The Great Escape - Chapter 6
(c)1999-2001 KSH

Jonathan followed Neal up the trail, shaking his head. He suddenly heard a sound, a footstep maybe, behind him. Before he could turn around, someone grabbed the back of his belt and placed a gun just below his right ear. He dropped the bag and his cell phone, raising both hands slowly.

"Don't make a sound," a voice hissed. "This way."

He was pulled off the trail, into a crouching position behind a clump of trees. He looked over at the man beside him. The guy was about Neal's size, wearing a ski mask, still aiming the gun at him. He had a feeling he had just met Guido.

A moment later, he heard Neal coming back down the trail, calling his name. Guido inched closer, putting the gun against his head as a reminder. Jon nodded slightly.

*Definitely don't want to get Guido spooked.* he thought.

Neal moved on past, apparently without seeing or hearing them. Jon heard Neal call out again, this time with a note of panic in his voice, and realized Neal had reached the parking lot. A few minutes later, Neal passed again, heading up the trail, muttering under his breath. He paused, apparently picking up the things Jon had dropped, before continuing on. They waited about ten minutes more before Guido stood, pulling Jon along with him.

Guido led Jon up the trail about 20 yards before turning onto a faint trail through the woods. They walked for quite a while, turning onto several different trails. Finally, they arrived at a small cabin. Guido unlocked the door with a key and ushered Jon inside. He motioned for Jon to sit in one of the two chairs at the table, closed the door, and removed his mask.

*Damn, he even looks like Neal,* Jon thought.

Guido chuckled and shook his head. "I have to say, Neal's choice of hiding places was most convenient. I apologize for the meager accomodations, Mr.Cain. Of course, you will only be here until I can convince Mr. Schon to return our disk, and plant evidence in Leroy's office that would explain your disappearances. I have taken the precaution of sealing the windows, so that you won't be tempted to leave and go to, say, Motel 6. And unfortunately, when I leave, I will have to lock the deadbolt with you inside alone. I have given quite a great deal of thought to other manners in which you might try to leave my lovely cabin, and have been unable to think of any that would not cause great physical harm to your person. But please feel free to make yourself at home, and enjoy. There are canned goods in the pantry, and matches for the camp stove and lantern on the mantel. I don't believe that it will be cold enough tonight to warrant a fire, but if you feel the need for one, there is kindling and wood next to the fireplace. I will have to be going to prepare your ransom note now, is there anything you need before I leave? Oh, one other small matter, I will need to borrow the keys to your truck."

Jon handed over his keys, shaking his head, unable to think of a single intelligent thing to say to a polite hitman.

Guido left, locking the door behind him.

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"Jonathan!" Neal shouted, desperately looking around the parking area. There was no one in sight, and no other vehicles besides the suburban. He turned back up the path. Fear gripped him, as strong as when he had stood on Leroy's balcony with Guido inside.

*Jay would NOT do this to me,* he thought. *Something has to have happened to him. If it was a bear or something, I would have heard something, so the only other choice is that somehow, Guido got him.*

He took a deep breath, willing himself to stay calm. *But how did Guido find us?* He put his hands on his hips, and his fingers brushed the cell phone in his pocket. *Dammit, he knew I called Jay on the cell phone. Then all he had to do was follow him.*

If Guido was out here, maybe he could attract attention going back up the path. He walked as noisily as possible, muttering to himself loudly, stepping on every twig that looked likely to snap, until he reached the spot where Jon had dropped the bag. He spent several minutes collecting the bag and supplies, making as much noise as possible. He heard nothing. Finally, he rose and headed back to his camp.

*Shit, now what? I can't just let Guido have Jay. But how am I supposed to get him back? Do I go looking, or wait for them to find me? Why did he grab Jay instead of me? I need Jay to figure all this out.*

Arriving back at camp, Neal flopped down on his sleeping bag, wondering what to do next.

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Jon remained at the table for several minutes after Guido left. Finally, he stood and began to prowl around the single room.

"Guido was right, there's no way out of here." he sighed to himself. He walked over and laid down on the bed. After staring at the ceiling for some time, he rolled onto his side.

*Ouch, what's in my pocket?* he thought. He rolled back onto his back, reached into his pocket, and pulled out his Swiss Army knife. *Is this a trap, or is Guido an idiot?*

Then he realized that the disk that Guido was going to try to get from Neal was in his other pocket, and he decided he knew.

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Neal decided to make one more search. Guido and Jon couldn't have fallen off the face of the Earth, or been beamed up by the Starship Enterprise. They had to have hidden when Neal was looking for them, which meant they might still be hiding, or have at least left some indication of where they went. He looked carefully for signs that someone had left the path, but there were a number of smaller trails that they could have taken.

One trail turned off just below the spot where Jon had disappeared. Neal turned onto that trail. He saw some indentions in the pine needles indicating that someone had stood behind a group of trees just off that path. He walked a little farther on this particular path, but didn't see any other signs that anyone had been here recently. For a moment he considered whether he should go on further on this path. Seeing as how what he knew about tracking was limited to having seen bloodhounds on tv, and he did not want to spend more time in the woods than necessary, as in lost until winter, he went back to the main trail.

Neal continued on down to the parking area. The suburban was gone.

*Sonofabitch! Guido could have taken him anywhere!*

With nowhere left to look, Neal returned to his tent.

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Jon quickly removed the deadbolt and let himself out. He looked at the door for a moment, quite proud of himself.

*Cool, now I've just got to find Neal.*

He walked back down the path until he came to the first fork. He thought for a moment before turning left. At the next fork, he turned left again. A few minutes later, he came into a clearing that was not at all familiar.

*Jonathan Cain, you're an idiot. You're lost in the woods with no supplies.* He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. *The lake. There may be someone at one of the cabins near the lake, if I can just figure out which way the lake is from here.*

He squinted up at the sky and then checked his watch. *For this time of day, the sun would be moving toward the west. Which means north is that way. And this part of the park is north of the lake, which means I need to go south, which is that way.*

Hoping and praying that he wasn't getting more lost, he walked for about an hour. Gradually the trail began to widen and came into a fork. He took the right fork first, and ended up in an empty parking lot. He went back to the fork and took the other trail. Within a few moments, he arrived at a cabin.

Crossing his fingers, he knocked at the door of the cabin. There was a sound inside, and the door was opened by a woman holding a gun.

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