Duncan: Out Of Exile
Copyright © 2020 Juju. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Chandler was just leaving her office when I found her. I remembered to tell her about the Siemens logo on the sensors and apologized for causing such a commotion with the hospital management people. I thought they were overreacting and so did she.
“I just mentioned it casually during lunch with an administrator and he went off the deep end,” she explained.
Her crooked smile was a little too mirthful for it to have been accidental.
“You set him up didn’t you, you’re a wicked shrink and you knew he’d run with it, I’m impressed. He must be a major douche. Let me guess, um… married creep that hits on you even though you have told him flat out you’re not interested?”
She grinned big, “Just between us, he’s very creepy and you should consider psychiatry as a career, you certainly seem to know people.”
We exchanged hugs and I went down to the library. I was expecting someone to return my backpack.
Around nine I was told that someone was waiting for me in security, so I walked down the hall to the lobby and went to the security office. There was a guy in a uniform standing at the counter.
He said his name was C.O. Waters (the C.O. stood for Correctional Officer). I asked him if he had my backpack, but instead he pulled out a set of blue coveralls and said I needed to put them on. I started to object but I remembered what Dan had told me. I knew the GPS would alert him as soon as I walked out the door.
The security guard pointed to a room where I could change.
“Did you bring my slippers?” I asked.
“The guard said you could keep the ones you have on, they’ll just throw them away anyhow.”
I sighed and went to change while they traded paperwork.
Fortunately, the overalls were too big and covered the GPS ankle bracelet, even if they searched me they might not go down that far.
With the paperwork completed, the guard removed my wrist bracelet.
Waters took hold of my upper arm and walked me to the lobby. The guard pressed a button and the doors opened. I promptly slipped on the slush and almost fell which Waters interpreted as an attempt to escape.
“Don’t make me chase you kid,” he warned.
“Chase me? I can barely walk on this stuff in these slippers, how am I going to run away?” I snapped back.
“Smart boy,” he snarled.
We arrived in front of a white van that had steel mesh over the windows, Waters opened the sliding door and told me to climb in. I belted in and Waters told the driver to move out. The driver worked his way through the snowy streets and after a half an hour we arrived at a chain link gate.
A guy with a golf cart pulled up and Waters got out and spoke to him. They talked a bit and the golf cart guy opened the electric gate and the van pulled through. Waters got back in and the driver took off down a small road. I realized we were at an airport.
The van stopped a short distance from a big white Gulfstream business jet.
After a few minutes, a guy came down the steps and walked towards the van. He was chubby and he reminded me of the Newman character on Seinfeld.
Two other people came down the ladder, a man and a boy about my size. They both wore Parkas. The boy carried a case, which I presumed to be whatever he owned in the world. I was wrong.
The Newman guy talked to Waters and then he came back to the van and said, “Get out kid.”
I couldn’t figure out what was going on but I didn’t like it.
As we approached I could see the boy’s face and he looked terrified. I felt bad for him even though I didn’t know what was going on; I only knew this kid was not there willingly.
Waters pushed me over where the Newman guy could see me clearly and the fat man said, “Oh yes, he’ll do nicely.”
He turned around and barked “Kelly, bring the case.” The boy in the Parka walked forward timidly, held out the case and then flinched when the fat man reached for it. He handed the case to Waters who opened it up and smiled.
I looked over and it was full of neatly bundled bills, I was being sold. I looked the boy in the eyes and he looked like he felt like scum for being involved.
Suddenly the guy that came down the ramp with him yelled, “Shit! Cops!” I looked in the direction he was looking and a swarm of cop cars was crossing the runway.
He grabbed the Newman guy and rushed him to the foot of the stairs. Another boy stuck his head out the door and the guy yelled for him to tell the pilot to get the engines going.
While they were doing that I grabbed the parka kid and asked if he wanted out of this. He nodded and I grabbed his hand and ran, not an easy feat in hospital slippers, I ended up running out of them.
I saw Waters running for the van and I ran towards the cop cars. I looked back and saw the guy in the parka decide that the cops would reach us before he could. I ran as far and as fast as I could but a month or more without any physical exertion cut my distance. But it was enough.
We reached a grass embankment as the first three SUV’s with blue lights zoomed past. From where I stood, I could see the van cut off from reaching the gate. I saw Waters jump out with the case and run in our direction then I saw the dog.
Roscoe is a Belgian Malinois and his job is to bite anyone his boss tells him to bite, he’s very good at his job. Waters screamed like a little girl. Roscoe clamped onto the hand with the case and chewed until Waters turned loose. The dog stood over him until the handler got there and put a foot on Waters’ ear.
My running and adrenaline caught up with me and I heaved everything I had eaten that morning. I wiped my mouth with some clean snow and grabbed a bit more to suck on.
Kelly looked at me with tears in his eyes, “Are you alright?” he said.
“I’m fine, I just haven’t had to run in a while that’s all.” I replied. I stood there and shivered.
Kelly stepped close and wrapped the oversized parka around the two of us.
“Why did you take me with you?” he asked.
“You looked scared and lost and helpless, when I figured out what they were doing I figured that was how they got you, so when I broke away I grabbed you.”
“They’re bad men, they hurt me and did stuff to me,” he was weeping now. “They would have hurt you too, or made me do it. They made me do stuff to a little kid, they said if I didn’t they would beat the little boy and then do it anyway. I tried to be gentle, but I know it hurt him. They beat me a lot too. I hate them,” he wailed.
All I could do was hug him to me and cry with him.
At that moment if I had a gun in my hand I would have shot all of those men in the balls and watched them bleed to death.
A UHP Tahoe pulled up next to us and Max and Dan jumped out. Dan pulled me free of Kelly and Max pulled out handcuffs.
“No!” I screamed, “They bought him too, I helped him get away!” And that was all I had; I slumped in Dan’s arms and woke up later in the back of the Tahoe with Kelly sitting next to me.
He was holding my hand and looking at me with a concerned expression.
“Hey, you’re awake,” he held up both hands to show he wasn’t cuffed. “Thanks,” he smiled.
Uncle Dan turned around and asked how I was feeling.
“I think I’m okay, I’m just not used to running or being out in the cold. I noticed my feet were quite warm now and I looked down to see a State Police parka wrapped around them.
“You were running through thick snow so Max put his parka around your legs and feet.”
“We’re headed over to the Sheriff’s station to process the prisoners and do reports. I’ll talk to you about it more when we get there,” he informed us.
He turned to Kelly, “What do you know about Terry?”
“Terry is one of them, he likes it and he’s cruel. He’s not like me, he doesn’t care about the other kids. He’s allowed to do anything he wants to us except mess up our faces.” He fell silent.
“Kelly, are you an orphan?” I asked.
Kelly looked at his lap and said, “Yes, my Dad died a couple months ago. He had a heart attack at work. CPS kept me in a facility for kids and then these guys picked me up one night.”
“I don’t know where my mom went, she left right after I was born and never came back. I got the feeling from Dad that she took off with another guy. I don’t even know if he was my real dad. I don’t know what happened to our house or our stuff or my dog,” he said as he started to cry.
I unbuckled and slid over next to him and just held him. Eventually he cried himself to sleep.
“Uncle Dan, what’s going to happen to him?” I asked.
Dan’s answer was less than satisfying. “I don’t know, it’s a joint operation. FBI is in the lead but they usually defer to the state. Kelly is a witness though and a victim. I would imagine they’ll put him up somewhere safe,” he speculated.
I thought for a moment, “How about the hospital? Dr. Chandler would be able to help him and he’s going to need it,” I suggested.
“That sounds like a good idea,” Max chimed in. That place is pretty secure and they can put an ankle bracelet on him for safety. Now we just have to get the FBI onboard.”
Uncle Dan agreed it was a good plan.
We pulled into the Sheriff’s Department driveway. Max stopped at a big gate and spoke into an intercom and the gate opened. He pulled through and waited while the gate closed and a second gate opened. Several of the FBI vehicles were parked with the herd of Sheriff’s cars and trucks. This was the cop side of the building. Generally, nobody got in here without a badge unless they were wearing handcuffs.
I had what I thought was a good idea. “Uncle Dan, can you call Ken? I’d like him to act for Kelly, you know protect him and maybe find out if he has any living relatives and stuff.”
Dan looked at me with that soft smile and said he thought that was an excellent idea.
“You know that probably means Gabe, too.”
I smiled back at him; I can live with that. It will make the FBI more agreeable to our plan I bet.”
Dan grinned, you know what kid? You’re evil. Now what has the FBI ever done to you?” he laughed.
As we were exiting the vehicle, a smartly dressed woman walked up and introduced herself as Special Agent Katie Manning with the FBI.
“Which of you boys is Kelly?” Kelly raised his hand.
Katie extended hers and told him it was nice to meet him.
“I guess that would make you Duncan.” She stuck her hand out and I shook it.
“Okay guys, once you’re fed and warmed up, I’d like to go over a few things and get a statement. Does that sound okay?” she asked.
While I liked that she was addressing us directly and asking if we’d participate, it was a little too slick; like she took a course in how to deal with juvenile witnesses or perpetrators. I proceeded cautiously and asked, “What do you think, Uncle Dan.”
The lady looked at Dan and said, “Uncle?”
Dan smiled. “Yes, I’m District Chief United States Marshall McCann. I’m responsible for this state and the northern half of Nevada and a bit of Oregon and Idaho.”
Katie smiled and said, “I worked with Will Parker when I was with the Service. Then I went to “Witness protection” and then the FBI wooed me away. So let’s all sit down and get these guys fed. A paramedic will check them for exposure if that’s okay and we can talk about what needs to happen. Does that sound good?”
It sounded genuine to me so I said okay and that got Kelly onboard. So we climbed out and walked into the building. Dan carried me because I was barefoot.
There were an awful lot of people buzzing around the offices and a lot of them stopped and stared; a few gave a thumbs up gesture that I wasn’t sure about the meaning. We were shown to the breakroom where a veritable feast of KFC and pizza of multiple varieties was sitting in cardboard tubs and boxes. A bunch of two-liter bottles of soda was standing on the counter along with a bucket of ice. Then there were donuts, brownies and cookies along with small bags of chips. Having lost my breakfast, I was keen to eat. I grabbed a banana and an orange from a bowl, Kelly zeroed in on the chicken. We munched contentedly and talked about everything but the situation we were in.
Paramedics showed up and checked us over. Kelly would have to go to a hospital to have all his injuries assessed. They paid a lot of attention to my feet. A deputy brought in a warm pair of wool socks so I wouldn’t be barefooted. I whooped and thanked him, he smiled, patted my back and snagged a chicken leg from the table. The socks felt wonderful and the paramedics decided we were healthy enough to put off a trip to the emergency room.
I heard a little commotion and a low feminine growl and knew that Gabe and Ken were there. I heard Dan’s voice join the conversation and voices dropped to acceptable indoor levels.
A few minutes later, Ken and Gabe appeared in the doorway. I stood up and ran to hug them both. Okay wool socks on a smooth surface floor are not conducive to good traction; I must have looked like a hog on ice, but I made it eventually and hugged them both.
Dan stood behind them holding a familiar shape. “My backpack,” I chirped.
Kelly had risen and was standing alongside me. He shared my joy at the reunion.
“I never got mine back, I lost my phone, laptop and a stuffed dog I had forever,” Kelly uttered bitterly.
I set the pack on a table and turned to Ken. “I want to make sure that Kelly gets good representation in dealing with this.
I know these are all good people, but their main focus right now is prosecuting those creeps and keeping each other from killing them. Kelly has a lot to say about his time with them and just look at him. A jury will take everything he says as gospel. So, before we sit down with the investigators I want to make sure that he will be allowed to tell his story at his own speed. Also I want him to be kept at the hospital so Dr. Chandler can help him through all this crap. So, are you guys up for this?”
“Absolutely,” said Gabe. “I think until we find out how deep this goes Kelly should have no contact with the CPS in this state,” she opined.
Kelly looked pensive, “It was the CPS man in Roanoke that sold me to these guys, and I bet he’s done it before because they seemed to be friendly.
Agent Manning appeared in the doorway and asked what was going on.
Gabe introduced herself and told Katie she was representing Kelly and wanted to iron out a few things before they got going with his statement.
Katie was a little suspicious and asked who hired her. Gabe pointed at me.
Ken stepped forward, introduced himself and informed her that he was my attorney.
Katie scratched her head. “Well actually that’s pretty good, our internal people would be a while getting here. We wanted the boys to have trustworthy representation. Let’s go in and sit down so we can come to an agreement.”
Gabe offered her hand and Katie shook it.
Kelly stood up and asked, “What did you do with Terry?”
Katie turned and told him that he was down stairs and would be transported to a juvenile facility.
“You can’t let him be around other kids, he’s one of them. He likes what they do and he’s part of it!”
Katie put her hands on his shoulders, “We weren’t sure of his status but it explains some of the things we found on him. I can’t say what just now; but thank you Kelly. I will let the Sheriff’s people know. They’ve taken over the Juvenile facility until we figure out who is involved. They all filed out of the room and found a place to talk.
I put my pack on a chair and opened it. Someone had been through it but that didn’t surprise me. I piled everything up on the table and dumped out the bag that had my street clothes and shoes. I found my fresh underwear and t-shirt Then I pulled out my laptop and cell but both were dead. I had forgotten the charging cords so they would stay that way until I could score replacements. At the very bottom of the pack was what I had missed all this time.
Buzzy Bear lay on top of a big bag of skittles. I scooped out both. Seeing the skittles made me check another compartment which contained a very green peanut butter sandwich and some black carrots. I chucked those.
My little notebook was intact and undamaged. It had all sorts of names and numbers for kids I would never see again.
I noticed a page in my mom’s handwriting near the back. Bank of Green River and mustache were written plain as day. That might save some time.
I picked up Buzzy Bear and stroked him. I don’t know if it was all that I had been through or what, but the connection wasn’t there anymore.
I turned to Kelly and said, “I’d like you to have Buzzy, he’s been my friend since I was little but I think you need him more. I’m sorry you lost your stuff, but maybe this can keep you company when you’re alone.”
Kelly lurched forward and hugged me tightly; I could feel him sobbing into my shoulder.
When he could speak again he said, “Thanks, this means so much, and thanks for knowing I wasn’t part of that nasty mess and pulling me away with you.” I handed him some napkins and let him dry his eyes and wipe his face. Then I put the skittles on the table between us and opened the bag.
“Man I haven’t seen skittles in like forever!” he piped.
“Dig in dude, they aren’t going to eat themselves.”
We sat there and munched and giggled about our tongues changing colors. We were just kids again for a while. There was a small couch in the corner, we moved over to it with the skittles, after a while everything caught up with us, and we conked out. I woke up with Kelly leaning against me and someone had put a blanket over us.
I heard Dan talking to me, rousing me gently. “Hey bud, you feel up to talking to us for a while?”
“I stretched a bit and asked, “Sure, what’s up?”
Dan grinned. “We have a working agreement, would you like to hear it?” I stretched some more and began to rouse Kelly as gently as possible.
As the blanket slipped off, I saw that Kelly had Buzzy in his arms cuddled tight to his chest. As he came around, I thanked Dan for the blanket.
“That wasn’t me; one of the officers here must have seen you and covered you up. They think pretty highly of you after what you did.”
I was at a loss for what he meant. “What did I do, I just ran away from some bad guys and barfed my guts out, hardly hero stuff,” I said.
There was that look again. Dan stared at me and said, “You let them take you even though you knew they weren’t supposed to. And you had the presence to grab Kelly and pull him along with you. You probably didn’t see it but their muscle guy pulled a gun and pointed it your way before he hauled ass up the steps. Because you did that, you and Kelly aren’t hostages. Everyone on board the plane gave up except the kid and they had to hogtie him.”
I had to sit back and absorb that bit of news. I had been scared as hell when I realized what they were doing with me. If I hadn’t made eye contact with Kelly and seen how scared he looked, I would have sprinted off as fast as I could. But I couldn’t leave him there without trying. I didn’t see it as heroic, just decent.
Kelly became alert and tried to hand me Buzzy.
“No, I don’t need him anymore. If you decide you don’t either, give him to someone who does,” I suggested.
Dan gave me that look again. I really needed to ask him about that, or maybe Lyka.
We sat down with Ken and Gabe and Katie and a couple other agents. It was a very comfortable atmosphere and Gabe began to outline the plan.
“Here’s what we have set up. You boys will give a short statement this evening. Dan and Max will transport you both back to the hospital where Dr. Chandler will be waiting. The FBI are sending over a team to take over the VIP suite and that’s where Kelly will stay. Kelly will be fitted with the ankle monitor that Duncan is currently wearing. The Marshal Service will monitor the location data. Duncan you can either stay at the hospital or go with Dan to his hotel. Ken and I will arrange for local attorneys to take care of any meetings required with the agents.
So Kelly; you and I will go down the hall with Agent Manning. Ken and Duncan will go with Agent Washburn and then we can all get on the road. Any questions?
I raised my hand and asked, “Can I change clothes before we go?”
“Absolutely, you can do it now if you’d like. Dan can show you the locker room. Kelly? Do you need anything?”
Kelly looked a bit shy and said, “Just a bathroom.”
Dan spoke up and said there’s one in the hall or you can come to the locker room with us.”
We all stood and the adults shook hands, I went back and retrieved my stuff from the break room. Kelly decided to stay close and came along. I plopped my stuff down on a bench and Kelly went into the bathroom. I heard the shower room door open and a naked man emerged and he whooped and pulled his towel up in front of him.
“Do you think it would be okay if I took a shower?” I asked the man.
“Sure he said; I’ll get you a couple towels.” He returned with a pile of towels and said, “Go to it Duncan. Our house is your house.”
I pulled my body wash out of my pack and pulled off my coveralls.
Kelly emerged from the toilet and asked what was up. “I’m going to shower, you want one? You can use my wash if you want.” Kelly looked nervous for a moment and then decided to join me.
Dan excused himself to give us privacy, but Kelly asked him to stay. “I’m sorry but I like having someone like you around. I guess I’m afraid they’ll take me again and probably kill me to stop me from telling.”
Dan sat down next to him and said, “No problem, but you are in one of the safest places you can be right now.”
Katie said I could tell you they raided the compound where you were kept. They rescued seven boys and arrested nine adults. We think we have the whole group. The fat guy on the plane had a client list in his briefcase so we have that too. The cell service at that end of the runway is nonexistent so he couldn’t call and warn anybody. The guy who sold you to them will be getting a nasty wakeup call in the morning. Does that help at all?”
Kelly actually smiled and said, “That’s so cool. I hope they get raped in prison a lot.”
He apologized for saying it, but Dan told him, “At the very least, they will. Guys that do that stuff don’t live long in prison unless they’re tough or they have connections. I’m betting their connections will be in the cell next to them. You have every right to want these guys to suffer, but don’t let it eat you up. You’ve managed to stay decent after everything they did so don’t lose that now.”
Kelly smiled at him and started pulling off his clothes.
I thought I was prepared to see Kelly naked but what I saw was a thin frame with very little padding. He had a nice looking dick that was about the same as mine but he was a year older. He had a few more pubes but really that part looked very familiar. When he turned to face the showerhead, I was shocked. He had red angry stripes across his back and butt and some little red marks that looked like burns. Kelly confirmed that a client had paid to watch Terry whip him and burn him with a cigarette.
“You need to tell Dan about that. They need pictures so they can use it as evidence,” I told him.
“He probably already saw it, I just undressed in front of him,” he replied.
“Oh right,” I said. We finished showering and went out to dry off.
Dan had left the locker room and returned with a camera with a fresh card and a scale to show dimension on Kelly’s back.
“Kelly, I’d like to document those marks on your back if you don’t mind, and I need another officer to watch me do it. It’s just the rules on collecting evidence, will you be okay with that.
Kelly nodded and the other officer set up the stand with the scale and had Kelly stand in front of it. Dan took the pictures and asked Kelly to turn around so they could document his condition in front. Kelly turned around and blushed a bit but stood and let Dan take the photos. “All done,” Dan advised. Why don’t you boys get dressed and we’ll go do the statements.