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The black Cadillac Escalade that transported Michael, John, and Steve arrived at the warehouse. John pulled the car off of the dusty brown dirt road and onto a massive makeshift parking lot. It was nothing more than a clear patch of earth, formed by countless vehicles over time. Grass no longer grew there, but it threatened to chaotically sprout in around the edges.
A field surrounded the warehouse, stretching into the distance, the borders imperceptible. Wild mottles of tall green and yellow grass spanned the entire area. Withering, gnarled trees scattered capriciously across it. The men in the Cadillac noticed a subtle aroma from the lush flora as they stepped outside, grabbing large guns from the trunk. The smell was refreshing.
The colossal warehouse loomed over the killers. It was made with ancient, knotted wood. The pieces covering the building were cracked, bent, and broken. Time had taken its toll, progressively weakening and fading them. Dank rot covered the once solid structure, on the verge of overwhelming it. The senescent warehouse emitted the odour of corrosion and stale mildew.
John entered first. He raised his weapon and cautiously opened one of the two tall doors. It creaked violently, the aged hinges struggling to move the broad, heavy slab. The weakened wood objected to his force. Steve and Michael followed him into a dark, putrid entryway. They left the door open since no light came from within. Floorboards groaned as the criminals walked across them, pulling flashlights from their pockets. Michael accepted one from John. Three penetrating beams illuminated the darkness, the small lights playing across a massive empty section of the floor. The flashlights revealed a long wide hallway in front of them, branching off in several directions. In the far left corner, a rickety staircase led to a second level. The beams and arches inside were simply constructed, and just as neglected as the rest of the warehouse.
Turning around, John gave his companions silent instructions. He gestured to himself, and pointed to the stairs. Signalling Steve, he motioned to the right side. Then he indicated that Michael should take the left section. They nodded, and everyone went their separate ways.
John headed down the capacious hallway, pointing his M16 into each doorway as he passed it. There were no signs of life. The shadowy, abandoned building gave him a sense of foreboding. Suspicious of the lack of presence, he remained on high alert. It wouldn’t make sense for Rosario Kelly to keep a hostage here, with no guards.
Steve moved through the first right turn in the hallway. It revealed a connecting corridor that ended at the entrance to a room, with another on either side. He explored each area. All three were void of life. The two on either side of the one at the end of the hall were mostly empty. Steve’s only company was dust, cobwebs, and small animal remains. A wobbly, timeworn wooden chair was in the middle of the third room, facing the door. It was accompanied by a long, dilapidated mahogany desk against the left wall. The only other object was a thick, faded gray rope in an entangled pile in the right corner. It was frayed around the edges.
Michael had walked silently beside Steve until they parted ways. He headed down the hallway to his left, which ended in the same way as the one that his partner searched. Stepping into the room on his right side, he saw a messy pile of old, musty cardboard boxes against the right-hand wall. Nothing else occupied that space, other than small, intermittent piles of sawdust. The room opposite that one was empty, so Michael walked past the cracked and splintering walls to the end of the hall. A short, aging wooden workbench was stuffed into the far-left corner of the third room. On top of it rested a rusty hammer with a dark blue handle. To the right side of the doorway, a tall wooden stool with three legs sat. An ancient leather tool belt that was coming apart at the seams was on it. Tools were randomly thrown into the various pouches, and some were empty.
The criminals continued exploring the building, quickly covering the whole thing. The maze of connecting rooms on the top floor looked similar to those on the bottom. John regrouped with his partners after they investigated every square inch of the warehouse.
“There’s nothing but a bunch of rooms with a bunch of random shit in them up there,” he told Michael and Steve with disappointment as they stood at the bottom of the stairs.
“It’s the same down here,” replied Steve in the same tone. He was more angry about this than anyone else.
Michael nodded his head.
“You got the same results as us?” John questioned.
“Yes,” he answered distractedly, looking up from the floor. He had been staring intently at it, lost in thought. Michael felt almost overwhelmed by their discouraging findings. A weaker person would have succumbed to it. But his old training kicked in, snapping him out of his depressed stupor. It morphed into potent, rising fury.
“Fuck!” he exclaimed, kicking a cardboard box. It launched into the air with a deep dent in it, and slapped against the wall running up the stairs. It echoed in the enhanced acoustics of the warehouse.
“That motherfucker led us on a fucking wild goose chase! I wish it was a trap instead because then I could fucking kill some people right now!
Steve and John recoiled. The latter nonchalantly watched the outburst play out, knowing it was for the best.
A twisted smile formed on his partner’s face as he looked at the display of aggression with approval.
Michael stamped around and pumped his arms in rage. He sputtered, chaotically spitting out words like pellets from a spread shot shotgun. His body was tense, his face conveying sadistic desires.
“That fucking cocksucker is dead! And I’m not gonna shoot him. I’m gonna make him suffer! He’ll wish he’d told me the fucking truth before I’m done with him! I’m gonna kill his entire family and everyone he knows! And I’m gonna make him watch me kill each one of them before I torture and kill him! There will be nothing but suffering for the rest of his pathetic excuse for a life!”
“We’ll make sure you give that bastard what he deserves, Michael,” John assured him once the commotion subsided.
Michael stood there catching his breath with his hands on his hips. His chest inflated and deflated as he sucked in as much oxygen as he could. Perspiration glistened on his forehead.
“But right now, let’s get the fuck out of here,” John suggested in a professional tone. “We have a lot more places to check.”
Michael waited for a few seconds to catch his breath.
“All right. Let’s go.” His voice was more relaxed, but he sounded tenacious.
“Take out your anger on that motherfucker who lied to you,” Steve suggested bitterly, placing his hands on the other man’s shoulders. Michael looked up, and was awarded with a searching expression. It became one of confident ferocity when they made eye contact.
“What the fuck else would I do?” he callously replied. He pushed away Steve’s arms, heading back to the front of the warehouse.
His partner picked up his shotgun from the steps. He and John rushed to catch up to Michael. The men fell in step beside each other after going through the hallway past the steps. They moved across the entryway and Michael aggressively shoved open the door on his left side. Steve was the last one to exit, so he pushed the door closed and the criminals walked back to the Cadillac.
The unmistakable sound of a large calibre gunshot violently disrupted the serene surroundings. The deafening cacophony reverberated off of the dilapidated building, gnarled trees, and hard earth.