Previously: Twain was captured by the bald man, while Digger was falling to his death from a flying ice cream truck. And now…
When Twain came to, there was a hood over his head and plastic zip-ties binding his wrists to the arms of a chair. He smelled lettuce and heard a man’s voice muttering in Russian. A door closed, and a moment later, the hood was ripped off.
Instead of being seated in an interrogation room like the ones he’d seen on TV, Twain was in a pantry, shelves overflowing with produce.The bald man tossed the hood onto a folding card table set up in front of Twain’s seat and asked a question in Russian.
Twain weighed his options. Ari had told him the bald man was terrifying and cruel, but he hadn’t seen anything to back that up yet. Could Twain simply overpower the man and get away? Getting out of the chair was no problem, but if the bald man had powers, Twain would need weapons. He had several flipped away, but in the duffel bags where he couldn’t get them quickly. Better simply to wait until they put him in a cell somewhere. “I don’t speak Russian,” Twain said in English.
The bald man watched his face closely. He picked something up off the floor and dropped it onto the card table. The flimsy table shook under the thing’s weight. It was the gold mask. The bald man asked another question.
[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]He picked something up off the floor and dropped it onto the card table. The flimsy table shook under the thing’s weight. It was the gold mask…[/blockquote]Twain tried hard to keep the smile off his face. His weapons probem was solved. The Mask Twain was heavily armed and wearing body armor. If he could distract the bald man long enough to flip out of the chair and grab the mask, then it would be a whole new ballgame.
Except for one thing: the growling creature that had knocked him out. He was sure it was the same thing that had hit him outside the City of the Moon, bestial yet translucent, almost like a ghost. He needed to find out more about it before he attempted an escape. “I’m sorry. I told you, I don’t understand Russian.”
The bald man looked confused. He ran his fingers over the mask,, over the amulet taped to a depression in the forehead, as if he could divine its history and properties by touching it. Then he half-turned and said something to the door behind him.
The door opened. Yi Fan stepped in, stone-faced. “He wants to know if you understand Chinese,” she said in Mandarin.
“You mean you haven’t told him already?”
She stepped around the card table and slapped him across the face. “You obviously don’t understand Chinese, because if you did, you would still be safe!”
“There’s no safe place here,” Twain said.
The bald man was watching them intently, a small smile playing on his face. He said something in Russian.
“Tell us about the mask,” Yi Fan said. “Where did it come from? Why were you carrying it?”
“It’s an ancient treasure,” Twain said. “I found it in a kitchen.”
Yi Fan slapped him again. “Tell the truth. Our lives depend on it!”
Can Twain trust Yi Fan to get him out of this? And if so, how will she manage it? Be here tomorrow for the next exciting episode!
To read from the beginning, click here…