Ty lay on the thin mattress, trying to think of a way to escape this prison.
Like the hidden compartment in Lars’s truck, there was no way to mark time. There was no clock and no view of the sun outside. Only hunger and the weariness it brought with it. He wondered how long he had been here.
The door lock slammed open, and footsteps sounded in the hall. The door to his cell swung inward, the faint light that had shown through the small square now pouring in, almost blinding Ty as he sat up and stood on wobbling legs he hadn’t tried to use in some time.
He squinted and watched as a figure strode through the doorway. Ty couldn’t see her face, but he knew who she was by her outline.
Upon seeing him, she quickly closed the distance between them and pulled him into a tight hug, her warmth pressing into him, the closeness, the feel of her even more satisfying than the water his dry mouth craved, and the food his body yearned for.
Her voice was sharp and commanding, its force surprising him. “Unchain him!”
She moved her hands to his face, thumbs running across his cheeks like windshield wipers, clearing away the dirt and grime.
Her lips were inches from his, her voice a whisper. “Are you hurt?”
A guard came in and unlocked his hands, and the second the cold metal was taken away, Ty rubbed his wrists, incredibly glad to be free again.
“What happened?” he asked.
Nora glanced at the guard outside the door. “I can’t tell you here. Come on.”
She took his hand, and Ty squeezed hers tight, feeling the softness. At that moment, he never wanted to let it go.
In the corridor beyond the cell, Maria was waiting, arms folded at her chest. She was scowling, but at the sight of Ty, she uncrossed her arms and smiled slightly.
Beside her stood a man Ty hadn’t seen in seventeen years. “Dr. Brown,” Ty whispered.
“Do I know you?”
Ty shook his head. “No. I guess not.”
“Come on,” the man said, leading them out of the corridor and down another, then another where the cells were different, more like interrogation rooms.
In the second one, Kato was seated at a table, hands chained to a ring in the center, feet shackled to the floor. He was hunched forward, head lying on its side on the table, facing the door, eyes closed. A dark bruise covered his cheek. His hair was soaked, Ty assumed, from sweating.
The sight stopped Ty in his tracks. He felt his stomach drop as he watched, waiting, hoping Kato would take a breath.
He was still.
Nora didn’t hesitate. She rushed forward and pressed two fingers to his neck as she looked back and called, “Release him! And give me some water and a med kit.”
Kato stirred at Nora’s touch, and Ty let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. The other side of Kato’s face wasn’t much better. Through eyelids that seemed too heavy to hold open, Kato peered up at Nora, and the very slightest of smiles formed at the corner of his bloody lips.