“I’m going to disappoint you. But you know that already.”
No kidding, Mora thought as she worked the ropes binding her wrists.
After all, when you’re tied to a chair placed in the darkest corner of a poorly lit basement, and watching your kidnapper build a brick wall to seal you in like King Tut in his tomb, there was little hope of escape.
Not that Mora wouldn’t keep trying.
“I think there’s been a misunderstanding,” Mora said, licking her dry lips. “You’ve got me confused with someone else.”
“Nonsense.” The man scooped some mortar from the bucket at his feet and slapped it onto a brick. The brick joined its brethren on the partially formed wall. “You are responsible for Nina’s accident at the art gallery. I would never mistake you for someone else.”
Silently, Mora cursed her decision to go to the art gallery. Yes, the free ticket had been an opportunity to see one of Picasso’s missing paintings that had been recovered from thieves in Istanbul. Yes, her shabby clothing had made her stick out against the backdrop of such well healed members of society. And yes, she’d been on of the first on the scene of Nina Cunningham’s fatal accident. But it wasn’t like Mora had pushed the woman down the flight of stairs. Nina had fallen. Not a surprise when she’d worn high heels tall enough to be weapons in their own right.
Mr. Cunningham, however, disagreed. That was why Mora had been dragged off the street, stuffed into a car, and brought to her current predicament. She continued to tug at her restraints, doing so as subtly as possible. Mr. Cunningham seemed to preoccupied with his task to notice. He continued to talk.
“You see my dear, Nina was the love of my life.” Another brick went on the wall. “Her loss is a terrible blow and I want to insure you suffer the same fate.”
Mora wondered how a broken neck equaled being entombed alive, but was to afraid of provoking the man to ask. She flexed her wrists and felt the ropes give slightly. Excited, Mora slipped her fingers into the knot, trying to pry it loose. She kept her gaze on Mr. Cunningham who’d built the wall up to his chest. There was just enough space for Mora to slip through if she timed it right. But there was something odd about the wall being constructed before her. It ran parallel to her, touching both walls. But the stairway……
Mora was torn. Should she say something? Mr. Cunningham might be grateful enough to let her go, or he’d leave to get more supplies and start over. The two very different alternatives caused her head to spin.
The gap in the wall shrunk, leaving enough space for her to see Mr. Cunningham’s head. He caught Mora’s gaze and smiled.
“This truly is unfortunate my dear. At another time, I’m sure you and Nina would’ve been good friends.”
The ropes were looser. Mora was almost free. She cleared her throat.
“Mr. Cunningham. You might want to stop. The wall-”
“Is wonderful in its construction my dear,” he supplied. He held up the last brick. “You’ll have a long time to appreciate it. A very long time.”
Mr. Cunningham slipped the last brick into place, blocking him from Mora’s view. The ropes she’d been working slid off, freeing her raw and bleeding wrists. Despite this, she remained rooted to the chair. She hardly believed what she saw. The stairwell leading to freedom was on her side of the wall. And Mr. Cunningham? Well, he’d created an impressive wall alright.
And had barricaded himself into the basement.