Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chapter Forty-Six

Porto, Portugal

The first thing I noticed was a clean sheet beneath my chin.  A light blanket topped that and hugged me.  An IV pole at my feet dripped clear fluid into a line that snaked beneath the linens.  I turned to my left and noticed another feeding into my left hand. 
I felt light-headed, weak and cold - especially cold where the lines fed into me.  My hand stung from the needle.  I looked around the room.  A soft glow filtered in from a transom over the door.  I heard a door close somewhere.  Footsteps padded down a hall toward me.
The door opened and a man looked in.
“He’s awake.”  He called over his shoulder. Then he walked toward me.
At my bedside he examined my IVs and checked the drip control.  I noticed a tattoo on his upper arm – a globe and anchor.
I tried talking.  A croak came out.  “Semper Fi, brother.”
The man laughed softly while checking the IV that ran beneath my sheets.  He responded,  “Do or die.”  Then he turned toward me.
“Mike.”  He held out his hand.
“Jake.”  I took his.
“The giant behind me is Angus.”  Only then did I notice a huge man who had moved into the room very quietly.  He extended his hand, too.  I shook it and felt his hand surround mine as if it were a child’s.
“Pleased to meet you. I think.”  I peered around again at my strange surroundings, then up at the giant. He, too, looked military.
And steady.
Something in him inspired trust and confidence. I had no idea how I came to be in this room, under their apparent control. Somehow I didn't think they were friends of Walters'.
“We’d be pleased you're still here, Lad.”  Angus said.  He nodded towards my shoulder, which I just noticed was bandaged and hurt.  He continued, “And we’d trouble you to tell us why we found you on that ship.”
I sat up a bit.  That hurt, too. Then I smiled.
“I won a cruise for being named Miss Congeniality.”
Two sets of eyes glared at me.  Then faces erupted into laughter.
After they settled down, Angus smiled and asked again,  “Tell us, kindly, why we found you with two dead contractors on a ship with forged registration.”
So I told them.

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