The pain was more intense than anything he had ever experienced in his life.
When the Cuban touched the cable to the positive terminal, a surge of electricity
shot through Conor’s body like a bolt of lightning. It felt like a red-hot dagger being
plunged back and forth into his spine. The sensation was unbearable. His body
gyrated uncontrollably and he began shaking like a worm impaled on a fishing
hook. The chair fell forward and the noose yanked painfully at his throat. He bit his
After a few minutes, Ernesto took the cable away from the terminal. The sparking
electricity stopped immediately, yet it took a full minute for Conor to stop shaking.
But he was choking now, gagging for air. When the alligator came into view again
and lunged forward with mouth open wide, it required every ounce of strength and
willpower he possessed to quickly kick his toes off the floor, leaning the chair back
just in time to save himself. The chain around the beast’s neck snapped taut and
stopped it in its tracks. Almost as if it knew the routine, it shuffled reluctantly back
into the darkness to await another chance.
But at least now Conor could breath, even though it was only through his nose.
The sharp, stabbing pain had subsid-ed, but it was immediately replaced by a cold
numbness. He tasted blood in his mouth, running down his throat, felt dizzy and
totally drained of energy.
Then, without warning, Ernesto stood up behind him and placed a plastic bag over
his head. He squeezed it so tight around Conor’s neck he could not catch his
breath. He tried desperately to inhale through his nostrils, but began gagging and
spluttering as the plastic was sucked up into them. His airways became blocked.
He felt his lungs bursting for oxygen, the veins in his neck throbbing and his
eyeballs bulging in their sockets. Conor’s head felt like it was imploding, his body
thrashing to-and-fro like a fish out of water desperately fighting for breath.
When Ernesto removed the bag a few seconds later, Conor turned his head
helplessly to Carlos, his burning eyes pleading with him to stop this madness. But
the Cuban had been standing no more than two or three feet away to his right,
talking on his cell phone the whole time. He was watching the show as if he had no
great interest in its out-come. It was as if Conor’s pain and suffering meant nothing
to him. There wasn’t the slightest hint of emotion showing on his square, chiseled
Conor then saw him blink his eyes to Ernesto to signal “again,” and he emitted a
pitiful, muffled scream to stop. It was no use, though. Ernesto touched the cable to
the battery and the pain surged through him once more. This time, the agony went
on longer until, just as he began to pass out, Ernesto broke the circuit and
stepped back. Again, even though the electricity stopped, he continued shaking
uncontrollably for the longest time. When the pain eventually subsided and his
body fell still, Carlos finally stepped closer and ripped the duct tape from his
mouth. There was an acrid smell of burnt flesh, and although he couldn’t see or
feel them, Conor knew it was coming from his toes.
“Donde esta la bolsa?” Carlos said coldly.
“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Conor replied through chattering teeth.
“Where is the bag?”
“What bag? Please, Carlos, I don’t know anything about a—”
“Where is the bag?”
“Please. If you’d just tell me—”
Carlos nodded toward Ernesto and it began again. With-out the tape covering his
mouth, Conor’s agonizing cries were so loud they drowned out the crackling sound
coming from the sparking battery. He blacked out for what seemed like an eternity,
yet when his senses returned and he opened his eyes, Carlos was still in the exact
same position before him and he realized with utter dejection that it had only been
a few seconds.
“Once more,” said the Cuban. “Where is that bag?”
“Please, Carlos,” he groaned. “For the love of God, I don’t know anything about a
bag.” He saw him signal to Ernesto once more, but shouted, “No! Stop! Just stop
and I promise will tell you everything. I swear to God, I will tell you.”
There was a pause as Carlos considered his words. Shaking, Conor prayed with
all his might that the Cuban would not signal to his brother again. He knew his
body could take no more.
“Alright then,” he finally said without emotion. “Start by telling us why you killed our
“But it wasn’t me!” stammered Conor. “It was Bob Castagna.”
“Castagna’s dead,” Ernesto growled angrily from behind.
“No,” Conor cried. “He’s alive. He’s alive. I swear.”
“Castagna, that weasel,” Carlos muttered beneath his breath, his eyes opening a
little wider at the prospect that Bob might actually not be dead. “I should have
known he had something to do with this.”
Conor felt his spirits raised for a split second. If they believed him, there might at
least be a glimmer of hope.
“So, if what you say is true, where is he?” Carlos asked coldly.
Conor swallowed hard. “Look, I don’t know where he is right now. He must have
gone into hiding. I heard a shot in the cabin and found him standing over your
father with the revolver in his hand. When I tried to call for help, he knocked me
out. The police think I killed them both because he was gone when they got there.
That’s why they arrested me. But he is alive. I swear to you.”
Carlos considered this for a moment, before saying, “Then if you’re telling the
truth, where is the bag?”
“What bag are you talking about?” Conor caught the look of anger and impatience
on the Cuban’s face. “Please, Carlos. What bag?”
“The bag of cocaine our father and Castagna carried back from the island.”
“Huh?” he moaned. He was struggling to remain con-scious, but this revelation
jolted him awake. In his mind, he made the connection at long last. It was a piece
that finally fit into the jigsaw. If there had been drugs in the bag, then that changed
everything. He was now certain the black hold-all was not on the yacht anymore,
that Bob now had it. Was that what this was about? Had Bob killed Hector Suarez
and framed him for a lousy bag of drugs?
“Donde esta la bolsa?” Carlos repeated irritably, growing more and more impatient
by the minute. “Tell us where it is or you will suffer like you cannot imagine.”
“Bob must have it,” he replied, stuttering as he caught sight of the alligator’s snout
coming out of the shadows.
“Very well. If that is so, then tell us where he is,” he said again as he raised his
“But I told you, I don’t know. Please.”
Carlos motioned for Ernesto to begin again, but before he could connect the
battery, Conor shouted, “Wait, Carlos! There is something else.”
The Cuban raised a hand for his brother to hold for a moment.
“I…I think he may have had help.”
When young Irishman, Conor Rogan, arrives in Miami to captain
Bob Castagna’s charter yacht, he soon attracts the attention of
his beautiful wife, Eva, and his shy yet equally seductive
stepdaughter, Abi. When he is framed for the killing of a local
Cuban crime lord on a voyage to the Bahamas, Conor suddenly
finds himself on the run from both the Miami Police who want him
for murder, and the Cuban’s two vicious sons who seek to exact
a brutal revenge for their father’s death.
A stranger in a foreign land, Conor endures torture and violence
as he races against time to clear his name. Left with no other
choice, he must turn to the only two people who believe him:
Rita, a beautiful young Cuban woman he has just begun a
relationship with, and his brother-in-law, Danny, a violent ex-IRA
man living in Florida.
With the clock ticking, Conor’s journey leads him from the exotic
Bahamas to the streets of Miami and Fort Lauderdale and then
out into the unforgiving Florida Everglades before reaching its
violent and bloody conclusion.
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