Welcome to The Book of Bones, a weekly adventure story. If you’re just joining the story, click here for Chapter 1.
“Is there another way out of here?” As he spoke, Bones scanned the tiny office. No windows, no door other than that which led back into the museum.
Krueger shook his head. “Do you think it’s the Dominion?”
“I don’t know.” The Dominion, a powerful extremist group with ties in business and government, had dogged Bones and Maddock’s trail for years, and Krueger had found himself caught up in it. “I know they’re pretty much broken in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean they’re gone. All I know is someone’s been after us ever since Jessie and I started researching the incident at Halcon Rock.”
Krueger blinked. “I can tell you a little something about that too, provided you can get us out of here.” He moved to the door and peered out. “Two guys are coming this way. What do we do?”
Bones took another look around. His eyes wandered to the drop ceiling. “What’s on the other side of this wall?”
“A storage room. Why?” Krueger looked up, his focus sharpened, and he nodded. “Good idea. I’ll see what I can do to slow them down.”
While Krueger locked the door and wrestled a heavy filing cabinet in front of it, Bones sprang into action. He leaped up onto Krueger’s desk and beckoned to Jessie and Amanda to join him. He pushed aside a ceiling tile and boosted Jessie up. The athletic young woman clambered nimbly through the opening. Seconds later they heard a cry and a crash.
“I’m okay,” came her muffled voice. “Fell onto a box of toilet paper.”
A sharp knock at the door cut off Bones’ reply.
“Yes? Can I help you?” Krueger was pushing a bookcase against the door, and the strain was evident in his voice.
“FBI. Open the door.”
“Just a second, I’m…” Krueger clambered up onto the desk. “I’m looking at porn and need to put my pants back on.”
“Excuse me?” the voice said.
“It was all I could think of,” Krueger whispered as Bones boosted him up.
“Perfect,” Bones chuckled.
Thunk! Something heavy hit the door. The men on the other side must have sensed Krueger was stalling.
Thunk! The door held.
Bones climbed up into the dark space above the drop ceiling, crawled forward, and dropped down into the storage room, where the others waited by the door.
“Where does the door lead?” he asked Krueger.
“Back into the..” Krueger’s face went scarlet and he cleared his throat. “Back into the museum.”
“You’ve got to be freaking kidding me.” Bones looked around the room for a weapon, anything that could get them out of this mess. His eyes took in the piles of boxes, the shelves, lined with cleaning supplies, the dirty sink, the mops, brooms, and buckets. He smiled as an idea came to him.
Everybody grab a cloth, wet it and hold it over your face. Keep your eyes closed and wait by the door for me to tell you to run. While the others hurried to comply, he began gathering the materials he’d need.
“This had better work.”
He hastily plugged the sink and began pouring in bleach. When the big sink was half-full, he opened several bottles of drain cleaner and added them to the mix. The reaction was immediate and overwhelming. His years of diving, as well as his general level of fitness, meant he could hold his breath much longer than the average man, and he’d need every second. He closed his eyes and kept pouring. His sinuses burned and his skin began to tingled.
On the other side of the wall, a loud crash told him the men had broken through.
“Up there! They went through the ceiling!” Someone shouted.
Bones moved blindly toward the door, guided by the others’ rasping coughs. His sharp ears picked out the sound of feet thumping atop Krueger’s desk… a grunt as someone climbed up into the space above the ceiling… another set of feet on the desk.
“Go!” he rasped. “Hurry.”
Krueger pushed the door open and they all burst out into the museum, knocking aside startled patrons.
Back in the storage room, someone cried out in surprise. Bones grinned as the sound died into a rasping choke.
“Gas leak!” His raw throat gave the words a raspy tone, but he got them out. “Everybody out! Call the fire department!”
As was the case in any such situation, the people didn’t react immediately. They moved out of the way of the fleeing group. That was fine with Bones. They’d get out of there in a hurry once they realized what was going on, and in the meantime they’d serve as an obstacle for their pursuers, who right now were probably finding it nearly impossible to see or breathe.
As they burst out into fresh air and dashed for the car, his vision began to clear and his breathing eased. By the time they were heading out of town, their rear view mirror blessedly empty, he was feeling almost like himself again.
“What was that stuff? I look like I just smoked a bowl.” Jessie pulled her eyelid back and leaned close to the mirror set in the visor.
“Chlorine gas. I went all World War II on them.”
“You could have killed up,” Amanda said.
“And what would they have done to us?” Bones asked.
“Fair point. So, what do we do next?”
“We find a quiet place to lie low, while Krueger here tells us all he knows about the Book of Bones.”