"Where's Bethie?" Charlie asked.
"Do I look like my daughter's keeper?" Mrs. Wallace questioned. "If I were, Bethie would not be doing all the terrible things she's doing to Sheridan right now."
"Oh, get over it," Charlie huffed. "That blonde deserves everything that's coming to her, and then some."
"Sheridan is sweet. She's an angel. She and Luis deserve each other."
"You may be right there," Charlie responded. "If the pit wasn't already so full, I would just love to put Luis in there with her. Then I could really see her suffer as he slowly starved to death! Yeah, that would be a riot!"
Mrs. Wallace got a sick look on her face as she saw the gleam of excitement in Charlie's eyes. "This psycho is a real nutcase," she thought. "Bethie, I think you finally found someone nuttier than you!"
Out loud, she simply said, "You should suggest that to Bethie, but I don't think she'd want you to put Luis in the pit - him being a cop and all."
"Oh, I can handle him, cop or not. Just wait until Bethie gets me that gun tomorrow! Then you'll see how I handle our prisoners!"
"Speaking of those poor people in the pit...what are you going to do about Sheridan's brother? You're not going to...to off him, are you?"
"Not right away," Charlie said. "Not unless he gives me trouble. No, Bethie and I decided it's best to take care of the two of them together when this is all over."
"But what if they come looking for him?" Mrs. Wallace asked. "People may realize then that Sheridan was kidnapped too - that she didn't run away."
"Oh, Bethie thought up something good so they won't come looking for him - something she saw in a movie once. Oh, Bethie's a sharp one, she is! She always comes through for us!"
"Yeah, Bethie's sharp, all right! She will come certainly through for us," Mrs. Wallace said. To herself, she added, "She'll get us all thrown in the slammer - that's how she'll come through for us!"
Down in the pit, Sheridan and Julian continued to discuss what they knew about their abductors.
"So, you think I may know who one of them is - the woman who doesn't talk?" Sheridan asked.
"It's possible," Julian replied. "This other lady - the behemoth nutcase - doesn't seem familiar to you at all?"
"No, not at all," Sheridan answered. "Believe me, I'd never forget someone like that!"
"Neither would I," Julian said. "My back still hurts from that blow she delivered when I found you in this pit."
"You've got to be careful of her, Julian. She would like nothing better than to have an excuse to pummel you to death," Sheridan said worriedly.
"Oh, I'll be careful," Julian promised. "But I will also do whatever I can to get us out of here - even if it means risking a beating from our friendly bat-wielder. Really, I get beat up enough by TC Russell. I'm kind of immune to it."
"Why is he always after you, Julian?" his sister inquired.
"Oh, old grudges," Julian shrugged. "Nothing really; just some scores we never settled."
"Well, hopefully someday you can work out your differences," Sheridan said. "Look at us...we're getting along much better than we have in years."
"We are, aren't we?" he said, smiling a bit. "I wish it was under different circumstances though."
"Me too," Sheridan agreed. "You know, Julian, I just thought of something! You told me when you first came down here that you didn't really know where we were at - that you didn't recognize the house or even see the street sign."
"I didn't," he said. "If I had only looked, maybe we would be able to figure out where we are."
"Maybe we can anyway," she suggested. "Why don't you tell me everything you remember about the chase - every place you made a turn onto another street. Maybe if we put our heads together, we can figure out where we are."
Julian began relaying every detail he remembered about the car chase.
"It sounds like you were in one of the eastside neighborhoods, near the wharf or the Book Café," Sheridan deduced.
"It's not right by either of those places, although it could be within walking distance," he admitted.
"What was the neighborhood like, Julian? The houses - were they mostly one- story or two? What colors were they mainly? What materials were they made of?"
"I don't know," he said. "It's just your typical boring peasant class neighborhood."
"Julian!" Sheridan exclaimed. "That's hardly being politically correct."
"Political correctness is on its way out," Julian said. "Anyway, I wouldn't worry about offending these people. After all, they did kidnap us!"
"OK, back to the houses...were they mostly wood, siding, brick, or stone?"
"Wood, I guess," he shrugged.
"And what color was the house, Julian? Didn't you tell me before it was brown? What shade of brown - was it tan or dark or...?"
"I don't know, Sheridan, honestly. Brown is brown!" her brother responded. "I've never had an eye for colors, really. Ivy always handled those details when we were married."
"All right then," Sheridan said, "maybe we have enough information already. Let's see now...a lower middle class, eastside neighborhood; a brown house on the middle of the block. It could be any place, really. Heck, it even describes Beth's place." Sheridan laughed. "And of course, I know it's not hers!"
"Beth? You mean Luis's old girlfriend? Hmmm..."
"Julian, you don't know Beth. She's been such a good friend to me and Luis. She would never be involved in..."
"Din-din time, my basement friends!" the familiar voice interrupted from the top of the pit. "Wonder what goodies are in here for you today?"
"Sheridan, follow my lead," Julian whispered.
"What are you talking about?" she asked. "Julian, don't do anything stupid!"
"I'm not," he whispered. "Just stay back, OK?"
Charlie lowered the picnic basket down into the pit with the rope pulley.
"It sure smells good today," Julian said kindly, moving toward the basket.
"Ye-yes, it does," Sheridan added. "We sure have enjoyed your cooking. It is so kind of you to..."
As she was speaking, Julian suddenly grabbed hold of the rope and began to pull himself up it!
"Why you...!" Charlie yelled. "Damn, where's that axe when I need it?" She left the edge of the pit to retrieve her weapon.
"Here's our chance!" Julian cried breathlessly as he neared the top of the pit. "Whatever happens, just stay back!"
"Oh, God, Julian - be careful!" Sheridan cried.
Julian pulled himself up over the edge of the pit. As he stood up, he saw Charlie, baseball bat in hand, looming toward him.
"I couldn't find my axe, but this will do nicely!" she hissed. She raised the bat over her head and swung it forward. Julian reached his hands up to protect his head as the bat came at him through the air.
Charlie suddenly changed direction with the bat, and with a tremendous force, cracked the bat against his ribs. Julian doubled over in pain. A second blow to the legs knocked him backward into the pit!
"NOOOOOO!" Sheridan screamed, as her brother hit the hard floor of the pit.
She ran over to him, desperate to see if he was all right. "Oh my God, you've killed him!" she cried. "You've killed Julian!"
"Good!" Charlie blared. "He deserved to die, trying to escape like that! And anyway, it saves me from having to put my little plan into motion tonight..."
She backed away from the pit, leaving Sheridan to cry over her
brother's motionless body.