A Little Tied Up

Creative writing prompt: Don’t Spoil the Surprise

You arrive home early, and it seems that your partner is already back. The blinds are closed, and you think there might be more than one person within. Confused, and a little suspicious, you quietly open the door and slip inside.

Victor wasn’t supposed to be home for three more days. That was definitely his car in the driveway, but something wasn’t right. Kyle sat parked on the street, watching the house and rubbing his thumb over his bottom lip. There was no movement, the blinds were drawn closed. Something was most definitely not right.

He got out of the truck, approaching the house from the side and along the hedge. The front door did not show any sign of forced entry. He tested the handle: locked. He glanced back toward the street, his gaze taking in a full sweep of the yard before he drew his gun and continued on to the back door, which was unlocked. He was glad he’d finally oiled the hinges; it swung open without a sound and he slipped inside.

The house seemed empty at first, no movement at all, and no sound. He moved from room to room, walking on the outsides of his feet to dampen the sound of his steps. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, he heard muffled voices drifting down from upstairs.

Kyle knew where the squeaky spots were, going slow to avoid them. When he reached the door to the office, it was ajar. He peered in, taking in the scene.

Victor was tied to a chair, back to the door. There was another man at the desk, searching the computer. Kyle leaned back against the wall, staying out of sight but listening.

“I’ve already told you what I know.” That was Victor.

The stranger answered, accent a little hard to follow; sounded Czech. “Yes, so you keep insisting, but I think you are not telling me everything.”

“Suit yourself.” Victor always was a cocky one, even tied up.

“I might remind you that no one knows you’re here.” There was the sound of tapping on the keyboard, followed by an unpleasant ‘beep’ which meant the password had been entered incorrectly and the system had locked down.

“Pretty sure my partner is smart enough to figure this one out.”

“You aren’t even expected back for several more days.” There was movement from in the room, the voice coming nearer the door, now. Nearer to where Victor was tied. “He won’t be looking for you yet.”

Victor didn’t answer, but Kyle could just imagine the unimpressed look on his face.

“Well then, Mr. Renaud, if you can no longer be of any use to me, I will have no choice but to-”

The stranger fell over backward with a bullet through his forehead. Kyle lowered the gun.

“You’re late,” Victor said.

“You’re early,” Kyle answered.  He holstered his pistol and frowed now that he could get a good look at Victor’s black eye and bloodied shirt.

Victor shrugged. “I knew you’d turn up.”

“No you didn’t,” Kyle said with a chuckle.

“What? Don’t be ridiculous,” Victor said, as if chastising him for being thick. “You always come check on the place, even when I’m not here.”

Kyle hesitated. Victor knew about that? “I do not…”

“And I knew if you saw the car here and hadn’t heard from me, you’d know something was wrong,” Victor continued, ignoring his weak protest.

“What you mean, of course, is that I should have expected you’d get caught and dragged back here to retrieve the files.”  It took a few minutes to work out the knots of Victor’s bonds.  He could have just used a knife but that was such a waste; rope was always a useful thing to have around.  Once he finished, though, Kyle crouched in front of him, giving a quick glance over his injuries and making sure nothing was serious enough for a hospital.

Free of his bonds, it was now Victor’s turn to protest. “Don’t be tiresome; I only get caught when I intend to.  As part of my plan.”

Kyle helped him to his feet.  It made him worry how much Victor was needing to lean on him for support; he must have taken more of a beating than he was letting on.  He still couldn’t help but rile him on a little.

“Oh, so you mean when the KGB had you holed up in a base in Siberia, that was all part of your ‘plan’…”

“Obviously.”

“So, you intended to miss our anniversary…”

Victor realized he’d walked into that one and began to backpedal. “Well, now clearly the timing wasn’t quite what-”

Kyle cut him off with a kiss, then grinned. “Come on, we’d best get you cleaned up before the boss finds out you’re back.”

“You’re awful bossy for not being the boss, you know,” Victor said, feigning protest as Kyle dragged him toward the bathroom.

“Then after the shower, you can clean up the dead body.”

“Hey, that one’s your mess.”

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