The Trick in the Saturday
by Sebastian Blade
All Rights Reserved
The links to the first three chapters are on the story page.
There should have been people on the streets. The city felt empty, dead, and for just a moment, standing there in the cold, bare feet on the rough asphalt, fear sweat making his thin boxers cling to him, he wondered if all the good people had been called up into Corey's Rapture, that that fucking god had turned out to be real and taken just this moment to steal away anyone that might help him. Pressed into a door entrance, he longed for even a homeless person, anyone in the empty night.
A motorcycle engine roared. Terror danced in icy pins over his bare, bruised shoulders. He broke from the scant shadows and ran towards the next intersection.
The roar of the motorcycle grew, growling louder, targeting him. He ran into the street, focused on the dark ground ahead of him, the strain of moving a body pushed already to its limits. Sudden light flared into his awareness, spinning his sense of time and location. Oncoming headlights caught him, brought him into the present only enough to throw up his hands. Breaks screamed.
Wet. It was raining. He hadn't noticed. "Help me!" He screamed.
A figure stepped out of the car, dark, hallowed in the street light, the headlights. "Richards? What the hell?"
"Help me!" August pleaded, arms going around his chest. "Please! Please help me!"
The man came forward slipping his coat off. "It's me, Parker. You remember me."
August nodded, limping towards the driver's side of the police car. "We have to go. They're after me. We need to go now."
"Oh shit," Parker cursed, holding his coat out, "Your fucking feet are bleeding! Where they hell have you been?"
Motorcycle roaring stopped. Head light, breath too thin, the night bright as he shook, August turned to see a woman straddling a motorcycle, a pistol in her hand.
He jerked back around. Parker fell, eyes still open, blood and memories freed from the back side of his head.
Cold, empty, August squatted, hands reaching for the pistol holstered at his friend's hip. His fingers had no sensation. Thick leather safety strap felt as if someone else's fingers popped the snap. Heavy metal, the incarnation of violence in hands, his body moved with years of arms training, hours and hours on the shooting range. His mind took him back to those moments, safety, aim, calm, squeeze. The girl dropped her pistol, fell backwards, even as the bike went over to the side. The moment held. It couldn't end that way. He hadn't just shot someone. His heart froze.
When the taser hooked his back, what thoughts he'd had shattered and dispersed, floating out into the night like ground crystal, once precious, but utterly irreparable.
He watched two men shove his body into the back seat of the patrol car, Parker into the trunk.
"Get that bitch. Fucking nube. It's a good thing Goliath likes'em that way. Save us from having to hunt for him for a couple of weeks."
The other man just grunted.
August lay in the back seat, on the hard plastic bucket seats. He wanted to make a deal with God. He just couldn't find it in him to believe. Santa Claus wasn't coming to save him and neither was the voice in Corey's head. Corey would keep being a priest. He'd be happy. He had a life. He'd be okay. Corey would be okay and that was the best and happiest thing that August could think about.
Bon held his coffee cup with both hands. They sat in a house that belonged to the FBI for all he knew. "You're telling me that my son has been abducted by human traffickers. That there won't be a ransom demand. That no one this group has taken before has ever been seen again."
"Yeah," Taylish said gently. He sat on the back of a chair, black booted feet on the arms, elbows on his knees. "That's what I'm telling you. We're closer to catching them this time though. I haven't given up hope. We are trying to bring your son home alive."
"You forgot the part where this group is likely to go after me," Corey pointed out. He'd changed out of his blacks, instead wearing a pair of August's slacks, which were slightly too big, and a tee-shirt nicked from Roman. "Why can't we fit me with some kind of tracking device and let them take me? The main problem is knowing where they are, right?"
Roman, who'd also been brought to the safe house, stared at Corey.
"For one thing," Taylish explained, "They'll deactivate any tracking device. If they caught you, which we aren't going to let happen, they'd do a very through search, if you know what I mean, Father."
"Don't be a fool, Corey," Bon chided him, sharp and impatient. "We know they're in the city. I can get satellite imagery. We'll set up road blocks."
Maya, as elegant as her blond partner was casual and rather sloppy, laid a hand on Corey's shoulder. "I understand how much you want to help him. If he loves you, he doesn't want you hurt. He wants you safe. Senator Richards, this isn't the 1930's hunting for a gangster. We've been tracking this group for two years. They are suspected in 217 deaths and disappearances. We will catch them."
Bon crushed his coffee cup, smacked cooling latte into the air. "I want my son back! I want to kill these crazy fuckers! It's not about money? It's about fun? They're going to rape, torture, and kill my precious baby for fun? I'm gonna fucking kill them!"
Roman paled. Taylish arched an eyebrow. Bon threw the table across the room, smashed the television without intent. On his feet, he grabbed the chair he'd been sitting on, gripping it so tightly the wood groaned.
"Senator Richards," Maya said calmly. "I need you to calm down."
The chair landed on the ground, more pushed over than thrown. Bon's temples throbbed. "Don't sit here protecting me! Go find my son!"
'Lay hands on him, give him healing' Peace settled on Corey. "August is alive. God has a plan," he said. He was through the wall of anger. Surprise splashed on Bon's face as Corey took his hands. "God is with August. He is not alone. August has our love with him. No matter what they do to his body, he is safe."
Bon's mouth opened. He chewed air for a moment, swallowed bitter. He sucked in a deep breath, the kind you need when you're going to start yelling. The room stayed quiet. Corey kept hold of the senator's hands, gently holding him, smiling softly. Mouth still open, tears betrayed themselves down the side of Bon's face. He blinked, then threw his arms around Corey, crushing him in a tight hug. "Don't you ever leave my boy again, you god damn fool."
Maya set the chair back up and Bon sat back down, Corey kneeling before him. He reached up to wipe tears from August's father's face. "I did leave him. I'm sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I couldn't be the kind of man he needed, but I was wrong. God makes us how we are and we have to respect God's plan. God always wants what's good. Bad things can happen, but we'll make good things out of them."
"So you're giving up this priest bull shit and coming home?"
"Yes," Corey agreed, the shell on his heart cracking. "I was going to tell him. I already told my superior. As of midnight, last night, I'm not a priest anymore. I'd made a promise to God that I would become a priest. It took me some growth to know that God loves me if I'm a priest and he loves if I'm not a priest."
"I don't believe in God," Bon admitted, his big hand wiping Corey's freckled face. "How am I going to live in a world without Auggie?"
"He's not going to die for a long time," Corey promised, "God told me he'll survive this and we'll get him back."
"Great," Roman shouted. He stood like a gangster, a matching set of imaginary machine guns resting on his hips. "And the Easter Bunny's gonna come locked and loaded. You fucking bastard. Father Anderson! You left my brother. You're a coward and a dick! Now he's dead and my father has nothing! Merry fucking Christmas! Maybe Santa will bring you back Auggie's cock so you don't have to be lonely!"
"Go tell your son you love him," Corey said with a soft smile, as he stood and stepped back, green eyes still wet. "He needs to know that he's as important to you as August is."
Bon's expression was a mixture of reemerging rage, confusion that turned into disgust at Corey's lack of anger.
Corey pulled a silver cross on a chain from his pocket and hung it around his neck. "It's more important to do things that heal than it is to do things that hurt."
Disgust softened into just confusion. The senator stood, turned towards his younger son and barked. "Come here."
The swagger and defiance in Roman blew away. Eyes wide and frightened, he crossed to his father. "I'm just saying... you can't believe that God talks to him," Roman half whimpered.
Impulsive, almost more a strike than a caress, Bon grabbed his younger son and pulled him into a tight embrace. "Roman, I love you. I will always love you. I know I said I won't pay ransom for either of you, but I would. I swear, I'd give my whole fortune, my life, anything to save either of you. I love you, you stupid little bastard."
Maya pressed her fingers to her forehead, finally took a breath.
"So," Taylish said, stepping off the chair. "Have I made it clear why all three of you need to stay in this safe house? You need to not have contact with anyone else. No internet. No phones. The TV's done for. Read a book. Stay away from the windows. This place is safe. We've got heavy security."
"Do you really expect them to make an attempt on either Roman or me?" Corey petted the cross in his pocket.
"Yeah," Taylish said, "But we're going to catch them. We've set up a decoy with an exceptionally well trained and prepared officer. Just stay out of our way. Praying can't hurt, uh?"
"Waste of time," Roman hissed, though his arms had gone around his father, fingers locking tightly.
As soon as the agents left, Corey righted the table and sat down with the bible they'd given him. Bon and Roman sat down on the couch, still hugging, talking about August a bit, talking to each other.
Closer to dawn, with Bon and his son asleep on the couch, Corey quietly closed his bible
Sometimes God doesn't speak in words, just in gentle drawing towards.
Persons smart enough to be that hard to catch would not be fooled by a decoy. Many people had died at these people's hands.
Frightened, both for August, for himself, for Roman and Bon, for the pain the attackers must be feeling for them to act like that, he walked quietly to the kitchen.
Bon stirred. "Corey?"
"It's Lauds," Corey explained. "I didn't want to wake you."
"Don't do anything stupid," Bon growled sleepily.
"Lauds is morning prayer," Corey explained.
"You're not a priest," Bon pointed out.
"I know. Go back to sleep." Corey opened the first cabinet he came to, feeling curiosity as to why he felt the need to. There was little food. He pulled a box of some Swedish gummy candy. One. He just needed one, but he didn't know why.
With that one candy in his pocket, he wandered back through the living room and out to the foyer. He didn't see any security. One of the agents had left a small black case. Inside, he found a selection items that he imagined would be suitable for a spy movie. He let his fingers move over the small little devices and settled on something that looked like a big watch battery. A little more pawing and he found the name of the device, which was a GPS tracking beacon. It was waterproof, had a life expectancy of 40 hours, and a very wide range.
Corey wrapped the little tracker in the gummy candy and swallowed it. He left the box open, the empty tracking device spot obvious. As quietly as possible, he let himself out of the safe house.
He walked like he belonged, like this was just what he ought to be doing. One of the officers sitting in the unmarked car outside the house watched him walk away. He waved. The cop gave him an impatient wave. A priest goes everywhere.
He walked towards his church. Comfortable with his choice, he hummed and sang softly, "Holy God, we praise Thy Name; Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim, All in heaven above adore Thee; Infinite Thy vast domain, Everlasting is Thy reign."
Blocks past. Residential turned into retail and he walked, smiling. At one point he stopped to help unload a truck for an older shop owner. Life was made of little things.
About six blocks from Saint Sarah's a dark van pulled up next to him. His palms broke out in a sweat, but he forced his heart to slow, his breathing to stay deep and calm.
The side opened and a man sat cross legged on the floor. He wore grey jogging pants, black stomping boots, and a doctor's style lab coat. He and Corey stared at each other.
"Are you Corey Anderson," the man asked. His voice was nondescript, average, just your normal person with normal everyday beingness.
"Yes. Did you abduct August Richards?"
The man smiled, slightly crazy, his eyes glittering with pent up energy. "Maybe. Do you want to see him?"
Corey nodded. "Can you take me to him?"
"Aren't you afraid?"
"The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want."
"Get in the van. You're a bigger freak than I am."
Corey stepped into the van, determined to minister to those he could, save those he could, and prevent as much harm as he could, but the man in him just wanted to wrap himself around August and keep him safe, always.