Some would say that Connor and Lila Ross were rich. Not multi-millionaires. But certainly but poor either. They were upper class. That was down to Lila. Her high status in banking earned her unnecessary wealth and lots of power. Some would also say that her husband, Connor Ross, was the best police officer in his department. He could shoot with deadly aim, and had great leadership skills, especially under stress. Together, they made a perfect couple. The tough husband who would do anything for his partner and the comfortable yet beautiful,rich wife. Money was besides the point. Any reasonable person would say that Connor was not in love with Lila because of her wealth. Which was completely true. He was happy with what he made from his job, and would have been indifferent without the expensive detached house in London with the luxurious kitchen and living room in which he and Lila were sat in. She had her head in his lap while they shared a box of chocolates. He twisted her wavy blonde hair and gazed at her almond eyes, while she dreamily looked at his intense blue eyes and short dark hair. They were half asleep. A television was playing, but they could barely hear it. It had been a long work day for both of them. Connor leaned back on the soft sofa, engulfed in a dreary air that teased him with the desire of sleep. “How was your day?”asked Lila. It was one of the first words spoken since he had arrived home. The only other conversation they’d had was small but sweet while they ate their dinner. Everything else had just been snuggling up on the couch and chilling. “Pretty dull,” he replied, “Yours?” “Same as,”. They continued to fall asleep in silence.
It was a Saturday. Lila was off work and Connor was off duty. They awoke late after a bliss of warm and calm sleep. For breakfast, they decided to eat in a nearby restaurant. She had porridge and fruit while he had an English breakfast. Lila was a vegetarian, and Connor loved her for being so at one with the planet. Unfortunately, he himself couldn’t give up the taste of meat, and glanced guiltily down at his bacon and sausages. “What do you want to do today?”he asked. “I dunno, maybe chill for a while, watch a movie.” Connor smiled. That was Lila. The laid back, cheerful woman he had known for so long. It was hard not to like her. He was still surprised that she was his wife. They were pretty young, but they’d had a wedding several months ago. Lila had looked so gorgeous in her dress. He remembered looking at his suit and thinking it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever seen, but everyone else seemed to like it. Lila was actually a year older than Connor, aged 28. He looked across at her. She gazed back, still beautiful even with her hair in a mess. Connor loved her for who she was, not who she looked like. He loved her deeply for her wit, her passion, her ideas. Kindness. Spirit. He loved ... Lila. Everything about her. As she looked at him, she felt the same. He was quiet and funny, tough but innocent. Lila knew full well that he could kill her at any time, given his ability. If they argued, which they occasionally did like couples do, he could batter her if he wanted to. But he didn’t. Connor had never layed a finger on her that wasn’t gentle. He placed his hand around her and they sat next to each other for a while. Until Connors phone rang. He picked up, listened for a while, and talked for a bit. Connor’s face fell. He mouthed ‘sorry’ to Lila. The person on the other end kept on talking hurriedly, but Connor hung up. He gave her a quick kiss on the top of the head, took a sip from his coffee and said, “I’m really sorry. There’s a problem in work. I have to go,”
In his car, Connor thought about what could possibly have gone wrong. Couldn’t his department go one day without calling him up? And it wasn’t like a normal job where if you ignored them you would barely get a punishment. If he ignored his job, especially in London, people could die. Shops could be robbed. So it was with a heavy heart that he put his foot to the pedal and weaved through the tides of traffic. He didn’t have his sirens on because he wasn’t in his police car. Connor hated driving his police car. People stared, and every time he rode past they assumed something big was going down and even followed him sometimes. And the sirens were so loud! However, altogether he liked his job. He liked the people. He liked the rush. He liked the feeling that he was doing something good. And catching the people who do things bad. His tires crunched on the gravel as he arrived at the police station. As Connor stepped out, his partner, Jamie, came running out of the building. “Connor! What the hell are you doing here?”. Connor was confused. “I got your call. You said -“ “I said there is an emergency. I didn’t tell you where to go, but I would have if you hadn’t of cut me off the phone while I was still talking!”. Connor realised he’d been stupid. “Well just tell me the emergency then,” “You wanna know the emergency, Ross? You wanna know the emergency!” Connor nodded uncertainly. Jamie replied,“ ‘member that guy you busted last year. The mental case?”. Connor remembered well enough. The guy had killed someone with a blunt pencil. “And remember how he said that no matter what, he’ll find some way to get to you,” He nodded again. This was getting weird. “Well, an hour ago he missed his roll call at the prison. He’s...escaped,”. Connor skipped a beat. “Damn,”
Lila was left in the cafe by herself. At least she didn't have work today. She was looking forward to a nice day of duvet and telly. And boxes of chocolate that they somehow still had left over from various parties, holidays and weddings. However, she had been more excited to share those chocolates with Connor. But she wasn't going to. So she grumbled under her breath as she strode across the street back to their house, wearing the sweatpants she had slept in. After she turned the key in the lock and stepped inside, Lila collapsed onto the couch under a mound of blankets. She tried to find the remote down the side of the couch. Fat chance.
Jamie got in the passenger seat and Connor took the wheel. He hit the gas before the doors were even slammed shut. "Do you know how to get to the prison from here?" asked Jamie. "We're not going to the prison. What's the point if he's already escaped?" replied Connor, yanking the wheel from side to side. This time the sirens really were on. "Okay!" yelled Jamie, thrown backwards, sprawled in his seat, "Where are we going then?" "My house. We need to be there, fast," "Why?". Connor was sweating and looked like he didn't want to answer that question. He replied,"The number of people I had put in that prison, people know where I live. Who I know. They know who Lila is. And...another thing,". He took a breath. "Lila was his banker. He knows her. And he will find her. That's why we have to get to Lila before...he does,"
After a small nap, Lila got up for lunch. Pita bread with soft cheese. Not the fanciest meal, but they hadn't done their weekly shop yet. She had a glass of orange juice with it, and a biscuit. While she ate, she thought about how her perfect day had been wasted. How her husband had to go to work, and tomorrow she had to. No more free time for another week. Then she heard a knock at the door. She stood up, sighed, and wondered who it could be. Not Connor. He would still be working on his case. She opened the door. Gasped. Stumbled backwards. The man looking at her in his orange jumpsuit smiled.
Connor slammed hard on the brakes and was out of the car before he stopped, shouting her name, closely followed by Jamie. His heart fell when he saw the open door. 'This didn't mean anything', he reassured himself. She might have gone the ships and left it open. Unlikely. He dashed inside, yelling. No-one in the lounge. Nor the kitchen. He sprinted upstairs while Jamie checked the garden. "Lila!" he screamed. No answer. Deep down, he could tell they were too late. He slouched back downstairs, his heart in his mouth. He felt sick. Jamie met him in the hallway. "Connor. I'm sorry.". He looked away. Connor sat down on the sofa, breathing heavily. He looked at the table, and noticed something. "What's that?" asked Jamie. Connor continued to stare at it. "A note,".
Dear Mr Hughes
As you well know, I have your wife. Your precious, beloved wife. Being an officer, I'm sure you know how this goes. You give me money, I give you Lila. The money in question - £500,000. Don't have it? Didn't think so. If that money isn't placed in a rucksack left under the tree in Queens Park, surrounded by no-one, at five o'clock tomorrow evening, Goodbye Lila. If there is anyone nearby, Goodbye Lila. I won't be the one collecting that money, but if the person I send does not return, Goodbye Lila. If I so much as THINK you have sent anyone, Goodbye Lila. Bring it. You have 1 day. . Otherwise... Goodbye Lila.
Connor took a breath. He knew what this meant, and he didn't have the money. He was going old school. Find that criminal.
As a police officer, he knew he had to act fast. But as a husband, he acted faster. Within less than an hour, he had more specified officers than him searching the scene. The forensics. Connor used his influence to help. He remembered how absurdly insane and dangerous this criminal was. But however crazy he was, he was smart. And that made him a threat. This wasn't the average case. Especially as it was Connors wife who has been taken. He felt empty inside. No sorrow. No regret. He wasn't the type of person to spend time dwelling on the past. If there was a problem, he dealt with it. Like now. In the past hour and a half, his luxury life with Lila had been terminated. Destroyed. Obliterated. An officer walked up to him. "I'm sorry, sir, but there's nothing. No clues.No footprints, fingerprints. No hairs."
"Don't think like that."
"I'm an officer. I have to."
Connor had secretly known there would be no evidence, but he had to check. "Jamie, come here,". His partner cane over. Connor said,"I need you to do something for me."
"You need to go to the prison and talk to the other prisoners. If our friend had been planning an escape, the others must have known. Or at least known about his plan to get Lila. I think he's planning to take my hostage money and use it to buy himself a new identity. An anonymous rich figure emerging from nowhere. The perfect disguise. But that's not going to happen. All's I want you to do is talk to the prisoners. Find me something. I'll take it from there,"
Jamie nodded understandingly. He would do the same if it had been his Carrie who had been taken, and was prepared to help Connor as much as possible. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as he thought about the prison. Police officers were practically food, even when surrounded by security guards. He figured he would visit neighbouring cells with less prisoners in rather than striding into the yard and asking people. It would be easier, much easier, as a one on one. Jamie knew how to do these things. Interrogation was his thing, but even if it hadn't been, it didn't take a rocket scientist to work out that talking to an individual was a lot better than confronting a group of very dangerous criminals. However, he realised how casually he was thinking to himself about this. After all, Connor was talking about catching and taking down a very smart man, not only intelligent but psychotic. But he had done it before. The only difference was, the criminal knew Connor would try to find him, and he will not hesitate to murder Connor. But not before he kills Lila.