The staggering figure held tight to the wall, unseen he walked over to the exit. Checking no one was watching he passed the gate and took the cover of the trees to the village, breathing hard he was working overtime on his adrenaline but he had to keep moving. Face thought over everything that erupted in his mind, images and words that taunted him as he staggered onwards. His best friend, his team, all traitors. Traitors to their country, traitors to him, he couldn’t begin to explain why they had done it or why he hadn’t worked it out sooner.
Face narrowed his eyes to the surrounding area, it was dark and the tree’s loomed large above him, covering him with their shadows. Deep down he had a feeling that wouldn’t leave him; something wasn’t clicking into place, it was as if he was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The smell, it was humid but the smell wasn’t what he remembered the jungles of Nam to smell like. The calm, why wasn’t he being chased? How had he managed to escape a POW camp so easily?
Taking more breaths and slowing up slightly, Face continued his trek. He could only hear the sound of his harsh breathing and the cutting pain he could feel hindered his every move. Up ahead he saw lights, any sign of life to him now was welcome, his confusion was playing tricks and he felt ready to play along.
“No, no, Catalina, no!” Murdock murmured as he held the limp figure of the woman who was their only hope for escape.
Murdock closed his eyes, what had happened whilst he’d been asleep? Had Sanchez done this? Murdock shook his head slightly and looked over to the empty cot, fear overcoming him as he pondered the many possibilities, where was Faceman? Murdock now clung to the body of Catalina as his anguished thoughts tormented him; he didn’t hear anything other than his own fears.
Murdock suddenly felt a strong hold taking his shoulder and pulling him roughly to his feet, his own confusion not protecting him from the attack as a fist piled straight into his jaw. Murdock fell heavily back against the back wall, looking through the haze he saw Sanchez holding the body of Catalina and crying. Murdock remained where he was, his head thumped with pain and he was reminded of an earlier hit. Rubbing his head he remembered Face taking a rock to him and then darkness, Murdock blinked his eyes, Face had actually attacked him and now Catalina was dead with Sanchez looking as though he’d only just found out. Shaking his head again, Murdock couldn’t begin to believe what his thoughts were thinking, it couldn’t be true.
Sanchez finally let go of his stepdaughter, his last living bond with the woman he had truly loved and cared for. That link was now gone, killed in cold blood by an American who was destined, it seemed, to forever ruin his life. With a stare as cold as the night, Sanchez glared across to the where the American sat, he couldn’t see any remorse.
“You killed my daughter!” Sanchez cried as he slowly got to his feet, his rage all too clear and a madness developed in his eyes.
Murdock stared back bewildered, if he could have he’d have edged back but the wall gave him no way out. With nothing to say Murdock simply allowed Sanchez to approach, all the time wondering where Face was. Has his mistake in telling Face he was a trustee really driven his friend to kill, to feel so betrayed that he could simply leave him here? Sanchez reached out and pulled Murdock to his feet once again, glaring with intent deep into his eyes.
“Why did you kill my daughter?” he asked in a voice close to a growl.
Murdock had no answer to give; he numbly stared back and saw Sanchez note something on the side of his head. Sanchez put a hand to the mark he saw and enjoyed the grimace Murdock made as he made contact, he moved the hair from the wound to the side of Murdock’s head, he felt the dried blood. Turning his attention back to Murdock he shook him angrily.
“Why did you kill my daughter!” he screamed in a wild rage.
Murdock still gave no response and soon found himself in a heap as Sanchez lost control, kicking and hitting him with all he could muster, the mournful anger unleashing itself on the man he thought responsible.
“Boss, hey cool it or we’ll have two dead bodies!” one of the goons yelled, seeing Murdock was out cold.
Sanchez turned away in a wild emotional mess, he hadn’t loved Catalina as much as her mother but she was there to remind him of her, when she was near it was like her mother was near and now the American had destroyed his world. Letting the tears flow Sanchez took some deep breaths in order to regain some control, he put his head back and screamed to release his sadness at the loss. The goon put a comforting arm around him and allowed him to compose himself again before moving away.
“Take her body to her room and get someone down here to sort out the funeral,” Sanchez ordered meekly. “Try and locate the other one,” he added as an afterthought.
“Boss, what do you think happened?” The goon asked as he scooped up the body of Catalina.
“They lured her here, he lured her here,” Sanchez pointed directly at Murdock with hate filled eyes. “He used her to allow his friend to escape. Only he wasn’t expecting her to be a fighter, just like her beautiful mama, that knock to his head was Catalina’s attempt to survive only he had to go one better, he snapped her neck in a blind rage,” Sanchez recounted as if he had seen it all happen.
“Man, let me take him now boss and finish Catalina’s work!” the goon offered.
“In good time, let Catalina rest in peace and then we’ll make sure this American gets what is coming to him, have Alarico prepare the gallows,” Sanchez ordered with a sudden calm.
Murdock remained in a heap on the floor, unawares of anything as the beating took its toll on him. Sanchez followed his man out of the room, allowing the shock of Catalina’s death to take full hold and the anger to fester deep within.
The modest house offered warmth and comfort; food and drink were placed on the table and eagerly accepted by Hannibal and BA as they sat with Jose. They had been enjoying sharing the memories of their previous visit when raised voices from outside caught their attention; Jose rose from his seat and headed over to the window.
“There’s something going on in the square,” Jose reported.
“Anything that might concern us?” Hannibal asked, rising to his feet.
“I am not sure, there’s a group of people,” Jose remarked and then looked over. “It seems there’s someone on the floor, it’s badly lit out there but I think I make out blond hair,” he added, already suspecting whom it might be.
“Face?” BA checked as he saw Hannibal head over to the door.
Hannibal was already halfway across the square when BA caught up with him; they saw the growing crowd gathering around the fallen man. Hannibal pushed his way through and instantly recognised his friend, he knelt down beside him.
“Hey, kid. It’s Hannibal,” Hannibal smiled in relief.
Hannibal’s smile soon disappeared as Face pushed himself away from him and his eyes told Hannibal something seriously was wrong.
“Stay away, you, you” Face stammered.
“I what, Face?” Hannibal asked, needing to know.
“He’s delirious, man!” BA remarked.
“You knew!” Face stated, losing what energy he had gathered.
“Knew what?” Hannibal demanded.
“About Murdock, you knew he was a traitor, you were all traitors!” Face managed to scream before falling to his knees.
“Get him inside, BA!” Hannibal ordered sharply.
Face tried to struggle but BA got a good hold on him and he soon fell into unconsciousness allowing BA to carry him to Jose’s home. Hannibal took some breaths before following, Face’s words had cut him like a knife and he needed answers. Why had Face accused him like he had and where was Murdock? If Face had managed to escape why hadn’t Murdock? Hannibal had had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach, it had just got worse.
Separate Vacations Part Ten
by Susan Owens
Sanchez sat in his office. ÊHe felt the Êloss of his stepdaughter. Why did that American scrum kill her? She had never hurt anyone; she had always tried to help people. Now she was dead and that American would pay.
Hannibal and BA stared at Face, who was still unconscious, lying on the Êbed in one of Jose’s bedrooms.
“Hannibal, what’s wrong with Face? Why did he call us traitors and where’s Murdock?” Asked BA.
Hannibal shook his head and took Face’s hand. “I don’t know, BA.”
Face suddenly opened his eyes. Terror was in his eyes as he tried to get up. “Let me go! Dammit, let me go!” Face screamed.
Hannibal held Face down. “Easy, Face, Êit’s alright. You are back with us.”
Face kept on struggling. “Let me go, you traitor! Let go now or I will kill you!”
BA stood there wondering why Face was acting this way. Hannibal still held firm to Face.
“Face, where is Murdock?”
Face smiled at Hannibal — not his usual smile but a very evil smile that made Hannibal’s skin crawl. “I think I killed that traitor, just like I am going to kill you.” Somehow Face got Hannibal off of him Êand he was now on top of him, trying to strangle him.
“Die, you traitor, die!”
Hannibal threw Face off of him. Face jumped at him again. Jose moved Êin quickly Êand Êgave Face a tranquilizer.
“This will help him rest. I have sent for the doctor.”
Hannibal nodded his head. “Thanks, Jose. Can you watch our friend for us? We have to find our other friend.”
Jose nodded his head. “Of course, my friend. I will watch your friend. I hope you find your other Êfriend. Good luck, and may God be with you.”
Murdock awoke, finding himself still in the cell . He hurt all over but mostly in his heart. Telling Face he was a trustee had been a big mistake. It had caused his friend to kill an innocent person. Murdock sat there on the floor of the cell and cried for Catalina and for his friend, Face. This was his fault he never should had told Face he was a trustee. Murdock saw a shadow and he looked up. There was Sanchez and two of his men.
Sanchez grabbed Murdock and pulled him to his feet. “You American bastard will die for killing my step daughter. First I like you to know we will find your friend and he too will die.” Turning to one of his men he said. “Take him to the hole. ÊTomorrow he will die.”
The two men dragged Murdock to the hole and tossed him in like a rag doll. Murdock hit his head on a rock and then laid still. Sanchez looked down at him. “Make sure he is still breathing. I want the pleasure of killing him myself.”
The guard climbed down the ladder and checked Murdock’s pulse. “He is still alive, sir.”
Sanchez smiled. “Good. Tomorrow he dies.”