Chapter 11: Finally seeing Red

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The veiled track finally revealed itself, lying among dense bracken, so it could easily be missed. A car turned onto the road, causing loose pebbles to ricochet off nearby trees. The fauna was much thicker and had grown in the last six months, so the branches now formed a leafy tunnel. The area was almost unrecognizable, except for a tall oak tree standing isolated in the middle of the paddock. Max had used it originally months back, as a bearing to find his way to the highway. The car continued forward and passed by a flowing creek, causing a phantom feeling to suddenly nestle in his missing toes.

This would be the first time Max had visited the farm, since he had been tortured there. His colleagues had searched its confines to look for clues, after he had been rescued. They had found nothing, not even a fingerprint or deed to tell them who had kidnapped him. He had stayed away, because he found it impossible to visit it again. The sight of the barn would only cause his paranoia and horrible memories to resurface. He had already seen it so many times in his nightmares over the last six months. This farm was now his staging point for any internal fear or trepidation. It tore him up inside that he had to visit it again, but unluckily his hand had been forced. Roberts needed to be saved, so there was no other option available.

His colleague's voice snapped him out of his stupor.

"We're nearly there," Grant admitted, "here I want you to have this."

Max looked down, noticing a gun lying in his hand.

"I don't need that," he admitted with disdain.

"We could be walking into a bad situation," his colleague suggested, "we don't even know how many of them there are. I know you don't like guns, but we need to arm ourselves."

A redness consumed Max's cheeks, before he added a forcefulness to his words.

"I don't need it, put it away."

These words, albeit his attitude enraged Grant, who was already on edge. They were moments away from a tense situation with no backup. He needed an army, but instead he only had a timid, nervous lawyer capable of sharp rhetoric, but not a kick, punch or lethal strike. His colleague did know the law, but in terms of survival techniques Grant was well ahead. Max's actions were hasty and rash, bordering on reckless.

"I don't understand why we couldn't bring officers with us?" Grant asked.

"I told you," his colleague responded angrily, "no one can know how we found this information out. If the Mayor knew about Magnifique or what she can do, she would be dead in a second, just like every other threat to him. We have to do this ourselves."

Grant responded, his voice riddled with fear.

"How are we going to stop these men? They're mercenaries. They've been trained to kill."

His colleague's anxiousness impacted little on Max. The seasoned detective beside him had faced death many times, but was now exhibiting fear, while he was relatively calm. He was in control of this situation, unlike those in his past. For once, he was not shackled to a cage, bound to a chair or powerless to protect himself and was in control of his own circumstances. His torturer could only be a mile away, but instead of his anxiousness crippling him, it was sending a coursing rush of excitement through him. He had dreamed of this moment many times, while kicking at a dojo bag or culling another contestant. His revenge could be only moments from being played out.

"Let's just check it out discreetly," he proposed, trying to sound reassuring. His shirt expanded over his firm chest, exposing his flexing muscles underneath. "If it's too dangerous for us then we call in the cavalry. If we feel like we can save him, then we move in. Let's play it by ear."

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