Before I know it, the sun has come up. I’m sitting on the window bench, looking out toward the empty desert. I had hopes, deep down, that Draco would show up sometime in between, but he hasn’t. Because he has no idea where the hell I am.
David didn’t sleep either. He watched me, scrolled through his cellphone occasionally, the gun on the table beside him. Some other men came in to deliver coffee. He offered a cup to me but I ignored him. Sucks that he seems so normal, but will probably wind up dead later for being on the wrong side. He seems like a decent guy just doing his job.
When the sun is higher in the sky, I assume it’s around noon. There’s a knock at the door. Someone says something to him in a low, deep voice when he answers the door and then he turns to look at me. “Get dressed.”
Hope fills me up. Maybe he’s already here. Maybe he’s solved this issue, and I can go back to the mansion with him . . . maybe.
I pick up the same clothes I had on yesterday and get dressed in them rapidly. I toss my hair up, sliding my feet into the cheetah print sandals. David opens the door when he sees I’m finished and I walk past him, following the second guard out in the hall.
David follows behind me, and even though I can’t see it, I feel the gun pointed at me. We walk through the hallways, into the kitchen, and out a back door. The guard in front of me marches across the large deck and down the polished wooden steps. He makes his way across the lawn, pushing a white gate open once he’s met up to it. I glance over my shoulder. David is still behind me, gun at his side.
Pressing my lips, I continue forward, across the red dirt. There is nothing out here but land and for a moment I panic, wondering if they’re leading me to my death.
I look all around, plotting ways I can take them down.
Go for the guard in front of me first.
Take his gun.
Shoot David first.
Shoot the other.
Run like hell.
But it doesn’t come down to that because the man in front of me comes to a halt and bends down, pulling on the round handles of a door in the ground. I pause when it slings open and stairs come into view.
He gives me a sideways glance before going down first. I watch him until I can’t see anymore. It’s pitch black down there. Something nudges me in the back and I look back at David.
He bobs his head, telling me to go without words. Sighing, I step down, pressing a hand to the dirt wall to keep my balance. With each step down, it becomes darker and darker. David follows closely behind. When he shuts the door above, it’s pitch black.
A flashlight turns on in an instant and he shines it down on me.
“Go,” he says.
I continue down, heart rattling, palms clammy.
My breath is shaky as I hold onto the dirt wall. I see the last step and relief swarms me. And then I see the tunnel to my right. An underground tunnel. There are gas lamps on the floor, providing some light.
The man that was in front of me cocks his head and then turns, walking off. I follow behind, scanning the area, looking for any chance at escape. We walk in near darkness for what feels like forever, until finally, I see an opening.
It’s just as dim in here, but there is furniture. Two couches with a small flat-screen TV and a game system set up in front of it. A single chair is against the wall, but it’s occupied.
I gasp, seeing exactly who occupies it. His head hangs low. He has no shirt on, just a pair of dirty jeans. He’s roped to the chair, his ankles strapped too.
“Oh my God,” I breathe. “Thiago?”
He picks his head up, blinking slow with those familiar dark eyes. “The fucking rebel,” he laughs, voice dry.
How the hell did they get him? What the hell is going on? I look at David who simply shakes his head and holds the gun up, aiming it at me. Bobbing it toward the couch, he says, “Sit.”
I put on a heavy scowl, fists clenching now, but I move, walking to the couch and sitting. I sit on the one where I can still see Thiago.
David and the other man walk back to the tunnel and start talking, looking down the dark path as if they’re waiting for someone to show up. I seize the opportunity to get answers.
“Thiago,” I whisper. “What the hell happened to you? How did they get you?”
“They took me this time. That’s how.”