Michael felt the cold evening air on his skin. It made him more alive and aware of his senses, but simultaneously half dead because his baby girl had been taken from him. His heightened consciousness emphasized this. As a father, he was cognizant of gut-wrenching agony that circulated through his entire body like poison. But he prevented himself from feeling it.
He had returned to his incarnation as a killer, who compartmentalized emotions. Michael didn’t permit himself to be overcome by the guilt, melancholy, and regret, shoving them away like annoying insects. The taciturn criminal wasn’t thinking about what he could have done to save his daughter. All he allowed himself to experience was overwhelming determination. His unwavering desire to find Natasha, and make her feel safe again, led to violent, vengeful fantasies. He visualized meting out unspeakable brutality on anyone remotely involved in her abduction.
After the criminals navigated through the maze of storage containers, they came across the authoritative man with a Mohawk who they had interacted with earlier.
“So you’re the reason we’re all here,” he said in his commanding voice, pointing at Michael.
“Yup” Michael replied without hesitation, not reacting to the assassin’s subtle intimidation.
“I’m Steve,” the man introduced himself, extending his right hand toward the taller criminal. He had a stern look on his face, and a firm grip. This guy reminded Michael of a peacock looking for a mate. His chest was so inflated, and his arms were so far away from his sides, that it looked uncomfortable for him to stand. He looked like he was holding suitcases, and he had a distinct swagger.
“Hi Steve. I’m Michael,” the man replied, returning his handshake.
“I hope we find the motherfuckers who took your daughter,” the other killer venomously proclaimed. “I wanna fuck some people up!”
“That isn’t my thing anymore,” Michael replied. “But right now, I couldn’t agree with you more.” Sadistic intent flashed across his face, sinking into his skin.
“Let’s get going, guys,” John suggested, anxious to get to work. “We have a lot of places to check.” He walked around to the driver’s door of the black Cadillac Escalade, in front of which stood Steve.
“And a lot of people to hurt,” Steve added with a sinister grin.
“That’s why you’re here,” John said in a business-as-usual tone as the three men climbed into the Cadillac. “You’re good at intimidating people, and you’ll do a great job of protecting Michael.”
“Damn right,” Steve replied, closing his door in sync with his partners.
John swung the SUV around and navigated through the shipyard. When they reached the closed gate at the exit, he turned to Steve.
“Could you go open that so I can pull the car through?” he requested.
“I guess so,” the brutish man replied grudgingly, not impressed by a task that he thought was beneath him.
“Here’s the key for the lock,” John informed Steve, fishing his keychain out of his pocket. He extricated the key, and handed it to his partner.
Once they were through the gate, the three resolute men drove into the cold darkness of the night.