The thumping of boots across the hard concrete floor indicated to Sarah Jane that something very bad was about to happen to her. She and Bridgette had been sitting in their cell talking when, at the sound of a buzzer, the door opened. Paynter and two officers, one of which was Stanford, stood outside.
“Pearce. Come. Get moving.” Paynter ordered.
Sarah Jane was escorted down a corridor toward the janitorial room where she’d almost been drowned a couple of weeks earlier. Her entire body became weak and she trembled. Toombs and Gardiner stood outside of the small interrogation room. Her legs buckled with fear. Sarah Jane was forcefully placed onto a chair. She cowered as Paynter and Toombs loomed over her.
“Ms. Pearce.” Toombs spoke with a thick Alabama accent. “It would appear that you intentionally provided us with false and misleading information. Perhaps you are not aware, but such an offense carries twenty years of hard labor minimum.”
Sarah Jane’s heart beat fiercely. Just as she had feared, it would only be a matter of time before they discovered she’d lied to save her friends.
“We bombed that cabin you told us about north of Porcupine Meadows Provincial Park,” Paynter stated. “Checked all through the remains. Not a trace of Jake Scribner, Kevin Sorenson or Mallory Hutchinson. You’re playing with fire here. I seriously advise that you stop jerking us around.”
Paynter’s face contorted in rage as she got within inches of Sarah Jane’s face.
“Where are they you little bitch?!” She slapped Sarah Jane hard across the face. “If you refuse to tell us, we are going to do unspeakable things to you.”
Stanford and another officer, a young man named James, looked on as Gardiner grabbed Sarah Jane roughly and flung her against cement brick wall. She crumpled to the floor cringing in agonizing pain.
“Captain, I’d say some good old-fashioned electric torture is in order here,” Toombs said.
“I couldn’t agree more,” Paynter replied. “Sergeant Gardiner, get the machine ready.”
In one corner of the room was a machine with wires and clamps connected to it. While Gardiner got the electronic torturing device powered on, Stanford and James bound Sarah Jane’s wrists. They proceeded to tie the terrified young woman to a ceiling beam when Father Tuck entered the room.
“What in the name of God is going on here?!” Tuck was aghast.
“This is none of your concern, Padre,” Toombs snapped. “I politely request that you get the hell out of here.”
Tuck was not backing down.
“You have no right to do this. The mistreatment of prisoners is condemned under the Geneva Convention.”
“You really think I give a rat’s ass about some document the North American government has not ratified and will never?”
“The priest is right,” Stanford stated.
Paynter and Toombs glared upon the young correctional officer with daggers in their eyes.
“How dare you speak in such a way?!” Paynter laid right into her subordinate. “I could have you arrested for sedition. You wouldn’t like that, would you, Officer Stanford?”
“I’m just stating a fact ma’am. I took law courses in university. And we are still bound by international law.”
Tuck stepped forward.
“Please, for the love of God, allow me to talk to her-alone.”
Paynter and Toombs cringed at the idea.
“If you honestly believe that you are going to talk the information out of her, Padre, you’re even dumber than I thought,” Toombs said. “Gardiner, turn that machine off. I guess it’s only fair that we give Miss Pearce here a little more time to think about what she is going to tell us.”
Toombs, Paynter, Stanford and James exited the room. Sarah Jane sighed in relief as Tuck unbound her wrists.
“If you hadn’t have come, I’d probably be half-dead by now.” Sarah Jane said.
Tuck leaned in closer.
“Sarah Jane, very quietly, almost in a whisper, I need you to tell me exactly where Jake, Kevin and Mallory are.”
Although Sarah Jane trusted Tuck, she still wasn’t one hundred percent sure that he wasn’t in with the authorities. At the same time, if Tuck intended to head up there to bring her friends back to Kamloops to finish the fight, she should tell him. Looking around to see if anyone was watching, Sarah Jane put her mouth to Tuck’s ear.
“The old Calstar Mine a mile off of the highway just south of Well’s Gray Provincial Park.”
“Thank you so much. Now I better be getting out of here.”