The ground was hard under his cheek and the smell of decaying food filled his nostrils. His head throbbed, but Jack kept his eyes closed as he surfaced. The urge to vomit overwhelming, he willed himself to remain perfectly still. Pretend you’re still out of it and buy some time, he told himself as he started to do the vital inventory of his body. His feet were bare, but his legs weren't tied up. Okay, that's odd. His hands tied behind his back made his shoulder feel wrenched. Bad. His head felt like it had been split open where the gun had hit him, but he knew from experience that the skull could take a lot of force before that happened.
Damn, he berated himself. The kid was obviously a Judas goat. But the wide-eyed little boy with the trembling bottom lip reminded him of his kid. He had to see if he was okay, he had to walk into the side alley. Stupid….
Two men stood by the cell's door speaking softly in a language he couldn't quite catch. Russian? Yugoslavian?
Now you're tied up with God knows which faction of rebels holding you. Question is for what? Ransom? Information? The hell of it? No one knows you're here and no one’s going to come looking for you. Officially, you don't exist. A tiny glimmer of hope tried to rise. If he could just get a message to his squad, then maybe….
 He pressed his cheek into the dirt. And maybe he was just kidding himself.
 "So, you are awake?" A giant of a man with a shock of white hair and the palest skin he'd ever seen stood in front of him. "I warned my associate here not to kill you." His legs spread wide, arms folded over his broad chest all dominant male on the offensive, the grey-eyed man was serious trouble.  
"How rude, I haven't introduced myself. You can call me Karl, and you are?"
 Jack rolled and sat up. He remained impassive glaring back at him, not deigning to answer. The other man came and stood beside Karl, grinning with his gun hanging slack in his hand. He said something in his own language and the giant albino laughed before he answered him. A thin smile passed his lips as he turned back to face Jack.
 "He wants to know if you only like little boys, because he's happy to show you what a real man can do. He likes you, apparently."
 "Go to hell."
Jack's chin was high, his shoulders straight even as the excruciating pain in his head from the earlier hits, and now dehydration, blinded him. He wriggled his fingers in his ties. When his captor had thrown him in the cell he hadn't bothered to check them and he'd managed to loosen the tape enough that he could slip his hands free. He just needed one chance. He would wait for an opportunity and then vamoose. If he got a bullet between the shoulder blades then so be it. He had to try. 
The albino picked at his teeth with a fingernail. "Maybe I'll let him have you after all." He spoke to the man next to him who leered and fisted his own pants at the crotch in a crude gesture.
Jack kept his eyes on the albino's pale, bloodless face. "Never going to happen, pal."
Karl laughed as the other man moved forward, his fat fingers tracing down Jack's face. "He is most persistent, and you never know, you might enjoy it."
Karl's mate propped his weapon against the side of the wall and unbuckled his belt, dropping his pants. His fat, fleshy face flushed as the anticipation made him excited.
 Jack edged back, baring his teeth in a snarl. God, no.
 Karl chuckled as he sauntered behind the pant-less man. He winked at Jack. "This animal is stupid is he not?" The side of his hand flashed down and the leering man dropped like a stone, not a sound. Jack watched as his tormentor collapsed in a heap.
"I do not approve… of such men."
 Jack took his chance. He gestured with his head willing the albino to turn around. "Hafta to say they don't look too happy about it."
Confusion flashed across Karl's face, and he obliged by turning around. Jack knew this his one chance. His hands slipped free and he kept talking, keeping his tone flat and disinterested. "I think the big, bald one might be annoyed with you killing his mate here."
Karl took a tentative foot towards the door. 
Now! Jack inched towards the fallen gun, but the albino swung around just as his fingers brushed it.  Karl hissed and made up the space between them in several strides. He placed the barrel against Jack's temple and cocked the trigger. 
"You have balls, I'll give you that." The albino shook his head. "No gun, no way to defend yourself." He laughed again, "Just not your day, soldier, is it."
"No, but he always has me as backup." The quiet words came from the somewhere near the shadows of the doorway.
The albino whirled around and fell backwards, a bullet placed perfectly between the eyes.  
"C'mon, Jack; let's get the hell out of here."
Jack scrambled to his feet. Running down the hallways to freedom, he knew he'd never have another friend like Charlie Kawalsky."


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