The Final Curtain

The Final Curtain by Deborah Abela Read Free Book Online

Book: The Final Curtain by Deborah Abela Read Free Book Online
Authors: Deborah Abela
the nearest exit and quietly slipped outside.

Linden looked down into the blackened pit below him and took another quick breath. His body was held inside a coffin-shaped cage called an iron maiden, with double doors lined with spikes. Manacles gripped his wrists and ankles. If the doors were slowly closed, the spikes would pierce his body as easy as a pincushion. He did all he could to stay still, to avoid the sharpened points. Max was nearby, tied upright to a stretching rack, unable to stay quiet in the face of the thugs who had captured them.
    â€˜What’s wrong?’ she taunted. ‘Are you trying to remember where you last saw your brain?’
    One of the men flinched and sent her a gnarled stare.
    â€˜Ah, Max,’ Linden offered. ‘Maybe getting these guys upset isn’t such a good plan.’
    She said nothing.
    â€˜Max?’ He tried again.
    â€˜I haven’t decided if I ever want to speak to you again,’ she shot back.
    â€˜I know you’re angry with me, and I bet you’re right about your dad. I bet he isn’t involved in anything. I want to help you prove it.’
    Max gave him a cold stare and looked away.
    â€˜Ah Linden, you’re always playing the good guy, aren’t you?’
    The two spies looked towards the man who was walking down the stairs.
    â€˜Dad! You’re here!’ Max cried. ‘I knew you’d come. These guys kidnapped us and are working for someone who is using the studio to transmit top secrets throughout the world.’ She was so happy to see him, until she realised he wasn’t rushing to free them.
    â€˜Dad?’ Max’s voice was small and unsure.
    Linden’s hair prickled on his head and stood even higher than usual. The way Max’s dad was looking at them, setting them free wasn’t what he had in mind.
    â€˜So you’ve got yourself into a bit of trouble?’ He reached the bottom of the stairs and walked towards Linden. He felt the sharpened end of one of the spikes. ‘Maybe it’s because you were sticking your noses where they didn’t belong.’
    â€˜But Dad, I know you don’t mean that,’ Max said quietly from above.
    â€˜Oh, I mean it. You think you know me, but it’s been a long time since you and I have lived together and quite a few things have changed.’
    â€˜But you said that you and I will always be the same.’ Max’s throat ached.
    â€˜Did I?’ He rubbed his hand across his chin in mock confusion.
    Linden eyed Max’s dad carefully.
    â€˜Come on, Max. You’re a clever girl. You know sometimes we say things because they’re the right things to say and not because we believe them.’
    A painful throb slammed into her chest.
    â€˜I mean, really, it takes very special people to like each other for a long period of time, and I don’t think you and I are that special.’ He turned to the goons. ‘Are the distribution trucks in place?’
    Max’s eyes blurred with tears. ‘Why are you talking to them? They’re part of Blue’s …’
    Max’s dad offered her a syrupy smile before placing his hand under his chin and tearing the latex mask from his face to reveal his true identity.
    â€˜Blue?’
    â€˜Yes.’ He slowly ran his hand through his blue-streaked hair. ‘Lovely, isn’t it, that we’re all together again?’
    Max’s mind unscrambled itself, trying to understand what had happened.
    â€˜You’re the one behind the smuggling operation!’ Linden glared coldly. ‘We should have known.’
    Max fixed Blue with a venomous gaze. ‘If youhurt my dad in any way you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.’
    Blue answered her gaze with a smile dripping with victory. ‘I think you should be much more worried about your own future than that of a man you rarely even see.’
    â€˜You shut up about my father.’
    Linden tugged at his

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