Also, I’ll be doing this story a bit differently. It’s a “short story” in name only This is part 1, part 2 will be next week, and week 3 will be the character interview. Now that I’ve yammered enough, I hope you enjoy the story. Also, the first person to tell me where I included my turtle Jade will get to decide the fate of one mystery character.
Why didn’t I learn to speak Dari? Squinting my eyes, I try to look through the mesh of the cloth bag over my head. I can just see the outlines of the two men in charge. I think Twig, the tall one, is the leader. Every time he yells tiny Tubby nods.
The bullet wound on my butt starts talking to me, so I shift position, my wrists chafing against their ties as I move.
Twig barks at me and spits. Where is my dang knife when I need it?
When they leave, they stop what little air flow there was in the room. I don’t know what’s going to drive me crazy first, the smell in this place, or this stupid bag. I shake my head just like I have a hundred times, but the cursed thing doesn’t move. Judging by the growth I can feel as I lick my chapped lips, we’ve been here about two weeks.
In silence I listen for Juliette, Alpha, Delta, and Echo. I don’t hear any of them. We were all taken together, and thankfully, since Juliette is the only one of the men that can speak Dari, we’ve all been kept together.
I shuffle my feet, using the Morse code language we’d devised. It’s amazing what you can come up with when deprived of site, bound and gagged.
Sound off. I say.
Hey, morons! Answer me.
I work at the bag again, rubbing my cheek against my shoulder. As the tie at my throat loosens I shake my head until I’m sick and say a silent prayer of thanks when the bag flies off.
I swallow the desert in my throat. I’m alone. Where are they? Last night I had agreed to take the watch. Why did I let myself fall asleep?
I take a deep breath, trying to quiet my mind and shuffle out another message. I listen again.
My heart pumps faster and I begin to pull at the bindings on my wrists. They only budge.
In the distance Delta yells, his thick southern drawl bouncing off the walls. I fight harder.
After a minute I’m able to loosen the ropes enough to slide my hands beneath me. I take a breath. This is going to hurt. Gritting my teeth, I brace my back against the wall and get to my feet. My bruised bones scream. Carefully I stand on one leg and pull the other through the loop of my arms. I freeze as footsteps approach.
With some difficulty I slide back down and lay on my side, curling into a ball.
Delta curses as he’s hurled back into the room and rolls across the floor.
“You still in here, Yankee?”
I shuffle out my answer.
“Enough of that crap! The morons watching us can’t understand a word of English. Believe me, I’d be dead if they could.” He laughs. “Either that, or they don’t care what I call their mamas and daddies.”
“Any idea what they want from us?”
He gives a low whistle. “Target practice on Uncle Sam’s bill would be my guess.”
I work my way to my feet and get my hands fully in front of me. I take the bag off Delta’s head and he gives me a toothless smile of bloodied gums.
“Think my dental insurance will cover this?” He shakes his head. “I don’t think the wife would care for me much this way.”
I help him sit up and pat his back. “I think it’s improved your looks.”
Between the two of us we’re able to free each other of our ropes.
“Have you seen the others?”
He nods, rubbing his wrists. “Echo was taken first last night.” He swallows and I look to the ground. “They used his own gun on him.”
“What about Juliette and Alpha?”
“Juliette was taken after me. I saw him being lead to another room. Alpha and I were together until they took me outside for a waltz.”
“You’ve seen a way outside?”
He nods. “Don’t go getting any deadly ideas, Yankee. Outside is still inside tall walls.”
“Delta, doing nothing is a deadly idea. Look what happened to Echo. What are we facing if we can get out of here?”
“Guns, knives, and bombs, oh my.”
I sneak to the door and try the handle. It’s locked. “They change guard when they bring us
those scraps. That’ll be our chance.”
“Our chance to do what? I’d like to see my wife again this side of the pearly gates.”
“So would I. That’s why we can’t stay here.”
“You want to see my wife too? And here I was thinking we were friends.”
“Shut up, Delta.” As he winces I help him into a sitting position. “Seriously, what do we know?”
“I counted five of what I think were guards on this level. They took me past three staircases and the hall went on for another twenty yards by my estimation.”
“Okay then, let’s say you only saw half of what’s on this floor. If they have the same number on each floor that’d put us as 30 guns because I swear I saw three levels to this place when they dragged us in here.”
“You were awake when they brought us in?”
I nod. “I thought you guys were dead.”
“What else do you remember?”
“When I woke up in the back of the Jeep with the rest of you, and I don’t know how long we’d been going. It took us two hours, at what felt like fifty miles an hour, to get here after we left what I think was the main road. We’re in the middle of nowhere somewhere.”
“Do you know what direction we were going?”
I take a deep breath and close my eyes. “It was late and the sun was coming in on the left side of the car. We had to have been traveling north.”
“So, what’s the plan?”
“Find Juliette and Alpha, fight our way out, and run like the devil himself is chasing us.”
Delta snorts. “You really think that would work?”
“No.” I shrug. “But it beats dying looking down the barrel of my own gun.”
Thank you so much for reading everyone! I hope you’re looking forward to part 2 as much as I am! Be sure to check back next Monday.