Castle Roland


by Joe Writer Man


Chapter 15

Published: 8 Apr 14


Copyright © 2012 - 2014 by Joe Writerman and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Dear Readers, a technical glitch created a number of formatting and editing issues which required fixing and a reposting of this chapter. Thank you for reading the Revolutions Universe. Joe Writerman.

Centennial Logo_Honolulu, Hawaii_

Jim Blake, continuing to sit at his desk at his home, after the phone call between President Ashwood and his son Lawrence ended, sensed the boy and his family were in serious trouble.

"Dad, what can we do?" David, his biological son, asked carefully while perusing the crisscross mapping lights displayed across the large computer screen attached to the wall opposite Jim's desk.

Peter, David's husband and Jim's adopted son, sat straight up in his chair, cocked his head to one side. His eyes, so intent, appeared to be boring holes through the screen, then his eyes opened wider. He leaned forward on Jim's desk, brushing his father's arm aside. Peter reached for the optical mouse, moved it around to a spot located just east of Adak, Alaska. The boy panned into the spot at three times magnification. He said, "Dad, are you positive the phone call was not in any way breached? After all, you called the White House."

Peter wrung his hands, his eyes never left the screen. As his hands flew over the keyboard, he further explained, "Dad, isn't that a breach?" He then honed in on that same spot as he sent test signals to, from and across the suspected place in the network.

Jim studied the map carefully, following Peter's lead, amazed over the detail his son was picking up on. Jim, thinking the spot was simply an artifact was ready to diplomatically discount Peter's findings, however, David spoke up while using his finger to logically trace from one point to another, "Okay, here's what I see: we know the call originated here at the Company. The display shows the call from Malaysia. It was then rerouted through several points in Tokyo, back to Malaysia, then to Singapore where it rerouted 17 times before routing through North Korea, at which time it was scrambled and distorted using our patented algorithms. The packet was delivered to Hong Kong where it was reconstituted, then shot across the world to Kansas City. From there it went to the South Pole where it was disassembled into three separate packets and transmitted to the North Pole. It was then sent back through Kansas City, to Singapore. But then, when it was being transmitted through Boston to Adak, Alaska – this is where something doesn't look right…"

David, picking up on Peter's train of thought, interrupted, "Ashwood knew about Adak… he said so. Nobody told him anything about there… Peter, pull the cursor out a little bit, shoot a signal directly from Ashwood's known phone number in DC to Adak. If my hypothesis is correct, then there will be a break when it arrives… watch very closely, Dad."

Jim, seeing an abnormal trace directly from DC to Adak, grimaced at seeing exactly what the boys had been talking about.

Jim cleared the third screen, pushed several buttons on the keyboard in rapid succession, until the screen went blank for approximately three seconds. The satellite his company had placed in space a couple of years ago picked up on coordinates Jim entered into the console. After several panning events, Jim, once again, sent a signal from the spot in DC to Adak. Utilizing the powerful computers aboard the satellite, the signal was traced to an isolated receiving station. The signal passed through, but was distorted. In fact, the signal was reconstructed even though he sent no order for it to be dismantled and reconstituted.

"Good catch, Peter." Jim said, while picking up the satellite phone case from the floor. He pulled the phone out, pressed three buttons, pressed two more buttons and laid the phone down. A voice answered, "Hello, Jim. This is Peter Granger."

Without preliminaries or salutations, Jim cut to the chase, ""Peter, the phone call between Lawrence and his father was breached at Adak, Alaska, vector Sat images reveal an intercept station that is not ours. I suspect it is a government installation."

"Damn it." Peter started to say. Jim interrupted, "Peter, as expected, the subjects are secure. There was only the one breach. I'm sure it is innocuous. We've performed several tests that confirm their location is secure. At no time was their location known to anyone other than us."

"I sure hope so." Peter Granger stated then terminated the call.

Peter, his adult mind going ninety to nothing, thought and thought some more before throwing his pen across his office in frustration. As with any business or intelligence, the intelligence is often betrayed by weak points in the chain. He knew this all too well. It's been said that a company executive is successful if sixty percent of his decisions are the right ones.

At the same time, he knew that forty percent was unacceptable - human lives were at stake. Jim's parting words, stating that the children and adults' location was unknown was comforting. He decided to rest his money on those words.

Meanwhile, as David and Peter strode from Jim's office on their way to bed, Jim sent a destroy order to substation, and then made Ashwood's private cell phone – useless.

Approximately three thousand miles to the north-northwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.N.I.T. headquarters

Jack, sitting at his desk pouring over all available intelligence coming out of Breckenridge, Texas looked up to see Alvin, Theodore, Adam Casey and Simon enter his office. Without delay, Adam said, "Sir, we have received intelligence that you must see to believe."

Jack quickly got up and followed the boys to the Situation Room where Alvin quickly sat at his terminal, pushed several buttons, then explained, "Sir, as you know, we have been monitoring a phone number believed to be Ashwood's private cell phone. An hour ago, our systems detected an incoming call to that number. The transmission, while highly sophisticated, failed to close a link between this point (Alvin pointed to Granger Industries, Woodward, Oklahoma), this point (using his other hand, he pointed to a spot in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, law offices of Tony Lorenzo), and this point, (a small red dot located between the northern fringes of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas), and the White House…"

Adam, seeing Mr. Bryce standing behind Alvin and the computer screens affixed to the wall, walked to them. "What's up?"

Instead of answering Adam directly, the nine year old said to the group, "Voice recognition confirms President Ashwood's voice. It also voice confirms Lawrence Ashwood. They were having a conversation lasting twenty-two minutes." Alvin then flashed on the screen a digital conversion of that conversation."

They carefully read it, paying particular attention to the accounts given the President by his son. The conditions were displayed.

Alvin pushed several other buttons then pointed to the third screen on the right, at which time the computer generated clear and concise pictures of a boy with spiked hair, multiple piercings in his lips, eyebrows and nose. The child looked familiar. A digital readout at the bottom of the screen read, "CONFIRMED VOICE and RETINA: Lawrence James Ashwood."

The fourth screen came to life. On the left side was the likeness of Lawrence shortly before his disappearance, the ‘accident'. On the right side was the most recent picture, taken that day, without his knowledge or consent, showing his make-over.

Chang, walking through the area, stopped to see what everyone was looking at on the screens. The serious expressions on their faces put Chang on notice.

On a fifth screen, eight pictures, with a scroll bar at the bottom of the screen confirming Lawrence's identity once again, were displayed that showed a healed injury to his penis, and various pictures of a tube-like structure. Adam turned to Chang.

Theodore offered Chang a beam beacon. The youthful surgeon took the object and pointed to various tissue aberrations, explaining each of them in a way that he was sure they understood.

Adam pointed to the other screens, which Chang was already looking at. Chang stated, "The media had reported him injured during a sporting event, and in rehabilitation from said injuries, which, obviously is not true."

Alvin looked around the throng of people now watching the slides. All were quiet. He then returned his attention to the computer keyboard, pushed some buttons, then several more. On each screen were statements from each of the rescued kids detailing horrific abuse suffered in or around Breckenridge, Texas, at various locations. All stated they were held captive by operatives in compounds designed to ‘convert' boys and girls from their homosexual ways, to bring them closer to God, and to purify them.

All gasped when the right most screen turned to a display of a picture of a boy with a cross burned deeply into the skin across his shoulders, on his back. This boy stated that he was told the cross would make him a good boy, worthy of receiving God's love. Another picture, opposite the one they were looking at, revealed a horrifically scarred penis. Chang added, "The boy has had a botched circumcision; usually this is part of a ritual. Likely, the child was not anesthetized when it was performed."

Adam snarled, "Who is this child?"

"I don't know, Adam. There are no voice prints available. Here's a facial. I have no idea who he is. The computer is still searching for a match."

Next, Alvin popped a picture of Aaron Zumwalt's face onto the screen. Everybody recognized him. Alvin displayed a picture of the youth's penis. From Chang's previous explanation, they knew that he, too, had received a botched circumcision, only his scarring was much, much deeper, and ran the entire undersurface length of his organ.

As if that wasn't enough, Alvin then displayed a freshly sewn laceration that also ran the entire length of a child's penis. "This boy's name is Dalton Wayne Phillips, age fourteen. His parent or parents are unknown. Nothing."

"Next is Luke Tompkins, age twelve. According to his statements, he and Jordan Miller were picked up by a truck driver in Florida, transported across state lines to Texas, and then were transferred to another driver. Her name, Katherine Rose Russello, and she's is in our database. She has many communications and financial transactions with a Frederic Phillips in Topeka, Kansas. Everybody should know him… he is the Patriarch of Burroughs West Baptist Church. According to the attorney representing the children, Tony Lorenzo, traced banking transactions between the elder Phillips and Ashwood himself. The account is in the President's son's name and his own. Millions of dollars have been funneled into the church, and also into and through campaign accounts."

Adam asked, "Lawrence has been out of the picture for almost a year, is that correct?"

Simon replied, "Yes, Sir. Aaron and Lawrence both disappeared December 18, 2011. There was a boating accident. Both of Aaron's parents were reportedly killed, although this doesn't quite jive. Intelligence reveals that the elder Zumwalt is indeed alive and well, though out of the spotlight, so to speak."

"So to speak? Just what exactly does that mean?" Adam barked, with concern dripping from his voice.

"It means that he has disappeared, but not from the boating accident. His remains were never found, but his wife's were. Both Aaron and Lawrence's statements stated that they were drugged… what is actually known and reported by them was about how they'd awakened in a facility, restrained, unable to move. They had no idea where they were or what had transpired to get them there. Their mutilations happened shortly after arrival. Chang is correct, neither were anesthetized."

Theodore piped up, "According to Eric's testimony, other children were injured or killed. Aaron and Lawrence both collaborate his statement. In fact, both boys were required to dig graves for those deceased."

Jack asked, "How many?"

"Lawrence said he was present for three burials; Aaron six."

Adam asked, "Would they have been present at the Breckenridge incident?"

"No, Sir." Alvin replied, adding, "Lawrence, Jordan and Luke escaped. They happened upon a family who took them in, cared for them, and nursed them back to health. In fact, Doctor Finnegan, the father of four naturally born sons performed the surgical operation to treat Lawrence's injuries."

Theodore continued, "Here is a petition for adoption by John Finnegan, for Lawrence, Aaron, Eric, and Dalton. By the way, the compound assigned Arabic names to the children. Aaron's was Zeus. Dalton's was Habab."

"What about Jordan? And Luke?"

"Jordan Miller, age twelve. Jordan and Luke are a couple. They were both transported and captured."

"What about the second truck driver?" Adam barked.

"Dale Wilson. He's good. According to the boys, he had no idea of Katherine's affiliation. We've not obtained a formal statement from him, although he was on the call. Background check is clean. He has two sons, Jeremy and Bradley - they, too, are clean. Bradley is a student. Jeremy is an older son with a son of his own, named Carlin Wilson. There is one more child, Robbie Akers. Robbie is Carlin's boyfriend. Robbie's parents, a male gay couple, were arrested, charged and convicted of kidnapping… their own son. They are incarcerated in two different prisons. The natural father, Kendrick Akers, age 39, is incarcerated in Beaumont Low, Texas. Robbie's adoptive father Russell James Scott-Akers is incarcerated in Seagoville, Texas. From everything we know, the attorney Tony Lorenzo, has contacts in the prison system… he's working on getting them freed."

Jack nodded his understanding. "Are the charges against them justified?"

"Robbie reports that when he and his fathers returned from visiting The Arch in Saint Louis, the parents were arrested and taken away. The boy was left on his own. His friend Carlin returned home from Hawaii. A day or so later, Robbie, malnourished, cold and all alone knocked on their door. He was, of course, taken in by Jeremy and his wife, Rachel. He's in good hands. All of the boys are in good hands. They're safe and well cared for."

"One last thing. We intercepted phone calls from Granger Industries. The families are on their way to a remote location in the Missouri Ozarks. Hold one."

Alvin pressed several additional buttons. A map unfolded on the screen. The computer sleuth panned down to show all of the facility, its exact location, and found that it was not on a list of hot places. He switched into infrared. Sixteen men, women and children's faces appeared. None zinged the database of suspected criminals or subservient operatives.

On another screen, a picture of Peter Granger popped in. His background – clear. He was a high elder in the Methodist church, however, a deeply penetrating view of their history revealed no affiliation with Burroughs West or with Frederic Phillips. His children, both successful and with families of their own were clear. One family was comprised of a gay couple with their children. Nothing negative was found in the background search."

Adam, speaking with authority in his voice and in his demeanor, stated, "Keep the families on the radar screen. Report any abnormalities."

Adam's gaze shifted to Jack's. President Elect Bryce and Adam took off for Jack's office. They entered Jack's office and closed the door behind them. While Jack went to his desk and sat down, Adam remained standing.

The boy, fired up, his patience thinning as the seconds passed, barely contained himself. Finally, after reeling himself in just a little bit, Adam spat, "That motherfucker is mine. I will dispatch him personally. Patriarch my ass. I'll patriarch him alright."

Jack stated, seeing Adam emotionally strained, "Adam, snuffing him out will not be easy. And will not go as fast as we would like. With all that is going on here, would you feel comfortable engaging say, Mike Reynolds? He has operatives all over the globe. Another thing is that Mr. Phillips needs to face justice in the system. The children need closure."

Adam regarded Jack carefully, weighing all options, while getting his emotions in check. His white hot rage would, or could, be a detriment. Finally, he looked to Jack, "That's acceptable. I swear that if any additional children are injured, or worse, he will face justice in MY court."

"Understood." Jack replied, nodding his head in complete agreement.

Together, Jack and Adam engaged Mike Reynolds in a conference call. All known facts were communicated. Proof was securely transmitted to Mike.

Mike's cryptic reply, "Do you want him dead or alive?" told Jack and Adam exactly what they already knew he'd say. Adam started to speak, but decided to let them play their games, at least for a little while, at least until word came that another child, or other children had been hurt and harmed - or the civil justice system fucked up.

Adam looked to Jack hoping the man had changed his mind about Phillips' disposition. Seeing the man steadfast, Adam, with his voice just above a whisper, wondering if he should pull rank, stated, "Alive. He will be brought here still breathing."

Mike stated, "He will be delivered alive, if at all possible. I wish I could do this mission myself. At the same time, I know I cannot. I know three men, all highly trained operatives. They'll jump at the opportunity like stink on shit. I trust them.

Adam spoke up, "Mike, when I say to bring him alive, this does not mean that he cannot be brought in on a stretcher. As long as he is able to answer the charges, anything else is up to your Operatives."

"Understood. I really wish I was personally going on this mission…"

"One more thing," Jack started to say before getting up from his chair, "from all indications, Ashwood, himself, has funded the retraining camps. Millions and millions of Ashwood dollars have funneled their way through various bank accounts, mainly one where he is co-owner with his son, Lawrence."

Adam, Jack could easily tell, was highly pissed. In fact, Jack was worried about Adam… so much anger was emanating from the boy. Without saying a word, Adam exited the office, leaving Jack wondering.

Adam took off down the hallway, barged into a restroom, and then without hesitation, as soon as the door closed, smashed his hand through the solid hardwood door, sending splinters and shards of wood in all directions. Had anyone been in close proximity, their lives would have been in mortal danger from the flying debris.

Hearing the commotion, the boys hanging around the consoles, pulled their weapons to the ready and quickly made their way to the origin of the noise. Upon arrival, they saw Adam standing in what used to be a doorway, holding his arm in an extended position, revealing obvious fractures to his hand and wrist.

Alvin loudly called to Chang saying that his assistance was needed ASAP. Meanwhile, the boys surrounded Adam and walked him to Chang who took him to the infirmary.

Jory, working quietly in his sterilized laboratory on an extremely delicate assembly, heard Alvin's high-pitched voice urgently calling for Chang's immediate assistance. At once, Jory very delicately placed the highly sensitive ignitor on the lint-free sterile cloth, then gently covered it with another sterile cloth.

At the air-lock door, he passed through, tore off his surgical garb and ran toward the sounds of people talking. When he arrived, he pushed his way through to see what was going on.

Adam gently put his hand on Jory's shoulder. Their eyes closed for no longer than 30 seconds.

Despite Chang's presence, Jory, infuriated, stated as matter of fact: "Some motherfucker is going to pay. Nobody does this shit to my brother without payback."

Woodward, Oklahoma, Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 1:15PM CST, 2:15PM EST

Before leaving Woodward, after the boy, Christian, had been kidnapped by none other than his father, of all people, the truck driver spent a couple of hours searching for a replacement to offer her Patriarch. She met two boys at a service station on the edge of town, but they would meet no favor with her Patriarch so she didn't even bother approaching them. He didn't like redheaded kids. Plus they were too old, perhaps fifteen or so.

After driving through town, she took to the residential areas. The experienced driver, while adept at driving under challenging situations and circumstances barked several curbs before getting on the straightaway. Down one block was a school. The name was Woodward Junior High School. Many adolescent boys were out on the football field; about half of them without shirts; all wore short gym shorts. Quickly, she scanned the area. There were too many kids that would likely appease the Patriarch, but none she felt would provide atonement for her sins. The last straw was the disappearance of the Anointed One along with those other two boys, Jordan and Luke.

As Katy mused over the losses, a fair-skinned boy child with collar length golden-whitish hair and bright green eyes, after looking all around for a coach to dash his intents, ran to the truck and climbed up. Katy rolled down the window, "Well, hello there."

The boy smiled, revealing his cute designer braces, "Hi Lady. Nice rig. Can I help you find something?"

Although Katy knew Woodward like the back of her hand, but not wanting to reveal exactly why she was there, she stated with wonderment and innocence emanating from her voice, "With these double trailers behind me, I got side-tracked and off the beaten path. Can you tell me how to get to the main road?"

"Oh yes, Ma'am. Just go up to the next intersection, hook a left; that'll get you back on Oklahoma. Then take a right or a left depending on if you want to go east or west. Well, I need to get back before I'm missed. I hope my directions help."

Without waiting for Katy to thank him, he jumped down, falling in the process and landing on his back, splaying his legs wide open revealing a white strip of cloth and a lot of skin beneath the dark blue fabric of his gym shorts. As a youth will do, he was soon on his feet running back to the football field to join his teammates. When he got there, he pointed to the rig. Most of the boys waved to the driver. Then they did something she least expected: they turned around, dropped their shorts and narrow white strips of cloth to just below their butt cheeks, thus mooning her. Then they took off into the building, pulling up their shorts along the way, and laughing hysterically. Just before entering the school, the boy who'd given her directions turned to Katy's direction, waved, then, he, too, took off into the building without looking back.

Katy took a right hand turn at the next intersection after seeing a sign that read ‘City Park'. She thought that maybe some kids played hooky from school, and perhaps they had congregated at the playground. It was worth a shot. The second trailer jumped the curb, nearly missing an electronic traffic control box.

Approaching the park, she saw a boy sitting atop a jungle gym. His back was facing her. His arm was … well it was busy attending to something down low in his lap. Even though he was reaching his pinnacle, he quickly shimmered down the bars, looked at the truck and quickly took care of putting himself together. Seeing Katy pull into the parking lot, he took off for the rig, arriving just as the driver set the airbrakes, evidenced by a loud hiss.

The boy, she could tell, was highly excited, not only from seeing the big rig, but the evidence in his pants. Seeing that Katy was looking below his eyes, he quickly, and inconspicuously as possible followed her eyes. His fleshy structure was obvious, but thankfully the wetness hadn't yet become visible.

As he approached, Katy took in a deep breath – if ever there was a beautiful boy child then she hadn't seen it until – now.

She was enthralled at his rugged features, yet tempered by his big brown eyes, and straight jet black hair resting on a firm narrow neck which quickly joined his chest. His chest, beneath a firm better than average bright yellow t-shirt, showed definite muscle definition. His tummy was flat and, through the shirt, showed the outline of an ‘innie' belly button. His shirt was haphazardly tucked into a fine pair of properly worn jeans, not sagging like so many boys his age wore them. To the left of midline and just a tad below the crotch hem of those jeans was a prominently displayed tubular structure.

Nervously, sensing that the woman was paying more attention to that area below his eyes, he darted his eyes down then back up to meet her gaze. He picked up his pace to deter his and her attentions. At the bottom of the steps, out of her direct vision, the boy reached down and rearranged his bits.

The truck driver rolled down the side window when the boy effortlessly clambered up the steps, "Hi Ma'am. Nice rig you have."

"Why thank you. My name is Katy. What's yours?"

"Jose Sanchez. It's my pleasure to meet you. If I may ask, why did you bring your big rig into this small park?"

"Well, I was going to take a quick nap before hitting the road…"

"Oh, I'm sorry for keeping you awake. I'll just jump down and let you be on your way. I like big rigs. My uncle drives one. I got to ride with him last summer. We went from here to Florida, then all the way up the east coast to Maine. My dad gave me permission to ride with my uncle all the way to Seattle, Washington. We stayed a couple of days with my Grandmother in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was all very kewl. Where, may I ask, are you headed?" The boy gushed with excitement.

When his cheek and chin dimples showed deep and true, yet delicate at the same time, Katy said, giggling, "Well, it gets boring after driving one of these beasts for a living for many years, but yeah, in the beginning it was exciting. So, you had a really good time, then?"

"Oh, yes, Ma'am." Jose said, then his facial expression turned grim, "Ma'am, I'm sorry for what you may have seen."

Katy giggled, "What would that be? I didn't see anything boys your age don't do on a regular basis."

Jose's face turned beet red. He looked away, clearly embarrassed.

She reached out her hand and patted his arm, "Don't worry about it with me. You may want to think about what and where you were doing ‘it', though. The law would probably frown."

"You're nice, Lady. My Momma, she gets pissed…"

"That's okay, Jose. No harm, no foul." Katy said, assuredly, then drove the stake in a little further, "Did I interrupt something?"

The boy's expression changed to pure horror. He looked to the ground, but Katy stopped him by saying, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to embarrass you – too much."

"Yes, Ma'am. Thank you, Ma'am. I'm really sorry."

"Shall we change the subject, then?"

Jose nodded his head enthusiastically and flashed the lady a wide toothy grin, "Do you mind if I look over your truck? My uncle taught me how to do pre-trip inspections."

Unable, or more correctly, not wanting to turn down the offer Katy smiled, "Sure. I must admit I did a pretty quick pre-trip this morning, so please do. I'll pay you something for your time and trouble."

"Oh thank you, Ma'am. I'll do a really good job. Do you have a form for me to fill out?"

Katy tore off a page from a pad of trip inspections held in place by a clip-board, handed Jose the form and a pen. Effortlessly, the boy jumped down, gracefully landing on his feet, then got busy paying attention to detail, starting with the front wheels.

Katy, looking through the mirrors, noted his back was strong. His butt was firm yet wiggled from side to side when he walked. His crevice, deep and well defined, was naturally placed between two nice sized cheeks, proportionate to his approximately five-foot-four-inch tall and 110 to 120 pound frame. She reached for her purse sitting beside the console, retrieved her wallet and pulled out a one-hundred dollar bill, then folded it neatly into fourths.

Half an hour later, the boy popped up into the window, startling her, his toothy smile mitigated by a serious expression his face.

"Well, what did you find, Mister Jose Sanchez?"

The boy's serious expression instantly changed into a wide toothy genuine smile at being paid the compliment. He handed over the trip ticket, but continued boring holes into her being. "Well, look at it. I wrote everything down for you. It's pretty serious, Ma'am. You can double check me." He said while changing his expression to show his concern.

Katy examined the sheet of paper. Her mouth opened at the intricate detail the child had written about the tractor and trailers.

While he'd noted several deficiencies, Katy decided the rig was travel worthy, that the defects probably, hopefully would not catch the watchful eyes of law enforcement. Nevertheless, Katy sighed while reading additional comments made by the kid. She realized he did in fact know what to look for. She turned to Jose, "Thank you so much. You obviously know your stuff. I'd bet that you make good grades in school."

"Yes, Ma'am. I'm on the honor roll and play football for my school. It's easy."

Katy frowned, "Shouldn't you be in school?"

Jose shrugged his shoulders, wrapped his left arm around the mirror, reached into his right front pants pocket and retrieved a yellow piece of paper, and without reservation, handed it to Katy, after opening it.

Slowly, Katy, concerned the boy was sharing something very important and intimate, accepted the paper. Across the top in dark italicized lettering were the words ‘Notice of Disciplinary Action'. When she looked down the page, check marks indicated he had said filthy vile things to the school principal while in ISS (In School Suspension) for fighting.

Horrified, Katy turned to Jose, "Is this true? You don't strike me as a boy who is disrespectful to adults. I think you're a fine young man. Want to tell me about it?"

The child looked to the ground. He was about to jump, but stopped when Katy said, "I'm a good listener. If you want to talk, I'm here. I'll unlock the passenger side door." Katy clicked the clicker.

The boy reluctantly nodded, jumped down and ran around to the passenger side, climbed up and sat in the shotgun seat, turned to Katy, and shocked her by saying, "It's all true." He bent over and put his hands to his face.

"But why?" Katy asked, now clearly interested.

The boy hesitated. "Jose? Talk to me." Katy urged.

"It's true. It's all true - I fought. And I used the Lord's name in vain in anger. It all came out. All of it."

"What came out? Obviously you were upset…"

"Oh, yes, Ma'am. They got some pretty good swings in on me before I went totally off. I told them to stop. But they wouldn't, so I got pissed and ended the fight. Nobody talks to my friends like that!"

"You sound like a very good friend, a protector even."

"I try. Once you are my friend, you are my friend forever. If you are my enemy, then you are my enemy for life."

"People change over time, Jose. I don't think it's as black and white as you may think. Shouldn't you be at home talking to your parents about this?"

The expression on the boy's face turned to fear. Quickly, he shook his head in the negative, "They won't understand. They warned me of the dangers. I turned my cheek away from their wisdom."

"Jose, are you safe at home?" Katy asked concernedly.

The child casually shrugged, "I will be punished. My parents, they do not understand why I go to the aid of my friends; they will say that I am wicked. But these are my personal problems; I will not burden you with them."

Katy, now appearing genuinely concerned, repeated, "Are you safe at home?"

"My father, he says… mis amigos, ellos son homosexuales. No puedo dejar que me golpeen, simplemente no puede. Son buena gente. Mi padre me enseña a honrar, sin embargo, él me gana cuando me pongo de pie para alguien que no le gusta."

("My father, he says… my friends, they are homosexual. I cannot let them get beat up, I just can't. They're good people. My father teaches me to honor, yet he beats me when I stand up for someone he does not like.")

Katy replied, "La Biblia, se dice que la homosexualidad está mal, inmoral, depravado y perverso, y que el propio y los que condona acto hará arder en los fuegos del infierno para siempre jamás. ¿Es usted, José, lo cree? Vamos a hablar Inglés, y mi español es un poco oxidado."

(Katy replied, "The Bible, it says that homosexuality is wrong, immoral, depraved and wicked, and that the act itself and those who condone it shall burn in the fires of hell forever and ever. Do you, Jose, believe it? Let's speak English; my Spanish is a bit rusty.")

Jose quickly turned to the woman, "NO, I do not believe it! But,, first my father, and now you say that it is depraved and wicked. But why?"

"Jose, I didn't say that I believe it; rather it is what I am told." Katy giggled, then turned and, as deadly serious as a heart attack, stated, "I'm going to ask you a very personal question. I expect a straight-forward answer...

Jose shrugged his shoulders, then turned to Katy. Sensing that he could trust her, he nodded and replied, sincerely, "Si."

"I'm impressed with your beauty. Let me explain. Yes, you are a beautiful young man, yet it goes much much deeper; you're beautiful inside, so open, but, yet, I sense that you are very deeply troubled… about..."

Jose swiveled in his seat so that he was looking directly into her eyes. Immediately, he felt safe with her, yet, there was something emanating from within her that troubled him, somewhat, but not enough to stop his reply, "Si."

"Is it possible that you are very sensitive to boys? You know, like the kids that you protect."

"I cannot be." The boy hissed angrily. Immediately, his anger quickly dissipated at realizing how sharp his voice sounded.

Katy, undeterred, pushed onward, "But you are, correct?"

Much more subdued, the child responded sounding much more confident, "I can't be. Can we talk about something else? Like, where are you going?"

"Nice try, Jose, but I'll let it go - for now. I'll tell you what, though, if you feel that you need to change anything, then I've some friends that will help you to change. If you are you-know-what… they can help straighten your mind so that you better understand yourself. Getting okay with ourselves takes discipline and hard work, and compliance with God's laws."

"I try. But, I can't turn my back on my friends. Jesus never turned his back on his friends. Where are your friends? Do you really think they could help me?"

"Yes, they'll bring you to an understanding of God's laws. Most of all, you will become obedient to Him. I need to ask you one more time: are you safe at home?"

Instead of answering her question with words, he pulled the hoodie up and over his head, then with only brief hesitation, drew up the sleeves of his short sleeved shirt. The surface of his skin was riddled with deep purple bruises and scratches. Even with his naturally dark skin, the localized marks were clearly evident. "There are more, Ma'am." Not wanting to disclose those additional bruises and skin abrasions, Jose lowered the sleeves, and hung low his head to stare into his lap.

Although his jeans were dark, the evidence of his foray into depravity was clearly evident. "My father, he would not and does not understand. I want to be a good boy. I try. Sometimes I fall into wicked ways that I cannot control. What you saw me doing… I'm frail… I cannot stop myself. I'm ashamed. If your friends will help me, then I will go. Will you take me to them?"

Jose's determination shook Katy to her core, yet, being the adult with purpose, looked sharply to this boy asking for her intervention, and said with authority, "I will take you there. But, on one condition: you must tell your parents that you must go to become the good son that they always wanted you to be, that you'll return one day, and that you want them to be proud of Jose."

"My mother, she's already lost one son, my brother Miguel. He died when he was a baby. She still hurts so badly."

"Your mother is not going to lose you. When you return, she will have a son to be proud of. Do you think her hurt will lessen if I go with you?"

"You are a good lady. She will like you. We must be quick. When my father arrives home, he will be angry. Okay, I will do this. I must."

With Jose's spotting, there wasn't all that much trouble getting out of the small parking lot, if you don't count driving through the grass most of the time, not because Jose was doing a bad job, because he wasn't, but because of the sheer size of the rig, and the desire to not get into a jackknife position.

Soon, with Jose up front and buckled in, he directed Katy to his house several blocks away. Upon arrival, he clambered down, and then quickly walked to the driver's side and helped guide the way for Katy to get down in one piece, without falling.

They made their way up the sidewalk to a nice, neat, well taken care of small home where Jose had lived his entire life. He reached into his left front pants pocket, at which time he felt wet stickiness and now tumescent flesh, and the key to his father's house. He retrieved the key, put it into the lock, turned it, and then entered, saying, Madre, estoy en casa." ("Mother, I'm home.")

He motioned for Katy to follow him inside. She did so.

A small petite lady wearing a bright flowery summer dress appeared in the doorway that separated the kitchen from the living room. Her eyes narrowed at seeing Katy behind her son. Jose walked to his mother, enfolded her into a meaningful hug, and said, "Madre, esta señora es Katy. Ella va a ayudarme a ser un hijo que va a estar orgulloso. Lo siento, mamá, tengo que ir. Papá va a entender cuando llego a casa. Me dijo que los hombres tienen que hacer sacrificios con el fin de mantenerse erguidos. Así que tengo que ir con esta señora." ("Mother, this lady is Katy. She's going to help me become a son that you will be proud of. I'm sorry, Momma, I must go. Papa will understand when I come home. He told me that men have to make sacrifices in order to stand tall. So I must go with this lady.")

Turning to Katy he explained, "My mother, she does not speak English."

Mrs. Sanchez, deeply concerned for the welfare of her son, hugged him tightly. Jose winced noticeably. His grimace wasn't overlooked by Katy; neither were the pooled tears in his mother's eyes. Jose's mother, valiantly attempting to hold her emotions in check, stated, "Mi hijo, que es un buen chico, pero es un error. ¿Cómo va a ayudar a mi hijo?" ("My son, he is a good boy, but is misguided. How will you help my son?")

Resolutely, confidently, Katy replied, "Su hijo, José, recibirá el asesoramiento, la disciplina y una educación de acuerdo con las leyes de nuestro Señor y Salvador escriben en la Biblia que debemos seguir todos los días de nuestras vidas. Él quiere volver a casa y ser un buen hijo, uno que usted y su padre se sentirá orgulloso de. Hemos tomado hijos descarriados y los convertimos en seres humanos disciplinado." ("Your son, Jose, will receive counseling, discipline and an education according to the laws our Lord and Savior wrote in the Bible for us to follow all the days of our lives. He wants to come home and be a good son, one that you and his father will be proud of. We've taken wayward children and turned them into disciplined human beings.")

"Si. Usted debe saber algo. José, muéstrele la dama amor de su padre. Si ella puede detener esto, entonces tienes mi bendición para ir con ella."

("You must know something. Jose, show this lady your father's love. If she can stop this, then you have my blessings to go with her."

Mrs. Sanchez took hold of the back of Jose's hoodie and pulled it up. At the same time, Jose assisted his mother. When it was off, he neatly folded it and laid it on a nearby chair. She then began unbuttoning the buttons on his shirt.

Once unbuttoned to the level of his jeans, he stated, "Momma!" He took her hands into his, turned to Katy and said, "My mother, she wants me to show you something about me. Please do not be offended. Truly, my father loves me." Turning to his mother, "Mamá, voy a mostrarle lo que mi padre me hizo. Me da vergüenza, no de su disciplina, pero por lo que hice. Le deshonrado. Lo siento, madre. Por favor, explico que tengo que marcharme porque yo quiero que él sea orgulloso, no enojado." ("Momma, I will show her what my father did to me. I am ashamed, not of his discipline, but about what I did. I dishonored him. I'm sorry, Mother. Please explain that I must go away because I want him to be proud, not angry.")

Katy nodded. Jose reached down, pulled his button down shirt from his pants, removed it, folded it neatly and placed it on top of the hoodie. He then reached for and pulled off his t-shirt which revealed bruises, abrasions, and a small cut located immediately to the left of his innie belly button. Jose turned around to show his back to Katy. There, Katy noted many of the bruises and abrasions were in the shape of a wide and heavy belt buckle.

Jose's mother, once she was assured that the woman visiting their home, had seen the evidence of his father's love on the upper portion of his body, reached for and unsnapped her son's jeans. Jose reacted by taking hold of her hands and removing them from the zipper.

Katy, clearly seeing his blatant disobedience and disrespect toward his mother, barked, "Do not disrespect your mother! Take those pants off, right this second!"

Mrs. Sanchez' gaze quickly turned toward Katy. She was very surprised at the tone in Katy's voice, even though she could not understand Katy's harsh words spoken toward Jose.

Jose regarded Katy for but a few seconds before unzipping his pants. Before he took them down over his legs, he kicked off his shoes and sent them to land by the chair where his shirts were lying. He hesitated for a moment before using his fingers to unzip his jeans. He quickly turned toward the kitchen entryway before lowering them to the floor. He took them off the rest of the way, folded them neatly and placed them next to his shirts. He looked down only to note that his light baby blue briefs had a large wet splotch in front, and that his man-boy tubular shaped flesh was resting comfortably to the left of midline.

Meanwhile, Katy noticed the bruises and abrasions and belt buckle marks were, if anything, even more pronounced. Inwardly, beyond any shadow of a doubt - knew that his father was a good and just man, and was only trying to make his son one that he could be proud of by following the teachings of Jesus, our Saviour. She stated, "Turn around."

Knowing that he was utterly defeated, Jose covered the wetness and outline of his maleness, slowly turned around to face them. Seeing the glare in Katy's eyes, Jose moved his hands away and placed them at his sides, lowered his eyes and gazed at the floor, clearly embarrassed and ashamed.

Mrs. Sanchez gasped, put her hand to her mouth. Those unshed tears that had pooled in her eyes, ran down her cheeks. Quickly, she reached out and wiped them away. No, she wasn't sad at seeing the splotch in his shorts, rather she was appalled to see the damage done to her son.

Instead of feeling sorry for the kid, Katy ordered, "Take them off. Submit!"

Jose's eyes opened widely in complete shock. Never before had he exposed his maturing body to a woman, much less his mother, and never ever to a stranger, not even to his coach and teammates in the locker room at school.

Clearly convinced that he was not about to start how, he reached for his clothes then took off padding his way into the bathroom. He closed the door, leaned against the vanity cabinet, looked into the mirror to see a very sad person looking back into his eyes. He reached up and wiped away the tears that were pooling in his eyes, then, feeling need, peeled down his baby blues, kicked them aside against the wall, sat down on the toilet and began purposely exerting himself.

When Jose had disappeared behind closed doors, Mrs. Sanchez began bitterly weeping, "Mi marido es un hombre enojado. Su corazón está en el lugar correcto. Él quiere que su hijo sea justo, puro, disciplinado, y digno de su amor. Me temo que José sufrirá en sus manos después de learining del problema escolar. Usted lo debe llevar a un lugar seguro. No tengo dinero para pagarle." ("My husband is an angry man. His heart is in the right place. He wants his son to be just, pure, disciplined, and worthy of his love. I am afraid that Jose will suffer at his hands after learning of the school problem. You must take him somewhere safe. I have no money to pay you.")

"Su hijo, José, es un buen chico en el corazón. Aunque sus motivos son buenos, sus acciones y pensamientos son impulsados ​​por - bodega de Satanás. Lo llevaré a Kansas, donde yo le entregue a nuestro Patriarca que enderezar a su hijo en un joven orgulloso y obediente, para que regrese a un hijo bueno y respetable. ¿Tengo su permiso para llevarlo?" Katy asked, resolutely. ("Your son, Jose, is a good boy at heart. Though his motives are good, his actions and thinking are driven by – Satan's hold. I will take him to Kansas where I will turn him over to our Patriarch who will straighten your child into a proud and obedient young man so that he returns to you a good and respectable son. Do I have your permission to take him?")

"Si." The boy's mother replied, sadly.

Katy, having been given verbal permission to take the boy, walked to the door Jose had disappeared into, put her ear to the thin wood while putting her hand on the door knob.

Jose's needs were soon met. He reached for and tore off a long strip of bathroom tissue, applied it, and at the same time, the bathroom door opened abruptly interrupting his task. He looked toward the door, totally and completely mortified at being found performing such an intimate, personal and private action.

Clearly shocked, not knowing what else to do, Jose dropped the tissue into the bowl, all the while eyeing his underwear lying on the floor on the other side of the bathroom. His mother had not replaced the towels on the towel racks, so he had no way of covering his nakedness. Also, while exerting himself, his flesh had arose. He quickly used his other hand to push it between his legs, at which time he closed them together.

To add insult to injury - Katy entered. His mother stood in the doorway watching and waiting to see what next unfolded. When the strange woman reached for and took hold of Jose's arm and pulled him to his feet, Mrs. Sanchez, now unable to hold herself back, seeing her son's nakedness and embarrassment… and erection… stated forcefully, "Va a dejar ir a mi hijo en este mismo momento. Dale su privacidad y salir de aquí." ("You will let go of my son right this moment. Give him his privacy and get out of here.")

Katy turned away from Jose, but kept her hand firmly holding Jose's, to face the woman. At the same time, Jose wrenched his arm loose from her grasp, then quickly walked to his underwear and picked them up, but instead of putting them on, without saying a word, he quickly exited the restroom after his mother stood aside, walked into his bedroom, tossed the cloth to the clothes bin, then reached into his dresser, fetched a clean pair, but before he could put them on, Katy appeared, entered the room, and glared at the boy with anger and dismay at his blatant disobedience in her eyes. She jerked the cloth from Jose's hand and ordered, "Submit. Stand down right this second. You will not walk away from me or your mother, do you understand?"

"Ma'am, I need to get dressed. I am embarrassed." Without hesitation, Jose reached into the drawer, retrieved another pair of underwear, bright red ones, and proceeded to put them on.

Mrs. Sanchez, closely observing their interaction, had seen that Jose had not yet completed the need to properly clean himself, entered the bedroom, walked past Katy, took hold of her son's hand, then led him into the bathroom, nodded to Jose, and then stood in the doorway to prevent Katy's entrance. Jose, knowing his mother's intents without having said a word, quickly took care of his business. Seeing the soiled cloth, he took off the underwear and quickly entered the shower, turned on the water, got it to temperature…

Mrs. Sanchez, meanwhile, turned around to face Katy. Katy's eyes were burning hot, were no match for the love of a mother for her son. She backed away. Mrs. Sanchez quickly exited and closed the door behind her. She said, assuringly, firmly, "Un niño debe tener su privacidad. Estoy seguro de que usted entiende, y si no, entonces hago ahora. Venga, voy a hacer té." ("A boy must have his privacy. I'm sure you understand, and if not, then you do now. Come, I will make tea.") The two women walked into the kitchen. Jose's mother gestured to the kitchen table, wordlessly telling Katy to sit her ass down.

Jose, meanwhile, quickly showered, dried off, wrapped the towel such that to cover his nakedness. He put his ear to the door to determine if they were still in the hallway, or right behind the door. Hearing nothing, he cracked open the door, and seeing that the coast was clear, quickly made his way into his bedroom, closed the door and got dressed in clean clothes.

In the meantime, after serving tea, Mrs. Sanchez sat down and glared at Katy.

Katy, undeterred, stated, "My friends and I will teach your son obedience and submission to your parental authority. We've done it many times. Each time, we have been thanked for our straight-forward approach. We believe in breaking down the personality of wayward teens, and then building them up in the likeness of our Creator using discipline and submission as our primary tools."

Realizing she'd spoke in her native tongue, English, Katy repeated in Spanish, "Mis amigos y yo le enseñe a su hijo la obediencia y la sumisión a la autoridad de los padres. Lo hemos hecho muchas veces. Cada vez, se nos ha dado las gracias a nuestro enfoque sencillo. Creemos en la descomposición de la personalidad de los adolescentes descarriados, y luego la construcción de ellos en la semejanza de nuestro Creador mediante la disciplina y la sumisión como nuestras herramientas principales ".

Katy's words struck a chord in Jose's mother.

Mrs. Sanchez, now realizing just how badly her husband had punished their child, got up and refilled their cups with warm tea. As she returned to the table, Jose came walking into the kitchen. Jose took the cups from her hands and sat them on the table, then he pulled his mother into his hands and affectionately hugged her, sending his love into her spirit. He said, "Momma, que va a estar bien. Sólo espera y verás." ("Momma, it's going to be okay. Just you wait and see.")

Mrs. Sanchez cautiously nodded, then kissed her sons' cheeks. As mothers will do, she gently used her fingers to brush away a lock of thick hair from his eyebrow, straightened his shirt in front. She had him turn away so that she could check his back. His shirt hung loosely, so she tucked it neatly into his jeans, and then, unable to hold her emotions in, left the room to go pack him some clothes for the trip.

As soon as Mrs. Sanchez left the room, Katy stood, walked the short distance to Jose, gazed deeply into his eyes, and then said, curtly, "Where does your father keep the duct tape?"

Jose had no idea why she would ask for duct tape, but obediently walked to the kitchen counter, reached into the bottom drawer where all of the household repair items were kept, retrieved a roll of the gray sticky tape and handed it to Katy who had followed him.

She said with authority dripping from her voice, "Take your pants down; underwear, too. Submit. Now."

After but only slight hesitation, the boy complied, thus exposing all that he had to the woman once again. Katy tore off an 8 inch strip, then before Jose could react, applied the sticky substance to his penis, plastering it tightly against his belly, taking care to make sure it was firmly attached. Only his glans was exposed so that he could relieve himself. Katy said, once the tape was in a position that she approved of, "This will remind you of your sins." She then, to make her point even more clear, reached for and began caressing his organ. Tears filled the boy's eyes as the pain became almost more than he could tolerate. Quickly, he stepped away, pulled up his underwear and jeans.

Mrs. Sanchez arrived. With wonderment in her eyes, she looked to her child to see his eyes filled with tears. She'd never known her son to express his emotions so openly, although she'd heard him whimpering himself to sleep several nights. Otherwise he seemed okay.

Jose, seeing her arms filled with his clothes, quickly retrieved a large trash bag. He took the clothing from her and stuffed it into the bag.

Katy approached, "No, that's not acceptable. Remove them. Fold each piece of clothing and put them in neatly. Treating the clothes that your mother washed and ironed in such a way is disrespectful to her."

Jose agreed by doing as she told him, knowing she was correct.

As they walked into the living room toward the door outside, Mrs. Sanchez had her hand on Jose's lower back and was rubbing it assuredly, hoping to send strength and love into her last surviving child.

When it came time to part, the boy took his mother into his arms, held her firmly, and whispered, "Te quiero, mamá. Volveré para que tú y papá se sentirá orgulloso de mí. He sido un mal hijo. Yo no quiero ser alguien que usted es avergonzarse. Tú, mamá, dice que soy un buen chico, uno para estar orgullosos, pero me avergüenzo de mi secreto que les puedo decir a nadie. ellos me ayudarán ... sólo sé que lo harán. Adiós Momma ". ("I love you, Mother. I will return so that you and Papa will be proud of me. I have been a bad son. I do not want to be someone who you are ashamed of. You, Momma, say that I am a good boy, one to be proud of, yet I am ashamed of my secret that I can't tell nobody. They will help me... I just know they will. Bye Momma.")

The boy kissed his mother's lips, then without saying another word, took himself and his bag to the rig, leaving Mrs. Sanchez and Katy gazing at one another. Katy said, "Volveré a tu hijo. ¿Cuánto tiempo se necesita para hacer de él todo será completamente dependerá de su voluntad y obediencia. Él será un niño cambiado. Usted se sentirá orgulloso." ("I will return your son. How long it takes to make him whole will be completely dependent upon his willingness and obedience. He will be a changed boy.")

Soon, they were on the road headed for the highway, but were stopped by a massive caravan of highway patrol and local cops racing down Oklahoma Avenue with their lights shining and sirens blaring as they passed by.

When one of the state troopers stopped in front of the big rig, Jose offered, "I know the man. He will permit us to leave, but I must speak with him."

"No, I will speak with him."

With that said, Katy put her finger to her mouth, gesturing to the child that he would remain obedient. Jose nodded in the affirmative, then grimaced as he changed positions in the seat.

Katy opened the door to the cab and looked down to an Oklahoma State Trooper looking up, sizing her up and down all the while deciding whether or not to let her pass. Katy made ready to slide down, but the officer said that wasn't necessary, "Go ahead Ma'am, but do not head east. There's been an incident at the junior high school.""Yes, Sir. We're headed north once we get out of town."

"Where are you headed?" The officer asked cordially.

"Dodge City, Kansas. I have to be there by tonight. Thank you."

The patrolman tipped his hat then motioned for her to go on her way.

When they were on Oklahoma Avenue headed west, Jose painfully changed positions once again. He took a chance by asking "Ma'am, why did your tape my ‘pene' to my belly?"

"You will learn obedience. You will learn how to control your needs. I know what you did. You masturbated, correct?"

The boy's expression turned distant. He was trying to figure out what the word ‘masturbate' meant. He could only guess that maybe it meant him relieving his bowels, ‘dar placer'… he was bringing pleasure to his bowels… but, it didn't make sense… reliving one's self is normal and natural, correct?

Seeing the boy questioning her question, she restated, in Spanish, his native language, "Usted frota a sí mismo hasta que las fuerzas de la vida de Dios dispararon desde sus lomos ... ¿lo entiendes ahora?"

("You rubbed yourself until God's life forces shot from your loins... do you understand, now?")

Jose blushed, but obediently turned to Katy, "Si. I can't help it. Are you going to help me? I want to be a good person."

"We'll help you, but you have to want to change your ways. Tell me, and be honest with me, do you think of boys when you pleasure yourself?"

Jose squirmed, causing extreme pain as his pubic hairs were pulled by the tape. Readily he replied, "Sometimes. Not all the time, though." Unable to handle the pain caused by his feet resting on the floor, he pulled both of them up to tuck them beneath his hips, thus relieving the pressure.

Jose, torn in half by guilt over wanting to do something with another male, but not ever having had the courage to approach his friends to satisfy his curiosity, rested his head against the window, promptly falling into troubled sleep.

Traffic was light, and no Highway Patrol was to be seen. At 11:15pm, Katy pulled the rig into a warehouse parking lot, having arrived in Dodge City, Kansas, later than expected, but not past the deadline.

The guard shack was closed. Undeterred, Katy made a phone call to the number on the side of the shack for late deliveries. A man answered the call, and directed her to park the rig in spot 20A for offloading.

The hissing of air brakes awakened Jose with a startle. He observed Katy opening the door and saw her drop to the ground much quicker than he thought she should have safely descended.

Disregarding the extreme pain of his pubes being torn out of his body, the boy quickly switched over to the driver's seat and looked down. Seeing that Katy was lying on the ground, and hearing her swearing words that curled his ears, he went to the passenger seat, and then without hesitation dropped to the pavement, tearing away any remaining pubes that had remained.

Using his youthful strength and stamina, he helped Katy to her feet and brushed off the shoulder she had fallen onto.

Katy, taken aback by his courteous and respectful manner, smiled, "Thank you. You will go far in this world. Go ahead, get back into the truck. I'll have somebody sign for the load, and then we'll be on our way. I have another load to pick up here in Dodge City. I've been told that it will go to Kansas City, but I don't know where or when it needs to be delivered."

Jose found out that going down was no big deal, but when he stretched his leg way up to get his foot on the step using his right leg, the sensation that additional pubes were being pulled from their roots and the need to pee so great that it could not be ignored. He looked all around. The dock area all around them was dark; the only light that shone was from one single light affixed just above the delivery receiving door. He quickly walked around to the front of the rig, and after one more look around, dropped his pants and underwear to the ground, then gently, oh so gently, freed his penis from the grips of the tape. Once it was free, he gritted his teeth, squeezed tight his sphincters – and ripped the tape from left to right in one single motion. Despite every attempt not to make a sound, a low, growling, muffled, scream escaped from deep down inside of his chest. Once the sting became less incapacitating, the boy reached down into his pubes to evaluate damage done. The soft downy hair was still soft and downy, however it was in patches, not smooth and regular like it had been before ripping them out of his body. The missing patches were securely locked on the sticky side of the tape.

Unable to stop himself, he grabbed hold of his penis and trickled a small stream into the parking lot, taking great care to not wet his pants.

Finished, he put himself back together, then folded the tape in thirds and tossed it into the parking lot. Despite the sting, he felt free, and could move around without encumbrance. He got back up in the cab to await Katy's return.

Katy returned about 40 minutes later, ready to get going to pick up the next load, the one that was promised – with a huge paycheck, enough to get her over the hump since Patriarch stopped funding her place in Breckenridge.

Before firing up the rig, she turned to Jose. Inquiring, "Do you need to pee?"

"No, Ma'am, I'm good to go."

Katy nodded.

Twenty minutes later, on the east side of Dodge City, they pulled into a parking lot found only through GPS. There was no building in sight. Slowly, carefully, she headed around the perimeter as the area was completely pitch black dark, other than for the lights the headlamps were sending out.

Six men suddenly appeared, holding assault weapons at the ready, trained directly on them – not to the rig, but to them sitting high in the cab.

The men, all wearing military fatigues and sunglasses, slowly walked forward, fanning out in all directions with their weapons still directly trained on the woman and boy. Katy, taking a chance, rolled down the driver's side window and shouted, "I am Katy Russello. I'm here to pick up a load. The boy with me is Jose Sanchez. We are not armed." Katy partially lied. As she was speaking, she was reaching into her satchel for her trusty 45 caliber handgun.

Jose observed her every move.

He came up with a plan. Jose got out his seat and crawled on the floor and whispered, "I have an idea, Katy. Let me have the gun. I know how to use them. My father taught me." Gingerly, he boy took the gun. Silently, he crawled back to the passenger side, but didn't get into the seat. Instead, he, without making a single sound, stealthily put his finger on the juncture between the door and the frame, then clicked open the latch for the door. Simultaneously, he stuck his finger against the switch for the overhead light. He swung out the door, then using all of the prowess he could muster, he took off his tennis shoes and squashed them between the door and frame, then quickly descended the stairs, landing on the pavement with nary a sound.

With his confidence high, the boy dropped down then crawled his way to the drivers' side of the rig, hiding beneath the mammoth fuel tank. Though, he was not entirely ‘hiding' he was out of sight as one of the men slowly walked toward Katy's door. Jose trained the weapon on the man's right eye socket and – waited. Jose was proud of his ability to be patient. His father taught him how to wait for a right opportunity to act rather than depend upon his emotions to guide him.

Jose's father knew his son inside and out. Jose's last training session ended with his father sitting on the ground immediately beneath a paper target's zero circle. He ordered his son to shoot the target.

That wasn't all. Not only was he to shoot the target, but the child was ordered to stand facing away, roll around and shoot with his feet firmly planted.

Both man and boy were in position. Jose, petrified of his indecisiveness and fear of shooting his father, the man he loved and looked up to for all of his life, had tears running rampantly out of his eyes and down his cheeks.

His father, sensing his child's fear, started chiding the boy, "Usted no es un hombre, hijo. Nunca serás un hombre. Eres un chico de hadas."

("Chicken. Chicken. You're not a man, son. You'll never be a man. You're a fairy boy.")

The man then started clucking his tongue, making the same exact sounds a chicken makes when it squawks.

The very first thing and the very last thing that Jose felt about his father was, and still is – love. Undying love. But hearing those words and those sounds, awakened a feeling inside of Jose's heart and soul that he'd never before felt or experienced.

A very deep seated voice, coming from within his heart and entrails told him to shoot… just do it.

Jose took a deep breath, relaxed, then spun around and twice fired the weapon in rapid succession as soon as his feet were planted firmly in the wet grass.

His father fell backward at a very high rate of speed. The boy screamed at the top of his lungs, mortified, feeling terror of – shooting his father dead.

He dropped the weapon in the grass, tore out to his father expecting to see his head blown off of his shoulders, but something, a son's love?... told him to go anyway to see what he'd done.

His father heard the boy fast approaching. At the last very possible second, as his son began sliding on his knees toward him, he sat straight up and began laughing at the boy for his indecisions, also saying that the kid would have been killed at least five times in the amount of time it took him to pull the trigger, to do what his father had taught him to do.

The man approached the truck's driver side, closer and closer the man walked slowly, not knowing if the driver was a renegade or the person designated for this ‘special' run.

Jose didn't even adjust his position, instead he followed the man's eye socket through the sights of the weapon, ready, willing, able, all the while hearing his father's words, "Chicken, chicken…" running through his mind, coursing through his veins… but, unlike with his father, the words flowed in one ear and out the other to disappear into thin air.

His father turned the tables. The man got up, leaving Jose sitting on his haunches, hearing his father's words, felt them being burned into his innermost self, through and through, but stopping in his heart.

The boy, Jose, still facing away, was not prepared for what happened next: using what had to be superhuman strength and stamina, he heard his father say ‘duck'… before Jose's head hit the dirt, he felt the air exchange immediately next to his right ear, then his left ear… it happened twice. Four shots. All fatal had he not dropped in time.

"Buen chico de pollo." The man laughed as Jose ran to him, intent upon unleashing those foreign feelings coming up from deep within his being, from his soul.

("Good chicken boy." The man laughed as Jose ran to him, intent upon unleashing those foreign feelings coming up from deep within his being, from his soul.)

Jose's father dodged his sons' aggression, but was not prepared for the boy to pick up one of the two guns they'd brought with them on this father-son-bonding trip, and point it directly at his heart. The child clicked off the safety and cocked the weapon. Their eyes never once left one another. The glare was thick as molasses. The tension – high and unending. Jose lifted the weapon to the level of his father's neck, put his finger firmly on the trigger… he wanted his father to feel his fear of being shot at, only he was going to take it one step further… all of his fear was evaporating right then and there on the spot. Jose felt a sense of freedom, seeing his father's fear.

But then everything changed: Jose's father smiled. He gingerly walked to his son, took the weapon away, pointed it to the boy's face, then pulled the trigger six times in rapid succession, causing his son to relieve his bodily waste and drop to the ground in total terror.

Katy opened the door, causing Jose to step up his position. The boy rolled outward enough to keep the man's ear in the gun's sights, but not enough to be seen by anyone else unless they were literally under the trailer looking for him.

The man, using a deep military voice, "Guten Abend. Sie hier zu holen eine besondere Belastung, oder? Sie werden verstehen, warum ich, müssen Sie zur Identifizierung fragen." ("Good evening. Here to get a special burden, right? You will understand why I, you must ask for identification.")

Jose recognized the language. He was taking German in school. Foreign language came easily to him. The boy firmly gripped the hand piece, ready to blow the man's head into next week, if need be.

"I do not understand." Jose faintly heard Katy say to the man.

"Very well. It was just a test. Good evening. You here to pick up a special load, are you? You will understand why I must ask you for identification."

There was a moment of silence, utter, complete silence. Jose figured Katy was retrieving her identification… but then everything stopped. The boy felt a sharp jab into the back of his neck. Thinking it was a scorpion or some such creepy crawling varmint of some type, he reached back to swat the thing away, but instead of a creepy crawler, he felt the cold hard steel barrel of a weapon nudged into his neck. It was big. Very big. Jose brought his weapon to his chest and laid it there. The man holding the weapon on his neck reached across, took hold of the gun and removed it from Jose's grasp without any hesitation on Jose's part.

With his attention honed in on the man with two weapons, he was unaware the man that had climbed up on the rig had jumped down. Before he could say ‘shit', the man took hold of his feet and drug him out from beneath the truck. Once he was clear, the man held out his hand and pulled Jose to his feet. The man stated, emphatically, "Sie haben Kugeln, Junge. Big noch dazu habe." ("You've got balls, boy. Big ones at that.")

"Mein Vater hat mich gelehrt, gut, Sir. Aber ich verließ ihn wieder. Können wir sprechen Englisch? Mein Deutsch ist nicht so heiß." ("My father taught me well, Sir. But, I failed him, again. Can we speak English? My German isn't so hot.")

The man belly laughed, then said, seriously, "No son, you didn't fail. You are a boy. The man, standing behind you, is a man with special training."

"I didn't even hear him. It's quiet out here."

The man, standing directly behind Jose, walked around so that he could speak directly with Jose, said, "Your concentration on Jack… he was your sole object. You lost all sense of where you were and what was around you. That's why you didn't hear me. I wasn't quiet at all. I had my weapon on you at all times. I could have killed you at any time. But your aroma, your natural smell, told me that you were a boy. How old are you, if I may ask?"


"Okay Mister Fourteen I'm Mister Thirty-Seven. Get in the truck. You didn't see anything. You didn't hear anything. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, Sir, perfectly… Get in the truck. I didn't see anything. I didn't hear anything." Jose said. He reached out to shake the man's hand. The man did so. The vice crushing he received back was enough to make him do as he was told without question or delay.

The man, seeing Katy's width, once again climbed up the steps, handed her bills of lading and a manifesto making the trip legal, even though Katy had her doubts, but then when the man handed over an envelope… she could haul anything. She opened the envelope to find $12,500.00 in one-hundred dollar bills. The man said, "The other half will come when you arrive in Kansas City." Mr. Thirty-Seven then gave directions to the drop point, and reminding her that the load was to be delivered at 11:40AM.

A military equipped Jeep suddenly appeared in front of them. The man said, "This is your welcoming crew. Follow them. They'll get you hooked up and on your way in short order. Thank you so much. Have a safe trip."

Mr. Thirty-Seven looked into the cab to observe Jose, and to search for any more weapons. When he saw none, he handed Katy's weapon back to her with instructions for her to keep better track of her stuff – and the kid, too.

Before she could reply, the man jumped down, closed the cab door and walked to the Jeep and got inside.

The trailer was brand new. She was told, and from doing the trip inspection, that it was indeed new, and that this was its maiden voyage. She was repeatedly told to drive carefully, that the load was precious and expensive. She was assured of safe passage through weight stations and if she'd happen to be stopped by the Highway Patrol.

With those assurances, Katy expertly made her way out of the area with the Jeep leading the way. The Jeep continued to lead until they were on a state highway, heading east.

They arrived in Hutchinson, Kansas at 1:45AM at which time Katy pulled behind the Flying-J truck stop with intentions of sleeping for a couple of hours before heading on into Kansas City to drop the load and receive the other half of the payment.

Knowing boys like she did, after telling Jose to stay put, she went inside and ordered the child a hamburger, fries and a drink. Katy ordered a chocolate milkshake for herself. Katy let the incident at the pick-up point go, knowing that the kid had received a better lesson than she could ever give him… yet...

Shortly after Lawrence's call to Ashwood ended, the boy decided to talk to the reporter tomorrow. Tony, knowing the interview would likely last for quite some time, strongly recommended that everyone get rested up as much as possible. The call had taken a toll on Lawrence and Aaron, mainly Lawrence since he'd received the full brunt of his father's wrath. But, he maintained, feeling pretty much okay with himself for following through. Aaron, John thought, was not doing quiet as well, but was putting on a good front.

Lawrence reached for a hug, holding on tight for a moment. John sensed a slight quiver, squeezed just a little more firmly, which the boy lapped up. Lawrence whispered, "Thank you for being here. That was hard to do." With that, Lawrence broke the hug, looked to Aaron and waited expectantly, hoping Aaron could receive John's love.

Aaron regarded John very carefully. Sensing the man was of no danger and had no malevolent intents and purposes, he nodded slightly and permitted John to enfold him in a hug. Further, the man stayed firm. Aaron, feeling safe for the moment, slowly moved his arms so that they went around John's waist. Aaron's hug was quick. He backed away, then he and Lawrence walked to the main cabin to sit with the other boys, while John fired up the engine, took off and returned to the Interstate.

Luke and Jordan, lying on the unmade bed in the rear quarters, after a quick one, two, three, kissed deeply, got dressed then returned to the main cabin, taking care not to fall because of the swaying of the motorhome. They found a spot big enough for the both of them, laid down, covered up, cuddled in together and fell asleep.

Seeing that the motorhome was in need of fuel, John took the Norman, Oklahoma exit, stopped in at the Flying-J truck stop, pulled into a long commercial carrier fuel island. The change in tempo awakened Jared and Michael, however the other boys remained sleeping. The two boys, once the rig was parked and the engine shut off, made their way up front. John was at the doorway ready to go outside. The boys, after being gently admonished to put on their jackets, exited, then made a beeline inside the combined convenience and restaurant. Both headed to the restrooms to take care of urgent business.

Side by side, separated by a high from the floor partition, Michael, with a very sleepy voice, told Jared, "Do you think we're going to be okay?"

Jared immediately replied, his words sharp, "Yes, we're going to be okay. You've got to stop worrying so much."

"Like you're not worried. What are you some hard-ass?" Michael growled, grabbing a wad of toilet paper, finished up, exited and headed for the sink. Jared appeared when Michael's hands were dry and holding the door handle like he was about to leave.

Jared's words stopped him, "Michael, I'm sorry for biting your head off." Michael, not really pissed at Jared, simply nodded and dropped his hand to his side and patiently waited for his brother to finish. When his hands were dry, Michael reached for the door handle, but Jared took hold of his arm and pulled him away from the door.

Michael immediately put his arms around Jared, his big brother, and held on tight. Jared did likewise. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said as their brotherly bond tightened all that much tighter. With their fears abated for however long, they separated and returned to the motorhome, ready for the next leg of the trip.

They found John walking down the steps of the coach with Matthew, Stephen and Eric when Jared and Michael approached. The two older brothers quickly intercepted and took the boys to the restroom. Because the urinals were designed only for men and older boys, Jared held Matthew up to take care of his business.

At the sink, Michael and Eric stole a quick kiss as they stood side by side. Then they took one more. No sooner had their lips joined than a huge man wearing a Stetson hat and western wear entered. His eyes nearly popped out of his head at seeing the two boys quickly separating. "Jesus H. Christ, didn't your sperm donor tell you that faggots ain't liked around these parts, and fucking a Nigger too… what's the matter with you idiots… I have half a notion…" Jared's guts turned and twisted at seeing the man's rising anger and hearing his hateful and hurtful words.

Being the older brother, Jared quickly shuffled the boys outside, and then urged them to take off running for the coach. They quickly entered and slammed the door. Jared locked it securely, holding onto the handle for added insurance.

John, standing behind the rig, not really seeing them, wondered why they'd been in such a hurry. He finished fueling, paid the pump with a credit card. He headed to the building with intents of using the restroom.

While peeing, the tall cowboy three urinals down groused, "Watch out, there's a couple of faggots running around this place. One of them was a god damned nigger… they were kissing… it was disgusting. You should have seen it!"

John made the decision to remain quiet, and to hurry up his business. He shook once, splashed his hands at the sink, then left, wiping his hands on his pants just like his boys do; remembering his words to his sons to not do that.

John knocked on the door, finding it odd that it was locked. He wondered, no, he had a sickening thought that it was his boys the man was referring to. Now afraid for their welfare, he reached his hand up to really bang on the door, however it opened. He entered to see Eric running toward the back of the motorhome without acknowledging John in any way.

Without delay, the man half-walked half-ran to the back to see what had happened to the boys in his care. As he approached the door, he heard the children talking quietly.

Upon entering, he found the boys arranging themselves on the large bed. Matthew leaped into John's arms, sobbing hysterically from his fright. Stephen, too, found an open spot on John's chest and plastered himself against it.

To all of the children huddled together, John said, now knowing their story from the chance encounter with the bigoted asshole in the restroom, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry you had to see and hear such bigotry. It's sad."

Michael, his eyes wet, urged, "Dad, can we just get out of here, please?"

"Just one moment before we do…" John put the two boys in his arms down on the bed, then quickly everybody made a spot for John to sit. He leant toward Michael, drew him into his arms and just held him as firmly as he dared. John motioned for Eric to join. Eric didn't hesitate as he, too, needed to be held for he was more frightened than he'd been since being with the Finnegan's.

Eric cried, letting it all out, "Dad, I mean John, they used to tell me that stuff all of the time… I'm used to it… but… I want to kill that son of a bitch for scaring my brothers."

"Shush, Eric. You don't talk that way. Hurting and harming someone will just take you to their level, and you are nothing like that bigoted idiot. That goes for all of you, do you understand?"

Each boy nodded their understanding. John continued, "Boys, you've got to be more careful about how you display your affections. This is just the way it is around here. I know, for a fact, that you'll be accepted no matter who you are, who you love, where we're going, but, even then, please, keep your deep expressions discreet. It's a privacy matter. From here on out, there will be no kissy kissy in public places, got it?" John asked, smiling, looking directly into Michael and Eric's eyes, which elicited slight blushes from them.

He then looked at Luke and Jordan. They nodded.

Next in line was Lawrence and Aaron. Lawrence, feeling at home, rolled his eyes up into his head, but did nod his understanding without further hesitation. Aaron followed Lawrence's lead.

John accepted kisses from Matthew then Stephen. They scooted into bed as the boys made room for them. The man helped to get the covers arranged so that they wouldn't get chilled. "Get some sleep, boys. We've got a couple of hours before we reach the rendezvous point where we'll meet up with our friends. Be calm. Do a hug-fest before falling asleep." Michael reached up to receive a kiss from his dad before getting comfortable.

John looked to Jared. With his oldest son on the outside and the two youngest boys crowding him, Jared couldn't move if he tried to, or else he'd go sprawling to the floor. The man walked around to Jared's side where he hugged the boy, deeply.

Eric, for the first time, sat bolt upright and leaned toward John to see if the man would kiss him as well. He wasn't disappointed.

They were soon back on the road.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, Thursday, November 8, 2012, Thursday, 12:50AM CST, 1:50AM EST

Adam noted a large crossover SUV parked close to the front doors of the combined service station and restaurant. The rest of the parking lot was largely vacant. He drove around the building, stopped at a truck pump, shut down the engine.

Wayne was sound asleep on a fold out bed in the main cabin with a blanket loosely draped across his hips. The boy startled, awakened and bounded to his feet and rushed forward to determine the reason for the change in motion of the rig, without any regard for modesty. Adam turned around to see the boy looking out the windows getting his bearings.

Adam said, "We're stopping here to gas up and wait for the rest to arrive. Go put on your clothes. You can help me fuel up."

"I need to use the can." Wayne countered, while toying with his fully erect member with the tips of his fingers.

Adam looked sharply at the youth, "Get dressed. You know the rules."

Wayne nodded. He sauntered back to the seating area, sat down, and was just about to stroke himself, but saw Adam standing by the door watching him with an admonishing expression on his face. The boy, remembering their rules, reached for his briefs lying on the floor across the aisle.

Seeing the boy complying with one of the rules of the house, Adam descended the stairs to exit the rig. He walked to the opposite side facing the restaurant and noticed three boys milling about close to the door. He paid them no further attention, inserted a credit card into the card readers, then when the approval light illuminated, began fueling.

Inside the rig, Wayne seeing that Adam was preoccupied, tossed the briefs to his side, and began and quickly finished the ritual, much to his delight. The three outside snickered. The main cabin windows were seat level, so there wasn't much left to the imagination.

Dressed, Wayne bounded down the stairs to join Adam at the pump. The man had noted the rig had wiggled just enough so as to let him know that Wayne had not exactly followed the rules, but he didn't say anything, instead telling Wayne to flip the lever that opens the engine compartment so that he could check the oil level, determine if there were any hose leaks, and other various and sundry engine items available for inspection.

With the rig fueled, Adam performed the inspections while Wayne walked to the boys milling about close to the front door. The boys regarded him. Christian, the oldest of the group held out his hand in greeting. "I'm Christian, this is Carl and the other guy is Robbie. You must be Wayne?"

Wayne regarded Christian very carefully before feeling assured the boy was no threat. He replied, "Yes, my name's Wayne." Carl and Robbie held out their fists to perform the typical adolescent knuckle bump. Wayne responded by touching their hands, a little harder than the boys expected.

Carl said, "Aunt Rachel, my dad Jeremy, Melissa and her parents are inside sitting at a table across the restaurant talking adult stuff. We're just about ready to go inside. If you'll wait for us, we'll go in with you to introduce the adults."

Without saying another word, Wayne went inside, looked all around for a "Restrooms" sign. When he saw it, the boy headed that way, entered, went to a stall, closed the door, dropped his pants, sat down to take care of business.

Jeremy noted the African-American boy's entry. He figured the child was a member of the party. He got up and headed outside to confirm his suspicions. He saw the younger boys walking to the rig. Jeremy joined them to introduce himself to the man he suspected to be Adam.

"Dale and Bradley should be along in the next hour or so. They've hit some high cross winds and are taking it easy." Adam said after giving and receiving introductions.

"Yes, the winds were strong. Surprisingly enough, this rig did okay."

"Nice. We may have a bit of a problem. The weather reports say that conditions are rapidly deteriorating due to a cold front making its way south. Snow, sleet and freezing rain are on their way."

"Oh, that's not good. I'm used to the weather in Wichita, but I've never driven this thing on slick pavement."

"That could become very interesting. Dad's hauling two trailers filled with supplies and whatnot to keep us going for the next two or three weeks."

The two men looked up into the light cast by the incandescent lights only to see a few small objects falling from the sky. "This isn't good."

"No, no it's not." Adam replied, then turned his attention to the fuel pump's beep notifying him that the rig was filled to capacity.

Jeremy went inside when Adam got into the rig to move it to the side of the building so that the lane could be used by other truckers. Once inside he looked to their table. Seeing that his loved ones were involved in conversation, he entered the restroom, walked to a urinal to take care of business. A few minutes later, Wayne exited the stall and walked to the sink to wash his hands.

They took care of their hygiene in amicable silence, minding their own business. Jeremy recalled Adam telling the adults that the child was not very sociable, and to expect just about anything out of his mouth if he felt comfortable in the situation.

Finally, as they dried their hands, Wayne offered, "Are those your sons?"

Jeremy nodded, "Carl is my natural born son. Robbie is Carl's really good friend; he's with us. He may just as well be our son as well. Christian is a boy we just met, but he's taken a liking to us. The same is true for us taking a liking to him. We're not sure what's going to happen next."

"Oh, okay. I saw two boys holding hands. They're gay, right?"

Jeremy frowned, not quite knowing how to handle Wayne's pointed question when he didn't even know the child, but he offered, "Whether or not they chose that lifestyle is for them to say. It's pretty personal and private. Let's just say that they are very close friends."

"It's okay with me. I'm gay. Joey's my boyfriend. I really love him."

Jeremy's eyes opened widely. He had not gleamed that Wayne had someone special… if so, then where was he? Was he a part of the party and just didn't know it?

The boy tossed the wet paper towel toward the trash receptacle, but missed. He picked up the object and placed it inside. Noting his zipper was still open, he adjusted his flesh, zipped up and quietly exited, with Jeremy following closely behind.

Adam was walking past the cashier's cage as Wayne and Jeremy approached. Wayne arrived first. Adam put his arm around the boy's shoulders.

Jeremy then led man and boy to the table, made introductions, and asked Wayne to help him bring a table and chairs to theirs so that there would be plenty of room for everyone to sit together.

Adam ordered Wayne and himself hamburgers, fries for Wayne, onion rings for himself, two Cokes and two glasses of water.

Fifty miles west on Interstate 44, Dale was wrestling the rig to stay centered on the freeway as the winds had picked up, he guessed, to over sixty miles per hour directly from the North. Bradley, looking between the side of his father's face and the freeway felt pending gloom and doom overshadowing all else. "Dad, are you okay?"

"Did I tell you of the times I drove through Wyoming?"

"Probably. You've told me a lot of stories about your trips…"

"Well, there's a stretch of road that runs east and west in the middle of the state, in God's country. The road is extremely dangerous for eighteen-wheelers. The wind gets so strong that many rigs lose their loads and flip, or jackknife from over-correcting. I've driven that road many times. So far, so good. I just learned to drive and respect Mother Nature at the same time. It's not easy. And, you have every right to be concerned, but just know that I'm okay, I know how to drive in it."

"Sorry, Dad, for doubting you."

‘That's no problem, Son. The first time I drove that road I was scared… how do you say it? Shitless?"

"Yup." Bradley replied, relaxing a bit, sitting back in the seat, releasing his hands from a death grip on the door's hand hold apparatus.

A few minutes later, a ghastly gust of wind blew the outer wheels of the back trailer against the Jersey wall causing the rig to jerk violently to the left, but not hard enough for Dale to lose control. He let up on the accelerator pedal, thus permitting the truck to slow down considerably on its own. At forty-five miles per hour the rig handled much better. They passed a highway sign that told them Tulsa was forty-two miles ahead, equating to one hour if they kept up the current speed, which Dale planned to do.

The meeting in Peter's office was delayed. Frantically, his employees used every conceivable means to contact fellow staff members in Adak, Alaska, to no avail. The news was not being helpful in any way; it was not disclosing any injuries or fatalities, nor was there any confirmation of survivors, or best case their facility was not hit.

With a heavy heart, the man implored his friend by calling him once again, "Jim, I need some help here. The news is reporting a military aircraft dropped a bomb or several bombs on Adak, Alaska. We opened a warehouse up there two years ago. I'm not able to make contact with them using every conventional manner. Could you please check out the area?"

"We heard that news as well. My sources tell me that a fully loaded plane took off from the Naval Air Station, and that something went horribly wrong. Preliminary reports from intelligence there are that the plane crashed on or near the civilian airport very close by. There are no reports of survivors. Collateral damage from the blast is quite heavy. Before you called, we'd performed a sweep of the area which revealed no buildings within two ground miles were left standing."

Peter grimaced at hearing the report. His third warehouse was located on land immediately adjacent to the airport. Speechless, the man sat in his chair with his head resting in his hands. After a few minutes to regain a logical thought pattern and a modicum of composure, "Thanks, Jim. We'll be in touch."

He reached across the desk and pushed the button to terminate the secure call. He looked up and out to his managers sitting around a conference table awaiting further orders. The room was totally silent. Not a breath of air was heard. Peter took in a very deep breath, exhaled about halfway, then using all remaining breath disclosed, "There are no known survivors. I'm sorry."

Ten of Granger's top managers had relocated to Adak to up and run the operations there. They were well known. All were young upstarts with relatively newly formed families. The oldest was thirty-seven years old.

A tall man in the room, Seth Green, arose from his seat and walked to the door. He turned to Peter and said, "I'll be back in a day or two, Sir."

Peter cringed knowing the man had to give the news to his niece, the manager's daughter, and his brother. The owner replied, "Take as much time as you need. I'm sorry."

"Me, too." The man made his exit, softly closing the door behind him on the way out.

The room, still hushed, awaited further news from their boss, but there was none for the moment as he fought hard to regain his composure.

Ellen Nusniack, operations manager for the Woodward facility, offered, "We're all grieving right now. Unless Peter sees differently, please take the rest of the week off. We'll see you in here Monday morning."

Peter looked up, slowly nodding his approval. As his staff stood to leave, he said, ""Rex would you stay behind? I need to speak with you. Ellen, you can go as well. The evaluations can wait. Ladies and gentlemen, you will not be docked any paid time off accruals."

Everybody filed out of Peter's office, except for Ellen and Rex Masters. They approached Peter's desk. Peter said, "Ellen, please go home. My conversation with Rex is private. Thank you for all of your hard work. I appreciate it."

Peter knew that Ellen would continue to do her work for the company. Managers were given remote access. The woman nodded, then made her exit and closed the door behind her.

"Sit down, please."

Rex, a strapping young man, aged twenty-five, had just returned from a five year stint in the Marine Corps where he'd received training for and carried out special operation assignments to unknown places. The man, due to top secret clearance, had been unable to disclose what he had done or where he'd been deployed. When Rex had returned he answered Peter's curious question with a ‘if I tell you, Sir, then I would have to kill you, sorry Sir.'

When he returned to Granger, Peter assigned him to system securities, fraud detection, and to keep an open link with competing corporations.

"Rex, what I am about to share with you is confidential, on a need to know basis. You need to know."

Rex sat straight in the chair, nodded, "Yes, Sir." His gaze did not shift away from Peter's.

The two men regarded one another for a moment or two before Peter foraged on, "Fred Phillips. What do you know about him?"

"He and his congregation preach hate. He was disbarred from the Kansas judiciary, and the SBC took his credentials. He's a nut case, Sir."

"True that. Rex, I have information, solid information that he and his ilk run retraining camps for boys and girls. Most, but not all of the kids identify as gay. Some are runaways. Some just got a raw deal in life."

"Yes, Sir. How can I help?"

"How many missions were you intimately involved in during your tours in Iraq and Afghanistan?"

"Twenty seven. We brought out 74 children."

"Mr. Phillips has several camps for youth as I described before. Right now we only know of two cells, both in Breckenridge, Texas. According to information I have available Mr. Phillips was intimately involved in both. The abuse to the children is nothing less than horrific. No child, or adult for that matter, should ever be subjected to it."

"Yes, Sir. When do you want me to deploy? My wife will understand. She wouldn't expect anything less."

"Tonight. Your mission is to find and bring Mr. Phillips to justice. If necessary, if he is not cooperative, which would not surprise me in the least, he should have justice brought to him."

"The kids?"

"They are safe. Like I said, we do not know of other cells, but we do know there has to be more than just Breckenridge. Let me give you their backgrounds so that you know what the man is capable of."

Peter saved Lawrence and Eric's history for last, Eric first. "This boy allegedly was used by Breckenridge law enforcement for entertainment. He was subjected to crimes that fall under Hate Crime statutes. But that isn't all." Peter closed the picture of Eric's face. With a single click of the mouse, a picture of Eric's back was displayed on the 60 inch screen.

For the first time since the briefing began, Rex rapidly blinked, and then reached his hands up to wipe away tears that threatened to fall. Peter switched pictures back to Eric's face. In this picture, Eric's smile was infectious. It was taken several days after rescue. Rex cleared his throat several times while looking at the picture. After searching that boy's eyes, Rex turned to Peter, "That boy is safe, correct?"

"He is. Cute boy. He's a real trooper."

"Yes." Rex replied. He got up, walked to the water dispenser and poured a glass and drank it down quickly, returned to his seat and looked into Peter's eyes. "I do not understand why men do this to children. I'll never understand. I have seen enough. I will leave today."

"Rex there is one more boy that you need to know about." Peter flashed Lawrence's picture on the screen. Rex turned around in his seat, then took in a deep breath. "This, of course, is Lawrence James Ashwood, the President's son. His penis was injured as well, however he had more serious problems; problems that could have very well taken his life…"

Rex interrupted, "Sir, we provided a Medivac team to get him out. Two high dignitaries of Iranian descent were dispatched when they attempted to interrupt the rescue. At the time, I was not aware the boy was Mr. President's son.""Rex, to close the gap, we have every reason to believe that Ashwood has been and continues to be funding the retraining operations. We have proof that Mr. Ashwood has funneled millions of dollars to Burroughs West Baptist Church, Mr. Phillips' empire, and his political campaigns. To be perfectly frank, Phillips is wanted alive with the hopes that he'll squeal like a virgin when confronted. He's a pussy motherfucker. Anybody who abuses children like he does is a piece of shit. But… he could be used to our advantage. The Justice Department is all over it. They want his ass."

"Fuck Washington."

Peter smiled reservedly.

Rex looked directly into Peter's eyes to state, "He's mine. He's all mine. I have two other men, two men who I trust my life to; they and I will be more than happy to serve justice on that prick son of a bitch. He'll squeal like a porcupine. Mr. Granger, I'm not too sure that Mr. Phillips will be brought to a court of law for disposition. I am not in a position to tell you what to do… however I've made this personal. I request a leave of absence."

"No, not necessary. Not only no, but consider your mission fully funded. Excuse me for a moment."

Peter got up, walked out of his office, entered the accounting office, opened a safe, extracted a sizeable amount of cash, returned to his office and entered a ‘Capital Expenditure, Security Upgrade' transaction into the system. He then handed the cash to Rex, and said, "If you need more, you have it. Just say so."

2:45am, Central Time Zone, 3:45AM Eastern Time Zone, November 8, 2012

The last ten miles were treacherous. Not only was the wind a big problem, but it had started snowing. At first it was light and fluffy, but then changed to heavy wet flakes. Thankfully, the road temperature was above freezing thus preventing accumulations or ice formation.

Several minutes later, Dale pulled the big rig into the fuel bay.

Bradley, previously sleeping, awakened with a startle, looked all around to see where they were, and then said, "Gotta go, Dad." With that said, the boy bounded down the stairs and raced into the building and disappeared from sight.

Dale's body was not moving too fast, in fact he was nearly frozen in place, his arms and upper back, the main recipient of the gunshots, were stiff and sore from sitting in one place for several hours in a row.

He then about had a heart attack when the drivers' door was pounded on. Just as he leaned over, he saw Carlin's face appear in the window. Dale quickly rolled down the window and accepted Carlin's entry. The boy wrapped his arms around Dale's neck and planted a kiss on the man's cheek.

Next boy on the scene was Robbie. He clambered up the steps and wiggled in next to Carlin.

Jeremy came out, walked around to the drivers' side door and chuckled at seeing his father being mobbed by two boys, his son and his son's boyfriend. Jeremy, noting the storm coming in, feeling a sense of urgency, inserted the fuel nozzle into the tank to begin the fueling process.

The boys soon clambered down. Jeremy helped them off the high step in case the steps were slick. Dale opened the door and prepared to descend. He looked down to Jeremy, "I haven't said anything to Bradley, but the roads are starting to get a bit dicey."

Jeremy frowned, stepped aside to permit Dale to descend. "How bad is a bit dicey?"

"Not bad. The main problem is the wind. Well, I'm going inside to use the facilities and to get a cup of coffee."

"Everybody is sitting in the back corner. I'll finish up fueling. Go ahead."

"Thanks, Son." Dale said, then turned and headed inside, but before he got there, he turned around, walked back and asked Jeremy, "Have you heard from John and his troops?"

"Yes, about half an hour ago. They should be here within the hour."

"Is everybody here okay?"

"Yeah, they're doing surprisingly well. I think the boys have already decided that they're riding in Adam's motorhome. Can't say that I blame them. It's been pretty cramped even in Robbie's parents' large crossover. Besides, they've taken to Wayne, Adam's kid."

"I was wondering how that would work out."

Meanwhile, the kids were busy doing their stuff in the men's room at the back of the building. As Dale walked in a wet paper towel struck him in the face. Not only that, but, Bradley was on his way out. Carlin's expression quickly turned from glee to horror as Grandpa took hold of the towel, removed it from his face and held it out toward the perpetrator. Robbie, standing at the sink, also had an expression of horror on his face. And then, unable to stop himself… smiled, then broke out laughing hysterically, nearly falling on his butt.

"Very funny. Haa. Haa. Haa." Grandpa groaned. Urgently, he walked toward the urinals to take care of business. Carlin, letting his guard down, walking toward the sink, was unprepared when Dale swooped upon him, picked his body up and walked toward the toilets. When they arrived, with Carlin screaming "NO!" Dale entered one and acted as though he was going to dunk his grandson, but stopped in the nick of time and let the boy go.

The boys quietly left the restroom, still not quite sure Dale was finished with retributions, and returned to the table, leaving the adult at the urinal.

Several minutes later, after ‘officially' wiping his face with a cold watered paper towel, Dale returned to find the boys gravitated around a chocolate skinned boy. Dale sat down next to Christian, patted his back and joined in on light conversation while they waited for John and his troops to arrive so that they could do the final leg of the trip.

Christian, Dale noted, was very quiet. He sensed the boy was afraid. About what he had no idea, other than possibly being around so many people he didn't know. Dale put his arm around the boy's shoulders and gave him an affectionate pat and a light squeeze. The child settled in, though he kept to himself and didn't join in the conversation which had turned to the weather forecast being broadcast on an overhanging digital TV set.

Several minutes passed. Christian's increasing anxiety caught everyone's attention, but nobody said anything, they just watched him every now and again. Dale, sensing something was up and that, perhaps the boy didn't want to say anything out loud, leant down to whisper in Christian's ear, "Everything okay?"

Christian shrugged his shoulders. After several questions inquiring about his wellbeing, Dale stood, gently took hold of Christian's arm and led him away from the group to see what was going on with the youngster. They walked over to the toy section where nobody was around.

"Look, Christian, I know you're probably overwhelmed by all the people at our table. I can vouch for everybody when I say you are welcomed; you're one of us, and that we'll soon be on our way. Would you like to ride up in the truck with me?"

The boy nodded vigorously. A smile appeared, but then turned serious again. Using his fingers, he motioned for Dale to bend down so that he could say something. "Sir," the child took hold of Dale's massive arm and wrapped his hand around it as much as he could, "I, uhm…" The boy pointed toward the front of his pants, but wouldn't say anything more.

Dale, catching on, replied, "The restrooms are to the left and down the hall, last door on the right."

Christian quickly scrunched up his face. A lone tear threatened to fall from his left eye. He quickly reached up and wiped it away. His body lightly shuddered. He said, "Sir, I'm afraid. I've never done anything in such a public place."

"Oh… okay, now I understand. Do you want me to go with you?"

"Yes, please."

"Would you rather one of the guys…" Dale didn't get to finish his sentence before Christian began softly shaking his head in the negative.

"Okay, let's go. No problem." Dale offered. Christian put his arm around Dale's back. Dale put his arm around Christian's shoulders and led them to the restroom. The facilities were busy. They had to wait. Christian began fidgeting his feet and looking up into Dale's eyes. Dale, sensing urgency, took them down the aisle and found an empty stall at the end of the row. "Go ahead and do your business. I'll stand out here and wait for you until you're finished, okay?"

Christian jumped startled when two toilets flushed at the same time. He looked into Dale's eyes, visually apologizing for being so afraid. Nevertheless, the boy entered the stall at Dale's urging. Dale reached over the door and closed it, but didn't try to reach down to latch it. "Go ahead, you'll be okay." Dale turned away but kept his hand on the door in order to give the boy privacy and reassurance that he wasn't going anywhere.

The sound of jeans falling to the floor and underwear sliding down a pair of legs, and then the sounds of relief told Dale that Christian was okay, but stayed to help allay the kid's fears of using a public restroom. Soon enough the sound of a tissue roll indicated that the boy was finished with his needs, and that he was okay.

Until… The loud swish of the automatic toilet flusher filled the air. Unable to stop himself, beside himself with stark raving fear coursing through his veins, Christian bolted, ran into Dale's belly and held on tight, with his pants and underwear still on the floor, thus exposing everything he had, which was quite a plenty.

Dale couldn't help it. A low rumbling chuckle escaped, but he mitigated the damages by reaching down and pulling up the boy's pants and underwear for him, and verbally reassuring the child that all was well, that most all public toilets did that, and that there was nothing to worry about.

Little consolation that was. Christian finished fastening his pants. They walked to the sink where Dale urged the boy to wash his hands well. He did. Then Christian was ready to get out of there – sooner rather than later.

They made their way back to the table after looking out the large picture windows up front to see how much snow was coming down. With the wind fiercely whipping, none of the snow was accumulating and the roads looked okay thus far.

All attention was on Wayne. He was sitting in the chair, but his eyes were staring straight ahead. He was there, but wasn't. Melissa's mother, an RN, was busily wiping away gunk and junk from Wayne's mouth. Obviously the boy had lost the contents of his stomach… luckily for everyone he was sitting on the end of the bench seat and had leant toward the space between the tables.

Dale asked, looking toward Adam, "Do you want to take him outside for some fresh air?

"He won't be able to walk right now. He's having a prolonged seizure. This one is one of the worst ones he's had. But, yeah, I need to get him to the motorhome so that he wakes up in a familiar setting."

With that said, the men gently manhandled the boy out of the booth at which time Adam hoisted Wayne into his arms. The men took him outside and made their way to the motorhome. Melissa's mother followed them. Melissa and Bradley tagged along. Bradley, at Adam's urging, grabbed the keys from Adam's pocket and opened the door and held it so that they could get inside and out of the weather. Adam carried Wayne to the rear bedroom and laid him on the bed. Wayne was still out of it in his seizure.

Jeremy and Adam stripped off Wayne's pants and shirt. Melissa's mother grabbed a washcloth and towel from the little linen closet, wet them with lukewarm water then applied them to Wayne's face, taking care to avoid his eyes which were twitching.

Wayne soon began clearing his throat. His eyes fluttered a few times, but they didn't open. Melissa's mother stated that the boy was beginning to emerge, and that they should remain as quiet as possible so as to not startle him, which they did. At the same time, Adam arranged a sheet to cover the child awakening from a protracted epileptic seizure. He, too, was very concerned about the length of time it was taking for Wayne to emerge.

The rest of the party, seeing that Adam had things under control, walked out of the room and into the main living area of the cabin, took seats, and looked at one another, not knowing what to say or do next. Melissa's mother spoke, "Does anyone know Wayne's seizure history?"

Dale replied, "I only know that he has these every now and again. Adam explained that Wayne had lost a lot of blood from a stabbing that caused his heart to stop for quite some time while the doctors worked on him. He has some problems with self-control and short-term memory. That's all I know."

"That explains a lot," Melissa's mother said professionally, "but, it doesn't explain everything. I'm going to go check on him. Why don't you guys stay here in case we need some help?"

Everybody nodded affirmatively.

Bea returned to the bedroom, entered and closed the door behind her. She noted that he was sound asleep, evidenced by deep snores emanating from his nose and mouth. Adam stated, "Sometimes they're quick. Sometimes not. This is the longest one so far, since I've known him."

"I'm sorry, I haven't introduced myself. My name is Beatrice. Everybody calls me Bea."

"Adam Wright. It is nice to meet you. I'm glad you're here. Wayne's seizure was very bad and prolonged."

"Yes, I am concerned, as well. By the way, I am a Nurse Practitioner specializing in pediatric and adolescent medicine. I'd like to examine his neurological status..."

"Yes, please do. I appreciate your concern for him. He's had a rough life considering his childhood was filled with using drugs, alcohol, and indiscriminate sex. Just so you know, he was knifed and died on the way to the operating room. His physician was Doctor June Mauer, a Trauma Surgeon in Chicago." Bea nodded her understanding, then turned her attention to Wayne.

As soon as she'd sat on the bed, Wayne briefly opened his eyes, quickly closed them, reached up his hand and scratched his nose, then his hand flopped down onto his neck. He took several deep breaths, scratched his pubes, tweaked his penis, then held it in his hand, squeezed it once, then fell back to sleep.

Bea performed several neurological checks as the boy slowly but surely regained consciousness, all the while talking to him soothingly, assuring him that all was well, that he can wake up, that Adam was in the room, that she was a nurse there to help him awaken, and to not be afraid…

Twenty to twenty-five minutes later, Wayne began following commands, and purposefully opened his eyes and looked all around, and became afraid when he couldn't see Adam. But when the man moved around so that he could be seen by the boy, Wayne relaxed. As time went along, he became more and more awake, alert and oriented.

Rachel entered the room, sat on the bed, leaned over to gently kiss Wayne's forehead, and then rubbed his hand reassuringly. "Wayne, are you awake, Honey?"

Wayne opened his eyes, searched long and deep into Rachel's, and then nodded in the affirmative, squeezing her hand in return. "Where am I?"

Adam replied, "We're in the motorhome taking a trip, remember?"

"Oh…" The expression on his face revealed that he was trying to remember. Absent mindedly, the boy was lightly rubbing his penis using tiny little strokes. Nevertheless, it was responding. Thinking nothing of it, Rachel, having done the same thing with Carlin, pulled a clean sheet from the little cubbyhole and covered the boy. Wayne looked toward Adam, then quickly pulled his hand from beneath the sheet. "Uhmmph, I'm thirsty. Can I get a glass of water? I feel like rubber."

Adam fetched a Dew from the apartment size refrigerator in the kitchen area. He said to the silently inquiring men, "He's waking up. He'll probably fall asleep."

"We're worried about him, Adam." Jeremy said sincerely.

"Yeah, me too. He's never had one that lasted this long. Steven, in case I forget to say thank you – thank you. I'm really glad you and your wife are here."

"If there's anything we can do, just say so. We're all in this together… I'm glad my wife is able to be of assistance."

Adam nodded and returned to the bedroom area to see that Rachel and Bea were seated on the edge of the bed with Wayne between them. Bea was asking Wayne questions like if he remembered where he was, what he was doing, who the President was, who opened the door and came in, and other simple various and sundry inquiries. He was responding appropriately, but didn't remember Asshole's name, which is okay. In fact Adam smirked at the boy.

With considerable effort and support, Wayne stood, reached for the glass Adam was holding out to him, took it, and drank it down effortlessly. Adam, nearly consumed with worry and concern, gently took the boy into his arms and held on firmly, wiping a tear from his eye into Wayne's kinky hair. Wayne slowly wrapped his arms around Adam, tilted his head toward the man and kissed Adam softly on the lips. The child was shaking from the exertions so they put him to bed, covered him up with the blankets, and all but Bea left the room as she wanted to check him over one more time before they got on the road for the last leg of their journey.

Bradley, Carlin, Robbie and Christian, seeing Adam walking across the parking lot, quickly got up from their seats and intercepted Adam's return to the motorhome with questions focused on Wayne's wellbeing. Adam assured them that all was going to be okay, that they could enter the motorhome if they chose to. They wanted to. Adam went inside to tell the waitress that they would be returning before too long. As he was leaving, the sight of a boy cleaning the area around the table caught Adam's attention. The man walked to the young man, thanked him profusely, then reached for his wallet, extracted a $20.00 bill and pushed it deep into the young man's pocket. The young man, startled, turned toward Adam, causing the older adult to get a handful of his youth. The touch was quick, fleeting, seemingly accidental, but didn't go unnoticed – by either of them. Adam quickly removed his hand. The boy went on about his business, but not before giving a barely perceptible crooked smile to Adam.

Unnerved, Adam quickly made his way out of the building and headed to the motorhome parked across the lot, all the while chastising himself for being so foolish.

Dale, Rachel, Christian, Bradley, Carlin and Robbie were sitting on the sofa quietly talking amongst themselves when Adam walked in and closed the door. Adam sat down and joined in.

A few minutes later, Bea made her appearance. She beckoned Adam to come to her. He did. With a concerned expression on her face, Bea offered, professionally, "Adam. Wayne is out of and awake from his seizure. He has no recall, which is not uncommon for any type of seizure. As a nurse practitioner, I recommend that he see a… a neurosurgeon, or, at best, a neurologist – ASAP. I believe there is something much more important going on than his period of oxygen deprivation… I do not want to worry you…"

"I'm already concerned, Bea. I have been concerned for a while, now. His seizures are firing more frequently, and they are more pronounced. If you don't mind, John, being a physician, is someone who I'd like Wayne to see as a patient… at least get a doctor's take."

"Yes… I agree. I'll talk to him once we get to our destination, or before if Wayne has another one."

With that said, Bea returned to the main section while Adam walked to the door to the bedroom, stood there contemplating what in the world was he going to do next? Although he and Wayne had never talked about it, directly, the man had strongly considered adopting Wayne as his son. For all the years between his biological son's untimely and accidental death he had longed for another boy to call him dad. James had been close, but it hadn't worked out.

With his mind made up, Adam softly opened the door to the room where Wayne was staying after his seizure. The boy was lying on his back with his hand deep inside of his underwear holding his ample supply of male-flesh, sound asleep with his head turned toward the door facing Adam. The man stood there observing the chocolate skinned boy's chest rising and falling deeply and regularly and peacefully. Unable to stop himself, the man entered the room, walked to Wayne's sleeping form, leant down and planted a kiss on his forehead, then stole out of the room, closing the door behind him.

The clock on the stove read 3:50AM. He wondered where John and his troops were… were they safe? Was the snow and winds giving them trouble?

Dale, seeing the worried expression on Adam's face, stated, "We talked to John a couple of minutes ago. They're about 30 minutes away. The roads aren't too bad despite the heavy snow and wind. How's Wayne?"

"Uhm, oh, sorry, he's sleeping. I guess I'm… yes, I'm worried about him." Adam replied distantly, deep in thought about what Bea had told him.

"Perfectly understandable. As I said, Doctor John will be arriving within the half-hour. I'm positive he'll be more than happy to a take a look at him. We'll just go from there."Adam nodded in agreement.

Sam Sam, being Sam Sam, wearing only a smile, poked his head through the doorway to Mike's office. When Mike looked up, the boy walked in and climbed into his daddy's lap, looked into his eyes, "Daddy, I know you're really pissed. I felt it all the way from my room. Your ears are red. I've only seen you like this once before… whose ass are you going to kick this time, and what did they do?"

Mike smiled, leaned his head down, kissed Sammy's cheek, and then squeezed the boy into his broad expansive chest. Choosing his words very carefully, he stated, "Some very bad guys that hurt little children and won't be hurting any more afterward. I'm not going to go into details with you. Just know that they will be brought to justice... Oh yes, serious justice."

Sammy, sensing his father's distress, wrung his hands and involuntarily shuddered when he remembered the last time he'd heard his daddy's words spoken that way. "Daddy, don't die. I love you. We all do." He then burrowed his small frame into Mike's chest. Mike wrapped his arms around the boy even tighter than they already were.

"Don't worry, Sam Sam, I'm not going to be on this mission, but I am going to be in the middle of it. I'll be right here, and I'll be watching what's happening. Now, why aren't you in bed?" The man said as he, reached his hands up and connected with his son's rib cage, eliciting those well -known Sammy giggles from the boy as he scampered off his daddy's lap and headed to the doorway, turning only long enough to flash his infectious smile, and then he was off, on his way back to bed.

Mike smiled. The smile, though, was through gritted teeth, recalling how that little boy had been through so much in his young life.

He got up from the chair in which he was sitting, closed the door, returned, pulled out his sat phone, clicked speed dial #4 and pressed SEND.

To be continued

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