Status: Completed on October 4th, 2013

Breaking Their Hold

Chapter Thirty-Eight: Getting Caught

with Zacky

Zack groaned when he felt someone kick his ribs roughly before he looked up, frowning when he saw Erich Schlagger standing there himself. He had his usual confident smirk on his face, though there was a twinkle in his eyes that hadn't been there before. It wasn't something Zack was comfortable with seeing. That smirk could only mean one thing. It had to mean that something had changed; that something had happened.

Had he found Melissa? Had he killed her? Was she gone?

There were so many questions going through his mind and Zack didn't even know where to begin. Was she alright? Mel couldn't be dead, he thought desperately to himself. She couldn't have gotten hurt; she had to be safe. Zack could never live with himself if she had been hurt or killed during all of this. He was the one who'd started the plan; who had come up with the idea to get her out of Haverly and into this in the first place. If she was gone because of it, Zack knew he could never forgive himself.

Not that he was going to be able to forgive himself any time soon, of course. Zina was dead because of him; her husband too. Gianna and Gavin were both dead, too. And their parents, they were gone as well. Their brother Matt was dead. Everyone in their family was dead and it was all Zack's fault in his mind. If he had done something differently, maybe they wouldn't be in this situation.

"What's that look for, Baker?" Schlagger asked him in a voice that was far too chipper for Zack's liking. "You should be rejoicing! You'll be with some of your friends soon. Friends you haven't seen in quite some time, too. Doesn't that please you?"

Zack's face drained of color. There was only one thing Schlagger could mean by that.

Jimmy, Matt, and Pierre were here. They'd been caught. And if they were caught, that meant that Mel had been, too. Was she even alive? Wouldn't they have just killed her? Or would Schlagger still want her for his own sick use? It disgusted Zack to even think about.

"My boy, don't look glum like that," Schlagger laughed when he saw the horrified expression on Zack's face before he kicked him twice more in his ribs. "When one has company, they are supposed to smile. Be happy, Zack. It's going to be one of the last times you'll ever see a friendly face again."

There was a dark undertone to Schlagger's words and Zack knew that it meant his lifespan was coming to an end. He was already starving, and the lack of nutrition to his body was probably permanently damaging. Even if he did get food now, the nutrients probably wouldn't do much for him. He was dehydrated too, and he was probably not doing too well in other health aspects either. He was a goner and he had been for awhile, and he knew that. And until now, he'd been fine with that.

Zack had been prepared to die for Mel's cause. And if she was still alive and out there by some miracle, he'd never breathe a word about the plan to get her to Canada.

But what if she was here? Was everything he had done to protect her in vain?

Stop thinking that, Zack, a weary voice in the back of his mind told him. Everything you've done served a good cause. It kept her alive; even if she's caught now, or dead...You helped her. You did something for her that helped and it meant something.

Schlagger kicked him once again before he jerked him to his feet. "Come with me, boy. It's time to introduce you to your new cell mates. Though, I'm afraid you won't spend much time with them. Your execution is scheduled two weeks from tomorrow."

The color drained from Zack's face once again. If his execution was already scheduled, that meant they'd found Mel, or were at least close to finding her. The entire time he'd been here, Zack had known his life was never in true jeopardy of being ended because of the simple fact that he was Melissa Baker's brother. She was what the Government wanted; what they didn't have, and Zack knew everything they needed to know in order to find her.

And he'd never told a word of it.

Because of that, his life had been safe. No matter the trials and tribulations they'd put him through, no matter the poison and the pain they'd caused him, he had been safe from being killed. To hear that he was being executed; that his life would be ended on somebody's colander, meant that his sister was in grave jeopardy herself.

That was something that killed Zack on the inside.

Schlagger dragged Zack down the hallway after him, not seeming to care that the boy's feet were bare and being scratched by the rough gravel from the ground. It wasn't a clean place that he was in now; for the last few weeks, he'd been kept in a much older dungeon area of the hospital, a place that was never cleaned and just a little dilapidated.

"I should let you know, it's just a matter of time until we find her," Schlagger snarled as he turned to face Zack once they came closer to one of the cells. He felt his heart sink when he saw both Jimmy and Matt inside, though he felt relief when he noted that Pierre wasn't there.

If Pierre wasn't there, it meant that he was safe, and that Mel was safe, even if only for the time being.

"Not while she's out there, you won't," Zack snapped back weakly. His voice had all but vanished, though he wouldn't give up his fire or his spirit to make sure he snapped angrily at the other man.

Schlagger just narrowed his eyes angrily before he shoved him into the cell with Jimmy and Matt. The taller of the two caught him before he could fall backwards, sending Zack a somewhat saddened smile. His face was much more aged than it had been even the last time Zack had seen him.

He felt bad for his friend. He knew that Jimmy was in love with Mel; that it must kill him to be apart from her.

He said nothing as Schlagger walked away, leaving the three of them in the dark cell alone. There was no guard there; the entire cell block was entirely unmanned. It wasn't necessary because there was no possible way for an escape. There were no windows in the cells and the cell doors themselves were only able to be opened by one of the keys that the guards and Schlagger had.

"How did you get separated from her?" Zack asked in a low mumble, not wanting anyone else to overhear him. He already knew not to say specifics, though he needed to know. He needed to know if his sister was okay; if she had been hurt.

He couldn't live with himself if she wasn't.

"Pierre decided it was best," Jimmy spoke up silently. "He was right. If they'd been with us, they would have been caught. Pierre knows what he's doing and where he's going. He can get them where they're going without getting her caught. Don't worry about her."

Zack's face fell slightly at Jimmy's words, even if he knew his friend would never lie to him.

He knew that Pierre knew what he was doing, but he also knew that the Canadian had never been found out before. There was no doubt a death warrant on him now. If he was found, even if he wasn't with Mel, he was to be killed. Zack had overheard Schlagger saying that; something he was sure the older man had meant as a threat to Zack.

He just wished that he could see his sister now; that he knew how she was doing. He was absolutely worried about her and he had no idea what to even think about everything that was going on. All he knew was that the clock was ticking. He knew that within two weeks, he was going to be dead. He didn't know if Schlagger would make it sooner than that, of course; knowing the other man, he probably would. But it didn't matter anyway.

He would rather be dead than see his sister go through what Schlagger had planned for her, Zack thought to himself. All he could hope was that it never came to that.