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His words all came out at once. "Ahlaam, Alhamdulillah you're alive! What happened, where are you, how did you escape?!"

There was a chuckle. "She didn't."

Ahmad paused. The voice, though vaguely familiar, was not one he expected. He checked his caller ID again and Ahlaam's number was the one that showed up on screen. When the initial shock wore off, he came to realize that it was the call he had been anticipating; the call of the kidnappers. And the voice he heard speaking was far from a surprise now.

"Let me make one thing clear right off the bat," the man spoke, his gravely voice hoarse and condescending. "I've got eyes and ears everywhere; if you so much as reach to dial the number nine, the one-one will be a bullet in your head and a bullet in hers."

"Tell me where my wife is!"

"Right now, she's on the wrong side of a 9mm, but don't worry, we'll put her in the ground soon enough."

"Why are you doing this? What do you want from us?!"

"I don't want anything from you. I'm just doing what has to be done."

"None of this has to happen, you sick-"

"I don't think we've been properly introduced, Mr. Ackmed. This is Tom Rose Senior of Liberty Airwaves."

"I know who you are," Ahmad spat.

"Good, and I understand you're also familiar with my son and his friends. Messed them up pretty good, didn't you?"

"Your son and his friends got what they deserved. I see now that I should've pressed charges and-"

"Yeah, well it's too late for that now. It's time for you to learn a different lesson."


"Anyone can get hurt when they start something with the wrong somebody. I'm not gonna be PC about this: I don't like you. I don't like your kind.  And I don't like your people flooding in from every third-world craphole desert to take over America."

"You can't be serious right now. This is about your crackpot invasion nonsense again?!"

"Oh, I assure you, Mr. Ackmed, I'm dead serious. You people came onto my turf, so now I'm bringing the fight back to you." There was a heavy clicking sound in the background as Tom fiddled with the weapon in his hand.

"Don't you dare hurt her!"

"Relax, it's not time for that yet. I'm giving you a chance here. You see, when you moved in and started mucking things up, you didn't just mess with my family, you messed with my business, and that makes this personal. So you and me, we're going to meet and settle this. I'm going to show you how we deal with your kind where I'm from. Maybe it'll be a message for all your little Mosque-rat terrorist buddies too. You've got one hour and this all ends. Find me."

"What? How am I supposed to-"

"And remember, you tell anyone anything, and you're both dead."

The line cut off before Ahmad could utter another word. Sitting motionless on his apartment floor, he was left dumbfounded and confused. Though his mind raced to catch up with everything he'd heard, time was running short for him to make his move.

Elsewhere, Tom Rose Senior turned in his black, swivel-chair wearing a self-satisfied grin. A door had opened during his call and he turned to see his son standing before him. Looking up, his expression soured at the slouching teen.

"Who let you in here?"

"Mike and Paul from your little gun club dragged me here," Matthew replied, arms folded over his chest. "They said you wanted to see me."

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