Hold Fast - Part 3
Into the gut of Beirut
Clint Suggs, still blindfolded, was forced into a seat next to Tony Watson in coach. "Clint, are you okay?" Tony whispered. "Tony. They just shot Bob."
WARNING: Contains explicit language.
The hours slowly ticked past. Shock and fear were now replaced with a crushing sense of uncertainty. No one knew what would happen next. Between stops in Algeria and Beirut some passengers were hustled off the plane - mostly women and children. Clint Suggs, Tony Watson, Jeff Ingalls, Stu Dahl and Ken Bowen remained on board. The hijackers believed them all to be "Marines" or even possibly special forces of some type. They would no doubt make good bargaining chips.
The world watched as the plane idled on the Beirut runway. The access ramp at the back of coach was lowered. It was at this moment that a dozen heavily armed men stormed the plane. This must be a rescue operation, thought Tony. The passengers would soon be free - the nightmare over. The hijackers stood in the aisle as the militia filled the cabin. Hope of a rescue evaporated when Tony saw the hijackers and militia laughingly embrace each other.
The brothers were hustled off the plane. A row of armed thugs stood in a line across from them on the tarmac. Stu, believing they were all about to be executed nodded to his shipmates - he wanted to be brave for them, they all wanted to for each other. Then, inexplicably, the group was ordered into the back of a running truck.
Bobby was gone, and now Jeff was missing. The truck sped off and disappeared into downtown Beirut.
Back on the plane Jeff Ingalls could only clinch his teeth. The terrorists discovered they had no identification for him. They demanded to know exactly who he was - a spy? A diplomat? He was hustled off the plane with three others and shoved into a vehicle. He too disappeared into the gut of Beirut.
Every building carried the scars of combat - the brothers were now in the middle of a war. Tony, Stu, Ken and Clint were led into a basement. They would call this place home for the next 17 days. The guards immediately began to taunt them. They would randomly point their AK-47 machine guns at the brothers and pull the trigger. The ammunition clips disengaged - the bullets removed.
Click. Evil laughter.