The title is NOTHING BUT SMOKE. It's one I can't work on steadily. This story is related to the Ghost Unit, but not one of the series. It's been on my mind for some time and I do bits of it as I can. It's a action/suspense built around a love story, two hearts that dare not touch and can never forget.
By the time the men left again the prisoner’s situation had gone sharply down hill. The ropes had come off but their bodies had been contorted to long. None of them could move as circulation ripped through their veins. So to chain them to the wall in heavy metal collars the guards had kicked them across the floor using the force of boot meeting inert flesh to roll them.
The chain on each collar was not long enough to allow the men to sit or stand. They had to squat to keep from hanging themselves. The collars were new, edges sharp and rough, cutting flesh easily. One couldn’t actually die from hanging himself, the collar would probably sever an artery before he was dead and he’d bleed out. So there they were, crouched with bare feet on freezing stone floor, shivering in the damp, dark cells. The guards flipped off the light as they left. Complete blackness settled around them.
None of them spoke. They had to assume there was a mic in the room.
Damn! This was a major fuckup. They were supposed to be dead. Not captives in some dank, Byzantine dungeon on the wrong side of the line dividing east from west. It was 1970, everyone knew capture was not an option in this silent war. Capture was failure in a big way. It wiped out the fact that they’d succeeded in the original mission. The information they’d been sent for was on its way to Washington. They’d made themselves expendable by getting captured.
No one was coming for them. There would be no official acknowledgment, no negotiations. The mission was to get in and get out or die, nice and quiet. They’d been betrayed. Smoke went over it in his head. Each time he came up with the same conclusion. The tangos had been warned. Luckily the action plan had changed in operation so the capture had only worked for half the team.
A traitor. Well, that changed everything. They were not going to die. Nope, escape was required. The anger coursing through him wound around every other consideration with deadly intent. If this operation had been compromised, so had others and the only men who could have known were the ones who never came back. Time someone came back and fixed the fucking problem.
Eight hours later the three men were squatting silently against the wall. Sleeping was difficult. They had to keep half standing to insure circulation through cramped limbs. No one had brought food or water. There were no arrangements for bodily waste. The air around them was thick and fetid already. There was no way to tell time in the unrelenting dark.
Simply leaving them here would have been very effective on most men. Unfortunately, Smoke mused to himself, the three of them could take this almost indefinitely if they were given sufficient water and food to live.
Suddenly there was a hesitant scratching down the wall towards the bars to Blue’s cell. Smoke didn’t start as pale blue eyes tried to pry into the dark. The noise stopped and started again. It was not in the cell with him. No. The other side of the stone wall he squatted against. The sound stopped again, started again and suddenly he could place it. Stone on stone moving. The inching scrap stopped. When it started Smoke coughed. The action rattled the chain securing him to the wall and successfully obscured the noise as a stone in the wall moved.
It was cold, they were all half naked and coughing was a natural noise. It took the person an amazingly long time to work the stone out of the wall. If this was a rescue, someone needed to spend more time on upper body strength. Smoke waited patiently for the scraping to start again, it didn’t. On either side Blue and Pike were silent as they waited, listening. None of them could see shit.
A flickering light appeared from within the wall and they could see the hole. The opening was perhaps two foot high and close to three wide. It was two rows up from the floor and partially blocked by the new bars fastened to the wall. A small hand appeared with the candle held out into the cell. Delicate fingers of the other hand wrapped around cold stone to haul a dark head of hair through the hole. The head turned and he was looking into large eyes with ridiculously long lashes surrounding them.
Smoke could only see the top of her head and the eyes. They blinked at him and then frowned as she struggled to squeeze more of herself through the wall. Finally able to reach the floor and set down the candle stick, she did it carefully without a sound. Glancing at him, head and arms disappeared back into the wall. A second later she reappeared squeezing herself through the opening with grim effort. Her body flowed out of the wall dropping onto the floor at last.
In the pale light of the candle she was actually quiet small as she came to her hunches and gazed at him. Neither made a sound. Her hair was in a ponytail that streamed down her back. She was wearing a dark blue t-shirt with almost worn off images of Peter, Paul and Mary. Below those were beat up blue jeans and what looked like Keds on her feet. He catalogued all that in a glance. It was her face that held his interest. Wide green eyes. Her oval face was perfect with a straight little nose and full lips.
Smoke finally raised a brow in question.
The girl pulled a paper and stubby pencil from her pocked and wrote for a moment, then held the paper up.
“If I scream guards will be here. I will die, but so will you.”
Smoke nodded and raised a brow again. That was some obvious shit. What was interesting was she wrote in English.