Subject: Who will catch my fall (Part Two)
Chapter 5: (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. In addition, their brains are growing and developing still so that a young child truly lacks the emotional and physical ability as well as the intricate thought process that adults have. 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 that 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 much of our human emotional capacities are learned.
The following story is a work of fiction; it also incorporated actual events that I learned from various victims I counseled over the years in the first part of the story. However, this new part in this story is still a complete work of fiction because I have created, and embellished the facts and individual characters of this story that I took from Part 1. In addition, 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 4:
Thursday February 8, 1996 -- (11:30 AM)
In a windowless conference room, John came in with Jerry and sat down across from Nurse Graves. Todd had set her broken nose, and had her cleaned up before putting her in the room to wait for John. He came in and released her from the handcuffs that secured her to the chair before sitting down. She glared warily at him while she rubbed her wrists, and then felt her bandaged nose.
"What do you want with me?" She asked him with a distrusting look on her face.
"Nothing, you are free to leave at any time, and will be escorted off the property. I do have some questions, but you do not have to answer them if you do not want to." He told her.
"Go ahead; ask away because I am here for myself, and not because I am working for someone else. I'll answer your questions honestly, but can you ask that doctor friend of yours to give me a Percocet." She said as she gently touched her face.
"Jesus, Seth fractured my eye socket as well as breaking my nose. Now my headache has a headache. Oh well, I deserve it I guess, and to be honest I was expecting it to be much worse when he remembered everything." She said to Jerry as John opened the door, and asked Nurse Peters to bring the medication she requested before sitting down again. After a couple of minutes, there was a knock on the door, and Nurse Peters came in and handed Nurse Graves a small paper cup with a pill in it and a cup full of water which she took immediately, she also handed her a prescription bottle filled with pills.
"Do you mind if I stay Lt. Roberts? I believe I have information that will assist you." Nurse Peters asked him, and after a quick glance at Jerry, John nodded and motioned her to the empty seat next to Nurse Graves.
"First, I would like to know who you are working for, and why. I also want to know what your orders are regarding my sons, Lucky, and Seth too. However, if you are going to lie and bullshit us, then you should just leave." He told them both.
"I won't lie to you; I used to work for Richard Armitage as an undercover operative with the CIA." Nurse Graves admitted to him.
"However, I think you already know that John. I can call you John, can't I?"
"Yes you can, and what should I call you, or do you prefer Miss Graves?" He asked her.
"Oh please, Betsy Parker is my real name, and to answer your question why, I was initially sent here to protect your sons Simon and Ari from a man named Merle Foxworth. At least until they became useful to Richard Armitage, my boss, then my orders may change as he decides." She told them.
"That isn't exactly the complete truth Betsy, because Mr. Armitage wants Ari and Simon just as much as Mr. Foxworth does." Nurse Peters told her.
"Yes and no, yes...he does want them, but Richard still has a little of his soul intact, and he would prefer to get the boys cooperation willingly without threats or violence by making some kind of agreement so that everyone gets something they want. Also no, because if that fails and Richard wants something then he will do everything, no matter how unscrupulous it is, to get it. However, I stopped working for Richard when you brought Seth to the hospital on Christmas, and I am doing this now because I owe it to Jonas, and to Seth." She told them all, and then she looked over at Nurse Peters.
"So who are you really, because you are not Tina Peters like you told me?"
"My name is Maria Santos Rojas, and I am Ari's aunt. My father sent me to insure his safety because of the deadly cross and double-cross game Mr. Armitage and Mr. Foxworth are playing with each other. Mr. Armitage used Ari's life against my father years ago, and it was agreed that Ari would be well cared for when my father stepped aside. We discovered that Mr. Armitage never kept his part of the agreement when we learned of Ari at Christmas, and of the abuse and the constant threat of death that he has had to endure since he was orphaned." Maria told her before looking back at John.
"My father also wanted me to extend his gratitude to you and your wife Lt. Roberts for everything you have done for his grandson, and he will not interfere in any way with your adoption of Ari. He is now your son, but he does hope that you will allow Ari to get to know him along with the rest of our family. You and your family will always be welcome in his house." Maria Rojas told him, and John thanked her. Then she handed him an envelope to him and said.
"This will verify my identity and why I am here."
"I will take your word for now," he told her, and then he looked at Graves again.
"Did you know who Seth was Betsy? I mean did you remember him or know who his real father was?" John asked her candidly.
"No, I didn't realize who he was until a week or so after Christmas when his hair first started to change color. Look, I know it is not an excuse for the things I did to him, but I really am a different person now, and if I can, I would like a chance to tell him that I am sorry for what I did back then. I was really fucked up back in '93 because I had just been recently recruited and trained by Richard. I did all of those things to Seth at the time and more because I was hooked on crystal meth and heroin. Richard recruited me as he does all of his operatives because I was in trouble. I was just a 16 yr-old addict with a $1000 a day habit and I was involved in a robbery that had gone bad and killed a man. I was convicted and facing life without parole when Richard recruited me. He had me trained, while also keeping me supplied with drugs throughout my training. I guess that he figured it would keep me loyal to him since he was my hookup, but all he did was to fuck me up even more."
"After I was trained, I was given the task of taking care of Seth while he was trained and programmed. It was my first assignment, but then Jonas showed up one day, and got me away from there into drug detox and rehab. I know I did some really fucked up things to Seth because I had this black hole inside me from all of the drugs, and all I wanted to do was to hurt anyone and everyone so they would hurt inside as much as I hurt. After I was sent away from that place to rehab, I got off all the drugs, and I even made peace with the demons that haunted me. I am a better person now, and I have been clean for almost three years now. However, I could never forget Seth, or the things I had done to him, and I was planning to find him after this op, but you saved me the trouble when you brought him to the hospital. I wanted to find him to make things right, and because I owed it to Jonas for saving me from myself. That's why I quit this op when I realized who Seth was, and I was hoping that I could make things right once I came here to Bayside, so that he could have some peace because I could see that he was still torn to pieces inside just as I used to be before Jonas saved me." She told them honestly.
"When did you find out that Seth was Jonas's son?" John asked her.
"When he showed up that day and discovered what I had been doing to Seth. He was so angry with me, but he saw that I had only done those things because my own soul was so torn and tattered. He should have killed me that day, and I was praying that he would kill me, but he took me away and got me into rehab instead. He saved me from killing myself by helping me heal inside, and I owe him because of that. I was just one fucked up kid, and he was the only person in my whole fucked up life who cared enough even to try to help me. He never came out and told me that Seth was his son, but I figured it out for myself when I looked into his eyes. Seth has his eyes, including the tiny piece missing from his right iris. That type of defect is genetic, and there is only a one in 100 trillion chance that two people not related will have that same defect in the exact same location as well as the exact same eye color too." She explained to them.
"However, when I spoke to Seth at the hospital a few days after you rescued him, he remembered me, and it took all his strength and willpower just to sit up, let alone for him to cut my throat, but by God he was going to try even if it killed him. I finally made a compromise with him; I promised him that I would not be alone with him when I was treating him, and that I would not resist whatever he did to me if I ever broke my promise. Up until this morning, I have never been alone with him, but I guess I pushed him too hard by ordering him to go back to his room. He still does not trust me, and he was too weak before today to do anything about it. As he grew stronger though, I knew that he would eventually take matters into his hands and react because he resisted me more each day, and as I said, I was not going to stop him when he did. I could have easily stopped him today, but that would have only made him distrust me even more, and it certainly would not help him in any way to heal."
"It was not long after you rescued him that I knew that whatever Richard had planned for him would fail. Richard is planning to use him as a pawn to rid himself of the hold Merle has on him, but if Seth has never forgotten me, or what I did to him, then he will not obey his directives so Richard will kill him, and I cannot allow him to do that to Jonas's son. I told Richard that I was out of the game the week after you brought Seth to the hospital, and I asked Jonas to give you a dummy letter so I could come here with Seth when you moved him. I hoped that by staying with him that I could help him somehow and protect him when Richard put a burn notice on him. At the very least, I just wanted to prove to him that I am truly sorry for what I did to him back in `93. You will find that none of the other staff members from the hospital is involved with Richard or Merle, so the boys are safe here until one of them sends a team in to get your sons. However, I will try to stop them when they do come." She told him before pulling out a pack of cigarettes and lighting one.
"I'm sorry about today, and I don't blame Seth at all for what he did because I really am a bitch. I guess some things never do change no matter what we do."
"All right, I will take your word for now, and I will allow you to stay here at Bayside if you want to. However, you cannot have any contact with Seth without Jerry, me, or Tom being present understood?" John told her, and she agreed.
"I am not doing this for your safety, but for his emotional stability and sanity. Seth really does have amnesia, and other than his nightmares of you, he cannot remember anything of his past before he was made into Seth Jordan. That is why I do not want you around him unless one of us are present because you could accidentally trigger memories that he is unable to cope with and cause him to have a complete emotional and mental breakdown." John told her, and then he looked at Maria and said.
"I don't know if I can trust her yet, so I will leave it up to you to make sure she behaves if she stays. If she does anything to contradict what she has just told us, kill her."
"If she is playing us for fools, then she will die. In that envelope are the names of my team members here to protect your sons, and we will assure her honesty, or kill her when she tries to betray you. I assure you that Seth, Lucky, and your sons will be safe while they are here." Maria told him, and John nodded and extended his hand to her after standing up. Maria gladly shook it, and watched them leave. Then she looked at Betsy and said.
"I believe you have patients to care for, but remember that you are being watched 24/7." Then she left Nurse Graves to report to her father what had transpired.
End of Chapter 4
Who will catch my fall: Part Two
Thursday February 8, 1996 -- (12:00 PM)
"Poppi!" Ari exclaimed as he ran over into John's arms when he came in the door. John could tell immediately that something was the matter with Ari, and he picked him up into his arms. He appeared to be frightened, and his small body trembled all over. Ari said with a frightened expression.
"He's going to do it Poppi; he's going to take them off." Ari said almost tearfully to him.
"It's ok Ari," John said softly to him as he held him in his arms. "I'm here, so take a couple of breaths and tell me what is wrong, son."
"Dr. Todd spoke with Dr. Sihdu, and he said it was ok to take off the bandages on Si's eyes." Ari said sadly, and John understood immediately what was going on with Ari. Both he and Sara had met with Dr. Cruz after he had his initial sessions with Ari and Simon. First, he met with Simon and Ari separately, and then he met with them together before asking to meet with John and Sara the next day to tell them his diagnosis, and to recommend a treatment plan. Both boys had anxiety and depression disorders because of the abuse they suffered, and Simon was diagnosed with moderate Dyslexia and illiteracy while Ari was diagnosed with a form of OCD that bordered on Schizophrenia although Dr. Cruz explained that with Ari it was not a confirmed diagnosis. He said this because while Ari exhibited symptoms of both disorders, he also did not experience most of the more accurate symptoms of each disorder. Therefore, he decided to treat his symptoms conventionally until he could make a more accurate diagnosis, and with proper treatment and medication, his symptoms should be treatable. While Ari could not be cured of his condition until he was accurately diagnosed, he would not get worse unless he refused treatment, and with proper treatment now, Ari would improve to allow him to live a nearly normal life.
However, while his condition was understandable with Ari, it was surprising to learn that Simon was also, if not more afflicted than Ari, of living in a constant state of fear and doubt of everything he did or did not do. Dr. Cruz was surprised that Simon was able to function as well as he did with his learning disability because Simon really could not read. He said that Simon had managed to overcome his disability because of his memory abilities, and because Sasha, Lucky, and especially Ari had helped him to succeed with everything he did even though he was functionally illiterate. They were told that with therapy and specially trained tutors that Simon would be able to overcome his disability and learn to read. Then he laid out his treatment plans for both of them, and explained to them how they should deal with each of them when they became stressed, or had an anxiety attack.
"He did? What about the glasses he has to wear?" John asked him as he carried him to the entry to large family room of the cottage where the others were gathered. The cottage that was reserved for the families of terminally ill patients, it was in reality a small mansion since Bayside usually provided their services to the wealthiest in the Pacific Northwest. Their cottage was a two-story Colonial style residence with a finished basement, along with six bedrooms, 5 full baths, a large family room, a formal living room, formal dining room that could accommodate 14 people, kitchen, study/library, and a game room down in the basement along with the laundry room and a small but well stocked wine cellar. As John looked into the family room, he noticed that the curtains were drawn, and the lights extinguished so that the room was dimly lit only.
"I thought you would be happy about this Ari." John said to him.
"I am Poppi, but what if it didn't work, and he can't see anymore cause of me?" He whimpered into John's chest, and John understood now that Ari was having an anxiety attack as Dr. Cruz had explained to them.
"Ari," John said to him in a serious voice, "we all talked about this. What is wrong with Simon's eyes is not your fault, and you know that. If you are worried that it was your fault again, then you can talk to Dr. Cruz when he comes by later today. Now, why don't we go inside and see how Simon's new glasses look on him?"
"I...I can't Poppi." Ari said softly in a pitiful whisper, as he shook his head no.
"I can't watch."
"All right son. I understand. You can wait out here in the hall until it is over, and then you can come in after Dr. Todd is finished. I have to go inside though because Simon will need your Mom and me." John said to him as he kissed him before putting him down and going in the room over next to Sara, who was kneeling next to where Simon was sitting with Todd on the sofa. Sasha and Lucky were sitting with Tom on the other sofa across from them, and Junior and his parents were standing in the doorway to the dining room/kitchen while Ari cowered in entryway to the foyer directly in front of Simon.
"Are you ready to do this young man?" Todd asked him, and Simon just listened for a moment before actually sniffing the air before shaking his head no. Since his induced blindness began, Simon's other senses had become much more acute in order to compensate for his lost sight. Now he was able to smell, hear, and sense things around him that no one else could sense.
"Why isn't Ari here?" He asked with a hint of worry in his voice.
"He is a little frightened right now son, but maybe he will come in afterwards," John said to him, but Simon shook his head even more.
"No Dad, he has to be here. Dr. Alva said so. It's important." Simon told him as John took his paralyzed right hand and gently held it. Then Simon cocked his head to the side for a few moments before facing towards the entryway where Ari was huddling in.
"Ari, come here."
"I can't Si," Ari said pitifully.
"I'm sorry Si. I just can't come in there."
"Ok `R'," He said before scooting forward a little, and then standing up with a grunt of pain. He swayed unsteadily for a moment before Todd and John steadied him.
"Then I will come to you."
"No!" Ari said with alarm as he rushed into the room several feet before stopping.
"Stop! You will hurt yourself."
"Then come here," Simon repeated to him softly but firmly, and it was one of the rare times that Simon exercised his authority over him since Ari usually made the decisions for both of them. Ari's face was filled with indecision and fear, but after a moment of hesitation, he obediently shuffled forward until he stood in front of Simon with his head down whimpering sadly. Then Simon pulled his left arm free from Todd and put it onto Ari's shoulder once he sensed that Ari was close. Then he moved his hand behind Ari's neck and pulled him gently closer to him. Now he was supporting himself on his good leg, and using Ari to balance himself. He then used his cheek to feel along the side of Ari's head until he kissed him on his forehead as Ari whimpered softly into his chest.
"I'm sorry for making you do this R, but you have to do this like Dr. Alva told you too. It's important for you to do this just like I have to when I'm scared. We gotta do this if we want to get better."
"I'm so scared Si," Ari said in a tearful whisper.
"What if it didn't work and you can't see anymore?"
"I know you are scared," Simon told him as he began to totter, but Ari quickly embraced him around his slender waist before slowly easing him down onto the sofa seat and kneeling in front of him.
"I'm really scared too R, but Dr. Todd said that everything will be ok, and we have to that he fixed my eyes. You have to stay though even if it is bad, and I cannot see anymore just as Dr. Alva told us. We have to do it even though we are scared if we want to get better, and not be afraid anymore."
"You can do it though cause you are brave and strong, but I'm too little and weak." Ari was tearfully.
"No I'm not Ari. I am just as scared as you are, and you are not too little or weak either. I haven't been able to see good since Pop hurt me, and if you were too little and weak, then why have you taken care of me for all of that time?"
"I had to, `cause it was my fault he hurt your eyes. You took my punishment so he wouldn't hurt me." Ari told him.
"No it wasn't, it was Pop's fault because I dropped my side remember. The box was too heavy, and I was still hurt from the last time. I dropped my side, and Pop hit me with the crowbar over and over, so it's his fault." He said to Ari.
"It's my fault cause Pop told me to do it, not you, but you did it anyway and then took my punishment cause you dropped your side." Ari told him in a soft voice as he lifted his head and looked at Simon.
"No, it's not Ari, cause I didn't take your place that day, so it's Pop's fault only. He hurt me cause I dropped my side, so he is to blame for my eyes being hurt, not you. You know that I have not been able to see good since that day, and you have taken care of me since then. You even went and stayed with Pop at night so I could get better remember. You have always been strong and brave for me, especially since that day Pop hurt my eyes, and that means that you are not too little or weak R, not to me...not ever." Simon told him with all of his love and caring in his voice. Then Simon's voice softened and everyone could hear the fear in his voice as he thought about doing this without Ari beside him.
"I need you Ari, please, I need you here with me. Everything will be all right even if I can't see any more, just as long as we stay together, then everything will be ok for us. I need you to be here with me because you make me strong and brave, you are the reason I can be brave and strong even when I am so scared. I'm really scared right now...I'm so scared that I will be stuck in the dark forever, but I can do it if you are with me Ari. As long as you are with me, I can live in the dark cause you make me strong and brave. So even if it is bad, I just need you to be here with me, please?"
"Ok Si, I'm here," Ari told him quietly before kissing him.
"I will always be here for you when you need me, I promise. So don't be afraid because I'm right here in front of you, and I won't move until it's over."
"Thanks R, I love you." Simon told him softly before sniffling.
"I love you more Si," Ari responded with a small smile, and then he scooted back a little, and sat back on his heels.
"Ok, are you ready now Simon?" Todd asked him and Simon took a deep breath and let it out slowly before nodding yes even though he was trembling. Todd moved closer to him, and then he covered his and Simon's head with a large, thick towel while speaking softly to him. Everyone could hear as Simon whimpered a couple of times as Todd peeled off the tape securing the gauze pads covering his eyes as gently as he could, and then Todd asked Sara to hand him the damp washcloth first, and then Simon's special glasses.
"There you go, young man. Now, how does that feel?" Todd asked him after a few moments as they remained under the towel.
"A lot better now Dr. Todd." Simon replied softly, and then after a momentary pause he said in a trembling voice.
"I...I can see you...I can see you now...it's not blurry anymore."
"How are the glasses? They are not too tight, are they? Can you see any light from the sides?" Todd asked.
"They are ok, and I can't see any light around them. Everything looks kinda dark, but I can see real good with them." Simon told him.
"These are cool...sorta like the goggles I had in the hospital for my therapy in the pool."
"All right, so are you ready to try them out in normal light?" Todd asked him.
"However, if the light hurts you, even just a little bit, I want you to tell me immediately so we don't damage your eyes because it might still be too soon to take off the bandages."
"I promise," Simon told him while nodding his head under the towel.
"Ok everyone," Todd said to all of them as he came out from under the towel smiling.
"While it may appear to us that his glasses are too dark to see through, I can assure you that Simon can see well with them even at night. I will take the towel off first, then we can turn on that lamp over there, and if everything is fine then we can open that curtain on the other side of the room over there. Now, are you ready to see your son?" He asked and both Sara and John could only nod as they held their breath. Then Todd gently removed the towel covering Simon's head, and Simon sat forward as he looked around the dimly lit room at everyone. He looked at each one of them before stopping on Ari's worried face as he sat on his heels on the floor in front of him. Todd had Jerry turn on the lamp and after a couple of minutes, then he had the drapes opened bringing the level of light to almost normal. Now Simon could see that Ari's eyes were full as he waited for him to speak, and a tear finally slid down his face as Simon looked directly at him. He finally covered his face with his small, trembling hands, and wept.
"I'm sorry Si." He said tearfully through his trembling hands.
"You took my place, and it should be me, not you. It's my fault."
"No Ari," Simon told him softly as he looked at him.
"It was never your fault."
"It was `cause you took my place, and took my punishment. I didn't mean to be so weak that I couldn't pick up my side and you had to do it. You took my place cause you saw I couldn't pick it up, so you too my punishment when you dropped your side, and Pop hurt your eyes. I'm sorry for making him hurt you so much." He said in between his muffled sobs.
"I'm not strong or brave like you Si, I tried to be good, but I kept messing up. So it's all my fault Pop hurt you so bad cause I'm too little and too weak."
"Don't cry R, its ok, really. My eyes are better, and I can see clearly now instead of everything being so blurry. They kept their promise `R', Dr. Sihdu and Dr. Todd fixed my eyes." He said softly as he reached out and gently pulled Ari close with his left arm until their heads were touching.
"Are your eyes really ok Si? Pop always hurt you more when you took my punishment." Ari said with a soft whimper while his tears flowed as he held Simon's face in his small hands.
"It's my fault that he hurt you so much cause I'm too little and weak. I couldn't be good and kept messing up...I'm sorry."
"No Ari, it was Pop's fault cause I didn't take your place, not that day," Simon told him before hanging his head in guilt and shame.
"That day, Pop kept telling you to do things that he knew you couldn't do cause you were little like Sammy. Pop did that on purpose cause he wanted to hurt you like he hurt Sammy. He wanted to hurt you and make me watch just like he made me do when he killed Sammy, but I stopped him. I had to stop him cause I was too scared that Pop would make me watch again...that he would make me watch you die, so I had to stop him. I did stop him by doing everything he told you to do, so he couldn't kill you like he did Sammy, and that's why he hurt my eyes with the crowbar. I knew he would hurt me, or even kill me, but that was better than watching you die. I cannot forget how he killed Sammy, no matter what I do to try to forget, I cannot forget. That's why I stopped him that day even though I knew he would hurt me, cause Pop was always sorry after he hurt me bad, and he was always nice to you till I got better, then he'd get mean again. I didn't stop him cause of you Ari, not that day, I did it for me cause I was scared. I did it cause I couldn't watch you die like I watched Sammy die. I still have bad dreams of Sammy, they have never gone away, and I was too scared that he would make me watch again, so that's why I stopped him. So it's not your fault cause I didn't take your place R, I took Sammy's place, and that's why it's Pop's fault for hurting me that day." Simon told him in an anguished voice that was filled with his guilt and sadness, and Ari gently pulled Simon to him as they both cried. John was about to go comfort them when Sara motioned for him to keep still. Nobody expected what happened next as Simon and Ari took another step towards healing some of the gaping holes in their souls.
"You are just like me Ari, you know that. I always feel inside that I am not good enough no matter what I do, even if it is something good. I always feel that I will never be good enough, and you always feel that you are too little and weak, and that everything Pop did to hurt me was your fault when it wasn't. We are the same inside, and we are always hurting inside. We are the same cause we are two of a kind remember? That is why we gotta do what Dr. Alva told us to do so we don't feel so bad inside like this anymore. I know it's hard, but you have to say it just like I have to say it to make the hurt inside us go away. He said that the hurt will go away when we believe what we say." He said softly in his high, trembling voice, and Ari just nodded his head as he let a pain filled whimper escape while they both clung to each other.
"We can do it together because we are better together than when we are alone. Now, we will do it just as Dr. Alva said to, so say it."
"It's not my fault," Ari whimpered painfully.
"What's not your fault R?" Simon asked, but Ari just shook his head no.
"You can do this R cause we are the same, we are two of a kind. You know how scared I am of the dark, and every time I was so scared during my therapy, it was you who always made me feel better. You have been my eyes all this time, and you make me feel safe when I am so scared because of the dark. That's because you are brave and strong just like me, and I am always good enough with you no matter what I do. Even if I mess things up, I am still good enough with you. See, we are the same when we are together because we take care of each other. We are two of a kind now like you always said, and we love each other so that the hurt inside isn't so bad. So tell me what is not your fault Ari."
"That Pop hurt your eyes," Ari said with a painful sob.
"It's not my fault he hurt you."
"You are doing real good Ari; it's not your fault, and what else?" He asked him.
"I'm not too little or weak, that I am brave and strong like you." Ari said as he looked up at Simon.
"That's right because you are brave and strong just like me." Simon told him with a small smile.
"Why are you brave and strong R?"
"Cause of you Si, we are two of a kind. You always make me brave and strong because you love me, and I love you Si. Now you have to say it," Ari told him as he wiped his nose and eyes on his sleeve.
"I will not be afraid anymore," he said and Ari nodded.
"Afraid of what Si," he asked him.
"Afraid of the dark R; and I'm afraid of hurting others...afraid of becoming like Pop. I won't be afraid anymore." Simon told him with a sniffle.
"Why?" Ari asked him gently.
"Cause I'm not like Pop, and never have been. I won't hurt others like Pop cause I care, cause it hurts me when others get hurt. I'm not afraid of the dark either as long as you are with me, then I'm not afraid anymore." Simon told him.
"And what else?" Ari asked him as he put his small hands on Simon's cheeks, kissed him on the forehead, and then touched his forehead to Simon's forehead.
"That I am good enough no matter what I do, even when I mess up. I'm good enough because you love me without hurting me, and I love you R," Simon said to him with a scratchy voice before he reached up with his left hand and put it on the back of Ari's neck.
"We are two of a kind now," and this time Ari nodded and smiled before kissing him.
"Forever." They said in unison before smiling and kissing each other. Then John and Sara were there hugging both of them.
"It was never your fault for anything Pop did to you guys, and you are both strong and brave to us," John told Ari.
"You do not have to be afraid anymore, and you are always good enough no matter what you do because we love you." Sara said to Simon before kissing him.
"I love you Ari." Simon told him as he snuggled with Sara.
"I love you more," Ari said to him as he lifted his head up from John's chest, and kissed Simon on his lips, and they cried together as they fought the darkness, pain, doubt, and fear that had been put inside them. After a few minutes, Ari lifted his tear streaked face from John's shoulder, and sat up before wiping his eyes with his sleeves.
"I'm ok now Si."
"Me too, but now my new glasses are all wet inside," Simon said with a weak laugh along with another sniffle as they looked at each other and smiled. They did not notice the others crying as they had watched them take another step in healing each other.
"It's ok Si, I will fix it. That's my job remember." Ari said as he sniffled and wiped his eyes on his sleeve one last time before getting the towel and draping it over their heads, then he emerged with Simon's glasses. He quickly dried them with a corner of the towel while Simon used the washcloth to wipe his eyes and face before Ari ducked back under for a moment, and then removing the towel after Simon had his glasses on again. Then as Simon sat back on the sofa, Ari scrambled out of John's arms, and over into Todd's lap before embracing him with a whimper.
"Thank you for keeping your promise to make Si's eyes well Dr. Todd."
"There now, it's all right Ari. I promised to fix it so that he could see without pain, and now he can." Todd said soothingly as Ari's muffled whimpers could be heard. It still took a couple of minutes before Ari lifted his teary face up from Todd's shoulder. Todd took his handkerchief and gently wiped Ari's eyes before telling him to blow his nose.
"You still have some things to do so that Simon's eyes finish healing. I want you to make sure that whenever he is awake, that he has his glasses on, and you have to clean them at least four times each day or any other time that he needs them cleaned. I want you to clean them with this bottle of cleaner because it will prevent his glasses from fogging up on the inside, and to use this special cloth so it will not scratch the lenses. When you do this, the room has to be dark like it was, and that Simon's head is covered with a big towel like this one, but do this only when it is daylight outside. You still have to put in his eye medicine three times a day also. So can I count on you to do these things?" He asked him, and Ari nodded as he smiled.
"I promise Dr. Todd," he said finally.
"All right then," Todd said as he returned Ari's smile.
"Now let me finish with your brother." He said as Ari moved off his lap, and then he returned his attention to Simon.
"Now Simon, you are to wear these glasses all of the time for the next week except when you go to sleep at night, and continue letting your brother put the eye drop medicine in your eyes. You are to wear them even when you bathe, and when you sleep, you have to use this veil to cover your eyes. I also do not want you to look directly at any bright light because your eyes are still very sensitive to the light even with your glasses on. These smoked glasses are padded and fitted to your eyes so that no light can come in from the sides, and it will not hurt them if they get wet. Like I told your brother just now, when you take them off for whatever reason during daylight hours, you have to be in a darkened room and have your head covered by a thick towel until you put on the veil or your glasses again because the brightness of the light will hurt at first until your eyes adjust. Next, we will see about switching to the next pair that is not as dark, and then after that we will see about switching you to a normal style tinted sunglasses, and the light from the sides should not bother your eyes that much unless it is very bright." He explained to him and Simon promised to do as he said.
"Now let's show your mom and dad how well you can see with your new glasses even though they look black to us." He said, but Ari cut him off.
"No, you can't cause that's my job, remember? Can I do it, please Dr. Todd?" He asked excitedly and Todd nodded before having Ari stand about six feet away in front of Simon. Then he spoke quietly to him for a moment and Ari nodded his head before Todd stepped back out of the way.
"Ok Si, how many fingers am I holding up?" Ari asked as he held up three fingers just below his smiling face.
"Three," Simon responded without hesitation. Then Ari switched to one finger, then all five and Simon correctly answered each time without hesitating. That told everyone that he could see his fingers clear enough, even though the glasses/goggles appeared to be shiny black plastic to everybody else.
"Now, which way are they pointing?" He asked as he rotated his hand.
"Down, towards your Nike shoes."
"Now, what am I doing?"
"Wiggling your pinky finger," Simon answered with a giggle.
"And now?" Ari asked with a giggle.
"Ha ha...picking your nose." Simon said with another giggle as Ari grinned at him with the tip of his pinky finger in his nose. Then it was time for the real test.
"Now what am I pointing at?" He asked Simon as he pointed at the small dark spot just above the left corner of his mouth. If Simon said a freckle or could not see it, then it meant he still could not see too clearly yet.
"It's, um, it's your birthmark you told me about. I could never see it too good before, and I always thought it was a freckle, but it's too dark to be a freckle and it's bigger than one too, but it's not a mole either." Simon told him with a serious, but surprised face as he stared intently at the dark, small birthmark, and Ari smiled even more as he nodded.
"Now, where are Poppi and Mom?" Ari asked him.
"They are right here beside me," he responded as he looked directly at them.
"And what are they doing?" Ari asked him a soft voice.
"They are crying," he said before reaching up with his left hand, and tenderly wiping the tears off Sara's cheeks.
"It's ok Mom and Dad. Dr. Todd and Dr. Sihdu fixed my eyes. They no longer hurt and nothing is blurry anymore." He said to them, and Sara just lifted him up into her arms and hugged him.
"Oh, thank you God for sending Dr. Todd and Dr. Sihdu to us." John said softly as he embraced him and Sara before both of them started kissing Simon all over his face.
"I love you son."
"I love you too Mom and Dad, but you guys are smudging my glasses." Simon told them with a smile as Sara sat back down on the couch with him.
"I love you too Mom and Poppi," Ari said as he wormed his way into their embrace. John just smiled and kissed both of them on their noses. Then he stood and put out his hand to Todd, but instead of shaking his hand, John embraced him in a friendly hug with his other arm.
"I can't thank you enough Todd," John said to him in a choked voice.
"Thank you for everything you have done to help all of our sons."
"You are welcome. When I saw Simon's reaction when he opened his eyes and could see clearly for the first time is all the thanks I needed." Todd told him. Then Jeanne and Sara went into the kitchen to finish preparing lunch. Lucky, Sasha, and Junior all gathered around Ari and Simon while Tom, John, Jerry, and Todd sat down together on the opposite side of the room.
"So what are we to do about Graves?" Tom asked, and John filled them in about his discussion with her and about Maria.
"I don't want to say it, but I believe her. I know that once we get the results back from the DNA tests I had done that they will confirm that Jonas is Sasha's father." John told them.
"How did you know that he wasn't telling you the complete truth though?" Todd asked.
"One of the reasons was what Betsy told us as well as other things that just didn't make sense to me. Sasha has ice blue eyes, but when we found him, his hair was walnut brown. Brown hair and blue eyes are common in Caucasians, but the very light color of ice blue eyes only come from someone of Nordic descent who are platinum blond, so it did not match up. Then when we visited with Sasha just after the New Year to interview him, his hair color had lightened to chestnut brown, and by February, it was honey brown. I knew then that his hair was dyed, but as to why it was, I didn't know until Lucky found that article." John explained to him.
"That is why I would not let you dismiss his theory Tom," Jerry told him.
"Your son's name truly fits him because he stumbled onto the truth by pure chance while John and I were drawing blanks on everything we could think of. He is lucky like his name because he was smart enough to realize he had found Seth's true identity."
"Still, how did you know that Jonas was his father, and not the assassinated ambassador?" Tom asked them.
"I knew because he only saved Sasha from the bombing. When he discovered that Richard had ordered the assassination of the ambassador and his family, then why did Jonas race half way around the world and only save Sasha? If what he told us were the truth, then any kid would have served his purposes to set up Billy and Terry. Another thing was that the assassination took place in the winter of '91, but Sasha was put on the street for CPS to find him in the fall of '93. That meant that Jonas had Sasha with him for almost two and a half years, so why would he keep him that long if there wasn't a more personal connection between them. I figured that it could only be one of two reasons. That Jonas was a closet pedophile who kept Sasha as his secret sex toy, or that Sasha was his own flesh and blood so he kept him with him in order to protect him." He said to them. "I knew that he was his father when I met him and saw his eyes because Jonas has ice blue eyes with the same genetic defect that Sasha has, and that told me that Sasha was his son, and while Jonas's hair is brown, it is real fine and light at the roots so I knew it was dyed also. Even Betsy Parker, I mean Nurse Graves realized that Sasha was his son, and that is why she quit this operation. She said that she didn't recognize him at first because Sasha's hair had been dyed, and because he was so weak and thin from starvation, but she knew as soon as she saw his eyes."
"So what are we going to do now that we know because I really don't want this guy targeting any of us so he can come get his son?" Tom asked them.
"He won't do that Tom. As I said earlier to Sasha, Jonas has spent years hiding the fact that Sasha is his son, so he is not going to risk exposing his relationship to him to his enemies. Also, like I told Sasha, I believe that it is the truth when I say that Jonas wants you to have him so that he will never be alone anymore." John said as he frowned from his thoughts.
"There are still too many questions that haven't been answered before I will know what he is doing, but when we see him for our next meeting I intend to find out. Questions as to why Lucky has blocked out his memory completely while the others are remembering except Sasha. He was not much younger than Lucky's age now when he went through the torture Betsy put him through, but he remembers it all. Lucky has nightmares, and wets the bed almost nightly, but for almost five months he has nothing but a blank, so what happened or what did he see to cause that?"
"Come on boys, lunch is ready." Sara said interrupting their discussion, and all of them followed the boys into the dining room where Jeanne and Sara had the table set with two large platters piled high with sandwiches, and two large bowls filled with chips.
"Dig in boys while I get you some sodas." However, before any of them touched the food, they waited until everyone was seated, then Lucky joined hands with his brothers and said the grace thanking God for bringing them all together, and they attacked the food as if they had been starved for a week. They sat at the long rectangular dining table that could seat up to 14 people. Ari sat closest to the far end next to Simon, and Lucky was sitting so close to Sasha that their chairs were touching across from Ari and Simon. Next to Lucky, Junior sat with Todd sitting across from him, then it was Jeanne and Jerry with John and Sara sitting across from each other, and Tom sat on the end while the three remaining chairs were vacant.
Once the meal was finished, all of the boys were tired, and Sara went to get them their medications. As she did this, nobody said anything as Ari quietly slipped out of his chair, and quietly went into the family room. They all watched in silence as Ari made his way around the family room quietly talking to himself as he put everything back into its original place, as it was when they had first arrived at the cottage. John moved his hand up to cover his mouth while his eyes watered as he watched Ari go about his task. Todd gently patted John on the shoulder before quietly whispering that everything was fine, and John finally looked down at his glass and nodded. When he looked up, he could see Sara watching quietly from the hall until Ari finished and came back to the table with her following behind him. Simon just put his left arm around Ari, pulled him close, and told him in a soft voice.
"You did good R. Now Mom won't have to worry about doing it," he said, and Ari blushed a bit as he looked down at the table, and he smiled a little and nodded his head.
"Ok guys, here is your medicine, now take it and then its time to rest for a while." She told them as she passed out their medications to each of them, and all of them took it without argument. Then John, Sara, Jeanne, and Junior took them upstairs to the large, second master bedroom that was set up for them, and undressed them before they put each of them in their beds where they all quickly fell asleep. Junior decided to stay with them as he put on his headphones, sat down in a chair, so John, Sara, and Jeanne came out, and joined the others downstairs in the family room that Ari had just straightened up.
"The boys are already asleep," Sara told them as they sat down.
"Does he always do that John?" Jeanne asked him about Ari's behavior.
"Always Jeanne, and so does Simon, but he is not as bad about it as Ari." John told her.
"When they were with Bill, they had to do everything including the cooking and laundry as well as the yard work. Ari did the cleaning inside while Simon was at school, and Simon did all of the cooking, laundry, and outdoor chores once he got home while Ari did schoolwork from Simon's schoolbooks." Sara told them while John agreed with her.
"It is pretty amazing because Simon memorized all of the lessons at school each day, and then he told Ari everything once he got home. Ari would then do the assignments from the lessons, and then help Simon learn everything even though he cannot read. Both of them have settled down since they came home with us, and only when Ari becomes really stressed does he revert to how he acted when he lived with Bill. We never try to correct them, or stop them, instead we just ignore it, and when possible, we help them as they do these things. Dr. Cruz told us that if we tried to stop them or got after them, that it would only make their problems worse. It has only been three months, and we still see the emotional scars that bastard caused them. What we need to do now and I agreed with John that it should start today, is that we need to get all of the boys into a normal set routine to give them the stability they need. The more stable their life is at home will help them handle everything once they go outside where we cannot control things." She told them and everyone agreed with her.
"It has been harder for Simon because of his disabilities from his injuries, but we have been helping him to compensate so that he could still do his chores as they call them. We only use small trashcans in the house so that Simon can take out the garbage using just his one hand and wheelchair whenever he needs to use it. He is getting better at standing and walking as he goes through therapy, but he still has a lot of pain and his legs tire easily. Sara usually has him help her prepare all of the meals, and help her with the laundry. Simon was also responsible for taking care of Ari, which is why Ari obeys him without question. However, as we have all seen today, the truth is that Ari took care of Simon, while Simon took all of the responsibility for the both of them including the punishments too." John explained.
"Since his therapy for his eyes began, it has once again stopped him from doing most things including his rehab for his leg, but he has handled things much better than he did the last time he was in the hospital. The hardest adjustment Simon has had to make was with rules and punishments because Bill had rules for everything, and each infraction had a corporal punishment. Even now, when Simon or Ari does something that broke one of Bill's rules, he still braces himself for the expected corporal punishment, only now instead of hitting him as Bill would have done, Sara and I just hug and kiss him."
"It is the same way for Lucky, only his way of acting when he becomes stressed is that he cannot sit still, and the more stressed he becomes, the more actively agitated he becomes until he finally just breaks down. When that happens, he withdraws inside himself, and he will huddle in a ball in a corner somewhere and cry quietly. I actually know that one of the nuns saw him stay in a corner and cry for several hours one time when he first came back from the Robinsons until I came and got him." Tom told them.
"Since he came back to me at St. Michael's though, I am his safety zone. When he becomes stressed, and especially when he is frightened, he runs to me now. I guess that is because of what you told me Sara, that I am his safe haven option he did not have before. Another thing he does is to take and horde things. It is something we see in all of the children at St. Michael's do who have been abused or neglected. An orphan or foster child who has been abused usually does not own anything. So they collect and take little things, such as a pretty pebble, string, paper clips and such that are not usually missed, or they take and hide food if the child was neglected."
"With Seth, I mean Sasha; he also does those things Tom, just as you described them. The most notable problem he has is that he will not sleep unless he is medicated. I have seen him stay awake for five days until he was so weak from exhaustion that he couldn't even stand, so that is when I ordered for him to be medicated so he would sleep at night. As to his behavior though, it is the opposite of Lucky. He will first huddle in a corner until his nerves become so frayed that he has to move. Then, he is pacing back and forth, and oddly enough, he will press himself up against the walls, and slowly run his hands across the surface along the entire length of the wall. Dr. Cruz explained to me that he does that because of the time he spent in the `machine'. Sasha could not feel anything except induced pain in that place, and he told us that he could not see, hear, smell, or taste anything unless they allowed it. Alva said that he hugs and feels the walls because of the contact and sensation of the wall on his body. He feels everything, its texture, temperature, smell of the paint, and he will even taste it with his tongue. He does that because he was deprived of all of those senses for so long while he was inside the `machine' and when he is stressed, he begins to feel closed in as he was in the chamber. That is why he hugs the walls to break free of feeling trapped and closed in again."
"However, I have found that when he is having one of these anxiety attacks that if I take him outside into the open that it calms him down. I remember a day a couple of weeks ago; it was cold with a light drizzling rain that day. He had a bad night with nightmares the night before, and after his therapy, he was really stressed out. I came in and found him pressed up against the wall, and I took him outside. He was only dressed in a t-shirt, sweat pants, and slippers, but he was oblivious to the weather and the cold. Once outside, he just stood there in the rain until he was soaked through as he cried quietly. Then he dropped to his knees, and felt the cold, wet grass, and after five minutes, he began to laugh and roll around on the ground like a puppy. I watched him for almost an hour, and he cried a little at first, but then he laughed as he rolled on the wet grass. He finally came over, hugged me, and said he was ok now, and we went back inside, then Nurse Peters helped him change and get cleaned up. His whole body was ice cold, but he wasn't even shivering, and he was happy while he was out there in the rain." Todd told them, and all of them shuddered from their thoughts as they imagined what Sasha had gone through inside Armitage's modern sensory deprivation chamber.
"They all have these mental and emotional problems, and it will take some time for them to recover. It is our jobs now to make them a fortress with us so that they can recover." Jeanne told them, and all of them agreed.
"I know the first thing I am going to do, and that's to wring some answers out of Jonas. One of the first things I learned as a detective is that when two killers are playing cat and mouse games with each other, then you have to play by their rules. By playing with their rules though, then they have the advantage until one of them makes a serious mistake. Therefore, for us to get the advantage, we are going to have to cheat so that they will have to play by our rules." John told them as Jerry nodded in agreement.
"Come on Jerry; let's got see Lee and Juan because I've got a few ideas," he said to Jerry.
"Tom, will you, Sara, and Jeanne meet with Dr. Cruz when he comes?" Tom and the others agreed to do as he asked, and then they both excused themselves along with Todd so he could attend to his rounds, and the others just relaxed and chatted about different things.
Tuesday February 13, 1996 -- (Noon)
John, Lee, Juan, Jerry, and Dr. Cruz arrived at the abandoned warehouse where Ari had been found after parking the city's Public Works vehicle they were using out of sight behind the building. Once inside, they waited for almost five minutes before Jonas came in and joined them.
"I thought you were coming alone with Chief Smith only?" He said calmly as he eyed Juan and Dr. Cruz.
"I know, but they can be trusted, and they will be instrumental when we take down Armitage and Foxworth. I believe you know Lee already and I would like to introduce you to Juan Rivera, and Dr. Alvarado Cruz." John told him as he stepped forward and extended his hand. Jonas calmly shook it while nodding his head in the direction of Juan and Dr. Cruz as John introduced them.
"Are they up to date with everything?" Jonas asked him.
"Yes, they are, but I have some questions that I need answers to before we move forward, and they would also like to ask you a few questions of their own." He told him.
"Maybe," Jonas replied.
"It depends on whether we have a deal or not."
"We do, I guarantee it as long as John agrees to it as well." Lee said to him as he took out a folded piece of paper and handed it to him.
"This grants you full immunity from all Federal and State charges related to this case for your cooperation." Jonas took the document and quietly read it before nodding his head.
"You will agree to this also?" Jonas asked him as he looked at John, and John shook his head no.
"Why not since your Chief is willing to give it to me?"
"No, I won't because I need some answers Jonas, and I am willing to pay the ultimate price to get what I need. I do not want your cooperation in this; I want you on my team for everything. I am demanding that you betray not just your boss, but also the entire CIA organization and everybody that is involved including those you are trying to protect. I do not want any lies or bullshit period. I want you to give me straight, honest answers because I am not going to be stuck in the middle of this fucking game that you, Armitage, and Foxworth are playing. You want my help to punish these men who have hurt so many children, then from now on you will play by my rules only, understand?" John told him angrily, and his expression told Jonas that he was deadly serious also.
"You want my knowledge and complete loyalty John?" Jonas asked him with the same deadly serious expression.
"Then what's it worth to you? I can give you whatever you want here in this world, or I can destroy it, so what are you willing to pay me to get it."
"I will give you your freedom back to live your life in any way you choose, and clear your family's name and honor. I will give you a full Presidential pardon Jonas." John told him as he stood face to face with Jonas.
"This was a suicide mission for you when you came to me with your offer, and I have to know why before we go any further. I know that Devon Jefferies was your son, and that your brother murdered him either by accident or on purpose along with his wife Lisa. However, even I know that there is still more to this because this game has become far too personal for you, and I have to know why."
"It was not suicide for me because I'm dying," Jonas admitted to him, but he never moved his eyes from John's eyes. "I have a tumor inside my brain the size of a fucking baseball, and there is nothing that medical science can do to help me except to treat my pain. I have maybe a year left to live so that means I might have five to seven months left for me to get my affairs in order before the pain incapacitates me completely. Richard has been trying to kill me for twenty years, but he was quick to realize that I am the very best, so he went after my family. The affairs that I have to take care of now are to protect what is left of my family before the pain inside my head disables me. That is why I am doing this, so how can you guarantee me freedom with a full Presidential pardon since I will die no matter what you offer?"
"I can do it because of my wife Lori. The First Lady is related to Lori, but nobody knows about it except a handful of people." John told him.
"The freedom isn't for you Jonas, it is for the most precious thing you have left and that is your son Sasha."
"How do you know about Sasha, and what makes you think that she can get her husband to sign off on it?" Jonas asked, but John saw the momentary flicker of surprise in Jonas`s eyes.
"Ask her yourself," John told him as he stepped back as Juan approached Jonas with a team of Secret Service agents around the First Lady.
"Hello Jonas," she said to him as she came up to them, and then she hugged John and kissed him on the cheek before turning to Jonas.
"Hello Mrs. President, it has been a while since we last met Marion," Jonas said with a formal bow.
"It has. Now let's get down to business because you have no idea how hard it was to set up this meeting without alerting Richard. To make matters brief, Lori is my niece's cousin, and if Richard had a part in her and Katie's murder, then we want you to assist John in every way possible. He has briefed us completely as to what these two men have been doing to innocent children. My husband is prepared to shake the tree that is our government to expose all of the bad apples, but he wants to make sure that the innocent children are safe before he does this. He is not asking you, but ordering you to assist John in this investigation, and he told me to give you this for your efforts," she told him before handing him a silk wrapped scroll.
"He has also told me to inform you that we will personally insure the safety of your son, and any other members of your family from any future attempts of retribution for your cooperation, and that your family name will be cleared of all criminal charges including your brother Robert Lepano. From this point on, nobody will ever know that Robert is also Bill Jefferies." She said as Jonas took the scroll out and unrolled it as he scanned the document that was signed, and bore the presidential seal. Then he replaced it into its silk covering and handed it to John.
"A Presidential pardon and the personal guarantee for my family's protection and honor from the President himself; this is very impressive, and not at all what I was expecting John. Why don't you hold on to this for me, just in case you need it to cover your ass once this is all over?" He asked John quietly while handing the document to him before turning back to the First Lady.
"Please let your husband know that I will do everything that needs to be done to help John end this. While John has to work within the law, I do not, so Richard and Merle along with anyone else will pay for the things they have done. Now that this part of the bargain is done, what do you need to know?" He asked them, and then he said to the First Lady.
"You know that this will cause a huge scandal for your husband Marion, but I will do everything I can to assist John when he goes after Richard. I accept your generous offer, and tell the President thank you for me please, and thank you Marion for restoring my family`s name and honor."
"You are welcome Jonas, and I will tell my husband, so don't worry about Richard because he is now out of the game. He will do exactly as John, or you tell him to do without any scandal because John now has my husband's full support. If he does not cooperate with John, or continues to threaten his family and yours; my husband has told me to order you to terminate him, and anyone else who is assisting him without prejudice no matter their position in the government. When you accepted this pardon, Richard became John's employee, and I do not believe that he will be very happy about it either, but John will explain everything because I cannot stay to chat with you gentlemen. Right now, my motorcade is being diverted past St. Michael's due to a carefully staged accident as we speak, so I have to go. Thank you for your assistance Jonas," she told them before turning and leaving with her security team. They watched her leave, and then Jonas looked at John with respect.
"Now that is about the only thing I didn't think of John," He said with a respectful smile.
"I know, but I had to play my trump card to get my family and yours out from between this game that Armitage, Foxworth, and this new player are playing with deadly consequences." John told him as they both sat down on the rusty steps together, and Jonas offered him a cigarette, which he accepted.
"Like I told Jerry, if you don't know the rules to the game you are playing, then you cheat and make your own rules."
"I underestimated you John," Jonas told him with mutual respect.
"If I underestimated you, then you can be sure that Richard and Merle did also. How are you going to handle Richard?"
"Simple, I'm going to give him what he wants," John told him, and Jonas looked at him with surprise.
"You are going to give him your sons John?" Jonas asked him.
"Because that is what he wants; he needs your sons to get the process."
"I'm not giving him my sons. I am just giving him the process." John told him and Jonas looked about ready to explode.
"Just hear me out Jonas before you let your homicidal instincts take over. I am going to give him the process to deprogram the kids by having you teach it to Dr. Cruz only, and I will make sure that he deprograms every child that Richard and Merle has put through the reprogramming process. The Dr. Cruz will make sure that all of the programming facilities are dismantled and destroyed along with all documented work on how to implement the processes. Richard only has two options left to him now, and that is to do exactly as I tell him, or he will die. He will do what I tell him to do until every child has been recovered, deprogrammed, and treated for any lasting psychological problems they have, or he will die. It is that simple, and whatever he chooses makes no difference to me. I no longer need him to take down Merle Foxworth and his son Noah, as well as everyone else involved who has exploited or abused a child under his care."
"I know Richard, and he will not go along with this at all. You will have to be prepared because he has his own private army of operatives, and he will throw everything he has at you now. His army consists of fifty-five operatives including Betsy and myself, and while it may not sound like much, each person will easily kill ten to fifteen men before they are killed because they are that good. I know about a dozen of the operatives who will flip because they are loyal to me, but the other forty or so operatives will come after us when Richard gives the orders." Jonas told him, but then John just stood up, and told him to come with him so Jonas followed. They left the building and got into the waiting Suburban with the others, and Jerry drove them back to Bayside. Once they arrived inside the lobby, they could see in the glass walled conference room where the others were waiting for them including Betsy Parker, Mayor Edwards, Maria, and two elderly men in expensive suits. Juan and Lee went in to join the others, and only Junior, Tom, Sara, Jeanne, and the boys were not present.
"Wait a minute; what the hell do you think you are doing? I told you that she was Richard's contact here, and Merle owns your mayor there, but what the hell are Rojas and Sanchez doing here as well?"
"I asked you to trust me Jonas. I told you that we know about Sasha, and we know that he is your son." John told him, and Jonas stared at him hard for a long moment before his shoulders relaxed a bit and he nodded in agreement.
"Betsy is not working for Richard anymore; she is working for me now. She did not ask you to plant the letter because Richard told her to do it; she did it because she also knew that Sasha was your son. He snapped the other morning, and broke her nose and fractured her eye socket. Yet, she did nothing to resist him even though she is one of the best field agents Richard has. She did not resist because if she had to die in order for Sasha to heal, then she was willing to do that. We managed to talk him down, and he realized that if he killed her, then he would still be just as broken inside, and that killing her was not the answer." John explained to him, and then he went on.
"Lou Edwards is only working for Merle because that bastard has his son, and Rojas and Maria are Ari's aunt and grandfather. I asked Miguel to be here because he will be involved in my plan to take down Foxworth after you and I go reel in Richard."
"How did you or Betsy find out about Sasha?" Jonas asked him as the three of them stood in the lobby by the door.
"I knew that he was your son the day you showed up, and stopped me from hurting him anymore." Betsy told him as she came out and faced him.
"You saved me from my miserable life, and I owe you for that Jonas. Just as you are doing now, I came here to atone for what I did to Sasha, and to help protect him from Richard and Merle. A simple `I'm sorry' will not mean shit to him because he is still living the nightmare that I caused along with what everyone else at that facility put him through. That is why I came here, to do whatever I could to help him heal inside, even if it meant letting him kill me. I knew he was your son because he has your eyes and the same hereditary defect in his right iris. I owe you so much Jonas, because you are the only person in this cold, cruel world that ever cared enough to help me. You saved me because I was dead inside and because you cared, I found some good in this world. You gave me a reason to live, and showed me that there is some hope that tomorrow will be better than today no matter how ugly the world looks. That's why I came here, because I know you won't accept anything for saving me, so I am here to save your son from the hell I caused him...from the hell I lived in until you saved me. He deserves to have the same chance for happiness and peace just as you gave me. I know it may not count for much Jonas, but thank you."
"It is worth more than you know Betsy, because you remind me of someone I loved who could not be saved no matter what we did to help. I will make sure that after this is over, that you are free from the past and free to live your life without Richard owning you. However, I do need you to do one last thing for me." Jonas told her as he embraced her with genuine love, and she only nodded to him in response as she hugged him back.
"I have to protect my family, but I can't anymore because I`m dying. I have terminal brain cancer, so you can repay me by protecting my family after I am gone. That way I can die in peace because I know they will be safe with you watching over them."
"I promise Jonas. I will protect Sasha and everyone else important to you and him for as long as I can still breathe. I'm sorry that you are sick because you deserve to watch Sasha grow up, and I will always make sure that he knows how much you loved him." She told him tearfully, and he just thanked her with moist eyes. Then she and Jerry went back to the others, and Jonas turned back to John after wiping is eyes with a handkerchief.
"So what else do you need to know John?" He asked him.
"First, I want to know why you are doing this Jonas." He asked.
"I don't believe that you are doing this for revenge for what they did to your brother because if you were, then you would already be dead. There are other reasons as to why you are doing this, and it is not only because of Sasha. Richard and Merle have done something to make this too damn personal for you and I want to know why."
"You damn right it is personal to me. Everything they did to my brother is enough to make it personal to me. I had to kill my own brother, the only family I ever had, in order to stop him from torturing and murdering any more kids because I failed to protect him in that hellhole as I promised. They made him into the sadistic monster that he was because of everything they did to him when he was Ari's age. The things they did to him were so severe that he could never escape from it, and it drove him insane because he saw what they did every time he looked into a mirror. It is personal to me because of what they did to him once I was gone, and what they have done since I was recruited by the CIA. Those sadistic fucks did not just sterilize Billy after I ran away from that goddamned place; they cut his fucking nuts off. He couldn't have any kids because of them, because he was schizophrenic which they caused." Jonas told him as his face flushed with anger, and then he relaxed and turned away staring out of the lobby doors.
"I don't know if Billy killed Devon and Lisa during one of his episodes because he was having one when they were killed. If he did, I would like to believe that it was an accident, but Billy could have killed them deliberately during his episode of rage and depression." Jonas told him as his expression went from anger to one of pain filled with guilt.
"I knew that Billy was messed up in the head once I got him here, and the family who raised him got him treatment so that he was able to function normally most of the time. He still suffered periods of rage or depression even as an adult, but after he got married to Lisa when they finished college, he seemed to become more calm and stable because of her since she made sure that he took his medication and went to therapy. He did not need to be a man to her because she loved him the way he was. The family I put Billy with after I rescued him was her adoptive family. She grew up with Billy, and even her parents and sister knew that they would get married one day because Lisa did not just love Billy, she understood him. It was hard enough on him when her parents died a year apart. He loved them, they had helped him so much after what Foxworth did to him, and he had Lisa to support him when he had his episodes. Her sister Paula was only ten when her parents died, and Lisa and Billy raised her as their own daughter. However, their marriage started to become strained during those years because he was unable to give her the kids they both wanted. He did not want to adopt though, and he had told me that he could never be a real man for her because of what they did to him. Up until I found Lisa's family to take care of him, Billy depended on me for everything, so blood kin and family were very important to him because that is what I taught him once I got him away from that hellhole."
"When his marriage started to become strained, I had been seeing this stripper named Darlene in between ops for three years when she just up and left one day. Her leaving me hurt, but it did not matter to me at the time because I was still an empty shell inside. I did not see her again until a year later when she showed up with my son, and gave him to me when he was only a few months old. She said that she did not want him because I would not love her, and she had not even given him a name yet. She just called him kid and left him with me, but in my line of work, a child is a weakness waiting to be exploited." He explained to John as he continued to look out the doors.
"Therefore, I came here with my son and gave him to Billy and his wife Lisa. I told Billy that nobody could ever know that he was my son, and that if he took him, then he would be his son forever. Billy wanted him once he knew that he was my son because he had our blood, so he was family and that made everything ok. The way Billy saw things in his mind, it did not matter that I fathered the boy because as long as our blood flowed inside him, then it was the same as if he had fathered my son too. Billy and Lisa named him Devon Seth Jefferies together, and they both loved him the instant they saw him. Just to be sure though, I stayed around here for almost a year, and Billy loved that boy more as each day passed. Devon was what he needed to get away from our past, and from what they had done to him. Things were working out, so I left, but 18 months later, Lisa contacted me and said that Billy was drinking again, not going to therapy, not taking his meds either, and that the nightmares had come back again."
"I asked her if he was hurting her or Devon, and she told me no, that no matter how bad his episodes got, that he would never hurt her or Devon. I was in the middle of an op at the time, so I did not have any time to come here. I told her to call me if he started becoming violent again, and I asked her if she thought Billy would hurt them. She told me again that she believed that he would never hurt her or Devon no matter what; but just to be safe, she told me that she would go to her friend's house if Billy got violent. He did not, and after I finished the op, I came here and set Billy straight, but I did not know that all of this was happening because he had started working for Merle. That was the reason he started to regress because Merle was feeding Billy's rage and lusts by giving him kids to hurt. Once I got here, Billy stopped drinking, resumed his meds, and therapy so things settled down once again at home. I did not hear any complaints from Lisa again, and when I stopped by to see them for Devon's 7th birthday, everything seemed fine."
"Billy had started his own business, and he was doing great at work and at home. Lisa said that he took his meds and went to therapy still, but it was Devon that just seemed to make the demons inside him disappear. She said that it had been over a year since he had a nightmare or an episode, and that he was happy because of Devon. We didn't know that the real reason for that was because Billy was controlling his rages by disposing of kids Merle sent to him. However, ten months later is when Billy called me in a panic of depression, and he said that they were dead and that he must have killed them during his last episode. He couldn't remember what had happened though, and all he knew was that they were dead once he became coherent again after his episode had passed." Jonas told him and John could now see where his pain and guilt had come from.
"I flew here that day, and Billy was a complete mess, and I saw the bodies when I got here because Billy refused to touch them. I know Billy had been in one of his rage episodes, but Devon and Lisa's bodies had no signs of physical trauma, and the place just seemed to me that it had been staged. They were both killed by a single gunshot to the forehead and it appeared that there was a struggle before they were killed. That is what made it suspicious to me because Billy rarely used guns at that time, and because of Devon, he did not keep any in the house. There was a .35 caliber pistol on the floor next to Lisa's body, but Billy swore that he never owned a .35 caliber handgun, and that is why I still have my doubts about Billy killing them. Billy swore to me that he did not know how or where he got the gun, and I had doubts because I figured that if Billy had killed them, then there would not have been a struggle. I know Lisa, and especially Devon would not have resisted him in any way even if he was holding a gun to their heads. Devon especially because he worshiped the ground Billy walked on, so if Billy did it, then there would not have been a struggle. However, if Billy did not kill them, then it meant that I fucked up somehow, and my son, Lisa, and Billy had paid for my mistake." He explained as he turned and faced John.
"I understand Jonas," John told him sincerely.
"I will see if I can answer that question for you also. Now tell me about your son Sasha." John said to him and Jonas's face showed a momentary look of surprise before his eyes quickly narrowed as John continued.
"You know what happened between Betsy and Sasha, so why don't you go ahead and tell me about both of them because she really is here to help."
"How did you discover the truth about Sasha, and what have you told him?" Jonas asked him quietly as he went over and sat down on one of the chairs in the lobby before lighting a cigarette. There was and ashtray on the table between the two chairs, and John sat down, and took out his own cigarettes and lit one as Jonas continued.
"It is not the right time yet for him to remember John. Once this is all over, and you take him back to the training facility, then he will remember everything." Jonas explained to him after taking a long drag from the cigarette.
"I followed your advice with him, but the results were not as I expected to be. Dr. Cruz put him into a light hypnotic trance the other day, and it allowed me to question him as Sasha. He told us about everything they did to him at the facility, what he is expected to do, and that Richard has already given him the command to activate him. He is only waiting for further instructions from one of Armitage's people before he is supposed to react. As you have probably guessed, he will not go through with the directives Armitage gave him because he already remembers the things you did to make sure of that. He just cannot remember anything about his life prior to `93 when he was eight. You said that you had to hit him hard so that the amnesia story would work, but he really does have complete amnesia Jonas. Brain scans show a lesion on his brain, so he is not faking this amnesia. Sasha only knows that his real name is Sasha Levi Lepano after I told him, but when I called him Sasha Cimkovich first, he drew a complete blank. Dr. Cruz said that if we can somehow find some things or people that are familiar to him prior to `93, then it might bring back some of his memory or something can trigger him to remember. Sasha also told us that Richard's setup is much more sophisticated than your brother's was."
"Sasha said that it was not a chamber, but more like being sandwiched in between two foam mattresses. He could not move, talk, or eat, but that if he was good then he was allowed to drink some things that tasted good. He also said that there were special lenses that were like contact lenses over his eyes, and it would show him pictures or movies, again if he was good. He told me that Betsy was his primary caretaker when he was being trained outside of the machine, and when he was first put in this special chamber that he calls the `black hell', that she found it amusing to hurt him by sending jolts of electricity through different parts of his body to cause extreme pain. Her favorite thing was to send electric current through his catheter tube, his testicles, or into his rectum while he was in the sensory deprivation machine, or burning him with cigarettes and making him drink ammonia when he was training. She would do these things even when he was supposed to be rewarded for doing well which is one of the reasons he resisted their programming attempts so much in the beginning." John explained to him, and then he told him.
"She admitted that she tortured him this way for almost six months before you showed up and sent her away to rehab. When you found out what she was doing to your son Jonas, why didn't you kill her like she expected you to do?" John asked him.
"I was going to when I found out what she had been doing to him, but I couldn't because she was just a kid herself. Did you ask her how old she is?" He asked and John shook his head no. "She was only 15 when Richard recruited her in `91, and she had just turned 17 when she was assigned to take care of Sasha. Richard knew about her addiction, and he fed that shit to her like candy figuring that she would eventually overdose and die. When I got there that day, she was a waif, and barely weighed 80 lbs, but she was so hooked on the drugs that she was in constant pain, emotionally and physically. If she missed her fix, she would begin hemorrhaging from her mouth, nose, ears, rectum, vagina, and even her eyes. I was pissed, but I had to give her a chance because it was the drugs that made her do those things, so I took her to the toughest drug rehab facility in the world because nothing they offer here in the U.S. could help her. The place is like a prison filled with doctors and psychiatrists, and it took them six months to wean her off the drugs, and another 12 months of psychotherapy before she was released. She was a completely different woman when I picked her up from there. I know she looks as if she is in her mid 30's because the drugs did that to her, but she just turned twenty in November."
"Since returning to the CIA from rehab, she is now one of their best field operatives because I have been training her to replace me eventually, but she has always said that she would find some way to make it up to Seth for what she did to him. I never suspected that she knew that he was my son. If she has given you her loyalty John, then she means it, and you are lucky because she is that good." Jonas told him before standing up, opening the door a bit, and pitching his cigarette butt out even though there was an ashtray.
"You cannot tell Sasha anything concerning me yet, because while he does remember some things, there are a lot of things that I had to suppress in his mind. Mainly all of his memories of me so that nothing Richard's people or Billy did to him would make him remember. The key for him to remember the things I suppressed after '93 is the facility Richard trained him in, once you take him back there, then he will remember those things."
"Why Jonas? He already knows that you are his father, so why did you make him forget his memories of the two of you?" John asked him.
"Because of Richard; he is the one I suspect for Lisa's and Devon's death. I also know that he knew about my affair with the Ambassador's wife, and I know he had my girlfriend, or of you want to be technical about it, my common law wife Darlene, Devon's mother, murdered. I was assigned to the Ambassador's security detail in order to get his cooperation for Richard. However, the man was an honorable man, and after he turned down Richard, he had me assigned to his wife Illesia. However, Richard told me to corrupt his wife so that he could use it as leverage against the Ambassador, and I did. I just never expected us to fall in love, but it happened, and I told Richard that I would not allow him to use her against her husband, so he let it drop. She already had two children with her husband when I was assigned to protect her, and they were planning to have more when she became pregnant with Sasha."
"Of course, the Ambassador assumed that the baby was his because he did not suspect Illesia was having an affair with me. Sasha was born in September, and as soon as I saw him, I knew he was my son because of the genetic defect in his right iris because I have it too, just as Billy and Devon had it. It runs in my family, and all of the males in my family have the same genetic defect. The Ambassador never suspected though, but Richard eventually did after their fourth child, a daughter, was born 11 months later. He suspected that I was the father of the girl because her hair was brown, and not platinum blond and he does not know about the defect as far as I know. I stayed with the Ambassador until Sasha was sixteen months old, but we all left on good terms and I was welcome to visit anytime. This was long before Devon and Lisa were killed, and I had gotten back together with Darlene, Devon's mother. I would stop by every few months and visit on my off time both Devon and Sasha, and as Sasha got older, the Ambassador was gone more and more because of his job with the UN. Sasha and I enjoyed our times together, and Illesia told him the truth when Sasha asked if I was his father when he was four because I was more of a father to him that her husband was. He wanted to know because he noticed the defect in my iris because it matched his. Even though he was only four, he knew the difference between a father and a Dad, and he also knew that it always had to be a secret too. I believe her husband knew also, which was why he always remained a little distance from Sasha, but he never said anything, or held it against Illesia and me." Jonas told him.
"I had just finished dealing with the death of Devon and Lisa, and with what my brother was doing with programming kids. I was on a surveillance assignment when I found out about the hit on the Ambassador and his family. The Soviet Union had just collapsed, and Richard wanted his own man as the Ambassador, so he ordered the hit. The reason I suspected that he had somehow figured out that I had fathered one of Illesia's four children is because he ordered that the entire family be killed and not just the Ambassador himself. I went immediately to Tallinn, and the bomb was already in place when I got there. I told Illesia to get everyone out, and she grabbed Sasha from his bed and made me leave with him. I got him out and into the woods near the house when the bomb went off. I wanted to go see if there were survivors, but I had to get Sasha to safety. When I read the news in the morning about what happened along with who was setup to take the fall for the bombing, and I knew that it was Richard who had ordered the hit. It was a week after the bombing when I found out that Richard was looking for all of the children's remains, and that is why I suspected that he had found out about Sasha. That is when I set things up so that it appeared that Sasha had died in the bombing."
"The stripper I told you about, Devon's mother, Darlene, and I were back together, and I asked her to take care of Sasha. She was a natural blonde-haired person with blue eyes, and she just told everyone that he was her sister's kid, and she was taking care of him because her sister was in prison. Her sister does have a son named Eric, and he is the same age as Sasha, but his paternal grandparents are raising him in a different state with their last name. That is how Sasha became Eric Jones because that was her sister's married name, and she explained Sasha`s accent by saying he was a military brat." Jonas said and it fit, but it still did not explain how Sasha had eventually become Seth Jordan.
"So why do you think it was Richard who killed Devon and Lisa?" John asked him.
"Like I said, Billy rarely used a gun to kill his victims with because he prefers to use his hands or a knife, and he only used a gun when Merle or Richard ordered him to while they were there with him. It was when Richard ordered the hit on Sasha's entire family that I really began to suspect he was responsible for their deaths. Sasha stayed with Darlene and me for the next two years as her nephew Eric. Darlene and I, we loved each other, and we had been together off and on for twelve years. She knew that we could not get married because of my job, and eventually accepted that, but she was my refuge away from the job. When she had Devon, we had not been totally committed to each other, but a little over a year after she left him with me; she came back to me wanting to know what I had done with him because she knew she made a mistake. I told her that she could not be a part of Devon's life except as my girlfriend/common law wife only because he was now Billy and Lisa's son, and she was willing to be just that once we visited them and Devon. She saw how happy he was, and how much they loved him. She also knew what the deal was with me, of how a wife a child could be a target to get to me, and she accepted it."
"Lisa knew immediately that she was Devon's mother, and she thanked her for allowing them to have Devon. They became friends at that moment, Darlene was happy because she saw how much Lisa loved Devon, and she could see how much Devon loved them. Lisa then introduced Darlene to Devon as Aunt Darlie, and Devon loved her too from that moment on because Darlene was now part of our family. Darlene continued to dance, and she was loyal and faithful to me so we stayed together as a common law couple. It also allowed her to be part of Devon's life every day even though she could not be his mother. It had hurt us both deeply when Lisa and Devon were murdered, and while I did not believe it, Darlene blamed Billy and refused any more contact with him. She wanted him prosecuted for their deaths, but I told her that if that happened, then I would be destroyed too so she just told me to keep him away from us. Richard cleaned up what happened so that there was no investigation, but Billy had already taken Devon`s body away before his cleaning team arrived. I didn`t know what he did with Devon until you found his remains, and I would appreciate it very much if you would have Lisa, Devon, and Billy buried with me and Darlene because they are my family." Jonas asked him.
"I promise they will be, but under their true names of Lepano. Bill Jefferies will always be remembered as a serial murderer of children, but Robert Lepano will be remembered as a loving husband and father who perished with his wife and son in a terrible accident." John promised him, and he could see the gratitude in Jonas's face.
"After Lisa and Devon`s deaths, I thought it was over with Darlene, but it wasn't even with the rift between her and Billy. I told Billy to stay away, and he did even though it hurt to have her reject him. Still, Darlene stayed with me, and when I brought Sasha home with me in `91, she loved him as she had wanted to love Devon. Then in '93 when I was on an op, she called me and said that she was being stalked, and I asked her if it was Billy. She said it wasn't him, and that someone had broken into the house but didn't take anything. I told her to go to her parents with Sasha, and she said she would go the next morning because Sasha wasn't home. I told her that I would be there the following day because I had to tie up loose ends. Only it was too late by the time I got here because I was half an hour too late and she was dead. However, I caught the motherfucker who killed her and he was ransacking the house trying to find out where Eric was. He had stayed at his friend's house the night before, and she was supposed to pick him up on her way to her parents. It was the kid's birthday the day before and he had a slumber party, so Sasha was not home by pure chance when Darlene was murdered." Jonas told him with half full eyes, but there was also anger and guilt in his eyes as well.
"I made the son of a bitch's death as long and painful as I could, and I got him to admit who had ordered the hit on her and Eric before he died, and he said it was Richard. I verified his admission the next day when I found out that Darlene's sister had been killed in prison, two weeks before she was to be paroled. I immediately had her parents go into hiding with her real son Eric, and I took Sasha away from here after staging the house before burning it to the ground. It was the second time I violated a child's grave in order to throw off Richard's hounds. The officials investigating reported that three victims had died in the fire, Darlene, her nephew Eric, and an unknown adult male." Jonas explained before lighting another cigarette along with John.
"What did you do once you knew?" He asked.
"I knew then that Richard was targeting the people I cared about, so I returned the favor and killed his son and his daughter along with their spouses. I made sure that it was a very painful and slow death so their autopsies would show that they had been tortured for several hours by showing that I dissected them alive...and I made sure that Richard knew that I had done it. I told you I am the very best when it comes to killing people, and being ruthless and cold blooded is second nature to me. Only a handful of people know what I leave behind at times as a calling card when I do a hit, and Richard is one of them. My calling card is that I cut off the pinky finger of the target's right hand and place a small bible next to that hand. Richard knows it is my sign, `they died by the right hand of the angel of death'. Of course, I did spare his three grandsons and granddaughter, and I made sure that they were not present when I killed their parents."
"I did not want to orphan them, but I had to hurt Richard and I wanted justice for every member of my family that I believed he murdered. I had to make him fear me to the point of leaving me, and my own alone because this was the fourth member of my family he murdered. He took Darlene and her sister, and Devon and Lisa so I took four members of his family...and eye for an eye. Of course, he panicked because he believed his own ass was next on my list. So he put his grandchildren and his wife under special protection after I killed their parents, and even when he tried to send them away to a safe haven, I always made sure to leave him a special note to let him know just how easily I could kill the rest of his family. When he sent them into hiding, I left his daughter's pinky finger in the house for him to find, and when he did, he moved them to a high security military installation and I left his son's finger on the pillow beside his wife while she slept." He told John who could see the haunted look in his eyes.
"He finally met with me face-to-face to call a truce; he told me that Merle was ultimately responsible for the hit on Darlene and Eric. He said that Merle had pressured him into putting the hit on Darlene and Eric by threatening to expose his perverted lust for little boys. That is when he told me about his plan to get rid of Merle for the last time, but when I asked him about Lisa and Devon, he claimed that he did not kill them. I did not believe him, but I liked his plan, and he knew that I wanted Merle dead for what he had done to Billy and me in the past. At that time, Billy had hooked up with Terry while still doing Merle's dirty work of disposing of kids, but unknown to Merle, Billy was now keeping most of the boys alive for his and Terry's side operation. Of the twenty-three boys who were alive when he sent them to Billy, I know that Billy and Terry kept 18 of them alive, and sold them after reprogramming them. I know that two of the remaining boys died during the reprogramming process, and three were murdered by Billy's hands as he beat them to death. The youngest boy was only six, and he lived for less than two weeks after Merle's pet goon delivered him."
"The death of Devon and Lisa had changed Billy though, and now he let his psychosis and rage control him. He stopped taking his medications and his therapy a little over two years ago, and that let his disease consume him. I still did not trust Richard, but he believed that Eric was dead, and once he told me his plan is when I decided to use Sasha. You have to understand that in my job as an assassin, giving and taking lives is part of the job. However, the last thing Richard would expect if he knew that Sasha was my son, would be that I would give him Sasha to use in his plan. Most of all, I am very adept at covering my tracks, and Richard is not smart enough to figure out that I managed to save Sasha twice from him."
"He had no idea that I suspected him for Lisa and Devon's murder when I agreed to his plan, and he thought that the only reason I had not killed Billy was because he had told me not to. Therefore, I played along and told him to warn Merle about letting Billy do as he pleased because we both could see that he was turning into a complete psychopath and serial killer. I told Richard that if Merle kept feeding Billy's sadistic lust that I would have to deal with Billy myself as I should have after Lisa and Devon`s murder, and Richard swallowed it, hook and all. I then used the next four months to program Sasha before I put him where he was found, and you know the rest from there. I chose his name Seth because it was Devon's middle name, and Jordan was Lisa's maiden name, and that is how he became Seth Jordan." Jonas told him and John just nodded his head.
"Everything you told me just added to the list that Richard and Merle Foxworth have to answer for," John said to him.
"The six year old boy that Billy murdered was named Sammy, and your brother strangled him to death as Simon watched helplessly. That is why he decided to take Ari's punishments because he would rather have Billy kill him than have to watch him strangle Ari as he did Sammy. He still has nightmares about what he saw, and I believe that it may be years, if ever, before those stop. I have also done what you suggested to me about Sasha the last time we met Jonas. I also asked Simon, but he is still far too traumatized to use a weapon yet even for protection, but Sasha told him that he would do it for him. I showed Sasha the places where he can get to two semi-automatic .22 caliber pistols with six extra ammo clips each. He still is not that strong yet, but I figured that he could handle a .22 caliber pistol. People think bigger is better, but a .22 is just as effective as a .44 at close range, but without the mess. The kickback alone from a .44 would probably break his wrists right now in his still weakened condition. I also put two ACH tactical batons, one in the cottage and one here, and I gave him a needlepoint double-edged knife with an arm and wristband sheath that looks like a wristwatch. Everything is put in places where he can get to them quickly if he needs them, but none of the staff except for those of us here knows about them. Will that be sufficient for him if he needs to use them?" John asked him.
"It is more than enough, and I am truly sorry that Simon had to witness Sammy's death. If I had known that Billy had done that, then I would have dealt with him immediately instead of waiting as I did. What about the Mayor now that Richard will be out of the picture?" Jonas asked him.
"I was thinking that when Foxworth makes his move, what would happen if the Mayor turns on him?" John asked him.
"That would definitely fuck up his plan because you will cut him off to what you are doing. However, I doubt you can turn him because Foxworth will kill his kid." Jonas replied after taking a long drag off his cigarette.
"We can turn him by rescuing Davey first, and then Foxworth won't have anything to use as leverage against him." Lee told him as he joined them along with Jerry.
"Once Lou knows that Davey is safe, I know that he will help us take down Foxworth."
"Let's go join the others," John told them, and they all went into the conference room with the others. John introduced Jonas to everyone before they sat down and began their strategy meeting.
"Once Merle realizes that we are onto him and he has lost his inside guy, I know his next move will be to call Richard for help." John explained to them.
"However, when he does that, he will find that Richard is going to tell him to go piss up a tree. I want to force him into acting, and exposing his players in this. Once we do that, then we are going to send our wives to this Catholic retreat in Napa Valley, California so that it will appear that is where we are moving the boys. We will send four boys who look similar to Simon, Ari, Sasha, and Lucky to go in their place with Sara and Jeanne as well. However, when we move our wives, I am having the boys flown to Texas, then driven across the border into Mexico, and then flown to Brazil where Miguel, Paquito, and Maria will be able to protect them. They will just disappear from the face of this planet, and that will leave Foxworth no choice but to expose himself in order to find them. Merle will have to turn to Lou then in order to cover his ass. We will have Foxworth's ass as soon as we rescue Davey, and we already have located where Merle is holding your son Lou. Merle Foxworth cannot afford let the boys or David live because of what they know about his operations. However, when he does give the command, then he will discover that we have rescued David already."
"Good plan," Jonas said with a wicked smile as he crushed out his cigarette. "It was good of you to think of Sanchez, Juan. Your operation is just as good as mine Miguel and your son Marco is more than a match for anything that Merle Foxworth will throw at you. I like it."
"What about you?" John asked him. "Once this all goes down, what are you going to tell Sasha?"
"You know that answer already John. I'm a dead man walking, and once this is finished, I want to spend the little time I have left with Sasha." Jonas said as he thought it through.
"You have to save the kids though. Almost 100 kids are still out there, and have been reprogrammed besides all of the boys Foxworth sold. Once you have restored their memories, you must keep your promise to destroy everything about this process so nobody will be able to do this again to any kid. That's the deal."
"How are we going to get everything we need to expose Foxworth, and everyone who knows anything about the process if you die Jonas?" Lee asked him.
"Simon and Ari know everything, and where everything I took is located. Once I am gone, Simon will show you where the stuff is that you need against Richard and his toadies when you take him back to Billy's house, and Ari can fill you in about the details for Foxworth's operations and players once Simon remembers. They know everything about their operations because they are the ones I chose when I decided to set each of them up. There will be a slight draw back with this though. Once everything is over, the boys will still have some serious psychological problems to deal with, especially Simon and Ari. I programmed them to be terrified of Cass so Billy, Merle, and Richard would not suspect what I was doing. Until you or I release them from that programming, they will be scared shitless just by the sight of me. You will not fully understand until you shutdown Armitage's entire operation, and then take Sasha back to that place near Spokane, and then you will know what these two men were doing to kids. The same is true for Simon and Lucky also. When this is over, you have to take each of them back to where it started for them. However, the only exception to this is Ari. I would advise you to consider seriously all of the consequences it will have on him if you take him back to the boys' home in Tennessee. For Simon, Sasha, and Lucky though, you have to take them back to the places before this all started for this to be truly over for them. When they go back and see these places, it will be the trigger that will release them from the programming and free them from being somebody's pawn." Jonas told Lee.
"Foxworth will not know that I have hid everything until it is too late. However, once he does realize what I have done, it will be too late for him to change things, and when you use it to take him down he will know that I was the one who destroyed him." Then he turned to Dr. Cruz and Juan.
"Gentlemen, it is a pleasure to meet both of you. Let us take a walk and I will explain to you how to reverse the process and restore the programmed kids' memories. The process requires specific dosages of different psychotropic medications along with several hypnosis suggestive therapy sessions to be successful. I will also let you know what to expect after you deprogram the kids because many will have psychological problems that will require treatment afterwards." He said before leading them towards the door and out into the lobby. Lee, Jerry and the others came over to John after the others had walked away.
"What did he mean that we have to take the boys back except for Ari?" Lee asked him.
"Closure, Lee. That is what he meant, although I do not know why he specifically excluded Ari. I do know that when this is over, we have to take each of the boys back to where everything started for them. Sasha has to return to the programming facility, Simon and Lucky have to go back to the Jefferies and Robinson's place, but for some reason, he does not want Ari to go back to the orphanage,. Evidently, Jonas has fixed their programming so that the boys' minds will be free once they return to the places where it started for them, and when they do; then it will be truly over for them forever. I will ask him why he doesn't want us to do the same for Ari, or to at least explain his reasoning." All of the sudden, John's cell phone began ringing along with Lee's, and the Mayor's. John took the call, as did Lou and Lee also, and the news they heard was not good at all.
End of Chapter 5
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