Suddenly Brad stopped and held his fist in the air. They were closing in. Nigel moved forward after signalling the rest to halt and joined Brad. From their vantage point, they could see Jackson sitting on a boulder with his hands tied behind his back. The larger man he and June had caught a glimpse of several days ago was cowering off to the side. A taller younger man stood between him and Jackson waving a pistol around frenetically. They couldn’t see the other two men purportedly present so they must have moved on toward the cave’s other entrance, that or they’d taken off for parts unknown. It was a dicey situation since he wasn’t sure how many men were armed ready and willing to fight.
As they hunkered down, the man in front of a bleeding Jackson began yelling. “It didn’t have to be this way, Jackson. You just had to turn and look the other way. Even if you weren’t interested in the money, being rich and all, it would have set me up for life. You brought this on yourself. Your ransom will hold me over rather nicely.”
Jackson’s muffled reply was indistinguishable but suddenly the other man yelled, “Shut up, Jackson! You think you know it all, think you’re so smart, but you didn’t see any of this coming, did you?” He kicked Jackson’s leg hard enough to knock Jackson on the ground. Brad winced at the vicious kick.
If Nigel was reading the situation correctly, the man in the corner wasn’t prepared to fight seemed shaken at the turn of events. Doubtful he’d leave alive if the instigator had anything to say about it. This culprit would leave no witnesses if Nigel read the situation correctly and he wasn’t sure whether the other perp was aware of that fact.
“We’ll be out of here in an hour and the money better be ready, Jackson. I know as well as you how the business runs and I know the protocol. If you don’t follow through, I’ll shoot you where you stand and cut my losses.”
Nigel was a solid thinker. It was essential, it was how he worked. There were several strategies open to him and his men. Dozens of questions and scenarios raced through his mind. Which would work best, in this case, was the question. Divide and conquer? The 2nd perp didn’t appear as committed as the leader, it may not be necessary. The leader, however, would fight to the death. He had nothing to lose from the sound of things. A coward no question, but he was also cunning, or he wouldn’t have made it this far.
Nigel’s ultimate goal was keeping Jackson safe. June and Roland weren’t in harm’s way, as long as they stayed put and Roland didn’t decide to play the hero. Jackson, on the other hand, had taken the brunt of the man’s temper, no doubt received a beating or two, but he was still hanging in. He hadn’t lost his spirit.