Evil in Paradise - Part 10 by Begin Again
The blindfold slipped from her eyes, filling her with overwhelming gratification. Struggling for hours, she drank in the satisfaction of finally being able to see her prison. Several large lanterns, their flames flickering, were scattered around the make shift home. Cast iron pots and a tea kettle sat atop several wooden crates near a fire pit. A thread-bare sofa and two ratty-looking chairs formed a sitting area nearby.
Blood trickled down her arm, a reminder of the unyielding handcuffs that held her prisoner. Her pale skin was raw from her efforts to set herself free.
Slowly, almost regretfully, Carrie shifted her eyes toward the constant whimpering sound. Nausea swept through her as she struggled to comprehend the scene unfolding before her. A gigantic metal cage, similar to ones she'd seen in a zoo, filled the large cavern to her left. Hanging lanterns surrounded it, casting their light to the floor below. A male figure dressed in bib overalls was compulsively rocking back and forth on the floor, alternating between tearful whimpers and unintelligible words.
Without warning, Colin sprang to his feet, charging the sides of the cage. A blood-curdling scream, followed by another and another, echoed against the walls. Cringing, Carrie squeezed her eyes tightly closed, praying for the excruciating sound to stop. Moments later, it did.
She was stunned when he spoke again. His voice was childlike, but calm and almost pleasing.
"I'm hungry. Please give me something to eat." He waited patiently for her answer, tilting his head from side to side.
Uncertainty and fear forced Carrie to remain still, unable to speak, not wanting to rekindle the manic side of this young man.
"Where's Mick? Is he making our lunch? Are you going to play with me?"
The sour taste of bile rose in her throat. Her eyes never left the figure clinging to the cage bars. His docile attitude and childish voice gave her a false sense of security. Seconds later, like ice water, terror raced through her body.
Having walked away from the bars, he turned, charging them like a ferocious bull, slamming his weight against them. His face twisted into a sinister snarl and he bellowed viciously, "Listen, bitch, I'm talking to you." When she didn't answer, he screamed again, "I know you can hear me."
Frantic, Carrie weighed her choices - anger him further by ignoring him or attempt to explain the situation to this apparent irrational human being. Human being was stretching it a bit; man-like beast was a bit more accurate.
Licking her lips, Carrie lifted her head from the mattress. She could see him watching her every movement, like a lion eyeing his prey. She swallowed hard.
"I ... I can't help. I'm handcuffed to these poles." Her quivering voice sounded pathetic to her ears. She didn't want to appear helpless. She inhaled sharply and then spoke again, "I'm sure someone will help us ... you ... soon."
"Mick ... he makes me lunch. What did you do with Mick?" Colin started to pace back and forth, occasionally shaking the metal gate. When Carrie didn't answer, his anger returned full force, "I'm going to tear you apart. Do you hear me?" Slamming against the gate again, his anger exploded, "Where's my brother? What have you done with him?"
Pressing her trembling body against the mattress, hopelessness engulfed her. Unable to stop the onset of tears, she began to sob, hysterically. Colin's agitated screams and the sound of creaking metal heightened her fear. She began to pray for a quick death.
Meanwhile, after disposing of the stolen Chevy, Rufus hiked the last four miles up the mountain, remaining far away from the occasional run-down cabin that spotted the hillsides. The smell of burning garbage told him he was close to the dump. The sound of loud voices breaking the normally peaceful quiet spoke volumes. His slightly daft mind registered trouble, big trouble. Easing backwards, retracing his footsteps, he found another trail, and without making a sound, he hurried toward the cabin.
After learning of the car in the dump, Darryl raced to his car, stopping at the gate house for quick directions. Once on the road, with a red light flashing atop the vehicle, he pushed the gas pedal to the floor, flying down the highway. Approaching a series of curves, he was forced to lower his speed; something he was grateful for only seconds later.
A big pop and the intense shaking of the car informed him the vehicle had a flat tire. Cursing, he pulled to the side of the road. Opening the driver's door, he pulled himself out, slamming it with a powerful shove. The car rocked from the force. The front tire was flatter than a pancake. Before going to the trunk for a spare, he violently kicked the shredded rubber, swearing at the top of his lungs.
As he walked toward the back of the car, he spotted a Jeep rounding the curve. Instantly, changing a tire was forgotten. He'd commandeer the approaching vehicle. After all, he was in the process of solving an on-going crime.
As his view of the vehicle became clearer, he couldn't believe his luck. It was a Park Ranger Jeep, and if he wasn't mistaken, it sure looked as if Hank was the driver. Standing in the middle of the road, he waved his arms in the air until the car stopped.
Hank leaned out the window, letting a chuckle roll off his lips. "Appears as if you got a bit of trouble, Darryl."
In no mood for frivolity, Darryl's voice was clipped and to the point. "Just got a call. My men think they found a car in the dump."
"A car in the dump's got you wound up like a spring? Hell, there's plenty of burnt out cars in that ole dump." Hank started to get out of the Jeep, but Darryl shoved the door closed.
"This car's plates match one of the missing ones."
"You don't say ... who'd that be?"
"It's a convertible and I believe Miss Underwood rented it."
"What? What's she got-" Hank's mind was spinning. The situation was about to explode in his face.
Having hustled around the front of the jeep, Darryl was opening the passenger door. Hank reached for the box on the seat, but the FBI Agent's hands were quicker, tossing it on the floor. In his haste, the contents spilled out across the floorboards. Both men stared at the white powdery substance oozing from the seam of one broken pouch.
Darryl was the first to recover. He dipped his index finger into the powder and then touched his tongue. "Damn! You're a bigger fool than I took you for, man."
Hank's left hand fingered the gun on his side. Life as a respected Park Ranger was over.
"Don't even think about it, man. You might try to get a shot off, but I guarantee you, mine won't miss."
Their eyes met, each one sizing up the other. This was the last thing Darryl wanted or expected. He wanted to get to the crime scene, but now he had one trapped Park Ranger waging the possibilities of shooting him or going to jail for drug trafficking.
Hank tried to speak, his voice stuttered, " I... I... can explain."
"I bet you can, but is that before or after you try and shoot me?"
Having reached the secluded cabin and not finding Mick, Rufus plunged through the overgrown thicket toward the old mine shaft. If Mick knew there was trouble, he'd certainly go to Colin.
Colin's anger and adrenalin had snowballed in the past hour. The pounding and rattling of the old metal gate had loosened the hinges. Much to his startled surprise as he slammed against it again, the gate and the young man flew through the air, tumbling to the damp floor.
Stumbling to his feet, he loomed above Carrie's trembling body. A blood curdling scream filled the cavern, echoing against the walls. Unable to cope, darkness overcame her as she slipped into unconsciousness.
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