Homecoming Part Three

Chapter Five

I am waiting for you. I feel you getting nearer to me, bringing with you the promise of a brighter future. Once you are dead, I can start again. My traitorous, deal-making partner is dead, dead as soon as I had my freedom to visit upon him the fate he abandoned me to when he avoided going to prison and left me hanging, hanging as surely as when we were in that sun baked junkyard all those years ago. Not long now.

MacGyver's hands tightened on the wheel as he coaxed more speed out of the ancient car. Sam hadn't been kidding when he described it as a junkheap and, although Mel had been happy to lend it, he had run through a list of worrying sounding cautions as MacGyver started the car and backed it out of the garage. The doors lock themselves at random. The windows don't work. Avoid using the horn because you'll get an electric shock off it. Go gently with the brakes because it pulls to the left. The list had been long and MacGyver hadn't stayed to listen to the end of it. Now he was gunning the battered machine through the night-time streets of Los Angeles, hurling it around corners and over bumps with the accumulated trash of twenty years bouncing and rolling in the foot wells and cubbyholes. He'd never missed the Jeep so much…

He frowned to himself as he wrestled the car around a sharp bend, veering onto the wrong side of the road and nearly sideswiping a lumbering bus. The driver honked and yelled but MacGyver had already swerved away and gone. Who would have vandalised his bike like that? Was that the noise he'd heard when he found the garage door open? Why would anyone do that? He didn't remember making any enemies lately...He swung onto the docks and cruised slowly along until he found Channel Three. Sure enough, the payphone receiver dangled forlornly in the cold breeze. He crunched to a halt alongside the water, got out of the car and looked along the length of the deserted dock. Hang on Willis…

Keeping to the shadows, MacGyver jogged along the dock, every sense alert for a sign that Willis was there. The wind rippled the surface of the puddles and made the reflected lights dance. MacGyver held up a hand to shield his eyes from the glare of an incoming ship's lights. He turned sharply at the sound of a single slurred footstep echoing out from between two huge containers and then his world exploded as a fist slammed into his temple. MacGyver felt himself spin and fall, but consciousness fled before his head could tell him how hard the concrete was.

"Come on Pete, pick up..." Sam leaned against the kitchen counter, drumming the fingers of his free hand. The receiver burred in his ear again and again until the tone cut off. Sam redialled and listened impatiently to the ringtone on the other end. He was just about to hang up again when Pete's formidable secretary answered.

"Yes! Hi, this is Sam Molloy, I need to speak to Mr. Thornton urgently. Is he there?" He listened to the reply. "Yes, I know what time it is but this is an emergency." He frowned. "How did I get this number? Um... MacGyver is my Dad. Willis is in trouble and Dad's gone after him." He gestured helplessly and ran a hand through his hair. "You are? Thank you!"Sam waited while Pete came on the line.

"Sam? Is that you? What's happened?" Pete listened to Sam's reply, nodding. "Uh huh. Well, that can't be right, Sam – Willis is still here, he brought me his pollution report only five minutes ago." He listened some more. "Are you sure it was Willis you spoke to? You'd recognise his voice?" There was a silence on the other end of the line. "Sam?"

Sam gripped the receiver hard, dread washing over him. No, he hadn't recognised Willis's voice because he'd never actually met Willis. He'd been expecting him to call and so when someone did, and had said he was Willis, Sam had just believed him! What kind of danger was his Dad walking into? And it was all Sam's fault!" He heard someone say his name and realised Pete was still on the phone.

"Mr. Thornton! I think Dad's walking into a trap! The guy on the phone said he was Willis and that he was in trouble and Dad went racing off to help him." He drew a deep breath, listening to Pete. "No, he didn't take the bike, someone's trashed it. Yeah, I know." He listened again. "He borrowed a neighbour's car. Really old, blue Plymouth. He's going down to Port of Long Beach, Channel Three. What's that?" He waited as Pete patiently repeated what he'd said. "You are? Could she pick me up on the way? This is kind of my fault... Thank you!" He grabbed his jacket and went to wait out front.

MacGyver's world came back into focus a piece at a time.

Where...? How did I...?

The black rolled in and MacGyver slumped again.

Ow. Ow... Not again!

He opened his eyes and immediately screwed them shut again against a bright light. He went to put a hand to his aching head and discovered that he couldn't move.

Gah! What?! I'm tied up. I'm tied up and I'm in trouble...

A swift internal inventory told him that aside from a thumping headache and, he thought, a cut on his eyebrow, he was unhurt. He was, however securely tied up with tape. At least he wasn't gagged.

I'm in the Jeep. Why am I tied up in the Jeep? ...This isn't the Jeep, there's way too much junk in here for it to be the Jeep.

He moved slightly to ease the parking brake digging painfully into his hip.

This is Mel's car. This is Mel's car and I'm at the docks and I'm looking for... WILLIS!

The sound of revving filtered into his hazy awareness. Also shouting.

"Willis? I hear you! I'm coming, Willis!" MacGyver lurched into a sitting position, blinking blood out of his eye and squinting against the glare from the spotlight of a fork lift, parked right alongside. The world tipped and echoed as he fought against passing out again. He couldn't see the owner of the voice, and he concentrated hard, listening.

"...AND THEN YOU LEFT ME HANGING THERE! ME! AND YOU WENT OFF AND WISECRACKED ON THE PHONE AND THEY CAME AND TOOK ME AWAY AND I WENT TO JAIL FOR THE ONLY MISTAKE I EVER MADE! THIS COUNTRY IS ROTTEN! ROTTEN TO THE CORE! I WAS ONLY TRYING TO GET MY PIECE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM AND YOU RUINED IT! YOU RUINED ME!"

MacGyver shook his head to try and clear it and immediately wished he hadn't. Not Willis. He knew the voice but... Whoever he was, he'd clearly lost the plot some time ago. MacGyver wriggled, trying to get his hands free but the tape held firm. If he could just get to his knife... He wriggled again and managed to get two fingers into his back pocket.

"YOU RUINED ME MACGYVER! DO YOU HEAR ME? WELL NOW YOUR SINS HAVE CAUGHT UP WITH YOU! I WILL VISIT UPON YOU THE SAME FATE AS I HAVE SUFFERED AND THEN YOU WILL BE DEAD AND I WILL BE FREE!

MacGyver slit the last of the tape binding his wrists and stretched his arms gratefully. He pulled his feet onto the seat and started on his ankles. Tied up with his own duct tape, for goodness sakes! MacGyver stared through the window, but the glare of the lights and his own dizziness reduced his assailant to a haloed silhouette in the driving seat of the fork lift. He squinted. The man's outline was familiar... that bouffant hairdo... He scrambled back as the fork lift revved again and lurched forward to crash its fork through the side of Mel's car!

"Get in!" Nikki screeched to a halt outside MacGyver's apartment and Sam leapt into the car. She spared him a single glance as they raced through the streets, his profile illuminated in green neon as they streaked past a row of shops.

"You really look like him, you know." She swung the car into a savage turn, Sam clinging onto the seatbelt.

"Yeah I know. Took me by surprise too. Make a left here." He leaned into the turn and the car fishtailed on the wet road. Nikki wrestled it back under control, ran a red light and they roared off into the dark. Hang on Mac, cavalry's coming...