After two years of heavy hard hitting make or break cases and a little arm twisting Maria as take her family to Sicily on vacation. Unknown to them or the OICA a deadly ghost from the past would rear its ugly bringing with it death and destruction.
by Snowfall and Jessie Wolf.
Dedicated to the men and women of the US Marshal Service.
Edited by my husband Paul, and AJC Snowfall.
Casa di pioggia 0145
Robert Hines had been woken from his drugged slumber by the sound of explosions. That had been over ten minutes ago. Now he lay on the floor of his master bedroom next to his new boy toy. A young man in his early twenties, that just had his foot blown off trying to escape out the bedroom. Thankfully the young man’s screams had died off shortly after he fell back to the floor. Not that it mattered to Hines, the young man had already reached the point of passing out due to blood loose. He would soon be dead, and Hines had no desire to attract anymore attention from whomever was attacking his home.
Whoever they were, they were definitely not taking prisoners. The sounds of heavy automatic gunfire sounded repeatedly though out his house over the last ten minutes. The screams of men, dying from their wounds outside, were quickly being silenced by the reports of heavy rifles. The same heavy rifle that had amputated the foot of tonight’s lover. Robert knew that these people had to be members of the local Mafia. The local police couldn’t possibly have the type of firepower these people were carrying.
This was both good and bad for him in his mind. Good, that if he could hold out long enough to talk with whoever was in charge, he might be able to bribe his way out alive. Bad, in that if they were Mafia, they may not want to do a one-time deal. The Italian Mafia were well known for their blackmailing ways, and Robert Hines hated being over a barrel when making a business deal. Especially, a gun barrel.
So, when the woman dressed in all black, carrying an assault rifle, stepped into his bedroom; Robert knew that this was his chance. “You’ll have to forgive me for not offering a more welcoming greeting Ma'am, but you have destroyed a good part of my house. Not to mention killed off all of my security staff. All of this in a rather uncouth manner. Obviously, you know who I am. Care to introduce yourself?”
“Hello Robert. Yes, I know who you are. As for me; well, let’s just say that I am karma, come to claim my due.” The woman’s Sicilian accent let Robert Hines know that he was not dealing with the regular Mafia. When she lowered her rifle to point at his groin, Robert knew he was in deep shit. “For now though, you will be coming with me. I have questions that are in need of answers. Answers, that only you can provide. Please, do me a favor and try not to run. The two snipers outside will just shoot you in the balls, then watch you bleed out.”
Robert turned white hearing this warning. “How can someone be so cruel?”
“You presume to have room to talk Robert? Compared to things you have done, that would be a kindness from them. They hate those who exploit children for their own sexual pleasures. What they feel for those who provide those children, there is no word to describe it.” The Sicilian woman answered him.
Hines knew that this woman knew more than she was letting on, especially about his private sexual vice. “You have no proof, sister. Even thugs like you, Sicilian scum, need that. Now, answer my question! Who are you and who are you working for?”
The butt stroke to Robert’s stomach was as swift as a cobra strike. As he bent over trying to catch his breath, the woman grabbed him by his hair. With a vicious yank the woman pulled him off his feet and started dragging him from the bedroom. Robert Hines was so thrown off his game, he didn’t even try to fight the woman. He just screamed in pain at having his hair pulled.
As they moved down the hall, Robert counted the number of dead men staining the floor with their blood. When he finally realized that all the members of his security force were dead, Robert wanted to piss his pants. Fighting to get to his feet Robert had a second epiphany. No one was going to come to his rescue. That point was driven home when he tried to escape. The woman dragging him by his hair punched him, twice. Once in the stomach and once in the back of the head. As the darkness over took him, Robert Hines got a look at the people who had attacked his house. Their faces were the things of nightmares.
Maria looked down at the unconscious Hines and spit. “Annette, Samantha. Strip this piece of trash and tie his ass to the kitchen table. Hunter, Robert. Gather all of the bodies and place them in the living room. Don’t bother with collecting the spent brass and leave the rounds in the bodies. Anna, do you have your spice bag with you?” Anna just smiled and nodded her head. “Good, do you have any red caps in that magical bag of yours?”
“More than enough to make this dog bark and dance to your tune, my Donna.” Anna answered. “I only need one ingredient from the stables to finish the tea.”
Lyssa spoke up. “You want to put the brakes on?” Looking over at Maria. “Talk to us here Maria. What are you planning? Start with the bodies in the living room and not policing the brass.”
“The plan is simple, Lyssa. We’re going to make this look exactly like what it is. A Mafia hit on Hines, and his crew.” At the confused looks on the faces of Rodrick, Tiffany and Lyssa, Maria chuckled. “We are in the heart of the Delgado Crime Family’s territory. They DO NOT like outsiders bringing unwanted attention to their business enterprises. Something like this would fit their normal show of displeasure with unwanted trespassers. Once we have gotten the information from Hines. We torch the house and walk away. The local authorities will just chalk it up to Delgado.”
“Damn! Talk about shifting the blame. I might use this sometime.” Tiffany smirked as Lyssa gave her a hard look. “What? The is one idea I never thought of doing. I mean, sure; blaming Clusterfucks In Area or some other Intel agency is one thing, but dumping on the local mob? That's a new one.”
“Not really Tiffany, dear. In fact, it is a rather old trick. Why it is as old as the Mafia in America. They’ve been doing that for as long as there have been Made-men.” Anna told the young operator with a kind smile. "Though your nickname for the CIA was rather entertaining."
Lyssa shook her head. "Only one speed bump in that plan Maria. The brass. Only Rod, myself and Tiffany are using surplus. All of you are using current issue."
Bobby groaned. "Aw shit."
Lyssa was correct. Now he remembered why they used the CAR-15s and not the SABERS. Those were deniable and disposable. The SABERs weren't.
Maria stared at Lyssa for a minute. "That part is true."
"Yes. That's why I took a precaution. You wondered what was in the bag I left outside. It's full of spent brass. Fired earlier today. We collect our brass and scatter the bagged in it's place. Smoke and mirrors, Maria. Look like who we aren't. Let's get to it people." Lyssa said then keyed her mic. "Stronghold, we are clear. Say again; hard-site is CLEAR. Tango-One is secure. Golf-team, remain on watch."
It took nearly fifteen minutes to retrieve all the brass, luckily it was all in the house. Counts were kept as they moved through, substituting casings. There were still over sixty left in the bag and Lyssa scattered it around liberally. Maria wondered why the casings were grouped in seperate bags inside the black bag.
"Lyssa. You used different rifles for each of these baggies of shells, didn't you?" Sam asked.
Lyssa grinned. "Eighteen. We went through four-thirty round mags each. So now, when the forensics team start doing their thing?"
Maria now understood and voiced the answer. "They will believe that there was a force of at least twenty or more that did this."
"Correct. Police up the bodies if you want to now. Just leave that brass behind. Instead of Americans posing as Mafiosi, Mafiosi did do this." Lyssa explained. "NOW we are not who we are."
Tiffany nodded. "It's still Battlefield Deception, Madam."
“Okay, all done. Now what's this about a tea and red caps?” Rodrick wanted to know.
“Anna, this is your area of expertise. Please, explain?” Maria, asked Anna.
“There is a certain type of plant that grows in the mountains bordering Italy and Austria, Master Rodrick. It only blooms once every three years. The flowers of that plant have a highly concentrated hallucinogen in the blossoms. One so powerful, that it forces the user to see, feel, hear, smell and taste, everything a thousand-fold. It also turns pleasure into pain, pain into pleasure. In the wrong dosage; it can kill like all drugs, but in the right dosage, it loosens the tongue. Among those of us who are old enough to know about it, it is called the Orgasm of Death.” There was a wistful smile playing on Anna’s face as she spoke of the drug.
“Okay that’s creepy.” Tiffany said as she watched the smile grow on Anna’s face at the thought of using the drug. “Why do I get the feeling she's used that drug to kill someone in the past?”
“Trust me Tiffany, if what Maria told me is true. Then Miss Anna here has not only used that drug to kill someone, but to pry information from them as she did it.” Rodrick was giving Anna a sideways glance. “I still want to hear about that Black Kiss of Death thing some time.”
Even Lyssa’s interest was piqued by this comment. “Anna, just how many herbalistic drugs and poisons do you know?”
“Prima Lyssa, please understand. I have lived a long and somewhat sullied life.” Anna said with a quirky smile. “In my younger years there were times when I did not have access to modern medical pharmaceuticals. It was those times of need that forced me to find alternative medical means. It was that study which led to my study of both plants and animals. Their natural healing abilities and most importantly, how they can kill.”
“So, what is this tea? From the sounds of it, it’s like boiled mushrooms or something.” Tiffany asked.
“As I said earlier, red caps are a blossom. They’re about the size of your knuckle, solid red, attached to a light green stalk with white streaks running up and down it. The white streaks are the thorns. Trust me, you do not want to hold those in your bare hands. Always use gloves when harvesting the plants.” Anna had reached behind her to the small of her back. From behind her back Anna produced a nylon belt pouch. Opening it up Anna pulled out ten small tea tins.
“The tea is not just the boiling of water and adding a measured amount of ingredients in the traditional sense.” Keying her mic Anna contacted Kasey. “Golf-two, are there any pig wallows on the property?”
“Negative, Maid. The closest thing is the stables. Over.” Kasey informed her.
Anna sighed and looked over at Maria. “I’m afraid, my Donna, that I need to change our drug. Without the pig urine I cannot make the Orgasm of Death. I can however offer you a range of acceptable replacements.”
Tiffany, Rodrick and Lyssa looked at Anna in shock. Standing before them was a Master Cook, of the criminal type, from the sounds of it. Maria’s next words just confirmed those suspicions. “Pity, I do so love to watch them squirm under the feather. Oh well, no help for it. Please tell me what are our alternatives?”
“Night Blossom, Two Tone Shadow, Purple Gale and Sapphire Blues. All of which will give you the desired effect, but at higher doses.” Anna smiled as she listed what she could work up with what she had on hand. “I would suggest the Purple Gale.”
“Reasons.” Lyssa asked.
“While not as fast acting as the Orgasm of Death, its effects are the same, Prima. It is also not as harsh on the system as your synthetic cocktail. Yet, those who dance with the Gale, whisper in her ear all their nasty little secrets.” There was something about the way Anna talked that she really did love her work. “While I do prefer the Orgasm of Death for certain things, the Gale will work far better for this little worm. He does not have the constitution for this type of questioning.”
Maria smiled at her old friend, then turned to Annette and Samantha where they were re-tying Hines to the table spread eagle. “Girls, when you get done there, go out to the garage and see if you can find me the needed tools.”
Maria then keyed her mic as the two deputies just nodded their heads yes. “Golf-team, stay in position. Anything or anyone that comes through the main gate; drop’em. Over.”
“Copy that Actual. Be advised, we can’t use the main gate for our exfil. Over.” Kasey answered her back.
“Talk to us here Golf-two. What happened to the gate? Over” Rodrick asked.
“Looks like our first shots did more damage to the gatehouse than we predicted RamRod. From all the sparks in there, we believe the control console shorted out, it dropped the gate automatically. That exit is effectively sealed. Over.” Kasey answered him.
“Copy that Golf-two. Murphy never goes completely away. Keep your eyes open anyway. A blow torch or cutting saw will get through with enough time. Out.” Rodrick looked over at Maria. “That one is on me Maria. I was the one to suggest the use of the Barretts and Penetrator rounds. I figured that penetration was more important at that range than controlled destruction. Sorry about that.”
“Rodrick, you are many things, but you’re not stupid. You figured the need to take down a target at a range over a thousand meters and what it would take. There is no blame to be had or placed here.” Maria told the man smiling. “Now, would you give the boys a hand in collecting those bodies, I want to be out of here as soon as possible. Once I’ve had my little talk with Hines.”
Lyssa looked over at Maria. “Maria, this is either mine or Tiffany’s job.”
“Oh, I am sure that you two lovely ladies can get the job done, but as you have shown us your methods; it is only fitting for us to share our methods.” Maria said as she walked over to the gas stove and turned on two burners. Anna just chuckled as she began picking the ingredients for the drug she planned on using. Maria went through the cabinets hunting for a pot to boil the water.
Samantha and Annette had disappeared out the backdoor heading for the garage. They knew what Maria wanted. With nothing to do for now, Lyssa and Tiffany watched Anna like a pair of hawks. Anna picked four tins and put the rest back. From her pouch she took a one-gram scoop. Taking the four tins, she stepped over the pot of water that Maria had placed on the stove.
Sniper nests, Kasey and Kristine:
Out at their sniper nests; Kasey and Kristine were wondering what was going on in the house. Kasey keyed her mic. “Stronghold, Golf-two. What’s the situation in the House? Over”
“Gulf-team, you are to standby until contacted by Bravo-actual or Alpha-actual. You are not, say again, NOT to leave your posts until then. Understand? Over” Kimberly’s order had caught the teens off guard for a moment.
“Tango-Primary has been captured, hasn’t he? Over.” Kristine asked over the radio.
The sigh that preceded Kimberly’s answer was all the teens needed to know what was going to happen next. “That is a roger Gulf-one. Switch to surveillance over-watch and take turns policing your brass, Golf-team. Keep your eyes on the road, girls. The assault team needs to know if they are about to have company. Over.”
“Copy that, Stronghold. Making the switch. Golf-team out.” Kasey said, then moved her rifle so that it covered the southern approach on the road. Kristine shifted towards the northern approach.
Using their private team radio connection the teens had for spotter/sniper, Kristine contacted her sister. “Two, do you have a feeling that we’re not being told something? Over”
“One, I know we’re not being told something. I also know why and we should drop it. Just cover your sector and keep your head in the game. We’re not home yet. Over.” Kasey replied
“You don’t have to bite my head off Two.” Kristine grumbled.
Kasey sighed before replying. “Sorry, One. Remember what Sierra Bravo said about Tango-Primary and information, how mamas turned pale? The assault team want us out of the way for that, One. We’re not ready for that, just yet. Over.”
“Copy, Two.” Kristine got the hint and dropped the topic. "Go ahead and get your brass first."
Back in the house…
Anna had spent her time mixing the ingredients, slowly, one at a time. Lyssa and Tiffany never took their eyes off what the old woman did. Maria just sat down in one of the kitchen table chairs and smiled reminiscing over the many times she had seen Anna performing this very act. “Anna, when was the last time you whipped up this particular concoction? Was it the job in Brussels or Leeds? I can’t quite remember which it was, dear.”
Anna stopped stirring for a few seconds and smiled. “Neither, my Donna. The last time I use this particular drug, it was with the Riva’s. About twenty-seven months ago now, if I’m not mistaken.”
Hunter had just entered the kitchen to collect the last body when Anna said that and stopped. “You’re the one that took out the Chicago Riva Organization, Miss Anna? Thank you, for handling that crowd of low life scum. The FBI and DOJ were after them for seven years. Not once did they ever get close. The one time someone did get in close to them, it cost the US Marshals a damned good man.”
“Hunter, I can assure you. That none of the Riva Organization died a pleasant death. Purple Gale, when consumed in the right amount, is quite deadly. When taken in its purest, undiluted liquid form, the death is extremely painful.” Anna had returned to mixing the tea. “When distilled down and mixed with alcohol, of any type, the effects triple in intensity. For example, a nice Dolcetto. Now your normal bottle of red wine is about seven-hundred and fifty milliliters, with magnums going around a liter and a half.”
"Cool." Tiffany remarked then began humming a tune.
Anna listened while she was working. "That sounds pleasant."
"Aurosonic. DJs in Moscow. They play progressive trance." Tiffany replied.
Maria smiled. "You've been over there some time now. Have they named you?"
"Da. Cold Shadow Tiffany." Tiffany nodded, never taking her eyes off Anna's potion. "The girls in New York gave me Shadow. Madam Olga gave me Cold. Now they all call me Cold Shadow."
"Olga, the Iron Doll." Maria chuckled. "I hope you're not too harsh with the girls there."
Tiffany shook her head. "Only the unruly ones in the intermediate class. They get a little uppity with Katya, so I take them to task. Madam Olga approves. She and Katya are the only ones that know Lyssa trained me."
Anna pulled a BD Integra 3 mL syringe with detachable needle from her pouch. She drew 3 tenths of a cc into the syringe. Holding it up. “This small amount will give a man of his size severe hallucinations, uncontrollable muscle and bowel cramps, pain in the joints, bleeding from the ears, nose and eyes, along with unimaginable sweating. This small amount is still survivable.”
This had everyone in the room's attention. “Now, if I were to replace three milliliters of wine with three milliliters of this.” Anna held up the syringe of dark purple liquid and spoke to Rodrick. “It would be powerful enough to kill fifteen men as large as you. In under ten minutes. During that ten minutes those men would have all of the aforementioned symptoms. Only once the muscle cramps hit; they will dislocate joints, snap bones, cause spontaneous evacuation of the bowels and bladder, the bleeding becomes traumatic hemorrhage level. The body will dehydrate within five minutes, by the ten-minute mark; the body shuts down due to neural-overload and shock.”
“It is a rather unpleasant death.” Maria smirked. “I know of only one person to ever survive the Gale, and he did so barely. At last I heard the man was left in a wheelchair with a feeding tube.”
“You forgot his catatonic state, my Donna.” Anna smirked. “I may have missed ending his life, but he will never again lay a hand on a small child.”
Hunter just shivered and grabbed the last body off the floor. He had heard of the criminal code, and how it was applied to pedophiles. To him, and the other Deputies, it was just another form of justice. For the three members of the OICA it was unsettling to hear the casual manner which Anna and Maria spoke of poisoning people.
The most disturbing fact for Rodrick and Tiffany, was the idea that there were poisons as powerful as chemical weapons. That these poisons could be distilled from plants and most likely undetectable was almost terrifying. Like all modern soldiers, the specter of germ and chemical warfare was real. Lyssa looked into the pot at the darkening purple liquid. She had more training in bio-chemical warfare and seen plenty during her time in the DemonWraiths at a facility in Utah. It was a truly horrifying place, called Namtar's Fortress.
“Anna, just how powerful is this agent?” Lyssa asked.
“As it is now. This pot could put everyone at one of those rave parties on the moon for eight hours, or put a hundred men of Master Rodrick’s size in their graves.” Anna pushed the plunger on the syringe, shooting the pre-loaded amount back into the pot. “That’s why I will only use about one-tenth of a cc on Hines.”
“Is that going to be enough?” Tiffany asked.
“I want him to answer my Donna’s questions.” Anna gave Tiffany a harsh look. “I do not want to kill him.” Then Anna gave Tiffany a predatory smile. “Not yet, anyway.”
About that time Samantha and Annette returned from the garage. Between them, they carried a tub. As the two mafia princesses started to unload the tub, the tea kettle that Maria had put on with the pot for Anna, started to whistle. Maria, stood up smiling as the sound woke Hines from his place on the table.
“Ah, just in time! Our guest of honor as decided to rejoin the party.” Maria let her Sicilian accent come out thick and strong. “Le ragazze, make our friend here feel welcome. Be nice about it, I don’t want him pissing all over the table.”
“Si, Donna. No kidney blows.” Annette said, just before she picked up a pair of plyers. “Can I pull his fingernails?”
“Si. That shouldn’t cause too much damage to his body. Stephany, start with his toenails please.” Maria ordered.
As the two younger women approached, Hines he looked over at Maria. “Wait. WAIT DAMN IT! I got money! I can pay you! I’ll double whatever your boss is paying you!”
Anna and Maria started to chuckle as Maria looked over her shoulder at Hines. "Tu povero stupido americano feccia. Sai niente di onore? Riguardo alla fedeltà? Queste non sono cose che si possono acquistare."
Samantha and Annette each took a digit. Samantha on his left foot, Annette on his right hand.
“What? What did you just say?” Hines screamed at Maria.
“Oh, I just said that they can do as they were told. As for your money, it will do you no good here. We are not mercenaries for hire, you stupid American. Our loyalty cannot be bought. We are La Cosa Nostra.” Maria had taken down one of Hines coffee cups as she chewed him out. Reaching inside of her jacket Maria pulled out a tea tin, from which she removed a signal tea bag. Placing the bag in the cup, Maria reached for the kettle. “I guess I should check the water temperature first.”
With this said Maria upended the kettle and poured the boiling hot water over Hines genitalia and surrounding area. Hines’ response was immediate. He screamed his head off. Maria stepped back and looked at the blisters forming on the skin. Turning back to the counter where the cup sat Maria poured the water for her tea. “Just the right temperature. Remember ladies, if the water is too hot it will scald the tea.”
Lyssa and Tiffany had done information extraction in the past, but it had always been far more gruesome at the start. To them this was a totally new way of extracting information. One that needed to be studied. For Rodrick it was a view into the world of the Mafia. Maria looked to Samantha and Annette. “Begin.”
For the next five minutes the two women yanked Hines’ finger and toe nails from the right hand and left foot. During that time, Hines never stopped screaming. Maria just stood there fixing her tea, while the girls worked. Hunter and Bobby came in when to the kitchen when they heard Hines scream from the boiling water. When their wives started yanking nails they looked over at Rodrick.
“RamRod, why don’t you join us in searching the house? I’m sure that the ladies are going to be taking their sweet time with the fudge-packer there.” Bobby called.
Rodrick looked over at Bobby and Hunter, then at Lyssa. She just nodded. “Go ahead. Pirates are best searching for treasures.”
"Arrr." Rodrick replied as he turned to go.
As the three men walked out of the kitchen, Maria looked at Hines as she took a sip from her tea. “Now, Robert, dear. I have a few questions for you. And you will answer them. If you believe that you can withhold the information, feel free to try. But, understand, you will give me that information.”
Looking over at Anna. "Dategli le riprese, Anna".
“Si, Donna Maria.” Anna gave Hines a second look, then pulled another tenth of a cc into the syringe. Stepping up to the table Anna took hold of Hines’ arm. “You will feel a slight pinch, then a mild warming sensation. Please, be so kind as to tell us when the warmth passes and the freezing starts.”
Even Lyssa and Tiffany carefully watched the old woman and her purely clinical nature. After Anna set the syringe down, she reached up into the cabinet where the cups were.
Taking down her own cup Anna looked over at Maria. "Mi scusi Donna Maria, ma non e' che qualsiasi altro tè?"
Pulling out the tea tin once more Maria handed it over. “But of course, old friend.” Looking over at Lyssa, Tiffany, Samantha, and Annette. “Ladies, care to join us? It is a lovely Irish Black. I highly recommend it.”
"Why not. Tiffany, secure that Sharp." Lyssa said as the women joined Maria and Anna for tea while she filled a sink with water and pulled a bottle of ammonia from under the sink and poured some into the sink-water.
While they sat there drinking their tea, Robert Hines felt the first pains of the drug now running through his system. Just as Anna had described Hines started having hallucinations. The first ones were the walls melting as if they were made of wax under a sunlamp. Next came the sweats. Hines could feel the sweat running down his spine, across his neck, and face. Everywhere on his body.
Then slowly came the pain of cramping muscles. At the sounds of his first groans Maria looked over at him and smiled. “Well, it seems that the Gale is working faster than expected. Anna, you didn’t overdose the man did you?”
“No, my Donna. I was very careful in my calculations. He shouldn’t be reaching this point for another fifteen to twenty minutes. I don’t understand.” Anna was perplexed as Maria was at this turn of events.
Lyssa went over and stared into his eyes. "Something's up. He's in your groove now. Better get on him. Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name."
Bobby walked back into the kitchen just then. “Could this have something to do with it?” He asked as he handed a glass jar to Anna.
Anna took one look at the white powder in the jar and sighed. “Damnation! Cocaine! Thank you, Master Robert this does change things. Especially, if he has been a longtime user. The cocaine will have affected his ability to absorb and process the Purple Gale correctly. We must start our questioning now, my Donna.”
“Girls, finish setting up. Bobby return to your search of the house.” Maria stepped up to the now shivering and shaking Robert Hines. “I know you’re in pain Hines. I can make the pain go away. All you need to do is answer my questions.”
“Fuck you, cunt!” Hines spit in Maria’s direction or so he thought. In truth all he did was spit on his chest. “When I get out of here, I’ll hunt you down like the fucking slut bitch you are, and skull fuck you to death.”
Maria sighed. “Annette, be a dear and give him a little encouragement please?”
Annette took a small tack hammer from the counter. With a swift sure strike; Annette broke Hines’ pinky finger. As Hines screamed, she broke the rest of the fingers in the right hand.
Maria leaned in after Annette finished and asked. “Now, shall we try this again Robert?”
Hines looked up at a face that was now neither human nor demon. The sight scared the man to the point of pissing himself. Maria sighed again. “It seems that you do not understand the rules, Robert. Every time you fail to answer my one of my questions, something bad will happen to you. Samantha, be a dear, crush his left foot.”
Samantha didn’t even think twice as she picked up the sledge hammer. To Robert Hines, the petite woman grew a massive stone hand, horns and a whip like tail. He was screaming in fright before Samantha even dropped the hammer the first time. After six blows, Hines would never again walk with the use of his left foot.
“Now, Robert.” Maria said sweetly. “Who else are you working with?”
Robert looked over at the sweet-talking demon bitch. “No one else. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a retired salesman from America.”
Maria took a sip from her tea, then sighed. “Annette, crush his left hand.”
Hines screamed after hearing that. “No wait! I worked with the Law, Order, and God party in the States. I ran their overseas operations.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Robert. You were warned. Even though you answered my question, you still have to pay the penalty for lying. Annette.”
Lyssa looked over at Maria as Annette smashed the man’s hand with the sledge hammer. “I thought you said that the drug would make it hard for him to lie.”
“It will Lyssa. That comes in later. A little pain must be used to focus his mind in the right direction first. Nothing drastic, just enough that when I ply him for the REAL information he will give me everything.” The cold harsh tone of Maria’s voice reached Hines through his pain induced fog. “Now, Robert, we knew that you worked for the LOG party. What we want to know, is who are you working with now?”
The cramps had started to push Hines to the next level of pain in his broken hand and foot. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Samantha, crush his left hand.” Once again Samantha picked up the sledge hammer and did as Maria ordered. Hines screamed at the top of his lungs for her to stop. After nine strikes of the hammer Hines left hand was a worthless piece of meat. “Enough dear. I think we’ll move on to his right foot now Annette. Begin.”
“Wait! Wait! You didn’t ask a question.” Hines screamed.
Maria waved dismissively. “Oh I know, but you see, we’re not done punishing you over the last question.”
Before Hines could say more Annette proceeded to turn Hines right foot into mush. Tiffany looked over at Lyssa. The two seasoned operators had done Intelligence Extractions in the past. Neither of them had ever seen one along this manner. There was no fear inducing factor, yet the man was pissing himself in fear.
Anna saw the confusion on their faces and leaned in close. “The Purple Gale has already heightened his senses and emotions twenty-fold. By the time the drug has run its course, every sense and emotion will be multiplied more than a hundred times. If he survives to reach that point. I have yet to see someone reach the point where that could be possible. Most die from fear after about an hour or so.”
Both women turned to look at Anna. When she started to chuckle, they knew that she had them. “Don’t worry the Donna will have wrung every ounce of information from that man long before that happens. Even now Hines is reaching his breaking point, see? Look there, at his stomach muscles. Just a little push now, and he’ll give us everything. To include his very soul.”
Both women looked to where Anna had pointed. Sure, enough they could see the spasms. Even as they watched the spasms spread from Hines stomach area up and down his body. Maria spotted the spasms as well, and smiled. Setting her cup down Maria walked over to the tub and pulled out a strand of wire. Striping off the rubber coating Maria walked over to Hines and drew the pointed end down his chest.
For Hines it was as if a demon had climbed out of hell and was dragging its claws across his flesh peeling it away to expose his bones. When Maria looked down over his face, Hines only saw a she-beast from hell.
His screams ratcheted up a full octave. “What do you want from me demon?! Tell me?!”
Anna whispered to Lyssa and Tiffany. “Now he is ready.”
“Give me your secrets Robert Hines. Who supplies you with your victims?” Maria hissed.
“It was a courtroom clerk. Always a clerk. I have one in every major city. Their names are on my computer. If I need a special slave, I used my personal computer slave to hunt them down. There are capture teams all over the United States.” Hines was a blubbering mess by now. The fear of this hell bitch had overridden his sense of survival. He would tell her anything to stop the pain.
To prove that she was a woman of her word. Maria took the wire away and smoothed her hand down his chest. Easing his discomfort. “Who got you your European slaves, Robert? I need their names too.”
“Perry Handready. He supplied me with all the slaves out of Europe.” Hines whimpered.
Maria smiled down in Hines' face. While to those around her it appeared that Maria was showing a pleasant smile, for Hines it was anything but pleasant. To Hines, the demon was preparing to eat his face.
“Very good, Robert.” The demon hissed in his ear. “Where are your training and processing facilities?”
Hines whimpered as a new round of spasms racked his body. Little did he know, he was already showing the first signs of dying. He had lost control over his bowels and had messed the table. The hiss wasn’t a hiss, but a whisper heard though the blood pooling in his ears. “Tell me, my sweet, or the punishment demons will return. I cannot keep them away, if you will not answer my questions.”
“I have only one training and processing facility here in Europe. There were three others. Brazil, Sierra Leone and Thailand. I had to shut down all operations outside of the one in Freiburg, Switzerland.”
“Why?” This time Maria did hiss in his ear. “And can anyone else re-open those centers? Tell me Robert, tell now.”
Hines was past the point of caring anymore. All he wanted this demon to do was keep the punishers away. He would tell her whatever she needed to know to keep them at bay. “They cost too much to operate in those countries. I couldn’t afford to keep paying off the local authorities and the local mob. Here, all I have to pay off is the local police. No one else has the resources to reopen those centers. They would have to rebuild them first. Fire is a beautiful thing.”
“Tell me, Robert, who are your buyers? Where is your list? I know that you blackmail them to keep their secrets. Tell me, my sweet.” Maria purred in his ear.
“Safe. Main office, behind the painting of ‘Dogs playing Poker’.” Hines whimpered at the look of disgust on Maria’s face.
Maria whispered. “Thank you, Robert. What is the combination?”
“My birthday, in reverse order. It’s an electronic lock.” Hines was doing everything in his power to slow down his heartrate and failing. He knew that he would soon face his heavenly reward. Surely, he would be allowed past the Gates of Heaven after facing these demons.
“Is there anything else, Robert? Anything at all, you want to tell me?” Maria sweetly asked.
“I have three slaves due here in the morning. I don’t even know their real names, but I abused them. Sexual, mentally, and so much more. I have ties to the drug cartels in South America, gun runners in the Middle East and Information brokers in central Europe.” Hines’ breathing had become ragged by now. Maria knew he was close to the end and pressed for his Washington contacts. She knew he had to have them. After all, he was part of the LOG party at one time.
“Tell me about your contacts in D.C. Robert. I need those names.” Maria pressed.
Hines tried to resist. “NO. They’ll find me and kill me.”
Maria sighed and waved to Annette and Samantha. “Girls, bring me the battery cables. It seems that Robert doesn’t want to talk anymore. He wants to be punished.”
“NO! PLEASE NOT THAT! I’LL TALK! DON’T PUNISH ME PLEASE?” Hines squealed in pure hysterics as he saw the jumper cables come into view. “The Assistant Directors in Homeland, the CIA, and the FBI. CEO’s Bernard Price of Blackwater Securities and Mitchel Rice of Castleman Security. Senators Holland, Manfield, and Tower. Congressmen Stone, and Richards. That’s it, that all of them! Please don’t punish me?!”
Maria looked into Robert’s eyes and gloated as she dragged her nails across his bare-naked flesh. Whispering in Hines’ ear. “So much sinful behavior, Robert. How did you pay them off, Robert? The ones in D.C.”
Tiffany looked over at Lyssa and Anna. “Damn! It’s like she’s treating him to his greatest sexual fantasy or something. Look at that hard-on. Even with all the scalded flesh he’s rock hard and ready to cut diamonds.”
Anna chuckled. “Now, the pain becomes pleasure, and pleasure becomes pain. Watch as Maria’s gentle caresses become unimaginable torture.”
“Damn. Talk about fucking over a subject’s mind.” Tiffany whispered. “By the way Miss Anna how long does that go-go juice of yours keep for? What I mean is, can it be bottled and stored?”
“Oh, that. It has a shelf life of about five days if it is kept cool. If not, then maybe three days at most. If placed in standard twenty-milliliter medical bottles it can hold for a month at a time. No more than that, any longer and you risk overdosing your Informant.” Anna’s attention was drawn to the table where Maria was whispering in Hines’ ear. “I would ease back a little, my Donna. He is too close.”
“Thank you, Anna, but I believe that we have gained as much as we can from the fool. However, you’re right. It is not time for him gain his release from this life.” As Maria pulled away from Hines there was a groaning of pain and remorse. “There is one more thing I need to know Robert. Who set you up? Who gave you the money to start your operation, Robert?”
“Carstairs. Carstairs gave the money for everything.” Hines moaned.
“Why Robert? Why did you go after the rest of the lost money?” Maria caressed his cheek with her fingernail.
“It was there for the taking.” Hines whimpered out, just before screaming in sexual release.
The scream was followed by a drawn-out groan of pain. Even as the groan died out, Robert Hines breathed his last and blood poured out of his penis.
“HOLY SHIT!” Tiffany shouted as she looked at the mixture of blood and semen sprayed over Hines hips, waist, and stomach. “Did he just rupture his balls? Was that supposed to happen? Him having an orgasm and then dying?”
“No. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Anna, did you give the man too much?” Maria asked in mirrored shock.
“No, my Donna. He should have been well away from that happening. In truth, it shouldn’t have happened at all. I don’t understand this. It just doesn’t make sense. If anything, he should have had a heart attack or stroke before that happening.”
“Anna, could the narcotics that Hines was using have caused this?” Lyssa asked.
Anna got a thoughtful look on her face. Stepping over to examine Hines body Anna found what she was looking for within seconds. Holding Hines’ scrotum up to look at the underside, Anna sighed. “Damned arrogant fool. He just had to shoot up, there.”
“What happened Anna?” Maria asked her.
“Hines, was a habitual intravenous user. Only he hid his usage by shooting up in the veins in his scrotum. He most likely did this to increase his sexual pleasure. The cocaine effected his testes. Between the Purple Gale’s normal forced increase of sperm production, and the damage caused by the cocaine, Hines’ testes ruptured. In short, the moment Hines reached the final stages he was already far beyond what he should have been. His first orgasm was going to be his last, regardless.”
“Oh well, nothing for it now. Not that it matters, Hines gave us everything.” Maria said as she stood up straight. As she stretched her back out, Maria sighed. “Anna, see if you can find an empty wine bottle for the rest of the Purple Gale. No use in letting it go to waste. I’m sure that Don Delgado would enjoy a fresh bottle from Mister Hines’ private vineyard. A getting to know you gift, as it were.”
Anna just smiled and headed for the wine cellar. Tiffany and Lyssa gave Maria funny looks as if to ask how she was going to have it delivered. “A few euros to an enterprising young man or woman will get the bottle unopened to Delgado.” Maria chuckled.
“I thought we were going to blame what happened here on him?” Tiffany asked.
“Oh, we are. We’re just making sure that confusion reigns as we depart the country. Delgado has been a Don for over forty years. You don’t survive that long without making enemies. The best way to avoid dying an unpleasant death, is having someone actually test your food before eating.” Maria gave the two younger women a sly smile. “Food tasters, are still used in the old-world ladies. Remember this, as it can save more than just your life. It can also save your operation.”
Anna had returned during Maria’s explanation with the required bottle. “While Anna is taking care of replacing the wine. Lets go see what the boys have found shall we?”
In Hines’ main office Hunter, Bobby and Rodrick had been busy. Once they had the location and combination for the safe, Rodrick opened it. Inside were eight stacks of Bearer Bonds. Each stack held twenty bonds in one-hundred-thousand-dollar dominations. Ten stacks of Blue-chip stocks in four major companies. The big surprise wasn’t the bonds or stocks. It was the five ledger books. On the first page of each one, it was clearly marked for its purpose.
“Do you believe the stupidity of this guy? He might as well have handed us the fucking keys to his whole organization.” Hunter commented as he held up one ledger. “This one has payments and dates to every courtroom clerk he had in his pocket.”
“What about lawyers?” Tiffany asked.
“Oh, there are a few of them in here as well. Not that they could do much in the long run. It’s the names of judges that someone will find interesting. Eighty-six of those, Marshal. The good news on that front is; none of them are above the local level. The regular Deputies will be able to arrest them without special warrants.” Hunter told Maria easing her mind.
“Gather everything. We’ll sort it all out back at the ALOC. This operation is over. Time for us to get out of here.” Maria turned and headed for the door. “Hunter, Bobby, make sure this place burns to the ground.”
“Marshal, this is a historical house. You sure about that?” Bobby asked her disappearing back.
Maria called back. “I gave you an order Deputies. Cleanse this place of its evil!”
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