Join Date: Nov 2008
Part 37 (cont)
The passage ended in front of a locked metal door, which one of Ramos’ companions was trying to unlock with flying fingers. Two other gangsters were holding Marian and Marcus, while another turned to Indiana and came at him with fists raised. Indiana simply ran right through him, bounced awkwardly, and stumbled against the thug who was holding Marian. The sheer force of the collision knocked the gangster to the ground. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon whose point of view) Indiana also fell. The impact of Indiana’s weight caused the thug’s head to bounce so harshly against the floor that he lost consciousness on the spot.
Ramos’ companion was still working diligently at the lock on the door, which was still several steps down the corridor from Indiana. He finally managed to get it open. The door swung inward with a loud squeak and opened into a room of total darkness. Ramos shouted something Indiana didn’t understand, but almost at the same moment two more gangsters appeared and pounced on him. While still on the ground, Indiana met the first with a sharp kick to the shin, which made the guy stagger back in pain. But the second guy grabbed him by his collar, pulled him up, and threw him with such force against the wall that for a moment all Indiana saw was stars and he crumpled to the ground, fighting back the dark shroud that threatened to envelop him.
He heard Marian screaming, and with panic in his voice Marcus shouted his name and something else he could not understand. He was suddenly grabbed and yanked into the air again. A ghostly face appeared before him. Indiana tensed in anticipation of another punch or kick. Instead, the driving mist cleared before his eyes, and he realized it wasn’t one of the gangsters that had pulled him back to his feet, but one of Reuben’s men: his hair was sticky from sweat and his face flushed with exertion, but he wore the typical suit of a FBI official, and in his right hand was Smith & Wesson .38 caliber. He was shaking Indiana wildly with his left hand.
“Are you all right, Dr. Jones?” He asked.
Indiana made a motion that was a combination of a head shake and a nod, and when he freed himself from the grip of the FBI official he missed falling back to the ground again by a hair. “My wrists,” he blurted. “Cut me loose. Quick!”
The FBI man threw one quick glance back down the hallway, then produced a knife from his pocket and began sawing at the leather straps of Indiana’s bonds. Reuben’s men had apparently driven most of Ramos’ men away – all but one or two who still doggedly fought against the overwhelming armed federal agents. Most of the remaining stragglers stood with their hands up in the air or writhing on the ground.
Indiana sighed with relief as his hands snapped free. He wasted no time to massage his joints and move his fingers so that the feeling would return to his numb hands. Then he turned toward the now-closed door that Ramos and the men dragging Marian and Marcus had left through. Behind him Reuben cried his name, but he ignored it and ran even faster. He reached down and grabbed one of the machine guns Ramos’ thugs had dropped and threw himself against the door.
The door burst inwards, crashing into the wall. Indiana stumbled for a few steps more, then stopped in complete darkness, trying to get a look around. His eyes needed to adjust. The echo of his steps revealed that he was in a very large room. The little bit of light that managed to creep in from the hallway behind ended just a few feet inside.
“Jones! What the hell-“
Reuben’s voice trailed off, and as Indiana angrily turned around he saw the shadow of the FBI agent as a black silhouette looming in the doorway.
“Be quiet,” he said. “They are in here somewhere.”
Reuben did not answer, but he tilted his head as if it would help him listen. After a few moments, he thought he heard muffled sounds somewhere in the room in front of them in the darkness. But he couldn’t pinpoint the exact direction.
“A lamp,” ordered Reuben to someone behind him. “Bring a lamp here! Quick!”
Indiana crept a few more steps forward, and Reuben lifted a frightened hand. “Stay where you are, Jones,” he said.
Indiana did not remain in place, however. On the contrary, he fumbled forward with carefully outstretched arms, moving further into the darkness until his fingers encountered the cool, tough resistance of the wall. Behind him he heard Reuben cursing, yelling once more for a lamp. But he tried to ignore the commotion and focus on the faint scratching and tapping that was coming from somewhere in front of him. “Left.” He was almost sure it was coming from the left.
Reuben continued to swear and roar “Jones” with increasing loudness. But Indiana continued on, feeling his way deeper and deeper into the darkness, until the stone beneath his fingers suddenly turned into the rusted metal of a door. He quickly fumbled for the handle, and pressed down on the catch. He registered relief that the door was not locked. When he gently pushed it open, he saw light. It was just a glimmer, a pale yellow stripe emerging from underneath a door at the far end of a corridor. But now the noise he had been hearing became louder.
Indiana prayed that no one was lurking in the darkness before him. He moved the machine gun from his left hand to his right and stormed down the corridor. Behind him, the door he had just opened crashed loudly as it closed.
When he reached the end of the corridor, he paused for a second to take a deep breath – and slammed his shoulder powerfully into the door and blew it inward. Before him lay crates, bales, oil drums and all sorts of other junk cluttered the basement, rising almost to the ceiling. A single, bare bulb spread yellow light and even more shadows. Ramos, Marian, Marcus, and two of Ramos’ gangsters were faced with another locked door at the other end of the room. Ramos’ men strove in vain to open the door and escape from the fortress. As Indiana approached they turned, and he startled them with his raised machine pistol.
Indiana pushed on instinctively.
It was pure coincidence, but the machine pistol volley struck the wall, creating sparks next to one of the killers. The last bullet from the salvo struck the killer’s gun, snatching it from his hand. The guy stumbled around clutching his wrist in pain, while the second turned his attention from the door and turned toward Indiana, where he started to raise his machine gun.
“You better not try it,” said Indiana as he pointed his gun menacingly at the gangster.
The thug froze in mid-motion. His eyes flickered as he alternately looked at the ruined gun, his companion whimpering in pain on the floor, and the gun in Indiana’s hand.
“Shoot him!” Ramos said in a shrill voice. “Shoot him down!”
The thug hesitated, clearly torn between the fear of the weapon in Indiana’s hand and Ramos standing in front of him. The fear of his master was stronger. Suddenly he jumped to the side and fire simultaneously with Indiana. Indiana had guessed the movement from the start, and managed to doge away. The machine pistol volley smashed the door behind him. This thug was not as lucky as his friend. The bullets hit him squarely in the chest and shoulders, and flung him to the ground dead.
“Shoot him!” Ramos screamed again. “Bring him to me!”
Indiana slowly lowered his weapon. “Give up, Ramos,” he said. “There is no one here to help you.”
Ramos’ already disfigured face contorted even more with rage. With agility Indiana would never have credited him with, he spun around and grabbed Marian. Indiana noticed for the first time that she had managed to get rid of her shackles at some point, because her hands were free. Still, she made no attempt to put up a fight. Ramos dragged her around and wrapped his arm around her neck from behind and groped for one of the many wooden boards scattered on the crates around them. “Not another step closer,” he snarled as he brandished his makeshift club in the air.
Indiana was in the middle of raising his machine pistol to point it at Ramos, but he stopped and laid the weapon gently on the ground. Apart from the fact that he was not a marksman, the machine pistol was not an accurate weapon. Besides, he was not going to kill Ramos.
“Give it up,” Indiana said. “It’s pointless now.”
Ramos appeared to disagree. While Indiana cautiously approached him, Ramos pushed Marian awkwardly ahead of him with bumps from the wooden club. As he approached, he started swinging the club angrily and violently in the air.
Indiana realized what Ramos was up to a second too late.