01 Feb The 24 Hour Game 03:00-04:00
Melissa was the only one who had brought her phone, but we spent the next twenty three minutes moving the two men we had found away from the main site and toward an exit.
The dogs were still barking wildly outside trying to find us as I strategized an exit plan.
“We need to move. It’s not safe here,” I said as I checked my watch.
“They’ve probably already found the Mazda and know about the hit and run,” Melissa realized.
“We’re sitting near the water, maybe there is a ferry we can board to get to the other side?” I suggested.
At that exact moment, about thirteen minutes early the next message popped up on the screen.
IV. BOARD THE FERRY.
“How the hell…” I said and then shook it off. It didn’t matter.
“Guess we know that they’re watching us… big surprise,” she said as she looked around. “Okay so now we know there’s a boat, which way was the water?”
I paused to listen to the early morning sounds around the dump. Besides the continuous barking I could hear the distant waves and then pointed toward the northeast.
The first man was more coherent by this time and was checking to see if his partner was also waking up.
“Wayne, come on! We’ve got to move!” The first man said as he shook him and then cussed softly.
“We can carry him,” I offered as I used my own body weight on one side and Melissa did on the other.
The man nodded and then together we moved to the northeast exit.
Melissa used the bolt cutters again and then pushed the gate open to make it to the rocky beach.
I fully expected there to be some sort of ship anchored there just waiting for us, someone that would provide us all the answers. Instead all I saw was a barren shore.
“What the fuck?” Melissa asked. I was about to make a comment as well when I saw a search team bounding toward us, guns raised and dogs leaping over stones to reach our spot.
“Come on!!” I shouted as I helped the second man move toward the sand and then peered down river.
“I don’t see shit! Is this some sort of trick?” Melissa asked desperately.
The dogs were almost on us. The first man raised his weapon and fired straight at the closest dog as a warning shot.
Then one of the mastiffs leapt and tackled him to the ground.
“Fuck!” I screamed as I dropped Wayne and started to press my back against the water. One of the SWAT team let out a whistle as the dogs circled us and the first man pushed the angry mastiff away, until its owner pulled the dog back and then pointed an assault rifle straight at his heart.
“Lionel Garland?” the SWAT officer asked.
Melissa and I looked toward the first man and he nodded, complacently raising his hands over his head and adding, “You can take me in. These people had nothing…”
That was the last thing he got to say. The SWAT commander sent a bullet straight through his skull and Lionel fell down on the sand like a limp doll.
“Holy shit!!” Melissa screamed. The officers pointed their weapons toward us next.
I felt my head spin as I tried to understand what had just happened.
Then a bright searchlight trailed out across the water.
I turned and saw a small boat moving rapidly toward our location. I knew that had to be our ride.
“Don’t move!” the commander said. But I knew better than to trust anything that these people said.
Something flew over my head and hit the beach with a resounding thud and then a wave of smoke poured out of the bomb as the officers scrambled back and tried to keep their weapons trained on our bodies.
“Get aboard now!!” a voice said from the ferry.
Melissa grabbed my arm as the dogs yelped and ran away from the stench that the bomb was giving off.
“We can’t leave him!!” I said looking toward the second man.
“If we don’t then we won’t get out of here alive,” she argued back. But I didn’t care.
I pushed toward the second man and grabbed him up by the arm, hoisting him over my shoulders as I saw another armed man trying to aim for my back.
It was all I could do to run to the open water and push the second man onto the side of the boat.
The armed man let out a shot, piercing my lower thigh and I screamed in pain as Melissa helped me onto the boat and our unseen rescuer tossed another smoke bomb toward our assailants and zoomed away down the murky waters.
“You’re hurt,” the woman that rescued us said as she saw blood dripping from my thigh. I looked up at her and it took a moment for me to register that she was missing her right arm.
“Not as bad as him. Do you have a first aid kit?” I asked.
She nodded and went below deck while a second woman steered our boat further away from the shore.
I propped up the second man next to one of the lifeboats and then got him to spit up a little vomit and breathe as she returned with the supplies.
The young man opened his eyes wildly and tried to bolt before I motioned him to stay still.
“We’re contestants. Just like you,” I told him.
Actually that wasn’t entirely true cause I didn’t know for sure who our rescuers were at that time.
“Lionel? Where is he?” the young man asked.
Melissa looked down at the deck soberly and I gave him the bad news.
“Fuck. Fucking hell,” he said slamming his fist down on the solid wood deck.
The woman that had rescued us looked toward the captain of the ship and then lit a cigarette.
“Well. That makes things a bit more complicated doesn’t it?” she muttered as she started to smoke.
“Who are you people?” Melissa asked softly.
“We’ll talk in a moment. For now, scrub up and get some rest. You’re going to need it for what comes next.”