Home>>read Tormentor Mine free online

Tormentor Mine(12)

By:Anna Zaires

“The barbiturate anesthetic?” I blink at her. “Of course. It was widely used to induce anesthesia until propofol became the standard. What does—oh.”

“Yes,” Agent Ryson says. “I see you know about its other use. It’s rarely utilized that way, at least outside the intelligence community, but it’s quite effective as a truth serum. Lowers the higher cortical brain functions and makes the subjects chatty and cooperative. And this was a designer version, thiopental mixed with compounds we haven’t seen before.”

“He drugged me to make me talk?” My stomach churns with bile. This explains the headache and the brain fog, and the knowledge that this was done to me—that I was violated like that—makes me want to scrub inside my skull with bleach. That man didn’t just invade my home; he invaded my mind, broke into it like a thief.

“That’s our best guess, yes,” Ryson says. “You had a lot of this drug in your system when our agents found you tied up in your living room. There was also blood on your neck and thighs, and they initially thought that—”

“Blood on my thighs?” I brace myself for a new horror. “Did he—”

“No, don’t worry, he didn’t hurt you that way,” Karen says, shooting Ryson a dark look. “We did a full-body examination when you were brought in, and it was your menstrual blood, nothing more. There were no signs of sexual trauma. Other than a few bruises and the shallow cuts on your neck, you’re fine—or you will be, once the drugs wear off.”

Fine. Hysterical laughter bubbles up my throat, and it takes all my strength not to let it escape. My husband and three other men are dead because of me. My home was broken into; my mind was broken into. And she thinks I’m going to be fine?

“Why did you make up that lie about the mafia?” I ask, struggling to contain the expanding ball of pain in my chest. “How would that protect me?”

“Because in the past, this fugitive hadn’t gone after the innocent—the wives and children of the people on his list who weren’t involved in any way,” Ryson says. “But he did kill one man’s sister because that man confided in her and involved her in the cover-up. The less you knew, the safer you were, especially since you didn’t want to relocate and disappear alongside your husband.”

“Ryson, please,” Karen says sharply, but it’s too late. I’m already reeling from this new blow. Even if I could be forgiven for my drug-induced blabbing, my refusal to leave is solely on me. I’d been selfish, thinking of my parents and my career instead of the danger I could pose to my husband. I believed my safety was on the line, not his, but that’s no excuse.

George’s death is on my conscience, just as much as the accident that damaged his brain.

“Did he—” I swallow thickly. “Did he suffer? I mean… how did it happen?”

“A bullet to the head,” Ryson answers in a subdued tone. “Same as the three men guarding him. I think it happened too quickly for any of them to suffer.”

“Oh God.” My stomach heaves with sudden violence, and vomit rushes up my throat.

Karen must’ve seen my face leach of color, because she acts fast, grabbing a metal tray off a nearby table and shoving it in my hands. It’s just in time too, because the contents of my stomach spill out, the acid burning my esophagus as I hold the tray with shaking hands.

“It’s okay. It’s okay. Here, let’s get you cleaned up.” Karen is all brisk efficiency, just like a real nurse. Whatever her role with the FBI is, she knows what to do in a medical setting. “Come, let me help you to the bathroom. You’ll feel better in a second.”

Setting the tray on the bedside table, she loops an arm around my back to help me off the bed and leads me to the bathroom. My legs are shaking so hard I can barely walk; if it weren’t for her support, I wouldn’t have made it.

Still, I need a moment of privacy, so I tell Karen, “Can you please step out for a moment? I’m okay for now.”

I must sound convincing enough because Karen says, “I’ll be right outside if you need me,” and closes the door behind her.

I’m sweating and shaking, but I manage to rinse out my mouth and brush my teeth. Then I take care of other urgent business, wash my hands, and splash cold water on my face. By the time Karen knocks on the door, I’m feeling a tiny bit more human.

I’m also keeping my mind blank. If I think about the way George and the others died, I’ll throw up again. I’ve seen a number of gunshot wounds during my residency stint in the ER, and I know the devastating damage bullets inflict.