Chapter Twenty Six
By the time Brant stepped out of the elevator and onto the sixteenth floor, Gemmel and his team had gathered enough information on the dishonourably discharged Anderson to decide that he was not their man. They had just located Anderson at his mothers' house. A short chat with Mrs. Anderson confirmed that her son had, in fact, not left her sight in the last three days. It seemed that she had been working him tooth and nail at renovating the house. She was a slave driver and Gemmel found it easy to believe that Anderson had not been given any reprieve. That left him with one option; Libby's boss.
"Damn it!" Gemmel growled. "We've been wasting time!"
His second-in-command, Roland Cahill, grunted in response. "This one was the logical choice. What does a newspaper editor have to do with framing a good solider, fabricating witnesses, rape and murder, and, now, kidnapping? That's a big stretch for an editor."
"I don't want to hear justifications, Cahill. I want this bastard!" he raged, storming back to the car. "Get the full squad together. I think it's time that we paid a visit to Craig Anderson."
He was so angry – angry that he had left this man til last. What pain had Libby gone through due to his blunder? Gemmel would never forgive himself if they were a second too late.
"Have you contacted Brant yet?" Cahill asked in his smooth voice, sliding into the passenger side seat alongside Gemmel.
Gemmel did not bother to respond to that. Cahill knew that he had not had the chance to phone Brant. This was his way of telling him what to do without actually telling him. Over the years, Gemmel knew Cahill too well to think that it was a fight for superiority. It was merely his way of making sure that Gemmel did not miss a thing.
While he turned on the ignition, Gemmel dug his hand into his pocket and removed his mobile phone. He hit the speed-dial number that connected him to his uncle's house as he pulled out from the curb. The constant ringing in his ear continued for much longer than he would have expected. Gemmel had suspected that Brant would jump at the sound of the phone for any news.
Something was not right.
The phone went through to the message bank. Gemmel left a short message in the chance that Brant was asleep, in the shower or otherwise indisposed. He then hung the phone up and chucked it onto the dashboard.
"Call ahead to the newspaper and ask discretely if Mr. Anderson is in today. No point making a scene if he's not," Gemmel commanded.
Cahill acted straight away. Within seconds he had hung up, confirming Craig Anderson's presence at the newspaper. He turned to face Gemmel, staring at him intently from behind his thin-wire framed glasses.
"So, what's the plan, Johnson? We barge in there; take him by force and then what? What about Miss Banning?" Cahill asked, incredulously.
Gemmel understood his tone. Never before had Gemmel felt this irrational, but then again, a case had never been this personal to him. Seeing Libby in that caravan, unconscious and torn by Culver, he had grown an attachment to her. He felt this overwhelming need to protect her from more pain.
"We do whatever is necessary to get the information out of him. I don't care if I have to rip him to shreds but I'll get it."
"It'll cost you your job when they find out about it," Cahill stated.
"I don't care right now. I just want to save an innocent woman."
Cahill nodded, unworriedly. "Good. Just wanted to make sure you knew the implications. I'll make the call now."
Gemmel gave a grim smile. Cahill was with him and would be til the end. He was a good, loyal man and he was the sort that did not let the rules and regulations get in the way of saving a life. Gemmel made a mental note to invite him over for dinner as a 'thank you' – Shantel would like that.
The door was unlocked and Brant slipped into the office silently. A lanky, leather-skinned man was standing in front of his desk, speaking hurriedly into a phone. His voice sounded a little strained.
"What do you mean? You need to come! Things can't stay like this for much longer."
Brant continued to stand silently by the door. He had intended to storm into the room and beat Libby's whereabouts out of the man, but when he had heard the voices, something had come over him. It was just a feeling – maybe a hope – that he was talking about Libby or their situation.
After a moment of silence while he listened to the other person on the phone, Anderson spoke again. "And Brant? Have you got him yet?"
"Damn it! How hard can it be! You got the girl easily enough."
He began pacing as he listened to the other person on the phone. Brant took in the man's age: fifty-ish. He had greying hair, and from the glimpses Brant had of his face, a very wrinkled forehead.
"What do you mean he's gone? Where is he then?" Anderson's voice was low but strained. He was afraid.
Brant stepped closer to the man. "I'm right here," he whispered.
The man jumped like a frightened rabbit, the phone slipping slightly from his ear. At first he looked stared and then something Brant never expected to see crossed the face of this strained and cowardly man – anger. With a few quick strides he walked behind his desk, placing it in between them like a barrier.
"He's here," he growled into the phone before he hung it up.
Brant stayed where he stood, watching the man carefully. If the man made a reach for a gun or a silent alarm, he would be ready. Nothing was going to stop him from finding Libby now.
"What can I do for you, Mr. Mackay?" Anderson asked, trying to mask his earlier conversation.
Brant smiled at this. He knew what he was trying to do. Anderson was gauging him; trying to see how much of the truth Brant really knew. Brant could play coy too.
Slyly, he said, "You see, I was wondering, Mr. Anderson, if you knew the whereabouts of my good friend, Elizabeth Banning." His face flickered at this. "I was also wondering what you know about my brother's trial."
"I know a lot about your brother's trial. As you know, our paper did an article on the story. As for Elizabeth, the last I heard, she was in your company."
Brant felt his good humour slipping at Anderson's ability to play the innocent bystander. It angered him that he could play games with, possibly, a woman's life. His woman, Brant corrected.
With a menacing step forward, Brant growled, "You see, I think you know a lot about Elizabeth's disappearance from my company. I think you orchestrated it. Was it because of her?"
Smoothly, he removed the photograph from his pocket and flicked it at Anderson. The face of Monica Anderson floated to land, face up, on his desk. Anderson's features visibly contorted at the sight of it.
"You bastard!" he muttered. "It's bad enough that one of you had to torture me with her – now it's both of you. You're both the same – you're both worthless excuses of human beings! Your brother did the world a favour when he removed himself from it!"
An animalistic growl escaped Brant. "How dare you speak of my brother that way? You're the scum on this Earth – not him!"
"I'm the scum? I'm the scum!" he yelled, his voice building in intensity. "I never took a young girl and turned her to drugs. I never charmed her into falling in love with me and then killed her."
Brant's mind boggled at the craziness dripping out of this man's mouth. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
"You're brother corrupted my daughter! Before he came into the picture she was healthy, lively and free of drugs. Now she's dead!" he screamed.
"Martin was never into drugs! He never touched them! He went crazy with worry when his girlfriend – your Monica – overdosed. Whoever or whatever drove her to drugs was not my brother," Brant yelled back, wanting to settle the score about his brother.
"It was him," Anderson raged, his hands moving erratically. "He did it!"
"Where is Libby?" Brant asked in a deadly whisper, sick of this shit.
"Dead!" he screamed now. "Dead! She's dead!"
Brant's heart constricted.
"You fucker!" he roared, launching himself at Anderson.
He cleared the desk and ploughed into Anderson's upright body. Together they crashed to the ground; Brant on top. He collected the man's shirt into his hands and pulled the wrinkled face closer to his.
"Where is she?"
"Dead!" he cried again, laughing openly. "You're too late. She's dead – I'm never telling you where she is. I want you to suffer like your brother."
Brant drew back his fist and landed a punch squarely on the right-side of his face. Anderson's head flopped back at the impact and connected with floor. Again, Brant drew his face up and connected another punch. The eyes of his victim fluttered.
"Tell me where she is!"
As Anderson continued to smile stupidly at him, Brant punched him again… and again. Vaguely, he registered the office door opening. Rough hands wrapped around his raised, fisted hand, while others gripped him under the arms and hauled him off the dazed man.
Men in combat gear crowded around the beaten man. Brant felt a surge of anger at their compassion and tried to make a move back towards Anderson. Instead the strong arms tightened and continued to move him away.
"Calm down, Brant."
Swiftly, he turned to face the person who owned that voice. Gemmel stared back at him, silently willing him to still his movements. Brant cooperated immediately because if Gemmel was here then he knew that this was their man.
"Have you found her?" The words spilled out of him.
A sad shake of a head killed the small hope that had fluttered inside of him.
As Brant senses returned to the present and the angry pounding in his ears began to fade, he started to take in the situation. At least seven armed men, obviously a part of Gemmel's team, were crowded into the room. One was tending to the wounds Brant had inflicted on Anderson, while two restrained him. Another two had their hands clasped firmly on Brant and Gemmel and another blond man stood beside him.
It was then that Brant heard it. A dull, constant thudding was trying to penetrate the noise of the room. It sounded distant – and frantic.
Brant turned his head to follow the sound. His eyes landed on a built-in closet of some sort. On his right, Brant felt Gemmel turn his head in the direction of the noise. Their eyes met for a second and they both experienced a surge of hope.
Libby? Could it be possible? What else could be making that noise?
Hurriedly, Brant threw off the hands of his restrainers and flew across the room to the door. Gemmel moved alongside him. He ripped the door open.
Tear-filled, brown eyes reached his. He fell to his knees beside her and began to make sure that she was fine. Her hands and legs were bound and her mouth was taped shut, but she appeared to be physically unharmed.
Brant scooped her up into his arms.
Sorry about the language in this one. It's a bit more than my other chapters but I felt in this context it would be ok. I hope that I didn't offend.
Well, this is the second last chapter. I'm pretty certain now that the next one will be my last for "Unexpected Revenge". I just need to wrap up all the lose ends now.
So, what did you guys think? It's not that suspenseful but I did not think that tons of suspense would work in this chapter. I felt that too much suspense would seem like overkill. I hope that some of it caught you by suprise though. LOL.
Chris - Thanks for your review. As for your question about why Brant was in the Department of Defence (DD)in the first place in chapter one, you've made me realise that I haven't quite answered that. I have vaguely mentioned that it was a search for information about his brother's trial, but I did not go into detail. What I should have said was that Brant broke into the DD because he hoped to access their computer system in order to view classified files regarding the trial. He specifically broke into the sixteenth floor, the newspaper floor, because he believed that they would have had to access those files to complete the article. He was hoping, therefore, that the files would be in the search memory. However, when he saw Libby, and realised that she wrote the paper, he wanted revenge, but he also hoped that she would be able tell him what the files said because she would have researched them for her article. Unfortunately, as we know, he lucked out. LOL. I hope that helped. I'll try and incorporate that into the next chapter if I think it will fit. Otherwise, I'll just go back and modify one of the other chapters to explain it. Thanks for pointing it out.
Thank you, also,to Raven O'Connor, Hydie, Kaye15 and Garnet-earth-Princess for reviewing my last chapter