All Lance had to do now was press send. Justin sat curled up in the chair chewing anxiously at his nails, His normally bright blue eyes dulled with days of crying, big black bags hung under his eyes making him look almost panda-ish. The FBI were conspicuous with their absence, The gang had been too clever, there had been not one lead to their where aboutís or that of their victim.
The time at the third beep will be 3.30 and 20 seconds. Beep, Beep, Beep.
Time crawled painfully slowly towards the deadline and five young men sat nervously looking at one another while Lance sat with his finger poised above the enter button of his laptop.
* * *
The three men logged on to their Internet provider and waited. On the floor was the battered and bruised body of their captive. His eyes had been re-taped as had his mouth, steel cuffs encircled his slender wrists and his ankles were taped with the same thick black duck tape that covered the most part of his face. Blood trickled from his nose and from between his legs, running over the black blue abused skin. Heíd lost quite a bit of blood from the brutal rape and beating he had been subjected to. His breathing was shallow and laboured, shooting stabbing pains into his chest with every breath he gasped at. He never moved a muscle, he lay like a statue made out of cool alabaster, not wanting to draw attention to himself.
The three men suddenly began to whoop and yell, slapping each other on the back, screaming "We did it. We only fucking did it. We are fucking rich. We are fucking rich."
JC began to pray.
* * *
The time at the third beep will be 3.37 precisely Beep, Beep, Beep.
Lance hit the enter button. The four members on Nsync and the two Backstreet Boys looked at each other for reassurance.
Chris broke the silence.
Lance took off his glasses and folded them carefully , putting them in their case then popping it into his briefcase before snapping his laptop closed.
"Now" he said "We wait."
* * *
JC was acutely aware that he was the subject of the conversation, he hardly dared to breathe as he strained to hear what was being said. His life depended on it.
"Its simple. Kill him." JC recognised the harsh voice of his rapist. The softer voiced kidnapper interrupted him.
"NO. You hated him before this started, let him go."
"We need to decide what to do with him." The rough voiced leader sounded exasperated. JC almost wished he could see what was happening. He was vulnerable trussed up like he was.
"You knew we were going to kill him when you agreed to this!" the rough voice pointed out.
"I know, I know. But we agreed if they paid up we let him go."
A loud bang rang out as the leader slammed down on the table.
"Enough. Has the boy seen any of our faces?"
"Good then the two of you agree on something. How do you propose to kill him?"
The rough voiced man sounded shocked for a minute then recovered quickly.
"You are the one that wants him dead."
"Ok" The rough voiced man rubbed his nose "Its easy, we just lock him back up and leave him to die, wonít take more than a couple of days, or we could lock him up and set fire to the place."
JC whimpered in fear at the kidnappers words, Dear god they were going to burn him. He curled into a ball whimpering softly as the three men regarded him.
"I still say let him go." The softer voiced man insisted.
The leader guffawed. "And what do you suggest we do? Untie him and open the door. Pat him on the back and say there you go son, no hard feeling eh? Oh and sorry one of my boys buggered you."
The younger man sighed "No of course not. We dump him somewhere where he will be found."
"Whoís going to risk his neck doing that?" The other man wanted to know.
"I will, we said if they paid heíd go free, well they kept their side of the bargain, we should too."
The leader considered his youngest sons opinion along with that of his eldest.
* * *
Lance draped his arm round the baby of the group. "You donít have to do this Justin, I can go in alone."
The blond scrubbed his baby blue eyes with his fists, "I have to do this Lance. I got to know ... Got to see."
"Justin, baby please let me do it."
Justin shook his head a determined look on his face "I owe him this much. Come with me ... I donít want to do this alone." Lance leaned his head to that of his petrified bandmate. "Iím there for you." He whispered.
"Weíre ready for you now" The female officer tried her best to look concerned as she lead them into the morgue. Justinís eyes locked on to the body laying on a long table, it was covered by a pure white cloth, brown curls poked out from under it. He stopped hesitating suddenly not wanting to do this. Lance squeezed his hand and gave him a reassuring smile.
The officer pulled back the sheet.
Justin looked at the lifeless face. Tears flooded from his eyes as his knees gave way and he crumpled into Lanceís arms. His world spun wildly out of control, he couldnít breath as he held on to the older man.