Subject: Who will catch my fall?
Chapter 13: (M/b, b/b, abusive situations, no sex)
WARNING: This story contains descriptions of abusive acts, both physical and sexual in nature, involving MINOR boys. I wish to explain that this story is not true! Further, it is not intended to promote illegal acts against minors, but to educate people as to what a minor child has to do in order to survive in a severely abusive environment that they are trapped. One of the most famous examples of this was Steven Stayner, who was kidnapped at age 7 and severely abused for 7 years. He was subjected to physical, sexual, and mental abuse. I have had the privilege of working with a number of boys like him, and I consider all of them to be extremely brave. Many people still believe that children who stay with an abuser/captor do so because they want to. This is utterly untrue, and is proven through numerous interviews, behavioral, and psychological studies conducted with these victims. A young child does not have the same ability to cope with stressful situations as an adult would because they have not had the privilege of time and experience that an adult has. Therefore, they rely more on their basic instincts, and learn quickly what they need to do in order to survive. Thus, when they are removed from that abusive situation, they have an extremely hard time adjusting to their new environment because they are not familiar with trust, caring, and compassion. These are the emotions the child has to learn once they are put into a new non-abusive environment. People assume that these emotions are natural. Many do not realize that all of our human emotions are learned.
The following story is a work of fiction; however, it does incorporate actual events that I learned from various victims I counseled over the years. It also contains certain facts from my personal notes from one of the cases that I worked during my career as a forensic psychologist which is better known as a criminal profiler. While certain facts have been changed to protect the rights of individuals and victims, most of the basic facts are true. However, this story is still a work of fiction because I have created, embellished, and alters many facts and individual characters for this story. Also, this story is not intended to be erotic or sexual in nature, but because I have given this story's e-publishing rights to Nifty Archives, I am required to include this legal disclaimer. Therefore, I do not encourage others to perform any kind of abusive or sexual act with minors as described in this story. If the subject of Man/boy sex, child abuse, and/or rape of minors offends you, or this material is illegal to possess such material of this nature in your place of residence, or if you are under the legal age to possess such material, do not read further! Finally, I would like to thank Nifty for e-publishing this story because without their archive, I would not have the large fan base now.
By downloading this story: "You implicitly declare and affirm under penalties of perjury that you are not a minor or in the company of a minor, and are entitled to have access to material intended for mature, responsible members of society capable of making decisions about the content of documents they wish to read." The story is copyrighted under my pseudonym, Snwdemon and pen name Damion Perez. A copy has been placed in these archives for your enjoyment. The story cannot be used to derive monetary gain. However, if you want to place a copy of this story in your free access archives or free access website, then I give my permission for you to do so. If your website requires payment for access and you wish to place a copy of my story on your site, then please email me for my permission. The story cannot be placed in any archives or website that require payment for access, or be printed and distributed in any form that requires payment either directly or indirectly without my written consent first. Any similarity to individuals, living, or dead, is completely accidental. Reference is also made in context to some locations, businesses, characters, and people to define the story line. No other implication about the true sexuality or actions of the people, businesses, or places mentioned is intended.
Recap from Chapter 12:
"Okay, let's go and do this. I will seal the court records for now, and I want you all to keep me updated to your progress with verbal reports each week, but I will trust you will handle that Lee." He told them before ushering them all out and into the courtroom. Once everybody had returned to their seats, he came in and called the court back into session.
"It has come to my knowledge that some unfortunate events have happened to this young man, and I expect that these issues will be handled accordingly by your office Mrs. Jenkins. I am also forwarding these transcripts to the appropriate departments, and Chief Smith has assured me that he will make sure that a complete and thorough investigation will be made. As for the minor's status, I am ordering that this petition of adoption be granted and be finalized after the one year probationary period has passed. I expect your office to monitor the status during the probationary period Mrs. Jenkins. As for Ms. Murdock's status; mitigating circumstances has been presented to me by Mrs. Jenkins, and I have issued the appropriate orders to rectify those issues. If there are no other issues that demand this court's attention, then let us conclude our business so we can all go home. Therefore, it is ordered that the petition of adoption by Father Tom McGrath be approved." He said before looking over to Lucky and Tom. "Would you like to have your new Dad's last name young man?" He asked and Lucky nodded excitedly as the realization of his dream was coming to pass. "Then it is so ordered, let the record reflect that the minor's name be changed to Lucky Jordan McGrath on this 24th day of December, 1995. If there is no other business then, all of you have a Merry Christmas, and happy New Year. Court's adjourned." He said with a final bang of his gavel before getting up and coming down off the dais to shake Tom's hand. Lucky rushed over and gave him a crushing hug of thanks as he came over to him.
"Thank you sir, you gave me the best Christmas present in the whole world a kid could ever want." He said as he cried happy tears.
"Well you deserve it Lucky, and I want you to go home and have a wonderful Christmas with your friends and your new Dad, alright?" He told him as he bent down and looked at Lucky, and Lucky nodded before standing up on his tiptoes and kissing him on the cheek. Judge Orndorf just smiled at him before watching him go over to Simon and Ari while he shook Tom's hand.
"Thank you again, your honor." Tom told him as they shook hands.
"Your welcome, but I expect to be seeing you quite often in the next few months. Just take care of him because he has been hurt enough already. You are a good man Tom, and he is lucky to have you." He told Tom, but Tom disagreed.
"No, we are the lucky ones. That is why his name is Lucky, his mother, Paula Snyder; she died in an auto accident on the way to the hospital when she was in premature labor with him. She somehow managed to survive and remain conscious long enough to deliver him eight weeks prematurely and she died before the paramedics could get to the scene. The cop who delivered him at the scene named him Lucky because he said that it was a miracle that he was alive, and the name stuck. Since then, everyone who has ever come into contact with him knows that they have met someone very special because he can touch your heart with just a glance. Now tell me that he has not touched you in that same way because I know he has. We are the lucky ones your honor, and not just because of him either, but because of all three of them. God has delivered them to us, and he has placed their well being in our hands, and I know that none of us will let them down...not as long as we are still here to draw a breath at least." Tom told him, and Judge Orndorf had to agree. He knew that all three boys were special, and that all of them had touched him in the same way as Tom said. He was not an overly devout man, but he knew that for whatever reason that these boys lives were now all of their responsibilities, and that they would not fail in that responsibility.
"On that, I must agree with you Father. Now, I know that all of us have many things to do, and if it is not a problem, my wife and I would very much like to attend the festivities tomorrow." He said to him as they stopped beside the door to the courtroom.
"You are always welcomed at St. Michael's, and we will be honored if you attended tomorrow. I plan on having the morning mass for the boys to meet the congregation at 11AM. Then we will have our children's pageant at 4 pm, followed by dinner at 5:30 pm, and the children opening their presents right after. Then I will wrap up the day with our evening mass at 8PM. Of course, there will be our traditional midnight mass tonight and 6AM sunrise service tomorrow if you want to attend, but the boys will not attend until 11AM. I just ask that you bring a toy for a boy and a girl with you is all. Also, please do not bring toys for a young child, just strictly for the ages 9 on up to 16." Tom told him, and Judge Orndorf agreed. They shook hands once more before they all filed out of the courtroom while Judge Orndorf, Juan, and Chief Smith returned to his chambers. Once they were in the hall, a protective detail of four uniformed officers met, and escorted them to the side entrance to the municipal complex where John's van was waiting for them. They all got into the van, and then followed their police escort back to St. Michael's where Simon, Ari, and Lucky had a tearful goodbye before Tom and Lucky went inside while they drove home.
End of Chapter 12
I want to thank Miguel Sanchez, and BenBear for proofing this chapter.
Sunday, December 24, 1995 – (4:30 pm)
Inside, Tom met with two of the plain-clothes officers who were assigned for their protection. He then brought retired Bishop Mark Carlisle up to speed about what had transpired, and then told Lucky to go get his things because he was moving into Tom's quarters. Lucky left with one of the plain-clothes officers, while Tom, Mark, and the remaining officer retired to his office.
"It has been an eventful day Mark, but a blessed one too." Tom said to his friend and mentor.
"That it has been my friend, and let me be the first to congratulate you on your new father status." Mark said to him before they both offered the officer to join them as they sat down. "Tom, this is Officer Steve Johnson, and he will be handling the security for you and Lucky. I have already briefed him about the changes that will be made, and I hope you don't mind, but I had Sister Helena prepare the spare room in your quarters for Lucky."
"Of course I don't mind Mark, but how did you know that my petition would be approved?" Tom asked him.
"I would love to say that it was divine intuition, but the truth is that I have a friend who works for Judge Orndorf, and he called me a few minutes before you arrived. I also know that Lucky has spent more nights with you in your quarters instead of with his roommates since he has come back to St. Michael's. I was going to suggest that he move to your quarters even if the petition was denied because he has been traumatized by what was done to him. Until he is recovered mentally and spiritually from it, it would be best for him to be someplace where he does not feel threatened." He said with a warm and knowing smile to Tom.
"Officer Johnson, I appreciate everything you are doing for my son and me. As you know, this is all quite new to me, so please tell me how to proceed." He said to the officer as he joined them. However, Lucky knocked and entered with a perplexed look on his face, and he was followed by the young policeman.
"Dad, all my stuff is gone." He said with a confused expression.
"That is because Father Mark had it moved to your new bedroom in our apartment. Now, this is Officer Johnson, and he would like to talk to us for a few minutes. You can sit here with us while he explains everything to us." Tom told him with a quick embrace, and they all noticed Lucky's ecstatic smile when Tom said `our apartment' instead of his.
"Ok Dad," Lucky responded before sitting down while Tom, Mark, and Officer Johnson also sat.
"Let me just congratulate you on your good fortune first, and I hope everything goes well for the both of you. For the surveillance, I would like to have two of my officers join your staff here. I would love to have them pose as priests, but that would be offensive to you and the church. So, help me out here and tell me what they can do to blend in here, and also be able to remain close to both of you?" Officer Johnson asked Tom.
"You are right about that being offensive, as well as sacrilegious too. However, what if your men were to join the church as a layman, or a deacon, or even possibly as teachers?" Tom asked him in response to his question.
"That would be great Father. I am not familiar with the workings of the Catholic Church, being Methodist myself along with Officer Michaels, but Officer Evans and Sloane here are Catholic. Gary even teaches bible study and catechism class to teens I think?" Officer Johnson explained while indicating two of the plain-clothes officers standing nearby. The younger of them stepped forward, and knelt beside Father Mark.
"I am Officer Gary Sloane; may I have you blessing your Grace?" The young, dark haired man, who appeared to be in his late teens to early twenties, asked Father Mark as he kissed his Bishop's ring on his hand.
"May the Lord bless you and your family, and light your way on the path of righteousness my son. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen." Father Mark intoned softly while he made the sign of the cross before allowing him to stand.
"I take it that both of you are experienced undercover officers?" Tom asked them, and Gary nodded in response. "May I ask what church you attend Officer Sloane?"
"St. Augustine's in Redmond, Father. I am a layman, and I teach and supervise the young adult bible study and catechism there under Father Jackson." Tom said.
"Yes, I know Father Jackson, we were at the seminary together, and took our vows together also. He is a good man, and a good priest. I can see no problem with you in the role of Layman here, and Officer Evans or Officer Michaels can be your Deacon. As for you Officer Johnson, we can have you here as the legal aid director of the women's shelter/group home and another officer as your assistant. This way you can have one of your men near Lucky all the time." He said with Officer Johnson agreeing with him. Tom then looked at Lucky, "I expect you to mind your manners, and to obey these men without question; understood?" He said and Lucky nodded timidly.
"He can call him Brother Gary, and/or use Mr. Evans and Mr. Johnson for us, while Officer Michaels is old enough to be a Deacon I believe. We will mainly stay in the background, but if any of us tells either of you that `it looks like a storm is brewing,' then I want you both to stop what you are doing and come to this room immediately. I also want you to stay here until one of us tells you that it is ok to leave. The phrase is our code to tell you that there is trouble afoot. This room opens into your living quarters, and to the church. This is the most secure part of the building because of its limited accessibility. Your living area also has a private entrance to the west side of the building, and we can use that as an escape route if needed. Officer Michaels will change the locks on it, install steel security doors, and wire the security system for the doors and windows. If either of you decide to go someplace; tell one of us by writing it down and passing it to us, or tell us where the note is after getting our attention. Address the front of it `For Deacon Michaels' so we will know that it is for us." Officer Johnson explained to them, and then spoke directly to Lucky. "The most important thing for you to remember is to not tell anyone that we are cops because we do not want anyone to know that we are here in order to protect you, do you understand young man?"
"I won't tell, I promise," Lucky said meekly, and Tom gave him a reassuring hug.
"Everything will be fine son, these men are our friends, and they just want to protect us. Now, why don't you go check out you new room, and change out of your new clothes. When I am finished here, we can go get some dinner. I think a little celebration is in order, so what would you like to eat?" Tom asked him, and Lucky brightened up immediately.
"Pizza!" He exclaimed with boyish enthusiasm.
"Only if it comes with salad too," Tom told him and Lucky's eyes narrowed a bit. They all could see, and almost hear the gears in his head spinning as he hopped up to his feet.
"If I promise to eat all of my salad, can we get breadsticks too?" He asked shrewdly.
"Yes, we can get breadsticks too." Tom said.
"Yeah!" Lucky exclaimed as he pumped his small fist in the air before leaping into Tom's arms. "I love you so much Dad. You promised to make everything better, and to stop them from hurting me again. You kept your promises too." He said as Tom hugged him tightly and kissed him before letting him go, and then they watching him scamper out of the room into the apartment.
"Spoiling him already Tom?" Father Mark asked him with a smile.
"Just a little, but he deserves it. Now then, you gentlemen are welcome to join us if you like." Tom told the officers present.
"Thank you all the same, but we still have some work to do. We will try and not get in your way too much though." Officer Johnson told him as he stood up. He then shook their hands, and they left Tom's office.
"Mark, I take it that you will be handling the details for our new Deacon and layman?" Tom asked the elderly priest as he made a fresh cup of coffee.
"Of course, I've got to do something to earn my keep here since I retired last year." Mark said with a chuckle. "I was able to speak with officer Sloane and Michaels before you arrived. One is a devout Catholic, while Michaels is Methodist, and both of them are quite active in their local churches. Gary Sloane is much older than he appears; although even I found it hard to believe him when he told me he was 35 married with two children."
"35? I thought he was still a wet behind the ears rookie who was maybe 24, and that was being generous too." Tom spluttered after choking on his coffee.
"Oh yes, he is 35, and his youthful looks are why he is working in undercover assignments. His last assignment was of him posing as a 17-year-old high school student. It was for the gang assaults at Clark High School that was on the news last year remember. I was assured that he is one of their most experienced undercover officers, and a 10-year veteran of the Metro police force." Father Mark told him, and Tom mulled this information over as he sat and sipped his coffee.
"That is good to hear, although his youthful appearance is a bit unnerving. What about the other officer who is to be our new Deacon?" Tom asked him after a few moments of silence.
"Jacob Michaels, he is a 20 year veteran of the force, a member of the S.W.A.T. team, an expert sharpshooter, and devout Methodist. He coaches his community's little league team, and is the Scout Master for the local Cub Scouts and Boys Scouts. He should have no problems here with his duties as Deacon. I will have Deacon Connors show him the ropes ok?" He explained, and Tom nodded thoughtfully as he absorbed this information.
"No, on second thought, don't bother him with those duties since he is only here for hopefully a short period of time. Let's use his coaching and Scout Master Talents instead for the kids. The children will love him, and it will provide a reason for him to be near the children and Lucky in particular. We will put him as the assistant recreation and athletics director under Brother Saul." Tom told him as he thought about the various duties that a Deacon has. He could see that all of the duties would hinder him, and keep him away from the children more than the other way around. Father Mark immediately agreed with him, and then excused himself saying it was time for his medication. Tom saw him to the door, and thanked him again before sitting at his desk to finish his coffee while he mulled over the events of the day. He appreciated the efforts the police were making to insure their security, but he could not help feeling uneasy about the web that he and Lucky had been drawn into.
He was still worried because St. Michael's was the largest Catholic Church in Seattle with the only exception being the Archdiocese at St. Francis's Cathedral in downtown Seattle. Another thing that worried him was St. Michael's overall size. The church itself could hold 1500 people, and its entire campus grounds covered three-square blocks with over twenty buildings. In addition to the group home and shelter, St. Michael's also ran a Catholic primary school and a high school that were located on the campus as well as a commune. It was at the primary school that Tom was planning on enrolling Lucky, Simon, and Ari once they were able to return to school. The entire staff at St. Michael's consisted of well over 200 people, and much of the campus was accessible to the public. Only the group home and the schools were restricted from public access. However, they were right about his office and apartment being the most secure location in the building, and now that the adoption was approved, Lucky would be close by much more. Therefore, he allowed himself to relax a bit, and started thinking about dinner as he locked the outer door to his office and went inside his apartment. He picked up the phone, and ordered them two medium pizzas, along with a double order of breadsticks, and two side salads, and a two-liter bottle of Pepsi to be delivered. Then, he had just emptied his pockets when Lucky came bounding out of his room dressed only in his t-shirt and underwear and jumped into his arms.
"I still can't believe it Dad. I think that it is all a dream, and that I'm going to wake up with everything the way it was." Lucky said as he hugged Tom tightly. Tom could feel how Lucky's small body was trembling, and then Lucky looked up into his face while tears spilled down his young pixie face. "Please say it's real. Say that it isn't a dream, and that you are my Dad for real...please?"
"It is for real Lucky, and you are not dreaming. For better or worse, you are now my son and always will be. I love you," Tom told him in a soft caring voice and Lucky buried his face into Tom's shoulder and cried as he released all of his pent up anxiety, happiness, and fear. For the next twenty minutes, Tom soothed his son as he walked back and forth between the living room and the small kitchen. He did not try to stop Lucky's tears though, because he knew that the tears were washing away the years of setbacks and pain that Lucky had endured. Once Lucky had cried his self out, it still took another ten minutes before he could speak.
"If this is a dream, then I don't ever want to wake up." He said finally in just barely over a whisper.
"Neither do I son, but that won't happen because this is for real, and for keeps. Nothing can change it now, and you are stuck with me for the rest of our lives." Tom told him as he gently brushed away Lucky's tears after he sat down on the couch. Just the sight of Lucky's tears elated Tom. Because for as long as he had known Lucky he could count on his two hands how many times Lucky had cried. In fact, today was the most Tom has seen Lucky cry in almost their entire three-year history together.
"You promise that you will never leave me...ever?" Lucky asked still trying to accept the truth of the matter.
"Not if I have a choice in the matter, then I promise that I will never leave you. However, I cannot speak for God, nor can I foresee any reason why he would take you or me away from this world either. So it looks like we are stuck with each other for a long time." Tom told him before kissing him on his forehead, and then nose.
"Thanks Dad," was all Lucky could manage to squeak out. Tom waited patiently while he continued to rub Lucky's arms, neck, shoulders, and back lightly. They were both startled back into reality when the bell for the side door rang. Tom got up and paid for their meal, and gave the teen delivery driver a twenty-dollar tip. He brought the food into the small kitchen/dinette and saw that Lucky had already set the table for them. Tom put the food on the counter, and then looked at his son for a moment. Lucky was getting ice in the glasses for the soda when he saw Tom looking at him. He immediately blushed while he glanced around to see if Tom was staring at something else, but he did not see anything.
"What?" He asked timidly while now being fully self-conscious too. Tom had seen Lucky completely naked a few times before while he was in the hospital. However, this was the first time that he saw Lucky as his son, and that changed the way he thought and felt. Before this, Tom had cared deeply about Lucky and his wellbeing, but now as a parent, he could see the small things that he had overlooked before since it was not his responsibility. Lucky was his responsibility now and he could see how much smaller he was physically compared to other boys his age at St. Michael's. He also could see how underdeveloped he appeared to be even though he was almost a teenager, and it worried him. Tom sat down in his chair at the small dinette table, and motioned Lucky to come over to him. Now worried that he had done something wrong, Lucky hesitated before meekly moving over to Tom.
"What's wrong Dad? I'm sorry if I messed up," he said softly as he sat the two glasses down on the table before facing Tom.
"You haven't done anything wrong son, I just noticed some things is all. Now that you are my responsibility, I want to do the best for you that I can. I know that you are skinny, but until now, I have not really noticed why you are so thin. See, normally boys who are real skinny tend to be taller than other boys are their ages, but you are smaller than other boys are your age as well as being skinny. You know that I was going to be a doctor before I became a priest, so I do not know why I have not noticed these things before. Let me look at you for a moment, and then we can eat. Afterwards, you can go take your bath and get your pajamas on." Tom told him, and Lucky relaxed once he knew that he was not in trouble, and he complied as Tom had him step back a little. He had Lucky take off his undershirt leaving him in just his loose briefs. Tom surveyed his small body, and now could see a myriad of physical discrepancies that he had missed seeing before. He saw how frightfully thin Lucky was, almost to the point of being boney, and how he had none of his adult teeth except his two top front ones which gave him a slight buck tooth appearance when he smiled. He saw the lack of muscle development, and lack of definition for Lucky's arms, legs, and chest regions that preadolescent boys normally had while his face still had the slight chubbiness that toddlers have. He had Lucky turn around in a complete circle as he noted these irregularities. Once he was facing him again, Tom pulled him a bit closer, and gave his a quick hug to reassure him before continuing.
"I think I know what is wrong, but I need to check one more thing. So relax, and try not to squirm too much," Tom told him while indicating what he intended to do. Lucky blushed pink before emitting a nervous giggle as Tom pulled the front of his briefs down exposing him until they were almost to his boney knees. Just as Tom had suspected, he could see that Lucky's genitals were still a bit underdeveloped for a boy of 10. However, the fact that confirmed Tom's suspicions was that Lucky seemed to not have any testicles at all because his tiny scrotum was pulled up tightly to his body with only the faintest hint of a bulge while his young circumcised penis appear to be normal for a ten year old. Lucky let out a high-pitched squeak, saying, "That tickles!" Before dissolving into laughter as Tom placed his fingers on his tiny scrotum and gently kneaded them together as he felt the two small pea sized testicles inside. Tom now had the answers he was looking for, and he knew that he had to take Lucky to a Pediatric Endocrinologist for treatment as soon as the holidays were over. He expected that the specialist would agree with his diagnosis after testing Lucky for some types of hormonal imbalances ad growth disorders. He would most likely need hormone replacement therapy because he was definitely not developing or growing normally. Tom pulled up Lucky's underwear, and helped him put his t-shirt on before getting up and washing his hands. As soon as he sat down again, Lucky was there next to him with a worried look on his face.
"I think you may have a hormonal imbalance, and that is why you are not growing like other boys your age. After New Year's, I will take you to see a specialist, and see what he thinks." Tom told him, but he could see the confusion in Lucky's face as the understanding slipped past him.
"So what's wrong with me then?" He asked with a faint hint of worry in his voice.
"Nothing is wrong with you son, you are perfectly healthy, although a bit on the skinny side. Sometimes some boys just do not grow like they should, and when that happens, they need a special doctor to make sure that they do. I think that is what you need because you should be starting puberty soon, and if you do have a hormone disorder, then you will need a doctor to monitor your growth. I don't think you would like it if you were still this size when you graduate from high school, so I want to get you a checkup is all." Tom explained to him.
"So I'm not a midget then...I'm just little right?" Lucky asked him hesitantly.
"It is called a dwarf or dwarfism, not midget because that is offensive, and no you are not a dwarf. We promised to never lie to each other remember, and I will not lie to you about this either. Everyone has certain glands in their bodies that make the hormones to make you start growing. These glands are usually dormant; or asleep until you reach a certain age. Then they wake up and start making these hormones, and you start growing. However, for some kids like you, for some reason these glands do not wake up when they should, and that person will grow up to be real small, and will look almost like a child when they are grown. For example, they will grow up to be like a person who races the horses. That is because some people are naturally small in size, while some like you may have a growing disorder that is stopping them from growing. Now do you understand that you are a healthy but skinny boy, who might have a growing disorder, and should be cold because you are running around in just your drawers in the middle of winter?" Tom asked him as he watched Lucky nod, but not relax the tension in his small shoulders. "This is what I see; I can see that there are no extra fingers or toes on you, or deformities like a third arm; and you have the required two ears, two eyes, two arms and legs, and even two testicles also designating you as an all American boy. Therefore, my professional diagnosis is that you are a small healthy boy who is in dire need of some pepperoni and sausage pizza and breadsticks...after you eat your salad though." Tom told him as he tickled his ribs causing Lucky to dissolve into giggles again. Once he stopped tickling him, Lucky climbed up into his lap and hugged him, and then he blushed again before looking downward at his groin with a worried expression on his pixie face.
"Is...is it tiny...like...like a little baby's?" Lucky asked him embarrassingly, and Tom knew what he was referring to because Lucky had expressed his concerns to him about the size of his genitals before.
"No, why do you say that?" Tom asked him as he held him lightly by the waist.
"Jake said it was tiny like a little baby." Lucky said as his eyes welled up.
"It isn't tiny Lucky. You are smaller in size than other boys your age are, so your penis will be smaller than those boys who are bigger than you are, but there is nothing wrong with you. When I was going to medical school, I learned about some of the abnormal conditions that affect some boys. One of the conditions is called micro-penis, and that means that the boy's penis is so small that it does not even look like he has a penis. Instead, it looks like the boy has two belly buttons instead. Now, does yours look like that?" Tom asked him after he explained the condition to him.
"No, but it's so little. Even when it gets big, it is still little. Jake said that it looked like a toothpick." He said with embarrassment and shame.
"Son; that is the way it is supposed to look until you enter puberty. Some boys enter puberty earlier than others do, with some starting as early as nine or some as late as 17. However, on average, most boys begin puberty somewhere between 10 and 14 years old. You just turned ten in November, so you still have plenty of time before you really need to worry about it. As for the size of your penis, the normal size for a boy your age is a half an inch to an inch long when it is soft or flaccid, and two to three inches long when it is big or erect. If there were something wrong with it, then when it is erect it would only be an inch long. Now be honest, and tell me how big it gets when it is erect or big as you say." Tom said in a caring and reassuring tone. Lucky blushed shyly before holding out his index finger which was a little over three inches long.
"It gets about that big," he said with a nervous smile, as he blushed pink. However, what Tom said next erased all of his fears of inadequacy.
"Wow! That is impressive for a boy your size." Tom said with raised eyebrows.
"It is, really?" Lucky blurted out with surprise because he was expecting Tom to confirm what Jake had told him.
"Yes, and I mean it. Look, Jake told you those things so you would feel bad, and not resist when he abused you. However, just because he said those things does not mean they are true. You are a very good-looking boy, and while you are a little small for your age, there is not anything wrong with your body. You do not ever have to be ashamed about your body because it is how God made you. Remember, he made all of us to look just like him, now would you say that God was ugly?" Tom asked him and Lucky shook his head no before giving him a crushing hug as his tears spilled down his face.
"I love you Dad." He whispered before burying his face into Tom's shoulder. Tom soothed him for the few minutes it took for Lucky to regain his control, and then he gently wiped his face and kissed him on the nose.
"I love you too son, now let's eat before dinner gets any colder." Tom said with a light pat on Lucky's butt. "You definitely need to eat because your butt is so skinny that you have droopy drawers. I got to fatten you up some, now eat your salad while I heat up the pizza and breadsticks again."
"Ok Dad," Lucky said with a smile as he hopped down from Tom's lap and sat in his chair. By the time Tom had reheated the breadsticks and pizzas, Lucky was finished with his salad and ready to attack the pizza. When Tom had finished his salad, Lucky had already wolfed down two slices of pizza, and half an order of bread sticks. There was nothing wrong with his appetite, he thought as he took two slices for himself along with two breadsticks. Lucky munched on a breadstick, deep in his thoughts for a few moments before speaking.
"Hey Dad, if I have this imbalance thing that you said, do you think Simon and Ari might have it too? Simon is 11 now, and I think Ari is 10 also and both of them are little like me." He asked thoughtfully as he nibbled at his breadstick.
"No son, I don't believe that they have the same thing as you. The reason they are so small as you are is because of the severe abuse they suffered. Their bodies are spending all of the time trying to heal instead of growing, and that is why they are small like you. The doctors will not know if they have problems growing until after they have both fully recovered from their injuries. Are you going to share those breadsticks, or eat them all yourself?" Tom asked between mouthfuls of pizza, and Lucky just grinned as he inhaled another breadstick. Too soon though, his stomach was full, and Lucky yawned suddenly feeling very tired. Tom cleared the table, and put the remaining pizza in Ziploc bags in the refrigerator. By the time he finished, Lucky was almost asleep so Tom picked him up gently and carried him to his room. He laid him down in his bed, and covered him up before turning on the small night light and standing up. Tom just watched him sleep for several minutes while he silently thanked God for answering their prayers.
"Good night son, I love you and sleep well. The Lord will watch over us tonight." He said softly before kissing Lucky on his forehead and leaving the room. He closed the door until it was cracked opened about six inches, and went back to the living room and sitting in his easy chair and worked on his sermons for tomorrow.
John and Sara, along with Jerry and Jeanne all noticed the way Ari was behaving. Although he insisted that he was all right, it was clear that the attempt on his life had unnerved him. Since they arrived home, he practically shadowed Jerry everywhere, not wanting him out of his sight for even a moment. He jumped at the slightest noise, and they all saw him struggling to keep his hands from shaking.
"Mom, what's wrong with him?" Simon asked her with a worried expression as he looked at Ari who tried to pick up his plastic cup of juice with his trembling hands.
"He's very scared Simon, and I think he might be going into shock. I will take you over to him, and I want you to try to reassure him while I get some medicine for him. The medicine will make him sleepy, but it will help relax him too. Think you can do that for me honey?" Sara asked him, and Simon nodded as he swallowed hard enough to make noise. "He will be all right honey, he is just a little stressed out right now, and I would be too if someone tried to run me down in a car." She told him before picking him up and giving him a kiss on the nose. She carried him over to where Ari was, and sat Simon beside him.
Simon had watched him closely since they got home, he knew something was wrong, and he knew what would help Ari because Ari had helped him so many times before. He had a big problem though because for him to help take Ari to his special place like he went, it would mean that he would have to tell his shameful secret. Until now, the only people he trusted enough to share his secret with were Ari, Lucky, and his only other friend at school, Seth. However, now he was not alone like before, and he just knew it inside that they would somehow understand, and make things ok.
"Um, Dad?" He asked quietly as John came into the room.
"Yeah Simon, what do you need?" John responded.
"I...um...need to talk to you and Mom...it's important, please?" Simon said hesitantly as he glanced at Ari. John's eyebrow lifted a bit, as he looked at Simon, and then at Ari, who had been sitting on the couch next to Simon, but now was lying down and curled up into a ball.
"Sure. Get a hold of my neck. You ready now, alright...up you go." John said as he gently lifted Simon up into his arms. Simon groaned through his clenched teeth, but was ok as soon as John straightened up. John carried him out of the room while noticing that Ari did not even notice what was going on. Normally, as soon as Simon spoke up, Ari would be there to help him, so his current behavior was alarming to John. He carried Simon upstairs into the master bedroom and sat him on the bed before closing the door.
"All right, tell me what is going on with your brother." John said to him once the door was closed. Sara came out of the bathroom with a bottle of prescription medication, and frowned as John waved her over.
"I know what Ari needs; he needs to go to his special place Dad, like I do when I need to get strong again. If I can help take him there, then he will be ok tomorrow, but I've only done it once before, and I don't know if I can do it again." Simon told him as he shifted a bit on the bed so his weight was off his left hip.
"That's right, you guys told us that Ari has a special place too because that is how he helped you make yours. Now, how do you take him to his special place? The poem is what takes you to your special place, so what do you need to do to take him to his?" John asked him as he sat beside him on the bed, and put his arm around Simon's slim shoulders. Simon blushed pink for a moment before looking down and answering.
"I only did it once before...it was right after Pop let him out of the bad place. He was in there for a real long time, so he was pretty messed up when Pop let him out just like me. But, he had told me about his favorite song before Pop put him in the bad place. So I...uh...sang to him because it came on the radio," he said with embarrassment. "The song is called `Hold On.' I sang that to him, but I do not know the words now. It's special for him because his parents took him to a concert when they went to the beach the summer before they died."
"Who sings it? I know where I can find the lyrics for most songs, but I need to know who sang it." Sara told him with a gentle hug to reassure him.
"Kansas, I think. The words will not help me though Mom. I need to hear the song to do it." Simon said softly as he flushed a deep red and hung his head in shame. "I can't read...not real good...I'm sorry that I'm so stupid." Simon told them as his hot tears streaked down his face, and he could feel his cheeks burning with shame as he admitted this to John and Sara. Now they realized why Simon deferred to most people. It was because of his illiteracy, and all of the small things that told them this before that Simon could not read now became clear. Things like at the restaurant when John asked him what he wanted. He thought Simon was being shy because he had not gone to places like that before, but now he understood that it was because Simon could not read the menu. In addition, dozens of other things stood out now that showed that Simon could not read, but they had dismissed them for one reason or another while ignoring the obvious. The proof was quite clear on Simon's below average report cards from school, and they had made the excuse of Simon's abuse was why his grades were so poor. While this revelation stunned them, they also saw that Simon needed them both right now too.
"You are not stupid and never have been, and this is nothing to be ashamed of either because there are tens of thousands of people a lot older than you who can't read either. You are a very smart boy, but you have trouble reading is all. We can fix that later though because right now your brother needs you. So what do you need to help Ari to go to his special place?" Sara said in her most compassionate and caring tone of voice.
"There are grown ups like me?" Simon asked her with a surprised expression.
"Yes, there are; a lot of them. This is nothing to be ashamed of son. You probably have a learning disability, and you already told us that you could not see the board in class, so you probably need glasses too. You can and will learn to read Simon, we promise you ok, but let's worry about Ari first." John told him as he dried Simon's eyes as they hugged him gently.
"I just need to hear the song so I can remember the words and music. Then I sing it as I remembered, and that takes Ari to his special place." Simon told him as he sniffled and wiped his nose on the sleeve of his left arm. John frowned at him and handed him some tissues before kissing him on the forehead. He was about to say something when they heard a loud bang, and then heard Ari scream. John raced out of the room, while Sara grabbed Simon and followed. As they rushed into the den, they saw Ari huddled in a ball in the corner with his hands pressed tightly against his ears as he cried with Jeanne kneeling beside him. He was moaning softly as he cried while his whole body shook as he rocked back and forth. Jerry was at the door going to the carport with his gun drawn. He was speaking with one of the uniformed officers outside when John came up beside him.
"False alarm, one of the neighbor's cars backfired and lost their muffler is all." Jerry told him as he holstered his gun before nodding towards Ari. "I'm afraid that it scared the willies out of the lad though."
"I see that, but we might have something to help...well if I can find a music store open this late. You remember what we told you about the poem, and Simon's special place? Well, Ari is the one who helped create that place for Simon, and Simon said that Ari has his own special place. The only problem is that it is a song for Ari instead of a poem. I can get the lyrics from the internet, but Simon just admitted to us that he could not read; that is why he wanted me to order for him at the restaurant because he could not read the menu. So the words won't help him, he needs to hear the song." John told his friend, and Jerry understood. He thought about it for a moment, and then had a suggestion for John.
"Why not call Junior." He said to John, who frowned a little. "Junior is a music buff, and he has over 600 albums and tapes. He will probably have the song."
"Does he? Is he home tonight?" John asked him with a smile.
"He better be home if he knows what's good for him," Jerry said as they went over to see how Ari was doing.
"John, I think he is in shock, we might have to take him to the hospital." Sara told him as they came over. John looked at Ari critically, and then shook his head.
"It's shock, but more likely Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I'll call Ty, and he will know what to do." John told her before going into the kitchen to use the phone.
"Mom, I think Ari wet his pants," Simon told her in a quiet, but worried voice.
"That's ok, let's help get him cleaned up, and then we can put him in bed." Sara told them, and Jerry went over and gently lifted Ari into his arms while Sara did the same with Simon. Jeanne and Jerry then followed Sara upstairs into the boys' bedroom and she sat Simon on his bed.
"It's alright laddie, we know you didn't mean to do it. You are just frightened still from today is all, now don't cry and let's get you cleaned up." Jerry cooed to Ari as he sat him down onto his bed across from Simon's. Even though it was still very painful for him, Simon stood up, and using the bed railing and night table to steady himself, he hopped over to where Sara, Ari, and Jerry were and stood beside him.
"Is he going to be ok Mom?" He asked her in a concerned voice while his face was tight from the stress and pain of him hopping on his good leg.
"Yes, he was just frightened really bad when that car backfired as it went past. It caused him to have a little accident is all, but I think he should lie down and rest. Why are you up hopping around? It is still too early for you to be trying to walk. Now you sit here with your brother while I get his pajamas and clean underwear." Sara admonished him as she got up and went over to the wooden dresser to get a change of clothes for Ari.
"No Mom, just his pj's, Ari doesn't like to wear underwear when he sleeps because they make a rash on his kahoolies." Simon said with a bashful laugh as he told her this while blushing. Sara gave him a long-suffering look.
"Men, and their kahoolies!" She said to the ceiling causing Simon to laugh even harder. She gave John a hard look with a half grin when he came in before he went over and knelt down beside Simon.
"I spoke with Jerry about the song, and he told me to call and speak with Junior. He has the tape, and he is bringing it over now along with his Walkman for you." John told him in a low voice filled with his concern.
"Thanks Dad. If I do it right and Ari cries, then everything will be ok. He always talks to me first, and then he cries before he goes to sleep. I cannot have any medicine tonight because I have to stay awake...for him. He makes me promise to stay awake before he goes to sleep because he is afraid of the darkness like I am." He told John as he guided Ari's head until it was against his chest and shoulder. Even though his eyes were open, Ari just had a blank stare on his pale face now, and twice Simon moved Ari's hand away as he tried to put his thumb in his mouth. Sara came back over to them with Ari's Goof Troop pj's while Jeanne brought over a plastic basin with warm soapy water plus two washcloths and a towel.
"It's ok sweetie, let's get you cleaned up, and into bed." Jeanne said to him while also noticing the change in his behavior.
"Come on R, you need to stand up so Mom and Aunt Jeanne can get you changed ok?" Simon said to him in a soft, caring voice, and Ari responded with a slight nod before slowly standing up with Simon. Simon gritted his teeth against the pain as he stood, but Sara and Jeanne watched as Ari stood without moving his head off Simon's shoulder. John quickly moved over to help support Simon as he swayed unsteadily while he continued to embrace Ari. Sara and Jeanne worked quickly, removing Ari's wet pants and underwear first, then his socks, and finally his t-shirt leaving him naked. Just as quickly, they washed down his entire body before drying him off. Normally Ari would have been shy and embarrassed about him just being naked with Jeanne and Jerry in the room, let alone allowing her to wash his privates as she did, but he was totally oblivious to this fact. This only made Simon worry about him that much more. Then Jeanne lifted each foot as Sara had him step into his pj bottoms before pulling them up. John had both of them to sit back down, then he heard the doorbell ring, and he hurried down stairs. When he returned, he was followed by Junior, and Ty. Jeanne turned down the hospital style adjustable bed that was Simon's, as Jerry came into the room with Junior who carried the Walkman with a set of headphones and handed it to John. John then turned his attention to Ty, and quickly filled him in about Ari. Ty then checked Ari over quickly, and asked Ari a few simple questions. Ari did answer them somewhat after Simon told him to answer Ty, but he continued to lean against Simon with the blank stare still on his face. Then Sara sat down, and pulled Ari into her lap while Jeanne and John helped Simon undress and change into his oversized t-shirt that John gave him to sleep in. John then handed him the Walkman with the tape of Kansas in it.
"Here you go, and it is already set to that song, you just need to press this button to start it, and this is to rewind it to the beginning of the tape, while this button will rewind it to the beginning of the song. Now, I want no argument from you either about this. You are not that strong yet, you are in pain and need to rest too, so you will take all of your medication tonight. When Ari asks for you to stay awake for him, I want you to tell him that your mom, me, Uncle Jerry, Junior, and Aunt Jeanne will all be here to watch over both of you while you two sleep. One of us will be awake with you two all during the night, so don't worry." John told him, and Simon nodded in agreement.
"Will you thank Junior for letting me use these, Dad?" Simon asked him as he looked at the Walkman.
"Tell him yourself son, he is right here," John said as he pointed towards Junior who moved over next to him. Simon had only met Junior once before when they had stayed at Uncle Jerry's house after they came home from the hospital. Both Ari and Simon had liked Junior, and got along really well with him because Junior treated them more like his little brothers instead of little kids.
"How ya doing little man, you taking care of our lil' bro, and gonna hook him up tonight?" Junior said with a half smile that made Simon smile because he liked the way Junior created, and switched between his various characters. At the moment, he was using his `DJ Junior' rapper character.
"Yeah...um...thanks for helping me ok Junior?" Simon told him while he blushed a little.
"NP little man, I will do anything for my little bros." Junior said before dropping his act and becoming serious with Simon. "Anyway, Lucky would slap me silly if I didn't help you guys. Lucky's a kewl kid with a big heart as well as being my friend, and he said that yours and Ari's hearts are even bigger than his is, and I believe him. I saw him today after he got back from court today, and he was real happy because of his new dad, and because his two best friends came back. So, you just get our little brother well for tomorrow, or Lucky will hurt both of us." Junior told him before slipping back into character. "Now it's all good in the neighborhood, Dawg." He said with a big smile, and just his overall manner made Simon relax and smile too. That was one of the reasons they had liked Junior when they met him. Most of all, Junior did not treat them like two dumb little kids either.
"I will Junior, but will you make sure nobody turns out the light when we go to sleep," he said with a smile as Junior nodded as he stepped back out of the way.
"I see that you made a new friend," John said to him and Simon nodded as he slipped the headphones on. John then told him, "when ever you are ready son." Simon played the song three times, as he listened with his eyes closed mouthing the words before taking the headphones off and handing the Walkman back to Junior.
"I got it...I'm ready now," Simon told him, and John gently picked him up and carried him over to his bed. He put Simon in the bed, and then helped him get comfortable while Sara carried Ari and laid him next to him before covering them both up. Simon waited until all of them had kissed Ari good night before he leaned his head forward a bit so their foreheads were touching, and he kissed him before starting to sing softly. His voice surprised everyone because it was a clear tenor, but what surprised Junior the most was the perfect pitch and inflection of Simon's voice. Simon had listened to the song, and now he was mimicking the lead singer of Kansas exactly.
"Look in the mirror and what do you see
What have the years of your life taught you to be
Innocence dying in so many ways
And all of your dreams get lost in the haze.
Hold on, baby hold on, because you're closer than you think and you're standing
on the brink.
Hold on, baby hold on, because hope is on the way, and tomorrow's not the same
By the time Simon finished the first verse, Ari was fully aware of all of them in the room, but he stayed focused on Simon only. Haltingly, his high-pitched soprano voice joined Simon's for the rest of the song as he lay facing Simon while their foreheads and noses were touching each other's. His eyes filled, and his tears began to slip down the side of his face.
"You remembered Si," Ari said softly as his voice cracked once Simon stopped singing.
"Yeah, I did R, and I always will...just as you always remember for me."
"I'm sorry for messing up everything Si...I'm just really scared."
"It's ok R; just go to sleep because they are waiting for you. It's been a long time, and they miss you."
"I miss them too...I miss them so much...you promise to stay awake?"
"For a little while, but Mom and Dad will be here with us too. So will Uncle Jerry, Aunt Jeanne, and Junior too. They all promised to stay awake for us while we sleep."
"They won't turn off the lights will they?"
"No, they won't turn them off; Junior promised to make sure that they stay on for us. Now close your eyes because they are waiting for you. I will be right here beside you when you wake up in the morning." Simon told him softly and Ari moved his face to Simon's chest as the first soft sobs escaped from him.
"It will be ok, I promise. Now go to sleep so you can see them again...I love you R." Simon told him as his own tears slipped down the side of his face as he started singing softly again. Ari cried for almost five minutes before he slipped off into sleep while Simon continued to sing the song softly to him repeatedly, and soon Ari was back on the beach with his parents in his special place. Simon waited another ten minutes before asking John to pick him up, and John carried him back to the master bedroom and sat him on the bed. Ty, Sara, Jerry, and Jeanne followed them while Junior stayed with Ari.
"You did real good son, and we are all very proud of you. Now tell me why he wants us awake, and the lights left on?" John asked him as he gave him a reassuring hug.
"It's cause of the bad place Dad...that is why he is so afraid of the dark. I stay awake because sometimes he will have a bad dream about the bad place, and I send him back to his special place. Pop made him stay in there for over two months when he first came to live with us, and over a month the second time Pop put him into the bad place. Pop had tried before with other boys, but they never came out after he put them in there again after the first time. Only Ari came out...like I did, and Pop told me that he was now my brother when he came out the last time." Simon told them as his body shuddered and his tears spilled down his face. John and Sara had a perplexed look on their faces along with Jerry, and Jeanne. However, Ty was looking directly at Simon with a look of understanding. He moved over, and knelt down in front of Simon.
"This bad place, can you tell me about it, please?" Ty asked him, and Simon looked hard into Ty's eyes before nodding as a tear slid down his face.
"You were with Dad and Uncle Jerry that day at the police station. You helped save me after Pop shot me. I remember your face when someone shined a light that hurt my eyes, that was you?" Simon asked him in a soft voice, and Ty nodded even though he was surprised that Simon remembered him because he was near death and unresponsive at the time. Simon smiled a little before looking down at his hands for a long moment. Then he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, and sniffled before answering. "Thank you...for helping to save me." He said quietly to Ty.
"It was my pleasure Simon. My name is Tyrone, but my friends call me Ty, and you are my friend. Now, do you think you can answer my question about the bad place, but I will understand if you can't?" Ty said to him as he held out his left hand for Simon to shake. Simon shook his hand with even a bigger smile as he relaxed.
"Ok Ty, the bad place is a room down in the cellar at Pop's house. It is totally dark in there with no sound at all...just the bad smell from the cellar. Pop kept me there when he took me and made me become Devon." He said quietly as he remembered.
(6 1/2 years earlier)
Simon felt the course walls as he pressed his hands and face against their cool surface. He had no sense of time, and did not know how long he had been here, a few days, a week, months, or maybe years. He could not tell because his whole world was now this black, soundless room with the course, cool walls. Then he heard the only noise he had become so familiar with, the lock clicking in the door. He ran quickly back to his sleeping bag in the pitch-black darkness, and sat Indian style with his back straight against the wall. He pressed his small palms over his eyes to block the stabbing pain from the light outside as the man opened the door. The man came in and pulled his hands away, and he cried out in pain even though his eyes were shut tightly.
"It is all right Devon. It is time to come out now." Bill told the naked little boy as he tied a veil around Simon's head covering his eyes. He then led the boy out and upstairs. He bathed him, and then dressed him in clothes that were too large and smelled of mothballs before leading him out into the living room.
"Come here Devon, and tell me what you think." Bill said as he lifted the veil up off his eyes. The room was mostly dark except for a small dim light coming from the kitchen. Even though it still hurt, Simon was able to make out the small Christmas tree with several wrapped presents under it. The tree had red, green, and blue ornaments, and silver garland, but no lights, and a small Santa on top of it. Simon was so confused and afraid, but he wanted to please the man...he was eager to please him because he knew the man would put him back into the bad place if he did not do what he wanted.
"It's Christmas, already?" The now 5-yr old Simon asked Bill. Simon knew his birthday was close to Christmas, but the man said his birthday was now in January, and he would be nine. Simon somehow knew that it was wrong, but all he could think about was doing what the man wanted so he would not have to go back to the bad place anymore.
"Yeah Devon; it's Christmas, so you like the tree?" He asked.
"Yes sir," he said meekly as he felt the pain in his eyes lessening as they adjusted to the dim light. His young mind just could not make the connection that he had been with Bill, and in the bad place, for over eight months now.
Simon shuddered harder this time as he pulled himself back from the memory.
"It was spring when Pop took me and put me in the bad place, and it was Christmas when he let me come out, and made me Devon. The light hurt my eyes so much that Pop had to put a blindfold on me. I had to wear it for almost a month before my eyes stopped hurting from the light. I still couldn't see real good `cause everything was still blurry, but the light didn't hurt my eyes anymore." Simon told him softly as his hands trembled and tears slid down his face. "Pop tried to do the same with other boys after me, but they never came back out until Ari. I think they all died `cause I had to help dig the hole sometimes that Pop put them in, but, Ari was different. He came out from the bad place like me, and he had to wear a blindfold for a long time just like me too. Then he was ok, and Pop said that he was now my brother."
"This room, there was no light at all, or sound at all? Even around the door?" Ty asked him gently and Simon nodded his head. "Was there anything in the room with you? Did you have any furniture, clothes, toys, or anything at all?"
"No, there was just the sleeping bag, and a bucket to go in. Pop took all of our clothes from us before he put us in the bad place." Simon told him as more tears slid down his face as he continued to tremble badly.
"You did real well Simon, and thank you for answering my questions. I need to talk to your dad for a few minutes, ok?" Ty said and Simon nodded as he wiped his eyes with the back of his left hand. Ty got up and touched John and Jerry on their shoulders while motioning for them to follow. Once they were downstairs in the kitchen, Ty had them sit down as he frowned in thought.
"I'm not completely sure about this, but if it is what I'm thinking, then you have two very special sons John." Ty told them after a few moments.
"I already know that they are special Ty, but tell me what you're thinking." John said to him.
"Sensory deprivation," he said to John, and both John and Jerry's eyebrows went up in disbelief.
"I learned about it when I was in college. It looks like Bill Jefferies used it on these boys to reprogram them. Sensory deprivation has been used as far back as WWII, and even in the 50's to 60's here in the US. The Nazis used it on identical twin children to control them, and to increase psychic abilities that many twins display with each other. It was a disaster because most of them were driven insane or died. Since then, many psychiatrists in the 50's and early 60's used it to some extent with limited success with children with behavioral disorders. It messed up a lot of kids though, and most had to be institutionalized and died not long afterwards. They thought they could reprogram the human brain by depriving them of all sensory input, and it did work at first, but after a few months the kids memories started coming back. However, when they tried to put the kids back through the sensory deprivation is what drove them insane because their minds simply could not handle it. You can imagine the terror they went though the first time, and the next time was enough to make them crazy or they killed themselves before it happened. Somehow your sons managed to survive and Simon did the impossible by surviving multiple periods of sensory deprivation, but I'm not an expert though." Ty told them.
"No, but I trust your judgment Ty," John told him as he looked at him from across the table. It was very easy to forget with Ty that he also had a degree in Psychology as well as emergency medicine and firefighting.
"Tell me about this special place that Simon was talking about." Ty asked John.
"They told us that it is a place in their dreams where they went to escape Bill. It is where Simon and Ari keep their most special memories. For Simon, it is his memory of his adoptive mother, and for Ari, it is his parents. Simon told me that Ari helped him make his special place because Bill had made him forget almost everything about his life as Simon. That is where he was able to keep the only memory he had left of his life before Bill kidnapped him." John told him with moist eyes.
"That is how they did it then. They built a fortress in their minds so they could save themselves. Don't you see John; they built these places in their minds so they could escape from Jefferies control, and they went there when Jefferies put them in that room...the bad place as they call it. Only now, they are using it so they will not lose their sanity." Ty told him and Jerry, and they understood.
"So how can we help them?" Jerry asked him.
"By making their fortress real, Jerry...that is how we can help them. If you do not make it real, then they will keep using the one in their minds to escape until one day they never come back. By making it real for them here, then they will come here when they need to escape because they will feel completely safe here. It won't be easy, and both of them will need some extensive therapy, but we can make it real for them." Ty told them, but John still looked confused.
"Make it real how? Do we make this house into their fortress?" John asked him, but Ty was shaking his head no.
"No, it doesn't have to be a physical place like this house. It has to be a place where they feel safe here in the world. A comfort zone where they feel safe with people they love and trust who they know will protect them when they are vulnerable. See, they are going to their special place when they feel weak and vulnerable. Simon told us that they go there until they can be strong again. That is what we have to do here; we have to make them a place here with the people they love where they can come to when they are feeling weak, scared, confused, and vulnerable. You have already started it John, but there is still more work to do because they still do not feel completely safe here. That is why they are still using their fortress in their minds." He told him and John understood.
"That means we have to solve this case and get it over with sooner than later because neither of them will feel safe until then." John told Jerry who nodded in agreement. Ty was still thinking about it though and shaking his head.
"Jesus, I can't even begin to imagine what kind of hell they went through. He said that Bill put him into the bad place in the spring, so that will be April or May, and he was not let out until Christmas. He was in that chamber for eight months without having a complete mental breakdown as he should have, and he was only four when this happened. See, sensory deprivation takes away the one thing that makes us human. It removes all of the input to the senses, and studies have shown that it interferes with a person's memory and thought processes. Imagine being in a place with no sound except the sound of yourself breathing or your own heartbeat. A place where you can feel nothing, see nothing, and hear nothing, and without any contact with any other thing or person. Somehow, they survived in that place for months at a time and still kept their sanity. They were just little kids, so that helped some, but they still managed to do something close to impossible." Ty explained to them emphatically, and John and Jerry understood now exactly how special Simon and Ari really were. Then John groaned while his eyes opened wider in shock.
"Simon said there were others that Bill tried to do the same thing to. He said they never came out once they went into the room, but how many others were there. We know that there were 17 more bodies buried in the cellar that we missed the first time, but Simon told us that he can only remember Bill actually killing five boys, and that he only helped dispose of the bodies that a man named Cass brought to him. All of the bodies we found in the cellar showed that each boy suffered severe abuse, but none died from gunshot or knife wounds though. It was mostly strangulation or blunt force trauma. The boys found at the storage place had all died from stab wounds, gunshot wounds, or internal injuries that caused them to bleed out." John said, and Ty started to interrupt, but Jerry stopped him because he could see John's mind working as he walked himself through the facts putting the pieces of the puzzle together. As he thought more about it, John could see that he needed to get into Bill Jefferies head. "Let's go back ok, help me out a little Jerry as I walk through it again. If I was Jefferies, and I just killed my son, I would need a boy to replace him. So I kidnap Aaron who is the same age and looks like my son Devon, but then I kill him too after twenty months pass. Why? Then I grab Simon, who is a lot younger this time. I grab him in May, but nobody living near Jefferies saw Devon until January when he started school. Why?" John asked Jerry and Ty. Neither could give him an answer though.
"Now, consider this, he grabs Aaron, and brainwashes him, or reprograms him as you say by locking him in this sensory deprivation room. How long do you think he would have to be with Jefferies before his memory starts coming back?" He asked Ty, who was silent for a few minutes as he thought about it.
"If I am remembering correctly, the studies showed that an adult could have his memories temporarily erased for up to a year after 45 days in the chamber, and it could be longer for a child. However, this was a controlled experiment, conducted by scientists and doctors, John. They had ethics, and the law to make sure they did not endanger the patients on purpose." Ty told them.
"Right; and we cannot completely understand what this monster did to Simon and Ari unless we see this room. What do you two say about us taking a quick trip to the Jefferies house?" John asked them, and both of them agreed. Then, they all went back upstairs to let Simon, Sara, Jeanne, and Junior know where they were going and why.
"No, don't go there Dad. Anyway, you can't get in because you don't know how to open the door." Simon told him with red, moist eyes.
"We have to go son, just for a quick look is all so we can help you and your brother get better. Tyrone has to see this place so he can help you and Ari." John told him, but Simon was still shaking his head no as fresh tears spilled from his eyes.
"It's bad there...what if you don't come back like the others?" He said through his tears and fear as his body trembled even worse. Then Ty came and knelt in front of him.
"He will come back, I promise. I know about bad places like this, and I know how to help people like you, but I have to know exactly what was done to you in that place. That is why I have to see it," He told Simon.
"But I can tell you what you need to know, so you don't have to go there. Please don't go." He told him even though his tears prevented him from seeing Ty. "Don't you see, it's bad cause everybody dies when they go in there, nobody else came back out except Ari and me...nobody."
"I know Simon, you and your brother are so special because you two came back out of that bad place while the others didn't. I know that you can tell me about the bad place, but do you know how long he kept you in there? Also, can you tell me if he gave you any medication that made you sleep for a long time when you were in there? You can't, now can you?" He asked Simon gently, and Simon shook his head no, as he hugged himself with his good arm because he was shaking all over. "I know you are afraid of this place, but I promise you that we will only go there and look. It won't take that long, and this is very important for us to know these things so we can help you and your brother get better. We will probably be back before you are ready to go to sleep. Remember when you were hurt...you told your Dad in the hospital that you were afraid to go to sleep because of the dark. Remember what your dad told you?" Ty asked him, and after a moment of thought, Simon nodded. "He promised you that he would be there every time you went to sleep, and be there when you woke up. I have not forgotten his promise, and neither has he. Right now, it is 7 pm; I promise that your dad, Jerry, and I will be back soon so he can put you in bed when you go to sleep. Here, you can even take my radio so you can talk to him while we are gone. Just press this button here, and hold it when you talk. Then let it go to listen, ok?" Ty asked him, and Simon wiped his eyes and stared hard into Ty's eyes before letting his shoulders slump and nodding his head weakly.
"Bring him back, please. Cause Ari needs him," he said softly as he hung his head down before adding. "I need him too."
"I promise I will." Ty told him as he lifted Simon's chin until he could see his face. Then he gently wiped Simon's eyes with his handkerchief and nodding his head to him.
"Let me have your radio for a second Ty," John told him and Ty handed it over to him. John changed the channels on it and turned up the volume a bit before pressing the talk button and speaking. "Metro, this is Lt. Roberts over."
"Evening Lt. Roberts, what can we do for you here at Metro Command, over?" A male voice said from the radio.
"Metro, I have to go over to the Jefferies place for my investigation; I should be gone for about an hour. My son is a little frightened about this, so I need a clear channel for this radio for the next hour, can you help me out here, over?" John informed the dispatcher.
"Can do Lt. Roberts. Switch to channel 14, and I will keep it clear for your son and you. Over?" The dispatcher said in response.
"Roger that Metro, and thanks." John told him.
"Wish our little rainbow catcher and his brother a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's for us; Metro Command out." The male voice said before the radio went silent again. John turned to channel 14 before handing the radio to Simon, who was blushing a bit as he looked at John with surprise.
"See, I told you that you were famous now." John told him with a big smile as he gave him the radio.
"They know that I caught a rainbow?" Simon asked with wide eyes.
"Well, of course they do honey, catching a rainbow takes a very special person to do that, and that is bound to make that person pretty famous." Sara told him as she sat down beside him and kissed the top of his head.
"I know you are frightened, but I will be ok, and if you get scared, just call me on the radio." John told him before kissing him too. Simon nodded in agreement as he clutched the radio to his chest, then they left. They decided to take Ty's car, and set the radio channel to 14 while Jerry drove. They arrived at the Jefferies house in less than 15 minutes because traffic was sparse since it was Christmas Eve. Jerry got the keys from the patrolman guarding the place, and they went inside. The smell of decomposition was even stronger now, and Jerry led them into the back room where the door leading to the cellar was hidden. John turned on the lights for the place before going down the ladder/steps, followed by Jerry, and Ty.
"Dad? You there...Dad?" The radio crackled and John went back upstairs before responding.
"Yes Simon, I'm here." He said into the radio.
"I...I was worried cause you didn't answer the first time." Simon told him.
"That is probably because we were down in the cellar. Look, I will call you as soon as we are done here ok?" John asked him.
"Ok Dad," Simon responded glumly. John just shook his head as he headed back down into the cellar, but Jerry stopped him at the top of the steps.
"Ask Simon where the key is for the door." He said to John.
"Simon, this is Dad, over." He said into the radio.
"That was quick Dad...you change you mind?" Simon said in a surprised voice.
"No, I didn't, but I need to know where the key is to open the door." He told him. The radio was silent for a few long moments and John was about to call again when Simon came back on.
"It's still in our old room Dad. I left it there when I let Ari go that day. It is the funny shaped key that looks sort of like a small card." He said in a soft voice, and John knew that he had wrestled with himself about whether to tell him or to lie about it. He was glad that Simon decided to be honest with him. John went into the room, and he saw where Ari had been handcuffed to the radiator. The keys were still in the unlocked cuffs that had secured Ari in place. John picked them up and found the right key.
"Thanks Simon, I will call you as soon as we are finished ok." He told him.
"Ok Dad," Simon replied as John went down the stairs. He handed the keys to Jerry, who slid the metallic key into a slot, and then pressed a button beside the door, which unlocked the door and opened it. There was another switch beside the button, and Jerry flipped it on also and light flooded the inside of the room. The room was covered in black sound proofing panels with an inch of cork behind the panels rendering the room completely sound proof. The floors, walls, and ceiling were all painted black, and even the panels in the ceiling that covered the florescent lights was smoked causing the light to be dim and tinted. There was nothing in the room except a raised box, which ran the length of the wall with a sleeping bag lying on the floor in front of it. The room was bare of anything else including the bucket. However, Ty was looking at the floor by the box, and noticed some scrapes.
"John, look at this here. Simon didn't say anything about this box being in the room, and it doesn't seem to be attached to the walls either. Maybe it is for storage, and it looks like someone moved this recently." He said while John and Jerry both looked and agreed with him. Ty tried to move it, but could only manage to move the heavy box about a half of an inch. "Damn, its heavier than I thought, help me pull this end." Ty told them as he managed to get his fingers between the box and the wall. John and Jerry did the same, and then they pulled hard and managed to slide the heavy steel box about a foot and a half out from the wall. There was intravenous tubing running from the wall to the box, as well as a bunch of wires. Ty examined them for a moment before his dark face paled visibly. "Oh God no; quickly, help me get this thing open." He said, and John and Jerry looked around for a moment before Ty found the release button and lifted the lid up.
"Blessed Mary, mother of God," Jerry said as he saw the naked body of a young boy inside the box, which was half filled with water. The inside of the box appeared to have a two inch layer of sound proofing, another half inch of rubber to make it water tight, and that explained why it weighed so much. Tyler quickly checked the boy for a pulse.
"Jesus, he's alive, but just barely. Help me get him out Jerry. John, get on the radio, and get us an ambulance now." Ty told them as he surveyed the IV lines going into the boy's arms, neck, and groin. There was also a ventilator tube connected to the boy's airway tube, and a Foley tube coming from his small, circumcised penis. The worst part was that the boy was so gaunt and frail looking as if he was being starved to death. "Wait Jerry, on second thought, let's wait until the ambulance arrives because no telling what will happen once I start disconnecting things. That looks like a drain plug, let's drain the water, and cover him up until the ambulance gets here."
"Metro Command, this is Lt. Roberts, I need an ambulance here at the Jefferies place ASAP. Also send backup units, and notify Chief Smith that we have discovered a young victim locked in one of the rooms in the cellar." John said into the radio. As soon as he let go of the transmit button he heard Simon's voice.
"Dad, what's happening, you there Dad?" Simon asked in a frantic voice.
"I'm fine Simon; I need you to stay off the radio for now because this is an emergency. Now do it and do not argue with me, I will call you when I am finished. Metro Command come in over?" John told him in his business voice.
"Metro Command copies, ambulance and backup units are in route. Chief Smith is also in route and will speak with you on scene, over?" The dispatcher relayed to him.
"Roger that, Metro Command. I copy, out." John said before hooking the radio to his belt before going out to get the officer stationed outside. "Come here," he said to the young patrol cop. "Have you seen anyone in or near this place tonight or any other time since you were assigned here?"
"No sir, there has not been anyone here except for yesterday and the day before when they removed the bodies found in the basement. However, my Sargeant told us that there was a break in earlier today, but that the guy got away in the woods. He figured it was some crackpot looking for a souvenir or something." The young patrolman explained.
"No, I think he was here to check on the boy we found locked in the basement. We did not know about the room down there until this evening when my son remembered about it. I want you and your partner to secure the entire area around the house. Back up is on its way, and when they get here, I want those woods searched by K-9's, and I want two officers patrolling the perimeter with an officer stationed by the front and back doors." John ordered him and the young officer responded with `Yes Sir!' before snapping off a quick salute. John went to Ty's car, and popped open the trunk, and grabbed his first aid kit along with extra latex gloves before going back inside. Once he got back down into the cellar, he could hear the approaching sirens before going back into the room where Ty was working on the boy. He handed him his first aid kit, and handed Jerry a pair of latex gloves before putting on the other pair himself. "How is he doing Ty?"
"Better than I first expected, he is weak, and a little dehydrated, but someone recently replaced his IV bags, and there is equipment in a hidden closet in the corner that controls his breathing, and monitors everything else including his urine output. This box is a complete sensory deprivation chamber itself because of the warm water being circulated in here. The body is kept at an ideal temperature, and all nutrition is administered intravenously. The patient is kept in a light comatose state for long periods, but judging from this boy's emaciated appearance, I would say this boy has been in here for a minimum of 45 days and maybe as long as three months. Anything much longer than that and he would have probably died unless he had a feeding tube and physical therapy in order to keep his lungs clear. This means that Jefferies was still alive when the boy was put in here, but someone has been coming regularly to check on him or he would have died a long time ago. There are bags of glucose, dextrose, protein, and saline in there but they will only last about 12 hours, so someone has continued to monitor him after Jefferies was killed." Tyrone told him before slipping on his stethoscope and placing it on the boy's bare chest.
"So he isn't in any danger of dying then?" John asked him, but Ty held his hand up for John to wait. Then, Jerry motioned John over to the wall opposite of the stairway in the cellar. There he showed John the hidden closet door, then handed him a small school backpack that he had found in the closet. John opened the bag, and looked at one of the spiral notebooks inside. Printed in neat letters on the front was the name `Seth Jordan.'
"Seth Jordan, isn't the younger foster kid the Robinsons have is named Seth? I think that is the name Lucky told me in the Judge's chambers today, but he said Seth ran away right before he was assaulted. That was almost three months ago." John told Jerry.
"Three months, I would believe it because of how emaciated he is. He has been in this box for a long time, and no, I don't think he is in danger of dying." Ty said as he joined them as the first paramedic came down into the cellar. He went over and took charge immediately, and had one-medic setup identical IV bags on a portable ringer before he disconnected him from the lines sustaining the boy's life.
"Ty, I want him taken to University Hospital, but as soon as they clear him from the emergency room I want this boy transferred to Bayside Institute, even if he is still in a coma. I will arrange for protection for him, ok?" John told him.
"Will do Bro, and give a message to Simon for me...`Stay cool, and don't let your meatloaf!'" Ty said before helping the other paramedic gently lift Seth out of the chamber and placed him on the gurney. Once he was covered up completely, and strapped in, Ty carried the portable IV hanger and followed the paramedics as they carried Seth up out of the cellar. After they were gone, Chief Smith came down the stairs.
"I came as soon as I heard. How is he doing?" He asked John, and John filled him in on Seth's identity, Ty's prognosis, and his orders to transfer Seth to Bayside as soon as possible. Next John updated him about everything Ty had told him about how long Seth may have been held in the chamber, and finally about the reported break in earlier. The last thing he told him was whom he suspected was responsible for Seth's imprisonment, and who he believed had been keeping Seth alive by sneaking in to replenish his IVs.
"I think I know what this bastard was doing now. Everything fits, but he was not doing this alone. Here is what I think Chief: Jefferies was kidnapping boys, and I thought at first that he was murdering them by beating them to death for his own pleasures, but I was wrong. He was trying to brainwash them, or as Ty said, reprogram them. He would grab a boy, and stick him into this hellhole for months at a time. I think he would first put them into some kind of induced coma to weaken them physically. Then he would bring them out of that box, and leave them in this room to break them down mentally. As they regained their strength physically, he was mentally erasing their memories while programming them for obedience. Once the boy was reprogrammed, then he was ready to be delivered to whoever purchased him. The only problem about this is that this reprogramming does not work all the time because Ty said it either kills the boy, or drives them insane. If that happened, then Jefferies would have to kill the boy, and then go find another one for his client." He said as he began to walk around the room while he put together the pieces in his mind. Both Jerry and Chief Smith knew how he worked, and they could see that John was now inside Jefferies head.
"This whole time we have been thinking that someone else was calling the shots, but what about those records we found that Jefferies kept. Why would someone keep those kinds of detailed records if his only job was to dispose of the kids bodies? He would not unless he was one of the masterminds behind everything. Jefferies tried this a few times starting with his own son, but he could not handle the process and it killed him, or Jefferies was experimenting still and had not perfected everything yet. Then he took, Aaron, and succeeded, but his memories began to return after twenty months, and he died as Jefferies tried to reprogram him again, or Jefferies had to kill him because he went crazy. Next, we know he took Joshua Keating, and then Mathew York, before taking Simon. Josh and Matt must have not survived the initial reprogramming because they both closely resemble Devon Jefferies in looks and age. However, he succeeded with Simon though, probably because he was so young, being only four when he was taken by Jefferies. Even more to the point, he discovered that Simon was his ideal test subject because he went through this reprogramming process multiple times and survived. He said that he remembered that a lot of boys when into this place but none came out. Yet the records Jefferies kept showed that most did, and were delivered. What if Simon is telling the truth, but he did not know about the boy being moved once the reprogramming was completed. What am I missing here? Come on...think. What piece am I missing here? Simon is his prototype, and he is now kidnapping and brainwashing kids, everything is going as planned with the occasional hitch because the boy dies during the reprogramming process. What changed...who changed? And Why? Simon did. He changed...because of Ari. Ari taught him how to fight back by saving his memories. I need to talk to Ari once he is awake to verify my theory, but I see it now. The reason Ari had to die is because he figured out how to save himself from reprogramming by building his fortress in his mind. That is where he kept his identity and memories. Jefferies couldn't reprogram him, but then Ari taught his secret to Simon, and Jefferies lost him too." John told them, and they all understood.
"So how do the Robinsons fit into this, and Reverend Parrish?" Jerry asked him.
"Easy, Jefferies installed security systems for a living. He has no medical training or knowledge. Terry Robinson does, and he and his wife were fostering kids too. Both Jefferies and Terry are pedophiles. I bet if we go back through their history that we will find a dozen or so boys who are listed as having run away like Seth. However, Jefferies demand outstripped the supply. Terry could explain away a few boys who disappeared as having run away. Most of the boys placed with them are labeled as troubled kids with many having run away more than once before. However, if too many boys disappeared, then people would have started asking questions. In addition, Jefferies could only grab one boy at a time and bring him here without arousing suspicion either. That is where Parrish comes in. We already discovered that Jefferies had a vast network of pedophile contacts, and that is how he met up with Parrish. Parrish is already running a porn and sex ring because of the corrupt local police and Mayor, but now because of Jefferies, he can offer the wealthiest clients a live, subservient boy who will do whatever they ask and never tell. Those clients would pay top dollar for their own personal houseboys and sex slave. They get a boy who would submit to anything, and who would obey them without any resistance. Parrish's only mistake was Ari. Parrish wants him dead because he could testify about the sex trafficking, prostitution, and kiddie porn operations. However, Parrish is not in the business of killing kids. Exploiting them yes, but not killing them. Jefferies is because of his violent nature, and his reprogramming boys, so Parrish sends Ari to Jefferies for him to kill him and dispose of his body. The problem was that Ari is a very beautiful boy, and is exactly the kind of boy that Jefferies likes. He decides to reprogram him instead of killing him, and not tell Parrish about it. Only he does not realize the damage Ari had caused until it is too late. Jefferies was in a rage that day because not only had Ari messed up his reprogramming and escaped, but he also freed Simon from his control. I also think that Simon's friendship with Lucky is how Parrish found out that Ari was still alive too. By the time he found out, Jefferies had already decided that Ari had to die, but it was too late because Simon fought back and stopped him. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered still, and we have to track down his victims that he sold, but I think we are on the right track now, Lee." John told Chief Smith.
"I agree with you John, but this means that we cannot wait like we had discussed earlier with Judge Orndorf. You need to prepare the boys for what will happen afterwards, and I wish I could give you more time to collect evidence, but I can't now because other boys may be in danger here." Chief Smith told him.
"No. We need to leave Lucky out of this. Those records are sealed, and only we know about the details of what the Robinsons did to him. This is a federal case, so call Judge Sanford with the grand jury. Have him issue the warrants. Once we arrest Robinson, then we offer him immunity if he will testify against Parish and the others about the sex ring and child trafficking." John told him, and Chief Smith looked at him in disbelief.
"Immunity? You are going to let this monster walk after all of those kids he helped murder? Are you crazy?" Lee asked him angrily.
"No I'm not. Right now, the only prosecution witness we have is my son. They are trying everything they can to kill him so he cannot testify. They think that by eliminating him, then we will not have a case against them. Now we got Robinson, and if we give him immunity in return for his full cooperation and testimony, then he will now be the target and Ari becomes irrelevant. Because Ari will be just another victim who was sold, but Robinson is one of the major players in the whole operation. We have got them whether he is dead or alive now, so let him live with a bulls eye on his forehead because I do not give a fuck if they blow his brains out. We can place him in protective custody while he testifies. However, I am not about to let him walk off scot-free. As soon as he testifies for the prosecution, then you arrest his ass for the charges relating to Lucky and Seth because I will make sure that he does not have immunity from those state charges. With the kidnapping, sexual assault, rape, and attempted murder of Lucky; and for everything you can throw the book at him for Seth Jordan too; then that bastard will spend the rest of his life in prison on those state charges." John told him; then with an almost pleading expression, he said. "Lee, if you do it this way, then you will save my sons as well as Lucky and Seth."
"All right John, I can go along with that. Make the calls and make it happen, then I want you to go get that piece of shit tonight." The Chief said and John told him he would call Judge Sanford and have him issue the warrants. Then the Chief started giving orders to the CSI members that came down into the cellar. John looked through the backpack, inside he found a silver ID bracelet with Seth's name engraved on it, and he put it into an evidence bag before giving it to Lee.
"Lee, when you arrest that bastard after he testifies, give him this for me ok? Come on Jerry, let's get out of here and go call Judge Sanford. The longer I stare at this hell hole, the more I want to blow off the son of a bitch's kneecaps for putting that boy in there." He said tightly through his gritted teeth, and Jerry agreed and then followed him up out of the cellar. Just as they came out, Ty hollered at John, and then tossed him the keys to his car before closing the ambulance's back door and getting in the front passenger seat before leaving for the hospital. John went over to the car, got in, and started it up to warm the interior up. John took his cell phone, called home, and Sara answered before the third ring.
"Hello?" She said.
"It's me Sara." He told her as he tried to relax.
"What's going on? Simon is almost frantic with worry." She told him in a worried voice.
"We found Seth Jordan, the boy that Lucky had thought had run away. He was in the room that Simon told us about. He is alive, but very weak. It looks like he has been in that place for months, and he has been kept in some sort of induced coma. I do not think he would have lived much longer if we had not come here tonight. Simon's memory of this place saved him tonight." John told her.
"That's good, what about the person who put him there?" She asked him.
"I am going to call Judge Sanford right now to get him to sign the search and arrest warrants for the Robinsons, Parrish, and everyone else involved. I have a plan, and if Judge Sanford agrees with me, then it will be over. Ari, Simon, and Lucky will be safe, and all of this will be over for them. They will have to give victim statements to the court, but Judge Orndorf can handle that. They will not have to testify at all, and they do not have to worry about being a target anymore. I hope that this nightmare will be over for them, for good this time. Simon gave me the last piece of the puzzle tonight that I needed to break this case wide open, and he saved Seth's life, just as he saved Ari's. How is Ari doing by the way, any change?" He asked her.
"No, he is still asleep, and seems to be resting peacefully. Here, you talk to Simon before he rips the phone out of the wall." She said before handing the phone to Simon. John could tell by his voice that he had been crying again.
"Dad...what happened? What did I do wrong now...and who got hurt this time?" He said in his hoarse voice, and John knew he had been blaming himself.
"Simon, listen to me. You did not do anything wrong, and nobody got hurt. You did something very good tonight, and you saved your friend Seth Jordan's life tonight because you told us about the bad place." John told him in a soothing voice.
"Seth? You mean he didn't run away? That he's been in there the whole time?" Simon asked him, and then his voice filled with his guilt. "It should have been me, not Seth, he never hurt anyone. They hurt him cause of me, and he almost died in the bad place. That place is going to keep on hurting everybody until I die."
"No Simon, it won't hurt anyone else, I promise. It is over son, for good now. You, Ari, Lucky, and Seth are all safe now, and nobody will try and hurt you anymore. Do you understand?" John asked him, and there was a long pause.
"It's over now? You mean it Dad?" Simon asked in a choked voice.
"Yes, I do son, it's over now for all of you guys because of everything you guys remembered and told us about. You, Ari, and Lucky broke this case wide open, and all of you saved a lot of other kids from being hurt, as you all were hurt. It's really over son, and you are safe now." John told him, and he could hear Simon's soft sobs and then Sara's voice in the background as she comforted him. Jeanne came on the phone next, and John gave it to Jerry so he could talk to her. John got out and went looking for Chief Smith; he wanted to tell him he was leaving for Metro headquarters to get everything rolling after he stopped by the house so Simon would go to sleep. Then he returned to the car just as Jerry finished the call and hit the end button. First, John drove home, and got there as Simon fought to stay awake.
"It is all right son. I am here as I promised, and I will be here when you wake up. You need to rest so you can be strong for your brother and best friends. Do not worry Simon; all of you guys are safe, and we will keep the light on. I love you Simon," John told him, and then kissed him as Simon relaxed, and drifted off to sleep as the medication pulled him into a deep dreamless sleep. Then, John and Jerry left for the Metro police headquarters and then went inside to Jerry's new office. John made the calls to Judge Sanford and the prosecutor, and updated them on their findings and about the events surrounding Seth Jordan. He then explained his plan to them, and both the judge and prosecutor agreed to proceed exactly as he suggested. Within an hour after the call, John had the arrest warrants while the federal prosecutor Don Sims was coordinating the arrests of the co-conspirators involved in the case in Knoxville. This included Reverend Parrish, most of the staff at the boys' home, The Lakewood Mayor, Sheriff Pernell with eight of his deputies, and four state social workers involved with the boys' home.
Seattle -- 2 AM, Christmas Day 1995.
John, Jerry, and taskforce members raided the Robinsons' home with arrest warrants for them along with warrants for their two oldest foster kids, Jacob (Jake) Stevens and Charles (Charlie) Wathen.
"U.S. Marshals, we have a warrant!" John shouted as the swat member broke down the front door, and the team swarmed in. Within two minutes, the SWAT team had all four of them subdued and handcuffed.
"Terrence Robinson; you are under arrest for kidnapping, child trafficking, child exploitation, and murder. You have the right to remain silent; because anything you say can, and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to be represented by an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney; then one will be appointed to you. You do not have to answer any questions without your attorney present. You can stop answering our questions at any time without you attorney present. Do you understand these rights that I've read you?" John told him and Mr. Robinson said yes. "One more thing, Merry Christmas, you piece of shit."
8 AM, Christmas Day. -- Press Conference.
"I will like to give a brief statement about recent developments into the Jefferies investigation. However, I will not answer any questions at this time. Earlier this morning, federal arrest warrants were issued and enforced on suspects in connection with the Bill Jefferies serial murder investigation. Sixteen individuals were arrested here and in Tennessee, and search warrants are currently being carried out. A minor victim was found, is now receiving medical treatment, under police protection at this time. I would like to thank Chief Smith, the Mayor, and the Seattle Metro Police for their assistance in this investigation. We will issue more information in regards to this investigation as it develops. Thank you." John said into the microphone on the podium as Chief Smith, and the Mayor stood next to him. Then they turned and went back inside while ignoring the shouted questions from the gathered reporters. Earlier, John and Chief Smith briefed Judge Orndorf about everything, and he agreed to keep the pending charges sealed against the Robinsons for the assaults and attempted murder of Lucky and Seth while the federal case went forward.
"Well, we can't do much more until the arraignment, so let's go home, and try to enjoy Christmas. I appreciate everything you've done Lee, and I know four boys who will have the best Christmas present they could have wished for today. No more fear." John told him as he shook Chief Smith's hand.
"No problem John. Now go home and make this day the best day ever for your sons because they deserve it. We can deal with everything after the arraignment." He said as he patted John on the shoulder. With that, John and Jerry left for the parking garage. John was home earlier when Simon woke up at 5am, then he left to finish up things after reassuring Simon that everything was ok. They drove Ty's car home, but it was still almost 9 am before they arrived. John and Jerry were greeted by four boys along with Tom, Jeanne, and Sara. Ari was awake, and appeared to be mostly recovered from the night before. Still, all three of them were pale with worried expressions on their faces. Junior was sitting in the middle of them, and looked like their over protective big brother. As soon as John came into the den, Ari got up, ran over, and jumped into John's arms.
"Merry Christmas Mejo, you feeling better this morning?" John asked him as Ari hugged him tightly. He could feel Ari's small body shivering.
"Is it true dad? Did you really get all of them?" He asked in a scratchy high-pitched voice. John carried him over and sat down on the couch with Simon, Junior, and Lucky. John put his arm around Simon, and motioned Lucky to come sit on his other side while Ari straddled his legs. All of them looked at him with expressions of fear, but also of hope. He put his other arm around Lucky, and hugged him and Simon to him after kissing both of them on their heads.
"It's true, this morning we arrested all of them, here and in Tennessee. We got all of the evidence about the entire conspiracy. Everything involving Reverend Parrish, the boys' home, and his connection with Bill Jefferies was found at the Robinsons home, and in Parrish's basement. Simon, what you remembered, and told us about the bad place saved another boy. Lucky, that boy was your friend Seth Jordan. He did not run away as you were told, instead Bill, or `Pop' and Mr. Robinson put him in the bad place, and we found him there last night. He is very sick still, but the doctors were able to wake him up, and they say that he will be ok in time. That means that it is over now, and all of you are safe. Nobody will hurt you anymore, and you don't have to be afraid any longer because we got the evidence to lock them up for a very long time." John told them, and Ari's eyes filled, and his tears spilled down his face when John said this. Lucky and Simon also began to cry while a look of relief flooded their young faces. Ari then leaned over and hugged Simon and John while Lucky hugged him also. Their soft, strangled sobs were heard by all of them, and they all were there to help comfort them. Sara picked up Ari and hugged him as he buried his face into her chest and cried. Tom did the same with Lucky, while John gently pulled Simon into his lap and held him as he cried. They all comforted them for almost ten minutes until the boys calmed down.
"So you know everything now? Everyone responsible for what they did to all of these boys, including the Robinsons who hurt Lucky, they will be punished now?" Tom asked John as he tenderly dried Lucky's eyes.
"Yes, I am pretty sure that we know everything now. We also arrested everyone involved except one man, but we will find him. The guy that Simon and Ari know only as Cass is the one we did not find. However, we know who he is now, and he is on the run. His name is Earl `Cassidy' Casey. We know where he lives, where he works, and even where his money is. As soon as he surfaces to get money, we will get him. He can't hide forever, and he can't hurt you guys anymore either." John told them and both Simon and Ari nodded while they looked relieved.
"As for the Robinsons being punished, no they won't be for this case. Let me explain everything to you and then you will understand, ok Tom?" John asked and Tom agreed to listen. "This is what was happening. Bill Jefferies and Terrence Robinson were working together, and they were using the bad place to make the boys they put in there forget everything. It is called sensory deprivation, and they used this to brainwash them, or reprogram them for people who were buying them. This reprogramming was to make the boys docile and subservient so their owners could do whatever they pleased without the fear of the boys escaping and going to the authorities. That is what he did to you, Simon. Only, you were the first boy he did this to, and he made you forget about your parents, and all about your life before he took you and made you Devon. Every time you started to remember your parents or past, he would put you back into the bad place and make you forget again. Bill did this to a lot of other boys, but there was a problem. Sensory deprivation works most of the time, but it also made a lot of the boys insane and uncontrollable, which forced him to kill them. Most of boys who survived the reprogramming, he found out it was only temporary. When they started to remember, most of them died when he put them back through the sensory deprivation process. The only ones who survived multiple times in the sensory deprivation process were Simon and Ari. That is why Simon eventually forgot everything about his family except his mother's voice, and the scent of her favorite perfume. It is why you cannot remember a lot of things now, like how to read. You do know how to read Simon because you can write, you can do math, and you are able to memorize things after hearing or seeing them a few times. If you cannot read at all, then you would not be able to do any of those things. It is because of him making you forget everything is why you cannot read right now. Once we get you into therapy, the doctors will help you to remember, and help you to read again." John told him as he explained to them all while they listened quietly. Simon looked at him with moist eyes.
"So I'm not stupid then?" He asked in a quiet voice while forcing himself not to look away.
"No Simon, you are not stupid, and never have been. Bill did a lot of bad things to you to make you forget, but the only thing he could not make you forget was how to survive. Once we get you into therapy with special doctors, they will help you to remember, and help you to deal with all of the bad things that Bill did to you." John told him. This time Simon did look away before whispering, "Thanks Dad." John just hugged him a little tighter as he kissed Simon's forehead as Simon sniffled while his bottom lip began to quiver as he tried to hold back his tears all the while knowing he could not. Sara passed Ari to Jerry, and came over and sat by John before lifting Simon into her arms and holding him as he began to mew softly as he cried into her shoulder and neck.
"It's alright beautiful; he cannot hurt you ever again." She cooed softly to him as she comforted him.
"Jefferies and Robinson kidnapped almost 60 kids over the years, and over half of them died during this reprogramming. During that time, Bill somehow met Reverend Parrish. Parrish was operating a child porn and prostitution ring using the boys' home. He usually did not have a problem with the boys because they were all orphans, and with the mayor and local sheriff involved in the ring, they were able to operate freely. However, they were not in the business of killing kids. Most of the boys were traded to other sex rings in Mexico, and Brazil, or they were sold to the drug cartels and made into drug mules. Still, a few boys needed to disappear for various reasons, and that is where Bill comes in. He would find buyers for these boys, and attempt to reprogram them, or he would kill them and dispose of the body. We found computer disks that had lists of people who bought kiddie porn, or paid to have sex with a child. Then Ari was sent to the boys' home, but he fought back and refused to do as they wanted. When you ran away, you took some things to prove what they were doing to you didn't you?" John asked him and Ari first looked surprised, and then nodded.
"I took some video tapes and computer disks. I thought it was the videotape that they made of me. That is why I took it Dad, so nobody would see all of the bad things they did to me. The disks were in between the video tapes, and I did not know I took them until after I ran away. I hid them and took one of the tapes to the police after I ran away, but the police just took me back and then hurt me." He said softly as more tears slipped down his face.
"I know son, but where did you hide the rest of the tapes and the computer disks?" John asked him.
"In one of those lockers in the train station in Knoxville...I hid the key in the place I was staying, but that was over a year ago." He said as Jerry dried his eyes.
"Can you draw us a map later of where you hid the key?" John asked him and Ari nodded. "Now, where was I? Well, we think that one of those computer disks had a list of a lot of important people who paid Parrish to have sex with boys or for pictures and videotapes of boys being sexually molested. There was a list of people who had bought boys for sex, the same as you thought that Bill had bought you. That is why they were trying to hurt or kill you, but we found copies of those same computer disks that you took at the Robinsons and in Parrish's basement. Therefore, it does not matter now if the one you stole is found or not because we already got it. We also recovered over 100 videotapes of boys being sexually molested too. A number of them also had the Mayor of Lakewood and of the Sheriff and his deputies in them as they raped boys. That means that nobody will try to hurt you anymore because you won't have to testify against them, but we will still keep the protective details for a little while to protect you three just to be safe." John told them all, then he held out his arms towards Ari, and Jerry handed him to John. John had Ari straddle his legs again as they faced each other, then John said with all of his love and caring in his face. "One of those tapes showed what they did to you Mejo. I talked to the federal prosecutor in Tennessee; he is having that tape along with all of the pictures they took of you sent here to you in a tightly sealed box. He told me to tell you that you can do whatever you want with it because he does not need them. Now you can destroy them so nobody ever has to see them, and nobody has to know what they did to you Mejo. It is over now, and you don't have to be afraid anymore." John told him, and the fear and worry in Ari's face drained away as he fell forward into John's arms. John just held him gently as Ari cried the hardest that he had ever cried before in his life. He could feel the deep, gaping wounds to Ari's soul finally begin to close, and begin to heal as he felt his son's small body shake as Ari cried out his pain, fear, and torment.
"You mean it Dad? You really mean it?" Simon asked him once Ari had cried himself out, because he needed to hear him say it before he could believe it.
"Yes Simon, I really mean it. All we need from each of you is a victim's statement and deposition, and Judge Orndorf has already said that he will do them after the holidays. It's really over for you guys, and all you have to worry about now is to get better." John told him, and Lucky practically sprang out of Tom's lap and rushed over to John while Simon hugged him from Sara's lap. All three boys gave him a crushing hug as they kept saying `Thank you' to him because they were all out of tears. John kissed all three of them as he hugged them while both he and Sara wiped their eyes and had them blow their noses. "I love you guys, all of us love you, and we always will. Now go sit down and let me finish ok?" He asked them and Ari returned to Jerry's lap while Lucky went back to Tom. Simon had Sara help him turn around until his left leg propped up as he sat in her lap looking at John.
"Now, it's time for the confusing stuff. After you were brought back to the boys' home Ari, Parrish decided to get rid of you. He sent you to Bill for him to kill you, not because he bought you. However, Parrish did not know about Bill's taste for young boys like you. You are a beautiful boy Ari, just as Simon and Lucky are. Instead of doing what Parrish paid him to do, Bill decided to `reprogram' you and keep you for himself as he did with your brother. He put you in the bad place as he did with Simon. However, he messed up when he tried to make you forget, because you found a way to save yourself by making your special place where you put all of your important memories so Pop could not make you forget them. Then, after he let you out, you helped Simon make his own special place, and that is how Simon was able to defy Bill, and save you when Bill figured out his mistake. He was going to kill you that day, and make Simon forget again, but because of you, Simon could not forget anymore, and he was able to fight back this time and save you. That made Bill try to kill him that day instead of you, but Simon has always been a survivor, and he escaped from Pop again, and you guys know the rest." John told them all and the boys nodded as they wiped their still moist eyes. However, they smiled this time because they could now, and because they were happy.
"John, I know that I will never be able to thank you enough for everything you have done for me and Lucky." Tom said sincerely to him. "But I don't understand why the Robinsons will not be punished for what they did to him."
"I was just about to explain that, Tom. I said Terry Robinson would not be punished in this case. See, the case I just laid out for you is our federal investigation into Bill Jefferies as a serial murderer. Our investigation uncovered the crimes he committed, the crimes the Robinsons committed, as well as exposing Parrish's kiddie porn and sex operations. Until today, the only witness we had that could testify about the porn and sex ring, and the corrupt local police and government, was Ari, which is why he was a target. However, now with everything we found at the Robinson place, and Terry Robinson's testimony against the others in the sex and porn ring, and the local police, then we do not need Ari's testimony at all except for his deposition as a victim. To get Terry Robinson's cooperation, we've decided to give him complete immunity from prosecution in the federal case." John told him and Tom almost dropped Lucky in his utter shock over what he just heard.
"You are giving that heartless bastard immunity after what he did to my son! What in the hell kind of justice is that where he gets to walk after everything he put him through?" Tom exclaimed while he face reddened with his anger and outrage.
"Wait Tom! I said to hear me out first before you jump to conclusions. I am just as angry with him for everything he has done to not just Lucky, Ari, and Simon, but for all of those other boys including Seth Jordan too. However, I need him to make the case against Parrish, and the others, so I made a deal with the devil. However, I can be just as evil, and just as much of a heartless bastard myself when I want to be. We offered full immunity from the federal charges in return for his full cooperation, and he accepted the deal. The charges concerning the kidnapping, sexual assault, battery, and attempted murder of Lucky and Seth Jordan are not part of my case. Those are state charges that are currently under seal by Judge Orndorf, and will not be revealed until after that son of a bitch testifies for me. When he gets off the witness stand, Chief Smith, and our good friend, Captain O'Malley here will arrest him and his wife for everything they did to Lucky and Seth. I promise you that once the state gets done with him that he will be put away at the state penitentiary with the general population, or he can request special protection that is normally given to pedophiles and child predators. If he requests that, then he will be put into solitary confinement for the duration of his sentence. He will not have any kind of contact with other prisoners, he will only be allowed one hour outside his cell every day, and a 10 minute shower by his self three times a week. His testimony in my case will make him so famous, and show the world what kind of a sick and twisted monster he is who preyed on innocent children. Now think about the kind of reception he is going to get once he goes to prison for what he did to Lucky and Seth. After he testifies, then he is going to his own sensory deprivation chamber where he will live for the rest of his life, or he can take his chances in general population. Either way, he is going to suffer the same fate that his victims suffered from him." John told him while his anger showed in his face and voice. Tom stared at him hard for a few long moments, and then he smiled.
"May God bless you, and light your way my son." Tom said as he made the sign of the cross. Then Tom, John, and Jerry all burst out laughing. "You really are a heartless bastard when you want to be John. He doesn't know about this, does he?"
"Not in the slightest of inklings. He thinks he is going to walk away from this, and he is even talking about book deals and everything. However, the federal prosecutor was very specific in the wording of the plea bargain so that his immunity only covers the federal charges against him in the federal case. The state has also agreed not to prosecute him on those same charges, but nowhere in any of the deal does it mention what he did to Lucky and Seth. Their kidnapping is not federal because they were not taken out of the state. Therefore, what he did to them is not covered by his immunity deal because they are separate crimes with separate victims. Judge Orndorf has the indictments under seal, and he will unseal them as soon as he takes the stand to testify for me. When he gets done testifying, he will be arrested and charged for what he did to Lucky and Seth, and I have no doubt that he will convicted on all charges, then the judge will throw the book at him. No matter how you work it, he is facing almost 200 years in prison. He will never get out except when they carry him out in a casket, but I do hope that he will live a long time." John told him, and this time it was Tom's turn to cry as he hugged Lucky to him.
"Don't cry Dad, please? `Cause I'm going to cry too." Lucky said tenderly as his eyes filled while he gently wiped the tears off Tom's cheeks. Tom nodded as he struggled to regain his composure for Lucky's sake. After a few moments, Tom took a couple of deep breaths, and cleared his throat. Then Lucky asked him, "You ok now Dad?"
"Yes son, I'm ok now, but it is ok to cry sometimes too." Tom told him before kissing him on his eyes and then his small nose. Lucky just smiled happily at him before whispering, "I love you Daddy."
"I love you too Lucky," Tom told him as he smiled back at him. Then Lucky's brow creased as he frowned.
"What about Seth, Dad? What's going to happen to him now?" He asked him.
"I don't know. What will happen to him now, John?" Tom asked him.
"I don't know either right now. I will not lie to you guys; Seth is very sick right now. They had him locked in that sensory deprivation-chamber, the bad place, for a very long time. The doctors were able to revive him at the hospital, but nobody knows how badly he has been affected after being in that box for so long. Physically the doctors say that he is suffering from severe lack of nourishment, and dehydration along with a severe infection. He has some chest congestion, and his arms and leg muscles has moderate to severe atrophy, which means that because he wasn't given any food, or allowed to move that his muscles shrank a lot. He is going to need months of proper care, along with physical therapy before he will be fully recovered from the time he spent in that place. However, mentally, they do not know how badly he has been damaged yet. They don't know how much he will remember, or how emotionally stable he will be until after he is evaluated by a team of psychiatrists at Bayside. I have requested for him to be transferred there once he is well enough to be moved, but for now, he is at the hospital you were in Simon in the Pediatric critical care unit." John explained to him, and Lucky could not help feeling sad for his friend.
"Can I go see him, please? He is my friend, so can I?" Lucky asked as he looked at John, and then at his dad.
"Me too, please Dad. Seth was my friend too. He helped me at school when I had to take a test. I always failed really bad the first time I took a test, but my teachers would then allow me to take a make up test, and Seth would read me the questions, and then the answers so I could memorize them before I took the make up test. That is how I was able to pass most of the time. I know he is scared right now because he is there in the hospital with a bunch of strangers around him. He is scared like I was when you and Mom were not there with me when I was there. He thinks he is all alone right now, and that nobody cares about him, but we do care. He needs to know that we care, so can we go see him too, please?" Simon asked him while Ari nodded in agreement with him, and John and Sara had to choke back their tears after they heard this.
"Yes, we will go see him today, and any other times you guys want to go visit him too. He is just like all three of you because he was hurt very, very bad. However, just like each of you, he has survived, and right now the most important thing he needs are his best friends who love him." Tom said to them when he saw both Sara and John struggling to keep their composure. "Oh my, look at the time. It is already 10 am, so we better get you guys cleaned up and ready for church. We have some very important people who want to meet you guys so we have to hurry. Sara, do you mind if Lucky bathes here? He fell asleep last night before I could get him into the tub, but then we had an eventful day yesterday too." Tom asked her.
"Of course, if he wants he can shower with Ari and Simon if he wants. Simon still needs help because of his arm and leg, and he gets embarrassed around me because I like to play connect the dots with the freckles on his butt." Sara said with a huge grin.
"Mom! I don't have freckles on my butt!" Simon exclaimed as he blushed bright red.
"Yes you do, but they are little cute ones like the ones on your nose honey," she said to him as she kissed him on the nose while he blushed even more.
"Well, you don't have to tell everyone about them though," he whined embarrassingly before he smiled bashfully as he continued to blush. Sara laughed before hugging him tightly and kissing him noisily on the cheek. Then she stood up with Simon in her arms while Tom stood with Lucky, and Jerry stood with Ari. Tom put Lucky down after he kissed him.
"Go get you backpack, and I won't tell them about the freckles on your butt either." He said with a big grin as Lucky glared at him while it was his turn to blush red.
"Dad!" He said as he put his hands on his slim hips, and gave him a hard stare while blushing cutely. Then Ari spoke up.
"I got freckles on my butt too," he said with a soft giggle, as he blushed pink in Jerry's arms.
"Darn! The laddie beat me to the pot o' gold, must be `cause he has the luck o' the Irish, don ye know." Jerry said in his Irish brogue and they all laughed together before Lucky scampered out the door to the carport, but was back in a moment with his small backpack that had his clothes in it. He then followed Sara as she carried Simon upstairs with Jerry following Lucky as he carried Ari. Sara stopped in their room and got Simon and Ari a pair of clean underwear and t-shirts while Lucky got his from his backpack. He then stripped down to his loose white briefs while Sara removed Simon's nightshirt. However, Jerry felt Ari trembling a bit and looked at him for a moment.
"Pardon me, but we will be right back," he said before stepping out into the hallway with Ari. Once outside of the room, Jerry looked questioningly at Ari. "What is the matter sonny?"
"Um, thanks Uncle Jerry...for last night. You and Aunt Jeanne, um, you took care of me last night." He said embarrassingly to Jerry as he blushed pink, but he continued to hug Jerry tightly.
"`Tis `ol right, me laddie. We be glad that we are able to help." Jerry told him with a gentle smile and hug.
"You didn't even laugh when you all saw how little my wee-wee is either," he said with another blush.
"Well, tis none `o my business to be checking another man's privates, but if ye ask me, I'd say that they be the proper size for a boy yer age." Jerry told him smoothly as he allowed Ari to work up enough nerve so he could really tell him what he really wants to say.
"It's not that Uncle Jerry, it's...it's...just... that you and Aunt Jeanne, you reminded me of my parents last night. Thanks, cause I really missed them a lot." He said softly before hugging Jerry tightly.
"'Tis no problem, laddie. It be our duty because we love ye. Now are ye planning on getting naked out here, and try to "bum" rush past yer mother; or do as the other laddies are doing?" Jerry asked him as he patted Ari on the butt, and Ari just took an extra moment to give him a kiss, and hugged him tightly again before whispering to him.
"I love you Uncle Jerry, and I love Aunt Jeanne too," he said to him and Jerry just kissed him on the head before putting him down. Ari went back into their room and was soon in his underwear, and ready to go with Simon, and Lucky. Sara then marched them into the bathroom as she carried Simon after handing them each a towel. She then left them strict orders to wash everything including behind their ears and between their toes. She also told them to try not to splash water all over the floor, and to keep the giggling down to a low roar, or she would come in to see why they were giggling so much. Then Ari and Lucky surprised her by stripping off their underwear, and waited until after she helped Simon remove his underwear before sitting him in the tub. She sat him on the special seat while Ari got into the tub in front of him, and Lucky got in behind him. Sara was a bit surprised because none of them were trying to cover themselves, or blushing. As she adjusted the water temperature for them, Lucky saw the myriad of scars crisscrossing Simon's back for the first time. His eyes welled as he looked at the raised scars covering his friend's back.
"Simon; is this what Pop did to you?" He asked him as a tear slid down his face. Simon looked over his shoulder with his own teary eyes, and nodded to Lucky.
"He did it to me too, just not as bad as he did it to Simon though," Ari said as he turned around. They could see the same types of scars on his back, but not as many, and they were much fainter than Simon's were.
"I've got scars on my hiney from where Mr. Robinson hurt me really bad. The doctors had to do an operation to fix my hiney after he hurt me." Lucky told them before turning around and bending over a bit. Simon and Ari could both see the suture scars around his small anus and his tiny testicles from where he had been ripped open.
"See, your dad is right. We are all the same now. We even have the same kinds of scars from where bad people hurt us. Now we can be real brothers because we are the same." Simon told them, and they knew that he was right, and that they were brothers in a very special way.
"That is right honey, and as long as you all love each other, then you will always be brothers. Now, you guys hurry up so we can get you dressed," Sara told them, but none of them moved as Sara started to stand up.
"Um Mommy, could you bathe us, please?" Ari asked her shyly while Simon and Lucky looked at her with hope and longing in their eyes.
"Sure honey, if you guys all want me to." She said, and they all nodded eagerly to her. "Come here Ari, I will wash you first, then Lucky, and then Simon ok." She told them while understanding that they needed a mother's tenderness right now, including Lucky. She unhooked the showerhead, and turned it on before thoroughly soaking Ari. Then she soaped up the washcloth and gently scrubbed Ari from his neck down. He giggled and squirmed as she hit all of his ticklish spots, but he was not embarrassed or shy even when she washed his penis and groin. Next, after thoroughly rinsing him, she lathered up his hair, then swirled it up into a point, making them all giggle before rinsing him a final time. When she was finished, she wrapped him into a big towel, and sent him out to Jerry so he could get dressed. Sara then repeated the whole process with Lucky with just as many giggles from him too. Afterwards, as she wrapped him in a towel, he hugged her and said softly, "I wish you were my Mom too."
"I already am darling, whenever you need me to be, I will always be here for you for ever and ever." Sara told him, and he hugged her even tighter after kissing her, and not caring as his towel fell away leaving him completely naked. It did not matter to him now because he knew that he had a mother now because he did need her.
"Thanks Mom, I love you," he said as he kissed her on the cheek again. Sara wrapped him up again in his towel.
"I love you too, sweetie. Now go on, and get dressed before I play connect the dots with the freckles on your butt like I do with Simon." She told him with a big grin, and Lucky blushed cutely before giggling and scampering out the door towards Simon and Ari's bedroom.
"Thanks Mom...for everything." Simon told her as he hugged and kissed her when she turned around to bathe him next.
"Anytime beautiful," she told him before noisily kissing him on the cheek. Then she bathed him as she had done with Ari and Lucky before wrapping him into a towel and lifting him up into her arms. "We really need to feed you more because you are as light as a feather. Now, let's get you dressed for your first Christmas."
She carried him out to his room after picking up his clean briefs and t-shirt. Then she dried him, helped him dress, and brushed his hair before carrying him downstairs to where the others were waiting. Ari and Lucky were already attacking bowls of cereal when she sat Simon at the table. He quickly devoured two bowls for Fruit Loops, then he took his medication before Ari helped him put on his jacket and gloves. They all ushered the boys out to the van, and Lucky sat next to Simon and Ari while Tom followed behind them in his car. When they got to St. Michael's, they could see the huge crowd of people, and police as they directed the cars and limousines of arriving dignitaries while reporters took pictures and broadcast live across the country. Their escort took them to the west side entrance away from the throng, and hurried them inside to Tom's apartment. It was just after 11 AM when they arrived, and Tom, Lucky, and Junior had to hurry off so they could get dressed in their vestments while the others waited in his office. After a few minutes, Juan and Connie came in with Chief Smith and his wife Linda, and greeted them all.
"It seems that word has spread pretty fast about the arrests John," Lee said to him.
"We can see that." He said before kneeling down beside the boys. "I know that you two are a little frightened, but everything will be fine. You are safe, you can see all of the police out there, and they will not let anyone hurt you. Today, we have some very important people who want to meet you guys. Just stay calm, and mind your manners, and everything will be fine."
"Ok Dad, we will behave, we promise, don't we, R." Simon told him.
"Yeah Poppi, we promise. You and Mom will stay with us though, won't you?" He asked with a worried expression.
"Yes we will, we will be right here with you all the time. Come on, it is time for us to go out." Sara told them after kissing them both.
Chief Smith and Juan escorted them to the front pew closest to the dais while reporters took photos and hurled questions at them. Chief Smith politely declined comment until they were let past a velvet rope that marked the point where the reporters and news crews were not allowed past. At 11:30, the organist began playing, and then Lucky led the procession dressed in his white robe with gold vestments as he carried a large bible that filled his small arms. Junior came behind him carrying the incense chasuble that was spewing sweet, red smoke. He was followed by two other altar boys carrying large candles followed by Father Tom in his priestly robes and vestments. Behind him were Deacon Connors and Deacon Edwards carrying large ornate gold crosses, with Bishop Mark Carlisle being last wearing his Miter, and using the chalice to sprinkle holy water on those he passed while offering blessings to everyone. The procession moved up the central aisle to the dais at a sedate pace while they all chanted prayers. Once they reached the dais, Lucky placed the large bible on the podium, while the others set the things they were carrying in their proper place around the massive altar. Lucky and Junior then went over and joined the choir while the other two altar boys joined Father Mark and the two Deacons as Tom knelt, and said a quiet prayer at the altar. Then he stood, and moved over to the podium and opened the bible while the others moved off to the side near the choir.
"Ladies, gentlemen, and distinguished guests, I welcome you here today at St. Michael's on our most holy of days, Christmas, where we celebrate the birth of Christ, our Lord. While this is always one of our most special days here at St. Michael's, today is made even more special because of some important news, and some new members to our family here at St. Michael's." Tom boomed to the packed church while flashbulbs went off from the photographers in the back and sides. Tom was now in his element, and both Simon and Ari were in awe as they watched him.
"Most importantly, today is a special day because the evil that has so recently invaded our country, our fine city, our peaceful homes, and struck terror and fear into our hearts has been defeated. Today, those people responsible for that evil have been arrested, and will face the judgment they so richly deserve. I would like to thank those who are responsible for bringing these criminals to justice, for their hard work to ensure our children's safety, and to return peace into our homes and hearts. They are the men and women of the Bill Jefferies Special Taskforce, which includes the FBI, U.S. Marshal's Service, Washington State Police, and our own Seattle Metro Police Department. I would also like to thank the following people from the taskforce for their time, hard work, and diligence in order to bring all of those involved in committing these crimes against our children to justice. They are as follows: Lt. John Roberts of the U.S. Marshal Service, Captain Jerry O'Malley, and our new Police Chief, Lee Smith from our own Seattle Metro Police Department. I would also like to thank Tyrone Johnson of the city's EMS Department, Dr. Jennifer Levine at Washington State University, and to Juan Rivera and his staff for there invaluable assistance to identify all of the victims involved. Thank you all, and may God bless you and your families for making our children safe again." Tom said, and the congregation roared with their applause as they each stood and acknowledged the crowd. The flash from the cameras was almost blinding.
"Today is also very special to me because the Lord has answered my prayers, and he has given me the most precious of gifts today, a son. Now, I would like to introduce to all of you my son, Lucky Jordan McGrath." Tom said as he walked over and put his arm around Lucky before guiding him to the center of the dais while the congregation stood, and roared their approval while Lucky blushed cutely before shyly stepping behind Tom a little. However, he kept his head tucked up under Tom's arm as he smiled with pride as Tom said his name. Tom kissed him on top of his blond head before letting him go back to his place in the choir.
"Finally, I would like to introduce to you our two newest members to our family here at St. Michael's. These two boys have walked in the shadow of death, and lived in the shadow of despair. Yet they are still a beacon in the darkest of places of God's promise, and of hope. So help me show them the promise of God's love and forgiveness, and let us all give them some much needed hope, and happiness. Most of you know him as the boy named Devon, but that is not who he is, because that is who he was forced to become by his captor. His true name is Simon, and I hope that you will show him what the true meaning of Christmas means. His brother Ari has also lived through the same tribulations that Simon went through, and he too, is a shining beacon of God's promise to us all. Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, and members of our congregation; please welcome into our family here at St. Michael's...Simon Anatoly Roberts, his brother Ari Isaac Roberts, and their parents John Roberts, and his fiancée Sara Radcliff." Tom said as John and Sara calmly led them up onto the dais. John had to carry Simon because of the steps, and he could feel Simon trembling.
"It's all right son, you are safe now, I won't let anyone hurt you, I promise." John whispered quietly to him. Simon nodded his head slightly as he squinted his eyes from the blinding flashbulbs. The crowd stood, and applauded, but they were more subdued with their cheering because they could see how frightened Simon and Ari were. Still, the applause was thunderous, but Simon and Ari could see in all of the faces the concern, and caring for them. John knelt down in order to support Simon as he stood on his good leg beside Ari while Sara stood on Ari's other side. Then Simon put his left arm around Ari, and they both smiled as their tears slid down their faces as they looked out at everyone. They could see and feel the love, caring, and concern that everyone had for them. Ari waved briefly when he saw the same female reporter that he waved to at the hospital, and she waved back as she smiled at him. John then dried their eyes with his handkerchief as Tom came over to them. He then blessed all four of them, and anointed each of them with oil and holy water as he said the blessing to them. Next, he kissed each of them on the cheek before letting John carry Simon back to his motorized wheelchair while Sara and Ari sat back down in their seats.
"Now I would like to welcome some important people who would like meet Simon and Ari, who have become Seattle's own sons. First, I want all of us to take a moment to pray for another boy, who is another victim, and another survivor. He is the latest victim of Bill Jefferies, and he is a very close friend to my son Lucky, to Simon, and Ari Roberts also. Their friend was kidnapped some months ago, and he was rescued last night by authorities. This young man's name I cannot tell you because he is under police protection, and is currently being treated at a hospital for his numerous injuries inflicted by Jefferies and his accomplices. However, he needs our prayers, caring, and love to give him strength, hope, and some peace so he can recover and be happy once more. So let us pray for his recovery, and let us give him the hope that he can put this nightmare to rest forever. In Jesus' name we pray..." Tom said before bowing his head as he touched his hands together to his forehead and prayed while the entire congregation followed his lead. He remained silent for over a minute as he silently mouthed his prayer for Seth before looking up and crossing himself.
"Now I would like to introduce our most distinguished guest today; ladies and gentlemen, members of our congregation here at St. Michael's; please welcome the Vice President of the United States." Tom boomed as the organist began to play and the congregation rose to their feet applauding. The Vice President came in from a side door, walked over to Tom, and shook his hand. Then Tom yielded the podium to him as the news media took pictures and filmed the Vice President as he waved to the congregation. Secret Service agents came out and positioned themselves around the dais, but stayed in the background. Simon and Ari though had a look of shocked surprise on their faces as he came out because they realized that this very important man was here just to see them.
"Thank you Father McGrath and thank you St. Michael's for allowing me to come here today with such short notice. When I heard the news this morning about the arrests made in this case, I felt relieved that the men responsible for the horrible crimes are now in custody. I promise you that they will get the maximum punishment under the law for these heinous crimes against our most vulnerable and innocent victims...our children." He said and then paused as the congregation erupted in applause and cheers before continuing. "However, I did not come here to make a political speech today. I came here today to recognize two very brave young men who somehow survived the unimaginable torture that the monster Bill Jefferies inflicted on them. Not only did they survive, but they also exposed him and his accomplices' crimes to the world so that justice would be served, and those responsible be punished. In order to expose these crimes, it almost cost Simon Roberts his life, and Ari Roberts narrowly escaped becoming Jefferies next murdered victim. Because of their bravery, and their actions, they have allowed law enforcement agencies throughout the country to save dozens of innocent victims from further abuse, exploitation, or death. Therefore, I am honored to present the Medal of Freedom to these two young men for their courage and strength while risking their own lives to do what is right. This medal is the highest honor that can be given to a civilian in the United States, and I think we all agree that they have earned this honor for their bravery." He said before walking over to Simon and Ari. Even though it hurt, Simon stood up while John steadied him as he bowed his head as the Vice President hung the medal around his neck.
"Thank you, sir." He said softly as his eyes filled, and his tears spilled down his cheeks as he shook hands with his left hand. Then the Vice President did the same for Ari, who also cried as he thanked him and shook his hand. They both turned around and faced the congregation with the Vice President between them; they all smiled and proudly showed everyone the medals just given to them. John, and then Sara also shook the Vice President's hand before he returned to the podium. The Vice President then thanked everyone again, and thanked Tom before wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, then he left the same way he came in flanked by the Secret Service agents. Tom then led the congregation through the rest of the service, and he finished right at 12:30 PM. After leading the procession out, he then had John, Sara, Simon, and Ari escorted to the main doors of the church where Jerry, Juan, the Mayor, and Chief Smith were waiting with a security detail. Then, Tom, Junior, and Lucky joined them and they all greeted, and shook hands with the members of the congregation as they filed out of the church while news and media crews broadcast everything around the country. In Tennessee, in a richly set den, two men were watching this all on a large screen television.
"So that is the little voychick who is responsible for this mess." The dark blonde, wavy haired man said from a leather recliner.
"Yes sir, he took the disks and videotape from that idiot Parrish, and hid them someplace. I tried to get close enough to grab the little bastard, but those goons Parrish sent interfered by trying to kill the kid. I had to kill three of them before they could off the little cunt. Now there are cops crawling all over that kid, and my guys can't even get within a few blocks of him without being seen." Cass told him as he sat in a leather armchair across from the man.
"What about the boy found last night? Will he be a problem?" The man asked him.
"No, he doesn't know anything. I took him in order to set up Bill and Terry in the first place; they were getting sloppy and were letting their dicks think for them. Bill was a genius, but he had some severe emotional and control problems, which made him so fucked up. At first, I thought he was a sick bastard because of what he did to his kid Devon, and then to that kid Aaron he grabbed. I mean I thought he was nuts when he said that he could make another kid become Devon. Then he grabbed that boy Simon, and he reprogrammed him to become Devon. That is when I got involved, and I let him do as he pleased with the kids after he reprogrammed them. I know it was fucked up, but he was able to perfect the reprogramming process. That is when I came to you, but by that time Billy was out of control with his lust and rage, and he brought in Terry after I left. Therefore, I was going to use the boy Seth to expose them after he was reprogrammed, but I did not have to do that in the end. He never finished the programming so he will most likely be crazy as a loon once he wakes up from the coma I induced. For the very short periods that he was lucid over the last three months, any memories he may have will be completely jumbled, and discounted by the doctors as nonsense. I damn near got caught every day when I had to sneak into the house to change his IV bags so the little cocksucker did not die. I placed him in that box over a week ago, and I thought I was going to have to write it on the side of the house that there was a "victim" in a box in the basement." Cass explained as he crossed his legs and got comfortable.
"You don't seem particularly upset about your brother's death. You think he knew anything at the end?" The unknown man asked Cass.
"Bill knew something was up when I brought him the voychick and told him to hide him until I could get the location of the disks, but then he goes and reprograms the little cunt. Which was bad really because how can he tell us where he hid the disks if his mind is erased right? Wrong, because that voychick is almost as smart as my brother was, and he has got a memory like a fucking elephant too. While he was different in almost every way after the reprogramming, the kid still remembered everything. He even remembered every day he spent in the sensory deprivation room, and he knew the correct date and time when he came out right down to the fucking minute too. It is fucking whacked because that kid should have been reprogrammed or a gibbering idiot, but the process did not work. Billy put that kid thru the entire process three times, and he could not get him to forget anything. Then he went and got himself killed because he panicked when I found out what he had done. If he would have just kept that little cunt hidden as I told him until I got the disks, then none of this would be happening, and I could have cared less what he did to the little bitch. Now with all of this news coverage, and his picture being broadcast everywhere, Rojas will know, and he will start asking questions. That's even more men I have to deal with until I can grab the little prick again."
"Do that, because I can deal with Rojas once we have his grandson alive, I mean his only living male heir. However, it cannot be helped for now about him finding out about the boy, so deal with any of his men who try to take him before you grab him. What about the other boys?" The man asked him as a manservant brought them each a snifter and served them Hennessey Cognac.
"So far, none of the boys we took have been found. All of the boys taken are doing well after their reprogramming. However, that was fucked up with what you did to Petrinelli's kid." Cass explained after tasting his cognac.
"His father paid to get his son back alive, he did not say anything about returning his son as a virgin. We made over five million from him for one day's work. However, it does surprise me about how depraved these wealthy men can be. Can you believe that Mr. Soon Li Jung actually paid a hundred grand for the privilege to shit in the boy's mouth while he flogged his sushi? Sick bastards, the whole bunch of them, but I will take their money. The little kid surprised me though, fifty men in 24 hours, and the kid lived through it. I will admit that he is a tough little chicken boy, and he still was able to get it up and cum in Mr. St. Pierre's mouth at the end before he fisted the kid." The man said, and then he asked. "How long do you think we have before the boy Seth begins to remember again?"
"We have time, but we don't know how long it will be before his memory begins to come back again; if it comes back at all because he never finished the last reprogramming process." Cass told him as he took out a cigarette and lit it before relaxing in the chair and sipping his cognac.
"Are you sure about that? We know that after a kid has been reprogrammed more than three times that his memories are unstable. That is why they go insane or kill themselves because they cannot trust anything they remember. This was his what...fourth reprogramming now? Is he in any danger of becoming unstable?" The man said as if he was discussing any normal business deal.
"I don't think so, and they won't find out for some time yet who he really is because the previous three processes were successful. All they will find out is that his name is Seth Jordan, and that Terry took him, and sold him to the highest bidder who wanted to do some really fucked up things to him. He will remember that Terry and my brother put him in that box to reprogram him, and that he woke up in the hospital. The funny thing is that Terry doesn't know how close he came to learning the truth about our boy Seth." Cass answered with a laugh. He was laughing because nobody except for him knew the truth about who Seth Jordan really was.
"What about you, the cops have bulletins out all over the country looking for Earl `Cassidy' Casey?" He asked with a chuckle.
"Let them search because he doesn't exist. They cannot even discover that Billy is my little brother because I have killed everyone that knew us in that hellhole except for you. I have got dozens of identities, and none of them is real. A true killer like me is always nameless, like the angel of death. Only you know the truth, and I figure I can trust you not to talk. Because if you try and cross me; then you will be my next kill, and I won't miss this time." Cass said as he smiled at him, but his dark, flashing eyes told the man that everything he had just heard was the truth. He had know `Cass' for 25 years now, and he knew that Cass was the most ruthless, and efficient killer that someone could hire. Their first encounter was the time when Cass had shot him three times after killing several other people, but that was decades ago. He had survived, and believed that Cass had been executed in prison until he walked into his office again a dozen years ago to discuss his brother Billy with him. He did not know how many people Cass had murdered throughout his life, but he knew that if you made it onto his list, then you were as good as dead.
"What about the boy Simon, how well was his reprogramming? How much do you think he knows, or will remember?" The man asked him. His voice constantly remained soft and calm unlike Cass's voice.
"I don't know, Mr. Foxworth, my brother fucked him up pretty good. He has been reprogrammed like twenty times now, so I doubt if that kid could remember accurately what happened yesterday, let alone years ago. He is the only kid who has survived being reprogrammed more than five times. Therefore, I think we are pretty safe from him, but I will take care of him also if you want me to. It will be a shame though because those two voychicks are really cute kids. We can make a mint off them by sending them to Recife or Rio." He said with a half smile before taking a long pull off his cigarette.
"What do we do about Parrish?" The man asked.
"He's expendable. The feds are going to hang him, what else can they do. The idiot deserves to be crucified anyway because he was so damn careless. The dumb motherfucker was so horny to stick his dick up a new voychick's ass that he left the tape and disks lying on his desk. When that little cunt Ari escaped, he grabbed them, and took them with him when he ran. They didn't even notice that he was gone with the tape and disks until the next day." Cass said angrily. "I took care of things though by planting doctored copies of the disks in Parrish's place, and in Terry's place. The cops found them this morning when they raided the places, and everything points to my brother, Terry, and Parrish. There is nothing on those disks to implicate any of us, or anything that reveals who the boys are that we kidnapped, and reprogrammed. They got their hands full right now just trying to find out how many boys were killed. That is going to take them fucking months to find that information out alone."
"Except for the real disks the boy hid someplace, and the tape. If those disks get into the government's hands, then we are both fucked, and if Rojas ever sees that tape, then we are dead. There will not be any place on this planet that we can go and hide if he got that tape. Therefore, I want those disks, and that tape, and I do not care what you have to do to get them. Understand!" The man told him.
"Yes sir, Mr. Foxworth, I understand, but we can't do anything right now about it. We've got time though, and that kid isn't going nowhere until after the trial, so relax." Cass told him before taking another pull on his cigarette.
"So what do we do Jonas?" Mr. Foxworth asked him, and Cass laughed.
"We wait because we have time. Wait until the storm blows over with this trial, then we strike. That is what we are going to do for now, we wait and watch for our chance. Then I grab the voychick, and get the disks and the tape." He said before downing his cognac in a single gulp and laughing.
End of Chapter 13.
Please send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to email@example.com. All responses will be read, and I will try to answer as many as possible. Thanks to everyone who has commented on this story so far. God Bless, my friends.