Blair was beginning to get upset. It was past lunchtime and Todd still hadn’t arrived. She picked up her phone and tried calling him but he didn’t answer.. Thinking he had just gotten delayed at therapy she called the hospital but was told that Todd left on time. “You’re worrying yourself for nothing. He must have made a stop for something. Give him a little longer, he probably lost track of time.” Even as she talked to herself she found herself biting her lower lip. Dialing her phone again, she tried to reach Williams and again came up empty. It was one thing not to reach Todd but Williams usually answered immediately. “Damn it Todd, where are you?”
Bo angrily tossed a copy of The Sun down on his desk. Blair refused to back off the O’Brien Syndicate and as a result Antonio’s job had gotten more dangerous. His efforts to get closer to O’Brien had been stymied and now he was forced to let the street gang continue their harassment of shop owners in Angel Square. Unfortunately, The Sun’s articles were causing the owners to turn to Bo and his department to give more protection, stretching Bo’s resources while the Syndicate had started operating heavily on the other side of town and Bo was convinced they were bringing drugs into Llanview while his men were occupied with Angel Square. Suddenly there was a knock on his door. “What is it?” he said gruffly.
An officer poked his head in. “Sorry, Sir. You said you wanted any reports if they concerned Todd Manning.”
Bo shook his head, could his day get any worse. “What’s the man done now?”
“Well, Sir, I’m not sure he’s done anything. But the hospital just called. A man was found in the alley behind it and is at the moment unresponsive Several employees recognized the man as Manning’s driver. Manning was last seen leaving a therapy session. There is no sign of Manning or the vehicle.
“What do you mean there was no sign of Manning? The man is in a wheelchair, but he can probably still operate a vehicle. Maybe he decided to take the car when he didn’t see his driver. I’m guessing if you find the car, you’ll find Manning. Just put an APB out on the car. It’s a special handicap limousine. There can’t be too many of them around. Also get me a report on the driver as soon as you can.” Bo walked over to his desk and picked up his phone. He debated calling Blair but there was no need to alarm her if Todd was just out joyriding.
He jumped at a second knock. “Yes, What now?
“Umm, one of our officers just reported spotting a Limousine parked about a block from the Manning building”
“See what did I tell you. Manning probably drove himself.”
“I don’t think so, Sir, The officer said the door to the limousine was wide open and there was blood both inside and out. He also said a wheelchair was found thrown next to a dumpster. There was blood on the chair too.”
“Damn, have the officer secure the area and get forensics down there immediately.” Bo looked at the phone in his hand and began to dial.
Todd woke up to darkness, and then he remembered his head was covered with a bag. It was obvious his captors weren’t taking any chances. He was extremely lightheaded and just moving his head made him nauseous. When he tried to sit up, he ended up collapsing back down as agony raged through his shoulder and arm. Blood was still dripping and he recalled the bastards had knifed him. “Damn, I guess they’re just waiting for me to bleed to death.” He heard a door open and several footsteps, then a chair scraped close by. He remained still, uncertain what they were going to do next. A rough hand checked his pulse.
“He’s still alive, barely. Judging by the blood on the floor, you better hope I got here in time. The boss didn’t want him dead. Why did you wait so long to call?”
Todd heard the voice of his captor reply. :”I had to oversee our latest shipment. I told Sean to at least stop the bleeding.”
The man holding his wrist gave a quick laugh. “Well he did a lousy job. You’re lucky this man didn’t bleed out. Get out of here and let me work.”
As his captor left, the man holding his wrist tore open his shirt. “Shame, real silk, it’s too bad it’s ruined forever. Now let’s see just how bad this is.” He started to pull the sleeve down and the sudden pain tore a moan from Todd and he felt the world slip away..
Todd came to slowly, he opened his eyes and realized the sack over his head had been replaced by some sort of mask that covered his eyes but had an opening for him to talk and he surmised would allow him to eat. For the moment, he took the time to get an idea what else had been done to him. He felt something cold dangling by his arm and he figured he must be hooked up to some sort of IV. He tried again to sit up but he just didn’t have the strength. He also had no idea how long it had been since they had kidnapped him. By now Blair would be frantic. He wondered what had been done to Williams. His captor had said that was what would alert Blair. He liked Williams and he hoped the man was still alive.
He reached up with his good arm and attempted to take off the covering over his head and realized the damn thing was closed and locked at the back of his head. There was no getting it off. Even though he knew that O’Brien’s people had him, they wanted to make certain he couldn’t identify any of them. By keeping him blinded, he knew they weren’t planning on killing him, at least not yet. It would all boil down to Blair stopping the articles.
Bo leaned his head in his hands. He had a raging headache and the report he had just gotten from his detective was just adding to it. The blood in the limo had been identified as Manning’s and his driver Williams had come around but hadn’t been much help. He had been hit from behind and didn’t see who did it. There had been a lot of blood at the crime scene and Bo wasn’t sure if Manning was still alive. If he was, the kidnappers hadn’t made a move yet. He looked out into the squadroom just in time to see Blair making a beeline toward his office. Bo got up and opened the door letting her enter.
“Have you found out anymore about Todd?” Blair nervously pushed her hair back behind her ear. “Was the blood his?” She hadn’t been able to find the nerve to tell Starr about Todd, she had just told her that he had gone out of town suddenly.
“Sit down, Blair.” He walked back around his desk and open the report he had just received. “The blood is Todd’s. Do you have any idea who would want to take him and why?”
“No, sure he had enemies in the past but nothing recently. He’s been keeping a low profile because of his current condition. You know that.”
“Okay, What about you, Blair? Could someone want to get back at you for something.”
Blair hesitated. She didn’t want to think Todd was hurt because of her. Surely not. “Bo, I publish a paper. I step on a lot of people’s toes.”
“ I know you do and one of the heavy hitters you’ve been zeroed in on has been the O’Brien Syndicate. Blair, this is exactly what I was worried about. I warned you about this. You can’t take on someone as big as O’Brien without solid proof.”
“Oh God, Bo, do you think they have Todd?”
“I have no idea. It’s been three days. Have you gotten any calls, or demands?”
“No. there’s been nothing. You ought to know, you have your people monitoring my phones at the house.”
“The fact that there is no ransom demand says they have him for another reason. Let’s go back to O’Brien’s syndicate. Have they been in touch with you since you began writing articles about them?”
Blair bit her lip and clutched her hands. “A while back I received a few threatening calls but nothing happened. It’s been quiet recently.”
Bo glared at her. “Why the hell did you keep those calls from us?”
“I get crank calls like that all the time. Nothing has ever come of them and I thought as long as i was getting the calls it meant I was hitting close to home.”
Blair, Todd’s kidnapping was professional and violent. It’s obvious they were sending a message. The only good thing is that his body hasn’t turned up anywhere. It could easily have been O’Brien’s bunch who took him. You need to stand down on those articles.”
But Bo, there is no proof they are the ones who have him. My articles are letting the people in this town know they are here. The readers have a right to know just who’s setting up shop here. I can’t stop writing, Then I give into their threats.”
“It could be Todd’s life you’re taking a chance with. Will you be able to live with that if they decide to follow through with their threats by killing him?” Bo watched as Blair got up and began pacing.
“Oh I don’t know what to do? Todd warned me not to go against this bunch. He told me they had a long reach, but I laughed and told him the threats were nothing. I didn’t think they would come after something so public as a the paper.”
Bo shook his head. “That’s just it, they wouldn’t go after the paper, just the people running it.”
Just then, Blair’s phone went off. “Yes Suzanne, what is it? I told you I was going to be late this morning. What? What did you just say?” Blair sank back down into the chair turning white. “No, don’t touch them. I’m with the commissioner now. We’ll be right there.” She put her phone down shakily on Bo’s desk and met his eyes. “Two leg braces with blood on them were delivered anonymously to my office this morning. Could they be Todd’s?”
Bo stood up. “Let’s go, I’ll drive.” He helped Blair up and led her out. “Officer, have someone from forensics meet me at the Manning building.”