Aleksandr

Aleksandr was a massive man. He stood at 6″5 with broad shoulders. His legs were thick, as were his arms. Despite being in his 50s, he was still built like a tank. His muscular back glistened in the lights, beads of sweat running down his shoulder blades.

On his left knee over his black cargo pants was a brace.

He stood with his back to the door, not bothering to turn as he heard someone enter. He tilted his head back, adjusting his neck before leaning into his hands on the table before him.

Twee didn’t need to see the table, he knew what was on it.

Weapons.

“What are you doing here?” Aleksandr spoke to him in Dutch as he picked up a massive knife before changing his mind and setting it back down.

A boy, about eleven years old pushed in a large cart. Atop the cart was a large, long wooden crate. “I thought I should deliver her to you myself.”

Aleksandr kept his back to Twee as the young boy quickly retreated. “Just one.”

Twee looked at the crate. “Yes sir.”

He chuckled, low at first until his laughter shook through his shoulders. Turning suddenly, he flew across the room, his fist connecting with Twee’s cheek sending him to the floor in a crumpled heap. “I do recall telling you to bring me back two bodies. Was that not clearly expressed to the two of you when you left?”

“Yes sir.” Twee quickly got to his feet. He had moved so quickly, his limp almost undetectable in his annoyance.

“Someone killed my daughter. Someone out there had the audacity to strike at Aleksandr and that kind of insolence will not be tolerated. So tell me, why is there only one box?”

“We were wrong.” Twee began, knowing those words alone could light the fire in Aleksandr once more. “We searched thinking it was a matter of money, a deal gone bad but it wasn’t.”

Saying nothing, a muscle jerked in his cheek hinting at his impatience.

“It was Een.”

His eyes suddenly changed, a slow smile spreading across his face for a moment before it disappeared. “You’re sure?”

“Positive, sir.”

Pacing back towards the table, he stood there with his back to Twee, thinking. “Did you speak to her?”

“Briefly… she killed Drie.”

Spinning around, his eyes were alight with childlike wonder. “Did she fight?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And her skills?”

“Better than when she left, sir.”

He grinned maniacally. “How long did it take?”

Twee wasn’t surprised by the heartless reaction to Drie’s death, or lack there of. He wasn’t even surprised that Aleksandr had all but forgotten Sasha and her murder. She was no longer important, not now. “Six minutes.”

“Six?” He frowned for a moment. “Consistently?”

Twee shook his head. “No sir. Overall, she did question me briefly.”

He was practically salivating. Een was back.

Butterflies flapped excitedly in his belly and he ached to have here here at Refuge once more. His knee ached at the memory of her.

“How I envy you.” Aleksandr said. “To see Een in action once more.”

Twee snarled, hoping Aleksandr wouldn’t notice with his back turned. “Yes, sir.” He said through his teeth.

“Come now… that’s an ugly colour on you.” He turned. “Where is she?”

Twee braced himself, he knew Aleksandr would not be happy with his answer. “Somewhere in the city.” He spoke quickly, hoping he could say all he needed to before being punished. “I’ve made some phone calls. I have someone checking all possible surveillance camera in the city, hoping to find her. After her fight with Drie she vanished, telling me to give you her regards.”

“Vanished?” He angrily swiped his arms over the table, knocking everything to the floor. “Sixteen years I have searched. She is a ghost! And you had her within your sights and just…” he flipped the table, turning as his chest heaved. “Let her go?”

Twee was knocked to the floor again as Aleksandr rammed his fist into his belly. Standing above him, he ran his hands through his strawberry blonde hair. “You have three days to get her here… I suggest you don’t waste them.”

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