Destiny Interlude: a Summer Cruise - Cover

Destiny Interlude: a Summer Cruise

Copyright© 2021 by Lumpy

Chapter 2

I had talked a good game to the girls, mostly to keep them from worrying, but I had a major problem. I might be able to handle myself in a fight, but finding two people in an unfamiliar city wasn’t something I was trained for, or had any idea how to do.

Eddie had told me where he’d last seen Charlie and Sandy, as best as he had been able, but sadly, that was pretty limited. It seems the trio had set off into the slums with little or no plan and no real sense of direction. They hadn’t made it into the deepest part of the sprawling, ramshackle town. They had come in from the southeast side, basically following the coast from the resort. He thought that they had gone less than a mile into the town before they were jumped and they had started to veer west, away from the coastline.

Of course that was just directions to where they had been jumped. There was no telling where the two college students were, now. For all I knew, they had been pulled deeper into the city. That was assuming of course they were still alive at all. I didn’t want to bring it up in front of Eddie, but that was a possibility. The two most likely scenarios I could think of for what happened were either a kidnapping for ransom, or worse, they were jumped for what they had on them and then dispatched.

A kidnapping wasn’t that unlikely, actually. I had done a lot of preparation for this trip. Besides learning Spanish, which, given the rate at which I read and retained information now, wasn’t that difficult, I had read up on what was happening in Mexico. Not for any particular reason, just a mixture of ‘you never know’ thinking and curiosity.

One thing I had learned was how frighteningly common kidnapping had become in all of Latin America. It was so common that anyone with money had a special kind of insurance called Kidnap and Ransom Insurance, or K&R Insurance. Basically, if someone in your family was kidnapped, the insurance would pay out to their kidnappers and they would get the person back to you safely. It was so common, in fact, that unlike the US ... where many kidnappings end badly for the kidnapped ... the person who was kidnapped was usually returned safely once their abductors were paid.

The sad thing was, that was the best case scenario, since the alternative was much-much worse, especially for Sandy. If that was the case, I would almost certainly be too late. My best guess was that it had been almost an hour and a half since Eddie ran away. Even assuming they needed time to transport Charlie and Sandy to wherever these guys were based, I didn’t think I would be in time.

So I just had to hope for the best case scenario and try to rescue them. That was the main reason I didn’t want to stop and inform the authorities. Even at their best, it would have been hours ... or more likely, the next day ... before any attempt to retrieve them was made. The statistics for women held by kidnappers was almost as disheartening as that of the worst case scenario. Either way, I didn’t want to leave my new friends with their captors any longer than I had to.

My thinking over the situation had carried me into the outskirts of town and I saw what I had actually been aiming for. A church.

Mexico is a fairly religious country, and heavily Catholic. It was my hope that the priest would be both sympathetic to my plight, and have some information on where I could find the group operating in this area. Odds were they were part of a gang that controlled this section, and there were probably other gangs controlling other sections of the city. That would work to my advantage. It increased the likelihood that the priest would know about them, from both gossip and listening to his parishioners. If I had to put money on it, it would be that the gang members went into the confessional regularly. It is one of those weird dichotomies that many criminals are religious. You would think one would cancel out the other, but no. It’s just one of those strange facts of life.

If it was a cartel and not local gangs, things would be much harder. Cartels used kidnapping as one of their side businesses, and were very efficient at it. More so than a gang would be. But, from what I had read, they didn’t operate this close to a resort where tourist dollars were badly needed. I had seen some soldiers in army uniforms, and if I had to guess, that wasn’t uncommon.

I stepped into the church, which was dimly lit. During my trip, dusk had become night, and I had noticed how dim everything was. In the US you get used to constant light everywhere you go; but here, even the outside street lights or lights on buildings seemed much dimmer than I was used to. The inside of the church wasn’t that much brighter than the outside.

A man in a Priest’s vestment came walking up to me quickly. He looked concerned. He probably did not get very many Americans in his church, and this was not the best place for foreigners.

“I need your help, father,” I said in Spanish.

I had been able to practice my Spanish all day during the shopping trip, and my accent was becoming pretty good, or at least I hoped so.

“You should not be here,” he replied.

“I know, but I had three friends who wandered into your town. Two of them were grabbed by men with guns, and the third ran away, back to the resort down the road.”

“You should tell the police at the resort then. Have them help you.”

“I am afraid what will happen to my friends while I am waiting for the police to act. I believe you know what happens to people held by men like this.”

His face turned into a frown, “Yes, but I don’t know how I can help you.”

“Tell me where I can find them. It was several men, and they were all armed. Men wouldn’t be going around so openly unless this was the area they controlled.”

“I know the men you are talking about, but I don’t think I should tell you. These are very dangerous men. You will either be one more kidnap victim, or killed.”

“I appreciate your concern, and I will be very careful, but I need to go to them. My other option if I cannot find out where they are, is to wander the town looking for them. Either way I am in danger.”

“That would be extremely stupid.”

“I am a desperate man, father. I could promise you I will be fine, that I am able to handle myself, but I know that would mean very little.”

He stared at me for a long moment before saying, “Fine.”

He didn’t sound happy about helping.

“Thank you,” I said. I knew he was trying to do what he thought best.

He gave me directions to a small block-style house about half a dozen blocks from the church. He said that he had seen the house once before, and could tell me there was a large wall going around the entire house. I was actually happy to hear that. That type of security might mean my actions would not be seen from the street and block them from seeing me, until I was practically at the house.

I thanked the priest again, and began making my way out of the church.

“I hope you find your friends,” he called out to my back. “May God go with you.”

I didn’t acknowledge him, but slipped out. Assuming everything worked out, I had changed my plan a bit. I would come back here and have another talk with the priest. I had some plans forming in my head, although they would have to wait until Charlie and Sandy were safe. First things first, after all.

I left the church and headed down the street, following the Priest’s direction. There were very few people out on the street, which was probably a good thing. In the US at least, street gangs had younger members stationed around a neighborhood as lookouts. Of course, they were normally watching for the police. I wasn’t sure what the police presence was like here, but I hadn’t seen any obvious sign yet, so I guessed it was much less than in the States.

In the middle of a block, I saw the house I was looking for ... or, at least, its large eight foot walls. It was between several houses that seemed similar, just without the protecting walls surrounding them. I crept into one of the gaps between my target house and the house next to it.

I could see a glow over the wall. They had a fair amount of lights on in the house, while most of the houses around me had little to no lighting outside. What lights the adjacent houses had on inside, were mostly concealed behind curtains. What this meant was that the area right around the house where Sandy and Charlie were most likely being held, was significantly brighter than the surrounding area.

This worked to my advantage. Anyone standing guard (and I had to assume someone would be standing guard until I got a look at the house), would be hard pressed to see past the house. To them it would just be an inky blackness outside of their immediate area.

I stood silently outside of the wall for several minutes, listening intently. I could hear voices coming from the direction of the house, but they were muffled. My best guess was I was hearing talking from inside the house, through an open door or window. I couldn’t hear any clear talking, meaning there weren’t multiple people in the yard, or at least none that were talking to each other. I couldn’t hear any sounds I would associate with walking, or anything at all that seemed close.

Taking a chance, I leapt up just high enough to get my fingertips on the edge of the wall, and pulled myself up slowly. I wasn’t trying to vault the wall, at least not yet. I wanted to get my eye line just over the wall.

Thankfully, when I looked over I couldn’t immediately see anyone, meaning they could not see me, either.

I saw I was on the side of the house and the windows on this side were closed, or at least had drapes over them. I could see light pouring from the back of the house. It also seemed, that was the direction of the voices.

Seeing no one in sight, I pulled myself the rest of the way up and then over the wall, landing as softly as I could. I eased up to the house and made my way along the wall of the house, so I could peek around the corner. I took a fast look before ducking back. Just enough so I could register what I saw, but limiting my exposure.

There were two men standing by the back door, smoking and talking to one another. They were both directly across from me, with one man blocking my view of the other. The man I could clearly see had a pistol shoved in his pants, not in a holster, but through the waistband. I assumed the other man was also armed.

This left me with a quandary. I needed to take these two men down before entering the house. If nothing else, it would lessen any opposition I might face in the house. But I needed to do it quietly. The last thing I wanted was for a bunch of armed men to come pouring out the back door.

So I waited, listening intently. Eventually the man further from me dropped the cigarette he was holding, and smashed it into the ground with the toe of his boot. He said something to his friend and went back in the door. This was as good of an opportunity as I was going to get. I still didn’t want to go at him right in front of the back door. I could still see light coming out of it so it was either a glass door or had a large window in it. I couldn’t tell from the angle I was at. Either way, fighting their sentry in front of it seemed like a bad idea.

Using a plan straight out of bad eighties action movies, I grabbed a rock and hurled it at the eight foot high wall across from me, where it hit with a thwack. I listened and heard no movement. After several minutes waiting I peeked again and the guard was now leaning against the wall, and apparently paid the noise no attention. While I was happy these guys were inattentive, for my current plan I needed him to be just a little more active.

I sent five more rocks against the wall, much harder. Each one impacted with a solid thwack sound. Finally, I heard movement from the guard. I guess I had managed to make enough noise this time that he couldn’t ignore it. I pressed myself against the wall and waited. I could make out his footsteps as he headed my direction. They didn’t seem careful. If I had to assign an adjective to the noise he was making, I would go with plodding.

He passed the edge of the wall and didn’t look around at all, still heading towards the wall where the noise had come from. His gun wasn’t in his hand. He in fact seemed fairly unconcerned. Maybe he thought the noise was an animal. Either way, he would be paying for his mistake very soon.

I moved behind him and threw my left arm around his neck. With my hand, I pinned his right arm since most people were right handed, and from the way he’d had his gun in his waistband, it seemed like he was too. This was a move I had been taught by Levi, my Krav Maga instructor, in our private sessions. My left arm was wrapped around his throat and pulled tight, constricting his airway. Besides cutting off his flow of air (which would render him unconscious or kill him depending on how long I held it), this move had the added benefit of stifling any noise he might make. Most people when put in this type of chokehold grabbed at you with both hands, but it was their dominate hand that was the most dangerous. Besides being used to pry the attackers arm free it had fairly open access to hit, scratch or gouge the attacker’s undefended face. It’s why I had taken his dominant hand out of action.

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