Gun fire surrounded them. Elaine heard Tommy scream and saw him freeze. Elaine dove behind the nearest car and yanked her handheld from her purse. “Tommy! Get down!” she yelled as she attempted to reach around the car to pull the small boy out of the range of fire.
Elaine heard men shouting and a pause in gunfire. She took the opportunity to look around the car for Tommy and instead found a gun pointed straight at her. She fell down flat on the hard pavement as she heard shots ring out again. She aimed her gun underneath the parked car and watched as several feet shuffled around a smaller pair of sneakers. She heard a yelp as she saw Tommy’s shoes scrape backwards on the pavement and a door slam not long after. She jumped up to see the black van parked in the alleyway, screech away.
“Tommy!” She cried as she ran after the van, trying to memorize the license plate. The van tore around the corner and merged into traffic where Elaine lost sight of it as she dialed 911.
Two hours later Elaine sullenly walked back to her office through the falling snow. The police had taken her statement and Tommy’s parents were called. The deli shop owners were interviewed and she overheard a cop mention an affiliation with mob king Nick Palatnokiv, but of course everything was denied. Moodily she remembered the police chief’s last words to her when she tried to ask questions “Look woman, mind your business and let us real detectives do our job.”
She threw her coat on the empty chair in the corner of her office and slumped into her office chair. The bump of the desk caused the sleeping computer to flicker on casting a dull glow in the now dark office. Debating with herself she finally logged in and began an internet search of the mob. She read news articles, police reports and even rumors on entertainment sites. Three hours and a headache later, Elaine’s bleary red rimmed eyes began to droop begging for sleep. One more article she thought as she clicked on one from a week ago. She perused the article regarding another rich CEO supposedly in connection with Nick Palatnokiv. As she stared at the picture of the CEO her eyes instantly flew open.
Although the CEO did look familiar, he wasn’t the one who caught her attention. As she stared at what must have been a family photo she noticed next to him a small boy with dark chocolate hair, coffee colored eyes and a bright smile. “Tommy.” She whispered. Quickly she read the caption underneath the picture which stated “Dunstram & Company CEO George Dunstram with his wife Celia and son Thomas at the Dunstram and Company annual charity event.”
Dumbstruck Elaine opened a new tab and searched for more articles on the charity event. Instantly she found one accompanied with a picture of Nick Palatnokiv holding the hand of a famous model and entering the Westshire hotel where the charity event had taken place. She read “Suspected mob king Nick Palatnokiv was in attendance at last night’s annual charity event. His appearance supports rumors of his affiliation with CEO George Dunstram. Allegedly Nick Palatnokiv donated a substantial amount of money to the charity In Their Hands, which many believe is a cover to raise money for Dunstram’s run for local political office; sources say.
Elaine opened another tab and searched for information on Nick Palatnokiv. She was able to locate his contact information and decided it was time to pay Mr. Palatnokiv a visit.