Adams Street, Hoboken
The American Diner is a dying establishment – and at this time of night, with the clientele inside, Joe’s Diner could certainly be said to be dying. The seats in the booths were in desperate need of re-upholstering, and the tables had certainly seen better days, with several decades of graffiti and initials carved into the surface.
The woman behind the counter had once been considered a beauty, before the years living in this neighborhood had taken their toll, but she still smiled and talked to the customers – partly to distract them from the cockroaches, but also because it made her day go faster.
“Youse wanna refill,” she said as she walked with the coffee pot to the two young women sitting in one of the booths. The smaller of the two wore an old brown leather jacket over a grey t-shirt, jeans and trainers, her untidy black hair sticking out from her head. The taller girl had shoulder length red hair, and wore a black waistcoat over a dirty blue jumper, jeans and short boots.
“Yeah, go on,” she said as she held her mug out, a half-eaten double cheeseburger with fries in front of her. She watched as the waitress re-filled the mug she held in her gloved hand, and then turned to look at her fellow diner.
“Well this wasn’t quite what I expected when you said you’d take me out to supper Carina?” Gale said as she looked round the rather shabby diner.
“When I told you to wear a wig and jeans,” Carina said, “did you honestly think we were going to La Maison?”
“I got the disguise bit, but really…Hoboken?”
“If we are going to find a human being who isn’t going to be missed in this world,” Carina whispered as she leaned forward, “can you think of a better place to look?”
“I could easily kill the short order cook who did this burger, this is so bad I might actually be saving a few lives.”
“It’s a thought to keep in mind.” Carina giggled.
“A definite thought.” Gale pushed away the remains of her food.
“I have to agree with you – maybe we can catch something later,” Cari said as she looked at the remains of her omelet.
“Eating while we wear gloves isn’t easy you know.” Gale complained.
Raising an eyebrow, Carina said “I’d have thought a top FBI mans wife would have been more aware of fingerprints.”
“I know...” Gale said quietly, “and by the way, whose car did we borrow?”
“I don’t know,” Cari said with a smile, “I just got it in the parking lot at Columbia.”
“I’ve been driving in a stolen car all night?” Gale hissed the question.
“Gale we are planning to murder someone, and a teensy little stolen car worries you?”
Gale thought for a moment, and then laughed quietly as she shook her head.
“Okay it is time to meld Gale and her.” Carina whispered seriously. “We both need our hunters instincts operating.”
“I understand.” Both women closed their eyes and breathed deeply for a few moments, before they looked at each other.
“Hello Cousin,” Gale said quietly as she looked round, “I have missed our talks.”
“I hear you have been restless,” Carina said quietly, “and I know how that feels, but your host is not as strong as mine. Tonight, I will help you.”
“It frustrates me, and then I hear the small heartbeat – and I know it is for the best,
But you are right cousin. I need to have my time or I will not be able to control myself again.”
“Then let us hunt together. Is there something here which appeals to you?”
Gale looked round the room, and then at Cari. “One or two – you?”
“Have you seen the young man sitting at the counter?”
Gale picked up the metal sauce stand and looked at the reflection.
“Early twenties, nursing the same drink for the last thirty minutes?”
“Yes – I was watching as well. I think he is the sort of lonely young man who deserves the night of his life.”
Cari then put her cup down, and threw some money on the table. “If he is the one, he is moving,” she said, smiling as Gale stood up.
“Then let the hunt begin,” Gale said as she picked up her bag, and the two women followed him out.
The street was getting darker as they walked a short distance behind him, Gale looking at his swagger as he talked to a couple of girls on the street.
“Look at him,” she whispered, “he looks at these women as his own, as playthings. The way he glances at them, the glint in his eye of desire.”
“Indeed – where do you think he is heading?”
“Let us follow and find out…”
They got into the car and followed him from a distance, as he went into a liquor store, and then into an apartment building.
“So which one do you think,” Carina said as they got out of the car.
“That light just went on,” Gale said as she looked at the second floor, on the left hand side.
“Well, shall we?”
Popping the trunk, Gale watched as Carina took out a bag, and the two women crossed the road, looking at the name plates before Carina took a set of skeleton keys from her pocket.
“How long,” Gale said as she watched, and then smiled as the outer door swung in.
“No time at all, cousin,” Carina said as the two women walked into the building, and then walked up to the second floor, standing outside the apartment door.
“I can smell him,” Gale said quietly, “he is inside?”
“Then let us join him,” Cari said as she knocked on the door, and then pulled from inside her jacket a Luger. They both held their breath as the door opened, and the man from the diner appeared, a can of beer in his hand.
“Can I help yo…”
“Shut it, fucker,” Carina growled as she pushed him back in, the barrel of the gun against his neck. “Is anyone else home?”
He slowly shook his head as Gale closed the door. “Good – after you,” she said as she produced a gun from her bag as well, “into the main room.”
“What the fuck is going on here,” he said as Carina pushed him into the room, grinning as she looked at Gale.
“Never you mind big boy,” Gale said as she stroked her gloved hand down his cheek, “You’re going to do what we tell you, right?”
“Like Hell I willlmmmmgggggdddd.”
He crumpled to the floor as Carina hit him in the stomach, looking up as she grinned at him. “Wrong answer fuck face – you’re going to do what we tell you, RIGHT?”
“Who the fuck are you two bissshhsssmmgfkkngggdddd.”
“We told you to be quiet,” Gale said as she forced the red rubber ball into his mouth and then tore the tape free from the roll, wrapping it tightly round his head as Cari held the gun to his stomach. After she had torn the end free and pressed it to the back of his head, he was forced to his feet, his arms yanked behind him and his wrists cuffed together before a black cotton bag was pulled over his head.
“Now here’s the deal, arsehole,” Carina said, “I’m going to take a look round this place, and my friend is going to keep you company. Try not to hurt him too much.”
“Of course – this is to be savoured,” Carina said as Gale smiled, and started to unbutton his shirt.
“My my, you are a strong young man,” she said quietly as she took a scalpel from the bag, and pulled the shirt down his arms, before cutting sleeves down the seam and removing it, “do you like to be the strong man?”
She smiled at his whimpering as the flat of the scalpel was pressed to his cheek, before she said “well, I can tell you want me to continue…” Pulling him back against her, she pushed her hand in between his legs and started to stroke him, his moans increasing as she felt him respond.
“You sick little prick, you’re getting off on this, aren’t you,” she said quietly as he nodded, Carina passing through as she went to fetch several black bags from the kitchen.
“Well, you have to beg for me to continue – are you going to do that,” Gale said as she produced a riding crop from her bag, and stood over him. “Say ‘Yes, mistress.’”
“Wrong answer,” she said as she brought the crop down on his back, the man yelping as it hit his back.
When he refused, she hit him again. And again. And again, the excitement inside her growing as she whipped his back, the feelings of delight rising as he began to plead and beg for mercy.
“How is the prick?”
“Softening up,” Gale said quietly, “why?”
“Bring him through here,” Carina said, as she forced him to his feet and made him walk into the bedroom. Gale saw the black bin liners which had been laid out on the bed, covering it as Carina said “cuff his hands in front of him.
“And in case you get any ideas,” she continued as she held the blade of a second scalpel against his throat, “do anything stupid and my hand slips. Understand, fuckwad?”
He nodded slowly as Gale released his wrists, and then recuffed them together in front of him, before the two of him walked the man to the bed and made him lie down, his screams as the cold plastic hit his back muffled but still there as Carina raised his hands above his head and secured them to the top of the bed with rope.
“Such a strong young man,” she then cooed as she unbuckled his pants, and pulled them down as Gale traced along his chest with the blade of the scalpel, “do you think he knows his own potential?”
“I know what he has the potential to be,” Gale said, “a games board.”
“Possibly,” Carina sighed as she pulled his shoes and pants off, before tying a length of cord to his left ankle, pulling it to the side and tying it to foot of the bed before she did the same to his other foot, and then stroked her gloved hand up the inside of his legs, “what were you thinking of?”
“Tic Tac Toe.”
“Hplsgdddnttt,” eh mumbled, only to let out a muffled scream as Gale made a grid with slight strokes of the scalpel on his chest, and then said “you may go first.”
“So kind,” Carina said.
He writhed with each cut of the scalpel, never deep enough to cause real damage but enough to hurt and for the thin red line to appear, as the games continued.
Eventually, Carina said “I think we’ve run out of playing space.”
“So it would appear,” Gale said as she looked at the red chest, “well, what shall we do now?”
“I wonder if he is responsive to the right sort of stimulation?”
“Oh – what did you have in mind?”
Carina stroked his cock, feeling it harden as he moaned under the hood, and then said “well, this seems to work. Did it work with his back?”
“I believe so, why?”
Going to the bag on the floor, Carina picked up a small leather cat’o’nine tails, and said “I wonder what will happen to his feet.”
He felt the leather thongs as they stroked up the soles of his feet, and then screamed again as Carina whipped the bare soles of his feet, as Gale used her hand on his cock.
“Oh he does seem to like this,” she said with a grin as she looked at Carina, “do carry on!”
In his mind, the man was losing all sense of control, the pain on his back, chest and
Feet mingling with the pleasure he was feeling between his legs. He could also hear, through the hood, the moans of the two armed women, as they seemed to be getting pleasure from his agony.
“Yes,” Carina called out as she whipped the now red soles of his feet, “oh yes, can you feel it?”
“I can,” Gale said as she finally released him, his semen spreading over his body, “oh yes I can, but I still crave that last release.”
“As do I,” Carina said quietly, “but we must do it together. Are you ready?”
Gale nodded as she released his hands and made him sit up, before she wrapped a length of rope around his neck and started to slowly tighten it, hearing his muffled groans and gasps as the hood went in and out where his nose was, while Carina picked up one of the two pillows that lay on the floor and put it on the bed.
“My turn,” she said as she looked at Gale, the taller woman nodding as she heard his gasp and let his head fall to the pillow. Carina placed the Luger against his head and fired three shots, his body jumping before it fell silent.
“Ahhhhh,” Gale said as she looked at Carina. “Does that not feel better?”
“It does Cousin – but we need to clear now. Observe.”
Carina lifted his head to show the hole, and then the cushion to show the black sheet was undamaged. “We wrap him in the bags, and then the cover, and tape it. We then need to take him somewhere and leave him – for now, let us wrap him.”
Thirty minutes later, Carina opened the door to the apartment and looked out, then walked out with Gale carrying a package over her shoulder. They walked down the stairs and out, Carina popping the trunk as Gale put the package inside, and then closing it as they both got in and drove off.
Reaching the banks of the far side of the islet, Carina stopped the car at a deserted pier, and opened the trunk, using a length of chain to secure a set of dumbbells to one end of the package before they both lifted it out, and walked to the edge of the river.
“Goodbye, dickwad” Carina growled as they let it drop into the water, watching as it slowly sank, and then she looked at Gale.
“So we have sated our appetite, and disposed of the end result. Do you think you have an idea of what you need to do in the future?”
“I think so – although I do enjoy our time together. Will we hunt again?”
“I think so yes, until your host feels confident in herself. Ready?”
Gale nodded as they both allowed themselves to fade into the background, and then Carina and Gale looked at each other.
“Oh God,” Gale breathed, “That feels so, so much better.”
“I know – now let’s ditch this car somewhere, and get the sub back home. I feel like I could sleep for an eternity now.”
Tuesday 25th August
9 am PT
Xavier International, LA
“Welcome back Miss Moore,” the receptionist said as Maddie walked in.
“Thanks – Tracey and Rhenia here yet?”
“Both waiting for you in the top office,” she said as Maddie went through the security gate, and up to her office.
“Hey boss – welcome back,” Tracey said as Maddie stepped out of the lift.
“You too – looking good,” Maddie, said as she looked at her number two, wearing a red leather skirt split up the side and a white cashmere sweater.
“Feeling good – Rhenia did a good job.”
“I hope so – she’s your number two now, to handle the office based side of things while you are on assignment.”
“Sorry, did I just get promoted,” Rhenia said as she joined them.
“We’ll sort out the formalities later - my office,” Maddie said.
“So how are things going in Victoria?” Rhenia asked as she and Tracey entered Madeline’s office.
“Very well thank you.” Maddie looked at her two main assistants. “I need to thank you both for holding the fort together while I supervised matters up there.”
“It’s our pleasure.” Tracey smiled.
“One of them is on her way to liaise with Charlotte’s ladies, the rest are in Lucia’s tender care until we can get them moved here.”
“We have an update on the LA end which we can make later.”
“Good. Now, before we get down to the routine business, there are some outstanding matters that we need to review.”
Both assistants nodded.
“First, Rhenia – update from Tokyo?”
“Natalya says the situation remains tense. Lou is still in place and seems to have recovered a bit from the shock. He does seem to be making some amazing acquisitions in the way of clothes.”
“So nothing that we have to deal with here?”
“Not right this second.”
“Good,” Madeline nodded, “And the Galleria?”
“Our surveillance says everything is as was…we just need a date and a go time.” Tracey smiled.
“Are the costumes here?”
“Yes, and Catherine’s people did an amazing job.”
“Are in the security locker.”
“Alright,” Maddie looked down at her papers, “now for more routine business, why are Simmonds, Simmonds and Hay, giving us a problem?”
“Marietta it seems misbehaved on that soap powder commercial shoot, they are threatening never to use one of our models again.” Tracey answered.
“What did Kathy say?”
“She is upset, to put it mildly, and has removed Marietta from her books. She’s already spreading the word.”
“We do not need a major advertising agency pissed at us. Do whatever it takes to calm them down please.” Maddie relaxed - it was nice to just get back to the routine of running her businesses.
1 pm EST
“So John is determined to re-create that group shot?”
“Looks that way,” Juliette said as she looked round the table. He’s selecting models to talk to now, and then we need to get them in the same place at the same time.”
“The place being 5th Avenue near Madison Square Park?”
“Precisely,” Juliette said with a smile. “How about the other photographers?”
“Jack would like to do some of Willy Maywald’s classic pictures with the model posing with a car in the background.” Anna spoke.
“That sounds good…”
“Ju darling we will need to borrow some period cars – classic 50s models.”
“I’ll ask Roy what he has in his garage,” Juliette said, “If he can’t help I’m sure Henri knows someone who can.”
“Alright next,” Anna checked her notes. “Adam Cabot wants to try and do some Louise Dahl-Wolfe style pictures.”
“He and I have discussed it.” Mary nodded, “I am trying to round up some extras to appear.”
“That classic trick of someone in the picture watching the model?”
“Stephen Stone rang and asked if anyone is shooting in the style of Dick Avedon?” Juliette spoke again.
“Even John Hammond was a little intimidated by the thought of trying to capture Dick’s work Ju.” Mary looked at her.
“And he does realize the models will be wearing clothes?” someone asked.
“He does, but I think we let him run with it, he wants to work with Jeans Brewster.”
“Alright Ju, give them the commission.” Anna nodded.
“George, Amanda, you are both flying to Paris to supervise the shoots there.”
“We are,” George Barbera the deputy editor nodded.
“Fiona is styling a shoot with Justin Adams in London.” Mary spoke. “Cara and Lily have agreed to take part – as has Jerry.”
“Yup – almost demanded it, if truth be told, and offered to pay to take part.”
“Well, I think we have most of our bases covered.” Anna smiled. “I know it’s been a long meeting everyone, but I think we made some very real progress on this issue.”
“Great,” Juliette said as she stood up, “Mary can you round Kylie up? We’re taking them to lunch today?”
“I think she’s going over some sketches with Alexis – ten minutes?”
Juliette nodded as they walked out of the meeting room, and found Marina and Janine in conference.
“I’ll call you Monday once I’ve settled back in,” she said as she looked up. “Hey Ju – the lunch date still on?”
“It is – Mary has gone to pull Kylie out of the cave, and we’ll head over to the park.”
“Thank you for coming over,” Shirley said as her two visitors came in, “I hear you have news for me?”
“Well it wasn’t easy, but I think I’ve done it.” Heather said as she collapsed into one of Shirley’s armchairs.
Shirley sat up as she said “You’ve cracked the encryption they are using in Mogola?”
“I’ve barely slept, but yes we can now read their traffic.” Heather yawned.
“That is wonderful,” Shirley said as she looked at the young woman, and then to the other seat. “I’m sorry this has spoiled some of your family time Joanne.”
“It’s not a problem Madame.” Jo smiled, “I’ve sat up with big sis and Sandy, and we’ve been laughing and chatting while Heather works.”
“Anyway thank you for bringing Heather over here.” Shirley glanced at Heather. “Ummm Heather?”
The blonde was sitting with her head back, her eyes closed as she breathed in and out.
“Let her sleep.” Jo laughed softly, “I can take you through the intercepts so far…and she needs the sleep.”
She started her laptop and sat with Shirley as they walked through the messages from the last twenty four hours.
“Good, good,” Shirley eventually said, “this needs to be shared. Is Maddie on line?”
“Looks like she is,” Jo said as she placed a call, smiling as Maddie’s face appeared.
“Well, Miss Smith,” Maddie said with a smile, “Ready for the move?”
“Almost – but this is a business call. I’m here with Shirley.”
“Go on, put her on,” Maddie said as she saw Shirley come into view.
“So how are things going Maddie?” Shirley asked.
“Well,” Maddie said, “if I tell you the worst problem on my plate was caused by a nine-year old having a temper tantrum on set…?”
“I would say you are welcome to it,” Shirley laughed.
“Did you see the reports from Tokyo and Hong Kong?”
“I did…reading them it felt I could almost cut the tension with a knife.”
“I don’t think either the Japanese, or the Chinese, now trust each other.”
“Agreed,” Shirley smiled at the camera. “Well we may be in a position to drive an even bigger wedge between the two parties.”
“Heather finally cracked their encryption algorithms.”
“She did? My techs here told me that was impossible.”
“It probably was for any other person in this world.”
“True,” Maddie shook her head, “that young woman is amazing.”
“That she is.” Shirley smiled. “Anyway now we can look in their communications…”
“We can send false messages.” Maddie laughed.
“Exactly…we can sew even further distrust. And we have another arrow in our quiver – I have spoken again to Colonel Vosloo today. We have indeed identified their base port in South Africa – he has it under surveillance now.”
“Msssllright Jo I’ll make coffee in a minute.”
“Was that Heather?”
“Yeah,” Jo said, “Big Sis is tired. We’re letting her sleep.”
“Maddie, your contact from the boat landed in London this morning, and is now on a flight to South Africa. Charlotte herself will meet the plane at Jo’burg, and hand her over to a guide to get her to the force over there.”
“Excellent – keep me posted Shirley.”
“So what else is on your cards for today?”
“I have a lunch date – someone Juliette asked me to talk to and coach through something.”
“Should I be worried?”
“No – this isn’t a company thing as such…”