My throat felt as if it was sand paper each time I swallowed. My eyelids were heavy as I was losing the battle with sleep. Just five minutes, only 300 seconds, I swore to myself. This mission was too important to compromise, just because I needed a sleep. I’d gone 8 days without a proper night's sleep by my count. Though I could be off; sleep deprivation causes serious impairments in cognitive function, and It was getting harder to fight my intrinsic need for sleep.
I felt a warm hand shaking me awake by the shoulder.
“Catalina wake up!” A deep voice called for me.
I swear that voice sounded familiar. I’d probably replayed the memories it inhabited so many times that I can’t even be sure they were real or if I’d just imagined them.
It’s a hallucination!!
- My mind chimed in.
Maybe I should reach out and try to touch him. Maybe he’d disappear like a glare of light does when you reach out. But if it was a hallucination, I didn’t want it to end. I want him to keep me company in the dark hours of the night. When the time dragged on and I didn’t think I could last another second; at least I’d have a friend. Delusion or not it was nice to have someone.
I wonder if he’ll respond if I talk to him? Talking hallucinations were a brand of psychosis I couldn’t afford right now.
“Is this a dream?” My voice came out low and rough
“No, this isn’t a dream. I’m here to take you home, Angelo mio.” Alessandro whispered in a velvet tone I could almost feel stroke my cheek
“Home? I can’t go home. I’m not done yet!”
I needed to get enough evidence to catch the leader of this human trafficking ring. I needed a well thought out plan to get the other girls to safety! I needed more time!
“You mean you got captured on purpose?” His voice was accusing
I could see orange flames whirling in his pointed gaze.
“Don’t concern yourself, Alessandro. I’ve got a plan and I your presence is very inconvenient!” I stammered “If you’re seeing that will provide and excuse for them to move locations and it will take me longer to find a workable solution!”
“How is this plan working out for you?” He glared down at my cuffed ankle
“Granted the accommodations are not what I previously thought... it’s fine, I got it. It’s all going to work out.” I sat up causing the chain to scrape across the concrete ground
“And what, pray tell, was this glorious plan of yours?” His eyebrows shot up behind his long fringe
“The plan was, Alessandro, to catch a human trafficking ring! Which you just happened to throw a wrench into; by the way.” I quipped being sure to keep my voice low as not to gain the attention of the guards
“Human trafficking? and you thought I’d be a good idea to offer up yourself as a sacrifice?” His anger was reached volatile range
“Yes. It was the only workable plan! I’m working with the Texas police and this is what was decided” I’d rather not spend time going through the finer workings of the plan that was decided on
“So you decided to be collateral in a plan run by the police force? For what?” I could feel his magic swirling around my body just waiting to grab ahold
“You know what they say right? Nothing ventured ,nothing gained”
He seemed to be getting more fed up with me by the second. His hands now clenched in tight fists, one even punching the ground in a rhythmic beat.
“Why are you even here, Alessandro? Don’t you have someone to kill or something?” I’m voice had a sharp edge as the words came out
“Right. I do which I would much rather be doing if your family hadn’t contacted me and ask that I find you!” His hands had somehow found its way to cup my face and gently try to shake sense into me
Roughly I pushed his arms away from me. His touch just felt foreign and was unwelcome now. I’d spent a year after he left, getting my life back on track. Another two setting up the perfect image of a prime. I’d made a deal with the devil for his benefit once. I’d be damned if I didn’t make a few more for my own. He had no right to be here and act angry at my decisions!
“We don’t owe each other anything, Alessandro. Is it’s money my family promised you; write down an account number and I’ll be sure you’re paid your due.” The statement was cold and calculated and held no hint of emotion. The way that I talked typically these days. No inflection and no hint of the cards I actually held close to my chest.
“Sorry, but I don’t take jobs I can’t see through to the end.”
He pulled me to a upright position by the arm. Them lowered down and suddenly a paper clip appeared in his hand.
“A paper clip? Why not a key?” I asked
“A key is too precise of and object. That’s not how my magic works.” He glanced up before focusing his attention back to the lock
“Listen, whatever my family offered you; I’ll double it.” I wasn’t going to let him ruin the mission that I’d already sacrificed my dignity for
“I told you I’m not in a habit of taking jobs I can’t see through to the end.” His gaze cut into me
“What’s so hard about it? You left once; I’m sure you can do it again. Not like you needed me to stop you.” I crouched down to his level.
“I’m not leaving you here! Those men are in the business of selling sex slaves to the highest bidder for a night. I won’t let them volatile and defile you like that.” The movement of his hands got faster till I heard a click of the lock being released
Quickly Alessandro rid me of the hold of the cuff. He threw it carelessly at the brick wall in a disgusted fit. His warm hand encircled my ankle. Gently he rubbed his hands across the indentation as if trying to erase the proof of it ever have holding me captive.
“Alessandro, if you want me out of here, please help me come up with a way to save these girls and catch these people in the act.” I cupped his face in my hands and looked into his eyes pleadingly “Please, help me?”