MacGyver’s escape route was easy. Following the
trail of tyre tracks, broken branches and debris, Seeley
was able to track him through a small housing estate and
into Elysian Park. Stopping the car at the base of a steep
hill, Seeley climbed up past a set of deep tyre tracks
and stood at the top, looking out across the freeway ramps.
The tracks continued down the embankment, and two police
cars were blocking part of the freeway and the smashed
concrete barrier that separated the lanes of traffic.
Looking through his binoculars, Seeley could see scrapes
of black paint on the barrier between the road and the
river, and he felt his heart sink. If MacGyver had gone
into the river, he was likely to be dead.
current could be heard even over the traffic noise, the
river higher than usual even for this time of year, racing
along faster than a man could run. Seeley forced himself
to stay calm, panning his binoculars over the scene, trying
to capture every detail. The car tracks he had followed
plunged down onto the road, the concrete scored where
the metal fender had hit and dragged along. The car had
braked sharply, leaving a streak of rubber on the pavement,
then turned and hit the concrete wall at an angle, scraping
along before braking hard and coming to a halt. Then the
car must have driven away, because all that was left was
a scatter of broken headlamp glass, shining in the lights
of the police cars.
where the hell are you?” Seeley lowered the binoculars.
Slithering back down the slope to his car, Seeley had
to pause and breathe deeply with his hands resting on
the hood as a wave of dizziness overtook him. He swiped
blood from his temple with his sleeve, unlocked the car
and got in. He unfolded a street map of Los Angeles over
the top of the steering wheel and traced his route with
Assume Mac went into the river here…” He moved
his finger. “The river runs south, so he’d
be heading towards…” He followed the line
of the river, snaking under road bridges and through the
train yard. “OK.” He put the car into gear
and drove out of the park, heading for the other side
of the river and the road that ran alongside it. “Hang
on, Mac. Cavalry’s coming!”
* * * *
Carmichael got out of the cab, leaving Muller to pay the
driver. He had been silent all the way back, too angry
with their failure to speak. Muller and the sniper, Olga
Schneider, had been given a chance to redeem themselves
after their failure in Berlin, and they had let him down.
Failure was something he tolerated rarely once, and never
twice. He turned and saw that Muller had disappeared from
view, and shrugged. He would arrange for them to disappear
permanently later on. At least the thorn in his side,
MacGyver was now dealt with.
* * * *
Seeley drove slowly alongside the river, ignoring the
fury of the drivers behind him. Night was starting to
fall, and the shadows under the bridges were dark. He
turned off the main road to stay closer to the river,
and drove past industrial buildings. Stopping at each
of the road bridges he came to, he leaned over the guard
railings and shone a flashlight under the arches, hoping
to see MacGyver washed up in the storm debris that collected
there. Climbing fences and dodging through gaps in the
walls, he got as close to the flooded river as he dared,
leaning out to check in the deepest shadows. He shouted
himself hoarse, his voice lost in the roar of the rushing
Pulling up at the end of a dead-end road near the train
yard, Seeley got out of his car and continued on foot.
The coil of rope he’d pulled out of the trunk of
his car bumped against his back with every step, and his
flashlight and gun were heavy in his pockets. He staggered,
concussion making him feel as though he was on a fairground
ride. Using the fence for balance, Seeley made his way
along the river bank towards the San Bernardino freeway.
at a narrower bridge before the freeway, Seeley climbed
the wall and fence separating the river from the train
yard and shone his flashlight under the bridge. He squinted,
seeing something pale at the edge of the flashlight beam
and wishing he’d brought his binoculars from the
car. He climbed over the fence, creeping alongside the
rushing river and gripping the rusted chain link with
Seeley blinked rain out of his eyes and crept closer,
seeing something pale caught in the heap of washed up
sticks and garbage against the bridge pillar. He moved
closer, the water rushing past his boots and tugging at
his legs. “MAC!” Lashing the rope to the fence
and swinging out over the water, Seeley reached for the
pale hand he could see tangled in the sticks. He braced
his feet against the sloping concrete side of the river
bank and pulled.
MacGyver came free from the debris in a rush. The current
tugged at him, swirling in his hair and pulling him down.
Seeley heaved, inching him out of the water.
Help me out here, buddy!” Seeley’s feet slipped
on the wet concrete and he gripped MacGyver’s sleeve
tighter. MacGyver remained limp, his eyes closed. Seeley
wrapped the rope around himself and reached down, pulling
MacGyver out of the river by his coat. Water poured out
of his clothes as Seeley hauled him up the bank, rolling
him through a hole in the fence and down onto the concrete
of the train yard below. Reaching out with shaking fingers,
Seeley felt for a pulse on MacGyver’s neck, but
found nothing. “Come on buddy, don’t do this
to me.” Seeley tried again, his hands numb with
cold. He rolled MacGyver onto his side and thumped him
on the back. “Come on Mac, breathe!” He pulled
MacGyver onto his back again, tipping his head back ready
to start CPR. “Dammit, don’t do this!”
MacGyver took a long, wailing breath and his eyes flicked
open. He thrashed in Seeley’s grasp, retched and
then threw up, bile and river water splashing across the
Seeley punched the air, putting an arm around MacGyver
and helping him to sit up.
Blood ran down MacGyvers face from a cut on his eyebrow,
and his face contracted in pain as he reached towards
Seeley grabbed MacGyver’s hand before he could touch
his leg. Even in the fading light, Seeley could see that
MacGyver’s foot was twisted at a strange angle.
“Leave it alone, OK?” He reached into his
pocket, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw that his
phone had stayed dry. Without letting go of MacGyver,
he dialled 911.
* * * *
MacGyver was awake when the paramedics loaded him into
the ambulance. He remembered Seeley telling him he’d
see him at the hospital, but then the painkillers kicked
in and the rest of the journey was a blur.
He woke in hospital, to a nurse calling his name and shining
a light in his eyes. He swiped at the light, squinting
in the glare, and the nurse held his hand away from his
head, warning him not to touch his stitches. He was aware
of a dull, far-away ache in his leg and the sick dizziness
that signalled a concussion, but he drifted away again
without remembering how he’d been hurt.
* * * *
Seeley limped down the hospital corridor, morning sunlight
shining in through the windows. He knocked on MacGyver’s
door, grinning when he heard MacGyver answer. “Morning,
Sunshine!” Seeley smiled, hiding his concern at
how bad MacGyver looked. He was sitting up in bed, the
stitches tracking across his eyebrow surrounded by a bruise,
livid against his pale skin. The bedcovers bunched over
the plaster cast holding his broken ankle in place.
coughed, holding his ribs, and his voice, when he spoke,
was hoarse. “Hey Seeley, how’re you doing?”
MacGyver sat up a little straighter, the movement making
than you!” Seeley shook his head. “Man, you
“You’re no oil painting yourself!” MacGyver
indicated Seeley’s black eye, and the cut snaking
back into his hair.
Seeley straightened his stiff knee, leaning back in the
hospital chair. “I’m just glad to see you’re
OK. That was touch and go for a minute there.”
so I hear.” MacGyver’s smile faded. “Thanks
for that – I think I owe you.”
“I believe you do.” Seeley inclined his head.
“How long are they keeping you here for?”
they’re sure that my brains aren’t totally
scrambled, and that taking a bath in the Los Angeles River
hasn’t given me pneumonia.” MacGyver shrugged,
carefully. “Or Weil’s disease. Or maybe Bubonic
Plague…” He shuddered. “It was pretty
foul in there.”
you certainly drank enough of it.” Seeley frowned.
“How much do you remember, Mac?”
coming back to me.” MacGyver ticked off points on
his fingers. “I remember running through the park,
and being chased by the car. Carmichael was driving. I
remember being shot at to begin with, but I guess Muller
dropped his gun somewhere along the way.” He shifted
his leg, holding his breath as his ankle stabbed at him.
“I remember running across the road, and I remember
how cold it was, landing in the river, but I don’t
remember being hit, and I don’t remember being washed
up at the bridge.” He shook his head. “I’m
kind of pleased about that part, actually.”
Seeley nodded. “Hey, did you find the car?”
MacGyver sat forwards. “It must have been easy to
find – how many Lincolns with that kind of damage
can there be?”
“No sign.” Seeley shook his head. “And
even though I radioed in to Pete to tell him about the
sniper I left handcuffed to the stadium stairs, by the
time the police got there, she’d gone.” He
sighed. “Atlas cleaned house pretty well.”
“Damn.” MacGyver shook his head, then looked
up. “How about the camera and the recording? Did
I still have them when you pulled me out of the river?”
“You did, but the water had ruined both.”
Seeley shrugged. “Sorry, Mac.”
“So, we still haven’t any proof that Carmichael
is behind Atlas.” Mac leaned back against the pillows.
“And we have only eight weeks to bring Atlas down.”
Seeley looked at MacGyver, thinking that their chances
were a lot slimmer with MacGyver laid up. “Still,
we like a challenge, don’t we?”
“Sure.” MacGyver smiled, but the smile didn’t
reach his eyes.
* * * *
“Here we go, amigo.” Jack stowed MacGyver’s
crutches in the back of the Jeep and helped him get in.
He got into the driver’s seat and started the Jeep,
pulling out into the traffic without looking first. Horns
honked and MacGyver flinched.
Jack – mirror and signal before you manoeuvre, OK?”
He looked in the rear-view mirror to see a taxi driver
gesturing angrily at them. “Let’s get home
in one piece, OK?”
“Sure, Mac.” Jack glanced across at him, worried.
“Whatever you say.”
Arriving at MacGyver’s house, Jack leaped out and
grabbed MacGyver’s bag and crutches, helping him
out of the Jeep and opening the door for him. Relieved
that none of his nutty neighbours had seen him arrive,
MacGyver hobbled into the house and sat down on the couch.
The hospital had cleared him of pneumonia, but the headache
from his concussion lingered and he was soon exhausted.
He accepted a glass of juice from Jack, who sat down opposite
“So, what happens now?” Jack pushed back his
cap and scratched his head. “I got most of the story
from Secret Squirrel, but it sounds like the baddies are
still out there, and ready and willing to take another
shot at my best co-pilot. Am I right?”
squ…? Oh, Seeley. He’s called Seeley, Jack!
Hopefully not.” MacGyver rested his broken ankle
on the coffee table, rubbing his leg above the cast. “Phoenix
is putting out the story that I was killed and that the
police are close to finding my attackers.”
it isn’t true, is it compadre?” Jack frowned.
“Not even a little bit true. What happens if they
work it out?”
I guess they have another try!” MacGyver ran a hand
through his hair. “What do you want me to say here,
Jack? I can’t just forget about this, no matter
how scary they are, no matter how close they came to –
“ He broke off, shaking his head. “Atlas have
to be stopped, Jack. That has to happen.”
“They absolutely do.” Jack sat forward. “But
you have to sit this next bit out, amigo. You have to
let your friends help you out this time.” He indicated
MacGyver’s broken ankle. “While I don’t
for a moment doubt your ability to punt bad-guy posterior
and take bad-guy names on one foot, you’ll do a
much better job of it when you’re healed. Right?
“I guess.” MacGyver nodded, then looked up.
“But we’re on a timetable here, Jack. Atlas
are going to spread superbugs goodness knows where, and
they’re going to do it in eight weeks! Time off
to recover is a luxury I just don’t have!”
Jack nodded, and MacGyver frowned in confusion. “But
Mac, there’s another reason this next bit has to
happen without you – you’re dead, remember?
You and I both know that faking being dead doesn’t
work if you’re still in the room!” He watched
MacGyver think about this, realising that Jack was right.
“So, whether you like it or not, you’re on
the bench for now. Go visit Sam in South America, go to
the cabin, go anywhere that’s safe and out-of-state
for a bit. Comprende, compadre?”
Jack. Comprende.” MacGyver nodded, admitting defeat.
“I’ll do it. And I think I know where I’ll
To be continued in ‘Safe Haven’