Chapter 3: The Deal:

I awake from a dreamless sleep to a single familiar voice whispering in hushed tone, purposely trying to keep a low voice which isn't working as well as they think. An accent is heard within the conversation. Rio.

"We're dropping her off at the docks at once and bringing the money as well. Two o'clock, right or have you made other arrangements?"

My ears pick up on the exchange and hang onto every word. My vision is blocked, yet I hear a static response. He's holding a rectangular device to the side of his head, and I guess it to be a phone.

"What! I thought the deal was $500 not $1,500? So what, costs of boat transportation are always expensive. What does that have to do with us?

This time, I heard a response from the other side overcoming the static. Feminine, yet she knew exactly what she was doing without taking a millisecond to reply to his patronizing comment. "It has everything to do with you. You want the girl, out of your life, never to be seen again. I can make that happen but only if you cooperate. I'll extend the time to five a.m., but no later than that. Otherwise people will be suspicious and delays will not be tolerated. You do want to get the child off your hands...or have you changed your mind?"

There was no hesitation, and the pause was deliberate. Both the time and the cash amount have been raised which means there's experience in her profile. Raising the price after I was captured was an intelligent decision. Whether or not changing the time was beneficial for her or was leeway for Rick and Rio to collect, I do not know. If I were in her place, I would have the time to profit myself.

"Deal. We're bring to the location that you gave us, today. Then we'll head directly toward the docks, tomorrow." Rio quickly stated and slammed the phone shut and tossed it onto the dashboard. It was then I realized that I was in a car. My body was laying on its left side, my face directed toward the front leather interior which were both occupied. Rio, of course, was in the passenger's seat while my loving father sat in the driver's seat. Rick's hands clenched the steering wheel practically crushing it beneath his grasp.

"This is our own fault. We should have dumped the girl before the police got involved." rio said, trying to calm his partner in crime.

"It don't matter if it's ours. That fiendish woman has the nerve to mess with me like that. raising the price because we were a day late. Like outrunning the cops is easy. Plus there's extra baggage to deal with."

Rio remains silent. Only nods and turns with attention to the front mirror, probably searching for the faintest trace of flashing blue lights. His eyes scans the road, then his gaze drops to mine. He smirks.

"My, looks like sleeping beauty decided to wake up from fairyland and join reality."

"I've been living in reality a long time, Rio."

"Obviously not long enough. You actually thought you could get away this time? Rick and I could toss you out to be roadkill any moment our mercy runs out."

He said it with that carefree tone that I have grown to despise, but his eyes are hard and cold as if laughter has never reached him. I don't think it ever will either. Rio shifts in his seat and for the first time since I've woken, I notice that my hands are tied behind my back. Then it dawns on me, his implied message registered. One tiny mishap on my part will have me sprawled out on the side of the street, forgotten about and dead. Rick and Rio will be far away and unable to have their ethical punishment.

We've been traveling for three hours along this rigid road which doesn't do good for my already uncomfortable position. The car is nonexistent on the hectic highway. Instead, rolls on a curvy path deep with in a forest. There are stout, but thick oak trees tangling their branches together overhead and shields the sun and clear, blue sky out of our sight. Rick and Rio facials appear calm but the shoulders tell another story. Their shoulders are tensed as if they are expecting a ghost to jump out in any second. If whoever we're going to meet is capable of causing these savages to be shaken up, then my single strand of luck has snapped and there is no possible way I am escaping this time.