Olivia brought only joy and pride to her new parents. She skipped the third grade, was the salutatorian in middle school, a fencing champion in high school. At sixteen, Harvard had accepted her for the fall. She had always been gregarious and popular, in contrast to Rachel’s quiet and reserved demeanor. Rachel had even been a little jealous of the way Olivia could enter a room and immediately become the center of attention. She was beautiful, true, with long black hair and tall figure. She had only to flash that smile and things would begin to gravitate her way. She fended off boys throughout her freshman and sophomore years in high school until the junior prom, which she attended. Rachel didn’t get asked.
Olivia could have made a career out of at least four talents. Making friends was another of her gifts. Over the last year, she had acquired forty-seven chat mates in her Yahoo Messenger. Rachel didn’t know forty-seven people in this world, let alone forty-seven she’d want to talk to. Before the police took Olivia’s PC, Rachel had cloned the hard drive onto the second drive of her own computer in order to comb through her emails for some clue to her whereabouts and state of mind. Several of these friends had struck up online conversations with her over the last four days, and Rachel had had to inform them that Olivia had disappeared.
Olivia’s Yahoo Messenger was up and someone was now trying to contact her online.
U there? said the screen.
Rachel was in no mood to get into another conversation. It was three in the morning, and she was tired, but couldn’t sleep any more. Over the last few hours, Rachel had chatted with at least twelve friends on Olivia’s Messenger list and was tired of being the bearer of bad news. The ID said, Acharavaypor.
Hi, Rachel typed.
Cam? requested Acharavaypor.
Sorry, no cam, answered Rachel. Dropped it last night and need a new one. It was an effort just to type, let alone go looking for the web-cam. Plus, she looked like a mess.
OK. You have news?
No news yet. Rachel couldn’t remember if she had already chatted with this one.
What you mean?
Just that, typed Rachel.
What about your promise? What about passport and money?
Now Rachel was wide awake.
You promised me. And now you forget.
I didn’t forget. I’m still working on it. Rachel wrote. This was someone new and not a native speaker.
Cam? asked Rachel.
Let me change PC. This has no cam. BRB.
Rachel quickly combed through her sister’s emails for some sign of this person. And why did she apologize for being late? Did her sister chat regularly at three in the morning?
Acharavaypor@yahoo.com sent Rachel the invite to her webcam. Rachel accepted and waited for the face to materialize.
The image appeared and the person at the other end tousled with the camera to point it.
When it stabilized, Rachel was looking into her sister’s face.
Title: The Schwarzschild Radius
Author: Gustavo Florentin
Genre: Thriller / Suspense
Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared. After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony. As she closes in on the killer who has taken Olivia, Rachel becomes his next target.
Gustavo Florentin was born in Queens, New York and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic University of New York. He spent a decade in the defense industry working on the F-14 fighter jet and classified electronics projects. After the fall of the Soviet Union, many thought America wouldn’t need weapons anymore, so while others waited for the peace dividend, he moved on to the financial sector in New York where he is currently a network engineer. His passions include violin, travel to exotic places and exploring worldwide conspiracies. He lives in New Jersey where he is working on his third novel. His thriller, In the Talons of the Condor, won the following awards:
WUACADEMIA–Prix d’Or Best Novel
The Verb First Chapter Contest–First Prize
Mount Arrowsmith Best Novel 4th place
The Writing Show–Second Prize best first chapter of a novel.
Second Prize–16th Annual International Latino Book Awards
Publisher website: http://curiosityquills.com/books/the-schwarzschild-radius/