The kids gasped and a few even screamed, but Brielle only jumped back to her feet.
“Can’t handle it, can you, Bobby?” Brielle quipped back before Bobby pulled his gun and started to shoot Brielle.
“Nooooo!” Olivia shrieked.
Luckily, Bobby got a little too close to Brielle and within her reach. She swiftly knocked the gun out of his hands as it fired, provoking startled screams from the kids. Brielle then took it and aimed it at him.
“Brielle! I wouldn’t if I were you!” Rita called.
Brielle looked over to see that Rita had grabbed Olivia. She held Olivia from behind and placed a gun to her head. The other hooded men and women had guns trained on Big Bruce, who held Raina and on all the kids.
Bobby Loses It
“You even think about growing a brain and we’ll drop every one of these pieces of shit!” Misty’s voice roared from underneath one of the hoods.
With that, Brielle dropped the gun and raised both hands in the air.
“Now, that’s better,” Rita sneered as a smirky smile spread across her face.
Suddenly, another hooded person removed the huge, drooping hood from his head. Brielle’s eyes widened as she recognized the face of the person from the news articles and broadcasts. It was Johnny Crabtree himself.
“Now, you were saying?” Johnny said as he flashed a smug smile.
Former Deputy Jason Eves also removed his hood, as did Ashton and other bullies Brielle knew. Sarah showed her face. Then more of the hooded removed their hoods, which revealed the faces of Stephen Crabtree, Audrey Crabtree, Kevin Hearns, and Breanna Lindsay, Janessa Holtz, April Hart, and Samantha Criss. Brielle instantly recognized Jane’s bullies from school and they too were aiming guns at Brielle and the rest of the captives.
The Hooded People Reveal Themselves
“Where’s Jane, Brielle?” Breanna asked, “I have a special treat for her.”
As Chris drove the first SUV and Atticus, the second, the two groups drove deeper and deeper down the tunnel. As they passed the cell blocks where the prisoners had been kept, Jane recognized them. And she saw that the doors were wide open.
“Wait! Stop! Those are the doors to the cellblock where they took me, Bruce, and the rest of my friends! Kelsey McGregor is also in there!” she cried.
Chris came to a stop and Atticus stopped behind him.
“Did, you hear that, guys? Back up!” he said.
The two vehicles backed in front of the doors. Jane jumped out as did Chris, Atticus, and Jesse.
“Daniel, Malcolm, you stay here and be our lockout! Get behind the wheel and wait for us. If you see anything or anyone, give us a head’s up on the comms!” Chris told them in a loud whisper.
Daniel and Malcolm each moved from the back, into the driver’s seats of each vehicle.
“The doors are wide open!” Jane whispered loudly.
Everyone ran into the cellblock to find that the cells were empty.
“They’re all gone!” Chris grunted.
They then ran through the doors to the second cellblock and found that all those cells were empty as well, except for the one that housed an unconscious young man dressed only in his tee shirt and underwear. Jesse looked at Chris.
“I know this punk! He hangs with the Crabtree kids!” he told him.
Atticus opened the cell. He then noticed a bucket in the middle of the floor outside the cell that was half-full of water. He then looked up to see water leaking from the stoned ceiling above and into the bucket. He grabbed the bucket as Jesse stood over the man aiming his pistol down at him. Atticus then took the bucket and splashed water all over the man’s face, causing him to jump and stir.
“Wakey-wakey, fuckface!” he said, before the man’s eyes popped open and he opened his mouth wide to scream.
Jesse and Chris stood over the man and cocked their guns.
“Ah-ah-ah! You open your mouth and it’ll be the last thing you ever do, shit-for-brains!” Jesse warned.
Atticus held his gun with one hand and jerked the young man up by his tee shirt. Chris then grabbed a hold of his tee shirt also. The young deputy’s eyes widened with fear.
“Take him, put him in the truck and tie his ass up! He’s got some s’plaaaning to do!” Atticus said, ending his last sentence in true Ricky Ricardo fashion before he and Chris spun him around and shoved him out of the cell from behind. As they walked back to the waiting vehicles, he and Atticus continued to shove the young man with each step he took.
“C’mon, punk! Move your fucking ass!” Chris said as he gave the man an open-handed slap on the back of the head.
As they forced the man into the first van and crawled in behind him, they heard chanting, a loud blast, and screams that came from down the tunnel road.
“What the hell was that!” Atticus called over the comm.
“Sounded like a gunshot! And it sounds like a bunch of people chanting in the background!” Chris said over the comm.
“And screams!” Jesse added.
They came to a fork in the road and Chris pulled to a stop.
“Jane, can you tell us which way to go?” he asked over the comm.
“I don’t know Mr. Bledsoe. They didn’t bring me this far. They only brought me as far as the cellars,” Jane replied.
“Oh, that’s just great,” Chris said.
Atticus got out of the second vehicle and approached Chris in the first. Chris rolled down his window as Atticus approached.
“I still hear chanting and it’s louder now,” Atticus told him, “shut off your motor and let’s listen for a minute,” Atticus said before he scurried back to the second van and shut off the motor. Chris shut off his motor and turned to look at Jesse and Daniel.
“Get out, keep a lookout and guard the vehicles while Atticus and I take the tunnels in the fork and have a listen,” he instructed, “Jane, stay inside the vehicle and keep your eyes peeled. Malcolm, you get out and stand guard too. Popeye, have you seen any vehicles going underground besides us?”
“Nope. So, far, it’s been clear, Chris,” Popeye radioed in over the comms.
“Well, let us know if company shows up,” Chris said.
“You bet I will, Chris,” Popeye assured.
Chris and Atticus each stood in front of the fork. They listened for a few seconds. They also noticed water leaking profusely from the arched ceiling of both tunnels. The water looked like a hard rain that pelted the road beneath, creating a puddle that ran down the sides of the subterranean road. They then looked at each other.
“Right fork?” Chris said.
“Yup!” Atticus agreed, “And that’s an awful lot of water leaking through that ceiling, Chris! I don’t like this! We’re under the floor of a huge Lake, ya know.”
“I know. I don’t like it either, Atticus. Let’s go,” Chris said as they crept back to the waiting vehicles. They all climbed back inside.
Atticus opened the back passenger door to the first vehicle and grabbed the captive young deputy by the shirt. He then drug him out of the SUV, then shoved him up against the side.
“Alright, start talking, asshat! What’s going on down there! And how many assholes can we expect to walk in on?” he demanded to know.
“I don’t know,” The frightened young man answered.
“Wrong answer, fuckstick!” Atticus said as he openhandedly slapped the young man across the face, before grabbing his shirt again.
Jesse who stood behind Atticus, ridiculed the captive man.
“Goddamn, boy! He bitch-slapped you! Man, you are a fucking pussy, ‘you know that?” Jesse laughed.
Chris leaned against the car next to the hostage bad guy and got in his face.
“If I were you, I’d start singing like a little canary-bird!” Chris told their hostage, “This guy here, he’s ex-military and he’s been in combat! Also, one of the Crabtree’s killed his wife and baby years ago while he was fighting overseas. And as if that wasn’t fucked up enough, the guy got off with a slap on the wrist! So, trust me, this guy here? He’s one pissed off son of a gun. And the last thing you want to do is piss off a combat vet, especially a crazy-angry combat vet! Because a war vet who’s crazy-pissed off? He’ll kill you and then play golf with your goddam testicles! After that, they’ll go home and have cake and ice cream! You won’t even be an afterthought!”
Atticus tightened his grip on the hostage’s shirt and leaned in so close that his nose practically toughed the hostage’s nose. His eyes blazed as he looked the man in his eyes.
“You heard him. Now, sing, you dickless shitbird!” Atticus growled.
Instilling the Fear of God
The man began stuttering and stammering as hot yellow liquid ran out of the leg of his boxers, then down his leg, creating a huge puddle at his feet.
Jesse looked down, then burst into cackles.
“Look at this pathetic lump of shit! Pissin’ his undies like a little baby!”
The captive young man began to cry. As he cried, he spoke.
“They’re having their yearly Halloween Ritual. They’re going to sacrifice a child, a baby girl. Blonde hair, about two-years old. They’re also going to sacrifice all the kids,” the man sniveled, “And maybe a couple of adults because they know too much.”
“Oh, fuck!” Malcolm said under his breath.
“How many assholes are there? And remember, you lie, you die,” Atticus said. And with a silencer screwed into the barrel of his M-16, he pressed the nose of the weapon against the man’s forehead.
“There are about fifty of them, give or take,” the man answered as he stood there, sweating profusely.
“How many hostages do they have?” Atticus asked.
“Three adults, one injured. Seven kids, including the baby,”
Chris turned and walked over to the front of the first vehicle.
“Shannon, Cindy, can you hear me?” he asked over the comm.
“Loud and clear, Chris,” Shannon said.
“Are you still sitting across from the courthouse?”
“No. A cop made us. We put up a distraction to get him off our ass, then we drove down here to the bottoms,” Shannon told him.
Shannon and Cindy to Assist
“Okay. You can tell me the details later. Drive to the Elysian Fields, turn onto the access road, and get on the elevator. The elevator is activated by the weight of the vehicle. You’ll be lowered into an underground tunnel and on an underground road. Now, the road will take you underneath the floor of the lake. Follow it all the way to fork. You’ll see two dark-colored vans parked at the fork. Malcolm, Daniel and Jane are still in those vehicles, and they’ll meet you when you get there. We’re going to need your vehicle to transport hostages back up to the surface of the ground. Be careful,” Chris told them.
“We’re on our way,” Cindy assured as Shannon cranked the ignition and took off.