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Why couldn’t I have a normal life?

The commercial ended, replaced by music with an urgent tempo. I strained to hear the announcer's voice.

"We have breaking news: authorities report that the 250-passenger luxury cruise ship, the Sea Jewel, owned by Oglethorpe Enterprises, was boarded by armed gunmen earlier this evening while sailing the Caribbean. Renowned antiquities expert Gabriel de la Vega, his assistant and an unknown American woman have been kidnapped. Other than the unrelated incident of an earlier heart attack victim there have been no reports of injury or death onboard at this time. We'll keep you updated as news becomes available."

Relief cascaded through me as I realized no one else on the ship had been hurt. I wondered how Cole was doing. He was probably working with the authorities, helping to assemble a team to hunt these guys down. But no one knew where we were. It had been dark and the getaway boat was dark. That was a lot of dark. I assumed the gunmen left behind had some means of escape. It wasn't like they'd blend.

I settled back in the tiny closet and tried to get comfortable.


FRANK KEPT THE sound on. The breaking news of the boarding of the Sea Jewel and resultant kidnapping repeated at regular intervals. He snarled orders every few minutes into what must have been an intercom or walkie-talkie, the reply loud enough for me to hear, and was getting more and more pissed off.

“Look there again, you fucking idiot. She has to be somewhere on this boat.” Frank fell silent as a gravelly voice cut through the static, suggesting I might have jumped overboard.

“I don’t buy it. She’s not that stupid. Keep looking.”

My assumption was they’d give up the search eventually and figure I jumped. I hoped they’d hurry the hell up. My ass was falling asleep and the odor of the salami hanging around my waist was making the small space smell like a meat locker.

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