Jason briefly glanced at the now-familiar face of the guard who came to check his injuries. From the beginning, the quietly efficient man had made no effort to hide or disguise his identity. Jason understood the reasons behind the man's behavior. There were no plans for Jason to ever leave his captors alive.
Sorrell's intention for his impending death did not panic Jason. It was the way their business operated. Jason spent most of his time in captivity, though, trying to understand just why Sorrell and his men bothered to keep him alive. Once he'd realized that Anthony Sorrell had been behind his motorcycle crash and capture, Jason steeled himself to be tortured for information. And possibly just for Sorrell's pleasure. But it had not happened so far. With the exception of his initial capture, Jason had been left lying alone on a narrow bed in a windowless room.
“How long are you going to keep this up?”
Sorrell's man completed his routine examination before turning his attention to Jason's question. “Are you tired of Mr. Sorrell's hospitality already?” The guard's English was flawless, without a trace of accent. “Perhaps you require some entertainment.”
The guard yanked away a paint-stained canvas that covered the wall opposite Jason. His action revealed a bank of oversized television monitors like the ones Sonny's guards used to keep watch over the building where Sonny and his family lived.
He flipped a switch and four of the five monitors flickered to life. The active screens were filled with lines of gray static that danced electrically back and forth. “Which one should you watch first?” the guard mused. He toggled a switch beneath the first monitor and an image of flames filled the screen. For several moments the two men stared in silence as the red-hot flames displayed.
“You are wondering,” the guard turned back and said, “why I would have you watch this.” He waggled a cautionary finger at Jason. “But I promise you it gets better.”
As Jason watched, the flames began to fade from the screen. Somewhere, the camera providing the images pulled back just in time for the two men to watch a pair of legs be slowly devoured by the intense blaze licking out of the edges of a furnace.
“I believe,” the guard taunted, “that you knew him as Rinaldo.”