A Pawn for Malice(62)

By: Cynthia Roberts

She pushed herself though to keep busy. The small area she managed to clear doubled as a tiny exercise course, where she shuffled slowly, back and forth rather than paced. There was nothing much else she could do to occupy her time. Everywhere she looked, the terrain was impossible to traverse with her ankles cuffed together.

Morris told her she was far away from the attraction areas the visitors toured and where the renovations were taking place. She wondered, if, after she was rescued, whether she’d want to ever come back to this place and take a tour herself.

She chuckled.

“Heck, why not? I always wanted to.” She laughed again. “God, now I’m having a conversation with myself.”

She shook it off. Just from what she could see of the chamber she was in; it was pretty, magnificent looking.

She learned from Morris, the formations, she looked at constantly were made of limestone. He had pointed out the difference between what was called stalactites and stalagmites. He explained to her, how they were formed, during one of their long talks. She could tell, he loved these caves, and learned everything about them over the years he worked them. Just the excitement and wonder in his voice, wanted her to witness them firsthand, despite being held captive in this place.

She would ask Bryan, to come back with her. She knew that touring the cave, would help her see them in a different light, maybe even help her put this whole nightmare behind her.


Jessica’s rumbling stomach woke her from a fitful sleep. When she checked the time on the wristwatch she had been given, it was nearly nine-thirty in the evening. Every inch of her body ached from sleeping on a hard surface so long, that was riddled with jagged stones. The muscles in her arms hurt terribly, as she used them to try and pillow her head. But her constant turning and tossing, as her bindings pulled and raked her skin raw, made it impossible to get comfortable. Her ankles were bleeding now from the cuffs and she was afraid of an infection setting in. As much as she rinsed them with the water Morris brought frequently, it was hard to keep them constantly clean of dirt.

She was bone tired too. Her eyes were gritty and red from lack of sleep. If it wasn’t the sounds of water dripping that kept her awake, it was the bats overhead, the unrecognizable noises of whatever else scurried over the rocks, or her brain, that refused to shut down.

She forced herself into a sitting position, and wondered why she hadn’t seen Morris by now. He did not stop by to bring her something for lunch, or dinner. Something was terribly wrong. She just knew it.

It wasn’t hard to guess that Corbat would be showing up soon and she felt a wave of nausea rise in her chest. This was it. She was either going to walk away from this unscathed, or it may prove her demise. She didn’t have to wait long. She could hear someone approaching.

She forced herself to look and confirm it was Corbat and not Morris coming to get her.

“Get up on your feet!” He barked.

She reached out to lean against the large boulder at her side for leverage. Slowly, she managed and wobbled a little, until she righted herself.

Corbat untied the bindings on her hands, and roughly pulled them behind her back and bind them. He squatted down to unlock the cuffs, and slipped them in his pocket.

She gazed over her shoulder and asked.

“Where are you taking me? Will Bryan be there?”

He took a rag from his other pocket and forced it into her mouth, clasped a hold of her bindings tightly, and shoved her forward.

“Walk, bitch.”

She stumbled often, but this time he did not allow her to fall. He took his time with her. When they entered the elevator, she noticed a washcloth and bottle of water on the floor. He leaned over, uncapped the bottle, and poured the liquid over the washcloth. He rose and his touch was surprisingly tender, as he wiped the dirt from her neck, face, and forehead.

The elevator doors slid open and the bright moonlight shining in through the wide glass doors were blinding and hurt her eyes. She stopped abruptly, and leaned over to shield them.

He huffed loudly behind her in exasperation, but did not force her forward quite yet. He gave her eyes a moment to adjust, before pushing her forward.

She noticed that the parking lot in front of her was empty. She quickly gazed to the right, and then the left. There wasn’t a sign of anyone else in the area. She almost guffawed, from her stupidity.

Bryan wouldn’t have parked in the open. He’d be covert somewhere, watching, waiting for the right moment to strike. At least, she silently hoped he was.

The more she looked about, she realized, that they had exited the back of the building. Corbat steered her to the left. There in the distance, was a large u-shaped building. The light that shone from the moon above made it easy for her to decipher this was a motel. She remembered then, that Morris had told her lodging was available at the Caverns.