We’re In This Together
E-mail Author: StargateSG1971@aol.com
Summary: Mac goes in to rescue Pete and ends up needing to be rescued himself.
Category: Torture, Violence, Anguish, Hurt, Comfort, and Friendship
Warnings: Moments of extreme physical and mental anguish
Disclaimer: MacGyver and its characters belong to Paramount Pictures and all the powers that be, not me. No copyright infringement intended. This story is written for fan entertainment only and no money has exchanged hands. The story is the property of the author and may not be posted anywhere without the authors consent.
Authors Comments: Told from multiple POV’s
Special Thanks To: Edna Phillips (Mrs Stargate/MacGyver Obsessed) for putting up with my constant MacGyver/Jack O’Neill/RDA drooling and for being a great friend !!
I heard the phone ringing in the distance and thought about ignoring it. Whoever was on the other end was very persistent; eventually I rolled over and answered it.
“Mac its Nikki”
“What’s up? Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Its Pete”
My groggy mind cleared instantly at the mention of his name. He’d been missing for the last couple of days. There’d been no word from him, and that wasn’t like Pete.
“What about Pete, have you spoken to him?”
“No I haven’t. Mac, I think you should come in, straight away!”
“I’ll be right there. What’s going on?”
“We’ve found his car, it looks like it’s been run off the road. There’s no sign of him, but there’s blood on the steering column. The driver’s door was pulled off its hinges, and there are tracks in the mud to indicate he was dragged up the embankment. Mac, there’s some tire tracks too. I think Greg Peters has him?”
The mere mention of Greg sent shivers down my spine. The man was a sadist; there was no other word to describe him. He’d stop at nothing to get what he wanted. I knew it, and so did Nikki.
“Why’d you say that?”
“There was a lighter on the ground. We dusted it for prints and they match Jake Samuels. Isn’t that Greg’s right hand man?”
My heart hit the ground and I felt physically sick at the thought of Pete in the hands of this crazed man. Murdoc was bad enough, but this guy was worse. He took pleasure-inflicting pain on anyone.
Nikki startled me that much; I jumped and almost dropped the receiver.
“I’m coming now, get all the information you’ve got together. I want to see it as soon as I get there”
With that I hung up, quickly got dressed, and jumped into my jeep. There was hardly any traffic on the road so I made good timing, within 20 minutes I’d arrived at The Phoenix Foundation.
I walked into Pete’s office to find his desk littered with pictures and papers. I started sifting through them, but it didn’t look like there was much to go on. I saw a file labelled “Jake Samuels” and picked it up, just before I sat down on one of the nearby chairs.
I opened the file to reveal the police report with an up-to-date picture of Jake clipped to it. Its not like I could forget what the guy looked like. I think his face and Greg’s for that matter; will be imprinted in my mind for the rest of my life. Shaking away bad memories I focused on the present and scanned through the report. It didn’t say much really but it did give a current address; or at least the last address listed by his probation officer. I decided to check it out. I scribbled a quick note for Nikki and set off.
The sun was just starting to rise as I parked up opposite his apartment block. I turned the engine off and waited. Nearly 4 hours passed and there was still no sign of Jake. I was beginning to think he’d moved on, just as I saw him leaving the building. He walked over to a silver colored pick-up and jumped in. I couldn’t quite make out the license plate because other vehicles shielded it; all I could see was the last 3 digits. I made a note of them and started my engine.
I let him get a reasonable distance ahead before I pulled out and followed him. He stopped at a gas station to fill up and I noticed a phone booth, I decided to call Nikki.
“Nikki it’s me, Mac”
“Where are you?”
“Ah…I’m not sure. I’m following Jake at the moment; he’s just pulled into Sumner’s Gas Station. Can you try and trace his plate for me? I couldn’t read it very well; all I got was 156”
“Why bother if you’ve already found him?”
“There was no mention of a vehicle in the police report so it must be registered to someone else, could be Greg. I know I’m clutching but it’s got to be worth a shot, no harm in checking”
“Ok but that’s not much to go on, how am I supposed to do that?”
“It’s a silver pick-up with a blue and white flame down the side panel, looks to me like a specialised paint job, so you should be able to trace the artist. It’s the only lead we’ve got…. he’s leaving. I gotta go!”
With that I hung up and got back in my jeep. Like before I waited for him to get a reasonable distance before I pulled out and followed. He drove back to his apartment, got out of the vehicle, and went inside.
I threw my keys on the side and smiled. He didn’t know I’d been watching out for him, waiting for him to turn up, I don’t suppose he even realised that I’d dropped the lighter on purpose. Smiling to myself, I picked up the phone and dialled. It wasn’t long before it was answered.
“There’s a certain someone parked outside my apartment, want to try and guess who?”
I could visualize the smile on Greg’s face.
“Got it in one. Want me to lead him to, oh I don’t know, warehouse 7?”
“Yeah, sounds good, but give me some time to get something set up”
“Ok. How about 10.00 tonight?”
“Perfect. I’ll see you then, bye”
I put the receiver down, walked over to the window and pulled the drapes back slightly; he was still there.
“Tonight MacGyver, tonight”
I let the drapes drop, walked over to the couch, and crashed out in front of the TV.
After putting down the phone I walked into the other room and looked at the bound man lying on his side, on the floor. It had been hard resisting the urge to hurt him. My only consolation had been to put a hood over his head, gag him, tie his hands behind his back and put metal cuffs around his ankles limiting his movements. But the waiting was over, and before long, the games would begin.
“Well Pete, looks like you’re gonna be having some company soon”
I leaned over and removed the hood covering his head; eyes full of hatred met me.
“What’s the matter, aren’t you enjoying my company? You know the fun hasn’t even started yet, wait till MacGyver arrives”
His eyes widened at the sound of his friends name. I watched him make a couple of feeble attempts to try and get up, before I bent over and slammed him back down. I pulled out a small flick knife from my back pocket and placed the blade against his neck, then removed the gag from his mouth.
“Don’t even think about it Pete. This is my time, do you understand!? You will tell me what I need to know, believe me. What I did to MacGyver last time will be like a walk in the park compared to what I have in mind this time round. Do you remember what I did to him the last time we met?”
“How could I forget, you nearly killed him”
“The plan was to kill him, only he found a clever little way out. This time they’ll be NO way out, this time he won’t be able to go anywhere, I’ll make sure of that.”
“Mac has nothing to do with this, leave him out of it”
“I don’t think so Pete. Besides, he’s already invited himself, only he doesn’t know it yet”
“I don’t know anything, you’re wasting your time”
“You know the access code for the vault at The Phoenix Foundation. Don’t try and deny it Pete I’ve had someone working on the inside for months. There are only 2 security passes in existence and you’re the only one who can change the entry code, no-one else has the authority. I have all the aces Pete. I have you and your security pass, all I need now, is the code”
Pete looked stunned; he never said a word.
“You will give me the code Pete, but not too soon, not before I have my fun. I won’t let you”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
I ran the blunt edge of the blade across his throat, and then dragged it down his neck, turning the blade to the sharp edge along the way. I felt his body tense as the blade finally punctured his skin. The blood trickled down the blade and glistened in the dim light, as I pulled it away, I turned and smiled at him saying:
I left the room leaving Pete alone with his thoughts.
What did he mean by ‘having fun, when MacGyver arrives’? What was he going to do to him? Who was the corrupt agent? What did he want out of the vault? My mind was whirling in all directions when I heard the door being flung open. I hunched over and looked towards the opening. I saw one of Greg’s men walking towards me. When he got close enough he bent down, grabbed me by my shoulders, and pulled me up onto my knees.
“We’re gonna take a little ride, have a change of scenery, and wait for your friend”
“Where are you taking me?”
“Like I’m gonna tell you that”
He picked up the hood off the floor and was about to put it over my head when Greg appeared by the door.
“Don’t forget to gag him Terry”
He dropped the hood, looked around the room and walked behind me, re-appearing with a roll of duck tape. After a couple of attempts he managed to tear apiece off, and placed it over my mouth. Grabbing my shoulders, he lifted me off my knees.
I got to my feet and staggered slightly. He steadied me before bending down and picking the hood up. It was pulled over my head and I was plunged into darkness.
He tugged at my arm pulling me hard, in what I could only imagine was the direction of the door. I only moved a couple of inches before I came crashing down. The metal cuffs around my ankles stopping my movement any further. I landed hard on the floor and heard Terry laughing.
“Oh yeah, I forgot about them”
I heard, and then felt him, removing the metal cuffs. I was yanked up onto my feet and pushed from behind. I stumbled forwards and thought I was going to fall again, but someone caught me.
“Be careful Terry, we don’t want to injure him, not just yet anyway”
It was Greg, I could tell by the voice. I suddenly had a sharp pain in my neck; it felt like I’d just been stabbed with a needle. Again I was pulled forwards. I could smell oil in the air as I was taken around the twists and turns in the building. I could feel my legs getting heavier, and started dragging my feet.
“Come on Thornton, move it!”
I was trying, but each step was becoming harder. I stumbled and staggered along before finally dropping to my knees. Terry pulled me to my feet and supported me as I became weaker and weaker, until eventually I couldn’t walk at all, then he just dragged me along. It was a weird feeling, all my senses were working perfectly; I just couldn’t support myself, and now the rest of my body was starting to become numb too.
I listened to all the sounds around me, hoping to try and hear something that might give me a clue as to where I was. I could hear a pneumatic drill, a hydraulic lifting ramp and the sound of vehicles. I came to the conclusion that I was in a garage of some kind. I heard a door opening and could tell we were outside by the sound of the rain. We stopped and Terry lowered me to the ground. Now unable to move at all, I lay there motionless. I heard the sound of keys jangling and then a whooshing noise. I was trying to figure out what it was, when I heard the crunch of approaching footsteps.
“When you get there, tie him to a chair in the center of the room. Take off the hood, but leave the gag on. I want him to see MacGyver coming”
“Ok. What’d you give him anyway? I had to carry him most of the way”
“A muscle relaxant which causes temporary paralysis, it’ll wear off in a few hours”
“Oh. Can you give me a hand putting him in the van?”
I looked at my watch it was nearly 9.15pm. He hadn’t moved for hours. I’d called Nikki a couple of times but so far she’d got zilch. Ten minutes later I saw him leaving the building, he got into his pick-up and headed south. I followed at a reasonable distance until we entered an industrial area. He parked up next to a black Ford by one of the warehouses; I made a mental note of the license plate number and drove by slowly, trying to avoid altering him to my presence. I pulled up on the side of the road and scribbled the information down, before turning around and heading back in the direction I’d just come from.
I hid the jeep down one of the side alleys we’d passed minutes earlier. It was a bit of a hike back to the warehouse but I thought it was the safest option. It took me about 20 minutes to get back there. It seemed abandoned now, both vehicles had gone, the building looked deserted. I decided to take a look inside and see if I could find any clues that might lead me to Pete.
I walked around the building to find the easiest, quickest and safest way inside. I decided to try a side door in the dimly lit area, to avoid anyone seeing me. There was a small padlock securing it so I took out my Swiss Army Knife and fiddled with the lock using one of the blades. After some gentle persuasion I heard the gears of the lock moving as the mechanism was released. I removed the lock, pulled the door back, and entered the warehouse.
I was looking in all directions and never noticed the pressure plate on the floor until I’d stepped on it. Before I had a chance to react, the once open doorway was obstructed by metal bars that had dropped nicely into place, ensuring that the only direction I was left with, was through the door in front of me. I surmised that Jake had seen me following him, and had got Greg to set a trap. I looked around the room; there wasn’t much in it. There was a desk and chair, plus a few other items that littered the floor, a bucket of sand, rubber tubing, a gearbox and some wheel bearings. A couple of brooms leant against the wall underneath a blackboard, there was a box of chalk and I noticed some glass on the floor. I looked up to see that one of the windows had been smashed, it was too small to get out of, and my only option, was the door in front of me.
I grabbed hold of the handle and turned it slowly. The door was unlocked. I opened it cautiously and sneaked a peak inside. It was another more or less empty room. There were a couple of paint aerosols left lying on the floor just inside the doorway, and something in the right hand corner of the room, but I couldn’t quite make out what it was. I pulled the door back fully; a clock dropped from the ceiling and hung in the center of the room. Suddenly in the right hand corner, a TV switched itself on and a recorded message played; it was from Greg.
“Hello MacGyver. I’ve got Pete to play with this time round, I don’t need you you’re expendable. You’ll have noticed by now, a clock suspended in the middle of the room. Once this message has played it’ll start counting down on a timer. If you look closely you’ll see that there’s C4 strapped to the TV, with a line running into the clock. It works off the timer, once it hits 12.00 its bye, bye MacGyver. There is no way out this time!”
The TV switched itself off and I watched the fingers of the clock move as the timer started counting down. It’d been set for 6 minutes. I stepped into the room making sure this time there wasn’t a pressure plate on the floor. I noticed the glow of a red beam on my pants just as I heard the sound of gunshots. I jumped to the left but one of the bullets clipped me on my right shoulder. I landed hard on the ground and winded myself.
I rolled over and got up. Then I walked over to the paint aerosols and picked them up. Man I hoped there was something left in them apart from air. Turning towards the clock again I pressed down on the button, tiny paint particles filled the air. I took a few steps forward before the spray revealed another set of lasers; luckily I was close enough to get a reasonable view of the clock.
Just as Greg had said, the TV was hooked up to the clock, and there was enough C4 on it to do some real damage in such a small area. It really wasn’t a good idea to be around when it blew. I noticed another line coming from it and traced its path along the floor, up the wall, and into a panel at the back of the room. I wasn’t 100% sure but it looked like it was operating the lasers, so once the timer was deactivated, the lasers would be too. I moved to the right to try and see behind the clock, to ascertain if pressing the button really would stop the timer and deactivate the bomb. It was difficult to see, I needed to get closer.
I took a look around to see what the lasers might activate if I disrupted the beam. I could see a set of 6 arrows neatly lined up on the right, and left hand side of the room, pointed in my direction. I suppose I could take the chance and hope they’d miss me, but there were so many I didn’t think that was an option. I decided to go back into the other room and try another plan, if, that was at all possible. I dropped one of the aerosols on the floor at my feet, turned on the spot and ran to the doorway knowing now, that it was safe to do so.
When I got there I pressed down on the button of the aerosol and discovered that there was enough of a gap to wriggle underneath the lasers. I got down on the floor and pushed myself slowly under the beam, occasionally pressing the button of the aerosol to check my distance from it. Once I knew I was clear I got up, put the aerosol on the floor and grabbed a handful of wheel bearings, shoving them into my pants pocket. I took one of the brooms leaning against the wall, the rubber tubing, and a box of chalk, and then pushed them along the floor into the other room. I picked the aerosol up, lay down on the floor and started spraying near the bottom of the doorway to get the height of the beam. Again I pushed myself slowly under it.
Once I was clear of the beam I got up and grabbed the broom. I ran across the room making sure I stopped when I got near the aerosol I’d dropped earlier. I looked at the timer and 4 minutes had already passed, I was running out of time. I pressed down on the button and waved the aerosol around so I could establish where I could safely put an object between the beams. It was difficult to tell and I really didn’t think it was a good idea to guess. I noticed that the beams stopped at shoulder height; obviously Greg didn’t feel it necessary to put them any higher because I wouldn’t be able to climb over them, even if I wanted to. I put the aerosol down next to the other one and used both hands to keep the broom steady as I raised it past my shoulder height, and attempted to lower it downwards towards the button on the clock. Even standing on tiptoes the broom handle was too short, there was no way I was going to be able to use that to press the button. I raised it over my head and took a few steps back, away from the lasers. I looked at the clock, there was only 90 seconds left.
I ran back towards the door and grabbed the rubber tubing. I tied one end around the broom handle and stretched it to get some tension, before tying the other end on the handle lower down. I stole a quick glance at the timer, 60 seconds. I grabbed the box of chalk, turned, and ran back to where the aerosols were. Kneeling down I put my newly made catapult behind me and opened the box of chalk. I emptied its contents on the floor next to me, and took one of the wheel bearings out of my pocket. I watched the chalk sticks disappear into a mound of dust as I smashed down on them using the steel ball as a hammer. Another quick peak revealed 35 seconds left.
With no time left to wonder what pressing the button would do, I raised my left knee, leant back on my right and picked up the catapult. I used to be a pretty good shot as a kid; I hoped I hadn’t lost my touch. I emptied my pocket of the wheel bearings, and put them close to my knee, on the floor. Picking up a handful of chalk dust I threw it towards the clock. As the dust descended downwards it revealed the location of the laser beams. I placed one of the wheel bearings inside the rubber tubing, pulled back, took a quick aim, fired, and missed. I tried again before the dust settled too much, and missed. I looked at the timer, 15 seconds left.
Taking a deep breath I grabbed another handful of chalk dust and threw it at the clock. When the laser beams were revealed, I took a more steady aim and fired. It seemed to go in slow motion. I watched the second’s countdown as the ball traveled towards the button…8,7,6,5,4..…Clink. It made contact and the clock stopped on 3 seconds. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and sank down momentarily onto my knees. That was close Mac; that was way too close.
I grabbed one of the aerosols, pressed the button and sprayed ahead of me. There was no sign of any lasers but just to make sure, I threw what was left of the chalk dust in front of me. No red beams appeared, they must have been deactivated, just like I thought they would. I walked towards the clock.
As I got closer I noticed that the wire running from the clock wasn’t connected to the C4 at all. From a distance it looked as if it was, but at close range, I could see it wasn’t. This was just one of Greg’s sick little games, he was obviously on to me and wanted me to know it. I noticed a fire door near the back of the room; at least I could get out of the building.
Before leaving I checked the room to see if there were any clues, finding none, I left. As I walked out of the fire door I noticed something on the ground, bending down I picked up a crumpled piece of paper. I couldn’t see what was written on it clearly, it was too dark. I noticed a warehouse lower down with a light above its entrance and walked towards it.
As I got closer to the light I straightened the paper as best I could. The words were that faded it was difficult to read; all I could make was “Thornton 10”. I assumed it was something Greg must have dropped, it was obviously related to Pete in some way but I had no idea what it meant. I started to walk back to my jeep. Walking past the warehouses I noticed that they all had a number on them. I stopped and wondered whether 10 on the note, meant warehouse 10. It was worth checking out so I tried to locate it.
Within 15 minutes I’d found warehouse 10. There was no sign of activity, but tire tracks around the entrance showed that someone had been there recently. I looked around the building and found a small window at the rear, looking inside I saw a figure in the center of the room; it was Pete.
It was a trap; it had to be. I considered calling Nikki for help but was afraid they’d move Pete and we wouldn’t be able to find him. I took another look inside; I couldn’t see anyone else in the room, I had to take the chance. I ran my fingers around the window frame checking for wires, finding none; I took out my Swiss Army Knife and attempted to break the seal securing the window. The putty came away easily and before long I gently eased the single pane of glass out of the window frame, and leant it against the side of the building. I climbed through the frame, ran over to Pete, then knelt down next to him and started cutting the ropes that were binding him. He became agitated and shifted the chair. I realized I’d forgotten to remove his gag and turned towards him, only to be faced with the barrel of a Colt 357.
I lifted my eyes to see Greg looking down at me.
“I see you found the note. I knew you’d work it out”
He nodded his head and I was gruffly pulled to my feet, before being dragged across the room, and flung face first against the wall. I felt the barrel of a gun pressing into my spine as my feet were kicked further apart, and I assumed the arrest position against the wall. While frisking me they found my Swiss Army Knife and I was quickly relieved of it. I was pushed harder into the wall and my right arm was forced into an unnatural position behind my back, then I was pulled backwards and taken to Greg. He watched me approaching and I could see a glint of pleasure in his eyes. I knew that look, I’d seen it before, and it wasn’t a good sign. I stood before him, and he prodded me in my right shoulder where the bullet had grazed me earlier.
“Not fast enough eh?”
“I was telling Pete earlier how much I was looking forward to your arrival. I need to find out the entry code to the vault at The Phoenix Foundation, and you’re going to help me.”
“I don’t know the entry code and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you”
“Oh no MacGyver, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want YOU to tell me anything. Its all down to Pete, your just a pawn in this game”
He took a step backwards and the guy restraining me; grabbed my other arm and pulled it behind my back. Both arms were pulled taut and locked into a position that left me totally defenceless. Greg took something out of his pocket and slid it over his fingers. I saw the metal glint in the light and noticed it was a knuckle-duster; I swallowed hard knowing what was coming next. He noticed my reaction and smirked, then hit me repeatedly in the stomach until my legs started to give way, he looked to the guy restraining me.
“Let him go Tanner”
I sank to the floor as he released me, and then curled up into a ball to try and ease the pain. Greg kicked me in the spine. My back arched with the pain and I rolled onto my side.
I needed more time to recover so I didn’t move. He came over to me and using his foot, pushed my shoulder back so that I ended up in a lying position, then he raised his foot and smashed it down hard against my ribcage.
“I said, GET UP!”
I sucked up the pain and slowly stood up. He stepped towards me fists clenched and eyes full of hate. Just then a door swung open and Jake walked in carrying a car battery, closely followed by someone else carrying a bucket. They walked over to a desk on the far side of the room. Greg stopped dead in his tracks, smiled at me, and then walked over to Jake and his friend. He signalled to Tanner to cover us, and I found myself once more face to face with the barrel of a gun.
I approached Jake and Terry, noticing immediately that the insulation gloves weren’t inside the bucket.
“Where are the gloves?”
Jake and Terry exchanged a puzzled look.
“Maybe we left them in the van, I’ll go check”
Terry spun on his heel and left at a speed.
“Any problems Jake?”
“Nope. Where’d you want me to set it up?”
I pointed above Pete’s head.
“There, you can use that beam”
I noticed both Pete and MacGyver looked to where I’d pointed; I bet their minds were working overtime. Jake smiled at me and nodded in the direction of MacGyver.
“Looks like you started without me”
“Yeah, you know me, I couldn’t wait any longer”
Terry returned with the gloves and waved them around with a huge smirk all over his face. He walked over to the desk and dropped them on top of it, then looked at me and I pointed to the beam. He understood what I meant, and dragged the desk into the center of the room. After that he took the jumper cables and chain out of the bucket and placed them next to the car battery on the desk, before going into a side room with the bucket. Meanwhile Jake was moving Pete to the right. I stole a glance at MacGyver and noticed he was starting to look concerned. Terry returned with the bucket and placed it on the floor next the desk, and Jake came to stand next to me.
“I want a piece of him too”
“I know, don’t worry, you’ll get your chance”
“No I’m not. I’ll have my fun tomorrow”
I walked over to the other side of the room, grabbed a chair and sat down.
“Well, what are you waiting for?”
Jake smiled and walked over to MacGyver. Tanner left to collect some documents from Jake’s apartment and Terry grabbed another chair and sat down next to me.
I watched the activity in front of me with apprehension. There was a car battery, a bucket, and a beam. To me, it was all adding up to electrocution. Jake walked over to Greg and whispered something, I couldn’t hear what it was but I saw Jake smile, and the next thing I knew he was walking towards me. He grabbed my arm and led me to the center of the room until I was standing directly under the beam, then he stepped back.
“Take your jacket and shirt off”
I licked my lips nervously, and swallowed.
Realising at this point I had no option, I shrugged off my jacket and shirt; then dropped them on the floor. Jake grabbed my wrists, tied my hands in front of me; and then yanked them above my head. The chain was wrapped around the beam and I was hoisted off my feet. I hung there waiting for the torture to begin.
He picked up the gloves and slowly pulled them on, before hooking up 2 of the jumper cable clips to the battery. Then he walked over to the bucket, and with gloved hands pulled out a sponge, sodden in water. He attached it to one of the clips and then did the same with the other, before strolling over to me, grinning from ear to ear.
The sponges made contact with my stomach and sent a jolt of electricity surging through my body. My back arched and I screamed out in pain as I jerked violently. He dragged the sponges up and across my chest, pushing them harder into my body, before he stopped and walked back to the bucket. He returned with sponges dripping with water, walked behind me and shocked me again. I thrashed about, writhing in agony, praying for the pain to stop, it didn’t. The sponges were dragged around my neck; I screwed my eyes shut and bit down hard on my lip, whimpering as the pain increased. Suddenly it stopped. I slowly opened my eyes and saw Jake standing by the bucket. Greg was walking towards us.
“Don’t shock him again, I need to do something”
Jake looked up at Greg with an annoyed expression on his face.
Standing in front of me Greg withdrew a Colt 357 from his back pocket and armed the weapon. Pointing it at my chest, he turned to Pete.
“LOOK AT MACGYVER…. NOW!!!”
I saw Pete lift his head and look in my direction.
“The next time you turn away. I’ll kill him. Do you understand!?”
I looked towards Pete and could see fear in his eyes.
My heart was thumping that hard I only just heard Greg’s warning. I nodded my head and he backed off. God I nearly got Mac killed, wasn’t it bad enough he was being tortured. Think Pete. Don’t make any more stupid mistakes, its Mac’s life we’re talking about here. I was ashamed of myself for turning away. Mac needed me to be strong; he needed me to be there for him. I’d let him down when he needed me the most, I knew it, and now, so did he.
I made eye contact with him and tried to convey how sorry I was. I thought I saw understanding in his eyes but maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part. We broke eye contact when Greg spoke.
“You can carry on now”
Jake smiled at Greg.
I watched Jake pull the sodden sponges from the bucket and walk towards Mac. I could tell he was cringing at the thought of what was going to happen next. Again Jake walked around the back of him, only this time he pressed the sponges hard into his kidneys. Mac hollered out in pain, the sound of it sending shivers down my spine. I watched his body thrashing about, pulling violently against the chains suspending him. Oh god, when was this going to stop? I shifted on the chair making a noise, and Jake turned to look at me. He backed away from Mac and walked towards me. Tauntingly he whispered into my ear.
“Have you noticed his breathing Pete? I don’t think he can take much more”
I looked over at Mac and could tell that Jake wasn’t lying. I watched him gasping for breath and the thought that they might kill him, petrified me. How far would they go? I heard Jake laughing as he walked back to the bucket. He dowsed the sponges with water and went back to Mac. He pressed the sponges onto his kidneys and Macs body went into a spasm, it wasn’t long before he passed out. I watched them lower him from the beam and dump his body on the floor. Jake kicked him, there was no response; it felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. He looked up at me.
“Looks like he’s had enough, for now”
I wanted to kill him. I’ve never felt like that before, but after seeing what he did to Mac first hand, I’d have no hesitation if the opportunity presented itself. I noticed the others were leaving the room at the same moment Jake did.
“I’ll see you later Pete, lets hope MacGyver lasts a bit longer next time”
With that, he turned and left the room, closing the door behind him. The last words ringing in my ears ‘next time’…. what did they have in mind for him then? It didn’t bear thinking about.
Mac should have called in by now, what was he playing at? I paced up and down Pete’s office like a cat on hot bricks. I was fed up of waiting around; I decided to check out a couple of leads I’d got on the paint job. I grabbed the piece of paper with the addresses on, and headed down to my car.
It wasn’t long before I was on my way. The first address was about 10 minutes away in a rough part of town. I pulled up outside the paint shop and noticed a group of youths, one of which I recognised from The Challengers club. I approached him.
He turned to look at me.
“Who are you?”
“I’m Nikki a friend of MacGyver’s. I saw a picture of you and him together that’s how I recognised you”
“Ok. What’s up? Is Mac all right?”
“He’s fine. I’m trying to trace a silver pick-up for him. It’s got a blue and white flame down the side panel, there’s a chance the paint job might have been done here. Do you think that’s possible?”
“Maybe. If Spud’s done it, it’ll have his trade-mark on it”
“On one end of the flame in black paint; he puts a small picture of a dragon”
“Does he do that on all his work?”
“Thanks. I’ll tell Mac you helped out”
“Ok…tell him it’s been a while since he came round too”
I left Breeze and entered Jojo’s Paint Shop. I described the artwork to the owner and he said nobody had requested that particular design. I showed him my ID and asked for a print out of recently painted vehicles, stating the customer’s address and the vehicle license plate number. He printed off a list, passed it to me, and I left. I decided to go back to The Phoenix Foundation and see if Mac had phoned in.
I woke up and found myself lying on the floor. I shivered as I felt the chill of the air on my bare skin. Rolling onto my side I looked around for my clothes. I saw my shirt on the floor and stretched out to grab it, dragging it along the ground towards me as I pushed myself into a sitting position. With shaking hands I put my shirt on, taking longer than normal to perform such a simple task.
I looked around the room and could see Pete tied to a chair. I pushed myself to my feet and staggered slightly as I found my footing. Finally, after falling over a couple of times I arrived at Pete’s side. I prodded him, and his eyes shot open immediately. He looked relieved to see me. I smiled and touched his shoulder.
“It’s ok Pete. We’re going to get out of here”
Just then the door was flung open, it was Greg and Jake.
“Get away from him MacGyver”
I stepped away from Pete and stood as still as my body would allow. Greg walked up to me and mockingly said.
“Its my turn this time”
I was dragged to the center of the room and under the beam. Greg didn’t ask me to take my shirt off; he removed it for me before binding my hands in front of me and yanking them above my head. The chain was wrapped around the beam and I was once again hoisted off my feet. I had the distinct feeling of déjà vu.
I watched him open his backpack, take something out and lay it on the floor next to him. I couldn’t make out what it was, I was just glad that he wasn’t going to electrocute me again. Jake sat on the same chair that Greg had used earlier; ready to view whatever they had in mind for me. I hung there for what seemed like hours until Greg stood up and walked towards me. As he neared me I could see what he was carrying, it was a whip.
He came closer, unravelling it as he walked. Then he flicked it into the air at the side of me, snapping it to attention as he pulled it abruptly downwards. I felt the knot in my stomach tighten at the thought of what was coming. He walked around me like a panther waiting to pounce on his pray. I heard the crack of the whip before I felt it and tried to prepare myself for the blow, but it was difficult because I couldn’t see where it was coming from. It struck my back with a force and I stifled the moan that wanted to escape my lips. Almost instantly I received another blow, and pained seared across my back. He struck again and again, each time the pain increased as he struck with more force.
The lashes were getting harder I could tell, not only by the noise but by the effect they were having on Mac’s back. No longer where the welts just marring it, now they were starting to tear into his skin. After a few more lashes, blood started to flow down his back as Greg changed direction, slashing him welt on top of welt.
For some reason he didn’t scream out in pain like he had with Jake. Instead, he grunted, deeper and harder as the pain became more intense, but not once, did he cry out in pain. Greg stood in front of him.
“You know MacGyver I think I should have tried a different method, you know my style with this one; after all we went through this last time. There is one difference this time though, I’m not just going to concentrate on your back, there are other parts of your body just as amenable and I have a little surprise for the end”
With that he flicked the whip sharply towards Mac’s face, he pulled back but it caught him just above his right eyebrow, blood trickled down his face. I watched him flick his wrist and saw the whip travel upwards towards Mac’s neck, again he pulled back but it caught him on his already injured shoulder, he screwed his eyes tight and groaned with the pain. Greg took a few steps backwards and started moving the whip rapidly in a continuous motion towards Macs chest and stomach. The end of the whip constantly nipped at him, causing tiny cuts and lacerations to appear on the front of his body.
Bored with the new approach Greg walked behind him again and pulled back on the whip, then smashed it hard across his back. Mac jerked at the impact and let out a small moan. He pounded the whip deep into his back a couple of times, before he walked over to the chains. Mac was lowered so that he was standing on tiptoes, and Greg momentarily left the room.
He returned carrying a plate with a mound of something on top of it. I saw Mac take a big gulp and my stomach knotted when the realisation of what he had in mind struck me. Walking towards Mac he smirked.
“What’s that old saying? Oh yeah, rub salt into the wound, that’s it. I think that’s appropriate here, don’t you?”
Mac glared at him as he put the plate down and grabbed a handful of salt. He walked around him pressing his forefinger covered with salt into numerous cuts and lacerations on his body, before finally stopping in front of him. He grabbed hold of Macs chin and moved his head to the side, eyeing up the wound above his eyebrow. Letting him go, he dipped his hand into the salt he was holding. I saw Macs jaw tightened in anticipation of what was coming next. He flinched and groaned deeply, as the salt was rubbed hard into the cut.
Greg didn’t look too pleased that Mac wasn’t shouting out in pain. He spun on his heel and stormed back to the desk. Grabbing the plate, he walked behind Mac then turned to me and shouted.
“This is it Pete, time for your boy to take another break”
With that he placed the plate on the floor and grabbed two handfuls of salt. He stood up and slapped his hands down hard onto Macs back, dragging them in a downward direction, pressing the salt deeper and deeper into the wounds. Mac shouted out in pain, no longer able to keep it inside.
Satisfied momentarily Greg stepped back and smiled. He then grabbed two more handfuls of salt and repeated the process, only this time in an upward direction. Macs body lifted with the motion, his arms pulling on the chains trying to get away from the pain. Groans turned into howls as the salt penetrated the wounds. Greg bent down again and grabbed what was left of the salt, while Mac hung there, now no longer able to support himself, whimpering. Greg looked over Mac’s back deciding what to do with the remnants of the salt, he prodded at one of the welts opening the wound wider, causing the blood to flow more freely and Mac to groan through gritted teeth. He slapped his hand right on top of the open welt and pushed the salt deep into the open wound. Mac screamed, writhing in agony before he was overcome with the pain and passed out. Greg dragged his blooded and salted hands across his shirt and smiled. With a contented look on his face he walked over to Jake.
I don’t know which was worse, electrocution or this, both were barbaric and I wondered how much more Mac could take. The man had suffered enough, when was it going to end? When was Greg going to start asking question? I was reminded of his earlier words ‘not before I have my fun’ I suppose this was what he meant. Mac was his fun, torturing him was just a game. Mac always said that Greg was sick in the head, now I realised why.
Greg and Jake walked over to Mac and took the restraints off him; he fell in a crumpled heap on the floor. Smiling they left the room. I tried to shuffle the chair across towards him; it was all I could do. It was difficult and was taking a long time but at least I was moving and getting closer to him. I had to stop for a few minutes to catch my breath. I looked down at Mac’s beaten body and wanted to cry. He didn’t deserve this it was my fault. He’d come here to find me, to save me. Why didn’t he get backup? He’d have been ok then, he’d have been safe. I swallowed the sob building up in my throat and tried to move closer to him. I wanted to be there for him when he woke up, I didn’t want him to alone. I was a few feet away from him when the door opened and Terry walked in.
“What are you doing over there Thornton?”
I looked over to him and my heart dropped. He walked behind me, pushed the chair onto two legs and dragged me back across the room, into more or less the same place I’d started from. Leaning over he said.
“Maybe I should stay and keep an eye on you two. It doesn’t look like we can trust you on your own”
He pulled back and strolled over to the chair Jake had been sitting in and sat down.
I arrived back at The Phoenix Foundation and there was still no word from Mac. Something was wrong I had a bad feeling about it. There was no way that Mac wouldn’t have checked in by now, not when Pete was missing, unless he couldn’t. The thought scared the life out of me. First Pete and now Mac. I dialled the police and gave them the license plate number for Mac’s jeep. I made up some cover story stressing how urgent it was that I found the vehicle, and they said they’d get right on it.
I sat down and thumbed my way through the print out I’d just been given and found nothing. I decided to check the other address out. I couldn’t sit idly by, finding the car could be a way to finding my friends. I left word that if the police called I wanted to be informed immediately, and headed off to Paulie’s Paint Shop. When I got there I found an abandoned building, it looked like nobody had been there for quite a while. I returned to my car, downhearted.
I decided to see if Mac was parked up in front of Jake’s so I drove to the nearest phone booth and called Helen for the address. She told me Mac still hadn’t called. He’d made no contact for almost 14 hours; I was getting worried.
I arrived at the apartment block and found nothing. No pick-up. No MacGyver. I turned the key in the ignition and was about to drive off when I noticed a pick-up approaching from the north. I watched it pull up opposite me; and hitting me right bang in the face, was a blue and white flame down the side panel. I let the man enter the building; it wasn’t Jake. Once he was out of sight I leisurely crossed the road and strolled around the vehicle as if I was admiring it. I noticed at the edge of the flame a small dragon and thought of what Breeze had told me earlier. I walked back to my car and called Helen for back up. Jason arrived quickly and I told him to stake the apartment out. I described the man I’d seen earlier and pointed to the pick-up. I told him if he or anyone else got into it, to follow them and see where they went. He nodded his understanding and I left to go and pay another visit to, Jojo’s Paint Shop.
I opened my eyes and pulled my hand towards my head. The movement sent jolts of pain across my back and I was reminded of my last encounter with Greg. I moaned and lowered my arm back down, breathing heavily to bite back the pain. I heard footsteps running and coming to an abrupt stop.
“HEY GUYS. HE’S AWAKE!”
I didn’t recognise the voice so it wasn’t Greg or Jake. It didn’t take a genius to work out whom he meant by guys. I lifted my head and looked towards the doorway to see who it was; it was Terry. I stole a glance around the room and saw Pete still tied to the chair. He looked worried; I guess I look a mess. I saw a shadow on the floor, looked up and saw two familiar faces peering down at me. Jake shouted to Terry.
“Clear the desk surface”
I didn’t have a clue as to what they had in mind for me next. At least the beam didn’t seem as interesting to them anymore, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad this time round. Who am I kidding; this is Greg and Jake we’re talking about. I was yanked to my feet and man handled over to the desk. Terry was still clearing the top of it when we got there.
“When you’ve done that, fetch those 4 belts hanging up in the other room”
“Which room Jake?”
“The one Tanner likes so much”
“Oh that one, no prob”
I got the impression I was going to be tied down on the desk. I was right. When Terry finished they hauled me up and slammed my back down on top of it. I bit down hard on my lip to avoid groaning, and tasted the blood in my mouth. Terry came back with the belts and I was spread-eagled on top of the desk; each arm and leg was pulled taut as the belts were wrapped around them and then securely tied into place, around the legs of the desk.
Jake left the room and Greg bent over me.
“The games nearly over MacGyver”
I smiled up at him and said with a hint of sarcasm in my voice.
“I could do with a rest”
I saw Jake coming back into the room carrying a sack and gloves. He passed the gloves to Greg and put the sack down very carefully before stepping back. Greg pulled the gloves on, and opened the sack, cautiously. It revealed a snake. It was probably about 25 or 26 inches with 3 defining colors running along its sleek body. In sequence the colors were black, yellow, red. I knew this snake, think Mac, what was it. As Greg stood up holding it gingerly in his hands he turned to me.
“Do you recognize it MacGyver?”
I shook my head.
“It’s a Coral Snake and it’s highly poisonous. It may take several hours for the venom to enter the bloodstream, but when it does, its fast, very fast”
Once he said that it all came back to me. I’d read an article about one once. Its venom is neurotoxic and attacks the nervous system. Treatment is best started within 2 hours to give the patient a better chance of recovery. I shuddered as I recalled that its teeth are so short, most of them bite the toes or fingers of their victim, and that it chews the skin a while before it injects its venom.
This was it, the final stage. I turned my head to the right and looked at Pete. We both knew that if he didn’t give the code I’d die, just like we both knew, he couldn’t.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when Greg spoke.
“Take MacGyver’s sneakers and socks off”
I felt Jake tugging at my laces and before I knew it, I was bare-footed. I heaved a big sigh and closed my eyes momentarily, when I opened them Greg had gone. I craned my neck to see where he was and saw him at the other end of the desk, at my feet. He placed the snake down and it started sliding its sleek body along the desk surface. It neared my feet and unwittingly, I tensed up. I felt the skin of it touch my toes and waited for it to bite me; it didn’t, instead it moved higher up my leg. I let out the breath I never knew I was holding and sank back down onto the desk. It crept up my body, wrapping itself around my leg in a circular motion for what seemed like hours. Continuing its ascent up the left hand side of my body until it got to my stomach, then it decided to change direction. It glided along my chest, up and towards my face. I could hear my heart thumping in my chest as it got nearer. I’ve never been very keen on snakes, but now I think I hate them. I lay as still as possible, keeping my hands in a tight fist, hoping that it’d lose interest and go to sleep; Greg had other plans.
“This is taking too long. I think we need to speed things up a bit”
I turned to look at him and noticed he’d taken a cigarette out and lit it. The smoke billowed into the air as he took a drag on it. After a couple of puffs he lowered it towards the desk. The cigarette made contact with the sole of my right foot and I jerked, but kept my hands in a tight ball. The snake suddenly stopped. Greg pushed the cigarette into my foot again, harder this time but I was more prepared so only my right leg moved. It was enough to make the snake change direction and it started to slide towards my right shoulder.
“Greg, did you say it bites the fingers?”
“MacGyver's put his hands into a fist, don’t worry I’ll sort that out now”
He walked until he was standing right above me, then he lowered himself down. I tried to see what he was doing, but he was behind me; it was impossible. Greg burnt my foot again, distracting me. The next thing I felt was intense pain as I was hit in both ears at the same time. The force of the blow caused my body to hunch forwards and both hands flung uncontrollably open. As I tried to compose myself I felt something touching the fingertips on my right hand. I looked across and saw it was the snake. I flailed my hand about trying to push it away but it was too late, it had already dug its teeth in and was hanging on for grim life. I dropped my head back on the desk and closed my eyes in defeat. I heard Greg and Jake congratulating them selves just before another voice came into the room.
“The buyers here”
I opened my eyes to watch the scene unfold in front of me.
“What do you mean the buyers here, they’re not supposed to arrive until 6.00?”
“Well they’re here, what do you want me to tell them? They’re asking for you.”
Greg looked frantic. He rushed around the room, trying to think what to do. I laughed to myself watching my tormentor in such a state, totally out of control and unsure of himself, something I hadn’t seen much in Greg. He bawled his orders out.
“Jake go to the room at the back, remove the light bulb and check there’s nothing in there, and I mean NOTHING. If you see a nail, a tire, a piece of wood, heck even a stick of chewing gum, anything, get it out of the room”
He turned to leave but stopped dead in his tracks when Greg shouted.
He turned his head.
“There are no windows, right?”
“No windows, but the door has a small glass panel in it”
“About 10 inches square”
“That should be ok as long as someone monitors the door”
“I’ll do that”
“Ok then, GO!”
Jake disappeared out of the room and Greg walked up to Terry. He pointed to Pete and then to me giving his instructions, Terry nodded every now and again confirming his words. Jake re-appeared at the doorway and Greg looked up.
“Is the room empty?”
“Are you sure?”
He nodded. Terry looked at Greg and sprang into action. He ran over to Pete and started to untie him. Jake came towards me while talking to Greg.
“I take it we’re moving them into the back room”
Jake nodded towards Pete and Terry.
“Is it a good idea to untie him, why don’t you just drag the chair into there?”
“Already thought of that. I’d make too much noise, we don’t want the buyer to know they’re here”
Jake stopped near the desk and Greg continued to walk to the doorway, he shouted over his shoulder.
“I’ll stall them the best I can, but get them out of here as quickly as possible”
Jake and Terry answered him in unison.
Jake walked over to the sack, picked it up and came and stood next to my right hand. I’m not sure how he did it, but somehow he managed to get the snake to release its grip on me, and shoved it back inside the sack. Then he tied a knot in the top of it and headed towards a side room. As he passed Terry I heard him tell him to take us into the back room, and that he’d be there as soon as he’d disposed of the snake. Terry nodded his agreement and told him he wouldn’t leave the door unattended, he’d wait until he returned.
I watched Terry remove Pete’s gag and cut what was left of the ropes restraining him, then pull him up and across the room until he stood beside me. I noticed he was wobbly on his feet, looking up at him I gave a small smile. Terry cut the belts binding me and I was told to get off the desk. I tried to push myself up but didn’t have much luck. Pete curled his arm under my neck and gently pulled me into a sitting position. He then draped one of my arms over his shoulder and pulled me to my feet, supporting me around the waist at the same time. I leant heavily on him and we staggered into the other room. Pushed from behind, we fell forwards.
I crashed down on top of Mac and he groaned.
I got off him off him as quickly as possible. Although the light bulb had been removed, there was enough light streaming in through the small glass pane in the door to be able to see quite well in the room. I looked down and saw Mac’s shivering form on the floor. I removed my sweater and shirt, and then put my sweater back on. Before I attempted to put the shirt on Mac I took at look at him. Deep lacerations covered his back, dirt from the floor rubbing into his now tender skin.
Kneeling to the side of him, I gently grabbed his shoulders and pulled his body towards me, so that he was supported in my arms.
“Its ok Mac, I’m here”
I could see the pain in his eyes, each movement made him cringe.
“You should have tried to make a run for it”
“And leave you? Never. We’re in this together, don’t forget that Mac!”
Before answering me he took a deep gulp of air. He scrunched his eyes up until the pain subsided, then slowly opened them and looked up at me.
“I’m going to die Pete. I read an article on that snake, it said…”
“I don’t care what it said, you’re NOT going to die. We’ll find a way out of this”
“I’m thinking. You know that’s usually your department so it could take a while”
He laughed and clutched his body.
“Don’t make me laugh Pete, it hurts too much”
“Sorry. Mac I need to take a look at you, ok?”
He took a deep breath and nodded for me to go ahead. I lowered him gently onto his back on the floor, and he grinded his teeth together to control the pain. I grabbed hold of my shirt and dangled it above him.
“You know Pete I think it’s a bit too big for me”
He chuckled to himself and I grinned down at him.
“I thought it hurt you to laugh”
“It does, but I couldn’t resist that one”
His stomach wasn’t too bad; there were cuts and lacerations but nothing serious. I touched his ribs and he squirmed, I pulled my arm back quickly.
“I think I might have a cracked rib or something”
“It might have been helpful if you’d mentioned that before”
Mac turned to me with an apologetic look on his face. I realized what I’d said, and my face flushed with embarrassment.
“Sorry about that. I was just annoyed because I’d hurt you. It was my fault. I didn’t mean to take it out on you. You’ve been through enough without me having a go at you too”
He lifted his hand and gently touched my arm.
“Its ok Pete, don’t beat yourself up over it”
I gave him a small smile and took a look at his right shoulder; there was pretty deep gash on it. After that I looked at the cut above his eyebrow, it looked nasty, might even leave a scar.
“I’m going to look at your back now, ready?”
Mac took a deep breath and I rolled him onto his side, making sure I supported him at the same time. His back was a mess. Some of the welts were just marks of where the whip had made its impact and others showed the damage that had been inflicted on him. There was one wound that stood out more than any of the others. It was red and inflamed round the edge of the cut, the sure sign that infection was starting to set in.
“Ready to try and put my shirt on?”
He grinned up at me.
I helped him into a sitting position and he slid one arm into the sleeve. I pulled the shirt round his body, and then helped him with the other one. We stopped a couple of times for Mac to catch his breath when the pain struck him by surprise. I hated seeing him like this. I moved behind him and knelt down so that I was in a sitting position on my feet, then I carefully pulled Mac backwards into my body where I could give him the support he needed. We sat in silence; both deep in thought, both scared of what the future held.
I quickly drove back to Jojo’s Paint Shop. He’d lied to me! This time I wasn’t going to be fobbed off. I entered the building and looked for the man I’d spoken to earlier, surprisingly enough; he’d left. Well that wasn’t going to stop me. I looked around and found a door leading into a room, which judging by its appearance; must be where all the specialized paintwork was done. I snooped around, lifting this and that, but couldn’t really find anything of significance. Just as I was about to leave a young man came into the room. He looked shocked to see me. I thought I’d try a different technique.
“Hello. Are you Spud?”
“Yeah. Can I help you?
He dragged his hand across his shirt as if to ensure it was clean and then offered it to me. I smiled and nodded at him. He got the hint and let his hand fall to his side.
“A friend of mine had a blue and white flame painted onto the side panels of his silver pick-up recently. He told me you’d done it. It’s a very nice job; my nephew is looking for something similar. I was wondering if you could help”
He shifted on his feet nervously before replying.
“Ah…..I don’t think that’s my work, maybe you should ask somewhere else”
“No it’s definitely yours. It even has the little dragon you paint on as a trade mark”
He seemed to settle down a bit when I said that.
“Oh yeah, well, it must be mine then. What sorta thing is your nephew after?”
“I’m not really sure but I know he loved what you did with the pick-up. Have you got any photos of it during the different stages?”
It was a long shot, but I know sometimes artists do that sort of thing.
“Yeah I have, they’re in here”
He walked over to one of the metal cupboards in the room and pulled a door open. Reaching inside he pulled out a file labeled 8C3156, the plate number instantly grabbed my attention, the same 3 digits on the end that MacGyver had mentioned. I followed him to a small desk in the corner of the room.
He plunked himself down and opened the folder. While he was prattling on about his photos, and what was done at each stage, I was scanning the form looking for who the pick-up was registered to. I threw the odd oh, ah and yes in now again, just to keep the young man thinking I was listening. I nearly shouted out a cheer when I found the information I needed. I looked around and noticed a can of soda on the desk. I leant over and told him how much I liked a particular picture and accidentally spilt the drink. Spud jumped up in the air and ran across the room. I quickly grabbed the folder and photos off the desk. Retrieving the page I needed I stuffed it into my pocket, and then removed the paper clip which was holding all the pages together in the file. He returned with a handful of tissues. I smiled at him and waved the file around.
“Thought I’d rescue these for you”
As I spoke the pages in the file flew out, some landed on the floor, others on the desk. I bent down to retrieve them, smiling sweetly at him as I spoke.
“Oh I’m so sorry. I’m such a klutz. I bet you’ll be glad to see the back of me”
He looked up at me and smiled.
“No I don’t, its just one of those things”
I passed him the empty folder.
“That’s so nice of you to say. I think I’d better go before I cause any more damage. Could I have one of those photos to show my nephew or would you prefer me to bring him here?”
He rummaged through the photos scattered on the floor and handed me the one I’d pointed at. I took it from him thanking him profusely, and left.
I don’t know how long we’d been in that room but it seemed like hours. I could feel the heat radiating from Mac’s body, the infection was getting worse, or was it the venom? I didn’t know what the symptoms were and I’d cut Mac off in mid-sentence when he started to tell me earlier. I looked down at him; his eyes were closed. I panicked and shook him, wildly.
His head flopped from side to side, and then I heard a small groan emitted from his lips. I sighed in relief. Being gentler this time I shook him again. He wearily opened his eyes and attempted to focus on me.
“What are the symptoms of the venom?”
“Can’t remember, too tired”
“Mac, what are they?”
“Want to sleep”
“MAC, TELL ME”
“Nausea…drowsiness…vomiting…breathing difficulties…paralysis sometimes”
I listened to him reel them off. The word ‘drowsiness’ repeating itself, over and over in my mind. Was the venom starting to affect him? Did he have any other symptoms? I pulled him tight against me.
“For not letting me die alone”
“You’re not dead yet Mac, don’t talk like that!”
“I feel sick Pete. I feel really sick”
I smoothed out the crumpled up page and scanned once more for the information I needed. There it was three quarters of the way down. The vehicle was registered to warehouse 10 in the industrial area down town. At last something solid to go on. I arranged for a search warrant to be drawn up and sat back in the chair, placing my hands over my face. There was a knock on the door so I pushed myself into an upright sitting position, and let my hands drop to my sides.
“I followed the guy in the pick-up, he ended up here”
Jason dropped a piece of paper onto my desk.
“Any news on Pete and Mac?”
“No, not yet”
We were interrupted when the phone rang. I went to answer it and Jason decided to leave, he gave a quick wave of his hand and left.
“Nikki its Helen. The police have found Mac’s jeep”
“Any sign of Mac?”
“No. They dropped a full report off, I’ll bring it to you now”
I looked down at the piece of paper Jason had just given me. I wasn’t that surprised to discover it was the same address I’d just found the pick-up registered to. There was a knock on the door. I looked up; it was Helen. She came inside and handed me the police report. I smiled at her, waving the piece of paper round.
“I think we’ve got something”
Her eyes lit up and for the first time in 3 days I saw her smile. She turned to leave; I picked up the police report and flicked through the pages. They’d found his jeep down town not too far away from the industrial area that Jason had just been to. Was that a coincidence? I don’t think so. I turned another page and found a piece of paper with Mac’s writing on it; it looked like a license plate number. I scanned through the rest of the report looking for any information the police may have pulled up on the plate. I found the relevant page and couldn’t believe what I saw. It was a black ford, registered to warehouse 10. I decided to forget the warrant and go straight in, it must be where they were holding Pete and Mac. I picked up the phone and called a few guys explaining what I’d found, they agreed to give me some backup and we set off to warehouse 10.
The door of the room flung open and Jake walked in. He looked at Mac and smiled, before turning round and shouting to Greg.
“I think we better speed this up a bit”
Greg and Terry appeared at the door, both smirked when they saw the condition of Mac. A gun was pointed at me and I was told to stand up. Seeing it was impossible with Mac leaning on me, Terry came over and pulled him off. He half pulled, half dragged Mac into the room with the beam and plunked him down onto a chair. Jake and I followed closely behind them, and I was led to a chair opposite Mac and told to sit down. My arms were pulled behind my back and bound by the wrists, and then they tied my ankles to the legs of the chair.
Terry left Mac unrestrained and left the room. He returned with a bucket of water and threw it over him. The water must have been freezing cold because it woke Mac up with a start. He tried to focus his eyes while looking around the room. His arms were tied behind his back and his ankles tied to the legs of the chair. Terry left the room and Greg entered, closing the door behind. He came and stood in front of me.
“Tell me the entry code or MacGyver dies, it’s as simple as that. You can see that the snakebite is taking its effects on him, at the moment there’s still time to save him. Give me the code”
“Don’t tell him Pete”
Jake stormed across the room and slugged Mac in his stomach.
“Are you going to give me the code, or does MacGyver die?”
He stepped to the side so that I was looking directly at Mac.
“Don’t Pete. No matter what they do, don’t give them the code”
Jake pulled his arm back as if to strike Mac again and Greg stopped him. He turned to me.
“I’ll ask you one more time. What is the code?”
I sat there in silence. Mac nodded his head and smiled. Greg looked at Jake and I could tell he wasn’t happy. Oh god; I hope I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. I hope Mac knew this man well enough to know how far to push him.
Greg stood in front of Mac and Jake at the side. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, and by the look of Mac neither did he. Jake grabbed his mouth and forced it open, and then Greg pushed the barrel of his gun into it. He turned to me.
“You have till the count of 3 to tell me the entry code….1,2”
He armed the weapon, looked at me and put his finger on the trigger. I could tell he was going to press it. I couldn’t stand it any longer; I shouted the code out at the top of my voice.
At the same time the door burst open and gunshots were fired in all directions. Distracted momentarily I turned back and saw Mac’s chair falling backwards and hit the floor. He didn’t move; I went numb. I pulled frantically at the ropes binding me, not caring if I made myself a target; I had to get to Mac. I yanked my arms as hard as I could to try and break to bond. I could feel the rope burning my wrists, tearing into my flesh with each tug. I could tell they were bleeding; the ropes were becoming sloppy. I noticed someone touching him, checking his vitals. I looked up; it was Nikki.
“He’s ok Pete”
“Greg shot him. I saw him fall”
“He didn’t shoot him”
“I saw him”
Nikki walked over and knelt down next to me, she touched my arm.
“You saw him fall Pete, just fall. He hasn’t been shot, trust me”
“But he’s not moving”
“He’s unconscious. He must have hit his head on the floor when he fell”
I looked at Nikki through tear stained eyes.
“Its ok. He’s going to be alright, you’re going to be alright”
I suddenly realized they didn’t know about the snakebite.
“He was bitten by a snake”
The medic attending Mac heard me and turned his head.
“What was the name of it?”
“Any idea how long ago the venom was administered?”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“I don’t know. He became drowsy and felt sick about an hour ago, he said they were some of the symptoms”
“They are and we need to react fast if it’s been that long. We need to get him to the ICU now!”
He yelled to a couple of the other medics and within what seemed like seconds, Mac was whisked away on a gurney. Nikki fumbled with the ropes binding me, her hands slipping due to the blood. She stood up and asked someone else to try instead, then walked towards the center of the room. She saw the remnants of the belts on the desk; the whip flung idly on the floor covered in blood, her body sagged. I felt my arms fall free and I got up and walked over to her. She heard me approach and turned to me.
“It was a trap. They wanted him all along”
“Yeah, and I was the bait. They wanted the code for the vault, but it was a secondary issue. Greg wanted to hurt Mac, he wanted to kill him”
We looked at each other and in silence walked out of the building, and then got into her car. She drove like a madwoman to the hospital. When we got there we rushed to the ICU and were told he was in surgery. A nurse pointed to some seats, and told us she’d let us know the minute he came out. Minutes turned into hours as we sat and waited. Doctors and nurses filtered past us, but nobody had any news on Mac. Eventually a nurse came and told us to follow her. She led us into one of the side rooms. I was taken aback by what I saw. There were leads going into his body in numerous places and he was hooked up to a heart-monitor, it scared me to see him like that, I needed to know he was going to be ok. I turned to the nurse.
“How is he?”
“He’s stable at the moment”
“He’s going to be all right though isn’t he?”
“It’s going to take time, he’s been through a lot”
I looked down at his pale, still form on the bed and felt like I was suffocating. I needed some air; I had to get out, I left the room. I heard Nikki apologizing to the nurse for my sharp exit, she told her it was ok, she understood. I decided to try and find a doctor, one that’d tell me what I needed to know.
Initially nobody wanted to tell me anything; they said I wasn’t family. After I explained the situation one of the doctors took pity on me and led me into a side room. I asked if Mac’s life was in any immediate danger and was told that he’d received the anti-venom for the snakebite, and was responding well to it. He said if the medic who brought him in hadn’t reacted with such haste, and made sure everyone was aware what the problem was, it could have been a very different story. I silently thanked that medic for his quick reactions.
He didn’t go into great detail about Mac’s injuries, but told me enough for me to understand what was going on. A few of the lacerations on his back had required sutures and become infected, treatment had started, but he was very concerned over one cut in particular, and as a result would be keeping a close eye on it. He had a couple of cracked ribs that they’d strapped up for support and there was some bruising on his kidneys, which they were just starting to administer treatment on. The cut above his eyebrow had required sutures and there was a possibility it could leave a scar. It turned out that most of his other injuries were minor in comparison, and nothing to worry about.
I asked about the heart-monitor and IV’s they’d hooked up to him, and he explained why and what functions they had. The heart-monitor was a precaution incase there were any adverse effects with the venom, and they were just setting up the catheter to remove the excess fluids from his kidneys. They’d set up some IV’s to get the treatment into his system quicker; there was one with the anti-biotics to fight the infection, one with sedatives to help him relax and one with fluids to help with the de-hydration.
I thanked the doctor for his help and got up to leave. He told me to try, not to worry. That Mac was in the best place and his staff were very good at what they did. I smiled at him and shook his hand. I returned to the side room they’d put Mac in, and Nikki looked up.
I smiled at her.
“Yeah, sorry about that”
“It’s ok Pete, I understand. The nurse said he’s responding well”
“That’s what the doctor said”
She looked towards him.
“That was close Pete”
I sat down on a chair, the opposite side of the bed to Nikki and looked at Mac.
A nurse came into the room to check on Mac and noticed my wrists. I told her I was all right but she insisted on tending to them, eventually I relented and went with her.
Before I opened my eyes I knew I was in a hospital, I could tell by the smell and the sounds. I moved my hand cautiously along the cover of the bed, and felt someone grab hold of it. I tensed up, instantly. Whoever it was let go of my hand immediately. I opened my eyes and saw Pete; it must have been him. I tried to speak, but couldn’t, my throat was raw.
“Want a drink?”
I nodded and Pete poured a glass of water. He found a straw, put it inside the glass and helped me drink. I gulped at the water.
“Sip it Mac, not too much”
He took the glass away, put it on the side, and then sat back down on the chair. He looked like he hadn’t slept for days; there were red rims around his eyes and he looked totally drained.
He gave me small smile.
“You had me scared there for a while. I thought I was going to lose you”
“I was pretty scared myself”
“I’m sorry Mac”
“Letting you down”
“You never let me down Pete, I don’t think you ever could”
“That’s nice of you to say, but I don’t deserve it”
“You’re my best friend and I nearly got you……..”
“Don’t. I know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong. The gun wasn’t loaded”
“When he cocked the gun I could see the chamber Pete, it was empty”
“I know; that’s what he wanted you to think. He was playing another one of his sick games, messing with our minds”
“But it might not have been, he could have…….”
“Please Pete…don’t! Let it go, its time to move on”
He got up and stood by the window, looking down to the street below.
“Sometimes we take people for granted, we never tell them how much care”
He turned to look at me.
“You know what I mean?”
I smiled at him.
“Yeah Pete, I know exactly what you mean”
“Good. I think I’ll go home and get some sleep”
“You look like you need it”
“I couldn’t sleep before, but now I think I’ll be ok”
“Well, you know where I am if you can’t. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be going far for a while”
He laughed and walked towards the door.
He turned to look at me.
“Remember when we were in that room alone?”
“You said we’re in this together. We still are Pete, if you need me I’m here”
He smiled at me.
“Thanks Mac, same goes for me”
“I know. Bye Pete”