Look at me, sticking to a schedule like a boss. B)
So yes. More serial story for all the peoples on this lovely Thursday.
Last time we saw Wolfgang Dankworth, our villain/anti-hero/amnesic person, he was being handed over as the ransom for his enemy’s little boy to an unknown party.
After all the adventures of thwarting his own plans, hiding his memory loss from his minions and eating ice cream, of course.
All that is fun to read and you can do that here:
Who is the kidnapper? Why does he want Wolfgang?
Now… join us for this next part of Blank Mastermind. (so dramatic wow)
At the word “ransom”, everyone looked at me.
You know . . . keep the scary, ski-mask man guessing.
“Here,” I raised the hand that wasn’t holding my bloody nose.
The man’s head turned and his gaze flicked over me like he was examining some beat up car he’d already agreed to buy. He nodded.
“Right. And the two hundred?”
Charles dug in his pockets distractedly. Leif whimpered out something that sounded like “daddy”.
“It’s okay, buddy.” Charles’s hand emerged from his pocket with a small bundle of bills. He raised his eyebrows at the masked man and held it out.
“Throw it here.” The man released Leif’s arm and held up a gloved hand. Charles gave a perfect baseball pitch and the money landed with a hard thud in his palm.
He looked over the money briefly, then gave Leif a shove towards Dallas and his dad. Leif stood there, frozen for a second.
Dallas stepped towards him, “Are you hurt?”
Leif shook his head, then barreled into Charles. The two were wrapped up in an indistinguishable lump of hug and I heard a coughing sort of crying.
The masked man finished his one-handed examination of the bills and stuffed them in his pocket. Cardboard jumped up and made a weird little “nya” noise near his ear There was a clicking noise as her little teeth chomped together.
“I hate you,” she chirped.
“Shut up.” The man gave her arm a jerk downwards.
The differences between kids under stress. One cries and looks scared while the other bounces around and tries to bite her kidnapper.
Couldn’t guess which one had spent her whole life with a gang of criminals.
“Okay,” the kidnapper sighed, “the ransom for this one, please?” No drama there. Just wanting to get this little piranha off his hands.
A flicker of a grin flashed across Roy’s face.
News stuck his large hand inside his coat, “Right here.”
I expected him to bring out an envelope full of money or something valuable, but instead it was just a simple, turquoise notebook with grease and ink stains all over the cover.
This kidnapper was a total idiot. Kidnap two kids and only ask for two hundred bucks, a ratty notebook and a wounded criminal.
Bad News stepped forwards at the kidnapper’s gesture and handed over the book, ruffling the pages open a little. I caught a glimpse of familiar handwriting and frowned. Just where I’d seen it didn’t come to mind, but I knew that writing.
The masked man nodded and released Cardboard, who gave him a kick in his shins before running back over to Roy. Sweet little thing.
The man grunted, but said nothing. After another quick flip through the pages, he tucked the notebook in his bag along with the money.
“Nice doing business with you all,” he nodded, then turned to me. “Come on, Dankworth.”
Like I was his dog or something. I couldn’t read any facial expressions through the ski-mask, but his stance was obviously impatient.
Swallowing, I started to walk towards him. My hand came down from my nose and rested on the clip of my knife in my pocket. As soon as my fingers touched it, he had a gun out.
“Don’t do that,” the man sighed. I froze and my fingers clamped over the knife.
He made a motion with his gun. “Take it out of your pocket. Drop it on the ground.”
I did as he said. Throwing it at his face and spreading the joy of bloody noses sounded a lot better, though.
The knife made a clacking noise as it hit on the gravel. I winced at the empty feeling on my hip.
“That’s better. Come on nicely this time.”
As much as it grieved me, I did.
He nodded and I saw another glint of teeth through the mask’s mouth hole. “Thank you, everyone. And no following us, please.”
I glanced back at Dallas right before following the man into the dark beyond the road and to devil-knows-where. I wondered if he ever got tired of my constant glances in his direction.
Dallas made a motion with his hands that looked like praying.
I wondered how that would help.
After I tripped about a hundred times in the dark, we finally reached what I think was a jeep parked on a gravel side road. I was settled comfortably in the back with tied hands, the doors locked and my head in a bag that smelled like barf and we were off.
In my memory, I’d never had any experience being a ransom, but I guessed I should probably just sit there and shut up.
I hated doing both.
We bounced over a few potholes in the road and I felt a small drip trickling out of my nose. Great. And no hands to hold it with, either.
I twisted my neck into a position it should never be in and got my nose pressed against my shoulder, which helped the bleeding a bit. I’d probably look like I got murdered once the bloody sack came off, though.
That would be hilarious. I turned my head from side to side, smearing the blood.
Sometime after that art project, I conked out.
There was the click of a car door opening and a sudden light on the back of my eyelids. I groaned and shifted my position. My neck felt like it had a knife in it and my throat felt as scratchy and dry as the bag over my head.
“We’re here.” The New York accented voice came from somewhere above me.
My mouth was to dry for me to voice any response, but I moved my head a little, sending yet another stabbing feeling down my neck.
Hands grabbed the bag along with a good fistful of my hair and yanked.
“I said I’m up,” I croaked irritably.
The grip was readjusted and the bag slipped off my head. I blinked up at the man’s now unmasked face, adjusting to the light. He wasn’t anyone I’d seen before. Or at least that I remembered seeing before. I really hoped we weren’t supposed to be chums.
He looked a little surprised at the blood smeared across my face, but said nothing. All that work for nothing.
Groaning again, I sat up. All the bruises from Roy’s beating decided to wake up right then as well. I rubbed at my eyes and looked out the windows.
Lower level parking garage. Spot D-13.
Not many other cars were down here and the corner we were in was pretty much abandoned. It didn’t seem like a place you could murder someone and get away with it, though, so that gave me a little hope.
I looked back over at the New Yorker, who was pulling a few things out of the glove compartment. He handed me a wet wipe. “For the blood,” he clarified.
I rubbed at my face with it as much as I could without making it hurt, then handed it back to him.
He didn’t look too impressed with my cleaning job, but I guess it was good enough. Exhaling, he handed me a small paper bag.
“Put this on.”
“Haven’t I had enough bag for the day?”
“It’s inside the bag, genius.”
I reached my hand inside and touched something that felt almost like . . . skin? Grimacing, I pulled it out. It looked like an older man’s face, flattened and folded in half. Plastic feeling hair poked up in tufts. My fingers found an eyehole and poked through.
I looked up at the man. He watched me impatiently.
Well, he was the one with the gun . . . I ran a hand over my hair to smooth it down and pulled the sticky-feeling rubber down over my head. By quite a bit of blind struggling, I got my eyes to actually line up with the eyeholes, which I thought was pretty good, but the New Yorker had to come straighten it for me, adjusting random places around my face.
“There,” he finally stepped back. “Now get this on and we’ll be good.” He pulled a twill jacket off the back of his seat and held it up, nodding to my leather jacket, “You’ll need to take that one off, of course.”
I zipped it defensively. What was wrong with an old man in a leather jacket?
The New Yorker scowled at me, “Stop acting like a two-year-old, Dank. You’ll get your dumb jacket back afterwards.”
I scowled back at him and reluctantly unzipped it. The jacket slid back onto the seat, with one sleeve refusing to flop down because of all the dried blood.
I slipped into the twill jacket and buttoned up the buttons about halfway. I spread my arms, “Happy?”
He ran a hand over his hair and gestured for me to follow him towards the stairwell. “Come on.”
I followed him, limping a little and still wincing at the kink in my neck. Our footsteps echoed off the cement walls and made us sound like a marching band instead of two guys walking.
By the time we got up the four flights of stairs, I pretty much had my old-man walk down. I was barely even faking the wheezing limp.
Coming out of the stairwell, we stepped into the wide hall of what looked like a conference center. Early morning light filtered in through the windows and there was a soft hum of conversation in the halls.
The man turned to the right and I followed. We passed about five people on our way. Most smiled and nodded, wishing us a good morning.
This didn’t really seem like a kidnapper haunt.
We turned down another hall with no windows. I nearly ran into a younger man, coming out with a file folder tucked under his arm.
He smiled at me. “Good morning, Tom.”
I scrambled for something an old man would say. “Y-you too, sonny.” He nodded and kept walking.
Did old guys even call people “sonny” anymore?
The guy I was following had gotten further down the hall and I jogged a little to catch up. My face was starting to sweat under the sticky rubber mask and I resisted the urge to itch it.
We came to the end of the hall and it opened up into a small sort of lobby area. Plush red chairs sat in the corners and a few lamps glowed from the coffee tables in between.
A secretary sat behind a tall counter and I heard keyboard clicking noises. Her blonde head stayed lowered, but she spoke as we entered.
“Do you have an appointment with Mr. Mansley?” she looked up and her gaze rested on me. She smiled. “Oh, I wasn’t sure you were coming, Mr. Tom.”
I swallowed. No calling her “sonny”.
“Well . . . here I am,” I made my best attempt at sounding old. So, I was kidnapped so I could make some old guy’s appointment? A lot more mundane than the possibilities I’d been considering.
The secretary nodded. “Mr. Mansley is waiting to see you.”
I glanced behind me and saw that the New Yorker had disappeared. He was a delivery boy, then. Wonderful.
I nodded to the girl and walked over to the official-looking door at the other end of the room.
“Derrick Mansley~ Director” read the gold plaque on the door. I knocked and noticed my hands were getting a little shaky again.
“Come in,” said a voice from inside.
I straightened the collar of the horrible twill jacket and turned the doorknob. A middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair sat at his desk, writing something on a piece of paper.
My gaze flicked up to a framed quote over his seat. “A hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”
There was a loud click as he set down his pen. I jumped.
He clasped his hands under his chin and fixed me with an unreadable gaze. I stared back.
He tipped his head a little. “You’re quite late, Mr. Dankworth.”
What insanity will ensue next?! Who is this Mansley guy? Where are they? (*whispers* and who is Tom? even I’m not quite sure…)
But, questions will have to wait for next week’s installment.
Anyway, in keeping with my new format, updates and such go down here.
I don’t actually have too much to say this week.
My hand hurts from typing this all out in one sitting though. I hope everyone’s happy. 😛
So I was thinking about making like a little paste-the-code linky-button sort of thing for the story in particular. Would you guys grab the button and throw it around if I did that?
It would go under the new Blank Mastermind page under the “My Books” tab.
Also I’m doing this random alternate-universe thing with a friend where Wolfgang and another character, Mike (Wolfgang’s blood brother, I’m pretty certain) are hobos in the Great Depression.
Might have to share some gems from that sometime. XD
See you guys next time, and please comment with favorite parts and such!
*dramatic swooshing out*