Beth arrived home from her visit with Luis and slammed the door shut behind her.
“What’s wrong, Bethie dear? Trouble in paradise?” asked Mrs. Wallace.
“Nothing’s wrong, Mother. Everything’s fine between me and Luis.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet,” Mrs. Wallace responded. “I hope you’re not having hormone problems then. I never knew sugar could give you that kind of trouble, though.” She laughed, enjoying her little jab at Beth.
“Shut up, Mother,” Beth said, “Or I’ll have to call that nursing home again…you know, the one with the rats crawling all over the patients.”
“No!” her mother cried. “You can’t do that, Bethie. I’ll be good, I promise.”
“There, that’s more like it,” Beth said, smiling. Looking around, she asked, “Where’s Charlie?”
“Oh, wait till you hear this one,” Mrs. Wallace said, suddenly remembering the little problem in the basement. “It seems we have a new guest – courtesy of your Charliegirl.”
“What are you talking about, Mother? What guest?!” Beth exclaimed, her eyes widening in fear.
“Well, it seems Sheridan’s brother – you know, that rich guy Julian Crane – the one who treated me so terribly at that party – well, he came looking for Sheridan, and now he’s in the pit too.”
“In the pit?!” Beth shouted. “What do you mean he’s in the pit?!”
“Just what I said, Beth. I thought I was the deaf one!” Mrs. Wallace replied. “Your pal Charlie just threw him in there too. Before we know it, half of Harmony’s going to be in that pit! Then the rest of the town will come looking for their friends, and what are you going to tell them? Everyone just happened to slip and fall in while they were admiring our basement décor? No, you’re going to pay, Bethie. It’s going to happen. There’s no getting out of it now.”
“If I pay, so will you, Mother. You’ll be wearing stripes right alongside me for this,” Beth insisted. Then, looking worried, she said, “There’s got to be a way we can handle this…”
Down in the pit, Julian tried to survey his surroundings. “There has to be a way out of here,” he said, feeling the walls of his subterranean prison.
“There isn’t, Julian. I’ve tried everything. We’re not getting out unless someone lets us out, unless someone comes to rescue us.”
Sheridan’s face suddenly lit up. “Julian, they’ll figure out you’re missing. Then, maybe somebody will put two and two together and realize someone has kidnapped us both.”
She looked at him then, a thought just coming to her. “Julian, someone has to know you came looking for me! Anyone…”
He shook his head. “The security guard knows I have the videotapes, but he won’t say anything. He’s too afraid of Alistair.”
“Alistair!” Sheridan cried. “Maybe Father knows something. You know how he always seems to find out everything that goes on in this town. Maybe he knows where we are.”
“If he did, I wouldn’t hold my breath,” Julian said. “Alistair Crane certainly would never win any Father of the Year awards.”
“But, Julian, he’s our father. We’re his only children. Surely he wouldn’t want us to die down here in this horrible place…”
“Oh, Sheridan,” Julian thought. “If only you knew…”
“It’s too bad you couldn’t tell Luis about that woman,” Sheridan said, thinking of the man she loved. “I miss him so much. Is he all right? Is he taking the news of my kidnapping well?”
“Luis has been working night and day to find you. Some of the others think you just ran away, that you couldn’t handle all the stress in your life and wanted to protect your baby from it. Luis doesn’t buy it though.”
“He wouldn’t,” Sheridan smiled. “Luis and I are so in tune with one another. He would know I was in danger. I just wish you had a chance to call – “
“My phone!” Julian yelled. “Sheridan, I forgot I had my cell phone on me!” Hurriedly he got it out of his jacket pocket and pushed the power button.
“Damn!” he shouted, shaking the phone. “It’s not working. It must have been damaged in the fall.” He threw the cell phone down on the floor.
Tears came to Sheridan’s eyes. “We were so close to getting rescued. A phone call away.”
“It’s going to be all right, Sheridan,” her brother said, putting his arms around her hesitantly. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you. Not ever again.”
“Are you sure you two are brother and sister – the way you’re always hugging and stuff?” the familiar voice taunted from the top of the pit.
“Somebody needs to put an end to that clown,” Julian whispered to Sheridan, putting his arms at his sides.
“What’s that you’ve got there?” Charlie cried in fear. “A phone? Give that to me now!”
“You want it, you’re going to have to come and get it!” Julian countered defiantly.
“Julian,” Sheridan whispered. “Just give it to her.”
Charlie picked up a large rock and aimed it at Sheridan’s head. “Your sister’s head is going to be smashed in if you don’t cooperate.”
Julian moved protectively in front of Sheridan, shielding her from the kidnapper.
“Julian, just give it to her. It’s not worth it,” Sheridan pleaded. “It doesn’t work anyway.”
Her brother reluctantly picked up the phone and tossed it to the kidnapper above. “Nice catch,” he told her. “Didn’t I see you in a circus act once?”
“Cut the crap, wise guy,” Charlie hissed. “Now the keys too.”
“What keys?” Julian asked, feigning ignorance. “Oh, my car keys! I don’t have them. They must have gotten lost somewhere in your house. Maybe if you search the place on your hands and knees…”
“I’ve had about enough of your mouth, rich boy,” the giant woman blared. “Your sister needs to be kept alive – for the time being. You, however, are dispensable.”
Julian turned to look at Sheridan, wondering what the kidnapper was talking about – him being dispensable, but not her. They were both worth a lot of money…
Sheridan looked at Julian, her eyes pleading with him to give in.
Finally, he removed his set of keys from his pocket and hurled them as far as he could above the top of the pit.
Charlie ran after them, temporarily leaving the edge of the pit. She
returned, waving the car keys above her head. “These just might get us
out of the mess we’re in because of you,” she said, glaring at Julian.
“Oh, yeah, these may help us write off the great, powerful Julian Crane
once and for all!”