May 14 = DAY 3 = Chapter 3

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The Goddamn Easter Bunny


Dree Clark was pissed off.

Not only had these jerks torn her Cinderella ball gown, which wasn’t even hers because her friends on the palace staff had borrowed it from some rich lady’s closet, but they’d also tied her hands behind her back. She was rolling around in the back of a stupid delivery van that was driving her God-knew-where, and to top it all off, that dang Russian drug dealer, Kir Sokolov, was taunting her.

Nobody should taunt a country girl who grew up castrating calves on her cousins’ cattle ranch.

Kir Sokolov was a tall, cadaverous man with a sickly, sallow cast to his white skin and epidermal lesions that made Dree consider a hepatorenal syndrome diagnosis. If he had walked into Dree’s ER, she would’ve immediately run a liver panel to screen for cirrhosis, acute hepatitis virus infection, and liver cancer, and then a renal panel to see if he needed to begin kidney dialysis immediately. In addition, with his height and gangly posture, she would’ve run a genetic test for Marfan’s syndrome and an echocardiogram of his heart in case his aorta was ready to rupture.

Yeah, this guy was a mess of diagnoses waiting to happen. She hoped he had good health insurance.

From her position on her stomach on the cold floor of the van, she yelled at Sokolov and the driver, “Just drop me off anywhere, okay? We don’t need to tell anybody about this. I’ll make my own way back to Monaco. But just drop me off here, ‘kay?”

Kir Sokolov said, “Give me your phone.”

“I don’t have one,” she said.

“Everyone has a phone.”

“I don’t, and I can’t ‘hand you’ anything anyway, buddy. You zip-tied my hands. Cut the plastic off, and I’ll show you I don’t have one.”

“Give me your phone,” he repeated like a dolt.

“I don’t have one and I can’t! And where would I hide a phone in this dress?”

“Give me your phone, or I’ll come back there and take it.”

“Are you even listening to me? I said I don’t have a phone!”

Kir Sokolov made good on his promise and crawled to the back of the van to frisk her.

He found her phone in the pocket of the white, cape-like jacket that matched her dress.

He asked her in a really snotty tone of voice, “If you don’t have a phone, then what is this?”

Dree cussed him out while he retreated, laughing, to the passenger seat of the van, where he stripped the SIM card out of the phone, crushed it, and then threw the phone on the floor of the van and stomped on it.

The sharp crack of shattering glass filled the van, inspiring Dree to cuss him out again. She wasn’t made out of money. She didn’t have the cash to go around buying new phones all the time because some jerkface drug dealer broke hers.

It was a good thing the guy hadn’t continued pawing her after he found her ratty old cell phone, though, and it was another good thing that Dree had an ‘ample bosom for feeding babies,’ as her grandmother had noted on every possible occasion.

Sharp corners poked her boobs inside her bra.

That jerk Kir Sokolov said, “We know Francis Senft gave you the money he stole from us. Not only did he tell us you have it—”

Dree shouted over him, “He only told you that because you were torturing him. I have no idea what he did with it. He probably snorted it all. I don’t have it.”

“—we also have bank records from his phone showing he transferred money to banking accounts in your name.”

“Well, then he must’ve opened up those bank accounts under my name and without my knowledge because I never saw any money.”

“We believe you can access it.”

“And I believe in the goddamn Easter Bunny, but I don’t see any eggs!”

He stopped talking to her after that.

The van didn’t drive far through the nighttime French countryside. Within an hour, the driver turned into a gravel parking lot, and then he drove the van into a warehouse.

Kir and the other goon hauled her out of the rear doors of the van, squeezing her upper arms and crushing her flesh against her bones until she knew they’d left bruises.

She wasn’t going to whimper, though. Farm girls didn’t whine.

Large boxes stacked to the rafters towered over the small, white delivery vehicle that they’d shoved her into.

Florescent lights striped the ceiling far above.

“Where are we?” Dree demanded, thinking she should collect evidence for when she escaped so these guys would go to jail.

The driver guy laughed at her. “Nowhere you need to know about,” he said in Russian-accented English.

Kir said, “We have a computer here that you can use to transfer the money from your accounts to ours.”

“I told you, I didn’t open those accounts. How would I know what the account numbers are?”

“We know account and routing numbers. We retrieved them from Francis Senft’s phone.”

“Well, I don’t know what the login information is,” she retorted.

“Try your usual banking username and password.”

“I don’t have a ‘usual’ banking username and password. For banks, I use one of those randomly generated ones that are a thousand characters long and half of them are punctuation.”

“How do you log in with a big password you don’t even know?” he asked.

Dree smiled. “It’s stored in my password manager.”

“Where is your password manager?”

“On my phone,” Dree said.

It was Kir Sokolov’s turn to swear, and Dree laughed and laughed at him.

Finally, Kir said, “Francis Senft was not so smart. Try his usual username and password.”

The drug-dealing kidnapper had a point, so Dree typed in Francis’s usual username and the three passwords he normally used, all of which were based on his parents’ pets and his own birthday.

The computer blinked incorrect password warnings at her and threatened to lock her out. “Nope. None of them worked.”

Kir started swearing in earnest and in Russian now, his voice rising as he first combed his fingers through his sparse hair and then grasped it in both of his fists. His eyes widened as he snarled his obscenities.

He looked as frightened as he did angry, and that worried Dree.