After being betrayed by his husband in the most unimaginable way, Josh Thompson has only three things on his mind; grab his son, find help, and get out. When Josh can't get to his son, the plan to save them both becomes a little more complicated.
Injured and afraid, Josh doesn’t know where to turn. When he finally gets hold of the police, the bodies he could’ve sworn he saw are gone, and no one believes him. Did he see them? His husband, Jett, tells him he’s been in an accident and is imagining things, but Josh doesn’t trust him. He has to get out of there before it’s too late, but how to get his son away from Jett when he guards their every step?
The humming came first as if the wires were vibrating in the arched ceiling. Josh pressed his lips together, his gaze fixed on the wall in front of him. One after another, the light bulbs came on. The light that had flickered before settled on being on.
He allowed himself to stand there for a few seconds, not moving, hardly even breathing. His hand pulsated, the throb becoming more intense with each passing moment. He couldn’t stand and stare at the brick wall forever, and yet he couldn’t force himself to turn around.
His chest contracted as he fastened his gaze on the ground. The wasps were there, maybe not as many as his brain wanted him to think, but they littered the open area. Not looking at the bunks, he turned his attention to the far side of the room. There was a scale, the kind found in hospitals. The red locker Jett had been all too familiar with. A small filing cabinet in the corner.
Josh’s stomach clenched. He didn’t want to know what was in there. All he could think of was that picture of the young man he’d found -- he did not want to see more of those.
Screwed to the wall was a clothes hook with several hangers. On every hook was a set of clothes and beneath each a pair of shoes in a perfect line. Everything tidily placed and organised. He frowned as he looked at them. His Jett didn’t do neat.
In the house, Jett’s things were in disarray -- everything apart from his baking things. The straight line of shoes sent a shiver down Josh’s spine. Had he misjudged Jett so gravely?
The clothes were in different sizes and colours, but they all seemed to have belonged to men. A pair of purple trousers shone brightly among the blue jeans and dull-coloured shirts. Which of the decomposed bodies had walked around, alive and happy, in brightly coloured clothes before he’d met Jett?
Josh wasn’t sure he wanted to know. He could try to make things right once he’d got out, when Sam was safe, but it would never bring them back. Nothing would ever be right again, but these men’s families deserved to know where their loved ones had gone.
Tearing his eyes from the clothes, but continuing to ignore the bunks, he went back to the heavy iron door. He couldn’t get out through it, though it didn’t stop him from trying the handle. It was stupid, but a small, small part of him hoped Jett would let him out. He didn’t want to think Jett capable of locking anyone up, much less welding in another human being underground.
The door remained unmoving. A strangled cry ripped through his throat as he slumped against the chilly iron. What was he to do?
Wave after wave of unidentified emotions washed over him. He had to get out. He kicked at the door, not caring if Jett was outside and knew he’d freed himself of the cuffs. He kicked again, stumbled towards the wall, and almost fell when his foot caught on the crowbar he’d dropped on the ground when he’d walked in. Had it only been earlier in the day?
Silence overtook the room again. Did Jett know he had left the crowbar? Was it a test? Was he outside waiting for Josh to try to escape?
Somehow Josh didn’t think so. It might be naïve of him, but Jett hadn’t been thinking rationally, and it had been a goodbye before he left -- not a see you later.
Josh bent down to pick it up, the metal heavy in his hand. The walls were in good condition, the brick-like stones uneven but not cracked anywhere, and the plaster held up well, too.
Holding his breath, Josh lifted the crowbar and swung it against the wall with all his might. A jarring pain radiated from his injured thumb and up his arm. Refusing to give in to the shout ricocheting inside of him, he clamped his jaws shut. The hiss couldn’t be helped, though.
A small dent on the wall, that was what he’d accomplished. Nothing more. Bracing himself, he raised the crowbar and repeated the action, over and over again. Cracks appeared, plaster and stone shards bounced on the ground. The pain left him nauseated, but he kept going. A few more hits and he would be able to prise away some of the stones.