Join Date: Nov 2008
At some point, the room he was taken to must have served as a storage place for a fuel yard or was very close to the exhaust of a large heating system. The air was sticky and the smell of oil and gasoline penetrated it so heavily that Indiana could hardly breathe. The dim light seemed to come from a single weak bulb that hung on a naked wire beneath its cover. The room was empty except for a couple of damp and moldy smelling straw-filled bags, on which Marian and Marcus had been thrown with their hands and feet tightly bound.
When Marcus had said they had been treated well and no harm had come to them, Indiana realized he had only kept half his word. He had been brought down here to be shown that Brody and Marian were still alive and, at least outwardly, uninjured. But he had not been able to talk with them – the two were not only bound but had been gagged as well. One of the two men who had brought Indiana down here stopped at the side of the doorway to stand guard, and was determined not to move from that position. Indiana had been shoved into the corner of the room and forced to his knees, but he was not bound. The goon stood in the doorway and grinned at him, a Tommy Gun hanging in the crook of his arm, waiting for Indiana to make a wrong move.
Indiana tried to communicate with Marian and Marcus as best as he could, but had failed. Marian was more unconscious than awake on her straw bag. Although her eyes were open, she appeared to alternate between a gloominess and emptiness. Marcus had tried to say something despite his gag, but the guard quickly quieted him with a crude blow to his rids with the butt of the gun.
So now, all they could do was wait. How long? Indiana did not know.
Some time had passed since he had been brought down to the room; surely half an hour if not longer, Indiana surmised. It was hard to determine how much time actually passed while being locked in a tiny chamber with no windows and very little artificial light, and nothing seemed to stir except the occasional uncomfortable movements of the prisoners.
However, Indiana used the long, quiet moments to think in peace for the first time about everything that had transpired – and to admit to himself how foolish he had been. Why had he believed Ramos would keep his word? He struggled to keep his thoughts straight. Why hadn’t he listened to Reuben? If not him, why not his own internal voice. Was he feeling guilty because now, someone other than himself was in danger? Perhaps a life worth more than his own? What led him to believe that a man like Ramos possessed anything resembling honor? The cold-bloodedness with which Ramos had let the old shopkeeper be killed should have been a warning.
Indiana sat in that cold, dark room, staring in emptiness at his surroundings. He alternated between long bouts of silence, then curses at Ramos and the whole world. Quite a while passed before he once again heard steps outside the rusted but sturdy door of the cellar in which he had been locked. The door creaked open. The sharp light from the corridor penetrated the darkness, and through squinting eyes Indiana recognized the crippled shade of Ramos and two other men behind him. They stepped inside, and Indiana made an attempt to rise, but a gesture from Ramos led to the second man rebuffing the attempt with the butt of his machine gun.
Indiana grunted as he fell back to the ground.
“You deceived me, Dr. Jones!” Ramos said. Although his voice was quiet, Indiana felt the menacing threat in the words.
“I don’t understand…” Indiana started, but Ramos cut him off instantly.
“You insult me still. You think I am stupid,” Ramos continued. “I don’t blame you for trying it before, but if you continue to treat me like a fool, I will become really annoyed!”
Indiana didn’t understand. He alternated his confused stare between Ramos and the second man, the other thug from the university pursuit. He was about to protest when he heard a muffled bang through the open door. It took Indiana a fraction of a second to recognize the sound: it was the echo of a gunshot. An instant later there were more shots, and then he heard the cries and trampling sound of numerous footsteps.
“You are right, Dr. Jones,” said Ramos, almost as if he had read Indiana’s thoughts. “You’re friends from the FBI have arrived to free you and your two friends. I must be honest; I did not expect them to get here so fast.”
“I don’t understand. I…” Indiana shook his head in honest astonishment. “I had no idea where your hideout was. They must have connected the dots. It wasn’t me.” Suddenly it occurred to him. “Your bodyguard! He must have told – “
Ramos interrupted him furiously. “Frank would never betray me!” His outburst was so sharp and aggressive that Indiana did not dare contradict him again. “It is you who betrayed me, Dr. Jones. Did we not have an agreement? You broke it – now you will pay the price for it!”
Indiana wanted to protest, but the two thugs yanked him roughly to his feet and slammed him into the wall with so much force his breath rushed out of his lungs. Indiana’s reflexes almost made him grab at the man’s head in resistance, but the thug stepped back and aimed his weapon at Marian. Indiana froze in his motion.
“Come along!” Ramos instructed.
The other man grabbed Marian and roughly yanked her to her feet, then grabbed Marcus and did the same. The first thug pushed Indiana out into the corridor where another of Ramos’ men waited. Indiana looked around, searching for any possibility of escape. Although the lighting was dim, the corridor was long and narrow. There was no way they could get away without being shot.
One of the men produced a key and separated Marian and Marcus’s foot shackles. However their wrists remained bound and the blindfolds were not removed.
“Where are you taking us?” Indiana demanded.
Ramos dismissed him with a gesture. “To a safe place, Dr. Jones,” he answered. He narrowed his eyes and ‘stared’ at Indiana. Although they could not see, they could express hatred. “You deceived me. Did we not have an agreement? We – “
Indiana heard a gunshot again. This time it was much closer. Ramos broke off in the middle of his sentence and turned his head in the direction from which the shots were coming. The shots were accompanied by the sound of dozens of feet and slamming doors. Splintering wood followed, and the door at the end of the corridor broke open. The shadows of two or three men appeared in the dimly lit corridor, followed behind by the shapes of other men.
Indiana decided to bet everything on one card. Counting Ramos, there were four gangsters here, three of which were armed with machine guns. But they were also distracted for the moment. Indiana made a lightning-fast step to the right. He noticed movement out of the corner of his eye as one of the thugs caught on to his plan. He ducked at the same time the thug lurched for him. The hasty movement robbed him of his balance and he fell clumsily to the ground. His kicked his foot kicked out at the same time and struck one of the thugs in the stomach as he tried to aim his machine-pistol. Luckily, this makeshift attack threw second thug backwards into another gangster and they both fell to the ground. The second man’s finger accidentally tightened on the trigger, releasing a salvo of gunfire in the narrow hallway. It sounded like cannon-fire echoing in the narrow space, and Indiana instinctively ducked his head as sparks exploded throughout the corridor from the ricocheting bullets. Sparks exploded next to Marian’s face as a bullet struck the stone corridor wall. The third thug, who just wanted to take on Indiana and was about to attack, suddenly grabbed his shoulder in pain and fell to his knees. But it appeared that Indiana’s winning streak was about over. He rolled over and tried clumsily to get to his feet, but with his hands tied behind his back it proved more difficult than he expected – especially since Ramos had turned around and with amazing marksmanship for a blind man tried to kick Indiana in the face. He missed, but his foot slammed into Indiana’s shoulder and knocked him down a second time. Shots rang out again, and the ricochets screamed off the back part of the corridor. One of the other thugs got to his feet and rushed forward, then with a gasping cry he fell back to the ground and lay still.
Indiana rolled quickly three or four steps to the side, trying to get out of Ramos’ reach. Rage distorted his face and small, raspy screams issued from his mouth as he stamped wildly on the ground where he thought Indiana would be. Suddenly the hallway was full of hurrying and fighting, men were screaming and scurrying movements were everywhere; Ramos’ men rushed in headlong flight down the corridor, followed by half a dozen figures. Indiana thought he even glimpsed Laurel and Hardy amongst the pursuers.
“The woman!” Ramos screamed. “Bring her!”
Two of the newly added gangsters pounced immediately on Marian, who fought back desperately. Indiana jumped to his feet and tried with all his might to break the bonds that tied his hands, but the thin leather straps simply dug painfully into the skin on his wrists. A punch hit him in the chest and threw him back against the wall. As he fell helplessly back to his knees, he saw another gangster grab Marcus and drag him roughly behind them as Ramos and his thugs headed down the corridor away from the melee.
The fear for his friend gave Indiana renewed strength. He jumped up and ran through one of the guys who had gotten in his way. He stomped unceremoniously after Ramos and the men who were dragging Marcus and Marian with them. Behind him, he heard someone shouting his name over two or three shots. A bullet bounced on the wall right next to him as he ran, howling as it ricocheted through the corridor, but he ignored all of these things and ran faster.