Chapter 5: Gathering Thoughts

Adrenaline pumped through Rachel’s veins as Leo and Richard had walked out of the Sheffield Police Station. It was an exhilarating experience. Now if they could accomplish their mission of saving their friend Lynn without getting caught having stole some information from the police, then all of this stress would be worth it.

It was a small town police station after all. There was still the chance that they could be caught and charged for stealing police information. That was a risk they were willing to take in the rescue of a friend.

The trio had made their way to the fountain where they had met earlier before all this had started. Rachel sat down on the concrete fountain, Leo followed, and Richard had leaned against a nearby tree that was facing the fountain. Blood was still rushing through their veins and their heartbeats had finally started to slow down just enough for all of them to think clearly to speak.

“You got the file?” Leo asked as he had leaned back against the fountain, propping himself up on the palms of his hands. He ran his fingers through his brunette hair, ruffling the brown strands.

Rachel answered his question with a smile as she had tapped her fingers against her bag. “Got that bad boy right here.” She replied as she had flipped her blonde hair confidently over her shoulder. “I’ve got a replacement file in the cabinet so it looks like nothing was tampered with.”

“Way to go Rach.” Richard said, sporting a smile as he had crossed his arms across his chest and adjusted himself propped up against the tree. He was surprised that she was able to successfully retrieve the file that they needed to save their friend, the leader of the group. They were one step closer to saving their friend. The next step they had was figuring out where the Sheffield Snakes were hiding Lynn and finding her. There was no way that they were going to be able to wait the three days to meet up with them to do the exchange.

They knew if they had to wait…if they did wait…that it might be too late for them to save Lynn. All of them were aware that their dark haired leader would try to escape as quickly as possible on her own which may not be to their benefit. The Sheffield Snakes were getting agitated…tempted…fired up…they were ready to do what it is they needed to do to get what they wanted. They would kill Lynn if they saw it fit to do.

But getting this file…it was a win for them. A small victory in this battle to get back their beloved friend.

A cold expression laid on the face of Lynn Carmichael as she sat up…waiting. Waiting for the leader behind this whole operation of her kidnapping to come to visit her.

She may not have known what Ophiuchus wanted in return for her, but something told her that it had to do with his true identity. Something about this smelt of a vendetta…revenge…for something, but what?

Unknown to Lynn was the intent to make her friends wait for the exchange of the ransom and the hostage. To feel the same anxious feeling in the pit of their stomachs, waiting for someone to reveal the location of the rendezvous to exchange hostage and ransom, waiting for someone to rescue them. Who better to kidnap than the ring leader of this small town ‘Nancy Drew’ crew.

The raven haired female had clenched her jaw, biting her cheek slightly as the door had opened and light flooded the dark room. She refused to squint her eyes to the change. She wanted to see the face of her captor…because she had a feeling that the leader of the Sheffield Snakes wouldn’t let one of his goonies handle her. She was ready to see, but the limitations of her body had stopped her. She had to close her eyes to let them adjust to the sudden change. She muttered a curse to herself, clenching her fists behind her back.

“I do have to say, nice try though.” Ophiuchus observed, a stifled chuckle rumbling deep in his throat. He did manage to see what she had done…or tried to do. She was trying to get a glimpse of his face. It was useless though. He had this room perfected for keeping her, Lynn Carmichael, from finding out who he really was until he willed it to. This was a game to him and he…had the winning play. He had everything set up like in a chess match. He had every step planned, every step marked, contingencies thought out. He was prepared. He planned this for years. Every last move.

“Trying to get a look at my face. But I’ve got the precise light input when I open up the door that it takes your eyes a while to adjust to the change from this dark room to the light from the hallway.” Ophiuchus said as he had tipped his head to the side curiously. “You’ve always been the resilient type, haven’t you? The stubborn leader, I suppose. Can’t help your own nature.”

Lynn kept track of where his voice carried in the room, where he was, as she had to close her eyes to have her eyes adjust to the light. “You know more than you’re letting on, don’t you, Ophi?” She answered with her own question, refusing to give him the power to let him get underneath her skin. Not this time. She slowly opened up her eyes for a small moment to test the waters on her vision.

Ophiuchus shrugged his shoulders slightly and he had set a full plate of down in front of her. “Do you think that I’d be doing this if I didn’t know more? Really Lynn. Tsk tsk tsk. You really shouldn’t underestimate your foes.” He noted with a short dark chuckle, his eyes not leaving her in the least bit. He was picking out what words he was using carefully, just giving her enough information to keep her right where he wanted. “Here, I’ve got some food for you. Of course I won’t be letting you go to eat any of it. You’ll just have to muddle through me feeding you I’m afraid.”

Lynn’s sharp blue eyes had followed Ophiuchus as he had knelt down to her height with the plate in hand. She knew that the food wouldn’t have been tampered with. He still needed her for his game. He wouldn’t risk killing her yet, after all, he wouldn’t be getting his ransom if she was harmed before the exchange. “What do you want from my friends and me?” She questioned, tilting her head off to the side for a moment. “What in the world did you even demand for my ransom?”

“You really want to know, don’t you? Hm, should I tell you?” Ophiuchus pondered it for a few moments. He had to play this card right, otherwise things could end up getting out of hand if she caught wind to what she was really up to. There was a pause before he had answered her pressing question. His gaze sitting over her head for a moment before returning to her face, his free hand moving to her chin, lifting it up with his index finger. “I think I will tell you. I had the Scooby gang get some cash to pay for your rescue and a few… insignificant papers.”

“Some money and some paper? Couldn’t your goons get that themselves?” The raven haired female protested. If it was insignificant papers that he wanted and some cash, his lackeys could’ve gotten it themselves. Why send her friends and kidnap her for that? Something wasn’t adding up…

Ophiuchus rolled his eyes, pursing his lips to the side in response. “I could’ve, sure. But some people don’t take kindly to snakes, serpents if you will.” He said, tilting his head off to the side slightly, opposite of Lynn’s. “Open up now. You need to eat.” He grabbed the spoon on the plate and he scooped up some of the white rice. He held up the utensil to Lynn’s lips and he raised a curious eyebrow.

Hesitantly, she complied to the innocent seeming orders and eat the food that was fed to her by her captor. She was cautious and she ate slow, moving the contents inside of her mouth. Logically she knew that he wouldn’t poison her because he needed her to get what he wanted…to get his ransom for her safe return.

A smile came to Ophiuchus’ lips as his hostage had followed his direction and ate the food he had gifted to her. It gave him some sick satisfaction, watching Lynn eat the rice from the spoon. She was doing what he was saying.

Lynn felt something sink in her stomach while she ate. It was a nasty feeling and she could not shake it. She felt powerless… like she couldn’t escape… like she couldn’t take care of herself. This was something that she didn’t want to feel ever again if she made it out alive.

She wore a straight face, but inside she was scared. She was terrified and she felt like she was going to cry. It had been so long since she had cried or felt this way.

The trio had gone their separate ways to their own rooms to run through what they had just gone through. To process what they were going to do next and how they were going to find Lynn.

Rachel slumped in her pink desk chair in her room that was filled to the brim with the latest fashion designs that were ‘innovative’. She tapped her fingers against her desk that had an open textbook on it along with a notebook with a pencil held within the spirals.

She gently closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the back of the seat. Her mind was reeling over the events of what happened and it slowly shifted to when she had first met Lynn Carmichael. Back to that crappy middle school and to when Lynn had no sense of fashion.

That Monday morning, the two girls had their classes come together for a large group project. Everyone else had seemed to pair off so quickly and it left just the two girls without partners. Rachel had nearly fell flat on her face seeing the raven haired girl in her red overalls and yellow shirt with white tennis shoes. It clashed so hard, but reluctantly Rachel had helped her out with a set of extra clothes she had that luckily fit the other girl. Lynn had given a small fight and the headstrong young fashion obsessed Rachel had stuck it out to win the argument for the fashion police that resided inside of her mind. Well… It was still there now.

Slowly, her eyes had opened up and her gaze unconsciously had drifted towards her closet. Another memory had passed in her mind as she stared at the arrangement of clothes she had owned. This one was when the girls had slept over at her house and she begged for Lynn to try on some of her clothes. Due to her stubborn nature to get Lynn out of her comfort zone of clothes, which by the way had improved greatly and the raven haired girl no longer clashed with her outfits, and she broke down to try them on. Lynn had tried on a particular outfit that had sparked the look that the raven haired female had continued to follow to this day as far as a template went. She had put on a slightly baggy navy blue cardigan with a white tank top underneath and sporting a pair of slightly ripped jeans. Rachel absolutely squealed seeing that on her and she had clapped her hands in excitement. A large smile had appeared on Lynn’s lips with hearing and seeing how excited she had been. Lynn had even freaked out a little bit herself with her.

It wasn’t often that Lynn would freak out with Rachel and she had hardly done that sort of thing in the past. Lynn had often found herself a loner before she met Rachel… She had started her blossoming process with her.

A wave of emotions had washed over Rachel and she felt the tears start to reach the brim of her eyes. Before she knew it, she had begun to sob with her head in her hands and her body had leaned forward.

Richard closed the door gently as he entered into his room. He stuffed his hand into his pocket and he had retrieved the ransom note left by the Sheffield Snakes after they had kidnapped Lynn along with the money he had taken from Mister Mickerson. He threw the note down on his desk and he grabbed an envelope from his drawer, placing the money into it. He put the filled envelope under his bed and he walked over to his desk, sitting down in the chair to inspect the note.

His desk was neat and tidy, everything had its place and there was a place for everything. It was his nature to have things tidy and logical. It made the most sense to him after all. He would often get teased by the other kids that had seen Star Trek with their parents that he was Spock, the half-Vulcan half-Human of the series, growing up. That teasing had amazingly lead to a friendship with two girls, Lynn and Rachel.

It was a Wednesday afternoon at lunch in the cafeteria in middle school. There was a group of four boys who had been obviously following the biggest guy who was known as the school bully. The bully had gone on about how much of a nerd he was with his head always in a book. He couldn’t help it at that time… He didn’t have any friends so he spent his time reading the textbooks and other reading material that he could get his hands on.

The group of middle school bullies had closed the book forcibly, grabbing it, and dangling it above his head. The minions had held him back while the big bad bully had kept the book just within reaching range of the struggling middle school bookworm. It was only moments before there was a large circle around them and one of the bullies that held him in place had let go to punch him in the gut to take the wind out of him. That bully had relentlessly pounded his fists into his face. Once that happened, it was a few moments before two girls had stepped up. The raven haired one had stepped up on the lunch table easily and snatched the book from the bully, tossing it over to the blonde female.

“Nice catch, Rach.” The raven haired girl commented as a smirk had curled neatly on her lips and she had jumped off of the table. She had such a confident aura around her that was shocking and impressive to a nerd-brain like he was. She approached the school bully and grabbed onto his collar. “Now mister school bully. You will leave my friend alone or else you’ll be hearing from me before the end of the day. If I catch word of you bullying my friend in the future, you’ll regret it.” She let his collar go and she had a calm look in her eyes which seemed to scare off the bully and his goons had followed right after him like good little sheep. She turned her gaze over to his slumped form after being dropped and she looked over at Rachel, nodding her head. It was like they had a secret language all to themselves.

Rachel had rushed over to him and helped him up, returning the book to him. “There is your book back. My name is Rachel Riken and my friend over there who scared off your bully is my friend Lynn Carmichael. What’s your name?” She had introduced as she had gently brought him over to Lynn.

“M-M-My  name is Richard Maynard. Thank you so much for saving me.” He introduced shakily, almost afraid that she would have done the same thing to him if she felt the inclination to. Though going by how she had acted towards the bullies, she wasn’t about to do that.

Thinking back to those times had made him chuckle a small bit. He had such a scared stutter when he had first met her. She was so intimidating and scary confident, something he had lacked back in those days. He unfolded the note and he had read it over.

[ If  you want your sweet little girlfriend back May-tard, you and your little posse of the lion and gossip girl, are going to have to bring us the records of Thommy Wilker from the police and deliver it personally to yours truly along with all the cash hidden away in that stupid little shop. If you fail to do so, we won’t hesitate to kill Lynny Carmichael, your leader. You have three days to bring me everything I need at this address: 73897 Cherote Ave. APT 8.

Sheffield Snakes ]

There had to be something more with the note, something to help them find the location of where they held Lynn. There was an address given to them, but there was no way that they would keep Lynn in the apartment while they had gathered the ransom together. It would be too easy for them if all they had to do was break into the apartment to save her. They wouldn’t need to gather what they had for them and they could rescue Lynn themselves without getting blood on their hands if it was a bluff on if they were going to kill her if they didn’t have what they wanted.

As he had inspected the note closer and held it up to the light, he noticed a slightly discoloration with the other side of the note. It reminded him of the residue that had gotten all over the place with the crappy invisible ink they sold in the old Scholastic booklets. Lynn, Rachel, Leo, and himself had used the invisible ink often to write notes to one another in class so no one would see the real note that they were writing to one another. He remembered that it required an ultra violet light in order to see the ink and read what was on the paper. He opened up another drawer on his desk and searched through it to see if he still had one of the pens that they had used often in middle school. With fair ease, he had found the pen. The pen tip was dried up, but the light still worked. He flipped the note over and he had shined the light on it. The writing had appeared like magic.

[ I really shouldn’t be surprised that you found this Richie, you are the brains of the operations after all. As you have probably figured out by now, I don’t have Lynny at the apartment on the note. I have her in a secure location… For now. That is until the magic date of our wonderful exchange of the cash and the police file. I hope that getting all that wasn’t too heartbreaking for you. I’ll see you later, until our date. Tah-tah

-Ophiuchus ]

The pen had fallen from his hand and he slammed his open hand against the desk. He roughly ran his fingers through his blond hair and clenched his fists. Ophiuchus was Greek for the constellation of the snake charmer who went by the same name. This was the leader of the Sheffield Snakes and he was taunting him. He couldn’t stand it. It infuriated him to the core. The invisible backside to the note didn’t help him out at all. It didn’t reveal anything to him. It was useless and just a mindless retort basically saying ‘This is a test and a trap, you fell right into it and there is nothing you can do about it.’ They had to follow by his rules and not miss-step, otherwise there is no telling what this Ophiuchus guy would do to Lynn or have his goons do to her if they didn’t follow along.

Leo slammed the front door and stormed up to his bedroom. He tackled his bed and he had punched his pillow several times. He was furious. There was nothing he could do to save Lynn and let alone he couldn’t do it by himself. Rachel had the file and Richard had the money and the note. He felt blind fury and rage as he had continued to abuse his pillow.

He gritted and ground his teeth as he had leaned his head against the pillow as he hugged it, his punching stopping. His fingers itched to rip something apart, but what stopped him was the rage melting and transforming into a whole other monster. He bit his lip hard and some blood had dribbled onto his pillow, some slipping into his mouth. He had no problems standing up for his group of friends. He had hardly any fears, but there was one. Losing Lynn. He didn’t realize what he had felt towards her until recently when they had been in their Physical Education class together when they were put on the same team for basketball. He had gone in to steal the ball from the other team and successfully changed which team had possession, which he was proud of. He had passed the ball to Lynn and he watched as she had courageously gone by herself against the rest of the team as they surrounded her. She had shot the ball with pin-point accuracy into the hoop and she turned around to look at her team mates, flashing a smile.

The moment he had saw that smile of hers, it had hit him that he liked Lynn. More than just a friend and he realized how long he had felt that with her. He didn’t want to lose her and if he had made a wrong move it meant that he could lose her forever. His biggest regret was not telling her sooner before all of this.

His mind reeled as he thought of all the scenarios in his head about the freaks that had her and what they were doing to her. He wanted to make whatever pain she was feeling, if she was feeling any, to go away. He wanted to fix it and make it all better. He wanted to save her with everything he had. He wanted to beat up every last one of the Sheffield Snakes and cut off the head of whatever snake had come up with this sick idea to kidnap Lynn.

He felt his hot tears against the pillow and he pulled away from it. He wiped his eyes with his arm and he had sat up, slumping with his legs cross-legged. He stared at the pillow, his gaze weak and all the rage drained from them. “I will save you Lynn… Because I love you…”

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