By the tree, the note had said. By the large willow tree in the centre of the park. At twelve o’clock, midday. No cops, no tracking devices, and no funny business. I prepared the bag. It was a large brown bag smelling strongly of leather. Too good a quality really to be abandoned to kidnappers but what did that matter at a time like this?
It had taken time to get the money together, now it lay in front of me in a pile. Banded together, fifty at a time, each stack represented one thousand pounds. Twenty stacks in all, making a grand total of twenty-thousand pounds. It easily fitted into the bag. Thank goodness the ransom had been for an attainable amount. I placed the cash in the bag; it seemed remarkable that so much money took up so little room. I zipped up the bag and tightened the straps to make sure all was secure. Holding it one-handed, one could be forgiven for thinking it was empty. The money probably weighed less than the bag.
I made my way to the drop off point at the appointed time and laid the bag down, next to the willow tree, and retreated to a distance. I sought cover in the undergrowth surrounding the clearing, a place from which I could keep an eye on the bag. My companion, eyes bright, watched too. We didn’t have long to wait before the bag was collected by a nondescript woman. As she walked off, we gave it a few minutes then followed her unseen.
At the park entrance the woman approached a car and there, sitting in the back seat, was the subject of the ransom. My companion stirred, eager to enter the fray. There were two of them, the women and a man. As she neared the car he got out of the driver’s seat and went to meet her. The woman placed the bag on the bonnet of the car and struggled with the straps holding it closed. Together they peered into the bag, then looking at each other they smiled. At that moment I released my companions collar and he was off like a shot, covering the distance in seconds. Startled at the sight of a large, angry Alsatian in full flight they fled the scene leaving car, money, and victim behind.
My ploy, of using the leather bag, had paid off. My dog had been able to follow its scent, leading us to the kidnappers unseen. I opened the rear door, releasing the victim. She sniffed at my hand then turned her attention to my companion, her mate. I gathered up the bag, complete with its contents, then the three of us walked off to the bank, ready to redeposit the ransom.
Written in response to the Creative Writing Ink November 22nd writing prompt competition.