Evil Deeds (Bob Danforth 1)
very recently. Like yesterday, or even today.”
    All the other rooms along the hallway had been stripped. The last room was the size of a basketball court.
    “We ate all our meals here in the dining room,” George said, circling the room. “Three times a day we sat here like good little soldiers.” His voice echoed off the walls of the cavernous room. “Sit up straight! No talking! Clean your plates!”
    Let’s check the second floor,” Bob said.
    “Okay, but let’s be quick,” George answered.
    They raced up the curving, marble stairway two steps at a time and began poking into rooms on either side of the stairs.
    Bob found nothing but almost empty rooms. He kicked at a mattress rolled up in a corner of the last room. “Dammit!” he muttered. “This can’t be happening!”
    George was waiting for him at the head of the staircase.
    “Come on, Bob,” he said. “It’s time to get out of here.”
    Gregorie stood in the dark, first-floor hallway, cradling the baby. The only light was the faint glow of moonlight coming through the windows of the rooms on the right side of the hallway. Through the open door, he watched his father sweep a flashlight beam around a room that must have been an office – a dented file cabinet with empty drawers askew, a few papers scattered on the floor, a broken desk chair lying on its side. Stefan kicked the chair.
    “The bastards have deserted the place,” Radko growled. “I won’t make a dime off that brat.”
    Gregorie felt the baby begin to stir in his arms. Without warning, she wailed.
    “Keep her quiet,” Stefan growled.
    “She’s probably hungry,” Gregorie said. “What do you want me to do, nurse her?”
    Stefan shot him a vicious look, making him shrink back a step. “You shut your mouth!” he snarled. “You ever talk to me like that again and I’ll rip your balls off! No one talks to Stefan Radko like that.”
    George’s heart seemed to stop. He couldn’t believe what he’d just heard: Stefan Radko, the name of the Gypsy Meers’ agent gave him in the car on the beach. Stefan Radko: the ringleader of the kidnappings, the man responsible for so much anguish and suffering. A man just like Radko had taken him from his own parents twenty-five years earlier. Maybe it had been Radko himself.
    Bob was hunkered down near the bottom of the staircase, a few feet below where George knelt on a step and pointed his gun between the railing posts toward the voices. George heard footsteps growing louder on the hall’s marble floor. When the footsteps began reverberating off the walls and ceiling of the lobby, he clicked on his flashlight, lighting up a man and a teenaged boy. Yelling in Bulgarian, he ordered them to stop and put up their hands.
    Bob shouted, “Watch out, George, he’s got a gun.”
    “Drop the gun or I’ll shoot,” George yelled.
    The man raised his left hand to shield his eyes against the flashlight beam. He seemed disoriented by the sudden bright light. Dropping his pistol on the floor, he said something to the teenager in a strange language.
    George saw a swaddled infant in the teenager’s arms. The baby squealed. The boy took a step toward the older man, and then suddenly turned and bolted out of sight down the corridor.
    Bob and George started down the stairs to the lobby when the boy suddenly returned, no baby in his arms but a pistol in his hand.
    “Gregorie, No!” the man shouted from where he stood in the middle of the lobby, highlighted in George’s flashlight beam, his hands over his head. Then the man wheeled and ran out the open front door. “Gregorie, run!” the man called before vanishing through the doorway.
    But the boy began shooting at Bob and George. Bob returned fire. In the flashlight’s funnel beam Bob saw the boy pitch backwards, hit the wall, and slide to the floor.
    Bob ran the rest of the way down the staircase to where the boy lay spread-eagled on the floor.
    George ran down to the lobby to the front door. “Bob,

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