Chapter 20



The Chapters






















"Galen, call the authorities," Mr. Mondello ordered. "Ask to speak with Inspector Kuutin.  He's the man I spoke with about what's happening around here.  Show him that paper and tell him Dennie's being held captive in a building on government property."  

"Uh, Mr. Mondello," Phil interrupted.  "Dennie's been given the poison tht makes you appear dead."  

"I'l call Dora," Dr. Duvalier said.  "I thought this might happen at some point and asked her if she could bring back the dead."  

"The dead?" Artie asked.  "Dennie's not dead," he said slowly but with a world of feeling.  

"By way of the poison," Dr. Duvalier clarified.  "She can.  But you will need to take Dennie to her."  

Mr. Mondello nodded.  "Let's go," he said, leading Phil and Artie, whose stint as a zombie now showed no physical effects save the pale, undernourished look in his face.  They took the truck as far as they dared, then pulled off the road.  Phil led them to where Chet and Biff were waiting.   

"Artie!" Chet cried out in surprise.  

"Shh!!" Biff ordered, his blue eyes stern.  

"Artie, are you sure you should be here?" Chet asked.  

"I feel fine," Artie replied with a faint smile.  "And I'll feel even better once we get Dennie back."  

"They haven't left," Biff said.  "But the short guy came back almost as soon as you left," he added to Phil.  

Mr. Mondello pulled out his gun.  "You boys stay here," he ordered.  "I'm going to go in for a closer look."  He crept up to the house and peered in the window.  Looking in, he was pleasantly shocked to see Dennie sitting at the table.  His face was bruised but he was definitely alive.  

Mr. Mondello made his way back to the boys and told them Dennie had apparently been given an antidote in Phil's absence.  "Thank God," uttered Artie in relief, a sentiment echoed by all present.  

"What were they doing?" Artie asked his dad.  

"It looks like they are getting ready to leave," he admitted.  

"Did you recognize anyone in there?" Biff asked.  

Mr. Mondello shook his head.  "I don't recall having seen any of those men."  

"I don't understand," Artie admitted, shaking his head.  "None of this makes sense."  

"Actually, it kind of does," Phil said.  

"What?" Mr. Mondello demanded, looking at Phil.  

"Apparently, Artie saw two men talking who should have had no contact with each other," Phil began.  "They were afraid Artie would report the meeting to the authorities, who, obviously don't know what is going on.  Anyway, they took  Artie out of the picture using the only item they had on them at that moment, the powder."  

"But it wasn't wither of the men I saw talking who did it," Artie informed them.  "It was this short guy."  

"The Bokur," Chet said.  "He is the short dude."  

"He's a fraud," Biff snorted.  

"Of course he is," Mr. Mondello admitted, his brow wrinkled in thought.  "But he does have everyone fooled."  

"He is definitely no backwoods prophet," Chet said in disgust.  

"Isn't he?" Artie asked.  

"What do you  mean, Son?" Mr. Mondello asked.  

"Well, he has all the natives believing he is some super magical being," Artie began.  "But he is smart enough to know what might pose a danger and to have some type of physical evidence for what he is doing."  

"The papers," Phil said.  

"Right," Artie agreed.  "I don't think we will know what is going on unless we can get our hands on those papers."  

"Artie," Chet said, looking at Artie a bit peculiarly.  "Shouldn't Dennie be our main concern?"  

"He is," Artie said, as fast as he could.  "They must have revived him to use him as a hostage," he deduced.   

"You are leaving something out," Phil observed.  

"There must be someone involved from Jima's plantation that Dennie recognized, or they wouldn't have taken Dennie in the first place," Artie commented.  

"But they took you," Biff said, confused.  "And you didn't recognize anyone."  

"They acted irrationally," Phil said, picking up on what Artie was trying to say.  "They saw Artie and panicked.  But after Artie was rescued, they realized the jig was about up.  When Dennie turned up, they probably figured Artie must have told about the meeting he witnessed."  

"So you're saying they think Dennie knows all about what they are doing on government property," Chet said.  

"I think so," Phil answered.   

"If that's the case, why didn't they just kill him? Or at least, why bother to revive him?" Chet demanded.  

"Maybe they are planning on using him as a hostage," suggested Phil.  

"What about the other, um, zombies?" Chet asked.  "Where are they?"  

Mr. Mondello frowned.  "That's a very good question," he said in an unhappy tone.  "If we rescue Dennie now, we may not find the other victims."  

"We aren't going to let them take Dennie away," Artie declared slowly, his brown eyes flashing.  

"Of course not," Mr. Mondello quickly denied.  He looked around.  "I just wish Inspector Kuutin would hurry up and arrive."  

"You have a plan?" Phil asked.  

"Yes," admitted Mr. Mondello, but it is dangerous and I don't want you boys to be involved.  

"It doesn't look like we have a choice," Biff said, looking at the cabin and seeing the front door open.  

"Blast it!" growled Mr. Mondello.  He looked at Artie.  "Are you up for this?" he asked.  

Artie nodded, his eyes determined as he saw Dennie being pushed through the door, a gun in his back.  The left side of his face was swollen and bruised and his shirt had been ripped open in the front.  It looked like someone had pulled him up by the front of his shirt and beat him.  Artie wanted revenge more than he wanted anything, and not because of what had happened to himself.  

Mr. Mondello swallowed painfully before speaking.  "You have to go and let them capture you," he said.  

"What?" Phil demanded.  

"No way!" argued Biff.  

"Crazy!" Chet ejactulated.  

"Why?" Phil asked, looking at Mr. Mondello intently.  "What good will that do?"   

"Dennie is in no condition to fight," Mr. Mondello stated, looking at his youngest son being hustled off into the woods.  "Artie needs to be near enough to Dennie to bring him down when the fighting starts."  

"That's all?" Artie demanded.  

"That's all," concurred Mr. Mondello.  "I don't think you are well enough to fight either," he continued.  "I want you both out of this."  

"Agreed," Phil said.  "But we had better get moving before we lose them."  

"What about the other victims?" Biff asked.  

"We are going to follow them until they take us where they are going before we make our move," Mr. Mondello said.  "But the sooner Artie..."  

"The sooner I get captured, the better the chance I'll have to be right beside Dennie when the fun starts," Artie finished.  "I'll get a bit ahead of them and let myself be caught," he added, moving away from his dad and friends.  

Dennie, not realizing what was happening, saw Artie by the trail ahead of them.  He started putting up a fuss, hoping Artie was lucid enough to get away. One of his captors rounded on Dennie and hit him so hard, he fell backwards onto the hard ground below, unmoving.   

One of the other men saw Artie at about the same time as Dennie hit the ground and aimed his weapon at Artie.  Artie stood up and lifted his arms in the air.  He waited until  the man came and grabbed him by the arm and dragged him down to Dennie.  When he was released, he leaned down and helped Dennie to his feet.   

Artie realized Dennie didn't know how he was.  "It's okay, baby bandmate," Artie whispered in his slow gait.  

Dennie looked at Artie through one eye, the other to messed up to see out of.  Artie wasn't sure, but he would almost swear Dennie smiled.  The boys were hustled through the woods and back onto the Duvalier plantation.  Once there, they were taken further back into the woods, away from the beach and away from the manor.   After a good hour and a half,  they stopped at a long building.   

Artie had seen this type of building before in history books.  It was no more than slave's quarters.  The natives of Haiti used to be slaves.  This building was obviously old, but it must have been well built to have survived the weather all these years.  The two boys were taken inside.  Artie shuddered when he saw the people sitting against the wall, their eyes staring straight ahead although they saw nothing.   

Dennie glanced over at Artie and was relieved to see he wasn't freaking out.  He wondered where his dad and friends were.  Had they been able to follow him and Artie?  Although he had no clue as to what the plan was, he was positive he and Artie had not been abandoned.   

Milan came over to the group as they entered the building.  "I'm sorry," he said to Dennie and Artie.  Artie, never having met the man, looked first at him and then at Dennie.  

"Are your bandmates in this too?" Dennie asked thickly.  His mouth swollen.  

"No," Milan quickly replied. "They would be ashamed. I just...I just wanted things to be easier," he said.  "Running a plantation is hard.  If we had more money, we could hire more workers, get more machinery to help.  None of us would have to work seven days a week eighteen hours a day anymore."  

"Hire workers?" Artie asked, looking hard at him.  "Don't you mean make more?"  

"No," Milan denied.  "They never did any work on our plantation."  

"I saw them," Dennie argued.  

"No," Milan corrected him.  "You were at the boundary to government land, not our land, when you watched them."  

"What are you doing on government land?" Artie demanded.   

"Omar, the guy talking with the Bokur, found something one night while he was digging a grave," Milan informed them.  

"Digging a grave on government property?" Artie asked in disbelief.  "I thought your culture had ceremonies to do before one could be buried properly."  

"Omar killed a man," Milan admitted.  "A government official.  He buried the man, then felt the Gods would be after him for doing such an evil and not giving the man a proper burial.  He went back to retrieve the body.  When he did, the body had decomposed.  More so than it should have.  Omar went to the Bokur.  The Bokur then contacted one of the men with the government.  The two people you saw talking the day you became one of the undead, was Omar and that government official,  Riptkin.  The Bokur was watching the meeting and saw you arrive.  He feared you might make trouble and so took your soul."  

"Uranium," Artie said, figuring out what was being mined by the zombies.  "You use the  zombies to dig it since they are basically dead already."  

"Yes," Milan admitted.   

"And the papers the Bokur has?" Artie demanded.  

"Papers?" Milan said, thoughtfully.  "Must be the contract with the mercenaries who have agreed to purchase the uranium."  

"Since when do mercenaries have written contracts?" Dennie snorted.  

"This is not America," Milan pointed out.  "We are less strict with whom we do business and our laws are a bit different than yours."  

"Why didn't you just kill me?" Dennie asked.  "I mean, you were using Artie, but not me.  Why?"  

"The Bokur believed you would make an adequate hostage should our government find out about the uranium and try to take control of it.  It is, after all, theirs since it is on government property," Milan answered.  

"What are you going to do with us now?" Artie asked.   

"You are to be used as hostages, as planned," Milan answered.  "The Bokur has eyes everywhere.  He knows you and your father have gotten to close to the operation.  He knows you went to the authorities and has decided to close up shop and cut our losses."  

"What about these people?" Dennie demanded.  

"They are dying anyway," Milan answererd.  "Unlike your bandmate, they have been exposed to too much for too long."  

"You make me sick," Dennie said, turning away from the young man.  

"How did you get involved?" Artie asked.  "Omar came to me first," he admitted.  "I did not know what he should do and so sent him to the Bokur.  When the Bokur decided to set up shop, I had no choice.  Either I become a partner or I become a zombie."  

"The authorities know what is going on," Artie said.  "It's over.  Nothing is going to help you now."  

"I know," Milan siad, looking down at his feet.  "And now my family will know what I have done.  But I will not shame them more," he added, his eyes hardening.  

"What..." Artie began but soon saw the answer to his unasked question.  Milan pulled a small revolver from his waistband and turned in one fluid movement aimming  it at the Bokur.  As he pulled the trigger, Artie shoved Dennie to the floor as one then two then three bullets rang out.   

Shots were heard from outside the building and within seconds several armed men entered the building.  Fenton Mondello and the boys' friends followed close behind.  The entire affair was over in minutes.  The Bokur had been shot by Milan and lay dead.  Milan, lay on the ground near Artie and Dennie, two bullet entry wounds visible on his chest among the blood which was flowing freely.  

Artie lifted Milan's shoulders into his arms.  "I...am sorry," he whispered.  "Please tell my family," he added.   

Artie nodded.  "We will," he whispered as Milan's head fell to one side.  

"Boys?" Mr. Mondello asked, rushing over to them.   

"Is he dead?" Chet asked, looking at Milan in disbelief.  He was having a hard time believing it was him.  Anthony or Kreg, but not Milan.  He had seemed the friendliest of the bandmates.  

"Yes," Artie said, lowering Milan back down to the ground.  "Where did they come from?" he asked, indicating the many officers.  

"Inspector Kuutin and these men were waiting outside in the undergrowth when we arrived," Mr. Mondello said.  "They knew of this place and assumed this was were they were holding their, uh, prisoners."  

"Then why didn't they look into this place before?" Biff demanded.  

"Because we thought Artie was being held on a private plantation," Mr. Mondello explained, watching as Artie stood up and helped Dennie to his feet.   "They had no reason to believe Artie or anyone else was being held here," he added as Artie and Dennie gave each other a hug.  

"The antidote for the drug is in the flask attached to the leather cord around his back," Dennie said, as one of the Hiatian officials came over to the group.  

"I do not think it will them much good," said the Inspector.  

"Because of the radiation poisoning?" Artie asked.  

The man nodded.  "Your father informed me you were a zombie," he continued.  "This means you have been exposed."  

"Yes," Mr. Mondello said.  "And the sooner we return to the states, the sooner Artie, and Dennie," he added, taking in the appearance of his youngest son with a grimace of anguish,  "can get medical treatment."  

"We do have facilities here," the Inspector stated.  

"I know," Mr. Mondello replied.  "But I think my sons would feel much better if they were back home."  

"But the plane doesn't leave for a few days yet," Phil pointed out.  

"I called a friend of mine in Washington when Artie was found," Mr. Mondello said.  "He has arranged special clearance between the United States and Haiti for a private flight back to the states.  Jack should be at the airport waiting for us."  

"Let's go then," Artie said, pulling Dennie with him toward the exit.  "If I never come to Haiti again, it will still be too soon!"





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The Mondello Boys belong to Simon and Schuster and the Stratemeyer Foundation. The Mondello Boys Fan Fiction authors of the Mondello Detective Agency have just borrowed them for an adventure or two. The authors promise to put the boys back when they are done with them. The authors do claim copyright to the original characters in this story. Please do not borrow original characters without express permission of the authors.