Warnings: Language, Violence.
The following short story deals with the subject matter of slave trafficking, reader discretion is advised.
Danno entered the casino where his father had instructed him to go. Finally, he was being trusted with something big, he knew, though his father had not told him the details. He had merely said to go and retrieve the package and then bring it to him at the business hotel.
Since his father, brother and he had moved to North America, Danno had been left in the dark for much of his father’s affairs, being the youngest son. Now he was in his early thirties, wondering what the hell he was going to do with his life if his brother were to inherit the business. Danno had always wanted to be part of his father’s hotel chain, wanted to learn how his father managed to negotiate so many deals that had made him the billionaire he was today. And yet he just felt something was missing.
He had turned to security and had trained to bodyguard his father as any loyal son would. He had worked hard to show his father that, just like his brother, he was ready to take on more responsibilities with the business.
‘Good evening, Mr. Igoshimi,’ a tall burly fellow said, ‘right this way.’
The American led Danno to a door at the back and into an elevator that took them down a few levels. He then led Danno into a backroom where stood two men, armed with repeaters, hovering around a computer. Danno noted the lack of security cameras down on this floor, and an uneasy feeling crept up his spine.
Danno’s escort bowed politely and left the three men alone to confer.
‘Mr. Igoshimi,’ one who had a southern accent said, ‘your father told us to expect you.’
‘Yes. I’m here to pick up the package,’ asserted Danno. Though he still had no clue what the package was.
‘Your father will find that she matches all the specifications indicated by him, except for a few details,’ said the other man. He winced. ‘But I assure you, your father will be more than pleased with her.’
Her? Danno wondered. ‘May I see her?’
‘Certainly, Mr. Igoshimi.’
The Americans led Danno through another door to a small room where sat a woman, wrists bound behind her, ankles bound, and mouth gagged.
Danno froze, his heart rising to his throat. He balled his hands into fists.
‘What is this?’ he hissed. ‘This is the package?’
The American men winced further. ‘We apologise that she is not as young as the others we provided for him,’ began one of them. Danno clenched his jaw, feeling disgusted at the realisation before him. ‘But I promise she will not disappoint.’
Danno slowly walked to the woman. She looked no more than a few years older than him, perhaps mid-thirties, with dark wavy hair falling below her shoulders; her face was stricken with sweat.
Danno gently removed the gag from her mouth. ‘What is your name?’
‘Aliana,’ she replied.
Danno swallowed, knowing instinctively what he had to do. After years of trying to prove to his father that he was just as worthy as his brother, he now understood what this life meant if he walked down that same road.
‘Aliana,’ breathed Danno, ‘close your eyes for me. Can you do that?’
She nodded and closed her eyes.
Danno whirled on the two men, whipping his gun up, and shot them in quick succession in the chest. They fell dead before they knew what was happening.
Danno spun around to face Aliana. ‘I’m going to get you out of here.’
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