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ATTENTION, the note read. WE HAVE YOUR DAUGHTER. OBEY ALL INSTRUCTIONS AND SHE WILL BE RETURNED ALIVE. NO POLICE OR ELSE.

It was signed THE LORDS OF DESTRUCTION.

She wanted to obey, unquestioningly, to do anything they asked if it brought her baby home. He was more sceptical. They argued, but in the end he overruled his wife as he always did, and called the police.

Valuable time had been lost, but it soon became evident that they were dealing with anything but a criminal mastermind, and less than eight hours later the detective in charge was sitting across the table from a sullen, lanky teenager and his lawyer.

“Why, Larry?” He looked honestly confused. The teenager didn’t look up and the lawyer kept his face blank. “Why kidnap and ransom?”

The teenager shrugged. “Figured we’d show him what it was like,” he muttered. “Gettin’ a stupid ultimatum, y’know?”

The detective was baffled. “Ultimatum?”

“Yeah,” Larry said. “Well, that’s what Jess said it were. ‘E told Jess that she ‘ad to stop seein’ me or e’d cut her out of the will and shit, and not give ‘er the car ‘e promised for ‘er birthday and that.”

The lawyer looked slightly pained.

“So, we figured, a kidnapping like, and ‘e’d ‘ave ‘is own ultimatum, pay up or not see ‘er again. An’ we signed it as the Lords of Destruction to make it look like we were, I dunno, a terrorist group or summat.”

“I… see.” The detective stroked his chin, trying to comprehend the boy’s stupidity. “And where is Jess now?”

Larry slumped in his chair. “I dunno,” he said. “She done a runner as soon as she picked up the cash.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The Three Word Wednesday words this week are Destruction, Lanky and Ultimatum.

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