Hanson yawned as he slowly sat up in bed. He had heard a knock at the door. He flinched as he felt a pull at the tender skin beneath the gauze bandage on his stomach. His ribs were taped where he had been having trouble breathing from the previous damage. It was amazing he hadn't actually had any broken ribs from the assault of Darren Thompson and the endless compression when he came close to loosing his life.
"They're bruised, but there is a chance you were going to have a little trouble breathing, so we're gonna go ahead and wrap you really good." The doctor had explained. Hanson had welcomed anything to help as it had been almost suffocating more than once from the damage to his chest.
Hanson sat bare chested in his sleeping pants looking around the room. Booker had laughed at Hanson trying to deal with the grey and white hospital gown while walking up and down the hallway. He and Penhall had decided to get him a nice pair of flannel sleeping pants so he could loose the gown. Hanson had been overjoyed when the twosome had brought the blue and red flannel bottoms to him. His wrists were wrapped in white gauze strips as the lacerations on his wrists were bad enough there was fear they would become infected. He heard the knock again. Hanson cleared his throat and responded "Come in."
The door opened slowly revealing a petite blue eyed girl Lexi George.
"Shit." Hanson thought to himself. His heart sank as she stared blankly at the officer in the bed in front of her. She faked a smile as the officer looked back. She was wearing very form fitting blue jeans with small embroidered flowers and sequins running down the seams. She wore a letterman's jacket with leather sleeves. Her perfectly sun streaked hair flowed down across the back of the purple and gold jacket. The face of an Indian adorning the back of the wool jacket, on the front the name Darren Thompson was stitched across it.
"Hi." Hanson stated as the girl meandered into the room.
She was looking out the window of his room and down into the parking
lot. She seemed distracted with her hands in her pockets she barley
gave him a hello. Hanson watched as she stopped at the window and continued
to start out. She was lost in thought. Perhaps lost in the idea that
her perfect boyfriend was going to do serious jail time for the murder,
whatever it was she was distracted.
"Yeah." He responded. He was watching her as she looked one more time out the window and smiled. Then turned and walked over towards the bed where Hanson sat running his fingers through his hair.
"Is it true?" She asked as she approached the young officer.
"Are you a cop?" She was standing next to the officer fumbling with something in her pocket.
"What?" Hanson asked. He was starting to get nervous as she got closer to him. How did she find out about him? They were still officially undercover until the charges were filed and Dean released them. Dean wanted to be sure that all the responsible parties from the murder of Kirk Davis were officially charged. Until that happened Dean wanted to keep Booker, Penhall and Hanson undercover in Waylon.
"I don't " Hanson froze midsentence as Lexi pulled a small .9mm handgun out of her pocket and shoved it into Hanson's face.
"I know that you're a cop." She stated very agitated. She cocked the hammer on the weapon and ordered the officer out of the bed.
Hanson stood slowly clutching his side where her boyfriend had buried his knife in his stomach. Hanson stood still as she circled him looking him up and down like a piece of meat. Hanson started to turn and face her as she threw a flannel button up shirt at the officer.
"Put this on and walk." She ordered.
"Lexi whatever he told you to do " Hanson tried to reason with the young girl.
"Shut up just shut up and move." She raised her voice. She pointed the weapon at the officer again with her shaking hand.
"I Lexi please "
"Shut up and go now. Put your arm around me and walk with me now." Hanson looked at the young girl giving him orders. He swallowed hard. He knew it was fall outside and he had no shoes and the little bit of clothing he had on wasn't going to prevent him from getting cold. He was wishing that the nurse hadn't taken the I.V. out of his arm the day before. "I will have this in my pocket and if you do something stupid I will use this."
Hanson looked at Lexi one more time as she pushed the weapon into his injured ribs. Hanson flinched and put his arm around her shoulder. The two walked out of the officer's room and down the hallway.
"Is everything alright Officer Hanson?" Tom wanted to die right then as the nurse officially blew his cover. Tom stopped and looked back at the nurse who was standing at her desk.
"Uh yeah I just need to step out and take a smoke break." Hanson stated hoping that his answer would indicate that there was trouble. The nurse looked at the young officer's charts and than at the officer and shrugged her shoulder and stated "Ok." She sat down and began working again.
Hanson walked slowly to the elevator. The two stepped into the small box shaped lift and Lexi pushed the button indicating LEVEL 1. The doors closed with a beep and then the lift began to move slowly down.
"I knew it." She responded. "Darren was right."
"Darren " Hanson started to move away from the student when she pulled the weapon from her pocket and pointed at the officer again. The elevator came to a stop and she quickly pocketed the weapon and grabbed a hold of his half buttoned shirt walking him out of the elevator through the vacant lobby and out the doors.
The air was warm but it still had the light nip of fall in the air. Hanson hadn't been out in the sun for nearly five days since his brush with death. The bright sunlight flooded his eyes and he put a hand up to shield his eyes. Without missing a beat she yanked the officer's shirt and pulled him in the direction of a brown Pontiac near a corner of the building where a man wait with his face covered by a blue ball cap. There was little activity today at the hospital laving no way for Hanson to even try and signal for help. The young girl shoved the officer into the waiting man who lifted the bill on his cap to reveal Darren Thompson.
Hanson gasped as he froze in place his hand cupping his damaged stomach. He felt a nervous knot rise in his stomach as he stared into the face of his tormentor. This couldn't be he was supposed to be in jail. How on earth did he rope this good girl into doing his evil deeds?
"Hello Officer Tommy Hanson." Darren smiled at Tom while using an overly friendly voice. He popped the officer in the stomach his fist landing directly over where Darren had driven a knife into Hanson's stomach. The officer crumpled dropping to his knees holding his stomach. It was like a thousand blinding lights all hitting him at once when he felt Darren's hit. The student was powerful and the damage he had just inflicted on Hanson was felt all through his body.
Darren grabbed a handful of Hanson's hair dragging the young officer to his feet. Hanson held tight to the rubber gasket and top of the trunk which Lexi had hit a button to open. Hanson sucked a deep breath in through his clinched teeth. He looked up at Darren who glared back at Hanson.
"Don't do this Darren don't get Lexi " Darren interrupted Hanson by pulling the officer in towards him. His icy stare bore down on the officer.
"Get in the trunk." He stated. Hanson shook his head.
Doug tiptoed into Hanson's room bearing a stack of magazines and candy. Hanson had complained about an endless sweet tooth for two days and the nurse wouldn't let him have anything. Penhall smiled as he pushed the door open expecting to find a bed with a sleeping Hanson in it, only the bed was empty. The sheets were draped to the side of the bed and falling onto the floor his unfinished lunch tray sat cooling to the side of the bed. The television was broadcasting the afternoon soap opera's. Why would Hanson be watching that? Penhall was a little confused, but he laid the stack of magazines on the chair with his jacket and walked out to the nurse's station. The young nurse was quietly typing information into the computer when the youthful police officer approached the desk.
"Uh excuse me miss." Penhall stated.
"Yes." She looked up at the officer removing her glasses to get a better look at the man in front of her.
"Uh, my friend Tom Hanson he isn't in his room. Did they take him for testing or something?" Penhall questioned. There was some minor internal damage and it would have made sense that Hanson would have had to undergo some testing.
"Hang on " the nurse put her glasses back on and reached down to pick up his chart and then looked up. "Wait I remember he went out for a smoke a little while ago." She responded. "I think he had his girlfriend with him."
Penhall looked up in a panic at the response from the nurse as she sat down and began typing at the computer in front of her. Hanson didn't smoke. He and Booker had argued more than once about the dangers of cigarette smoke. Girlfriend he and Jackie had broken up and she wasn't about to come and visit him in Waylon County of all places.
"Did you say smoke he went out for a smoke?" Penhall's stomach knotted. The words were foreign to him and the idea of Tom smoking was too absurd to him.
"Yeah he said he was going for a smoke and he would be fine." The nurse responded. She seemed to be getting a agitated at the man in front of her who kept distracting her from her work with these questions. "I asked if he needed anything, but he said he was fine." She replied impatiently.
"Tommy doesn't smoke " Penhall shook his head at the nurse who stopped immediately and looked up at the officer in front of her. "He doesn't have a girlfriend either."
"Sir " the nurse started.
"What did his girlfriend look like?" Penhall asked as he felt the distinctive feeling of horror rise in him.
"Brown hair with blond highlights, she was short wearing a purple and gold letterman's jacket." She replied in an anxious uneasy tone. "She was a pretty little girl, had a nice tan. The two looked really nice together." The nurse was starting to feel panic consume her as she remembered Hanson had walked out to smoke twenty minutes before her own break which had been almost an hour ago. "Sir he's been gong for almost an hour."
"Oh GOD, Hanson
" Penhall stated as he bolted down the
hall to the nearest pay phone. What the hell had happened to my best
"Hello." Angie Miller's voice rang clearly across the receiver Doug Penhall had held to his ear. He swallowed hard as he returned her greeting.
"Hello, Angie is Dennis there?" He asked hurriedly. He felt dread as each minute ticked by. Hanson had been missing for an hour at least and nobody seemed to know more than that.
"Sure Doug he's in the kitchen. Is everything ok?" She could tell by the alarm in his voice everything was not ok. She had only had these boys around for two weeks and could easily read them like an open book. They couldn't conceal fear from her. She had been the wife of an officer of the law for too long.
"No, I think that we have a huge problem and I need Booker and Dean down here at the hospital now." He responded.
"Doug what's wrong?" She demanded.
Penhall knew that she was going to find out sooner or later. He took a deep breath while looking down at his feet. He twisted at the metal cord of the telephone between his long fingers while trying to form the words in his mouth.
"Tommy's missing "
He heard her gasp into the phone "Hang on." He heard a thump as she lay the receiver of the phone down on the table. There was a short moment of silence then he could hear Dennis Booker let out a string of profanity as he approached the phone and picked it up.
"Where are you?" Booker asked shortly.
"County Hospital she told you?" Penhall asked.
What do we know?" Booker asked.
"Hanson doesn't smoke." Booker interjected. He was puzzled at the comment that Hanson had gone out for a smoke. He was the one trying to single handedly end the world's addiction to nicotine.
"No shit Dennis get down here so we can figure out what happened to Tommy before we loose him for good." Penhall responded heatedly.
"Have you called Dean yet?" Booker inquired.
"Yeah, he's on his way." Penhall retorted.
"I'm on my way." Booker added. He bent over to hang up the phone. Quickly he turned and looked back at Angie Miller who stood behind him. She had a brave face on but tears were starting to well up inside the rims of her eyes. He took a step towards her looking down into her terror filled face. Her brow was furrowed as she ran her hands through her wavy hair and then began to wring her hands as she searched for something to occupy her time. "We're gonna find him." He wrapped his arms around her back and shoulders pulling her tightly into his chest. He could feel the hitch of her shoulders as her tears began soak his black t-shirt. It wasn't long before the normally composed woman had pulled herself together and looked up at Dennis.
"I know you will Dennis
just be careful
both of you."
She tried to smile at the officer who placed a gentle kiss on her forehead
before he turned to run out the door. Angie could hear the powerful
rumble of the young officer's black Monte Carlos V8 motor as it roared
to life. She heard his tires squeal as he pealed out of the driveway.
She knew that the officer would drive too fast as he left to meet Doug
and Dean, but she would have too.
Hanson felt the car come to a jarring halt after what seemed like forever. He was chilled to the bone and his side burned with the searing pain from the stitched up knife wound in his stomach. He had his right hand cupped over the injury holding the taped on gauze strip. He could feel the sticky crimson liquid oozing from the injury. The doctor had warned him about taking the gauze pad off right now. The area had pulsed to life after Darren had delivered the agonizing blow to his stomach.
"At this point young man we are trying to prevent infection." The doctor had advised him. "You need to keep it as clean as you can and try not to get a rip in any one of those stitches I am not sure how we were able to stop the bleeding with the twenty total stitches, but we did. I don't want any bleeders from you." The doctor had advised the young officer.
The darkness of Tom Hanson's world became instantly brighter as the trunk lid was flung open revealing Darren Thompson and Lexi George.
"Get out." Darren snapped. Hanson was overwhelmed by the brightness of the sky over his head. He had closed his eyes and covered his pale face with his free left arm in a vain attempt to block the blinding light from his sensitive eyes. When Tom Hanson failed to move fast enough to please the short tempered man Darren reached into the car and pulled him out of the car and dropped the injured officer on the ground by the tire.
Hanson landed in an untidy heap. Tom grimaced at the throbbing ache in his damaged side. His bruised ribcage reminded him of the struggle he had had to stay alive while Darren Thompson had done his best to end it. The painful sensation was only the beginning as Darren stooped down and abruptly snapped Tom Hanson up by the ripped shirt collar. Hanson let out a yelp as the tenderness in his side ignited the soreness in his lungs. Tom shivered in the midday sun as Darren held him up by his shirt collar.
"Thought you might need to take care of business before we get the rest of the way to where were heading." He hissed wildly. Darren's cold blue eyed stare stirred up the memories of fear Hanson still felt from the night he spent suspended by his wrists in the rafters of a barn, while bolts of lightning mingled with droplets of water from the sky. He stared back at the bigger man, his thoughts turning to the young female with him. The girl who thought the jock was her hero. Hanson knew he had to try and save the young girl who knew no better.
"Darren, this doesn't need to go on don't get Lexi mixed up in this she's a good girl." Hanson pleaded.
Darren angrily backhanded the officer across the face drawing a trickle of blood from Hanson's bottom lip. Lexi came back from the woods beside the car. She looked at Darren with a look of confusion and then back at Tom Hanson who reached up and gingerly wiped the blood from his lip. Hanson then noted the area they were in. There were trees on both sides of a dirt road. The sun was penetrating the trees as the fall wind cut through the foliage.
Hanson looked up at Lexi making eye contact with the young girl. "Lexi, you don't want this " She looked back at Tom Hanson biting her lower lip. He knew she had seen Darren backhand the officer. He knew that the wheels were turning in her head. He could see the look of remorse on her face as she thought about what she had helped Darren Thompson do. He also saw the look of defiance, common in all teenagers. The look that said, I'm gonna do whatever the hell I want and you sure as hell aren't gonna stop me.
"I know what I'm doing and I'm not going back to that life. So save your breath Officer Hanson." The words were cold and frightened. Tom knew that he had gotten to her, but he also knew she was going to fight the world to prove she was right.
"See Tommy your gonna get us out of here. So I hope you enjoy your trip " The football player seethed as he drug the officer to his feet and shoved him back into the trunk of the brown and rust colored car slamming the lid securely in place.
"So boys what do we know?" Dean Miller asked Doug Penhall and Dennis Booker as he stood up scratching the five o'clock shadow growing on his chin. He picked up a glass mug containing strong black coffee. He took a long swallow from the cup and then set it back down on the hard surface of the desktop in the meeting room at the Waylon County Police Department. On the wall hung pictures of a van marked "METRO JUVENIAL DETENTION". Its front end was smashed into a tree. The back window appeared to be smashed out from the inside out. The metal grating securing the glass which should have prevented anyone from escape was missing from the window. In the next picture was a metal grating laying on the ground in a pile of broken and shattered glass. The next picture still displayed the remains of two men, correctional officers from the Detention Center. They had been shot in the back from behind. They probably didn't even know they had been hit until it was too late. There were shell casings on the ground scattered in all directions on the ground and inside the van. A set of tire tracks lead away from the scene who had helped this youth escape; moreover, who had driven the car that carried this juvenile offender away.
When the van failed to arrive at the predetermined destination in the allotted amount of time a search team had been sent out to find it. The search had turned up the van being wrecked at the discovered location. The real fear set in when it was discovered all the shots had been fired inside the van. Someone had supplied a weapon to this child who had taken it and ended the lives of two officers. The real concern at this point wasn't so much how he did it, but what had become of him, the girl who had walked out of the hospital with Officer Tom Hanson and where was the injured Officer Tom Hanson.
"Maybe the security tapes will help." Booker stated. He and another officer had gone to the hospital to secure the recordings of the events leading up to and following the event. They had just returned to the office as Dean signaled for Booker to join him and Penhall in the meeting room. Booker had handed Dean Miller three tapes containing the archived information. The three were labeled ELEVATOR 1, CRITICAL CARE UNIT, and EAST PARKING. There was nothing of the activity in Tom's room as laws prohibited such recordings.
"Video tapes?" Penhall confirmed as he looked at the large, weighty black video cartridges.
"Yeah, apparently they haven't been able to upgrade their security yet. They're probably grainy black and white images." Booker chided. They both knew that anything was better than nothing, but it would have been better to have more advanced technology.
Dean, Booker and Penhall had all sat down together to begin watching the security surveillance tapes. They were in fact grainy and hard to distinguish. Hanson could be seen walking out of his room with flannel a shirt on buttoned only in the middle. He had his arm around the girl who was with him. Her face was familiar young she had been a popular girl at Waylon County High
"Christ Penhall that's Lexi George " Booker exploded.
"No she's a good girl. I mean yeah she's dating the jockstrap of the century, but no " Penhall shook his head at Booker's accusation. He knew that the events culminating to the confrontation between Hanson and Darren had been over this very girl, but it couldn't be. She was much too smart for this. It was only when the second tape from the elevator was played that Penhall realized Booker was most likely correct in pointing out the possible exponent in this case. She had pulled the gun out and pointed it at Hanson while he was trying to pull away from her in the elevator. The taped revealed her striking face and equally stunning features. She grabbed the officer by the arm while pocketing the weapon. Although she was slighter in stature she had pulled the barefooted officer out the door and out of sight of the camera. As she turned the corner the name on her jacket was reavealed in bold letters DARREN THOMPSON.
The next taped showed her thrusting Hanson forward into the arms of her waiting boyfriend Darren Thompson. Penhall and Booker looked at each other in distress as the realization set in that Hanson had been taken by the madman who wanted him dead for merely conversing with his girlfriend. Now, it even appeared that she was going to help take him out. The phone rang in the lobby as the men continued to watch as the assault on the injured Tom Hanson.
"Dean " an officer approached the door.
"Yeah." Dean replied not even looking up from the film in front of him.
"Dean, there's a phone call for you." The young female officer insisted.
"Take a message please." Dean countered.
"Sir its Officer Hughes and he said he needs to speak to you urgently." She persisted adamantly. The older man stood up with a sigh hitting the pause button on the vintage video player.
"Boys get some coffee sounds like I need to take this." Dean sighed as he walked out of the room and into his officer to his desk. The female officer transferred the call, the phone ringing once when Dean reached down and picked up the receiver.
"Miller " Dean confirmed to the person on the other end of the phone line. "Oh shit! This isn't no fuck! We'll be there in a bit. Call the coroner." Dean slammed the receiver down onto the cradle.
Booker and Penhall slowly inched towards the door. They had heard the word "coroner" and had decided it was time to panic. Doug Penhall held his breath as he watched the stressed older man lean forward in his chair his hands over his face, his salt and pepper hair falling around the surface of his overworked hands. Booker placed a hand on Penhall's shoulder as the two held their breath preparing for the worst.
This can't be it. Hanson can't be dead. Penhall said to himself.
Booker looked at the face of the cop standing next to him. He watched
the emotions of fear, apprehension, and anxiety shift across his face.
He knew that was what he was feeling because he felt the same things.
Finally realizing there was no other way to find out than to ask Booker
removed his hand from Penhall's shoulder and reached up to gently rap
the frame of the door. Dean looked up read eyed at the two young officers
who had been agonizing over the possibility that the corner was to pick
up the body of their friend
"Dean " Booker started. "Who what " he stuttered as he tried to come up with the hardest words he had ever tried to form. Tom Hanson was a sometimes uptight and stuffy police officer, but that was his partner and for the most part his friend sometimes.
"Dean was that " Penhall tried to no avail to finish the thoughts of his partner.
"It's Jim Thompson they found his body. He hung himself in his garage. There's a note pinned to his chest. Said he couldn't live with what he had let his son become. Said he was sorry about everything. I think he was the one who helped Darren escape." Dean stood up and then looked back at the officers faces in front of him. He saw a sigh of relief followed by a slap of reality. Jim Thompson had arrested his son for assaulting and nearly killing Tom Hanson. He had also allowed the young man to access to a weapon to help him escape from his trial. He had released the evil spirit from his imprisonment and wasn't willing to answer for it in this life.
Dean Miller wiped his eyes with the back of his long sleeved flannel shirt and lifted his black Stetson hat placing it on his head. He walked to the door and looked back at the young officers behind him.
"Would you boys mind helping me with this one? I know I " Dean looked defeated at the floor. He looked exhausted as he tried to ask Penhall and Booker to help him.
"We'll go Dean " Penhall stated.
right?" Booker stated.
The car jerked stopped again. It felt like a century later as Hanson lay on his back in the trunk of a stuffy and somewhat cramped rear of the car. He had his left hand cupped over the continually oozing cut on his stomach. He was having a lot of trouble trying to determine how long he had been laying on his back in the dark. Every bump registered in his bruised rib cage. Every turn sent him sliding into the inner wall of the vehicle. He would bite his lip in an effort to not cry out. He fought through each bump and pothole. He knew they were off the beaten path and possibly up in the hills and mountainous region of Waylon County. He had heard the rain as it began to pelt the top of the trunk. He also noted the failing gasket as for a moment Hanson was sure he was going to die as the water began to leak through from the seams. He had fought with his mind that he was in a car sinking in the nearest lake. It was terrifying to him as he wished he was back in the warm soft bed of the Waylon County Hospital.
The lid of the trunk flew open as Hanson was again greeted by bright sunlight and was being rained on also. Darren reached into the vehicle and pulled the officer from the car and let him fall to the muddy ground. Hanson winced at the quickness of the motions. He could feel the throbbing in his side spike to life as he fell to the soggy ground. His pale face raised to the sky as the beads of moisture dripped over his aching frame. He sincerely hoped he would not have to spend the night in the cold rain. He noted the surrounding trees and cabin. A small barn sat isolated in the far corner of the lot.
Darren reached down and lifted the officer to his bare feet and obviously against his own desire helped Hanson to his feet and half dragged the officer into the small cabin. Hanson groaned as he was pulled to his feet and then shoved into the small building.
The cabin itself could have been an inviting and enjoyable accommodation if not for the situation it was being involved in. Hanson noted the small room off to the side of the fireplace as he was dropped down to the floor behind the door. Darren swiftly laced the officer's wrists together in front of him and then bound his ankles together. Hanson wasn't going anywhere. While his two captors were busy with unloading supplies and moving into their hide out Hanson took the time to check the bleeding knife wound.
His breath hissed through his teeth as he tugged at the sticky tape which secured the saturated gauze strip in place. Once clear he looked down and noted the increased puffy and red skin around the thin stripes of dark thread holding the skin in place. He felt the warmth of the skin beneath his fingers as he fumbled with the blood sodden patch of gauze trying to re-secure it in place with the already used tape. The only good thing he noted was that there was noting other than blood seeping from the wound.
Hanson felt eyes on him and glanced up to see Darren's icy stare on him watching his every move. Tom felt as though there was some satisfaction in the face of Darren Thompson as he noted the extent of the injury to his captive. The moment was cut short as Lexi carried over a small metal camping mug filled with water. She started to reach down and hand it to Hanson. Hanson watched her carry the liquid to him noting to himself how thirsty he was. The back of his throat was parched, burning with each natural swallow of saliva. Eagerly Hanson tried to reach for the glass only to be cut off by Darren's hand.
"I'll take care of him, you go get the bed ready baby." His eyes flickered with wickedness. Lexi glanced at Hanson and then at Darren, a look of mistrust growing in her eyes. She slowly handed the cup to Darren who then squatted down in front of Hanson.
Tom drew his hands back into himself as best he could and prepared to fend off an attack on his already injured body. The larger man leaned in towards the officer while holding the cup next to him.
"Thirsty " He asked as he lifted the cup to his own lips. Hanson watched as the man toyed with him. Tom swallowed again, the parched blistered feeling on the back of his throat growing as the man looked back at the officer. Darren licked his lips as he looked back down into the cup. Darren swirled the inner contents around and then looked the officer. He held the small mug out towards Hanson who started to reach out to grasp it only to have Darren drop it just shy of Tom's fingers. The cup and its contents spilled over the floor quickly absorbing into the dry cracked boards of the floor. Hanson closed his eyes in defeat as the burning in his throat settled into the rest of his body. Darren cracked his lips in a malevolent smile and then stood up walking away, leaving Hanson alone in his despair.
Hanson lay on his side his arm folded and lay under his head like a pillow. His knees were curled and drawn up near his body in an attempt to keep warm. The fire that had been roaring in the fireplace had been extinguished by Darren. He had looked back at the officer and winked once before he proceeded into the bedroom closing the door behind him. Hanson was sure that he had heard a scream and a thump, but the door appeared to be fairly tight and he was really exhausted. He was sure he could have put any sound into his head that he wanted at this point. The wind had picked up out side and the cool air seemed to slip in through the cracks of the doors. The bite of the frigid breeze bit into Hanson's already aching joints. His eye lids were heavy as he tried to focus on the knot hole in the wall in front of him. The counted the grains in the wood hoping to fall asleep faster. The chinking in the walls appeared to be cracking and chipping falling out of the walls in places. Hanson's eyes grew heavy as the night wore on. He closed his eyes to the wind as he whipped around the door next to his head, he swore off the pain in his chest and stomach; he tried to forget the way Lexi had looked from him to Darren with skepticism in her eyes.
Hanson nearly jumped out of his skin when a hand settled on his shoulder. He had to sort out the person standing in front of him. He reached up, bother wrists still laced together, and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. He had the feeling of pins and needles swimming around just under the skin in his arm. He blinked again as he looked up at the girl in front of him.
"Lex " her fingers pinned his lips as he recognized her. She had a small dark patch on her right cheek and her bottom lip was cracked and bleeding. Tom's jaw dropped as he let his eyes survey the beauty in front of him. Her once youthful naive and trusting eyes were now tainted with pain and distrust. She had changed. She appeared fearful and tormented. What had that asshole done to her?
"This is for you." She handed him the most precious thing he had ever received from anyone. It was a small cup containing water. The precious clear liquid that would tempt him for another one, but she had risked herself, his wrath to give Hanson this small token. "I saw I saw it all." She glanced down at the floor; she had lost her innocence to him Tom knew what he had done to her.
"Lexi you need to get away from here." Hanson choked out in a quiet whisper. Lexi looked up at the officer her blue eyes shedding a substantial single tear. The liquid leaked down her cheek and fell in a large droplet splashing on the floor, another threatened to follow. Hanson placed the mug on the floor and reaching up touched her cheek gently wiping the tear away. She pulled away grasping both of his hands and placing the tin cup back into them.
"Drink this I-I don't know when I will be able to get you more." Her voice was devastating to Tom as it cracked as she tried to be strong. He could no longer hold the fact that she had waved a gun in his face against her she had been manipulated again, only this time Darren had gotten what he had wanted out of her, and against her will. She had been raped.
"Lexi you have to get out of here." Hanson pleaded with her again. He was in fear for her safety more so than his own. She was so young and so beautiful. She shook her head and pushed the tin cup to Hanson's lips forcing him to take a drink.
The liquid was cool, quenching the fire that had burned within his parched throat. He sucked the clear fluid across his lips relishing the simple pleasure contained within the valuable life giving solution. It was cool and clean and not enough. He finished the liquid and handed the cup back to the young woman. She took the cup and looked down at the metal cup. She started to stand up and then looked back down at the officer in front of her.
"Officer Hanson " she stated.
"Yeah." Hanson responded.
I have to go back before he realizes I'm gone."
She started to move away from Tom but he caught her small wrist with
his hands before she could. He leveled his gaze directly into her eyes.
"I gotta go
I'll try and get you a blanket, you're starting
look a little cold. Please
let me go
looked down at her delicate fingers; they were laden with dirt at the
cuticles. Her nails were chipped at the tips. There were three thin
slices across her wrist, not deep but still there. They were bright
red as if she had just cut them. He knew that the two of them were in
for a rough ride. Hanson released the young girl and painstakingly watched
her trudge back into the bedroom quietly closing the door behind her.
Dean sat down with the note holding it in his hand;
I am so sorry, I let you down. I wish there was something I could have done to make this up to you and make it better for the boys. Tom, Dennis and Doug they seem like such good boys. This is all my fault, but I just couldn't let Darren go through this trial. I helped him escape. I gave him a gun which he used to kill two men. It was my fault I just wish you could have known him as a small child. He was so loving when he was young, I just don't know what happened. I loved him; I still love him, no matter what he has done. I just can't believe that he did what he did. I should have let him stand trial for what he had done I just couldn't. Please understand the love of a father and forgive us both.
Dean sat back in his chair and examined the picture that had been wrapped in the message. The image was a sign of more joyous times as it depicted a young boy with a pointed and colorful birthday hat on and a father and mother on either side beaming with pride at the tenth birthday of their only son. Jim Thompson had been right what had happened to that smiling little boy. His eyes dancing with youthful exhilaration and enthusiasm, Dean lay the yellow paper on his desk with the picture. Silently he glanced up as Doug and Dennis stood watch next to the older officer who appeared to be visibly shaken at the sight he had seen. He watched as the coroner aided by two others had cut the rope around Jim's neck and lowered him to the floor. The men then stepped away as group from the crime lab had swarmed to take pictures. The coroner lurked in the corner of the building clutching a large black bag made of thick plastic. Once an adequate number of pictures had been taken the men then returned to the body of the older man to place it in the bag and remove it to the county morgue.
Dean swallowed hard as he glanced around the large garage. There was a tool bench neatly organized with sockets, wrenches, drills and bits. Jim had always been the "go to" guy when it came to fixing something. He had repaired cars, trucks, little red wagons, bicycles; you name it Jim could fix it. Jim had gone out of his way when Dean had taken the job on the Police Department in Waylon County to fix the plumbing and the garbage disposal before he and Angie before had arrived. Dean could remember pulling up to the house seeing a strange vehicle parked outside. Jim had emerged with his wife; Jim was covered in dirt and grease while his wife had finished cleaning the floors of the home. She had left some cookies and a card for the couple who were grateful to meet someone in the new and strange town.
"This is a complete disaster." Dean stated rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Boy's, its dinner time and Angie has food on hold for us." Dean stated as he watched the men load the body of Jim Thompson in the back of the black van. The doors swung shut on the van and the coroner turned and nodded at Dean Miller who returned the nod and then let he gaze fall on the vehicle as it pulled out onto the street and sped off towards town.
"Dean no offense but Hanson " Penhall stammered.
Dean turned and looked into Penhall's eyes and then into Dennis's with a look of irritation and frustration flickering within his own gaze. "There is a woman at my house who has worked all day long to try and get a dinner ready for us. She has been in tears probably ninety percent of this day. She wants to see you two and me. Now, I don't care if you touch any of the food she puts in front of you but she deserves that much respect. She is just as upset about Tom Hanson as you and you and I." Dean began. "Now I also have to make a phone call to the Metro Juvenile Corrections Department and tell them that it was one of my officers who equipped his son with the gun that killed two of their men. I also have to call and update Adam Fuller on the status of his missing officer. I don't want to go home either, but that woman back at home deserves that much respect, so you will go and you will be courteous and sensitive to her feelings to, is that clear?"
Penhall and Booker stood dumfounded. Dean was so calm and collected;
he had never once lost his composure in front of the two young officers,
or anyone that they knew of.
Angie had melted into tears of frustration and despair as she had been told of the death of James Thompson. She stood in the doorway enveloped in the arms of her husband who held her through the torrent of tears. Booker and Penhall had watched as the emotions of the day spilled from both of the visibly exhausted couple. Within a few minutes the couple had regained their composure. Angie wiping away tears, walked into the arms of Booker and then Penhall. Both men she held tightly as she fought back the tears that threatened to spill over again.
"Your gonna find him
I know you will." She stated her
eyes rimmed in red. Booker and Penhall both took turns holding the woman
who had stolen their hearts close as they struggled to keep their own
emotions in check.
Hanson awoke with a start at a cool hand on his face. It was still dark outside and the cabin was cold. His hands and feet were already beginning to feel as if they were no longer a part of his body. The lack of circulation created the sensation of pins and needles pinging at the surface of his arms. He was disoriented as his eyes shifted from left to right trying to remember where he was. He coughed as he tried to sit up at the same time noting the stiffness in muscles and joints as he tried to move. The penetrating heat from his side made it difficult to move at all. He felt a sharp throbbing where the gauze strip hung limply to one side. The tape had since failed at its sole job of holding anything in place. Hanson's hands pulled instinctively over his face in a feeble attempt to cover himself and prevent an attack.
"Officer Hanson please try to sit still your burning up." Whose voice was that? She was sweet and young too young to have been his mother. It was only when she leaned closer that he was able to distinguish her face.
"Lexi " He choked out. His voice was scratchy and rough. The sound made him look sharply up at the young girl trying to mother him. She was so young and beautiful why had she done this to herself? "My name is still Tom " he half heartedly stated. Lexi smiled down at him as she lay a blanket over his quivering frame. He had been laying on his side curled into a ball in an attempt to stave off cold chills. Darren had left him lay by the front door where the wind would creep in from beneath a small crack at the base of the door. Hanson had decided that Darren had placed him there to let him know that freedom was just through the door, but since he was injured and he didn't know where the hell he was so he had better stay right where he lay. Darren was the king of toying with people's emotions. He had done it to Lexi, he had done it to Hanson, hell, he probably even screwed with his parents.
Gently Lexi slipped her delicate fingers beneath Hanson's head and lifted it until his lips met the chilling surface of the metal cup containing water. Hanson cringed as the pain in his side spiked to life as he moved. The throbbing tenderness was emphasized by the tightness of the swelling as he moved. He could feel the slight trickle of blood as the muscles in his stomach tightened with the slightest movement. The cool liquid was like a feast to his senses. His parched throat was only getting worse and the fresh liquid helped to calm the fire that seemed to be raging in the back of his throat. Each time Lexi was able to give him a drink Tom would wonder what she had to gone through to get it for him. "Get some sleep " The sympathetic voice conveyed quietly. She stroked his hair lightly and then placed his head gently down onto the hard wooden floor. She waited a few minutes to see Hanson fall back into a pain fogged half sleep before she moved again.
Lexi then turned and tucked a towel beneath the surface of the door
blocking the chill from entering the room. Hanson whimpered slightly
as she walked toward the room she was now a prisoner to. She turned
and looked back at the badly injured officer who had done nothing but
try and protect her since she had met him and then to the man who had
betrayed her mentally, physically, and emotionally. She knew she was
in over her head. They were supposed to use Hanson as a bargaining tool
to get out of the state. He was nothing more than a pawn in Darren's
dimly thought out plan. She was so angry with herself for letting him
do this to her. She let him twist everything around like Officer Tom
Hanson had set him up. That Tom Hanson was the real problem with everything.
Whey had she been such a fool for him; she had her whole life ahead
of her and now she was a criminal
just like him. As the weight
of her actions set in Lexi sank to her knees by the doorframe, conquered
by her emotions and silently sobbed.
Dennis Booker and Doug Penhall had both fallen asleep in the living
room of Dean and Angie Miller's home. One was seated in a chair while
the other on the couch. Angie had crept into the room to check on them
noting they were lost in silent slumber. She had begged them to lay
down when Dean had returned to his officer to pick up some files he
had been working on. The boys had wanted to go back out also but had
been told he was coming right back and they needed to get some rest.
"You're no good to me asleep on your feet, so get some rest now and we will be back out tomorrow." Dean stated.
"Dean this is Tommy our partner." Penhall had protested.
Dean sighed deeply. "Look, I have people on this right now. You two are on report at nine in the morning so get some sleep and be back in here then."
"But Dean " Booker had argued rising to his feet from the kitchen table. The two young officers had been struggling with Hanson's disappearance. They had done their best to be understanding with Angie, mindful of Dean but they too were loosing their patience with the system that kept them in check. " he's hurt, bleeding hell maybe he's dead but that's our partner and we need to find him now. Why the hell is it so hard for you all to understand?"
"Dennis, Dean, Doug you guys are on the same team stop fighting each other and understand that you are all under pressure right now!" Angie declared. She looked around the table as all eyes were resting on her. "I am just as worried and helpless as the three of you. The only problem I have is that I am stuck here while the three of you gallop off to the station house to find our missing boy. I worry about all three of you. I am sick and tired of the fighting and bickering. That won't get us anywhere in finding Tommy." Angie pounded her fist on the counter top as the men continued to be mesmerized by her proclamation. "You three boys are my babies and I am so afraid right now. And Dean, I have stood by you while you have been absorbed in your job for the last twenty years. You have forgotten our anniversary, my birthday, and missed Christmas dinner more than once. I have never complained, not once; so I am not going to stand around and watch the three of you come unglued over this. You ARE going to start working together. Tommy is out there somewhere and he needs all of us right now to get along and find him. A little prayer wouldn't hurt either. Now boys, your gonna get some rest and Dean I expect you home in an hour no buts!"
Dennis looked over at Penhall a sly smile spread across his face. "Damn my mother has invaded Angie's body "
"We'll get the dishes." Penhall interjected before Booker could finish his statement.
"I'll take care of this one." Dean slid over to his wife
laying a long kiss on her lips and dashing for the door. It appeared
that he knew better than to be late when she had informed him to do
Angie watched silently as Dennis Booker lay in silent slumber on the thick white couch. He laid still on his stomach breathing lightly, his arms folded beneath his jacket. Angie lifted the leather jacket off of his torso and placed it on the back of the couch. Gently she replaced the jacket with a thick multicolored comforter. Booker shifted slightly beneath the warmth of the cover. Gingerly she reached down and swept an errant lock from his forehead. He sighed faintly and then shifted slightly on the couch still lost in sleep. Angie smiled to herself as she reached over and flipped the switch on the light above the couch.
Softly Angie crept over to where Penhall lay lost in a peaceful dream. He lay resting his head to the side snoring slightly. She bit her lip as he shifted and began to snore slightly louder. She lay a full-size coverlet overtop of the big sleeping man. She smiled to herself as she watched Doug continue to snooze as she flipped the overhead light off.
"Goodnight my boys
" She whispered as she turned and
walked out of the room.
Morning came with a swift kick in Hanson's bruised ribs. The officer jumped and sucked a stinging shallow breath in through his teeth. He winced as the movement jolted the stabbing pain in his overly sensitive lower left side.
"Get up." Darren hissed. Hanson tried to accommodate but could only groan at the slightest movement. He looked down at the area that had once been covered in a strip of gauze the material was gone probably on the floor beneath where he had lay all night. The once trickle fine trickle of blood was now replaced with a sticky yellow crust, the area surrounding his stitches swollen and red. Hanson gritted his teeth and tried to cover the area with his hand. He had to protect it from any further infection. Hanson shook at the chill of the morning air. The high school student sat down in a chair across from where Hanson leaned against a wall.
"So you are a police officer." He stated. Hanson looked forward at the boy. Darren's piercing blue eyes maintained a steely gaze across to the injured officer.
"Yeah and you are a complete fool for dragging Lexi into your mess." Hanson retorted.
"Really? What if I told you that she begged me to take her away from this life. She begged me to never leave her. She "
"She begged you to rape her and beat her and drag her into your mess. What the hell were you thinking Darren? She's a good girl who you're pulling down into your bottomless pit!" Hanson interrupted. His voice was still hoarse but it was stern none the less.
Darren lunged forward grabbing the officer by his already torn shirt collar. With little effort he heaved the slighter man off of the floor and smashed him against the wall knocking the breath out of the officer. Hanson gasped for a single breath his mouth falling open hoping for anything that would help.
"You don't know shit cop! You don't know shit
then dropped Hanson to the floor. The officer's eyes rolled back into
his head as he lost consciousness. Standing in the corner Lexi watched
looking on as the officer took a punishing blow for standing up for
her battered existence.
"Darren he's a good person he " Darren lunged at the female as she stood helpless against the wall. He smashed his fist into the wall overtop of her head. She yelped in terror as she expected a slap or a hit across her person. He slammed his body up against hers pushing his face next to hers his breath burning against her cheeks. Lexi gasped in fear bracing for an additional impact a single tear running down her already bruised cheek.
"What Lex you hot for him too. To him, you're just a no count criminal whore. He'll run off get his little cop friends and throw you into a hole just to watch you squirm. Then they'll tell you they want to make a deal. That deal little girl will land you in the county lock if you're lucky. Up where you'll be some bitches lackey. That's if they don't decide to use you for their own amusement first."
Darren continued to hold Lexi against the wall his exhalations rustling the hairs that lay against her face. The minutes felt like forever until Darren spoke again. "I'm going for supplies "
"When will you be back?" Lexi asked in a shaky voice.
"When I want baby
don't worry I won't forget you."
Darren mocked pulling away from her slender body. He walked to the door
and slammed it closed behind him. Lexi slipped down the wall and fell
to her knees wrapping her arms around her own body, tears streaming
down her weary battered face.
Angie jumped straight up out of bed as the knocking continued at the door. She looked down at the clock seven a.m. Who the hell "BAM, BAM, BAM " Dean woke up and glanced sleepily at Angie as she pulled her robe on and shot down the steps. Dennis Booker and Doug Penhall were asleep in the living room and she didn't want them disturbed until absolutely necessary. She bolted down the hallway to the steps, each one creaking as her scarlet painted toes landed on each timber step. She made it to the first landing to hear the bothered inhalation and exhalation of Penhall and Booker. Pulling the robe tighter around her shoulders she grasped the handle and jerked the door open. On the porch in front of her stood Adam Fuller flanked by Judy Hoffs and Harry Ioki.
"Angie!" Fuller smiled reaching out pulling the woman in for a tight hug. The cool autumn air creeping up her legs as she stood on the porch in front of Ioki and Hoffs who looked on as the surprise reunion sparked to life.
"Adam " She half yawned a smile spreading across her face. "Why didn't you tell me you were coming?" She asked.
"Couldn't have you telling me not to." He responded.
Dean walked down the steps in a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. He looked at the officer standing in the doorway and smiled. "Adam Fuller thanks so much for coming." He started to extend his hand in friendship to have it turn into an embrace.
"You knew?" Angie turned to scold her husband. She was standing in her white cotton nightgown and a tattered red terry robe.
"I didn't expect him so early." Dean responded slyly scratching the back of his head.
"Adam, please come in, the boys are sleeping right now. We've been having trouble getting them to just shut down at all. They're taking this whole thing pretty hard." Angie added as she directed the trio past the sleeping boys and into the kitchen. She was grateful that they were so exhausted they had only been partially awakened by the banging on the front door.
"Thank you." Fuller and Ioki stood to the side as Judy entered the front door and was followed by the two other men. As they entered the kitchen Angie looked at the two young officers.
"Let me guess, Judy and Harry?" Angie smiled as she reached over to pull the unsuspecting officer's in for a tight hug.
Judy smiled at the woman. "Yeah, how "
"Those boys talk a lot, especially about pretty girls. Besides, you don't look much like a "Harry" to me." She winked. Judy and Harry exchanged glances and then laughed at the sudden coolness of her whit.
"Would you folks like some coffee?" Dean asked as he took jackets from his guests.
"That would be great." Harry answered. "It felt like a century before we got here. This is some of the most beautiful country I've seen in a while." He commented.
"We love it here." Angie responded as she reached into the cabinet above the sink to pull out the coffee and filters. "Dean, maybe you can get breakfast going and I'm gonna go get the boys up." She looked up at her husband who smoothed his salt and pepper hair down and flashed a sheepish grin towards Fuller.
"I think I might just be in trouble right now." He commented. Fuller laughed as he looked across the counter at the man tying an apron around his waist. "I'm glad you're here Adam. These boys are going on overtime in a big way. They're torn up and worn down about his whole situation."
"These officers work well together. They are fine individuals, and an even finer team. They aren't partners; they're brothers and sisters." Fuller pronounced. He knew that Penhall and Booker wouldn't handle the disappearance of Hanson well at all when he had found out the officer was missing. He had told Dean he would be out as soon as he could. When Dean had called him with an update on the case Fuller had jumped and told him he would be bringing Hoffs and Ioki with him to help in the search.
"Coach " came the tired voice of Dennis Booker as he trudged into the kitchen. His eyes were puffy with deep dark circles beneath them. His black t-shirt was un-tucked and rumpled. He carried a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. His hair was flat in places and stood on end in others. Booker reached up with his free hand rubbing the top of his head.
"Good morning good lookin." Hoffs interjected.
"Jude, Harry..." Dennis tried to be enthusiastic as he walked over to the kitchen table where the young officers sat together with their superior officer. "Welcome to Waylon County." He jibed half heartedly.
"How are you?" Judy asked as she stood to greet the handsome dark haired officer. She wrapped her arms around him holding him tightly. Booker breathed in Judy's perfume as he took full advantage of the comfort being offered to him by someone her knew. Booker loved Judy so much, but there was nothing more to them than just an amazing friendship; although they had tried to make it go further, that is all it would ever be. Her hands on his back felt so comforting to him.
"Tired." He responded. Judy didn't have to look for a deep hidden meaning in the comment to her. He certainly looked exhausted.
"Listen, I'll be back I need a smoke before I fall asleep again." Booker commented, his eyes glued to the barn outside the kitchen window. He moved towards the door grabbing a flannel shirt off of the coat rack next to the door. He wrapped the multicolored checkered patterned garment around his body as he stepped out of the door in his stocking feet. Hoffs grinned and shook her head as she followed the man as he walked out the door.
"Cap he looks so tired." Ioki commented.
"I imagine they both do." Fuller responded as he watched
Hoffs move out the door behind Booker.
"Dennis, are you ok?" Judy asked as the dark haired officer light a cigarette with a worn out silver Zippo lighter. The sound of the flint rubbing and the spark to life then followed by the smell of lighter fluid filled her senses.
Booker took a long drag on the cigarette. He blew the smoke out of his pursed lips and then looked down at his feet. The white socks were warm but the crisp wind cut through the surface of the white cotton fabric chilling his toes. "It's been a long couple of weeks. With all this crap and Tommy " Booker stopped he ran his fingers through his ink black hair. His eyes were vacant and lost. He furrowed his eyebrows and squinted against the rising early morning sun "He's a bad dude, this kid who grabbed Hanson. He had a couple of kids take me out of a football game just so that he could be the quarterback."
"What'd he do?" Judy asked.
"To me I got a couple of bruised ribs during practice. I thought I was gonna die it hurt so badly. He killed a kid to get that position on the team. And what he did to Tommy "
"He's gonna be fine " Judy tried to comfort the man beside her. She had heard that Darren was responsible for the death of a kid named Kirk Davis; he had killed a couple of guards on his way to the Juvenile hold at Metro. Fuller had also filled her and Ioki in on most of the events leading up to Hanson being kidnapped at a local hospital.
"Jude you don't understand he almost killed Hanson over his girlfriend."
"He what?" Judy questioned.
"He thought Hanson was after his girlfriend and he and some of his buddies grabbed him. Penhall and I watched him run a knife into Hanson. I couldn't stop him from bleeding. I tried, I just couldn't stop it." Booker took another long drag on his cigarette. He was lost in thought. He looked down at the toes of the pallid material in his socks. He flexed his toes as he looked up at Judy. He was so angry and frustrated, how could he tell her how he felt without just exploding. She was almost his best friend at Jump Street. Hanson was far from his best friend, but he was so angry at the continually escalating crap in his life. Something had to happen and slow it all down. "Hanson nearly died Jude and then Darren and his girlfriend, Lexi Hanson is hurt so bad " Booker smashed the butt of his cigarette against the painted surface of the railing next to the door. He threw the butt into a can that Angie had left out for him to use.
"Dennis, do you think that maybe Lexi was manipulated into this? I mean she is a young girl Dean sent Fuller some information on this case and she's a model student "
"What do all you girls stick together Jude Hanson's missing and you're siding with some girl you don't even know!" Dennis couldn't take it. She was actually defending this no good little girl. Who cares if she's a model student? Booker had watched the security tapes pull a gun on Hanson in an elevator. "Judy as far as I'm concerned she's just as guilty as her boyfriend and if anything happens to Hanson " Booker pointed his index finger at Hoffs who backed against the railing on the other side of the door while trying to maintain a brave face. Booker ran his hand across his face in frustration. "GOD Jude I'm sorry it's just Hanson. We actually got along here what the hell is up with this " Judy grabbed the officer around the waist and pulled him into her for a hug. He was so distraught and it was eating Judy alive as she watched him suffer through the pain he was feeling.
"You're gonna find him Dennis
" She whispered gently
in his ear. "We're gonna get him back."
The two officers returned to the house to be greeted by a sleepy Doug Penhall. "Good morning Judy " Doug yawned. He dropped his chin onto his hand and held it up on the table. Judy walked over to the coffee pot and grabbed three mugs filling them with the fresh steaming liquid. She handed one to Penhall, one to Dennis and sat down with the other.
"Thanks." Dennis looked up at Judy his dark eyes twinkled as he tried to smile. It was clear that the weeks had taken their toll on both men.
Tom Hanson gasped loudly as a he felt a hand on his chest. There was an odd tugging on his wrists and then a slice and his hands were free. Hanson struggled to sit up and then soon regretted it. He felt dizzy and nauseous with each movement. He was laid gently back on the ground. There was a velvety soft voice in the background but he couldn't make out the words coming from her mouth. He was so cold. The soft hands were soon back on his chest he felt the graceful fingers floating down his chest and release the two buttons holding the tattered material from the flannel shirt. He tried again to sit up only to be gently pushed back down onto the hard surface of the floor. Only the floor felt different, it was softer not as cold. There was a crackling sound and he could smell the pungent aroma of smoke in the air. The room was warmer, but he was still so cold.
"Shhh Tom please relax." Lexi pleaded with the officer.
"What what are you doing?" He whispered. He swallowed hard, his voice was nearly gone. He could no longer feel the nip of the cold air as it entered the bottom of the door. He could feel the heat from the fire. She had moved him how? She was so small in stature compared to him.
"You're burning up and I need to try and get your fever down. I lit a fire to try and warm it up in here for you." Tom opened his eyes and could see her soft features. The bruise on her cheek was darker still. She had a scab forming over the split on her full lips. She tried to smile gently as she noticed his open eyes. There was the slightest purple of a bruise near the corner of her lip. She stared intently at the officer's chest. She noted the wrapping around his bruised ribs. She pushed the material of the shirt from the officer's chest and then lifted a cloth from a bowl of water to her right. She carefully wrung the excess liquid from the material of the cloth and then ran the cloth across Hanson's face. She then gently glided the cloth across Hanson's throat. She turned and re-wet the cloth and placed it on Hanson's chest. The coolness of the water caused Hanson to jump. He sucked in a deep breath as the young woman next to him placed her hand on the officer's chest.
"Darren " Hanson licked his lips as he tried to form the words. "Where "
"He left for supplies." She responded.
"When will he be back?" Hanson swallowed and took a deep breath.
"I don't know." She responded. "Probably not for a while "
Hanson felt her fingers as they examined the wrap holding his bruised ribs in place. The material from the bandage was probably to only thing that prevented Hanson from having a broken rib the last time the man booted the officer in the ribs. She continued to dampen his chest and arms with the cooling liquid. Hanson flinched as she hit a tender spot in his person. His body was starting to ripple with goose bumps as she wiped away the beads of glistening perspiration on his blistering fever stricken body.
"Relax I know it's cold." She whispered soothingly.
"Hurts so cold " Hanson closed his eyes and let the young woman attempt to help. His skin was so sensitive to the slightest touch that the chill of the water made him ache all over. It was when her soft fingers landed on his infected side that Hanson cried out in pain. He squeezed his eyes shut and withered beneath her touch. He bit his lip to prevent the additional escape of a cry. The agony of the slightness of her touch was too much to handle. Hanson felt the shame of a tear escape down the crease of his eyelid and roll across his temple and onto the floor. The intensity of the ache throbbed within his side.
"What is that?" Lexi placed the rag back into the small bowl and then dried her hands on her jeans. She got onto her knees and leaned over Hanson's narrow frame. She then caught sight of the indigo threadlike stitches in Hanson's swollen encrusted and cherry red side. She placed her hand over the stitched area and felt the blistering hot heat radiating from the inflamed surface. She also noted his tightening abdominal muscles as she gently touched the area. Hanson groaned again through clinched teeth using his hand instinctively to push her off of the painfully tainted area.
"Tommy, what is this?" She questioned the officer.
"Stitches " Hanson responded breathlessly.
"I see that and it's infected. What happened?" She demanded.
"Darren ran his knife into me there " Hanson licked his lips as he tried to stave off any additional cries of agony. It was so sore to touch. He knew that the sutures were infected, but there was nothing he could do, but ride out the pain and infection.
"Officer Hanson, this is infected badly, I can hardly see the stitches anymore, you are so swollen." She remarked her voice full of concern. She thought for a minute as the officer reached a hand up to his forehead wiping off dripping beads of sweat. He took a deep breath as he opened his eyes noting the look of concern on her youthful face. "I took first aid when I was in the Girl Scouts and they said that you should use hot water for an infection. I need to heat this rag up and put it on the cut to try and draw the infection out."
Hanson watched as she rose to her feet and took the rag out of the water bowl and headed to the fire. There was a kettle sitting just above the flames. Carefully she removed the pot from the fireplace and poured the contents of the pot into a second bowl then carried it over to where the injured officer lay. Hanson closed his eyes swallowed hard and then opened his eyes making eye contact with the gentle blue eyes belonging to the girl beside him.
"This is going to hurt." She stated. She had grabbed a set of tongs from a drawer next to the small cook stove near the fireplace. She poured a small amount of cold water into the wildly steaming bowl. She looked at Hanson who bit his bottom lip as she lifted the rag with the tongs. Hanson closed his eyes and grasped at the blanket beneath his body, twisting it between his fingers as he prepared for the worst. Lexi took a deep breath as she lifted the rag with the tongs and attempted to wring some of the scalding water from its entity. She shook of a few water droplets and then inhaled as she reached across his tender body and laid the searing material against his infected skin.
"AGGGGGHHH!" Hanson shrieked. The intensity of the heat shredded
at the exterior of his epidermis. Hanson struggled to find his breath
again as Lexi grabbed his hands in an effort to thwart his clutching
at the sweltering material of the cloth. Several minutes passed before
Hanson could talk again. The pain of infected stitches seemed to dominate
"Where did you learn this?" Hanson croaked. His voice was hoarse and gravely. "I know that they don't teach you all of this in Girl Scouts."
Lexi walked back over to the now calmed Tom Hanson carrying two aspirins and a metal cup full of water. She tenderly helped Hanson into a sitting position against the wall. She handed him the medication and the cup of which he took both. He popped the pills into his mouth and slowly drank the cool liquid down.
"I spent some time at Waylon Memorial as a Candy Striper. I loved it. I wanted to become a nurse for a while, but now I'm not sure." She responded. She looked down at Hanson's red side. He held the small rag in place and then removed it handing it back to the young girl.
"Why not now?" He asked.
"Well, I am not sure anyone will ever hire me now not after all of this. Tommy Darren he cut you because of me didn't he?" She asked looking up at Tom. Her eyes were pained as she mustered the courage to ask the difficult question.
Hanson let out a sigh. The answer was a resounding YES! But how could he tell her that. She was carrying so much of a burden already. He just didn't have the heart to hurt her anymore. He also couldn't lie to her. He had grown to care so much for the young girl that he didn't want to devastate her anymore.
"He " Hanson looked down and then into her eyes. She sat in front of him cross-legged on the floor. Her perfect blue eyes which used to be filled with so much life was now flooded with despair and anguish. "Yeah " Hanson whispered.
Lexi drew in a ragged breath as tears began to glisten in her eyes. "I knew he had I knew it was true. This is all my fault " She slid her fingers through her hair which fell again to her brush her shoulders. "That means Kirk " she gulped in another ragged breath as the events at Waylon County washed over her again. "This is all my fault." Tears started to roll down her cheeks.
"Lexi " Hanson leaned forward igniting the pain in his side again. The young woman pulled away from him as she continued to shed her tears.
"He was helping me with my calculus I was struggling and he had no trouble with it. I asked him if he would help me one day and he said yes the next day Oh GOD Tommy " She leaned forward sobbing into her own hands. "I'm so sorry I never meant "
Hanson reached across to the woman in front of him pulling her into
his arms in an effort to comfort her in her time of anguish. Lexi leaned
onto Hanson's shoulder shuddering with each gasp for breath. "Kirk
a good guy
" Lexi struggled through each word while Hanson was
crushed inside. She had suffered so much at the hands of someone she
had loved so much. She was such a kind spirit and she did her best to
be a good girl. She had been so nice to him on his first day of school.
With no questions asked had given him paper and pens for class. She
had taken him under her wing and tried to help him around the foreign
land that was Waylon County. Hanson was truly disturbed at the insanity
of the city that had flooded into such a beautiful countryside as Waylon
County. He would never have believed that a country school would have
so much drama surrounding it. To watch Lexi George struggle with the
torture of knowing that her boyfriend had befouled her and their relationship
was too much weight to watch her attempt to bear.
Hanson watched as the young girl had drifted off in his arms. She had cried for a solid hour before she started to calm down. She lay with her head against his chest cradled in his left arm. With his right hand he brushed a stray lock of auburn hair from her forehead as she continued to sleep peacefully. Her almond shaped eyes would appear to almost flutter as she lay in a near dreamlike state. She drew a short breath as Hanson thought he heard a noise outside of the door but couldn't confirm it until it was too late. The door burst violently open as Darren Thompson stumbled clumsily into the large room.
"What the fuck!" He shouted. He carried a bottle in his right hand that he threw across the room and it smashed into millions of pieces on the wall; the liquid ran down the timber surface filling the room with stench of whiskey. Lexi sat straight up and looked terrified at the man in the doorway.
"Get your hands off of my girlfriend asshole!" Darren shrieked. Lexi was caught off guard as he aggressively grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet.
"Darren please stop " Lexi pleaded with Darren who viciously backhanded the young woman across her face dropping her swiftly to the floor. She landed on her stomach and tried to rise again only to be grabbed by the hair and thrown cruelly into the bedroom door. Lexi fell to the floor on her back. She rolled onto her side where she remained motionless.
Hanson lunged at the man in an attempt to stop the attack on Lexi only to be kneed in his side. Tom screamed in pain. It was excruciating. His breath left him as he fell to his knees holding his sutured side gulping for air. He could feel the blood pooling in his hand Darren grasped Tom by the hair pulling the officer out the door and into the clearing to the nearest tree. He produced a pair of handcuffs and wrapped the officer's wrists behind him around the course trunk of the tree. Hanson was once again covered in lines of running perspiration. He shook like a leaf in the wind as the chill of the afternoon mountain air cut his skin.
Darren grasped Hanson by the chin and raised it so he was looking eye
to eye with the officer. "I need you for one reason cop and that's
I will fucking kill you if you lay a hand on my girlfriend
one more time." Darren hissed. "She told me the other day
she thought that you had a fever
this should cool you
off." Darren then slugged Hanson with a closed fist in his lower
jaw. The officer was left outside at the base of a tree while the sadistic
high school student walked inside to his unconscious girlfriend.
Hanson had watched the sun sink below the tree line before he lost all sense of awareness the first time. When he came to he noted the sound of cicadas buzzing all around in the trees. He shivered as he took a gasping breath in as the change in the environment around him caught him by surprise. He tugged fervently at the metal bonds securing him to the base of the tree holding the officer against his will. Hanson could feel the ping of pins and needles as the circulation in his arm was slowed making the cold even more miserable.
Hanson bit his lip and winced closing his eyes to the pain as the tugging and pulling of his wrists ignited the stabbing pain in his already inflamed side. Hanson gritted his teeth as he groaned against the sharp, un-abating pain in his stomach. Tom noted the feeling of something oozing from his side again; weakly he tilted his head looking at the crimson life seeping from his being. His head started to throb again. Feebly Hanson laid his head back against the trunk of the tree; the dripping perspiration felt like ice as the wind cut across his tender skin. Hanson sucked in a ragged breath as his head fell forward again and he unwillingly retreated into darkness
Hanson was startled awake at a shadow passing in front of him. He had been drifting in and out of reality for several hours following Darren's assault on Lexi and himself. Hanson had struggled to keep a grip on his consciousness but the chill in the air and the injury's to his body added into the fever he had already developed was far more than he could withstand. His teeth were chattering and his head slumped forward, his chin resting against the solid surface of his upper body. He could feel the ache of cold creeping into his bones as he attempted to lift his head to determine who or what was in front of him.
"Tommy " He felt the soft hand on his cheek. It was so warm and gentle. It felt like the caress of an angel. Hanson managed a soft moan as he lifted his eyes and then slowly the rest of his head painfully followed. Her nimble fingers touched the base of his chin and helped to lift his head slowly so that their eyes met. She tenderly brushed his stray locks from his eye and towards the side of his face. Compassionately she continued to hold his face in her velvety soft hands while smoothing the perspiration from the sticky contours of the surface.
"Lex " Hanson coughed. He could see the split from her scalp to her eyebrow on the left side of her face. There were dark circles under her eyes as she tried to mask her anguish with a smile.
"Tom, I have a blanket to wrap around you." She spoke softly. "He's out drunk. He'll be out for hours." She stated quietly.
"C-Cold..." Hanson responded. His eyes were drooping again as she ran her hands through his hair. She didn't have a clue where Darren had hidden the key to the manacles securing Tom's wrists. She picked up the thick quilt and wrapped it as best she could around his shaking body. His chest had been exposed the shirt dropping below his right shoulder where his captor had torn it slamming the officer into the tree.
"Tommy, let me get you out of here. I can find the key and get you out of here." Hanson shook his head "NO" as the girl looked on. "Please Tom he's gonna kill you. I know I can try and get the key to the car "
"No I can't don't have strength to walk " Hanson swallowed hard. The fire in his throat was now burning with fury. "We would never make it too weak." Hanson responded. He slowly lifted his eyes until he was looking into her bloodshot eyes. He watched tormented as a tear slipped over the rim of her once innocent sapphire eyes flowing freely down her cheek. She sniffled as she reached out and held his cheek in her hand thinking on the sacrifice he was making for her. She knew he could go he could find the strength if he needed too, but she also knew that he was staying to protect her from a beating or assault that could mark the end for her if she tried to get the key and got caught. There was one thing left for her to do. She would have to plead with Darren to let the officer go.
"You better go before " Hanson looked at the young woman in front of him. She was battered and bruised. Hanson was sure she had a slight concussion from the collusion of her head and the bedroom door. She had tried to fight back only to be beat down again. She was drained of all emotion towards the once caring and loving boyfriend who had promised her the moon; he had handed her dreams of a life together across the state lines, living by the ocean. They were going to have three kids and take long walks on the beach at sunset. They would spend the days getting to know each other better, holding each other as the tide brushed up against their bodies he had promised her a lot of empty untruths.
"I do you need anything before I go back?" She asked her voice breaking as she looked down at the ground. She could feel the tears rising up to prick her eyes again. She was so afraid of Darren, of what he had done and what he could do to her and wanted to do the Officer Tom Hanson.
"Water." Hanson whispered. He had been dehydrated since being drug out of his hospital bed. The feeling of thirst grated at the back of his parched throat and dry cracked lips. Lexi left the officer and then walked back with the familiar tin cup he had swallowed so many other drinks from. Greedily he sucked the clear liquid from the cup. The cool refreshing liquid was comforting to the aggrieved officer. Hanson could feel the path of the liquid as it flowed from his mouth and down into his stomach. He could feel his stomach start to constrict as the cold battled his empty belly. It took a moment before Tom was sure her wasn't going to throw up the contents that weren't in his stomach.
The wind began to pick up again as Hanson closed his eyes to the punishing
blast of frigid air. Lexi watched Hanson's eyes close and his chin dip
back down to the top of his torso. She could feel the wind kick up again
as tears began to stream down her face. She jumped to her feet and ran
into the protective wooden frame of the cabin.
Doug stared out the window of the Waylon County Police Station. He had started to become accustomed to the different surroundings. He chewed at the shortened tips of his fingernails. Judy had already yelled at him once for chewing until the index finger on his right hand had started to bleed. He has to be out there! Tom Hanson couldn't just up and vanish he has to be out there. Why hadn't they made any demands or said anything about where Tom is or what they will do to him if they don't get their money! GOD Tommy!
"Doug " Fuller's voice cut the silence but was unable to reach Doug Penhall who was lost in his own thoughts. The sun was starting to go down again; the end of another day that led to nothing no Tommy no ransom nothing. "Doug " Doug watched the sun sink lower in the sky. The cold air blew whistling through the trees. Hanson was out there somewhere; he was alone with two crazy people. Were they taking care of his injuries? Had they fed him? He looked terrified as he got off of the elevator was he ok? "PENHALL!"
"Yeah Coach " Doug stood up and saw Judy, Harry and Captain Adam Fuller putting their coats on. "What are you doing?" Doug asked hesitantly.
"Going for dinner and then we have to hit the road. Ioki and Hoffs have an eight a.m. appointment at East Central High." Fuller answered.
"You're leaving what about Hanson?" Doug asked he was stunned at how little everyone seemed to be affected by this new development.
"Doug, I just got off the phone with the mayor's office and I have to get back. Look we're still just a car ride and phone call away. I am just as concerned about this as you are. Your going to find him, I know you will." Fuller answered. "Now, I'm taking you all out for dinner your shift is over."
"What about Tommy?" Penhall was more aggressive this time. He was angry what the hell, DINNER?
"Doug, Hanson would tell you to go if he we're here, now, I'm not asking Angie to cook for all of us so get your ass in my car and we're going to dinner. I'll drop you and Booker back off at Dean and Angie's. They could use a break from you two anyways."
Doug started to open his mouth to protest when Fuller cut him off.
"Yes sir." Doug walked defeated to the car and crawled into the back seat leaning his head against the cool safety glass of the car window. He sank into the plush seats and closed his eyes. He felt activity around the car again as Booker and Hoffs both slid into the car beside the big man. Hoffs between him and Booker reached out and lifted Penhall's hand into her own. She then grabbed Bookers. Dennis looked down quietly and then up at the delicate bone structure beneath Judy's dark skin. She was so beautiful.
"You guys, find Tommy for us okay. I know you will." She smiled as Doug looked into her chocolate brown eyes where a tear slipped out and down her cheek. Doug reached out and brushed the tear from her cheek as Dennis picked up her delicate hand and kissed the top.
"We will " Dennis answered. He tried to remain positive when he answered her but knew that the answer he had given her was a feeble attempt to convince himself also.
There were two sets of hands on Hanson and they were dragging him to
his feet. The movement bringing an involuntary groan across his fever
cracked lips. He couldn't feel his wrists and fingers they were so cold.
His legs were numb so he leaned heavily onto both people who were dragging
him through the night. He tried to lift his legs but to no avail, he
could not seem to make them work. He was so achy and exhausted. His
arms were draped across two separate sets of shoulders, one tall
one short. He could feel the soft delicate hands of a woman on his left
and the hard muscular hands of a man on his right. There were voices
lost in the fog of his agony pressing to get past his semi conscious
haze. Through the torture of each movement he could hear a voice in
the distance reassuring him that he would be ok. Another voice more
harsh and abrasive told the soft gentle voice to be quiet. It was an
irritated and almost annoyed at the person the soothing peaceful voice
belonged to. Hanson felt himself be lifted across a threshold into warmth,
total warmth when his legs completely gave out and he fell cataleptic
to the floor.
"Get me some water now!" A female voice cut through Hanson's semi conscious thoughts. She had a commanding voice, one who was in charge and responsible.
"Get it yourself." The voice of defiance came. Hanson felt the brush of air as the body of the commanding voice stood up and moved away. He heard arguing a few steps away. Hanson wanted to sit up but his body just wouldn't cooperate with him. He felt the pain in his side as he tried to lean forward. He gripped his stomach and let out a muffled cry the pain was intense, it shredded through every fiber in his stomach. He arched his back as footsteps rushed to his side and pressed his back down to the soft comforter on the floor.
"Please don't move Tom you're bleeding and you have a terrible fever." Hanson was loosing it. He couldn't even remember the face the voice belonged to.
"W-Who " Hanson fumbled to find the words to even ask a question. The only thing he could concentrate on was the blinding pain he felt as his body continued to warm up. All across his body droplets of perspiration beaded and ran down his ever weakening frame.
"Tommy it's me its Lexi." She ran a hand across his forehead wiping the warm sticky liquid from him with a cool damp cloth. "You need to try and drink this." She slid her hand under the officer's neck and helped him to lift his head. Tom Hanson felt the cool of the metal cup brush against his parched lips as they parted to allow the fluid to flow freely down his throat. It had no sooner his stomach and Hanson threw it back up. Hanson coughed harshly sitting up fighting the young woman who tried to lay him back down. Once his body quit fighting him he started to try and relax. Gently Lexi wiped the officer's face and chest off.
"Why are you wasting time with this? Were gonna use him for one thing and he's history." Darren hissed as he stood up from the chair. He had watched his young girlfriend tending the officer as if he was something important to her and he was sick of watching. He wanted out of this place. It was confining and old. She had done nothing but defy him causing him to have to discipline her and the worthless pig. Darren was about to snap when he saw her try and give him some more water. "That's it!" Darren exploded. He hastily moved over to where Lexi was. She was paying too much attention to Tom Hanson and not enough to him.
"Get up! That's enough "
"Darren let me go!" Lexi fought the man gripping her arm tighter. He had caused her spill the water that Tom Hanson so desperately needed to help fight the infection that coursed mercilessly through him. The cup fell pouring the contents all over Hanson and the blanket he lay on in front of the fireplace. Tom tried to draw himself into a protective ball as Darren and Lexi moved away.
"What the hell do you think your doing?" Lexi demanded. She fuming as Darren gripped her arm tighter. She winced as he tugged her body in towards his own.
"Listen baby; let's get the hell out of here. We have out plans to think about." Darren's free hand snaked across Lexi's back and down the waist of her jeans gliding across her backside.
"No... Get off of me!" She struggled to shove the bigger man away from her. Angrily he shoved her smaller body against the wall with his hand secured around her throat. She gasped loudly as he squeezed lightly. The grip of his hand and the slightest squeeze was enough to indicate to her that he could and would hurt her badly.
"We're gonna get out of here you and me " Darren kissed her cheek between each phrase like a greedy child would devour sweets behind his mothers back. "You're not going to fight with me or the next time I'll fuck the cop really good." With his final words he grabbed her leg lifting up and around his narrow waist while he greedily continued to kiss her neck.
"Please Darren don't do this " Lexi trembled beneath his body, tears streaming down her face. She pushed and shoved trying desperately to heave the much bigger man from her. This only seemed to ignite the flares of excitement in Darren as he thrust his muscular frame harder into hers. "No Darren please no "
Darren stopped letting Lexi's smaller body fall like a ragdoll to the floor. Her tear stained face ravaged with pain as she landed with a echoing thump. He squinted his ice blue eyes as he approached the officer. Hanson was leaning heavily on the wall grasping the swollen tissue of his stomach with his other hand. Darren stormed over to the young office violently propelling him against the wall. Hanson struggled to inhale a breath only to be shoved again.
"You know what cop you should mind your own business."
Lexi took a moment to recover before she realized what was going on. She saw Darren slam the young officer into the wall for the second time. She watched the look of misery spread across Hanson's face. She gathered her courage and ran for the bigger man.
Darren drew back his fist as he prepared to lay it into Hanson's face. Lexi took a deep breath as she reached up to take hold of the mans arm.
"Darren h-honey please You don't want to hurt him." She smiled as the words struggled to come to her lips. "Come on baby lets go see what we can do to calm your nerves." Lexi's hands shook as she took the fist and one at a time pealed back his fingers and placed her delicate hand in his. She reached up and placed her other hand on the bigger mans chest as she positioned herself between Hanson and Darren. Darren looked smugly at Hanson who could hardly hold his head in an upright position.
"You loose cop." Darren growled as he grabbed Lexi by the
arm pulling her away from Tom Hanson and into the bedroom. Lexi let
out a yelp as the force of the man holding onto her and pulling her
was painful. Hanson felt his knees start to buckle as he caught sight
of the once young and innocent Lexi George being manhandled and drug
through the bedroom door. Hanson lost consciousness as he fell to the
floor in a messy heap just as the door slammed shut on the bedroom.
"Look Darren, honey it's going to look real bad if we get stopped and theirs a dead cop in the trunk of our car." Tom could hear the distant voice of Lexi George as she pleaded with Darren about. He could only assume that she was talking about Hanson, after all, he was the only cop in the room.
"So what do you want me to do?" Darren retorted.
"Let's let him go." She stated. At that point she could hear Hanson starting to move around by the fireplace. She slowly walked over to the man who lay on his back. Beads of sweat glistened above his brow.
"Yeah he's gonna go get help. In case you haven't noticed yet, he's not in any condition to help himself." Darren stated pointing at the officer as the young girl helped him to swallow a sip of water. "Worthless cop " he muttered to himself.
"Pikes Point." Lexi stated turning her head to glance at the man behind her. We can leave him at Pikes Point. It's hiking season and there is bound to be some tourist there. Besides it's just off the main road and if a hiker doesn't see him a driver surly will. They'll find him and then were off the hook." She stated in a matter of fact tone.
"Whatever, I just want to be out of here before noon." Darren
spat. He stood up and walked back to the bedroom. She knew he was looking
for his bottle. Fortunately for them it was nearly empty. Lexi smiled
to herself as Hanson opened his eyes and looked directly at her. She
gently pushed his hair out of his eyes as she tried to help him to eat
a couple bites out of a bowl. He owed her his life and she just saved
him again. Now, how the hell was he going to tell someone
where he was going to be?
The brown interior of Lexi's car was far more comfortable and inviting than the cold leaky trunk had been. Hanson had been drug out to the car by the slighter Lexi and the brawny Darren. He had been carelessly shoved into the back seat of the older car by Darren. Hanson had scooted the rest of the way into the car and then lay on his side and then propped his head uncomfortably on the door handle. Lexi had crawled into the front seat and laid the quilt that she had wrapped him in earlier over his quivering frame. She then reached over and gently squeezed his hand when Darren had turned to walk back into the cabin.
"Just hang on Tommy it'll all be over for you soon." She whispered. Hanson had opened his eyes to look at her. Her face was a jumbled mess of bruises and cuts. The colors ranged from yellowish green to deep purple almost black. She looked so tired, like she had aged five years over night. Her normally flowing sun kissed auburn hair was pulled haphazardly into a half pony tail on the back of her head. Hanson recalled how she had looked so stunning, glowing as her glossy lips, bubbly personality, and svelte figure had caught his eye instantly. He had never intended to meet a girl who was a good deal younger than he and find himself caught in turmoil between her and her jealous and constantly suspicious boyfriend. Hanson caught her cheek with the tips of his fingers halting her in her tracks. She looked shamefully at the floorboards of the car. She slowly lifted her eyes and looked back up at Tom as he whispered.
"This isn't your fault " He watched as a single tear streamed down her cheek. Hanson suddenly realized how truly special this girl was to him. She had sacrificed herself for his well being like a lamb to the slaughter. She had allowed herself to be beaten, raped and brutalized for his survival. There had to be a way that he could save himself and her at the same time.
that's all of it. Get your ass in the car and
let's get the hell out of here." He stomped through the grass to
the driver's side of the car and sunk into the driver's seat. He cranked
the engine and listened for it to turn over. Once running he threw the
car into drive and pulled away from the cabin.
Each bump and pothole registered a new startling blaze of pain. For the most part Hanson gritted his teeth and held onto the inflamed puncture in his stomach. He would bite his lip as he thought he couldn't take the tortures journey any longer. He wasn't about to give Darren the satisfaction of knowing he couldn't handle the pain. Hanson could feel the constant beading of perspiration as it ran down the sides of his face. Hanson gasped suddenly as the sudden jolt from a particularly large depression in the pathway. He rolled onto his back and clutched his stomach writhing in agony. His face was a mirror of the torment he was being made to suffer.
GOD, please I can't take much more he thought to himself. It seemed cruel that he should continue to be punished by Darren when he was about to set him free. But he isn't setting you free Lexi had made a deal with the demon who was Darren. She had sold herself into slavery to him in order protect you
After what felt like forever Darren hit the brakes. The car skidded to a halt throwing Hanson forward into the seat in front of him. Tom grimaced and let out a cry of suffering as Darren got his kicks one last time from abusing the wounded officer.
"Did you have to do that?" Lexi challenged sending him a hateful glare.
"Watch it little princess or I'll end his suffering right here and now." Darren hissed as he threw his door open. "Now help me get him out of here."
Lexi pushed the car door open pulling something from the glove box and shoving it into her jeans pocket. She then gathered the blanket from the ground that fell as Darren ruthlessly pulled the injured officer from the car placing him on his feet. Hanson couldn't support his own weight as his knees buckled under the pressure of his own being. Lexi caught the officer as Darren grabbed his other arm. Hanson leaned heavily with most of his weight supported by the petite young female. His head rested against hers as she looked up at Darren barely helping to hold the officer up.
"Help me with him please!" Lexi demanded. The anger of her words didn't sit well with the former football star as he shot her a look of anger.
"You have a problem "
"Yes Darren, I do! We have one chance to get out of here and across the state lines without getting caught. Don't mess this up by bullying or hurting this man anymore than you have. Now let's just get this over with." She retorted.
Darren growled under his breath as he grasped at Hanson's dangling arm pulling it over his shoulder and wrapping his other hand about Hanson's narrow waist. He pulled the young officer near him and heard the gasp for air as his hip bumped Hanson's angry and inflamed knife wound.
The threesome slowly made their way to the side of the pathway where Lexi lay the large quilt on the ground and Darren lay the officer down on top of it. Hanson on the cloth material shaking and looking up at the ice blue eyes which offered no warmth. He shuddered on the inside to imagine Lexi remaining with him. He felt no compassion, no sympathy. Darren felt nothing but contempt for the world and all people in it. How does a teenager end up hating the world before he has ever lived in it? There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to his emotional being.
Lexi knelt down beside Hanson drawing the blanket up around his neck. Darren continued to stare back at the two. Perhaps he was imagining how he could have finished him off. Perhaps he was wondering why he was losing her to the police officer. Hanson didn't want to think any longer, he just wanted to sleep. He wanted to feel the slumber you have after a long evening with friends. Where you each enjoy a frosty mug or two while eating a pizza or laughing over a round of bowling. The deep slumber you can only get after a date with a beautiful woman and then you share a crisp bottle of wine followed by a night of passion. You fall blissfully asleep in each others arms an wake long past noon to be greeted by her stunning smile.
"Darren go back to the car and get me a bottle of water." Lexi instructed.
"Why?" Darren asked defiantly.
"Because, I don't want him to dehydrate anymore than he already has." She answered.
When Darren had spun around and walked back to the automobile parked at the side of the road. Lexi dug a piece of paper out of her pocket and placed it in the officer's hand. Hanson then tried to sit up.
"No. Please stay there. I don't want him to know. It will tell the cops how to find us. You are at Pikes Point near the lookout. Route 22 is just a half a mile from here to the west."
"Here." Darren tapped approached with the bottle. Lexi reached out and took it from him. She quickly loosened the cap and then removed it. She reached her hand under Hanson's head tilting it forward helping him to take a sip of the lukewarm liquid.
"Let's go!" Darren demanded.
"In a minute." Lexi responded.
"Now!" Darren's voice was getting louder.
"You know what. I'll be ready in a second, just go to the car and wait I'll be right there."
Darren huffed and walked away. She turned to watch the jock kick at a rock as he walked away. She replaced the lid on the bottle and then dug into her pocket to reveal a silvery object. She opened Hanson's hand and laid the object on his open palm.
"Tommy this is my cell phone. I have already hit the 911 on it. When I walk away you are going to have to tell the operator where you are "
"Lexi I " Tom whispered, the gravel in his voice sounded worse. Lexi thought for sure the officer was coming down with something. She hoped it was just the infection and not something worse like pneumonia.
"Let's Go Lexi!" Darren shouted from the car.
"Tommy, you have to get me out of this please I can't do this much longer." Lexi's voice was different now. There was a sense of urgency Hanson had not heard from her before. It sounded like terror to him. She softly rested her hands on the officer cheek trying to offer a reassuring smile. She sucked in a deep breath as she bit down on her lower lip. "Tommy " She sniffled softly as she took in another deep breath wiping away a tear. He watched as she hit the "SEND" button on the phone and walked rose to her feet. "I'm sorry for everything Tommy." She whispered as turned and headed in the direction of the car.
"Get in the car " Darren snarled at her. Hanson was terrified as to what he would do to her once they were gone.
"Don't touch me." She spat back. He heard to the slam of two car doors just as a voice picked up on the phone.
"911 what is your emergency?"
Doug Penhall, Dennis Booker, and Dean Miller all sat at a computer mapping out a possible route that Darren and Lexi could have taken with Hanson following the kidnapping when the phone rang in Dean's office. The older officer sighed deeply as he yanked the receiver off of the cradle.
"I said not to dis " Dean stopped in midsentence. "You what? When? He is? Pikes Point that's over an hour from here. Is he still on the line? Not answering but he's still on the line? Fine I want updates by radio, if there is anything else said. I want to know pronto. No bird shit. What do you mean a storm front? Damn could anything else go wrong for this kid?" Dean sighed heavily.
Booker and Penhall looked confused at each other. Dean was getting more worked up as the conversation continued. It wasn't long before he slammed the phone down.
"Let's go Hanson just called 911 in Chase County. He was on Lexi's cell phone. He's not responding to the dispatcher he's was barely able to tell them he was at Pikes Point, just over the Chase County Boarder. There's a storm front heading in that direction he's gonna be soaked in less than an hour so we can't fly the bird in this weather."
"Dean, what do you mean, they found Hanson?" Doug shouted.
"Yeah, and the dispatcher said he's sounding bad. He quit responding to her five minutes ago and we have to go now. There's rain on the way." Dean grabbed his Stetson hat and his coat. He threw a pile of blankets at Dennis Booker and slapped the First Responder bag in Doug Penhall's hands. The three men charged in the direction of the Maroon Bronco II. "Neil, call Lexi's mom and dad and tell them what's going on. Lance, get County on standby."
"Do you want an Ambulance Captain Miller?" A young female trainee asked.
"No, not enough time. We'll bring him in ourselves. Just keep updates coming my way. Also, get me ALL available officers in here now. Drew, get Chase County notified. Tell them we are going to be just over their lines with a kidnapped officer. Tell them to be on the lookout for the brown Pontiac, Olds. Tell them this is on the low down, no press. There are two offenders, Darren Thompson and Alexia George. Both are to be considered armed and dangerous. Also stress that these are kids a seventeen and an eighteen year old. They are heading towards the state lines. And someone call my wife and tell her to call Adam Fuller."
"Yes sir." And the officer was a bustle with activity. Phones began to ring and officers began to stir. It looked like an anthill at feeding time.
now!" Dean shouted to the officer who appeared
to be in shock at the swiftness of activity in the agency.
Help the word is so foreign. Lexi had tried and gotten hurt Lexi was hurt tormented what was Darren going to do to her now that I'm not there to hurt. There has to be something I can do
" he murmured as he winced and groaned in pain.
He closed his eyes to the radiating pain throbbing throughout his body.
His side blistered with heat as he placed his hand on the swollen cherry
red and inflamed area. His fingers brushed against the oozing surface.
He could feel the yellowish colored seepage on the tips of his fingers.
His eyes rolled back in his head as the pain once again became too much
for the injured officer to suffer. A groan escaped his lips as he was
consumed by the dark.
"Joan this is Miller, do you have an update for us." Dean Miller frantically shouted into the radio. He had his eye on the road while Booker and Penhall gripped their respective door handle hanging on for dear life.
"He hasn't answered any of our questions. He sounds like he's in some pain, sir. How far out are you? Maybe we can tell him that you are on the way." The dispatcher's voice was frantic but calm. The plight of a missing officer is the concern of all involved with his or her rescue. In the case of Tom Hanson the entire police department had been on egg shells waiting to see if the officer was alive.
"Joan, were at least forty out. Just tell him to hang on and I need updates every ten. Miller out..."
Dean's comments were crushing to Penhall and Booker who were both trying to remember breath as they continued on down the road in search of Tom Hanson.
Doug looked at the speedometer over Dean's shoulder leaning forward in the middle of the back bench of the vehicle. He watched the officer hit eighty miles per hour as they neared route 22. Hanson was right off of Route 22.
"Captain Miller " the female voice interrupted the thoughts of the officers as they waited drawing ever nearer to the place where Tom lay unconscious at the side of the road.
"Go ahead Joan." The distinguished man responded.
"Your wife wants to know where to meet you at?" She asked.
"County when we get to Tommy we are going to take him straight to County." He responded.
"Copy sir dispatch out."
Dean lay the radio back down on the console between the two front seats.
Booker looked down at the radio at his side. He bit his lip as he then
looked back up. The ride was absolutely endless. Hanson was out there
unconscious. There were wild animals out
there what if one of them attacked him while he was out. What if someone
showed up there and hit Hanson with a vehicle not seeing him lying at
the side of the road. What then. Just hang on Tommy
get you out of this
please just hang on
Tom Hanson awoke with a whimper as the first droplets of rain began to fall. He tried lifting his arms to cover his face. They just felt so heavy to him. He sucked in a deep breath as turned onto his side the wind continued to whip violently around him as he pulled the edge of the blanket tighter around him. He felt cold as the rain started to flow in an unforgiving drizzle. He laid his head on his arm sucking in another deep breath.
His damaged side sparked to life as he heard a beep coming from the phone by his side. The words LOW BATTERY flashed across the screen as the unit shut down. In his other hand he still held securely to the piece of paper Lexi had handed to him. He nearly jumped out of his skin as a flash of lightning followed by the instant clap of thunder jolted through him. The hairs on his arms standing straight up, this storm was dangerously close to him and there was nowhere for him to hide to get away from it.
Hanson's hands shook as the sound of an engine and brakes squealed close to him. He closed his eyes as the rain began to soak through the material of the blanket. He heard frantic voices and felt the warm strong hand lift the blanket off of his face. He lifted his eyes in fear. Darren had come back to punish him some more. He winced as he was rolled onto his back and the blanket was pulled off of him entirely.
"Get that back seat down he needs to lay flat " the voice it was older and gentle but firm and in charge it was familiar. It belonged to a man whom he had met before.
The rain was pelting him in the face as someone took off a coat and covered him with it. The material was smooth with metal rivets and a buckle. Were they going to kill him to conceal his body for Darren?
"Come on Tommy buddy we got ya you're safe." Hanson still trying to place the voice cried out in utter agony as the hands lifted him off of the ground. The pain sent him reeling in the direction of darkness again. He sucked in a raged breath as he tried to fight the hands off of him and stay in the world before someone hurt him again.
"Don't fight us please... we're trying to help." A distant voice sounded. Tom instantly stopped and reached out in the direction of the voice. He felt his body lowered to the ground again as he reached out a grabbed a leg next to him. Dennis Booker quickly lowered himself to the ground and took the hand while Doug followed suit on the other side supine officer.
"Doug " Tom sounded sick as his voice cracked like a man with laryngitis.
"Yeah buddy hang on this is probably gonna hurt." Doug's voice was calm and reassuring to him.
"One two three!" and the three men shoved Tom Hanson into the back of Darren's small SUV.
Hanson clutched at his stomach as he was cried out again only to tumble
into darkness once again.
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