Chapter 10: Safe at Last
Caleb faces his most feared enemy and has to choose between life and death.
“I said let her go!” Caleb shouted, enraged as he stepped even closer to the two distinct figures standing near the ledge of the gorge inside the cave. He held the gun steady, aiming straight at the villain’s head. Caleb stood his ground about twenty feet away from them because any sudden move could cause Scar to lose his grip, sending Katie to her death.
“Now slow down mister hero,” Scar said motioning a hand out towards Caleb, “You wouldn’t want your friend here to get hurt now would you?” He laughed in a cruel tone which plainly showed his evil side and his mere pleasure for watching others in distress.
Caleb slowly kneeled down and placed his firearm on a flat stone slab lining the bottom of the cave’s surface as Scar shoved Katie forward; sending her with such force towards Caleb that she tripped and fell to her knees. Rushing over to her side, Caleb embraced Katie and stood her upright. He held her tight with both arms and then turned toward Scar, but he had quickly run over towards the loaded revolver while the two hugged, and now was pointing it directly into Caleb’s face.
“It looks like things turned out for the better,” Scar said cheerfully with a sense of childish glee, “But not for you guys!
“Turns out that you my friend…,” he said pointing to Caleb, “Have caused my men a great deal of trouble…. Now… we could perhaps make you pay for all the damages, or just simply repay me with your life…. How’s that sound, huh?”
Just then a figure emerged from the shadows nearby holding a gun and aiming it at Scar. “Drop it,” the man said with a stern voice.
“Tim!” Caleb said, relieved to see his friend. “How did you….”
“I heard the laughter of this scandalous fellow,” he said walking over to Scar and snatching the weapon out of his hands without any resistance. “I just followed the sound, and here I was, witnessing yet another one of this guy’s murderous attempts.”
Scar, who was gloating in his pride not moments before, had lost his sense of dominance and now took a more cowering appearance. He slightly bore his teeth at Tim when he turned around to face his captor. “Oh, does the wound still bother you?” Tim said, returning the mockery towards Scar. “I’d say I’ve made my signature across your face… who would’ve known they’d change your name to that…, I see it’s at least fitting.”
Instead of cringing into more resentment, Scar calmly, but cruelly smiled and said, “You can’t kill me…; you have to bring me into custody for an interrogation or a judge’s sentence. Only then can you determine my fate; that is… if you make it out of here alive.”
Tim slowly walked closer with an angry, but determined look on his face. He dropped reveling in his enemy’s failure and turned to all seriousness and said, “My orders were to destroy any evidence that could counteract our undercover procedure.” Scar stood in place, his head tilted to one side as he listened impatiently for Tim to finish. “Those orders were not specified to just documents or material, but clearly to that which would hold any information regarding the operation to overthrow the government.” He paused for a moment and noticed Scar’s grim smile turn to a frown. “In other words, I could very well and perhaps should, just kill you right now.”
“Well, let’s think about that shall we?” Scar said trying to deter the agent from carrying out his words. A short pause followed
“I already have,” Caleb said stepping forward and away from Katie’s side. He stood face to face with Scar; who now had his back exposed to the cliff. Frustrated, Caleb turned his head to one side, and then back at Scar. “You killed my father….” he said gripping the collar of Scar’s shirt. The hatred burned even greater inside of Caleb as he continued, “You killed my sister…; you killed my mother!”
Scar took a step back every accusation Caleb threw at him until he caught his foot on one of the jagged rocks on the ground and plunged straight down into the bottomless ravine.
Moments of silence followed.
Tim and Katie joined Caleb at the pitch-black drop off and sat gazing down into nothingness. “Do you think he’s alive?” Katie finally spoke up.
“There’s no way of knowing for sure,” Tim said, holstering his pistol in the waste of his pants.
Another few minutes followed without speaking.
“We should head out before the rest of them find us,” Tim said in a lower tone.
“Wait,” Caleb said as he grabbed the lit torch that Scar had dropped when Tim confronted him. “I want to see something.” He picked up the burning branch and tossed it out into the chasm. The three of them watched as it rapidly descended and then suddenly vanished from sight. “No way of knowing,” Caleb said as he, Katie, and Tim started proceeding back through the cave with the light of the two glow sticks guiding their way.
They reached the mouth of the cave, only to hear the distant sounds of the men returning from their wolf hunting. “Quickly, back up the cliff,” Tim urged them on. One by one they scrambled up the rather steep incline and behind the boulder where Tim and Caleb had originally hid. “There’s too many of them to fight off,” he said peering over at the camp filled with tiresome thugs. “We’ll have to climb the rest of this mountain if we hope to escape without them noticing.”
“He’s right,” Katie said, trying to pull Caleb away from searching out another route. “Don’t worry, I can do this.”
Caleb turned around and looked directly into Katie’s eyes and saw that she did not show any sign of backing down at this point. He nodded to Tim and the three of them slowly hoisted themselves up on the tiny ledges and cracks in the cliff all the way up to the top.
It was midafternoon before the trio achieved their goal. After a long struggle of painful gripping on to the niches in the precipice, they reached the top, aching from their climb. Katie especially was worn out the most, and lay sprawled out in the grass panting for air after the ascent. They settled there for twenty minutes, recovering from their trial.
A beeping sound from Tim’s pocket broke the silence. He pulled out a tablet communicator, read the message and then spoke up and said, “Well it seems like my work is done here in Montana. With Scar dealt with, there isn’t any other direct threat in this area of the country. My service is needed in another area. It’s been a pleasure working with you Caleb.”
“The pleasure is mine,” Caleb said standing up, and grasping Tim’s hand confidently.
They exchanged goodbyes, and various other stories of their encounters, and then Tim finally stood up tall, and began walking off down the summit. Caleb and Katie sat in the lush meadow, watching their friend slowly fade away in the distance.
“We’d best be getting back to the house,” Caleb said looking at the sun.
Katie tried to stand up but then staggered back into her sitting position. “I can’t walk,” she said in a pitiful tone. Caleb bent down, swung his muscular arms around her, and scooped her up. “But…,” she started to protest.
“I’ll just carry you home,” he said smiling.