by Sebastian Blade
All Rights Reserved
August pressed the edge of his hand to the center of his forehead and wondered what in the hell he'd been up to. He massaged his forehead, trying to sort things out. There had been a party. He'd invited Corey. Corey couldn't go, of course. Corey didn't like parties.
That was a lie. Corey liked parties. August smiled, smirked in the dark. The bed under him felt lumpy, thin. Maybe he was in the church? "Corey?"
Only the distant sound of a freight train answered him. He wrinkled his nose. The place smelled like dirty motor oil. Time shiver went through him. This wasn't the church. Corey hadn't been at the party.
He still wore his tux pants, but his jacket was gone. His wrist ached and he ran a thumb over the bandage over where his rf transmitter used to be. Professionals, completely hostile, and for a very small moment, August didn't know what to do. He closed his eyes, considered pretending he was still sleeping. He didn't know how long he'd been out from the drug they'd forced on him. If he'd been out long enough, Corey would be looking for him. He didn't want Corey anywhere near these people. Tightness clamped down on his chest.
Ransom. His dad won't pay. They'd talked about this, all of them, since they were old enough to really understand, or at least have some hope of understanding. As he'd grown up, he'd come to understand that it wasn't about the money. His dad would give him all the money in the world if that was what it took to save his life. It was about justice. If you fed criminals, you got more criminals. That plan had seemed so much more rational in the safety of his father's office. Fear and anger, humiliation tinged with shame put tears in his eyes. The odds in favor of him dying were high. The odds that he'd lose a body part as 'proof of life' seemed even higher. One thing he hadn't considered when he'd agreed with his father that not paying a ransom was a good idea, the thing was that knowing no ransom would be paid felt, he closed his eyes, sending tears down his cheeks, like he was being thrown away. Corey's church wasn't going to pay and there weren't any super secret Catholic assassins to save the priest's homosexual lover.
If there were humor, then there was thought, and where there was thought there was hope. He was afraid if he moved, the thin bed he lay on would creak, letting people know he was awake. So he lay still, trying to get his eyes to adjust to the very dim light.
He'd been trained, after all. Survival training, after the first kidnap attempt when he and Corey had been undergraduates still. The instructor had said that what killed people in sinking cars and often in abductions was panic. Calm down. Think things through.
With his eyes closed, he listened to his environment. So much noise, all layering over each other, sounds upon sounds. Urban environment. Warehouse district. He was in the city, or a city. There was a train. He'd heard a train. It was night time. He was alone in the room. He opened his eyes again, letting them grow accustomed to the darkness. There were no little red lights, no glint of camera any camera lenses. Panic tried to rise in him again and he bitch slapped it back down.
A smoothness in the wall, high on the wall, he thought it might be a small window, then decided it was definitely a small window. As cautiously as he could, he flexed one foot, then the other, making sure, as much as he could before actually moving, that everything still worked. They'd taken his shoes. He'd liked those damn shoes, bought them in Rome. Real Italian leather. Wanting to move against the bed the very least that he could, he rolled, right off the edge of the bed. Risk, everything was a risk. The bed creaked, but only a little.
The door opened a crack. A flash light cut across the room, but higher where a person might be standing, then down to the bed, fast, cursory.
The door closed again.
His kidnappers were careless.
August smiled. He liked careless opponents.
The floor was very cold tile, probably second floor in an unheated building. He moved across the floor on his belly. Testing the floor, at least thinking that he was testing the floor to make sure it didn't give at all, so it won't creak. Under the window, he sat up, back against the wall. It was a little taller than he could reach. He chewed his upper lip, closed his eyes and imagined Corey, Corey laying naked on their bed, in their house, with the sun rising through a huge picture window, with a beach and surf, and a big fluffy dog, and a kid, okay, so Corey wasn't naked. No, Corey was sitting up, in a dark green robe, and the kid and he were bringing Corey breakfast in bed. August smiled. Mother's day. That would be Mother's day, six, no seven years away. He had to get Corey to marry him, then they had to adopt, and the kid had to get big enough to carry the milk, or something. Yeah. Step one. Get out that window.
He massaged his forehead, bit down on his lip, then as quietly as he could, got to his feet, reaching up towards the narrow window. He'd fit. He couldn't be that far down. He didn't want to go head first. There was no way to know what was out the window. If he broke the window, it would make more noise than him falling off the bed. There was no way to know how many opponents he had.
Just like a sinking car, out was better than in. In was death. Out was possible.
Desperate, he took hold of the edge with as much of his fingers as he could on there. He pulled himself up as if his life depended on it making it all the way up. It was a simple latch, no lock even. He reached forward and bit the latch, turning it with his mouth. Nasty peeling paint mixed with adrenaline like the worst cocktail he'd ever had. The window opened quietly though, like a miracle, like Corey standing next to him. He crossed his hold, rotating as he pulled himself up to slip half way out the window. He was on the second story. Smoggy breeze blew by him and drank deeply of it. As he wiggled to get his hips free, his pants caught on something, trapping him. He hissed silent curse words, but undid his pants, leaving them hanging in the window.
How managed to get himself out that window, to hang from it, he wasn't quiet sure. He considered praying to God for a good landing, but settled on trusting that Corey was praying for him, as he let go and dropped. It was the longest drop he could have imagined. Drops should happen instantly, not give you time to think about how John Wilkes Booth broke his leg in a smaller jump and that lead to him not really getting away. Of course, Wilkes Booth was a bad guy. Good guys stick their landings really well.
August's heart felt like it would explode when he hit the filthy and uneven pavement, landing on the balls of his feet and his palms. Scraped and bleeding, he limped forward, as fast and quiet as he could. Just get to a road, someone, a person, other persons, anyone, god he'd suck cock for taxi!
They were going to name their kid Hadrian, August decided. Stay with family tradition, and they could call him Harry. Good name. He hoped Corey liked it. Every step he took sent pain through his foot. Glass. He had glass in his foot. "Fuck, fuck," he whispered, keeping up his pace, thinking about the very distinguished cane he'd get, gold handle.
The road was empty of traffic, almost empty of cars. Grand theft auto seemed to fall under the cover of justifiable self defense, under the circumstances. He hurried across the street to a beater of an old car. As he tried the door, a cold chill splashed down his spine, almost enough to loosen bodily function control.
He looked over his shoulder.
A silhouette darkened a first floor window, slender, impossible to read any details off of, other than it watched him. He'd never believed in spiritual things, mythology, god, or anything else. That figure. It was the incarnation of death. It watched him. It knew him. He'd have puked, if he could have.
The car door was locked. He ran, completely losing his head for the first time since he'd woken. There was a larger intersection three blocks down. It was the light at the end of the tunnel. A motorcycle engine roared to life behind him.
Shock erased the pain in his foot. Wide eyed terror drove him. A car zipped past on the cross street that he strained for. "Hey! Help me!" He screamed. "Help me!"
Corey sat in the police station, praying.
"Father Anderson, Det. Drake said, an edge of impatience in her voice, "I really need you to pay attention to me. Praying is not the same as invoking your right not to self incriminate. Are you invoking your right not to self incriminate?"
"Of course not," Corey snapped. Hands pressed together, finger tips against his lips. "You should go find August. Please? I'll tell you anything and everything you ever wanted to know about me and my life. You can look into my bank account, anything. I have nothing to hide. I have told you, my superiors know that I have been continuing a sexual relationship with August. I am leaving the priesthood because of that. I have no motive to hurt August."
"I think you leaving the church for him, but him rejecting you, that's a pretty good motive, Father," she said calmly.
"You're right," he said, slapping his hands down on the table. "Maybe I've got multiple personality disorder. Let's take me down to the crime scene so we can look for clues! Maybe that'll jog my memory!"
"If anything has happened to him, you're looking at twenty-five to life," she pointed out. She tapped her pen on the blank pad of paper in front of her, giving him a hard eyed stare.
Corey groaned, a groan that turned into a full blown scream. His hands doubled into fists and he banged them against the table, banged them a second time. "August!"
Det. Drake stood, backing away from the table.
He put his head down on the table, falling back into uncontrollable sobbing. "Please! Go find August! Please! I'll do anything you want! Say anything you want, just please, go find Auggie!"
A knock at the door, tight and sharp, gave Det. Drake something to do. She opened the door to find a tall blond man already stepping into her interrogation room. "Taylish Morgan, FBI special task force," he said as he showed her his badge.
"Are you taking this case from me," she demanded.
"Took," he amended.
His partner had her badge up too, "Maya Lawrence."
Right behind them, Senator Richards pushed into the small interrogation room. "Corey!"
"Bon" he questioned, his eyes red and blurry, his mind confused about why the senator would be in an interrogation room with him.
Strong paternal arms wrapped around him, pulling him to his feet, holding him close. "I'm here, Corey," 'Bon' Richards soothed, "We're going to find him. He's smart and strong. He'll help us out. Don't cry so much!"
Corey clung to August's father and cry is exactly what he did, sobbing like a little boy in his daddy's arms.
"He's a prime suspect," Det. Drake accused.
"You're an idiot. Go see your partner. I gave you two a list of leads I want followed up on. If you want to keep your job, don't piss me off." Taylish said, just straight forward, just fact.
Her nose flared. Her eye twitched. Maya held the door for her.
"Okay," Taylish said, spinning her chair around to straddle it. "Father Anderson, I know this has been a hard night for you. I'm here to find August and sort out the bastards that took him. I know you've already told them what you know, but I need you to tell me and Maya."
Corey, tears still streaming down his face, pulled away from 'Bon'. He wiped the back of his hand over his face and sat down, straight, looked Taylish right in the eyes. "I'll do anything to get August back."