Photo credit: Markus Spiske temporausch.com

 


What? The silent question echoed in his head as he picked up the crumbled paper and read it: “I’ve kidnapped your fiancé. If you don’t lose today’s game, you will never see her again.” 

Armin looked up to the stands but there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Fans were cheering, eager for the game to start. Arms and flags were waved proudly but they were all he could make out from the field.

“Heads up, man.”

Armin stared up at the VIP section with his arms over his head in an X till he heard the familiar thunk of the ball. The game was on. He gave one last look to the stands, but still nothing. He only hoped his sisters got the signal. And boy did they.

Within the second it took for the final goal to be made, and counted in their favor, he was escorted off the field by one of his favorite bodyguards. “How was the flight, Uncle?”

Bol smiled an easy smile. “Relaxing. Your sisters booked a private jet to get me here in time to see your winning assist.”

“It should have gone in,” Armin grumbled. But then he remembered why the old man was there, ushering him away from the crowd and the onlookers. His game was important but it didn’t outweigh the life of whoever got kidnapped. “Mom is okay, right?”

Bol didn’t answer despite Armin’s growing nerves. He didn’t have a wife. Not even a girlfriend. What time he had in between practice and games were spent with his friends and his family, when they had time to spare. Francis had his photography. Emma had the clan. Gisela had her interior design company. And their parents, they had the family business. But it was the business or the clan that could have put one of them in trouble.

“Bol.” He tried to stop his Uncle but the old man just pat his shoulder before opening a door and showing him the one person he needed to see. “You’re here,” he sighed at the sight of his mother.

“It’s your first time at the World Cup,” she smiled at him, offering him a water, “and we all saw your signal.”

His father didn’t waste time buttering him up. It reminded him of his uncle. A thought that allowed him to smile despite the confusion. “This hit my head before the game.” He handed over the sweaty paper with a shrug. “It could be for someone else.”

“Not likely.” His father handed the note to his mother, who took her time with it. “Have you been seen with anyone?”

“N-“

“…Didn’t Anna say she couldn’t wait to be the next Mrs. Wolf?” Everyone looked at Emma expectantly. “Why am I the only one who knows what’s going on online?”

“Because it’s your job?” Gisela grumbled, flicking her sister’s arm. “And why didn’t you tell me?”

The dual sound of their parents clearing their throats cut the girls’ bickering down to secret jabs. But Armin was still lost. “Isn’t she the one who used to sleepover when you were kids?”

The girls nodded in unison. “That’s the one.”

Armin sunk into a nearby chair. The last time he saw the girl, she was a crying mess after his sisters left her to take the heat for one of the pranks. Now, she was a hostage. “I didn’t–” he rung his hands together, the guilt slowly eating at him.

“I know who has her.” Rikku slipped back into the room and passed her phone to Dreu while she smiled softly down at the top of her son’s head. It was hard to ignore her when she was so close. Even harder when he didn’t notice when his mother left or returned but he was glad she had something. “It’s a small group of high stake gamblers who haven’t done their research. Go celebrate. We will take care of it.”

Armin looked up in hope but when he saw the all too familiar dark glint in his parents’ eyes, he sighed. “Don’t kill them.” Twin snorts echoed behind him. No doubt from his sisters. But he couldn’t bother with them. Not when he knew what his mother mean by, take care of it. “Come on. We can’t kill everyone who does something stupid. Plus, mom, you’re retired.” But it fell on deaf ears. Both mother and father smiled as they left.

Desperate, he turned to his uncle. “Stop them.”

“My job is to take care of you three.”

“Bu-“

Bol shook his head. “No one will die. But someone may be severely injured. We won’t know till your parents come back. Till then, have fun.”

Armin sighed as he sunk further in his seat. His parents just had to be assassins.

© Maura D., marsreine.wordpress.com, 2017

Prompt (source: The Writer’s Digest)
Soccer Threat: You’re a star soccer player for your country’s national team. Your team has made it to the finals of the World Cup. Just before kickoff, you are hit by a wadded up piece of paper that is thrown at you from the stands. You pick it up, open it and there’s a note: “I’ve kidnapped your spouse. If you don’t lose today’s game, you will never see him/her again.” What do you do? Write this scene.

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