I had never been in a hostage situation. I had never been in a hostage situation where someone is pointing a gun at my head while having me in a headlock. I almost panicked, but since Mr. Gable (I guess from the situation at that time the name Mr. Dragon no longer applied to him) had my neck locked in a strong grip, I was having trouble breathing and that oxygen shortage prevented me from panicking.
Mr. Gable exchanged a short and venomous conversation with Theo, and then he turned towards the refrigerator and opened up the secret passage.
'Wait! What about Wolfgang?' Theo said. I detected extremely furious contempt in her voice.
'What do you think? He's yours, carry him!' Mr. Gable ordered. He stepped back from the secret passage and said, 'Hurry up! The lady, the wounded and hostages go first.' He motioned with the pistol arm for Heathcliff, Theo and Wolfgang to go onto the tunnel.
Theo and Heathcliff took an arm of Wolfgang each, and carried him to the entrance of the tunnel. Wolfgang was still bleeding and I thought his ribs must be shattered, because his facial expression was almost too painful to look at.
'You-you-I...hate you!' Wolfgang mumbled, meeting Mr. Gable's eyes which I couldn't see.
'Don't waste your energy hating your old man, Sebastian, you got a wound to worry about.' I think Mr. Gable chuckled after saying this.
Wolfgang spat at Mr. Gable, but the spit wad fell short of its mark, and Wolfgang would have collapsed if Theo had not caught him.
'What have I told you before, Sebastian, spitting indoors is both rude and unsanitary.' Mr. Gable said.
Theo exploded in rage and almost jumped on Mr. Gable, but Heathcliff held her back with great difficulty, but dropped Wolfgang, who screamed when his body came in contact with the floor.
We made it into the tunnel I think six minutes later. The air in the tunnel was thin, and I thought I was going to faint from the lack of oxygen. I'm not a very sentimental person, but then I thought of only yesterday, when Mr. Gable shared apple cider with me and Heathcliff and we told each other stories on our way to Mr. Gable's home here. I thought Mr, Gable must be bipolar, like Dr, Jekyll, if he had so suddenly shot his own son, took me hostage under a headlock and started waving a gun around. I hoped he snaps out of it soon because this was a dangerous situation and at least one person (Wolfgang) had been wounded physically.
Some way into the tunnel, an opening appeared on the side of the tunnel and five people which I recognized to be Mr. Gable's bald henchmen came out of it.
'We're surrounded boss.' One of them said.
'They got at least fifty people on perimeter, I even recognized Kent.' Another said.
'Yeah, can't believe Kent is here, he almost killed me that last time at the assassination, remember?' The third man said.
'Kent's not as bad as Damien, he's on our tail every time!' The fourth man said.
'Boss, if I may ask, can we receive this month's pay early...as in right now? Just in case we make out of this alive, I think we'll be out of a job for a while.' The final man said, and the others chimed in in agreement.
'No one is going anywhere, you all come with me, as long as I'm still standing, no one is out of a job.' Mr. Gable said with awesome authority that silenced the henchmen. He smiled a cucumber cool smile and told them to escort Heathcliff, Theo and Wolfgang ahead.
Instead of emerging from the dining room, at the end of the tunnel I found myself and others climbing up a ladder into sunlight and then I was standing atop a helipad. Mr. Gable kept his gun trained on my back, but released me from the headlock. I sucked in all the air I could and breathed deeply.
We were at one end of the circular helipad, me, Heathcliff and Theo supporting a near unconscious Wolfgang, Mr. Gable with his pistol trained on us behind us, and his five henchmen training their automatics on a party at the other end of the pad, I think thirty meters away.
The other party consisted of about twenty people. I heard the sound of a loudspeaker.
'Surrender and drop your weapons, Mr. Clark Gable! You are surrounded!' The voice spoke from one of the people standing at the front of the other group. 'I hereby arrest you on charges including, but not limited to terrorism, conspiracy, first, second and third degree murders, first, second and third degree attempted murders, robbery, smuggling, impersonating an officer of the law, hijacking of public vehicle, extortion, forgery, contempt of government and spousal abuse, warrant as issued by the federal government, signed by the prime minister.'
Mr. Gable laughed and said, 'Quite an impressive resume, don't you think?' He didn't need to use a loudspeaker, his voice projected all the way across to the other end of the helipad. The henchmen laughed.
'Dame that Kent, always brightens my day.' Said one of the henchmen, probably referring to the man who read out the excerpt of Mr. Gable's criminal record.
'Don't you mean brighten my day.' Said Mr. Gable, and they all laughed again.
'YOU DAMN TERRORISTS STOP LAUGHING! THIS IS NO FUNNY MATTER! CLARK! YOU HEARD MR. KENT SO GIVE MY GRANDDAUGHTER, HER SUITOR AND THAT COMPLETE STRANGER BACK! YOU HAVE NO WHERE TO RUN AND YOUR DAYS ON THE RUN ARE FINISHED!' A booming voice (without the aid of a loudspeaker) rang out across the helipad.
Mr. Gable seemed delighted about this statement, he responded in his own booming voice, 'OH IS THAT SO? DAMIEN, GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN, SO SOON TOO! I WAS EXPECTING A FEW MORE MONTHS IN PEACE, MAYBE AFTER MY SON'S MARRIAGE TO YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER WHO BY THE WAY I WISH TO SAY LOOKS PRETTIER EVERY DAY!'
'IT'S A SHAME THAT THE MARRIAGE MIGHT NOT OCCUR, BECAUSE YOU SEE I HAD ACCIDENTALLY SHOT SEBASTIAN IN A CONFRONTATION INITIATED BY YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER JUST BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL, AND I HAVE DOUBTS THAT MY SON WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS ALIVE, SHOULD THIS CHAT EXTEND BEYOND A REASONABLE TIME.'
The other voice (Mr. Damien probably) responded, 'THE MORE REASON TO SURRENDER NOW! CLARK! YOU DO NOT WISH TO LOSE YOUR OWN SON, DO YOU?'
'ACTUALLY, I WISH TO NEGOTIATE DIFFERENT TERMS, IT WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US! I PROPOSE YOU GIVE ME SAFE PASSAGE OUT OF HERE VIA HELICOPTER, WHICH I WILL SUMMON, I WILL TAKE YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER WITH ME AND YOU CAN HAVE HER SUITOR, THE COMPLETE STRANGER AND SEBASTIAN IF YOU WANT TO SAVE HIS LIFE IN TIME. I WILL SOON CONTACT YOU AND DROP OFF YOUR DAUGHTER AT A DESIGNATED LOCATION.'
'I BELIEVE THIS IS A COMPLETELY FAIR TRADE-OFF, YOU HAVE MY SON, AND I ONLY GET TO BORROW YOUR DAUGHTER FOR A LITTLE WHILE LONGER, NOTHING TO UPSET YOUR PATIENCE.' Mr. Gable finished.
'NO! IT'S ALL OR ALL, CLARK! YOU'RE NOT RUNNING THIS TIME!' Mr. Damien called out.
'VERY WELL, YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN A TOUGH NUT TO CRACK. I SUPPOSE THE ONLY WAY TO SETTLE THIS AT MINIMAL CASUALTY TO BOTH OUR SIDES IS TO CHALLENGE YOU ONE-ON-ONE! THINK YOU'RE UP TO THAT?' Mr. Gable called out.
'YOU STOP PLAYING GAMES CLARK! GIVE UP!' Mr. Damien called in response.
'No Damien, it is you who is playing games.' Mr. Gable said, without raising his voice, and he began to unbutton his shirt. 'Guard them.' He ordered the henchmen, two of them trained their weapons on me and the others.
Mr. Gable took off his shirt, beneath which was the astonishing abdomen that still amazed to no words. With the shirt gone, an even more incredible sight beheld me, a body with the fitness of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the body belonged to Mr. Gable; a true Dragon, not only figuratively speaking, but literally too!
Mr. Gable did pull a gun on me and that made me question greatly about his true colors, but his body was still marvelous, that could not be disputed. Wind is blowing; the helipad must have been the highest place in the complex, all around I saw nothing but blue skies and the sun bearing down. I looked towards the other end of the helipad, and saw the man, Mr. Damien, had also taken off his shirt to expose a similar body build.