Welcome to The Book of Bones a weekly adventure serial.
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If you haven’t been reading along, start here with Chapter 1.
Bones could tell in a glance that there would be no returning to the surface through the lower cave. Jameson and Gilmour had done a thorough job of bringing down the tunnel. Huge chunks of solid rock lay piled from floor to ceiling. So much for that idea. But now they had another concern.
“He left his own son down here to die?” Padilla asked. Around a sharp bend in the cave, shielded from the blast, Matthew lay semi-conscious, bleeding from a cut in the back of his head.
He opened one eye at the sound of Padilla’s voice.
“You have got to be kidding me.” His words came out slurred, his gaze wet. “You are the last people I want to see right now.” He made a weak grab for his pistol, which lay a few feet away, but Bones stamped on his wrist.
“Yeah, that’s not happening. You want to live, you keep still.” He and Padilla retrieved the pistols and knives Matthew had taken from them, along with Matthew’s own pistol. He also retrieved The Book of Bones, which Matthew had tucked into his belt.
“Just kill me already, you dirty redskin piece of…” His words died in a squelched grunt as Bones drove a foot into his gut.
“Manners. After all, we’re not the ones who tried to kill you.”
Confusion slid across Matthew’s glassy eyes. “Nobody tried to kill me. The charges went off too soon.” He paused, swallowed hard. “I don’t think my dad made it.”
“Don’t bother explaining it,” Bones said to Padilla. “He’ll figure it out soon enough.” He turned back to Matthew. “Tell me where Mari is.”
“Go to hell.”
“Wrong answer.” Lightning fast, Bones snatched Matthew’s wrist and bent his hand backward.
“Go ahead. Break it,” Matthew grunted.
“That’s not the plan.” Bones drew his knife and pressed the tip beneath the nail of Matthew’s index finger. “I’ll ask again. Where’s Mari?”
Beads of sweat formed on Matthew’s forehead, but he kept his silence as Bones pushed down on the knife.
“Okay! Okay! I’ll tell you!” Details spilled out: the name and location of the motel where she was being held captive, and the room number.
“You’re lying.” Bones twisted the knife, and Matthew screamed.
“I told you the truth!”
“Tell me again, and if I don’t believe you, I’ll cut the finger off.”
Matthew began to blather, adding a few details but keeping his story consistent.
When Bones was satisfied the man was telling the truth, he wiped the blade of his knife on Matthew’s pants, stood, and turned to Padilla.
“Let’s get out of here.”
“You don’t think we should, you know, finish him?”
“Be my guest.” Bones could tell by the look in Padilla’s eye the man wouldn’t murder Matthew, good idea or not. “I don’t think he’s going to be a problem, but just to be safe.” He drew back his foot and kicked Matthew in the head, just hard enough to turn the man’s lights out. “That’ll keep him. Now, let’s see what’s down below.”