CHAPTER 3: A MAN RETURNS TO A BAR
In a cell so small that the walls pressed in on his shoulders, back and chest Thomas Hieronimo squatted in perfect stillness like a fly caught in amber.
He had been here so long he had begun to forget what he looked like, and now when he thought of himself, he saw himself as sensations, four points of pain in blackness. And yet, he knew that he was not hungry or thirsty. And that terrified him, because if he had not been here long enough to become hungry or thirsty, if he had really only been here hours, or maybe even minutes…
He screamed suddenly and he felt his scream shiver along the walls like rippling water.
If he had only been here for minutes, then what would the years feel like?
Then suddenly, there was a creaking and Thomas was bathed in yellow light and his darkness-gorged eyes became pinpoints of agony.
Through streaming tears he could see two figures silhouetted against the light, black as death
Minutes later he was being marched through the hallways of the Combat Tower with two Red Scorpions behind him. Every joint in his body was screaming in pain but he refused to let it show. If these goons were marching him to a firing squad he’d be damned if he’d give them the entertainment value of a silly walk.
The walked what seemed like a mile of grey floor and wall before reaching a tiny green door.
One of the Reds opened it, roughly shoved Thomas inside.
In the elevator, crushed between the two Reds, Thomas came dangerously close to panicking.
Just when he felt his last nerve about to snap the door opened and they were out in hallway.
Another mile of grey floor and wall was walked.
Another door, larger this time, black.
The Red pressed a button.
Thomas watched the door swing open and felt hands grip either shoulder.
This is it, he thought.
He was quite surprised therefore to find himself flung roughly through the air and onto the street.
He leaped to his feet, ignoring his protesting muscles, and proceeded to brush the sand off his clothes.
That wasn’t right.
He turned to face the two Reds.
“Go on.” said one “Beat it.”