FYI: This picks up after Ramon knows that Felix slept with his sisters, but before Matt and Emily drive off into the sunrise.
Ramón stood still poised over Felix, grimy machete threatening to slice his cousins head clean off. Matt and Emily on their knees, still firmly held down to the ground, waiting for their lives to end. They were both out of miracles, out of options, and obviously out of time.
Ramon suddenly backed off, barked out some order in Spanish, and tore out of the broken down little house. Matt and Emily were yanked up, and pushed out the door toward the SUVs. Two men assisted Felix roughly behind them, and as all three were pushed into the vehicles, they could here the solid crack of a gunshot and knew the agent had been put out of his misery.
Their captors forced dirty rags into their mouths, tieing another rag around their heads to hold the gags in. Raggedy, filthy pillowcases with rust colored stains, likely from blood, were thrust over their heads. They were in separate cars, an armed man on either side, pushing them back into the seat before, each felt the tell tale jerk of the vehicles as they pulled away.
More than anything at the moment, Emily wished they'd just let Matt go. This was all her fault; she left herself get played, and now she was paying for it. But, Matt shouldn't have to pay for her mistake. All the wishing she could do wasn't going to change their predicament, so she sat rigidly against the seat, her injured arm throbbing. Emily was now completely terrified, plagued with a fear she had never known until that very moment.
Matt breathed in and out slowly, calming his racing heart. They weren't dead yet, he just had to keep telling himself that. They weren't dead quite yet. But, he knew Emily would be giving herself an Everest sized guilt trip at the particular moment. He knew he hadn't convinced her that it wasn't her fault earlier, and he knew he probably never would. Matt had only been really afraid a few times in his life, but the fear he felt right then trumped them all.
For both agents, it was the longest car ride of their lives, as they were both constantly wondering the same thing through it. What was Ramón planning? Why hadn't he killed them yet? Were they going to pull over in a few minutes, so he could slice off their heads? Or, would he wait and torture them for injuring his brother?
The trail of vehicles all came to the same harshly abrupt stop, jolting their passengers, and earning a muffled hiss from Emily as her arm was pushed into the but of one of her captors guns.
The doors of the SUVs all began flying open, and the agents were roughly yanked out, each barely making into to their feet before they were dragged away. It was hard for them to keep up with the armed men who dragged them through the dusty desert, with their hands cuffed behind them and their eyes covered. But, they did, and only knew they were in a building when the unstable sand beneath their feet became a flatter, smoother, wooden surface.
Here the pillow cases came off, and Matt and Emily saw each other alive for the first time since the hour ago that they'd been taken. The cartel members started pulling off the ties around their mouths, ripping out some of Emily's hair in the process and earning another muffled hiss. Dirty fingers dove into their dry mouths retrieving the filthy rags that had gagged them, and took off their belts and accompanying accessories before removing the handcuffs. Finally the frightened agents were pushed, almost to the point of being tossed, into a small room.
They both landed hard on the wooden floor, slamming into each other, and getting a mouth full of the sandy dust the billowed up from the floor at their disturbance. The door swung shut, slamming on impact, and a metallic click confirmed that they were locked in. Uneasily they got to their feet, looking around their new prison, before finally settling on each other.
"Are you okay?" Matt asked, against their current circumstances.
Emily nodded, "You?"
"I'm good," he said with an ironic grin.
"Not until they put those machetes against our necks again. Then we'll be screwed."
"Since when are you an optimist?"
"I don't know, a little over a year," he gave her another smile. Cleary he meant since he met her.
"Yeah, I don't know how much good I've done you Matt," she gestured to their room.
"Come here," he waved her over to where he'd moved to the back corner.
She gave him and odd look, but went over to him, sinking to the ground with him.
Matt leaned in the corner, his legs straight out, and pulled Emily against him, wrapping and arm around her, "You've done me plenty of good."
Emily gave a self-deprecating chuckle, but still rested her head against his shoulder, wrapping arms around his waist. Matt leaned down and kissed her, Emily eagerly returning the favor, before they both settled, silently staring blankly toward the other end of their prison.
Hours later they'd both fallen asleep, after passing out from pure exhaustion.
Mexico, 10 miles passed the border. 1 hour after Matt and Emily were abducted.
"Damn it!" Lestack cursed as he took in the bodies of his two agents.
"There's only two federal agents here. Where the hell are my people?" Cheryl demanded to no one in particular.
"I'm guessing Ramón has them," Lestack spit.
"Why take them alive?"
"If he thinks they know something…?"
"What could he possibly think they know?"
"Don't know, but I can tell you one thing," he said cryptically.
"And what's that?" Cheryl asked, annoyed already.
"If Ramón's got your negotiators, my people got off easy," Lestack said before exiting the small house.
Cheryl breathed in, she had already though of that, but hearing it said out loud made her blood run cold. She flipped open her phone and hit speed dial.
"Lia, we found the house the were in. the DEA agents are both dead," Cheryl spoke slowly, hearing a sharp intake of breath on the other end after she finished.
"And Matt and Emily?" There was a slight quiver in Lia's voice.
"What? That's a good thing then, right?"
"Unlikely. Probably just means that it will take a couple more days and a few extra forensic experts to identify their…remains," Cheryl faltered slightly.
"You don't think there's any hope?"
"No, Lia. Much as I'd like to believe that…it's just too much to ask at this point."
"So then what can we ask?" Lia asked mildly annoyed at her bosses pessimism.
"That Ramón kills them quickly." There was a visible tremor in her voice, as she snapped the phone shut, bringing a hand to her mouth, and closing her eyes momentarily against the emotion welling inside her.
Matt woke the next morning head pounding against the dehydration that began setting in, and back sore from leaning into the corner all night. Emily was still passed out against him, her arm wrapped loosely around him. Gingerly he lifted her arm, hoping to exam her puncture wound without waking her. Instead, even at his gentle touch, Emily jolt awake, yelping in pain.
"Easy, I'm just having a look at your arm," he told her soothingly.
Emily looked around, confused in her still sleepy state, before realizing they weren't at home, and settled for just nodding at him, and allowing him to look. She gritted her teeth against the pain as he untied their makeshift tourniquet. The area around the wound was pink, swollen, warm to the touch, and obviously causing Emily a lot of pain.
"Shit, it's infected," he commented, worrying lacing his voice.
"If it were tetanus, I'd be a lot worse then I am now, so I guess I got lucky there."
"I guess we know now that you're up to date on your shots."
"It's still not working as a distraction, Matt."
"Can't blame me for trying," he said with a shrug and a half grin.
"Thanks," she said softly.
Matt kissed her deeply in response, before resting her arm against her body, and getting up and walking toward the door.
"Matt, what are you doing?"
"Hopefully getting help."
"Seriously? You think they'll help us?"
He didn't answer, instead pounding on the door and yelling through it, "Hey! Hey, we need some help in here! Somebody! A little help!"
Emily watched him doubtfully as he spent the next few minutes alternately pounding on the door and yelling.
Finally he gave up and came back toward her, sitting down beside her, and looking at her with a pained expression.
"What?" She asked, slightly alarmed.
"We have to do something about that Em."
"Like what? We don't have a first aid kit. We don't even have peroxide Matt."
"We have to at least get the puss out."
"How- whoa, wait," she cut herself off, already realizing what he was thinking.
"We have to Em. Just grip my arm, while I do it, and squeeze when it hurts."
She looked at him uncertainly, studying his eyes for a few moments before nodding her consent, and placing her hand around his forearm. Matt positioned his hands on either side of the puncture wound, and began squeezing.
Milky, yellow puss leaked out, as Emily squirmed slightly, gripping his arm, and biting her lip against the intense pain. He continued squeezing, even as he felt nails digging into his arm, and felt her twitch involuntarily against the pain.
By the time he got as much of the oozing substance out as he could, Emily was breathing heavily and sweat glistened on her brow. He wiped it off with the now useless tourniquet; it was dirty and she wasn't bleeding anymore.
Matt kissed her forehead and pulled her against him, rubbing her back, trying too sooth away her pain, and his own guilt at causing it, regardless if it was necessary or not.
L.A. that evening.
Cheryl pursed her lips together, concentrating on the map of Mexico in front of her, with the post-its that covered up the places that they'd already searched. She didn't think about the fact that they were searching for bodies, not even considering the possibility of actually finding living breathing people.
By now they'd search a thirty-mile perimeter around where they come up from the underground tunnels, and another fifty-mile perimeter around the house they'd found the dead DEA agents in. They found nothing, and they could only search for so long in the desert heat without breaks. Not to mention that they had to be discrete, since the Mexican government still didn't know about their operation.
On the U.S. side, Cheryl had Lia send every news source in the Midwest, print and TV, pictures of Matt and Emily. As far as these sources knew, two FBI agents had gone missing somewhere near the border, and anyone who saw them was to call the hotline set up. Cheryl didn't expect to get any legitimate calls on this line.
She'd also, more realistically, sent the photos and information to every police station, FBI field office, hospital, and morgue in the Midwest. She figured she had about a fifty-fifty shot at getting a call from a cop or Medical Examiner. Her only other thought was that they may never find Matt and Emily's bodies, either because they would be dumped in such a remote piece of Mexico, or because they corpses may never be identified.
"Hey, have you heard anything yet?" Frank popped in her office, hope written on his face.
"Not a thing."
"It's not your fault Cheryl," he offered tentatively.
Her head whipped toward him, "I know that, I didn't tell them to go down there."
"I know, but I know you feel responsible for sending them to talk to Felix."
"I am responsible."
"Cheryl, you said yourself, they chose to go down there. You didn't even get the opportunity to talk them out of it."
"If I had sent any other pair down there, they would have stayed on the their side of the border, they wouldn't have played cowboys with the goddamned DEA," she spit.
"You don't know that. And we also don't know that they're actually dead yet."
"Do you really think they're still alive?" She demanded.
Frank didn't answer, he just sighed resigned.
"Yeah, me neither."
"What the hell are you pounding and yelling for?" A man with a thick accent demanded twenty minutes after Matt had stopped pounding and yelling, much to the amusement of the two agents.
"She hurt, it's infected. We need peroxide or alcohol or something."
"Why bother? Ramon's just going to kill you both anyway," he shrugged.
"Why hasn't he yet?" Emily asked.
"Don't know. But, don't worry, you'll be dead by tonight," he smirked as he left them alone again, slamming the door shut.
"Like we can really tell what time it is in this…box," Matt mumbled, completely skipping over the part about them being dead.
"I guess it's safe to assume we have less than twelve hours," Emily suggested, not really acknowledging what her words actually meant.
"Well, I'm not ready to give up, what about you?"
"Never," she agreed, offering him a small smile.
Matt began walking slowly around their small room, running his hands along the walls, looking for anything that might help them escape. Emily, holding her injured arm against her chest, got close to the ground and began examining where the wall met the floor. They weren't ready to admit defeat yet, and they sure as hell weren't ready to die.
I just watched Borderline, and of course another story popped into my head. There will be at least two chapters, depending on how it goes. Thank you all as always for reading, and like all writers I live on reviews.