There were a lot of cars parked outside Alicia’s house, as if she was having a party. I went to the door and a woman I didn’t know let me in. “What’s going on?” I whispered, explaining who I was. “Nothing,” the woman whispered back. “We’re waiting.”
I could feel the tension in the house as I made my way to the living room where Alicia sat huddled beneath a blanket on the couch, looking as if she hadn’t slept in weeks. I hugged her hello and she clasped my hand so hard it almost hurt, pulling me down beside her and not letting go. “How are you?” I whispered, feeling stupid because obviously she felt like shit. “Really nervous,” she said. “We’re going to hear something any minute. Emil’s in his study waiting for a call.”
Hear something? What did that mean? I’d been out of the loop for two days and wasn’t sure about recent developments.
Still holding my hand, Alicia filled me in, talking very fast, a mile a minute, so I had to listen closely to make sense of what she said. I will paraphrase.
When Roy arrived at the house three days ago, Emil had no idea what was in the briefcase or what Roy would tell him. He had never met Roy before. All he knew was Roy was Victor’s brother and had information about the Bukh that was likely to appease the kidnappers. They went into Emil’s study for privacy and Roy pulled a small white envelope from his briefcase. “This is what you will give those shits. There’s a thumb drive inside it. Next time they call, tell them you have the info they want in exchange for your daughter. The file won’t download completely until you have her back safe.”
Emil asked what was on the thumb drive, but Roy wouldn’t tell him. “All you need to know is the file name, rom1bk3. That’s what they’re looking for, should work like a charm.”
“So it gives the location of the Bukh?” Emil asked.
“I’m not allowed to answer that question. My advice to you is to hand the envelope over, get your daughter back, and never have anything to do with the story of Victor or his family again.”