Subject: Who will catch my fall?
Chapter 7: (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 they are trapped in. One of the most famous examples of this was Steven Stayner, who was kidnapped at age 7 and severely abused for 7 years that included 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 also 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. I also do not encourage others to perform any kind of abusive or sexual act with minors. If the subject of Man/boy sex, child abuse, and/or rape of minors offends you, or this material is illegal to possess 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!
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. 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 please email me for my permission. The story cannot be placed in archives that require payment for access, or be printed and distributed in any form that requires payment either directly or indirectly. 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 6:
"All done Devon; you did very good young man. Now, I have explained to your Dad and Sara about how to apply the ointment, and I will have Jessica bring you his medications while he gets dressed to go home. Oh, here are his prescriptions for his medications so you can get them filled. I gave him a mild sedative and some valium just in case he has trouble sleeping. The sedative and valium will allow him to sleep without dreaming, but only give them to him as needed." Dr. Gholl told them. Devon's face brightened up when he heard him tell John and Sara that he could get dressed and leave, and he looked directly at Dr. Gholl.
"I can go home now? Um...thanks Dr. Gholl...for keeping your promise about it not hurting too much, and for everything else." Devon said with a shy smile before looking away again.
"No problem Devon, while all of us have enjoyed having you here at Bayside, all of us would like it much better if you were not sick or hurt. Now you get ready to go home and Happy Birthday too." Dr. Gholl said with a gently smile as he leaned over and held out his hand to Devon. Instead of shaking his hand, Devon sat up and hugged him tightly with his left arm as his eyes filled again.
"Thank you...all of you for making me better again," he whispered as he tried to blink back his tears, but only succeeded in having them spill down his face. "Everyone has been so nice to me here; I'm really going to miss all of you."
"You are very welcome Devon, and we will all miss you here too. Now, you get ready to go home to your new life with your dad and mom." Dr. Gholl said as he held Devon gently. He then kissed him on the forehead as Devon sniffled and wiped his eyes with his hand as he smiled. Dr. Gholl then excused himself and left the room.
End of Chapter 6
My thanks to Miguel Sanchez and BenBear for their assistance in proofing and correcting this chapter.
Chapter 7 -- December 12, 1995 (afternoon)
Devon was uneasy, and he could not figure out why. At first, he thought it was because of him going home, but it was not. Something important kept nagging him, but he just could not remember. He stared out the window and at the gathering crowd of people for the press conference, but he just could not shake the nagging feeling he had. Devon looked out the window again, and it frightened him more as the number of people gathered outside increased. John had told him that reporters would be here, but no matter how much John reassured him, he was still scared. In addition, there were a large number of other people who had come to see him besides the reporters, and he did not know why they had come to see him.
"Do I really have to go out there?" He asked in a worried and frightened tone of voice. He was glad to think about something other than whatever it was they kept nagging him, even if all those people frightened him.
"It will be all right, none of them will be allowed to even get close to you. See those men there setting up those poles and ropes. That is where the reporters will be, and all of the rest of the people will be over there while we are over here by the front doors. There will be plenty of cops between the reporters and us too. They will make the reporters and other people behave, and if anyone does bother you then they will arrest that person." John explained as he pointed out the window while he tried to reassure Devon.
"So what do I say to them?" Devon asked him. He fidgeted a bit until he was more comfortable in the wheelchair. It had taken both John and Sara to help him get dressed. John had brought him some new underwear that Sara had modified so that they snapped closed on the sides. He also brought him a large T-shirt and warm up suit that had the Seattle Seahawks colors and logo on them. Along with a Seattle ball cap and new Reebok running shoes. The pants of the warm up suit had Velcro down the sides, which allowed him to wear them while keeping the leg brace visible. When he first saw his new clothes, he tried to insist that they were too expensive, and that he would wear his old clothes. However, John reminded him that expense was no longer a problem, and that his clothes were a gift from the team itself. John then explained to him that his old clothes that he was wearing when he came into the police station were now evidence, and those were in tatters because they had been cut off him by the paramedics. John could tell that everything was beginning to overwhelm Devon, so he knelt down beside him to try to ease his worries.
"Devon, I know that everything is going very fast right now, and that you are not able to comprehend it all. You will have to trust me right now ok. Do not worry about how much things cost, or what to say to those people out there. I will make a short statement to them, and then all of us will answer a few questions for them, but you do not have to say anything if you do not want to. If you do not want to talk to them, then Sara and I will do the talking for all of us. You remember my friend Jerry don't you?" John asked him and Devon shook his head no, as he listened to John. "Well, he is the one who will be here to make sure that the reporters behave themselves, and he will drive us to our new home afterwards. Now if you want to stop at any time, or don't want to do this, you just tell me and I will take care of things, all right son?"
"All right, Dad." Devon said with a weak smile as he tried out that word for the first time. He watched as John's face softened and fill with love for him when he said `Dad' for the first time. John just hugged him, and then kissed him on his forehead and nose with moist eyes.
"I love you son," John said to him. "You do not know how happy and complete you have made my life."
"I love you too Dad and I will tell you if things get to be too much for me, ok. I want to tell them something too because so many people have sent me cards and stuff. I...I just don't know what to say yet is all." Devon said while indicating the throng of reporters outside with a slight nod of his head.
"Ok, but just remember that whatever you do say will probably end up on TV and in the newspapers. So mind your manners when you talk to them, ok son." John told him with a soft smile.
"I promise dad." Devon said softly as he looked out the window again feeling uneasy still. He was more frustrated with his self more than anything, but he just knew that whatever was causing his uneasiness that it involved Pop somehow. Just then, Jerry knocked on the door to the waiting room where Devon, John, and Sara waited. John waved him inside as he got up to greet him. However, John hesitated though when he saw the man that followed Jerry into the room, and his face darkened a bit when he recognized the reporter from the Thanksgiving incident.
"What is this Jerry? Why is he here?" John asked in a voice tinged with anger as he stepped forward.
"Now hold on before you go popping your top. I have spoken to Mr. Simmons here several times, and he just wanted to come here to apologize is all. He has been shamed enough in public, so I thought that it would be more appropriate that you see him here." Jerry explained quickly but seriously. John listened as he studied the man, and he could see that what Jerry was saying was true. The reporter looked like he had been suffering, because there were dark circles under his eyes and he appeared older than John remembered.
"All right," John said quietly as he moved back alongside of Devon and knelt down before embracing him protectively. "We will listen to what he has to say." Mr. Simmons came forward and sat down in a chair directly across from Devon and John.
"I appreciate you seeing me Mr. Roberts. I will not take up much of your time. I just want to let Devon know that I am truly sorry for my actions a few weeks ago. What I did was uncalled for, and I am truly sorry for frightening you so much when you were recovering from all of your wounds. I did not mean to hurt you Devon; I just wanted to be the first person to get your story is all. Everyone wants to know how you survived for all those years with Bill Jefferies, and everything he did to you. Afterwards, I realized that I had messed up, and that is why I resigned even before the paper announced that they were firing me. You are a very brave child Devon; to be able to survive everything that man did to you. I knew that your story would inspire people, and renew their hope that there are some truly good people in the world. All they hear about is how bad the world is becoming, but your story would show them that there is some good in the world too. However, because of my overzealous attempt to be the first reporter to interview you, I completely forgot that you were still seriously injured and frightened, and I only made things worse for you. I do not want your forgiveness because what I did was unprofessional and reprehensible. I just want you to know that you should not be scared because of what I did. It was wrong and I am very sorry Devon." Mr. Simmons said to them. He did not try to hide his shame that he felt for what he had done, and he clearly showed that he was not looking for forgiveness. Devon listened, and then he got an idea. He quickly leaned over and whispered into John's ear his idea, and John first looked at him, then back at Mr. Simmons.
"We both appreciate your apology Mr. Simmons. Devon still becomes frightened when I mention `reporters' around him. However, as you can see, he is also very forgiving, and he wants to ask you something." John said to Mr. Simmons before looking and nodding to Devon.
"I accept your apology. I...um...was just wondering if you still want to do my story is all?" Devon said in a very timid and soft voice.
"Well yes, I do want to. Only now I do not have to answer to an editor, and I can do the story without it being tilted towards sensationalism that the newspaper would demand." Mr. Simmons responded.
"It's just...that I'm still so scared...about everyone...and everything else too. I know that I still have a lot of things to do before I am well. Pop...um...I mean Bill hurt me so much, and I do not want to be like him. It is hard enough to do all this, but I do not want to be followed everywhere by all of those people out there either. So, if Dad told them that you will be doing it, then maybe they would leave me alone." Devon said timidly as he leaned closer to John while forcing himself to look at Mr. Simmons.
"Yes, that would work. I cannot promise you that some other reporter would not bother you in the future, but most of us journalists do care. Therefore, if it were expressed that you wanted some privacy, and that you already have someone that would be exclusively at your disposal to cover your story, then they will be more interested in discovering who has the exclusive, and would bother that person instead of you. I agree that you still have a hard road ahead, but I can already see that you are well on your way to recovering. Here, this is my card, and once you are home and settled, then your father, am I correct in that assumption, he can call me when you are ready to be interviewed." Mr. Simmons answered Devon before taking out a business card and handing it to John. "You are truly a remarkable young man, Devon. I will be honored to do as you requested, and I pray that your recovery and future are much happier than your life has been so far. I will leave you now to get ready for the press conference, and Mr. Roberts, do not identify me as having the exclusive, instead refer them to this PR firm. They will handle all of the inquiries from the press." He said as he wrote down the name and address on a piece of paper. He then excused himself and left the room.
"You are sure you want to do this Devon?" John asked him once Mr. Simmons had left. Devon sniffled and wiped his eyes with his left hand.
"Yeah, I am. I heard some of the nurses talking, and they said that many kids who have been hurt like me end up hurting other kids when they are grown. I don't want to be like Pop was, and I don't want all of those people out there bothering me either." Devon said softly as another tear slipped down his face as he indicated the crowd of reporters outside. "I have always been scared of people, but I'm not scared when I'm with you though. Since Thanksgiving, I heard what happened to him, and I heard them talking about how his kids would suffer because he had been fired. I do not want any kid to be hurt because of me for any reason. This way they won't be."
"You have never been like Bill, and you never will be Devon. I also know that you feel guilty about what happened, but Devon, you have to understand something. Life is nothing but a series of choices. It is the choices we make that decide how our futures will be. That man chose to put his ego first instead of his ethics. That is why he snuck into the hospital and assaulted you, and that is why he was fired. Just as you have chosen to help him now by giving him the exclusive rights to your story and that will help his family because of your choice. What you have to learn is that you are not responsible for the outcome of someone else's choice. You did not cause that man to do what he did. So do not blame yourself for what happens to someone after they have made their choice because it is not your fault." John told him as he gently wiped away his tears. Devon just nodded before hugging John as tightly as he could.
"Well laddie, `tis time to get tha show over wit. Don ye worry a bit, cause yer Uncle Jerry be here ta keep tha curs from misbehaving. Time's a wasting an me want to have ye situated in yer new home before night comes a callin'." Jerry said in his lilting Irish brogue. He smiled and winked at Devon who grinned before looking at John.
"I like him Dad," Devon said with a shy giggle. John frowned at Jerry.
"I can see he is already corrupting you," John said while Jerry looked mortally wounded.
"`Tis an awful injustice ye do to me sir, and after all of tha love me's shown ye too. Ye should just smack me in me craw. I be truly hurt, me laddie." Jerry said with feigned sorrow before sticking his tongue out at John. This caused Devon to giggle even louder as he watched Jerry's antics.
"I really like him Dad," Devon giggled merrily as he looked at John. John looked upwards with his hands out.
"`tis me cheery disposition that the lad has taken to, don ye know," Jerry explained to John.
"They corrupt so easily now, what's a simple man like me to do?" He pleaded to the ceiling before laughing himself.
"Um...Dad, is he the man you told me about?" Devon asked shyly as he looked at John.
"Yes, he is. Just call him Uncle Jerry because he is practically family to me; to us now." John told him warmly. "Now, if you are feeling up to it, why don't we go and get this over with." Devon nodded meekly, becoming the quiet, shy boy that he was once again. He closed his eyes tightly as he rubbed his forehead above his eyes. John and Sara saw this and became worried.
"Are you feeling ok Devon?" John asked him.
"It's just the lights I think. Sometimes they make my head hurt. Can I have a couple of aspirin please?" Devon asked quietly as he squinted as he looked at John. Sara came over and placed her hand on his forehead.
"He is a little feverish John. It is probably from his head cold that he had. I will get him some sinus medicine," She told him and then left the room.
"You have to tell us when you are not feeling well, or we cannot help you feel better son." John said to him. Then Sara came back in and gave Devon two pills with a cup of water.
"These will help, but you cannot have any aspirin because it will make your stomach hurt again. Dr. Sloane said that he has an ulcer from the aspirin, so from now on, he has to take Tylenol for his headaches and cold." She explained to John and to Devon. Then John decided to wait another for 30 minutes before going out for the press conference. Jerry went outside to pass the word along about the delay.
"Now, when we go out there, I will make a short statement first, then, after I've finished, if you feel up to it, you can talk then we can answer a few questions. If you don't want to answer any question or are tired, then just tell me and I will end it ok." John told him, and Devon agreed. After twenty minutes had passed, Devon told John that he was feeling better, and Sara said that his fever was down. Jerry came back in, and John pushed Devon out through the door into the lobby. Sara came over along with Dr. Gholl and Nurse Jessica and a number of other staff members that had all taken care of Devon.
"Is everyone ready?" Sara asked and everyone nodded. "Then let's go. I will be right beside you the whole time honey." She said to Devon who blushed prettily when she called him `honey.' Jerry went out and had the officers take up their positions before holding the door open for Devon. John pushed Devon out the door, and up to the table that was setup with a microphone and chairs for them. He then sat next to Devon while Sara sat on Devon's other side, and then John tapped on the microphone in front of him to make sure it was on.
"Ahem; hello everyone, I am glad that everyone could make it to this press conference on such short notice. I am sure that most of you know me, but I will introduce myself again just in case. I am John Roberts, formerly a Detective with the Seattle Metro Police. As you are all familiar with the Bill Jefferies case that I am a part of, I called this press conference to keep you up to date with the recent developments concerning Devon. First off, I will like to introduce to you some of the people here that have been responsible for caring for Devon during his recovery so far." John said into the microphone as the crown settled down. John then had Dr. Gholl and the staff at Bayside step forward for the photographers.
"This is Dr. Gholl along with some of the staff here at Bayside Institute, and all of these wonderful professionals have taken excellent care of Devon. I wish to thank each and every one of the staff for the kindness and caring that all of you have show to both Devon and me. I can truly say for both of us that we will not forget all of your kindness and efforts in order to provide the safest environment, and privacy for Devon while he recovers from his many injuries." John said before standing and shaking Dr. Gholl's hand while the crowd applauded. Dr. Gholl and the rest of the staff waved and smiled while the photographers took pictures and the crowd applauded. Once the applause died down, John continued.
"Next, I want to recognize Devon's personal nurse, our friend, and his guardian, Miss Sara Radcliff. She has also agreed to continue in her position for as long as Devon wishes. Her guidance, friendship, and caring has helped him adjust to the hospital settings, and has helped reassure him for the numerous, and quite often painful and difficult procedures that he has had to go through in order to recover from his many life threatening wounds. I just want to let her know that both Devon and I depend on her not only as his caretaker, but also as a friend, and we both want to thank her for never letting us down." John said to Sara while she blushed prettily before kissing and hugging him and Devon. At the same time, the crowd applauded and the press photographed her.
"Finally, I want to introduce the bravest and most caring boy that I have ever met. From the moment I met him, although I wish it could have been under much different circumstances, he has filled my heart and touched me just as he has touched everyone else who has read about him. He was shot five times, and yet he still managed not only to survive, but also to still care more about others than himself. As most of you all know, I lost my wife and daughter six years ago in a tragic accident, and Devon has decided that he wants to have me be his Dad. He has healed that void inside me that I have had since my wife and daughter was taken from me so suddenly, so let me introduce to you my son, Devon Anatoly Roberts." John said to them, and the crowd's applause was thunderous. Devon blushed and smiled shyly while a single tear trekked down his face as he hugged and kissed John and then smiled at everyone. Once the crowd had quieted down again, John gently wiped the tear from Devon's face as Devon wiped his own tears away. He then turned back to the crowd again but kept his arm around Devon's shoulders.
"Now, Dr. Gholl will be happy to answer any questions about Devon's injuries and about his recovery. I would like to thank my Captain, Juan Rivera, the Mayor, the entire Metro Police department, and my close friend Sgt. O'Malley for everything they have done for me and my son these last few weeks. I also want to thank them for all of their hard work to make it possible for me to adopt Devon. Finally, I have a request for everyone including the press here. While Devon is being released today, he still has many more months left before he will be fully recovered. His life has been flipped over and turned inside out in these last few weeks. So please, after we leave today, please give both of us some privacy so that he can complete his recovery and allow me to restore some order into his life. I have already contracted with a firm that will handle future press releases about his progress. So please contact them for information about us in the future. Now I believe Devon would like to say something to you, and then we will take a few questions if he feels up to it. Thank you all again for all of your caring and support," John said to them as the crowd once again applauded and the photographers snapped pictures of him and Devon together. As the crowd settled down once more, John slid the microphone over and adjusted it for Devon. Devon leaned over and whispered to John who handed him a bottle of water and he took a small drink before leaning forward to the microphone.
"Um...this is all new to me so I don't know if I'm doing it right or not. It is not as easy as it looks on TV, and it's sort of scary to me." He said nervously in a very soft timid voice that could barely be heard. John hugged him to reassure him and whispered for him to speak up a bit. He looked at John, then over at Sara who whispered her assurances to him before he faced the microphone once more. Devon was still unsure as to what he would say, and his uneasiness had increased since the press conference had started. It was not until John had spoke about meeting him that the nagging sense Devon had been wrestling with finally triggered a rush of memories. His facial expression changed, and this time when he spoke, he did so without thinking as he tried not to concentrate on the memories flooding back to him now. Therefore, his voice was much clearer than before although his piping voice still sounded timid. While he tried to continue speaking without losing his train of thought, the memories flooding back to him started to overwhelm him.
"Um...I just want to say thanks to everyone who has written to me. All of your letters and gifts helped me after what happened." He said before pausing and looking down for a moment. "I heard the stories about me in the newspaper, and saw them on TV. Everyone has said what a brave and special person I am. I...um...I," Devon faltered as everything rushed back to him. John immediately noticed the change to Devon's expression, and he knew that something important was happening. He was about to interrupt when Devon started speaking again as his eyes filled and spilled down his cheeks. "I don't feel that I am brave or special. Pop was a very bad man, and he hurt me a lot. He hurt me before he would go get another boy, and then hurt me even more afterwards. I know many people want to know why I never told on him. I did not tell because I could not tell without Pop hurting me. Pop would beat me until I could not walk, and then he would go get a boy and bring him home. I would tell him Pop's rules, and beg him to obey them and be good, but they always forgot and broke the rules. Then Pop would handcuff me in the back and lock me in the room. I would hear him as he did it, then afterwards he would come in and beat me until I passed out. When I woke up again, Pop would take me to where he buried them, and he would tell me that if I told that I would be next." Devon said quietly as his tears streamed down his face. He could no longer see the people there around him, just his memories now as they broke through the haze. Sara started to shield him protectively, but John stopped her. He could see that Devon was remembering this now, and that it was important to him. He had been holding in all of this guilt, and it had been quietly suffocating him. Now he was releasing it, and telling everyone the truth of what everyone had all be speculating about since his story came out. John turned him in his wheelchair away from the microphone until Devon was facing him then he just leaned close to Devon and whispered into his ear.
"Let it go son, tell me everything. I am right here for you, and I love you." John said as he gave his hand a little squeeze to reassure him. Devon managed to nod slightly before he continued. He had not thought about Pop until now because everything was so painful for him. However, talking about what Pop had done to him and the other boys; it had brought back many of his memories of those boys and of what Pop had done to them. The nagging sense of uneasiness that he had had all morning now coalesced into one single name...Ari.
"I can't remember any time with Pop that I did not live in fear that I would be next. However, when he brought Ari home, it was different. Ari obeyed the rules, and he did not cause trouble. I never was good in school, and Pop did not care as long as I did not attract attention to us. Then Ari came, he would help me with my homework, and Pop was even talking about letting him go to school too. I thought it was great because I was not alone anymore, and Ari was so smart too. I got an `A' for the first time ever on my math quiz because of him helping me. But, Pop was so mad at me, he said I broke the rules because good grades would attract attention. He kept hitting me with a bat and broke my leg. I passed out, but woke up when he tried to set the bone and splinted my leg. He kept telling me how I was so much trouble to him, and that he should take me to the shed. Ari took care of me after that, and took Pop's wrath for me while I was hurt. When I was able to walk again, Pop said Ari had to go. I knew what he was going to do, but Ari was my friend, he was the only person who ever cared about me, and Pop was going to take him away. He did not deserve to die, so I broke the rules again and told on Pop at school, but they did not believe me. They called Pop at work and told him what I had said. I ran home as fast as I could and let Ari free before Pop got there. I told him to run, and to go hide...to hide in an old warehouse I knew of on the way home from school. I was going to meet him later, but Pop came home and caught me. He beat me until I blacked out, and when I woke up, I was tied up in the truck. He was mad at the truck because it stalled and would not start again. Pop said he was taking me to the shed; that is the place where he buried all of those boys. He got out to try and fix the truck, and I got my hands free. A cop stopped and asked if Pop needed some help, and that is when I ran. I could hear Pop yelling at me, and then the cop yelling at both of us, but I kept running. Then I felt the pain when he shot me. I almost fell down when he shot me in the leg, but I knew that I would die if I fell so I just kept running as best as I could. He shot me again and again, but all I could think about was to keep running, and not to fall down. I knew he had shot me in my side, but I still kept running until I could not breathe anymore, and fell down. I did not know where I was, and I hurt so bad all over that I could not move, so I waited for Pop to come and kill me. I waited all night for Pop to come and he never came. I was so tired...and I hurt so much...I just wanted to die so I would not hurt anymore. Then I remembered Ari was waiting for me so I went to the police station and passed out, that's when you saved me Dad." Devon said to John as he cried. John was listening to every word, but he was surprised as Devon told him this. The Captain, Jerry, Juan, and the Mayor had all come up and stood around Devon listening as he spilled his heart out while reporters were furiously writing everything down.
"Devon, listen to me now son, who is this boy Ari?" John asked him as he knelt in front of Devon. This news about another victim was a complete surprise. However, John also knew that this boy may still be alive somewhere. "You did nothing wrong son, but this is important now. Who is this boy, and where is the place you told him to go hide...think Devon. Where is this place?"
"I don't know his name except for Ari...Pop never told me. I thought that we would be brothers because he had been with us the longest. A lot longer than any of the other boys had been. The place is close to the school, I used to hide there sometimes when Pop was mad at me or I was too hurt to go to school. I kept some food there that I managed to take without Pop noticing. Ari knows where it is because we used to go there when Pop was at work, but I don't know the street." Devon said through his tears. "Ari has been with us for over 9 months, but I haven't seen him since that day. I cannot remember things...the bad things...like the beatings. I could not remember until now. I kept hearing his voice when I dreamed at night...because he used to read to me when I was hurt, but I could not remember anything until now. It's been so long now, and I don't know if he is still there." Devon said as he remembered Ari's voice in his dreams, the voice of the young boy that had led him from the darkness.
"It's ok Devon; can you tell me how old Ari is?" John asked him in a soft but demanding tone of voice.
"He is 9 I think; he told me that he was 9. What if he is dead? It would mean that I killed him then because I didn't tell you." Devon said softly so that only John could hear as he leaned against John's chest.
"No it does not. Now you listen to me Devon, I am going to pick you up and carry you to Jerry's car. Then you are going to take us to that place, and then we will go find Ari. Trust me son, we will find him. Now are you ready because it will probably hurt when I pick you up. We were going to use a special van but there is not time for that now. Cry out if you want, but get a good hold around my neck. Now, on three...one...two...three," John said to him and Devon grabbed him tightly with his left arm. John lifted him up out of the wheelchair, and Devon did cry out but managed to stifle it a bit at the last second. Although the pain was bad, Devon felt that he deserved the pain as punishment for not remembering and telling sooner. John quickly carried him over to Jerry's police cruiser and sat him down in the passenger seat in the front. Once Devon was seated, John moved out of the way while Sara handed a couple of pain pills to Devon and a bottle of water. John turned to the others.
"Mayor, could you please conclude this press conference, and Captain, could you come with us. Sara, I will meet you at the house with Devon later, here are the keys ok." John asked her as he handed the keys to her. She handed him a couple of small bottles with Devon's medication and explained what they were and when to give them to Devon. She then kissed him and Devon before leaving. Jerry got into the driver's seat, while John and the Captain got into the back seat. They were gone a few moments after that as Jerry punched the accelerator and the siren and lights. It took about 20 minutes to drive from Bayside to Devon's school, and then Devon directed Jerry to the old abandoned warehouse that he told them about. It turned out to be the old Drevlin Corporation warehouse. It was a long defunct company that had imported furniture.
"Ok, now where should we look for him?" John asked Devon.
"He won't come to you Dad; I have to go get him myself. I promised him Dad...I promised him." Devon said. John understood, so he picked Devon up into his arms and started carrying him towards the building. The Captain had Jerry radio for backup and for an ambulance as well before following John and Devon. Devon directed them to the opening where they could get inside. It was a bit of a squeeze, but John manage not to hurt Devon as he crawled inside, It took them all about 5 minutes to adjust to the gloom once inside, then Devon directed John up the rickety old stairs to the third floor. Once at the top, Devon started calling out.
"Ari! It's me Devon; I've come to get you as I promised. I'm so sorry it took me so long, but I'm here now. Ari...please be ok...please!" They listened for a few moments then heard a very weak voice.
"I'm here Dev. I knew you would come back. I'm here," was the soft piping young voice. John could immediately tell that the kid was very weak just by hearing his voice. He hurried with Devon in his arms towards the voice. They came to one of the old abandoned offices when they heard the voice again, and John almost broke down the door to get inside. Once inside, he could make out an old pile of rags and newspaper, and could see the small boy huddled under them.
"I got him! He's alive, but hurt Captain." John shouted out to the others, and he could hear them coming up the steps. John gently sat Devon down beside the small boy before he began to check him out. The boy shook almost violently as John removed the filthy rags and old, yellowed newspapers. He could hear the boy's wheezing as he took short breaths, and his clothes reeked from garbage, urine, and feces. John could see that the child had soiled himself; he figured it was because he was to sick and weak to move.
"Oh Ari, I'm sorry...I didn't mean to leave you alone for so long," Devon said in a sobbing voice as he gently pulled Ari close to him. "You know how I black out all the beatings and bad things, and I couldn't remember anything until today." Devon said through his tears as he cradled Ari in his lap. "I'm here now, and I will take care of you like you took care of me, I promise ok." Devon cried now oblivious to the pain he was in as he worried about his friend.
"I knew you would come, that is why I stayed. I was afraid that Pop had killed you...instead of me. I hurt my leg, and I...I'm ss...so cold rr...right now D...Dev." Ari said before he managed a small weak smile as he looked up at Devon, and then he began to cry weakly.
"Don't cry Ari, I'm here now, and I will take care of you." Devon told him as he pulled off he jacket and the fleece jacket of his warm-up suit, and then he wrapped them around Ari. "These will warm you up," he said tearfully, and Ari managed to nod his head a little while his teeth chattered, and then Captain Smith and Jerry came into the room. They both covered their noses from the stench of garbage, feces, and urine while they kicked the piles of rotting garbage into one corner.
"He's burning up with fever, and his leg appears to be broken. He is dehydrated too, I think he has been lying here for a few days, but we found him in time thanks to Devon. Let me have your jackets, and Jerry bring the first aid kit and some water also. Lee, could you carry Devon while I carry Ari back down stairs?" John asked them all. Jerry quickly hurried back down the stairs while the Captain went over and picked up Devon as gently as he could. John carefully picked up the sick boy after wrapping him in the jackets, and tenderly cradled him in his arms as he followed the Captain downstairs. Once they reached the main floor, the first emergency crew was pulling up outside. They were followed by a number of news vans and reporters who had been monitoring the emergency channel. John carried Ari to the main doors followed by the Captain with Devon, and they could hear Jerry yelling instructions to the firefighters to get the front doors open. John gently laid Ari down onto the ground close to the doors. He could smell the strong odor of urine and feces coming from the boy's clothing. He also saw that Ari was sliding in and out of consciousness, but Ari opened his eyes and look at him after John laid him down.
"D...Devon...wh...where's...ss Devon?" He asked in a very weak, hoarse voice as he struggled to sit up before collapsing back down.
"It's all right Ari, Devon is right here, and you are safe now." John said to him as he covered him with the jackets. Ari was trembling violently while he struggled to remain awake.
"P...Pop...yy...you have to ss...stop him. Hh...he is going tt...to hurt D...Devon." Ari managed to say through his delirium.
"No he won't son, not anymore. Devon made sure that Pop can never hurt him or you ever again. Just relax now Ari; you are hurt, and very sick, but the paramedics will be here in a moment to take you to the hospital. You are safe now son, so just relax." John said as he wiped Ari's grimy face with his handkerchief. The Captain brought Devon over and sat him down next to the small, sick boy.
"D...Devon, I w...wa...want D...D...Devon. P...pl...please," Ari said weakly as his eyes closed.
"I'm here Ari, I'm here now. I won't leave you again," Devon said through his tears as he rolled onto his side and kissed Ari's dirty face. "Everything will be ok now, I love you Ari." Ari's eyes opened again and he looked at Devon.
"D...don't cry Devon... pp... please...for me? I...I love yy...you too," Ari said with a weak smile and Devon quickly wiped his eyes. Then the paramedics came in through the front doors that were just opened. John stood to meet them and quickly briefed them about the young boy. Then he knelt down next to Devon and spoke to him.
"Come on Devon, let them help Ari now ok." He said to Devon. Devon nodded, but then leaned over Ari and kissed him on his dirty cheek.
"These people will take care of you now Ari, but I will be right here behind them. I will keep my promise and not leave you alone. I love you." Devon whispered to Ari before kissing him again. Ari just managed to nod slightly before closing his eyes again. Devon then allowed John to pick him up and move him out of the way so the paramedics could work. Once they were out of the way, Devon buried his face into John's shoulder and began to sob softly. The paramedics quickly started IV's, and then cut Ari's filthy clothing off him before splinting and stabilizing his leg. Last of all, they loaded him onto the gurney and wrapped him up in blankets before gathering up their equipment.
"Dad, can I go with him, please?" Devon asked when he raised his head up from John's shoulder. He asked in almost a pleading voice as he watched them get ready to take his only friend away to the hospital. John and everyone around could see how guilty he felt about everything.
"Yes you can, but I want you to listen to me for a moment first. I don't want you to blame yourself for this because it is not your fault." John told him, but Devon just shook his head as his tears started to fill his reddened eyes again.
"It is my fault; he almost died because I blocked out everything." Devon said in a trembling voice. Then a choking sob escaped him as his willpower crumbled, and he pleaded with John in between sobs. "He stayed because I told him I would come get him, and now he is hurt and so sick cause I couldn't remember Dad. He still might die cause of me. Please, help him get better like you helped me, please Dad?"
"I know you feel that you are to blame Devon, but the truth is that you are a hero. You just saved Ari's life for the second time son, and you almost gave your own life to save him from Pop. So stop feeling sorry for yourself because Ari needs you to be strong for him right now, ok?" John said to him seriously, and he watched as Devon's face start to relax as this new understanding got through to him.
"Yeah, I never thought about it like that. I did save him, didn't I? I saved him from Pop when he was coming to kill him, and then just now because I remembered. Is he going to be ok Dad, and can he live with us once he is better?" Devon asked him as John carried him over next to Ari before wiping Devon's tears away.
"We'll see, but for now let's just get him better first." John answered as Devon hugged him tightly with his good arm. John then tapped one of the paramedics on the shoulder as they were about to take Ari out to the ambulance. "Devon would like to ride with his friend here, will that be alright?"
"Sure, he can ride up front, and I will take him inside once we get to the hospital. The boy is weak, and suffering from exposure, dehydration, and hypothermia, but he should be fine. My Chief said that you may want us to take him to a different hospital though?" The young man said to John as the ambulance was backed up close to the front doors.
"Yes, could you take him to Bayside Institute, and his name is Ari, but we do not know his last name yet. I will notify the staff at Bayside that you are on your way so they will be ready. I will put Devon in the front, and then I need to get Ari's clothing for evidence." John explained before he carried Devon to the front of the ambulance and sat him in the passenger seat. He gave Devon another hug and kiss to reassure him before going over to meet with the Captain and Jerry. He handed them their jackets back to them, and then borrowed the Captain's dispatch radio to tell the dispatcher to contact Bayside's staff. Then he stood beside Jerry and Lee as Ari was loaded into the ambulance and driven away.
"I would like to know how that child survived this last month out here, but it will have to wait until later. Right now, we have a lot of work to do. I hate to do this John, but I am going to hold up your resignation until we close this case. I don't understand why Devon waited until now to say something, and I wonder if he is withholding more information." The Captain said in his typical business voice. John started to bristle at the Captain's last remark, but Juan interrupted them. They were all still standing just inside the abandoned warehouse away from the crowd of reporters that were gathering.
"Now hold on Captain, I can understand your frustrations, but let me enlighten you a bit as to victims like Devon. You cannot blame him because you know the hell that he has lived through, the violent physical abuse, mental abuse, and probably sexual abuse also. Bill Jefferies controlled every single aspect of Devon's life for seven years, and he beat all the willpower out of him. Then he reinforced that control with sheer terror so that Devon could not resist him at all. When a child is put into situations such as his, they do not have the capacity of free will, nor do they have the experience enough to know that there are other options available to them. So in order to survive without suffering a severe mental breakdown, their minds block out these memories. Mostly, they block out their memories of the most violent and painful incidents of abuse that they suffered along with the events surrounding that abuse. It is not surprising to find a child like Devon with no long-term memory at all. It is a survival mechanism, and the only one they have since it is proven that a child's ability to reason has not matured yet. That is because the area of their brain that controls these functions has not fully developed yet. It is only after puberty is when that portion of their brain develops. I think John should have a few long talks with him once things settle down, but make sure that you do so in the next few days, and remember to be understanding as to why he did not remember before now because he has enough to deal with without adding guilt to the list also." Juan explained to the Captain and to John also.
"That is right Juan, I keep forgetting about that, so thank you for reminding me. John I am sorry, I did not mean to blame Devon because he is one of the victims here. I also think Juan is correct about you having a few talks with Devon though because it will help us with the investigation. However, I think that you should have Devon evaluated by a Child Psychologist, and follow his advice as to how to proceed with him, or let the doctor interview him instead." The Captain said to John who graciously accepted his apology.
"I will talk to him once I get him home, and I will also ask the staff at Bayside if they have a psychologist available. To be honest with you, there is no telling how many victims there are now because we have assumed that Jefferies had killed all of his victims. However, maybe there were some that Devon helped to escape, or helped them to run away. I just know that Devon has some how survived beatings that would have killed other people. His doctors told me that he has had dozens of bones broken with most of them improperly set, and you have not seen the extensive scarring he has all over his body. He is the biggest victim in this entire mess, and I get angry when someone suggests that he is not, or that he was complicit with Jefferies in committing these crimes." John answered the Captain before shaking his hand. They both looked back at Juan and listened as he continued.
"Now then, to continue, once the child, in this case it is Devon, once they have been removed from the abusive situation they were in; they will still have no memories of most of those periods until something triggers them. Devon said that he had been hearing Ari's voice as he dreamed, but that he could not remember any details until he started to talk about what Jefferies had done to him that day. That was the trigger for him because it took his mind back to the day of the shooting. When he began thinking about the shooting, it made him think of why Bill was trying to kill him; and that is what allowed him to remember it was Ari's voice that he kept hearing in his dreams. Devon is right on the verge of remembering everything John, and a bit a gentle prodding from you should help him to remember these awful things. He loves and trusts you John, more than he has ever loved or trusted anyone in his life with Ari being the only exception. That will help him to open up and face all of the painful memories that he has blocked out. Those memories will be extremely painful for him, and he will be very vulnerable emotionally afterwards, so do not push him very hard. If you need some advice, you know that I am just a phone call away." Juan told him as he patted John on the shoulder.
"Well, I think we should go out there and address the press about these new developments." Lee said to all of them, and they all agreed with him. Then Lee asked, "Juan, how should I handle this?"
"You and John just handle the investigation portion Lee, and I will answer any questions in regards to Devon's memory. John, I will warn you that most of the reporters will ask some very tough questions, and some might insinuate that Devon was a willing participant with Jefferies. We all know that to be untrue and far from the truth, but you cannot lose your temper. Let me handle their questions all right." Juan told both of them, and John reluctantly agreed. He knew that he was too emotionally involved now with Devon to remain objective where it concerned Devon, so he agreed with Juan.
"Captain, I also think it would be best that you assign someone else to handle the investigation from now on. I will support whatever you decide, but my relationship with Devon has compromised my objectivity, so I cannot lead this investigation any longer. Also, if you do this, then I can bring the detectives from my new office into the investigation for you to use how you see fit. Six US Marshals will enable you to vastly increase the scope of the investigation." John told him, and both Juan and Lee agreed with him. Although, Lee did let him know that John's office still would be under Seattle Metro Police command because the department would remain as the lead agency in the investigation. John had no problems with that, and with all of the decisions having been made, Lee led them out to address the assembled press.
End of Chapter 7
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