By Historian


   Kelly and Kristy had their ankles bound and were carried out of the house and into a van. As was starting to become monotonous, they were taken on a trip to an unknown destination. Kristy was certain somebody in the department was working against them but who? Could it be Sean? Her cousin had a warped sense of humor, but this was serious business. It would have to be somebody who knew where they were. How many people knew that? That was something she would have to find out if she got out of this. That’s a big “if”, she thought.

 Finally, the van stopped. Kelly and Kristy had their ankles unbound and were walked into a building of some kind. They were stopped and heard a woman speaking. After the woman finished speaking there was a brief pause before the blindfolds were removed. Their eyes adjusted to the light and the Flannigans saw they were standing before Contessa Gabrielle di Caesarini. She wore a sports bra and jogging shorts which showed a lean muscular figure, reminiscent of the marble statues of the goddess she worshipped.

   “At last we meet,” the Contessa said. She looked over the twins, who were clad in t-shirts and shorts, like an artist looking over her work. “You’re attractive in some lower class sort of way. But that is not why I wanted to speak with you.”

  More like to us given the circumstances, Kristy thought.

  “You two have been a source of trouble for me,” the Contessa said. “All I want to do is build a temple to Juno, a place where the followers of the Mother Goddess can be properly worshipped and her followers can plan their defense against the Moslems.”

   Kelly and Kristy exchanged confused looks. “Why are you surprised?” the Contessa continued. “Remember the destruction of those Buddhist statues last year? People forgot about them after September 11. Anybody who does not accept their prophet and his works is considered a target. That is why we must defend ourselves.”

   Kristy started to wonder is the Contessa was one of those who believed the best defense was a good offense.

  The monologue continued. “You two have been a problem. Certain false conclusions may be drawn. I have no malice toward your country. After all, your Constitution protects religious worship. But your news media are a different matter. I have come to believe that journalists, like film makes are not willing to let facts get in the way of a good story.”

   As the Contessa was saying the last sentence two women entered the room. They were minions, no doubt. She addressed the newcomers in Italian before returning her attention to Kelly and Kristy. “They will take you to where you will be spending the better part of your stay,” she explained.


   Sean Kowalski was not pleased to find his cousins were missing and his partner restrained. Jane was justifiably upset. Despite this, she did not claim there was somebody on the inside. Neither did Sean. It was obvious enough to go without saying.

   Captain Bowman showed up. He had known Kelly and Kristy were at the safe house, but why he was there perplexed Sean. Police captains rarely went out into the field. The fact Kristy was Bowman’s subordinate didn’t satisfy Sean. After all, his cousin was in Bowman’s doghouse.

   Jane, who wasn’t acquainted with Bowman, didn’t like the attitude the captain displayed. He muttered something to the effect that Kristy was mixing personal and professional business. She was willing to concede he may have a point in Kristy’s case, but what about Kelly? None of this seemed to be a result of her being Kristy’s twin. There was also the odd behavior with his cell phone. Bowman was talking on the phone, but avoiding everybody else. What was so important he couldn’t tell anybody else about it?



 The Contessa was not pleased to get the phone call. She planned to fly out from Midway Airport at sundown; Claudia and the rest of the plane’s crew were already there and the last thing she needed was a delay. Her businesses was concluded, but there was the problem with the lawyer and her sister. They needed to be eliminated, of course, but she wanted to be as far away as possible when it happened. While it was feasible to traverse the Saint Lawrence Seaway with her beloved yacht Juno there was that little detail of territorial waters, which was she flown into Chicago to begin with. She needed to be as far from the scene as possible when the deed was done.

      When she hung up, she saw the driver waiting. “The car is ready, ma’am,” he said.

   “Excellent,” she said. “I want to look in on our two friends before we go.”

   She went to the room where Kelly and Kristy were being held. The twins sat on the floor, hands bound behind, legs extended with the ankles bound, and gagged with rags stuffed into their mouths and held in place with strands of rope. They had been allowed a brief period to stretch and relieve themselves; one at a time of course, and closely supervised.

  “You two have made my stay here interesting, to say the least,” she said. “But I assure you we shall not meet the next time I visit Chicago.”

  With that, the Contessa left.

   By now, Kelly had complete confidence in Kristy’s ability to extricate them from their captivity. In the periods where they weren’t being watched, Kristy’s would scan the room –which appeared to be used as some kind of workshop—for a way out. There was a portable tool box sitting on a work bench, which had a stool by it. That seemed to be the ticket.

  Getting to it would not be easy. First, she had to get upright. She managed to do that, but not without wobbling a bit. Once upright, Kristy hopped to the stool and was able to hop on it. The stool’s seat could spin, but that would have to be taken careful, least she fall off. She was able to move the tool box to where she could open the latch. From there it was a spin…

    Only to find out there was nothing inside the box to could use to cut herself free. Except maybe for the box itself. It was made of sheet steel and the corners of the open box, while not as sharp as a knife, where sharp. But sharp enough? There was one way to find out.

   It was slow going, but the strands gave way bit by bit. Finally, she was able shuck the ropes off her wrists. After freeing her ankles and undoing the gag, Kristy released Kelly.

   The twins collected the ropes then searched the room for anything that could be useful to their escape. Ironically, it appeared to Kristy that one of the functions of the workshop was to fix guns, but none were present. There were knives, but those were useful at close range and easily dislodged from one’s hands be a well-trained and determined adversary.

   “Besides,” Kristy whispered. “A knife isn’t the most efficient killing tool. Ever wonder why most stabbing deaths involve at least twenty blows?”

   “Not really,” Kristy said, “though now that you’ve got me thinking about it, I’d say the attacker would keep at it until the victim stops twitching.”

  “Pretty much.”

  The twins searched some more and turned up a roll of duct tape. “There must be some rule that every workshop must have one of these,” Kristy said. Any further comment was stopped by Kelly, who put one hand over Kristy’s mouth and raised the index finger to her own lips.

  “I hear people coming,” Kelly whispered.



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