Red-Hot Vengeance

Red-Hot Vengeance by Sandrine Spycher

Book: Red-Hot Vengeance by Sandrine Spycher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sandrine Spycher
 
     
     
     
     
     
    The Ruby
     
    The auction sale had been advertised for two months through every dubious informant in every part of New York and even beyond. Of course the authorities knew nothing about it. Most of the items on sale had been stolen, so nobody wanted to see any cops around the place. People went there by cab but all of them gave the driver a nearby address. We wouldn’t want to attract attention, would we? Having so many thieves, con-artists, and criminals of different kinds in one place was dangerous enough.
    The place was not really inviting anyway. It was an old rotting storage building in Downtown Brooklyn. It had been specially prepared for the auction sale. That is, once you got inside, you noticed there was actually something going on there on that particular day. From the outside, it was just as gray and ugly as usual.
    For obvious security reasons, people attending the sale were asked to leave their guns at the entrance. Most of them did, but not all. Even among villains, there’s always someone more evil than the devil who’ll try to double-cross the others. Plus, the so-called security agents just piled the guns in a wooden box. Thus if anyone was to trap the crowd, they’d just have to stand by the door and pick a weapon. But that wouldn’t happen of course. Criminals can also be honest sometimes.
    Most of the items for sale were brought by the owners themselves. No one wanted to risk losing the merchandise or have it stolen on the way. There were all sorts of art: beautiful paintings, precious jewelery, rare and ancient books, priceless Swiss watches, and even a unique Chinese saber entirely made of silver. The items were displayed on a long counter which looked expensive, but was actually built with cheap wooden boxes covered by dark red satin drapes.
    The counter was in front of the entrance. Between the door and the precious objects for sale were a great number of chairs. The organizers of the clandestine auction sale were expecting a lot of customers. The animator would stand on a leveled step near the middle of the counter and speak into a microphone. Behind him the objects would appear on a big screen so that everyone could have a good look at them, though buyers already knew which item they were going to fight for.
    It was now ten in the morning and most of the sellers had left their goods on the counter. Each stayed close to their art. A cold atmosphere of distrust reigned in the storage building. Men and women, common thieves and famous con-artists, organizers and guests; all looked at one another suspiciously. Every person entering the hall had to suffer an inspecting eye by the ones already present. Far from being uncomfortable, they usually answered with the same look meaning “Don’t mess with me or you’ll regret it.”
    Among those people was a woman carrying a small metallic box under her arm. Her high-heeled steps sounded loudly in the hall as she walked with a purpose. She barely even paid attention to the different people looking at her. And of course she kept her gun hidden in her left black leather boot. She walked straight to the counter and looked for the number indicating the spot of her art.
    “Hello, may I help you?” the soon to be animator of the sale asked.
    The woman scrutinized him. He seemed honest enough. “I’m looking for number four,” she said.
    “Oh, the ruby,” the animator replied with wide eyes.
    “Yes, that’s right.”
    “It’s right here, next to my podium,” he indicated. “We were only waiting for you to begin. Your item is certainly one of the most precious here.”
    She smiled. “I know. It is the most precious. And I hope to get a price matching its value,” she answered firmly.
    She took the ruby out of the suitcase and laid it on the little satin cushion provided. The gem was absolutely resplendent. It glowed with a blood red light that attracted every eye until the animator started speaking.
    “Please join your

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