call unless the shit was hitting the fan. Ingram wondered if a boat had been spotted approaching the island.

“Yeah, what is it?” Ingram demanded.

“Sir, we’ve got a situation down here. One of our guys is missing and it doesn’t look like he just wandered off.”

Ingram rolled his eyes. He didn’t give a fuck what the situation didn’t look like. “What does it look like, Graff?”

“It looks like he got ambushed, sir. His radio is on the ground along with some blood and a few of his teeth.”

His teeth? Ingram grimaced at the image. What could have caused his man to lose a couple of teeth? The island was privately owned and didn’t have any indigenous people living on it. It had at one time, but the agency had ousted them when they’d bought the island. It wasn’t entirely kosher, but enough money could shut anyone up. That meant the only men on the island should be his men.

“Any indication of where he might be? Can you tell which way his abductor went?”

“We haven’t heard anything coming from the jungle, sir. There’s no trail to follow, either.”

Could Donovan have made it to the island with a small team? Unlikely given that he had men set up all over the island. The only part he couldn’t watch was the cliff, but that would require a thirty meter climb to the top. “Take a small team into the jungle and go look for him. Report back when you’ve found him.”

“Yes, sir,” Graff replied.

Ingram disconnected the call and tucked his phone back into his pocket. Returning his attention to the stage, he noticed that Leland was about to have a turn with the Rottweiler.

“Time to go,” Ingram said to the lady on his lap. The show on the stage had turned in a direction he no longer found appealing. He would have a difficult time facing Leland in the morning. Standing, he hauled the lady to her feet and dragged her from the room. He didn’t notice that his cell phone had slipped out of his pocket and fallen between the cushions of the couch.

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