Where the hell are they taking me?
Bellamy was still blindfolded in the back of an SUV. After a short stop somewhere close to the Library of Congress, the vehicle had continued on . . . but only for a minute. Now the SUV had stopped again, having again traveled only about a block.
Bellamy heard muffled voices talking.
Sorry . . . impossible . . . an authoritative voice was saying. . . . closed at this hour . . .
The man driving the SUV replied with equal authority. CIA investigation . . . national security . . . Apparently the exchange of words and IDs was persuasive, because the tone shifted immediately.
Yes, of course . . . service entrance . . . There was the loud grinding of what sounded like a garage door, and as it opened, the voice added, Shall I accompany you? Once youre inside, you wont be able to get through
No. We have access already.
If the guard was surprised, it was too late. The SUV was moving again. It advanced about fifty yards and then came to a stop. The heavy door rumbled closed again behind them.
Bellamy realized he was trembling.
With a bang, the SUVs rear hatch flew open. Bellamy felt a sharp pain in his shoulders as someone dragged him out by his arms, then lifted him to his feet. Without a word, a powerful force led him across a wide expanse of pavement. There was a strange, earthy smell here that he could not place. There were footsteps of someone else walking with them, but whoever it was had yet to speak.
They stopped at a door, and Bellamy heard an electronic ping. The door clicked open. Bellamy was manhandled through several corridors and could not help but notice that the air was warmer and more humid. An indoor pool, maybe? No. The smell in the air was not chlorine . . . it was far more earthy and primal.
Where the hell are we?! Bellamy knew he could not be more than a block or two from the Capitol Building. Again they stopped, and again he heard the electronic beep of a security door. This one slid open with a hiss. As they pushed him through, the smell that hit him was unmistakable.
Bellamy now realized where they were. My God! He came here often, although never through the service entrance. This magnificent glass building was only three hundred yards from the Capitol Building and was technically part of the Capitol Complex. I run this place! Bellamy now realized it was his own key fob that was giving them access.
Powerful arms pushed him through the doorway, leading him down a familiar, winding walkway. The heavy, damp warmth of this place usually felt comforting to him. Tonight, he was sweating.
What are we doing here?!
Bellamy was halted suddenly and seated on a bench. The man with the muscles unhooked his handcuffs only long enough to reaffix them to the bench behind his back.
What do you want from me? Bellamy demanded, heart pounding wildly.
The only response he received was the sound of boots walking off and the glass door sliding shut.
Theyre just going to leave me here? Bellamy was sweating more heavily now as he struggled to release his hands. I cant even take off my blindfold?
Help! he shouted. Anybody!
Even as he called out in panic, Bellamy knew nobody was going to hear him. This massive glass roomknown as the Junglewas entirely airtight when the doors were closed.
They left me in the Jungle, he thought. Nobody will find me until morning.
Then he heard it.
The sound was barely audible, but it terrified Bellamy like no sound he had ever heard in his life. Something breathing. Very close.
He was not alone on the bench.
The sudden hiss of a sulfur match sizzled so close to his face that he could feel the heat. Bellamy recoiled, instinctively yanking hard at his chains.
Then, without warning, a hand was on his face, removing his blindfold.
The flame before him reflected in the black eyes of Inoue Sato as she pressed the match against the cigarette dangling from her lips, only inches away from Bellamys face.
She glared at him in the moonlight that filtered down through the glass ceiling. She looked pleased to see his fear.
So, Mr. Bellamy, Sato said, shaking out the match. Where shall we begin?