Sampler: Chains of the Past by Sue Joslin
April 14, 2022
Sent away, like her sister before her, from her native Romania, Elena finds herself trapped in Scotland; the property of an abusive man.
A young girl’s family is torn apart by the greed and manipulation of a ruthless, international organisation.
How could her dreams of a better life end in slavery and murder?
Sent away, like her sister before her, from her native Romania, Elena finds herself trapped in Scotland; the property of an abusive man and his jealous wife.
Many years later, a young man worms his way into the slave dealer’s trust and earns himself a position near the top of the organisation.
But is he really what he seems?
Sampler: Chains of the Past
Many years after Elena had found herself afraid and alone, watching her friends being auctioned off to the highest bidder, a young man sat lounging in the chair on the far side of the large, cluttered desk and staring at the man seated opposite him, with a cool calculating gaze. The young man looked to be in his mid-twenties.
The older man grunted. The young man was cocky, sure, but in his line of business, the weak and the timid had no place. The question was, was he an asset to be used, or a plant?
Sean Portlan looked him up and down, from the brown, almost military-style haircut, the ice-blue eyes, and the off-the-peg suit, which probably went for quality in Romania, he thought contemptuously. There was a heavy silver chain disappearing under his shirt. Maybe a medallion of some sort. He assumed it was some sort of cheap ‘wannabe gangster bling’.
“You say you heard of me through Mihai Boroi, an associate of Andrei Chorowski, Mr Arcos?” He’s never mentioned you.”
“He’s never met me,” the young man said in his deliberately heavily accented English. “If I had wanted to work for Mr Chorowski in Romania, I would have gone to see him. It is you I want to work for. It is the end of the operation where the money is. Word gets around.” Vasile Arcos gave a shrug.
It hadn’t taken him long in the English school he had attended, to lose almost all traces of his Romanian accent, but for now he needed to be very Romanian indeed.
“And what makes you think that I’m hiring?”
“I heard that one of your employees had a little accident with a meat grinder. I thought you might need a replacement.”
“What do you know about Stu?” Portlan sat forward, suspicion hardening in his voice.
“Nothing. I hitched a ride with my friend when he brought the last shipment over from Romania, and so I arrived while the police were here.” Vasile Arcos shrugged his broad shoulders, seemingly unmoved. “Call it fate.”
“I call it suspicious. How long after the police did you get here?”
“Who knows. We had to wait until the ambulance had gone, then we had to pull into the unloading bay and make like we were going to unload. It would have looked suspicious if we had not. We had to let the police tell us we could not unload. My friend made it look good. He would make a fine actor. He made a fuss, like they were giving him problems, so they have to force him to drive away with his shipment. But you know this.” Again, the same indifferent shrug.
Portlan sat back again, seemingly relaxed as he studied the young man. Useful tool or dangerous spy? Maybe Arcos was straight, but even if he was a plant, wasn’t there that old adage about keeping your enemies close? As for the possibility that the young man might simply be a ‘useful tool’ that still had to be seen.
“Okay, Arcos, I’m going to take a chance on you. It’s up to you to prove yourself useful. You’ll start off at the abattoir, just like everyone else, then we’ll see what you’re made of. Be here first thing and report to Bill Swift.”
“Thank you Mr Portlan.” The young man got up and nodded his head in Portlan’s direction, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, but the smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. Then he was gone, leaving the door to swing closed behind him.
Sean Portlan shivered, hoping he hadn’t just made a terrible mistake. There was something about Arcos that gave him the willies. He looked at the phone on his desk, half tempted to call Bill and tell him to turn the young man away on Monday. Then he shrugged. What the hell, if the kid turned out to have a vicious streak, there would always be uses for him and it was better to have that sort working for, rather than against him.
Out on the street once more, Vasile Arcos looked back at the abattoir with its sprawl of buildings, his expression unreadable. Seemingly satisfied, he turned and walked away.
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