Don't own the Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys

Heartless Pt. III

Mind Games


It was ten-o-clock at night when Chief Collig and Officer Riley, along with several other officers, entered the Prito home. They, too, horrified by the sight in front of them. The place was completely trashed, with glass everywhere, furniture shuffled around, the coffee table turned over, and picture-frames crooked on the walls. There were even blood-stains splattered all over the couch. It was an obvious sign of a struggle.

"Fenton, what have you got?" Chief Collig asked.

Fenton quickly filled Chief Collig in on the situation, handing him the picture of Tony.

Chief Collig stared intensely at the photo of the boy unconscious, bound, and gagged with the Heartless insignia... a big black heart with a blood-red outline and a spiked X through it. There was even a blood-written message that read: "The Prito boy is ours... Joe Hardy is next! "

"Heartless," he muttered as he gave a slight nod, glancing over at Joe who was standing next to Frank. He could see the mixed emotions of fear, worry and, anger on their faces. Chief Collig then turned his attention to a pale-face Aldo Prito. He was sitting in a recliner, just staring down at the floor with the same expression on his face. The Chief's heart went out to the man. He knew about the horrible situation that Tony had gone through this last summer.

Chief Collig cleared his throat before reassuring the distraught father. "Mr. Prito, I'm sorry about your son. My men and I will do everything in our power to find Tony."

"Thank you, Chief Collig, " Aldo replied with heavy emotion in his voice. "I don't care what you do. If you have to search through the house, tear it completely apart, then do it... just find my son."

"Officer Riley!" Chief Collig ordered, "I want this house searched from top to bottom, inside and out, for any clues. Have forensics take blood samples from the couch. Check for fingerprints, anything that's gonna help us find Tony and figure out who took him. Also, start questioning the neighbors... see if anyone saw or heard anything."

"Yes, sir!" Officer Riley responded as he and his fellow officers left to carry out Chief Collig's orders.

"Where's Ms. Santos?" Chief Collig asked, turning back to the Hardy's.

"Angela is at the Prito's restaurant," Frank spoke up.

"Good, 'cause I want to question her, too."

"So would I," Fenton added, suddenly feeling his sons' eyes on him. Before he was hit with the inevitable surge of questions, he began to explain. "I wanted to wait until I had solid proof before telling you, but I recently received a chilling email that read 'You wanna play games, Detective?' ending with the Heartless crest." Again, Fenton felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. "Sam Radley is checking things for me to see what he can find out about the supposedly dead, former leader of Heartless."

Frank and Joe both looked at him expectantly, so Fenton continued on.

"There is a possibility that..." Fenton sighed heavily, knowing this was not going to go well. "Robert Santos, or better known as Sei Duro, is alive.

"What!?"

"But... I thought the man was dead..." Frank's voice trailed off when something caught his eye. It was barely noticeable, being that it was practically buried between the couch cushions, but still he knew immediately that it would be very important.

"Frank, what is it?"

"Dad, will you hand me your handkerchief?"

Fenton handed Frank his white handkerchief, and soon he, along with Joe, Aldo, and Chief Collig, all watched as Frank reached into the bloodied couch and pulled out a small tape recorder. Frank hesitated for a second before pushing the play button.

"No! S...stay away!"

They all gasped in shock. It was sound of Tony's voice, screaming hysterically and sounding utterly terrified.

"Nooo! Let me go... please no... Frank! Joe! God, help me!..."

There was a heavy sting of silence in the air, the tension nearly palpable as Frank turned off the tape recorder. Even their heartbeats seemed to still.

Frank felt anger building up inside of him. He could see the mask of anger on Joe's face, too, and he knew exactly was his little brother was thinking. They were both vowing to make sure that Heartless paid for hurting Tony.

"Tony... My Tony," Aldo's voice quivered, tears dancing in the corners of his eyes. "What did they... do to my son?"

Fenton placed a comforting hand on the man's shoulder. He knew exactly how Aldo was feeling; he hadn't forgotten how close he came to losing both of his sons. It had torn him apart, hearing Joe cry out in pain, and he had gone out of his mind with worry when Frank went missing in the warehouse bombing, fearing his oldest was dead. All at the hands of Heartless.

As the chilling message ran through his head,"The Prito boy is ours... Joe Hardy is next!" Fenton tried to stay calm himself. There was no way in hell Heartless was going to take Joe. They'd have to go through him first. Then he thought of Tony and despair gripped him, silently praying that the boy was alright.

Suddenly, his eyes caught sight of Joe running out the front door, Frank right behind him.

"Joe!" Fenton called out to his son, rushing outside after the boys.

"Joe, calm down!" Fenton heard Frank say as he stood on the porch, watching his oldest son doing his best to calm down his youngest, who was now pacing back and forth on the front lawn.

"We failed him, Frank... we failed Tony!" Joe ranted on. "He was screaming for us to help him!"

"Joe, stop. You getting all upset like this isn't helping the situation."

Frank put his hands on his brother's shoulders, forcing Joe to stop pacing and making his little brother face him.

"What did they doing to him?" Joe asked softly, trying and failing to calm down. "I just can't get his screaming out of my head. You could just hear the fear in Tony's voice." His eyes were pleading at Frank. "What if we're too late, Frank? What if... Tony is dead?"

"Joe, I don't believe for one second that Tony is dead," Frank said calmly, even though he too was angry and frustrated. For Tony's sake, he was doing his best to stay in control. "You heard Dad's message, right?"

"Yeah," Joe nodded. "You wanna play games, Detective? Unfortunately, Tony is in the middle of Santos' sick game."

"If Santos is alive, than that means Tony is still a witness to the murder Santos committed last summer," Frank said, pausing as he ran a hand nervously through his hair. "That doesn't give us a lot time, because when Santos gets done playing, he will kill Tony."

Frank's chilling words cut through Joe, sending a shiver down his spin. "And whatever Heartless did to Tony..." Frank went on, unable to stop himself, "They'll be after you next. We haven't failed him yet. Tony is counting on us. We just need to stay calm and focus on finding him. So start thinking like a detective, Joe. We have work to do."

After a few minutes, Joe took a deep breath to calm down. He knew Frank was right; they had to stay calm and focus... for Tony's sake. "Hang on, Tony. We'll find you."

Going into detective-mode, Joe turned to Frank. "Okay, so where do we start?"

"Well, let's go back inside and look for more clues that would tell us what happened to Tony," Frank replied.

Joe just nodded okay, unable to say a thing.

"Joe, are you alright?" Fenton asked, walking back into the living room with his boys.

"Yeah, I'll be fine Dad... once we have Tony back."

Just then, Officer Riley came walking into the room with a short, gray-haired, slender women in her late sixties. She was wearing a floral house coat and steel-rimmed glasses. The women reminded Frank of his Aunt Gertrude.

"Chief Collig, this is Mrs. Granger from next door."

"Hello, Mrs. Granger," Chief Collig acknowledged.

Officer Riley then turned to the women, saying, "Go ahead, Ma'am, tell the Chief what you told me."

"Okay," the women replied nervously as the Hardys and Aldo gathered around. "I was in my bedroom upstairs, sleeping, when suddenly I heard a girl hysterically screaming. It startled me something fierce. I got out of bed as fast as I could to see what was going on." The women paused to take a breath. "And by the time I got up to the window, there were these two really large men carrying a huge box out of this house, loading it in the back of a dark van. They drove off and that was that."

'Can you describe the box to us?"

"It looked about the size of a coffin."

"They put my son in a coffin!" Aldo's voice boomed out, horrified at the thought.

Frank and Joe exchanged looks with each other. Frank turned to the women, asking, "Did you see what the two men looked like?"

"No, I'm sorry, it was too dark for that. I could only just make out two large, dark figures," Mrs. Granger answered.

"What about the van?" Fenton asked.

"No, I'm sorry." Mrs. Granger shook her head. "The Prito's are such a nice family. I was sadden to hear about Simone passing away last summer. She brought me food a couple of years ago when I broke my ankle. And their son, Tony, would always help me with yard work, and Aldo would help me with little repair jobs I needed done around the house. I wish I could be more help to you."

"It's okay, Mrs. Granger," Chief Collig replied. "You've been a great help already. Go with Officer Riley here and make out a statement. If you remember anything else, please call us."

"Thank you, Mrs. Granger," Aldo said graciously as Officer Riley escorted the women out of the room. She smiled weakly, wished them good luck, and was gone in a flash.

After a long pause, Frank spoke up, thinking out loud. "These guys are pretty bold for using the front door. That's for sure."

Joe looked at Fenton, Frank, and Chief Collig, eager to do anything asked. "So, what do we do now?"

"Right now I'll get an APB out to search any dark-colored van," Chief Collig stated. "We'll have the airport and loading docks searched as well."

"While you're doing that," Fenton replied, turning to Frank and Joe, "Why don't we go talk to Ms. Santos?"


About an hour later at Prito's, the staff were busy closing up the place as Laura and Dr. Stevens sat around a large table with a now calmed-down Angela. Her eyes were all red and puffy from crying, still looking considerably shaken-up as she consoled a very fussy Little Antonio in her arms. Phil, Biff, and Chet along with Callie and Vanessa all sat with them, waiting anxiously to hear about what was going on with their friends.

Laura looked up to see Fenton, Frank, Joe, and Aldo come walking in, carrying grim expressions on their faces. She knew right away that it wasn't good news.

"Fenton, what's wrong?!" she asked anxiously, everyone whirling around to see them.

"I am afraid Heartless is back..." Fenton began, getting right to the matter.

"And they have Tony," Aldo added as he slowly sunk into a chair, hearing gasps from around the room.

"Oh no, Tony!" Angela said under her breath, holding her baby protectively close to her.

Fenton, Frank, and Joe took turns telling them about what happened to Tony. Like how the living room was completely trashed, with glass everywhere, furniture shuffled around, the coffee table turned over, picture-frames crooked on the walls, and even blood-stains splattered all over the couch. It was an obvious sign of a struggle.

After that was over, and everyone listening was sufficiently terrified for their friend, Frank told them about the picture Joe had found of Tony unconscious, bound, and gagged with the Heartless insignia: a big black heart with a blood-red outline and a spiked X through it. Laura's face paled when he told them about the blood-written message that read The Prito boy is ours... and Joe is next."

"No!"

"There is a possible that Robert Santos or better known as Sei Duro, is alive." Fenton continued on, sighing heavily and knowing that this was not going to go well.

"I wanted to wait until there is solid proof before telling you, but I recently received a chilling email that read 'You wanna play games, Detective?' ending with the Heartless crest." Once again, Fenton felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. "Sam Radley is checking things for me to see what he can find out about the supposedly dead former leader of Heartless."

"My father... is alive?" Angela said softly, unable to believe it," No."

Fenton turned to Angela, "We need to ask you some questions."

Angela hesitated for a moment, than nodded okay. "Alright, go ahead."

"Tell us again what happened with you and Tony."

"Tony and I," Angela began nervously as she felt all eyes on her, "Were in the living room, talking. I had just put Antonio in the downstairs crib that Tony has. When all-of-the-sudden these two big guys in dark suits with guns kicks in the front door and immediately head straight for Tony. The next thing I knew they grabbed him. That's when Tony yelled at me to take Antonio, run, and get help. I don't know anything after that."

Frank took a seat in front of Angela. "We have a witness who said she saw two really large men carrying a coffin-size box out of the house and placing it in the back of a dark van. She couldn't see them because it was too dark. Can you describe the two men?"

"I don't know," Angela said as she shook her head. "Everything was happening so fast."

"Angela, for Tony's sake, please try to remember anything," Frank pushed. It was important if they were going to find Tony before it was too late, and he desperately wanted to stop Heartless from taking Joe.

There was a smothering silence as everyone waited for Angela to say something, and Frank could see the wheels turning in her head,

"Wilkes," she said finally, breaking her the silence. "One of the guys looked a lot like Calvin Wilkes. He was one of my father's henchman."

"Wilkes... Wilkes." Frank said, repeating the name over in his head. "Why does that name sound familiar?"

Then suddenly it hit him. "Wait... wasn't there a Wilkes involved in kidnapping Joe and Tony last summer?"

"Yeah..." Joe spoke up. "But I thought he died when Heartless bombed the police station."

"Well, Chief Collig did say that three bodies were found in their cells, but they were hard to identify," Fenton replied. "They just assumed that the bodies were of Dr. Marsalis, Wilkes, and of course Santos. The rubble made them indistinguishable."

"So..." Joe said slowly. "It's possible Wilkes and Dr. Marsalis could very well be, alive as well."

"It's possible." Frank nodded. "One thing we know for sure is that they're all a part of Heartless."

"How do we know she's not part of this as well?!" Joe said, glaring at Angela.

"What?!" Angela's eyes widened. "You think I'm involved in this?!"

Little Antonio suddenly wiggled in her arms and started crying. "Waaaa! Waaaaaaa!"

"Yes... yes I do!" Joe snapped, his face turning pale, then brick-red. Feeling pressure building up inside of him, he knew he was about to explode; he just couldn't help himself.

Angela just looked at him, blinking.

"Where's Tony?!" Joe exploded, struggling to control his temper.

"I don't know! Where Tony is!" Angela fired back.

"Joe, calm down," Dr. Stevens instructed.

"I don't want to calm down!" Joe spat, narrowing his eyes at Angela and taking a menacing step towards the girl. Fenton held him back, but that didn't stop Joe from releasing his anger. He began puffing up his chest and his breathing got heavy and ragged. Fenton really got scared when he saw the wild look in Joe's blue eyes. "I don't trust you! If anything happens to Tony..."

"Joe, stop!" Fenton ordered. He had to defuse this situation quickly. "Take a minute and calm down.Our emotions are running high because of Tony. For now let's call it a night. Everyone go home and try to get some sleep. We'll start fresh in the morning.

"I'm... not... involved in this... I swear!... I love Tony," Angela sobbed as she held tightly on to her baby. "I don't want any part of Heartless or my father!"

"Liar!" Joe shouted as he stormed out of the room, slamming the front doors. Filled with concern, Frank shot right out of his seat after his little brother.

"Fenton, go with them!" Laura cried

Before anyone could make a move to stop them, they suddenly all heard the sound of screeching tires and then Frank's voice cried out. "Joe!"

Fenton called out as he flew out the door, everyone right behind him. He frantically looked around, not seeing his two sons.

"Frank!" he screamed, "Joe!"

"Fenton, look!" Laura exclaimed. Fenton looked to see his wife pointing with a shaking finger. On the wall of the Prito's restaurant was a big, black heart with a blood-red outline and a spiked X through it.

"Oh God! Frank and Joe are in the hands of Heartless!"


Sorry it's kind of short. if you want Frank & Joe back. Let me know what you think? should I continue? Please review! thank you :D