Episode 4

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I wake up and blink several times, confused. An icy cold fluid is flowing down my nape, soaking my shirt and my back. I shiver and lift up my head.

"He woke up, boss."

I find myself in a kind of badly-lit, gloomy shed. Tied to a chair and I have gag on the mouth. A hulk of a man just poured a bottle of water on me.

A guy is standing in front of me, arms crossed. He is muscular and looks powerful. He wears dark blue jeans, a close-fitting black t-shirt, his hair is ashen blond and he has a very pale skin. I don't know why, but I immediately take a strong dislike to him. He's the archetype of the self-confident man, who dominates the room when he shows up in a place, who is full of himself and do not hesitate to step on your head to gain advantage.

"Take his gag off" the blond one orders with a faint accent.

The hulk obeys and my mouth gets free. I move my lower jaw back and forth to stretch it –these brutes have tied me up good and proper!

"So?" I say. "Which team do you belong to? (I wriggle a little.) The police? Eastern Europe? FBI? CIA? Smith?"

The blond guy keeps staring at me, arms crossed. He comes a few steps closer, glaring at me, I have a nice view on his tattooed quadriceps.

"Ah" I let out. "Russia maybe?"

"I don't work for a group" he answers coldly. "Nor for one country. I am more of a kind of mercenary..."

"Yeah, a turncoat, right."

He screws his icy blue eyes up, I tell myself that I must have suicidal tendencies to provoke him like that. (But why on earth do I hate this dude?!)

"My, my... You're quite a chatterbox, eh? I'd already noticed earlier... before I put my riffle in your face and you passed out like a little girl."

(Ok, I got it now.)

"You were the rabbit! (I roar.) Did you need to hit me so hard?"

"I used barely a quarter of my strength" he shrugs, the ghost of a smile playing on his lips.

"You looked much better with the mask on" I mock.

He rises his eyes to the ceiling and mutters a scarcely concealed "so childish".

"We have questions to ask you..."

"What do you want from me?" I snap out abruptly.

"To ask you some damn questions, I just told you, dimwit" he's getting worked up. "Jeez, are you even listening when people talk to you?"

He makes a sign to Iron Muscles, who takes a small leather bag out. He undoes the lace that keeps the bag shut and unrolls it along his thigh, displaying an assortment of pliers, scalpels of diverse sizes and gleaming metal picks. I gulp.

"Uuuuh, do you really need to use these little gadgets; we can talk, can't we?"

He ignores me.

"The cops discovered, thanks to a security camera in the street, that you were in the tea-room Providentia. They spotted you. (He takes a scalpel, examines it in the weak light coming from the bulb above our heads.) But they haven't realized that someone entered fifteen minutes before you did. And that this someone erased their visit. (He lays his piercing gaze on me.) Do you see who I'm talking about?"

I gulp once more time and shake my head quickly. I may have a small clue of whom he's talking about, but I don't want Fernanda to get into trouble.

"No. Who... who is that person?" I stutter.

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