Status: Completed on October 4th, 2013

Breaking Their Hold

Chapter Twenty-One: Bruised and Battered

The next morning, Mel was a nervous wreck while both Matt and Jimmy were pacing back and forth in the small alcove that they’d stayed in. She was eager to see that Pierre was fine, as Jacobs had told her he was, and the other two wanted to make sure he was alright as well. They knew that it was a dangerous game that Pierre was playing, being a double agent for two different parties with very different agendas, but they had to keep faith that he was still alright.

A few hours after Melissa had woken up in the morning, Mara returned, carrying a small plate of some more wrinkly berries and boiled leaves. She didn’t say that she didn’t want to eat them, and instead insisted that Jimmy eat because he hadn’t eaten the day before, and Mara hadn’t brought food for him or Matt. She wondered why Mara hated them so much, considering they had been nothing but respectful to her, but she had a feeling that it was because of the lifestyle they’d lived since Schlagger had taken hold of the country. Mara appeared old enough to have perhaps known days when there was such a thing as freedom, though Penelope was too young to have ever known what that was. The younger girl had definitely been born into Schlagger’s regime, and it made Mel pitty the girl. She’d never known what it felt like to feel truly alive; to feel unafraid. She hoped that someday, the young girl would get a chance to experience it.

“Don’t worry about it, Mel,” Jimmy said softly to her, pushing some hair out of her face and giving her a reassuring smile before pecking her lips softly. “He’ll be here soon. Jacobs was already here this morning, when you were sleeping. He said Pierre would be here about noon-ish.”

Mel only nodded, looking up at her boyfriend and then wrapping her arms around his waist, holding him there against her body as she tried desperately to stop him from leaving. She knew that he wouldn’t, but just the thought of life without him scared her too much to even comprehend.

It wasn’t long after that that Jacobs returned to the area, smiling brightly. “I have someone here that wants to see you,” he smiled warmly at Melissa before stepping aside and showing her Pierre. She grinned, relieved at once as she got off the small cut-out that she’d been sleeping on before wrapping her arms around Pierre’s waist, hugging him tightly.

“We were worried about you,” she whispered against his chest, scared that he was going to get taken away again; that this was some sick joke that Jacobs was playing on them. Pierre laughed and hugged her back, smiling over at Matt and Jimmy before letting go of Melissa.

“As much as I’d love for us to sit here and talk about my boring experience with the Fullerton Terrorist Task Force, we’ve got to get ready. Jacobs has a chopper flying in. He and I are “escorting criminals,” to a Hospital located in Denver, Colorado. It’s not too long of a flight, about two hours,” Pierre told them quietly.

“But…How are we going to get on the flight without being caught by other Government police?” Melissa asked quietly. “I mean, I know we have the IDs and assumed names, but what about Matt?”

“That’s where we’re going to have trouble,” Jacobs said as he walked in. “He’s…Probably not going to like the idea, but…It’s one of the only things I can think of that works. We’ll have to make him unrecognizable as Matt Sanders. He’s going to have to be beaten, so that he’s hard to figure out. Pierre made a fake ID for him as well that will work well enough when we get to the security checkpoint.”

“No,” Jimmy frowned, shaking his head. “You can’t just beat him up! How’s he supposed to protect himself from guards if they do catch us, and he’s got broken bones and bruises?”

“It’s the only way to stop that from happening,” Pierre sighed. “It’s a catch 42, and it sucks. He doesn’t have enough hair to dye a different color, and because of his build, it’s too risky to just take him the way he is. We’ve got to do this, or it’s not a what if he gets caught, it’s a guarantee.”

“If it’ll keep Mel safe and get her to Canada, I’ll do it,” Matt spoke, breaking his silence as he looked at Jacobs. “Do whatever you have to do to keep Mel safe.”

“Matt, don’t—” Melissa started before Matt turned to her and cut her off with a short look. She stopped talking, and he started.

“I made a promise to Zacky, Mel. I told him I’d do what I had to do to ensure that you stayed safe, and I meant it. If my death would get you safely to Canada, I’d do that, too. It’s something that has to be done. They’re right.”

“Because you’re so much bigger than the average teen, we’re going to say that you’re an unruly citizen,” Jacobs said, looking at Matt. “Your cover is that you were arrested for resisting arrest, followed by attacking a Policeman with your fist. That will give an adequate reason as to why you’ll be black and blue, and with me there, no one will think twice about it.”

“Let’s get this over with,” Matt nodded, looking over at Mel. “Can we not be in front of her when we do this, though? I don’t want her to see me get hurt, she doesn’t like it.”

“Matt, you can’t just keep putting yourself in danger for me!” Melissa said to him, grabbing his arm and making her friend look at her. She had tears in her green eyes, and she wasn’t letting go of his arm.

“I’m not putting myself in danger this time, Mel,” he gave her a small smile. “It’s just a preventative measure. Bruises and broken bones heal with time, kid. I’ll be okay.”


He was wrong. He was not okay, he thought a little over an hour and a half later as he sat propped up against the stone wall of the cave, recuperating after the beating. Jacobs had gone as easy as he could with still making the bruises visible and realistic. Matt had encouraged him to beat him harder. He never was one to do things halfassed, and if this would keep her safe, he wanted it to be as real as it possibly was. And so Jacobs had beat him hard.

Matt could already feel the side of his face swelling up where the older man had whacked him hard several times with a baton, and his ribs were aching where Jacobs had stomped on him with the heavy boots on his feet. As well as those, there were too many other bruises to count, and some scrapes and scratches as well. Jacobs had insisted that Matt land a few punches to him as well, to make the story plausible because Matt’s cover was that he’d attacked a Policeman.

Melissa had screamed when she’d seen Matt, and she hadn’t stopped crying since. He knew he was beaten beyond recognition. The entire time that Jacobs had been hitting him, Mara had been standing quietly along the back wall, and for once, she wasn’t smiling as she watched the fight take place. Matt wondered if perhaps it was because she wasn’t as coldhearted as she tried to seem, but he’d been too distracted by the fight to really want an answer to that unasked question. After Jacobs had finished and had helped Matt to lean against the wall to rest, Mara had applied some soothing leaves to his face. It wouldn’t heal the bruises any faster, she’d told him; she was in on the plan, and knew that she couldn’t do anything to speed up the cuts or bruises, but they did help to make the injuries feel better.

Jimmy and Pierre had come to talk to him about the flight to Denver as well. Because the bruises needed time to mature and look fresh enough for the story to work, they would be leaving in two days. Jacobs had a Jeep that he was issued by the FT3, as the Fullerton Terrorist Task Force was called for short. He would drive along the military road to the Los Angeles Government Air Facility, and they would leave on the small puddlejumper plane from there to arrive in Denver. Once there, Jacobs would escort them into the mountains, and give them some maps of the area before he would leave them on their own. It was a risky plan, he told them, but it would help to speed up getting them to Canada. After Jacobs had said that, he had told them not to trust any other Policeman. Pierre had said the same thing, and it was decided that any time Pierre was kept for Police Interrogation and Debriefing, the three others would find a place relatively nearby in a desolate area to hide out until he could return. Pierre knew the areas well enough that he’d find them, and they would then continue their plans.

Melissa was wary about the entire plan. She had never been in an airplane before, and she’d never left California before. This was her home, despite the hell she’d gone through here, and it was a scary thought that in just forty-two hours, they would be leaving. She had no idea if she’d ever see her brother alive again, or if she’d see the others she’d left behind as well. She often found herself thinking about her mother, sister, and her niece and nephew, wondering if they were all alright. Pierre couldn’t get any information on their conditions, and Jacobs wasn’t high enough up on the ladder to do it, either. She was left with her hopes that they were still alive, and it was that hope that was helping her get through this. Because God only knew that if she lost that hope, she’d be as good as dead.