About Henry Fellows
On Killing and Innocence: The Chronicles of Henry Fellows
Chapter Nine Continues
“You with me, Deer? Come on, kid.”
“Hey, Floyd.” It’s him and the present again. The young overwrought doctor’s evaporated. I’m back, as much as I can be. “I’m with you. That was weird.”
“Guess taking prisoners triggered one of your bad times.”
“Guess it did.” I shake my head and stomp my feet out. Gravity seems a more pressing thing but I’m fighting through it. Bad times. Nice way to put it.
“Maybe let us do the questioning,” Floyd says, putting a hand to my shoulder. It feels equal parts fatherly and condescending. “Not like we haven’t done this kind of thing before.” He’s a good man in his own way, I suppose. Trying to protect me, doing the best he can to, anyway. Afraid it’s a little late for that.
“True,” I say, gathering momentum. “But I want it done quick, and I’m the only one that’s been on both sides of the equation.” Check my watch. Reach for my left—my right pocket. Down a couple pills. Floyd’s eyebrows are almost touching his hairline from doubt-face. “Mind getting me some water to wash these down?”
“Sure.” He goes toward the kitchen. “What about a beer?”
“Even better.” It sucks that he had to see me like that. I make a mental note to pay him a little more. Money. Nothing it can’t buy.
After Floyd lifts the big basement door we descend back into Marie’s underground chamber. The beer is shaking in my hand but my senses have mostly recovered. I notice a long workbench on the wall to my left, a vice and other tools used for fashioning bullets. The right wall is covered with weapons. Pistols, shotguns of every type, fully automatic assault rifles and even a couple of handheld rocket launchers. It’s all pretty cliché. Next to the heavy stuff is what makes Marie somewhat unique in the business. Knives. There must be hundreds: small, long, serrated, hooked, Chinese, American military. Antiques. It’s an encyclopedia as much as a display case. Almost forgot how much she loved her blades, how good she is at using them.
The room is bigger than I thought; the cage they’ve got the two captives in only takes up a small portion of the space. Behind it I see two great looking cars, one being a vintage Aston Martin.
“Never got over your James Bond thing, did you, Marie?” I ask it like we’re not in a torture chamber, like she hadn’t just hit a guy with a telephone book across the dome.
To anybody but her, the question might’ve seemed ill-timed. She rolls with it. “Only Englishman ever worth a damn.”
“Connery?” I ask.
“Are you kidding?” she says, slamming the guy harder this time. Insulting question, I suppose.
“Connery is Scottish,” Billy says, surprising us. He’s working on the woman. It’s on purpose. Women are more easily intimidated by men, no matter what the torture pamphlet says. Either that or irritated. Especially by a professional chauvinist like Billy. Marie’s working the guy, because men have an ego thing about getting tuned up by women—again, no matter what the pamphlet says.
There’s a small table and chair in the corner of the cage. I set my beer down momentarily and hop up on the table. Floyd sits down in the chair, just to my right. Everything seems to stop for a moment. Suddenly I realize this is my operation. Marie and Billy are waiting for my cues; I am writing the checks, after all. The two captives are looking at me because I was their objective.
“How we doing so far?”
“Their papers are right next to you on the table,” Billy says. “No radios. The car was clean. Forms in the glove box say it’s a rental.”
“Prints?” Floyd asks.
“They were wearing gloves when we nabbed them,” Marie says, shrugging.
“Don’t bother dusting,” I say. It’s just for the captives to hear. “We have their hands right here. If we don’t get ID, then we’ll just cut them off. Can do that later.”
Mr. and Mrs. chase car are still upright in their chairs, defiant, pretending to enjoy themselves. Everybody in the room knows they’re not enjoying themselves, but I understand. That’s what you do when you get caught. Act like the world’s biggest badass. Standard Operating Procedure.
It’s easy to be stoic when you’ve only been hit ten or twenty times. Hopelessness hasn’t had time to sink in, to start asking its gnawing little questions of you.
I look at the floor and then into the woman’s eyes. She’s pretty, or was, five minutes ago. There’s hardly any blood on her blouse or under the chair. She’s got a ways to go. “We’re not going to kill you,” I say. There’s really no way to be original in these situations. “But we will let you die. Blood loss. Dehydration. Whatever. Come on. You guys are professionals, not very good ones, but professionals. Just tell me who it is that’s got you running around after me and we’ll let you go. Hell, name your price. I’ll double it.” I slide off the table and kneel down just make sure I’ve never seen either of these mutts before. They’re young. Cardboard cut-outs. Little toy soldiers. Can’t say I have.
Nothing but defiant eyes, piss-off expressions. “Okay then,” I say. “Loosen them up a little for me, Billy.”