As Scotty searched for a car , Kelly continued hanging, wondering how long it had been, what day it was, wondering if someone would bring some water soon . He was so damn thirsty ! That was almost the worst hurt now, the desire for water . There wasn't a thing he could do about it though . He just had to hold on . Scotty would come . He'd come and there'd be water . Yeah, Scotty would come .
Kelly could feel the need for tears well up in him but stifled it quickly . He couldn't afford that kind of loss now, nor could he give in to those desires . He had to stick to his strengths . His belief in his partner was one of those . Scotty would be here soon and he'd be carrying a gallon of fresh cold water . All for him . Kelly tried to laugh at this thought but heard only a cracking kind of wheeze break the stillness . He guessed it hadn't been that funny, after all .
The day progressed, with multiple comings and goings down at the Leighton farmhouse . Scotty watched it all, well hidden in a mound of tall grass . The saboteurs seemed to be meeting in twos and threes to coordinate their hunt plans . They'd come in and then leave, nobody bothering to even go into the farmhouse . That had to be where Kelly was stashed .
Scotty was mildly amused to see that, for all their vaunted abilities, these guys had almost no security at the house . Perhaps the manpower shortage was making itself felt . After all, they had to allocate men to find Scotty , keep the lines down, and cover all the roads . He refused to consider the other alternative, that there was no one there , no one needing much in the way of guarding . No, it was just that they were undermanned .
Scotty hoped so, anyway. He could use all the help he could get . They were probably also exhibiting their usual over-confidence . They believed so strongly in their own invincibility that they had long since started creating loopholes in their set up . Loopholes through which Scotty was going to slip, if he was very lucky .
And so the day waned, darkening until a half moon lit the starlit night . Scotty's liberated car was well hidden behind a large haystack . He could only detect two guards left behind to walk the perimeter of the farm and outbuildings . The rest of the men would hopefully be fully occupied in town, presuming Scotty would be much more likely to use the night's cover for escape . Now was the time to move .
Scotty slowly inched his way down to the outskirts of the buildings . He'd spent a lot of time learning the guard's perimeter walk so that he knew where and when they'd be at certain places . He'd timed it just right, he hoped . Scuttling quickly along the sides of the buildings, he neared his objective with precise timing . He'd picked a back door as his logical entry point .
Scotty watched guard number one make the right corner turn he'd been waiting for, then sprinted up onto the back porch of the house . He was through the door almost before he knew it. The bozos hadn't even bothered with locks . Scotty hoped these confident creeps would dig their own graves with stupidities like that .
Then he was standing quietly in the old farmhouse, listening for sounds of alert . Nothing . He'd made it .
Scotty slowly circled the house, going from room to room, wishing he had just one of his partner's cigarette lighters . Even a match would do . There was no way he could turn on any lights, not unless he wanted to announce his presence to the guard .
Which is why his questing fingers found a seam in a place that shouldn't have had one . With the lights on he might never have spotted it . With the lights off, his fingers detected the incongruity with remarkable ease . There was a secret door here and Scotty was willing to lay odds that Kelly was somewhere behind that door .
Scotty quickly began prodding and poking at the brick wall, trying to effect entry . Now that he was finally here, his anxiety was beginning to build . If Kelly was behind this door, what kind of shape would he be in ? He'd been in there long enough for it to be bad . Scotty tried to ease down on his thoughts and go into strictly professional mode . Whatever shape Kelly was in, they'd deal with it .
The door finally sprang open with a little click . Scotty froze, waiting to see if anyone outside had heard it . He heard the boots of a passing guard amble on past, no hesitation in his stride . Letting out his breath, Scotty moved through the door, disgusted to see nothing but deep darkness . He began inching forward .
Kelly lifted his sagging head at the sound of a soft click . There seemed to be a slight change in the infinite darkness . He tried to stare into the inky blackness . Surely, if it was one of the saboteurs, he'd turn on the lights . Suddenly there was a thud, then the quick sound of silence . It was a listening silence .
" Scotty, that you? " he croaked, scarcely recognizing his own voice, hope building . " Please say it's you," he whispered, " cause otherwise that's one big rat sharing my space."
" It's me," Scotty whispered back, relief flooding into him . Kelly was not only alive but still capable of making jokes . Maybe he wasn't too bad off after all . " Nearly broke my neck on those stupid stairs . Why'd you pick such a dumb place to need rescuing from ?" complained Scotty, carefully picking his way down in the stygian darkness.
" Sorry about that," whispered Kelly, clamping down strongly on the waver that threatened to come out . Scotty had come and now he was going to get him out of this place .
" Tell me why I got saddled with a partner who never has matches, man, much less a flashlight," challenged Kelly, fighting to keep it light .
" Well, since I don't go around smoking my brains out, I don't generally find any need for matches. And it may have escaped your notice but when those guys relieved us of our stuff, they didn't miss a thing . I don't even have the handkerchief my mom thinks I carry at all times," said Scotty, trying to locate his partner .
" Oh yeah, that's something else I've been meaning to discuss with your mom . The things I could tell her," whispered Kelly, listening to his partner slowly descend .
" Uh huh, and who wants to spend some more time in this hole, Duke ? That could be arranged, you know . Where the heck are you, anyway ?" queried Scotty . The darkness was a frustration he hadn't counted on .
But maybe it wasn't for others, now. Kelly welcomed it for just a bit . He'd suddenly realized he wasn't going to be able to continue the bantering without breaking down. There was no way he was ready to let down his guard that far . Not even with Scotty . His partner was like a brother to him but Kelly had spent a long time building up certain walls. They were way too thick to tumble easily .
" Kel, come on, say something . I'm not a bat, you know . Give me a clue," grumbled Scott . " Where are you? Keep talking so that I can find you."
" All the way to the back, up on the wall," said Kelly, voice cracking . His tone suddenly sounded strained and wobbly . " You're going to have to find either some keys or a bolt cutter . They've got me manacled up here, man ."
A very nasty expletive surged forth from Scotty but never found it's way past his lips . He instantly regretted the stupid joke that had issued from his mouth just a second ago . His worry levels had just jumped tenfold again . Kelly didn't sound so good . And now there was another problem .
" Oh man," moaned Scotty . " Where am I going to find bolt cutters ?"
" You're in luck," Kelly hoarsely answered, as he felt Scotty slowly approaching . ` I saw some in the tool shed when I was scouting this place."
Scotty finally reached the back wall . He felt around, locating his partner, who let out a gasping breath when Scotty accidentally connected with a manacled leg . Scotty automatically jerked his hand away, then slowly reached out again, much more carefully .
" There's a box about five feet to your right," ground out Kelly, voice tight with pain . " You'll need it to get at the wrists."
" How bad is it, Kel?" asked Scotty, quietly.
" I'll manage . Just go get those bolt cutters quick . Don't know how long they were planning on leaving me alone here."
" They've left you alone ?" asked Scotty, hope rising . Maybe it wouldn't be too bad .
" Yeah . They've been softening me up a bit first with this hilarious little trick . They're into fun and games, not information. Get going, ok ? See if you can find any water while you're at it, too . I could use a little."
Kelly's words were clipped short, almost brusque . He was trying to steel himself for Scotty's departure . He knew he was being ridiculous but now, with help just within reach, he almost couldn't bear the thought of Scotty leaving him alone again . He could feel the old panic welling up within him and fought to make it subside . No way . Not again .
" Hurry up, ok . I'd like out of here before next Christmas . These manacles aren't doing a thing for me ."
" You got it, Duke . Back in a flash ," whispered Scotty, moving off as quick as the darkness would allow . He was almost back to the stairwell when he heard a soft gasp from his partner .
" Scotty !"
" Yeah ? You want a seven course meal too ?"
" No, uh, sorry . Get going, ok ?"
" Trying to, Duke . Back in a bit ."
" Scotty !" gasped out Kelly, hating himself for being so stupid .
" Yeah, Kel, what is it ?" said Scotty, worried all over again . This wasn't getting them anywhere but he had to give his partner time . Even if they couldn't afford it .
" No, uh, it's ok . It's nothing. Sorry . Maybe you could try to find some matches though . Don't want you cutting off anything I may need to keep," said Kelly, trying real darn hard for his usual tone .
Scotty didn't think it a very good effort but he was willing to give his partner an A for trying .
" I'll be back quick as I can, Kel," he softly promised . " You'll be out in no time ."
And then he was gone, leaving the room once more in a deep stillness . Kelly broke that stillness with just one half-stifled sob, then clamped his lips shut on anything else . He felt an utter weakling for allowing himself to give in to his emotions, when it was all going to be ok now . He just had to hold on for a little bit longer and then this nightmare would end . Scotty was coming back .
Scotty moved as quickly as he could, watching for the guards, timing his exit precisely . He dampened down even the slightest hint of impatience . It wouldn't do to blow it in the home stretch just cause he didn't want to keep his partner waiting any longer. No, there'd been enough mistakes .
He carefully slid out the farmhouse door, then moved swiftly into the cover of the out-buildings, his muscular form moving with timed precision . His long wait in the grass clumps earlier in the day had paid off . He knew exactly where the tool shed was . He slipped in and quickly zeroed in on his quest . Just as Kelly had said, the bolt cutters were there . It took him but a moment to grab them and begin his return .
Scotty's return was equally cautious . Luck seemed to be in their favor this night . Scotty's timing was perfect . He eased the farmhouse door open with minutes to spare . Both guards were at the farthest points of their route .
He began to make his way back to the brick wall when he remembered Kelly's request for water . Kelly tended to minimize personal needs while on a mission . For him to ask for water, he must be in pretty bad need .
Scotty carefully entered into the kitchen . He easily found a glass, using the moonlight spilling in the wide kitchen windows to light his way . Then he froze into rigid stone as he heard the approach of one of the guards . He waited , scarcely daring to breathe, as the guard casually made his pass, calling out to his fellow guard for a light . Scotty heard the other one make an acerbic comment but then heard him approach too . They stood there, not more than 5 feet from Scotty's location, trading small talk as cigarettes were lit . Finally they moved away .
Scotty very, very carefully let out his breath, then slowly filled the glass with tap water, moving as quietly as he possibly could . The guards were well armed and it wouldn't have been fun to try to take them on . Scotty had exactly three rocks in his pocket . Not exactly his weapon of choice .
The secret door was a lot easier this time around . Scotty tapped the requisite brick, than eased his way in . This was going to be great fun, trying to carry a glass of water in pitch dark down a stairwell. He should have taken the time to look for matches but there was no way he wanted to tarry in that kitchen any longer .
" Hey, Kel, you still there ?" he whispered .
" Funny, Berle, very funny . I'm gonna remember that the next time you need rescuing."
Scotty was relieved to hear that his partner's voice sounded much stronger . He descended the treacherous stairwell, balancing his glass of water all the way. Then he made his way as swiftly as he could to his partner's side.
" Let me get the box, then I've got something for you," he said . Scotty felt his way over to the box, then returned with it, still balancing the precious water . He placed the box as near to his partner as he could, feeling his way with careful fingers, then heaving the box into position . Once again he connected with Kelly . His partner flinched at the contact but gave no other indication of the pain he was in .
Scotty carefully made his way atop the box.
" Brought you some water . I'm gonna do my best to get it in you but you'll have to help me out a bit . Hold as still as you can while I find your face, man."
" Not going anywhere, Jack," said Kelly, giving a little half laugh .
" Remember to remind me to tell you a good joke I thought of awhile back . It's not so funny now but maybe it'll be good again, later ."
" You got it, man," promised Scotty, very carefully tracing Kelly's face with one hand, then carefully tilting the glass to his lips . Kelly made a very small sound, almost a moan, then began to greedily drink, trying to get it down as fast as possible . Scotty pulled the glass away when it was half gone, not wanting to see the consequences if Kelly took it too fast . Kelly made another small noise, almost as if he could not help it.
Scotty was quick to reassure .
" More later, ok?" he said . " First, let's get you out of these things ."
" Get the ankles first, Scotty . Go for the chains . We can cut the manacles off once we're out of here . The wrists are gonna be real fun cause once you've done one, I'll have my full weight hanging off the other . So when you get the ankles , give me a minute to try and get a hold of the wrist
chains . I'd rather not take the whole weight on my wrists, if I can help it."
Scotty was greatly pleased to hear the old familiar tones coming back into his partner's voice . He sounded a great deal better already . Once they got out of this hellishly hot cellar, he'd be even better . His face alone had felt oven-ready . Scotty guessed that his time in this cellar probably hadn't been any too fun .
" Sounds like a plan," he said . He dropped down to floor level then carefully felt along his partner's right leg `til he connected to the manacle . Kelly drew in a sharp breath but otherwise made no comment . Scotty made his way up the manacle, wincing at the sticky rawness he felt under his fingers, until he found the very taut chain . It was short work to cut his way through with the bolt cutters.
Scotty quickly moved over to the other leg, getting rid of that chain just as fast . Kelly made one small sound, a soft sigh of relief, as his legs dropped into normal alignment . Then he began trying to hitch his way up the remaining chains, trying to ease the strain on his wrists .
" No go, man," gasped Kelly . " It's too tight . Go ahead and cut ."
" Quick as I can," Scotty promised, back up on the box again . He knew there was no way that he could support his partner and cut at the same time but he was going to give it a darn good try . He couldn't even use the box to take his partner's weight because it was too small . There was no extra room to carry another person.
He carefully traced the manacle on one wrist, then snapped the chain . Kelly let out a grunt of pain as he dropped, then dangled quietly . Scotty tried to heave him up a bit but quickly realized that he was only prolonging the problem . Moving as fast as he could, he snapped the final chain . Kelly slid down the wall even though Scotty tried to catch him . He landed with a soft thud and a whispered curse. But he was down .