Chapter Twenty-seven

*Holding Out For a Hero*

One of Ava Magnani's accomplices, Isabelle Kiriakis, was already in WSB custody. The woman was silent and refused to talk. Ever determined, Jerry interrogated her while Frisco worked with Babette Fortier. Dawn stood on the other side of the double-sided mirror. She watched and learned.

Babette spoke rapidly in her native tongue. Frisco smiled at her then visibly shocked her with his knowledge of French. He questioned her about Sabrina, Sheena, Doug, Jax and the others. At first, the woman feigned ignorance. Then, he produced photos of the classmates. With photographic proof of her lies, she grudgingly acknowledged that she knew them, but she did not know their whereabouts.

He asked her why everyone who resided on the same floor in her boarding school met a similar fate except for she, Ava and Isabelle. She answered him with silence. Frisco refused to be deterred. He coaxed, badgered and bullied the truth from her. The woman made her confession in a fit of tears. Just as he rushed from the room, Jerry joined Frisco and Dawn in the corridor.

"He did it," Dawn said quietly. "He broke her."

"Yeah, but she doesn't know where they're holding Sabrina and Jax," Frisco said. "Her involvement ended with drugging them and getting them across the ocean."

"Kiriakis knows where they are," Jerry said. "A car is waiting to take us to the Tuileries Gardens."

Jerry took the lead as the trio rushed from the building. He wove through the traffic like a man possessed. Dawn secured her seatbelt and watched the scenery flash before her eyes. As they flew past the Louvre, she said, "Did you know that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were held captive at the Tuileries Palace, right where the gardens are now? The people kept them prisoners until the royal family was executed."

"Kiriakis related that bit of French history to me," Jerry said. "That's the final goal in the trio's plan. Abduct. Torture. Execute. It's automatic. If we don't get there soon, it will be too late."

"How can we stop it?" Dawn asked.

"The women enjoyed riddles in school," Frisco said. "They often tormented their classmates with puzzles only they knew how to solve. That torment has continued into their adult lives."

"Their prison is a great big puzzle," Jerry said, "but the solution isn't pleasant. Kiriakis complained that Sabrina and Jax are smarter than she gave them credit for which means they're solving the riddle sooner than expected. We must reach them before they fit together the last equation."

~*~

The WSB had the gardens evacuated. They studied the enlarged blueprints of the park as they donned bulletproof vests and then pulled on their Hazmat suits. They would maintain a connection through walkie-talkies. No one was without a weapon, including Dawn.

Jerry watched the amateur agent for moment before pulling Frisco aside. "Are you sure about bringing her along? I trust your judgment, but my brother is in there. I won't allow any fuck ups."

"Her profile led us directly to Magnani, Kiriakis and Fortier. If anyone can second-guess their hidden booby traps, it's Dawn. I'll be with her the entire time."

"I figured that," Jerry muttered.

Frisco frowned. "What does that mean?"

"Any bloody fool can see you're attracted to her. Don't ruin a stellar career for a sweet young thing. That rock on her left hand says she's already taken."

"I know."

Frisco walked away from Jerry and assembled his team. Keesha, Jagger, Dawn and several agents from the London and the Paris field offices waited for instruction.

"Anticipate tricks. Expect danger," Frisco cautioned. "There will be mazes, puzzles and riddles at every turn. If any of you are Indiana Jones fans, this is a good time to put your knowledge to use. Do not underestimate what these women are capable of. We want success today, ladies and gentlemen. Lets use our heads to make sure we get that."

~*~

Sabrina's teeth chattered. Her every breath hung in the air. She paced the length of their newest cell. "Where is the thermostat? First heat, now this. I'm reminded of my family's infamous weather machine."

Jax offered a weak smile. He closed his arms around her. "I'd offer the shirt from my back, but I doubt it would do much good. We have to keep moving. Perhaps, it's another puzzle."

"I'm sick of these wretched puzzles," Sheena said. "I want out of here."

"We all do," Doug said, holding her close. "They can't keep us locked in here forever."

"We hope not," Sabrina whispered. "Lets re-examine this place. Maybe the clue isn't as invisible as it seems."

~*~

They hiked through mazes, solved life size puzzle boxes only to reach a gigantic freezer. Fortunately, the Hazmat suits protected the agents from the cold.

"There's nothing here."

"What's that?"

"Oh, my God."

"Are they alive?"

"We have to get them out of here. Now!"

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