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“I swear! I woke up and it was there! I don’t know how it got there, I promise! I had to do it, they left me with no choice! Let me go!” I screamed as I was being pushed into a cop car. Maybe I should explain what happened for me to get in this situation, and how what started as a normal morning and a normal day, quickly turned into a nightmare and the worst day of my life.

It all started early last Monday morning, as I woke up and started getting ready for work. My life is fairly good, as I live with my wife Rebecca, my son Rodney, and my daughter Jessica. We all live in a small house back in the woods, we own five acres of land in the woods, and we all have a happy life with good friends and close family. I wake up at 8 AM everyday, so by the time I wake up my wife and kids are already gone, so when I walked outside and didn’t see my wifes car it wasn’t a surprise. What was a surprise to me was the Porsche 911 sitting in our driveway.

We don’t know anybody that owns a really nice, expensive car, let alone a car of this caliber. What made it even stranger was that the keys were sitting in the ignition, with a note sitting in one of the cup holders in the middle console. The car was unlocked, so I reluctantly opened up the passenger side door to look inside and grab the note. When I woke up that morning I wasn’t expecting to be greeted with this whatsoever. When I opened the note and read it, I could tell it was a ransom note. Whoever had left the car in my driveway had my wife and kids, and took my wife’s car with my wife and kids inside of it to wherever they were staying.

The people who wrote the ransom note, who referred to themselves as Dave, left a phone number for me to call, saying to call as soon as I saw the note for instructions. So, I ran inside and called the number.

“Who are you people, and what do you want from us!?” I yelled into the phone as soon as they picked it up.

“Chill out, or we may have to take disciplinary actions onto the people you care oh so much about.” In the background I could hear my wife and kids making noises through what I was assuming was a gag in their mouth. “We just need you to do some things for us that we don’t want to do. You do these things with no problems, we let your family go. You fail to do them, then both them and you are dead. It won’t be a short painless death, it will be one that we will remember, and one that we will savor.” As I listened it dawned on me that these men were not to be messed with. As I was about to speak I heard someone in the phone cock a gun, like they were about to shoot them.

“Alright, I’ll do whatever you need me to do. Let me grab a pen and paper to write it all down, I am NOT going to have my family killed!”

“That’s what I thought Mr.Family Man. For all of this you are to use the Porsche 911 we provided for you, if any of our people set up anywhere find out that you’re using anything else, well.” He shoots the gun, and I hear the bullet hit the ceiling above him.

“Alright, I will do as you say. Now tell me what I need to do to get my family back.”

“Good choice. These won’t be easy, and you might end up getting killed in the process, but who would you rather die to? Us or the people involved in these tasks, where you know one is slow and painful, and the other main be almost painless.”

“Yea yea. What are the things you need me to do?”

“Alright, first off I need you to retrieve a briefcase with a substantial amount of money in it, 40 million to be exact. I will be expecting all of the money to still be in that briefcase when it gets here. There will be a huge gun sale going on there in a few hours and we don’t want our enemies getting a hold of those weapons, so we’d much rather have you get us the money so we can use it on something else.”

“Ok so where is it, give me a location?”

“I’m getting there, god you forget that I hold your family’s lives over here. It will be in between the Midtown North Precinct and the Midtown Community Court. There are a row of three dumpsters, go in the alley, look behind the middle one, take it, and leave. You shouldn’t need to worry about being shot at by the people in the deal, I have my guys set up around the area who will protect you if you get into trouble” he finishes saying, and I can tell he’s smirking through the phone.”

“Thanks, I feel so much safer knowing you’re protecting me” I say very sarcastically

“ I’d watch it if I were you, remember who has the guns and who doesn’t” threatened “Dave”.

“Alright alright, what else do you need me to do, there’s always more.”

“You’d be right, great job. Next thing I’ll need you to do is kill a man by the name of Raul Menendez. He’s the leader of a rival gang who owes me a favor and some money, but won’t pay up, so I need him eliminated right now. We used to work together, so that’s why he owes me a favor and money if you’re wondering.”

“But I… I don’t…”

He cuts me off “Don’t even say you don’t have experience with fighting and killing, we know you know a little bit about that, how else could you keep everything a secret and keep your company so high up, you must kill to keep secrets. Just do to him what you did to Mark Joseph, and everything will be ok.” I clench my fist and feel frustration bubbling over. “He’s going to be hiding in the secret train station under Waldford-Astoria Hotel. You’re going to need to sneak in through the sewers and kill him without anyone noticing, then leave quietly. Last but not least, there is a rival gang controlling the abandoned Renwick Smallpox Hospital. They have a briefcase full of drugs in it. I need the briefcase, I need it to sell them and make more money. Once all three of these things are done, you will get your family back unharmed. Deal?”

“Deal” I say, and I know that this is going to be a rough few days. I hang up the phone and try to think about how I’m going to do all of these things, think about how I’m going to go about protecting and rescuing my family. I realize there is only one thing I can do, I have to listen to what they said to do. I will do everything in my power in order to get my family back, and they won’t stop me from getting them back. I won’t let anybody get in my way.

I get some clothes and put them in a plastic grocery store bag, and get ready for what will be possibly the most difficult few days in my entire life, and I know that I’m ready for it. I grab the keys to the car, and I get in, breathing heavier and heavier as I begin to start the car up. By the time the car actually starts up, I feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest, struggling to breathe, feeling like I’m going to breathe my final breath any moment. My chest feels empty, my heart feels poisoned, and my mind feels clouded and full of rage. I put the car in reverse, back up, put it in drive, and hit the roads, not ready for a battle, but ready for a damn war.

I pull up to where he says the briefcase is a couple hours later, along with my colt .357 magnum tucked into my gun holder, ready to grab and shoot whenever I may need to. I look around and I see nothing but normal civilians, some people texting, others sipping on their coffee, and others mindlessly walking through crowds of people to get to wherever they need to go. Noticing that nobody is paying attention, and that nobody important in the buildings next to the alley are paying attention, I make a dash for the alleyway, looking in between the two dumpster for the briefcase that they’re talking about. In between the two dumpsters under a bunch of trash, I see a shiny brown briefcase peering out at me through the trash. I walk over to it and grab it, looking all around the case. I open it, just to get an idea of what I’m dealing with, and what I see is stacks of $100’s in the briefcase, stacks and stacks of money.

Briefcase in hand, I walk to the Porsche, throw the briefcase in the backseat, and drive away. I get a couple blocks away, and notice a car following me, the guy is staring intensely at me through my back window, piercing through everything, as if he was going to shoot me with his eyes. I turn a few blocks down, and I notice he’s still following me. I keep turning to see if he’s following, and he continues to follow me no matter where I turn. Not thinking with my brain, but rather with adrenaline and instinct, I turn into a parking structure that’s a couple miles away from where I got the briefcase. I end up driving to the top of the structure and parking my car, knowing that this man wants me gone so he can have his money back.

I stand there by my car, acting like I’m waiting for somebody to show up, just waiting for him to try and pull up and try to steal back what I stole from him and his gang. I see him pull up behind me and get out of his car, holding a small handgun as he walks towards my driver side window. I get out of the passenger seat, holding onto my handgun. I turn off the safety on my gun, take a deep breath, aim in, and fire one shot into his heart. He takes his last breath and drops limply to the ground. Task one is complete.

Now for task 2, time to kill Raul Menendez, one of the only men left standing in between me and my family. I pull up to the Walford-Astoria hotel and look for an entrance into the sewer, peeking through every alley and for any grate I can lift up to sneak into the sewers. Out of my peripheral vision, I see a grate in the middle of the road, so I run over to it and lift it up and start climbing down the ladder, trying to work my way through the sewer system to get to the abandoned subway rails. I see an opening in the distance, so I jog towards it quietly making sure to be unheard, not knowing just how far away Raul and his gang may be. I peer out, look left and right to see if the coast is clear, then make my move out of the sewer vent. It hits me as shocking to find out that a man as powerful as Raul Menendez seems to be wouldn’t have security watching the only entrance into the place.

A ways down I start hearing talking and chattering, probably his followers having conversation to pass the time. I attach my suppressor to my gun and slowly walk up to the wall closest to them, listening to what they have to say to find more out.

“You ever wonder why Raul has us guarding this area?” I hear one of them ask the other. “I mean, we haven’t had somebody try to come down here in almost a year, and whenever they have they’ve always gotten gunned down.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it, we’re getting paid well for doing absolutely nothing, we shouldn’t be questioning good things.” My jaw drops as I hear the voice. My best friend, Andy, working with an evil man, making his money underhandedly. I always had wondered why he flaked on plans so often, never would I have thought this would be why. I breath, ready, and shoot the person next to Andy directly in the head.

“Andy, Andy, you have to help me” I try reasoning to him “we’ve been best friends for 30 years. I don’t want to do anything to hurt you.” I see him looking at me curiously, wondering why I’m there. I explain everything that’s going on and why I’m even there in the first place. “Please, you have to help me. We both have secrets, and brothers keep secrets between each other. Your wife and kids won’t find out, but you have to help me get my kids back.”

“Alright, I’ll help you. What else are brothers for.”

“Cool, now where do we go for me to kill this son of a bitch?”

“Just follow me.” Andy starts leading me down the abandoned railway, attaching a suppressor to his gun. “There will be guards once we reach the next gate. We both need to take them out, there will be more than two this time, be ready to fight.” I nod my head. I knew this was going to be tough.

We start dropping bodies, two, five, seven, thirteen, the body count for me keeps rising. Twenty-nine, that’s how many I’ve dropped by the time we reach Raul. We both silently look at each other, the peer past the wall to see him sitting, counting his money with his backs to us, completely unaware of what’s going on. I feel from behind me that Andy is raising his gun, ready to take aim and fire. I turn around and nail him in the side of the head with the butt of my pistol, watching him collapse to the ground, knowing he isn’t dead, just knocked out. I walk around the corner, put the gun to Raul’s head, and without even listening or giving him an opportunity to breath, I take the shot. Thirty

“What the hell do you think you’re doing huh? There is something much bigger than anything we know going on, Raul is the leader of it. Why did you think that killing him would solve anything? Whoever had you come kill him must’ve known that what we have planned is already close to done. It just needs a leader now, thank god I’m the most qualified” I hear Andy say. He seems irate, knowing that he could’ve killed me, but instead chose to help me. “John, you know I can’t let you walk out of here alive. And as the new leader of this something bigger, I can not allow you to escape and tell authorities about what’s going on down here.”

“I know you can’t do that. That’s why I’m going to have to kill you. I will NOT allow you to take me away from my family! You had the opportunity to return to your family and forget about all of this, to help me and do what’s right. I guess money is more important. Bring it you bitch, you won’t be the one to keep me from saving my family!” I run towards him and start wailing punches onto him. Once I manage to get the upper hand and get him onto the ground, I pull out my pistol again and aim at him.

“You always were the better fighter. Come on then, do it. Kill the man who you’ve called a brother for years. Kill the man who was the best man at your wedding, or are you not gonna do what’s necessary to save your wife and kids? You never have been the one to do what’s necessary for the ones you love. That’s why your mother was-” Bang. Thirty-one

I get to my car and rest my head on my steering wheel, processing what I just did. I killed the man who I made the godfather to my son, the man who was best man at my wedding, and the man who I’ve spent years keeping an eye on. I have to forget about that, I have one more thing to do until I get my family back. I start driving to the Renwick Smallpox Hospital to steal the drugs that “Dave” needs, or want’s I guess. Renwick is a huge place, so it could be anywhere in that place, it’s way too big to look alone and have any luck, but I can’t trust anybody enough in order to help me search.

I sneak up onto the hoof with a ladder that’s on the side of the building, probably for lookout from the people holding onto the drugs, to make sure that nobody does what I’m trying to do. As I look around the roof I see a wooden gate on the roof, cracked open slightly. I walk over to it quietly, lifting up the gate to listen intently for any choice, footsteps, anything that show signs of somebody being there. Not seeing or hearing anybody, I decide to sneak in, peering around and meercatting at the slightest of noises, hand on my gun as I move down the ladder. Still, even when my feet hit the ground, nothing. No alarm, no group of people to come and surround me, not even the slightest bit of noise. There. Is. Nothing. This feels almost too easy.

I open up the door and start to sneak around the place. The area I’ve dropped into seems to be one of the check ins for people coming to visit loved ones and friends, barely recognizable because of the things that the mafia has in the room. Cases of ammo and guns scattered around the room. The way I look at it is this: they have bigger guns in this room than I have, so why not grab one of their guns, attach a suppressor, and have fun with it? An M14 catches my attention, sitting on a small bench, looking as though it was just shined and ready to use. I take it, attach a suppressor, grab some ammo magazines, and move out.

Still, there’s nobody in the Renwick Hospital, no movement, no talking, no breathing. I turn a corner into one of the patients rooms where they would’ve been kept and bam, jackpot, the drugs are there, all over the room. Now “Dave” said to get one briefcase full of drugs, so I look around the room, and hidden under one of the pillows in the room is the briefcase I desire. I grab it and dash, trying to make a break for it before somebody finds me and opens fire. I get to the ladder again, nobody still is there, so I just climb the ladder, hop into the car, and get going back to, wherever the hell I need to go to get my family back.

Ring, ring, ring. “Hey. I’m going to assume that you aren’t calling to plan a dinner date or movies are you?”

“I did everything that you needed me to do. Now, tell me where the hell I can deliver everything and get my family back!”

“Yes yes, I know. Come to your house, and we will have your family at the house, ready to do the trade off. We’ll take the car with everything in it, and you take the family back into your home, and we move on with our lives. How bout it? I’ll come alone and you come alone.”

“Fine. So be it.”

“If I show up and you have any guns on you, I will kill you. I will expect you to allow me to pat you down beforehand. If you have guns in your house, that’s fine, I understand the need to protect your family, just don’t try to shoot me.”

“That’s fine. Just give me my family. I’ll be there in an hour.” I hang up the phone, and start driving out there. Little does this “Dave” guy realize, I got a little somebody who has beef with him as well. He will not be walking away from this alive, I promise my family this.

I arrive at the house and get out of the car, seething, fists clenched, ready to ring this son of a bitch for what he’s done to my family and for what he’s made me do. I see his van pull into the long, dirt driveway, and I give the nod towards the window, letting the buddy know that we’re ready to roll.

“So, I see you’re alone. Spread your legs and arms, let me pat you down” I hear someone say as they step out of the car. I couldn’t believe who it was. Daniel, one of my old buddies from high school. Highly successful man, head of one of the local companies here, one of my best friends about a decade ago. We did everything together, and the fact that he felt the need to do this to me speak volumes. “Oh, I’m sorry, shocked to see who I am? Well, you know better than anyone that politicians and successful businessmen must do whatever they need to do in order to keep their business or their good name. Spread your legs and feet, come on.” I spread my legs and feet to let him search. “Alright, a deal’s a deal. Give me what I want and I’ll open the back of this van. We’re friends, you know I always keep my word.”

I open up the car and get everything that I need for him. The drugs and the money, and I show him the picture of Raul Menendez’s dead body. He nods. “Very well, I’m a man of my word.”

He opens of the back fo the van, and my family runs out towards me, hugging me and holding onto me, making sure that they stay safe. I nod towards twice, giving my bud the signal, and he opens up the door and opens fire on Daniel. He’s dead on the spot, laying in my driveway. “Hey, get him out of here please.”

He gets him out of my driveway, and I got my family back. Everything should be back to normal soon enough.

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