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Greg Kiser

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inSyte Chapter 51 Excerpt
By Greg Kiser
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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At last - the protagonist (Mitch) meets the antagonist (Cheslov). The characters are coming together and the suspense ratchets to a new level.

inSyte Chapter 51 Excerpt
Author:  Greg Kiser

Mitch could tell he was on the water.  He felt the boat sway in relatively small waves.  Every now and again, the boat rocked on a larger arc.  OK, he was in the lower hold of a moored boat.  Felt like a good sized boat.  Maybe two meter draft.  Maybe thirty thousand kilos displacement. 
The space was dark.  So dark he would not have seen his hands in front of his face.  But he couldn’t move his hands.  His neck felt stiff and wooden.  He was restrained, laid out on a bed with his arms and legs tied securely to posts. 
His head ached.  Dull pain.  Chemically induced.  Probably methyl chloride or some derivative.  But there was something else.  He felt nauseous and cramped, beyond the chemical haze.  He felt… unplugged. 
In order to be this damn dark the port holes must be blocked.  Not just curtains or wooden blinds.  Something solid. 
The compartment’s unnatural quiet added to his profound feeling of emptiness.  Non-existence.  As though he had entered a dreamless sleep but he was still awake and---
OK, Downing.  Snap out of it!  Where am I and how do I get out of here?
He was in a lower cabin that was sealed tight.  This room had been specially constructed.  Reinforced with something to keep out light and sound.  Or keep it in. 
Sometimes compartments were reinforced in this fashion to act as freezers.  More common with commercial vessels, but he’d heard of personal craft that occasionally had this done. 
No signal.  He couldn’t believe it.  The metal reinforcement blocked communication with the outside world.
A cabin door opened and a bright light shone on his face.  Then the door shut and a small light was turned on.  It took a moment for his eyes to adjust. 
Then he looked into the dark face of the wolf. 
He recoiled and shut his eyes.  Whatever drug the Russian used was still affecting his nervous system.  He shook his head and opened his eyes and saw that it was just a man who sat on a stool beside his bed.  The man’s face was dark and his eyes were solid black.
“Hello, Mitch,”  the dark man’s voice was incredibly low. 
“Who are you?  How do you know my name?”  he needed time to think.
“I am Cheslov.  I know much about you.  And you know a lot about many things, I am told.”
He didn’t bother to ask about Wanda.  She was dead.  This man killed her.  That’s OK.  He’d return the favor. 
In conflict, direct confrontation lead to engagement and surprise lead to victory.  Sun Tzu’s Art of War.  He forced himself to relax.  Cheslov held all the cards at the moment.  Very frustrating.
“OK, I know a lot about a lot of things.  So why am I tied to a bed on the Chorny Volk?”
Momentary surprise flickered through Cheslov’s black eyes.  Stupid thing to say but he couldn’t help it.  Come on, Mitch!  Reign it in and calm it down.  He forced himself to abandon emotion and focus with the logical side of his brain. 
Cheslov smiled and, surprisingly, he had one of those smiles that consumed his entire face.  From across the Council Chamber the man looked evil with dark amusement.  Up close, his smile was harmless, charming.  Mitch didn’t have to try very hard to smile back. 
“You know my secrets,”  Cheslov said.  He gestured around, expansively.  “She is my pride and joy, young friend.  My pride and joy.  We did not have vessels like this in Rostov, I can assure you.”
“Why am I here?”  Mitch asked again.
“You are a most impressive young man.  Of course, they told me you have this ability.  Somehow you know things you are not supposed to know, yes?”  Cheslov’s eyes widened in reproach.  He reached beneath his coat and removed a long cigar. Snipped the tip using a guillotine cutter that looked like a worn, hungry mouth.  Lit it up with a battered, gunmetal Zippo.  Leaned back in his chair, took a deep drag.  Exhaled a thick, hot, blue stream of smoke.
“Which is why you find yourself here.  In my home.”  Cheslov’s face saddened.  Then he continued, as if explaining to a child.  “I am sorry, young friend, to have to say this to you.  That this is not a place a man wishes to find himself.  This is not a room from which people live to see a new day.  No, my friend, this is a room in which people take their last breath, see their last light.  Hear their last sound.” 
Mitch remembered a long ago camping trip.
Cheslov smiled warmly down at him.  “Why were you meeting the Deter bitch?”
Mitch said nothing. 
Cheslov raised the cigar cutter to his face and a raven eye peered through the opening.  He smiled as he slid the blades together.  “What was your intention?”
Mitch started the process of extracting himself mentally from his surroundings.  He ran number patterns through his head to take his mind beyond the pain and the possibility of what the lunatic might do next.  There was only one place this was heading. 
Of course he wouldn’t answer any of the lunatic’s questions.  The best strategy to resisting interrogation is to simply not provide any information at all. 
“Where is the file?”
Once you start to give up information, even about minor unrelated topics, it’s hard to stop and easier to give up important information.  The answers to the current questions didn’t matter in the least.  The only thing that mattered was to protect Kate.  At any cost.
“With whom have you shared it?”
Mitch said nothing.
Cheslov walked to the head of the bed and slowly examined Mitch’s fingertips. 
“You wear your micro on your index finger.  Painted with green resin.  Quite the fashion statement.  To whom have you sent the file?”
Mitch said nothing.
Cheslov grasped Mitch’s left hand and held it the way a man might hold the hand of his son.  Mitch felt a softness to the giant’s touch.
“Why do you not answer?  Are you afraid?”  Cheslov gazed down at him with a not unkind expression.  The giant’s thick, dark eyebrows rose as if trying to coax Mitch to speak.
Mitch said nothing.
“I’ll ask you once more,”  Cheslov said and a note of sadness crept into his voice.  The hesitant father who does not wish to punish but is left no choice.  “You have nothing to gain by continuing your silence.  And quite a bit to lose.  Yes, quite a bit.”
Mitch stared at the overhead ceiling.  Focused on the intricate wood carving.
Cheslov spread Mitch’s fingers. 
Mitch said nothing.
“Tell me.  With whom have you shared the file?”
Mitch said nothing.
“Enough of these games,” Cheslov said.


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