Part Seventeen: Escape

Sydney didnít stop trying to free herself from the moment she was left alone, worried that Omar Muhammed would kill the men before she had a chance to do anything about it. She writhed for hours inside the back of that van, twisting and manipulating her hands and wrists to loosen the ropes. Her dogged determination however, was about to pay off in spades... She...knew from the sting around her wrists that she had a hell of a flesh burn, and the more she struggled the nastier it got. No one was better at wriggling out of her tethers than Sydney Fox. Just...one...more...pull!

Pain seared through her, claiming every inch of her body after that one, final tug. She was bleeding, but not bad enough to be anything serious, and ripping her bandanna in half with her teeth, quickly wrapped her wrists. From the sound of the shouting that was now coming from the compound, something was up and she needed to get to Nigel and Aaron! Jumping from the back of the van, Sydney stalked unnoticed into the night.

Aaronís friends had gone running like kamikaze pilots into Omarís camp taking them completely by surprise. A man dressed in dark, flowing robes and a turban scurried up to Aaron and smiled, carrying along with him a pair of rather large bolt cutters. He looked like he had been living in the bush for weeks, his beard was thick and unruly, and his eyes were framed with deeply etched lines that became more pronounced when he smiled.

"You are in need of some assistance brother?" He asked, and bent down, snapping the handcuffs in two, freeing the men in an instant.

"Manny!"

"Aaron, we have to move very fast... my men are going to blow this compound into the sky in only a few minutes!"

Nigel recoiled in agony, having been forced to sit in such an unnatural position for so many hours that he had to fold himself over to avoid the head rush he felt coming on. As the blood gradually returned to his over stretched limbs, a violent prickling sensation took over and he shook. Good grief, both of his arms had fallen hopelessly asleep!

A hailstorm of bullets showered invisibly through the night, people were yelling and screaming, and they had to choke back the thick, black smoke from small fires already burning. Impossible to see much of anything, it was nothing short of total chaos and sounded like world war three had officially begun. Aaron grabbed Nigel by his collar and yanked him to his feet, dragging the confused Brit across the compound towards the shelter of the woods.

"Wait! What about Sydney?" He forced Aaron to stop and pulled away from him. "Sheís still back there!"

"Come on Nigel, weíve got to get out of here!" Aaron reached over to grab him again, but the much more nimble young man ducked out of his grasp. "Nigel, youíll get yourself killed for Godís sake, let Mannyís men do their jobs, theyíll get her out! Theyíre trained for this sort of thing..." He gave the Englishman the once over and shook his head. He was certainly no soldier. "You arenít."

"Theyíre sheep farmers! Iím not leaving without Syd! I canít!" He stood there, defiant, daring Aaron to challenge him. He knew he was unable to stay, but more than that, he was unwilling to leave.

With the sounds of gunshots and explosions in the background, Aaron sighed heavily. He knew there was only one way to get this foolish kid out of here alive, and he knew exactly what Sydney would do to him if he delivered Nigel Bailey any other condition.

Nigel clenched his fists, about to turn and go back. Aaron stepped up to him, looking past him for only moments before issuing some sort of go ahead. It was too late... Before Nigel could react two men had him by the arms from behind and Aaron grabbed him by the throat with one hand, about to hit him hard with the other.

"Aaron, stop!"

All eyes instantly honed in on Sydney as she came stumbling through the trees towards them.

Nigel was immediately released and he and Sydney fell into each otherís arms. "Thank God youíre all right!" He gasped, clutching onto her as if he hadnít seen her in a lifetime.

"You know I can take care of myself, you know that..."

"Look, we really need to get moving here! The reunion can be scheduled once weíre out of the area, ok?" Aaron breathed in a sigh of great relief. He really wasnít looking forward to carrying that kid half way up the mountain, and less looking forward to the hell he would have caught for slugging him.

Go to Part Eighteen.


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