When Kirby reached the top of the stairs, there was a door standing partly open. The voices and the accompanying sounds of fists hitting flesh were clear now. The men were swearing, calling Dean every disgusting word in their limited vocabulary, mixed with threats about what more they would do to him should he tell anyone who they were, or attempt to make whatever announcement it was he’d planned on.
Kirby took a deep, steadying breath, glanced back to see Reid was now three steps below him, and then stepped into the booth.
The two men, Jones and his cohort, were so intent on what they were doing it took them a few seconds to realize they had company. Those seconds were their undoing. Kirby moved swiftly, pressing his gun to Jones’s back as he said, “One move and you are dead. Hands behind your head. Now!”
Reid was right behind him, his gun pointed at the second man as he repeated Kirby’s orders.
Both of Dean’s attackers frozen and then slowly did as they were ordered. While Kirby kept them covered Reid cuffed them.
Only then did Kirby drop his guard to kneel down beside Dean, who was curled in a fetal position on the floor. Carefully, Kirby cut the rope binding Dean’s hands and then he removed the gag. “Don’t even try to move,” he cautioned. “Not until I get the EMTs here.”
Dean closed his eyes, opening them immediately.
“That better be your way of saying you’ll do as you’re told,” Kirby said with a thin smile.
Dean closed and opened his eyes again.
“You are allowed to talk,” Kirby told him.
Hoarsely, Dean told him, “It hurts.”
While Kirby was talking, Reid had been on the phone, calling for medical assistance for Dean. After he hung up he ordered the two prisoners to go down the stairs, where police officers waited, guns drawn. When the men were gone Reid joined Kirby beside Dean.
“Is anything broken that you can tell,” Reid asked.
Dean frowned for a second then shook his head. “I don’t… think so… But damn…”
“Hurting a bit?” Kirby stroked his forehead gently.
“You could say… that.”
Kirby nodded. “Just did.”
Dean started to life his arm, the middle finger of his hand pointing straight up. Kirby took hold of it, telling him with a small chuckle, “Message received, and I told you not to move.”
At that point there were footsteps on the stairs and two EMTs came into the booth. Kirby and Reid stood and moved out of the way while the men began to examine Dean.
A few minutes later one of them said, “It doesn’t look like any major damage was done but we won’t know for certain until we get him to the hospital for X-rays.” He stood and left the booth, returning with a vacuum mattress. Once they prepared it and moved Dean onto it, they were able to carry him down the narrow stairs and out to the ambulance.
Kirby was followed right behind them, insisting he was going with Dean to the hospital. After a nod from one of them, he climbed into the back of the ambulance.