Frank stood next to a discreet intercom outside of the cell room door and heard every bit of the heart warming reunion between Eyegod and his daughter. Just as he decided to interrupt, the radio on his hip sounded for his presence in the lot; there was a shipment delivered, and the count was only a pair. 

Though Tony should have been more than capable of checking in two young girls by himself, Frank knew that his absence would not be taken lightly. He pulled out his phone to snap a photo, making sure there would be some form of evidence whenever he managed to inform his employer of the bizarre circumstance.

Before reaching the bay, Frank could hear intense commotion from around the corner— screams, scuffling and grunts. He sped up his stroll, realizing the likely chain of events unfolding. However, the sight upon arrival didn’t compare in the slightest bit to what Frank had imagined.

Two young girls were attacking Tony as he lay on the concrete in a fetal position with his hands guarding his head as the shorter of the two kicked at it repeatedly with the force of a grown woman. Sprinting to his rescue, Frank snatched up the main assaulter and flung her in the opposite direction with one effortless motion; then he grabbed the older child by her hair and forcefully led her the same way so that Tony could stand and gather his composure. 

“About time you showed up! Man, these little heifers had me in a tight spot. Where were you anyway?” Tony removed the sweat and blood from his visage with grimy hands.

Now holding on to the children with a collar in each hand, Frank responded trying his hardest to hold back his laughter, “I’ll get to that in a minute. First, you need to tell me how you let these little girls punk you, man?” Laughter spewed beyond his control.

Bella and Selah almost simultaneously jerked in resistance, grunting and squealing out of frustration. 

Tony lunged forward with a violent surge, “Let me at them! Little brats! I’ll teach them some manners!”

Just as Frank made the decision to allow vengeance to unfold, a sharp shrill stopped everyone in their tracks.

At the opposite end of the room stood Mariah with an exasperated expression— her father, Isiah a few yards ahead of her was jogging toward the exit. He stopped in his tracks and spun around in bewilderment, confused as to why Mariah had abandoned the plan that they went over in full detail about 5 minutes prior. They made eye contact and Mariah quickly explained to him that she knew the girls from home.

“We’re not leaving here without them!” She growled.

“Well, well, well… and so finally the truth comes to light.” Frank released the sisters and briskly walked toward Isiah with rage in his eyes. Bella and Selah sprinted ahead of him to the safety of Mariah’s eager embrace knowing very well that their lives depended on it.

“See Tony,” Frank glanced backward at his comrade, “I told you this one wasn’t right. That’s his daughter right there he was trying to sneak out. He’s a pig!” Pulling the radio from his belt, he spat, “Code red! Code red! Lock it down right now! We have an intruder!”

A slow clap rippled from Isiah as he held a smirk of imminent victory. “Bravo, my friend. You figured it out!” He motioned for his daughter to proceed with escape plans. “Unfortunately you began to follow your instincts too late and with a measly impact.”

Initially Mariah hesitated, unsure of how her father would make it out of the room of scoundrels unharmed. She wanted to stay and help, but the responsibility of saving Star’s daughters pulled at her feet. Without looking back, she directed Bella and Selah to the hidden tunnel she found from Isiah’s instructions.

As tight as the crawl space was, the three maneuvered with the speed and efficiency of a well oiled machine. They ascended inclines, avoided long falls and even slid down slopes which may have been entertaining under different circumstances. By the time they reached the exit, fear was diminished and pride enveloped in its place.

Before Mariah kicked open the vent leading to freedom, she imagined her captors’ faces plastered on the discolored metal. A sense of power pulsed her veins as well as the trailing sisters’— they made it out of this nightmare alive and side-by-side with a pleasantly unexpected guest. 

A couple agents from Isiah’s team met the girls with a helping hand as they climbed their way out of misery. Without skipping a beat, Arturo, the head of the special unit team delved into some tough questions, “I know you ladies may still be in shock, but have you seen any of the men in these photos before or after arriving here?” He shuffled through several polaroids before meeting Mariah’s cold glare.

“Can we get away from here before we answer these types of questions? I’m sure these girls would like to see their mom.” 

Gunshots sounded, breaking everyone’s immediate focus— apparently an ongoing battle with one outburst after another and little time in between rounds.

“MY DAD!” Mariah instinctively jolted toward the passageway she had just exited, attempting to return to the scene and somehow help her father. Worry threatened her newfound peace.

After the shots ceased, it took five investigators to hold Mariah away from the small opening in the building. One of the only women amongst them attempted to reason with her. “Ma’am please calm down. Think of these girls you just helped save. You’re scaring them.” 

Her aggression slowly subsided. “Are you going to go see what happened, OR WHAT?” 

“Mariah, we already have a small team inside, checking out the scene. In the meantime, if you know these two young girls, we need your help reaching their parents so we can get them home.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

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