“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-four

Jack found the recessed handle and locking bolt to the trap door. Making as little noise as possible he slid the lock open and eased the door up. The heavy weight of the door surprised him. Shining the red-beamed light down into the pit, he saw the ladder-access to the ten-foot-deep cavern. Too high for Shadow to jump and Shadow wasn’t friendly with vertical ladders. Jack could hear sounds but couldn’t see anything. Telling Shadow to stay and guard, Jack went down the ladder. The pit was lined with cement blocks, the floor was poured concrete. He saw a light switch but rejected using it. He felt he had to move quickly. He couldn’t believe there wasn’t an alarm that indicated the door had been opened. Along the wall in the back of the 15-by-10-foot chamber, he saw four shapes in cots that were fastened to the wall. Hurrying across the room he uncovered the shapes huddled under blankets on each cot. The last one he uncovered was Kelly. She was awake but was gagged and tied to the bunk. Jack carefully removed the gag and cut the ropes binding her. Kelly immediately sat up, put her arms around Jack and said, “I knew you would come but couldn’t see how you could ever find me here.”

Jack wiped a tear from her cheek and said, “We have to hurry. Can you walk?”

“Yes. Let’s go get these bastards. There are two of them. The woman is the worst. She enjoyed hurting us.”

Jack gave Kelly his knife and said, “Get these other women loose and up the ladder. Here’s my SOCOM. Stay near the barn. We have other people outside. Don’t want any friendly fire causalities. If we’re not back in ten minutes, head out to the road and follow it up the grade. Cars with two of our people are waiting. When I get out of this hole, I’ll call Lou. He and Sally will be here in a few minutes. Sit tight. Get everyone out of this prison and ready to move. Don’t tell them who we are. Just say you don’t know.”

Jack found Kathy and Shadow at the barn door. Jack said, “Got her. She’s okay and ready to go. There are three other women. Be thinking what we should do with them. I don’t want them to be able to identify us. I believe we will find Conrad and his wife still in the house. Be careful with the woman. Kelly said she is bad, real bad. I couldn’t find any alarms. Give me a minute to talk to Lou.”

Lou answered immediately. Jack asked him to bring the cars up. “Kelly is okay and is organizing three other captives. We have to figure out what to do with them. Do not give them any real names and don’t let them overhear our talks. I don’t want them to be able to direct the cops back to this place. We don’t need the cops involved. Maybe later. I’ll send Kelly up with her fellow captives. I’d like them to all be in one car with as little exposure to us as possible. When you pass the word, bring Sally and come down to the barn. Announce yourselves. Kelly is armed and in the barn waiting for you and Sally.”

Kathy heard Jack’s talk with Lou. When he was finished with with Lou, Jack took Kathy’s arm and said, “We have to get them out of the house. Too dangerous to take them in the house. I saw a couple of garbage cans near the back porch when the porch light was on. You and Shadow go make a racket with the garbage cans. They’ll think the young bear came back. The guy, Conrad, will come outside to see what’s going on and to chase or shoot the bear cub. When he comes off the porch, I’ll take him and make him call the woman to come out. She may be armed. Stay under cover and tell her to drop the weapon and come down the stairs. Don’t hesitate to shoot. About that time Lou will be telling Ted and Warren to move the cars up. You organize the move out. I’ll use Kelly and Sally to help with the kidnappers.”

“Do you walk around all the time with plans in your head?” Kathy whispered.

“More than I want but I need people like you and Lou to make them work. You could make even a bad plan work.”

“Husband, you are incredible, but please be careful.”

“I will. The tricky part is getting the three other captives back into safe hands without anyone being able to identify us. Now move out!”

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Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

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