Home » A Wasted Life » Short Stories » And Justice For All – Chapter Eight

And Justice For All – Chapter Eight

HIs voice almost cracked as he said, “when Parker was five years old, she was kidnapped.  After a frantic search, ransom demands were sent to Mr. Patterson, a day and a half later.  The sine que non was ten million dollars for her safe return.”

“They consulted me of course, and asked me to get the money together.  I urged them to follow the FBI’s protocol, which was to not pay the ransom. I reminded them that after 48 hours the victim rarely survived, and it had already been 36, but they were determined.”

Against the FBI’s advice and mine, they agreed to pay the ransom. Arrangements were made for the trade, but the FBI had placed cut-up pieces of paper in the bag in lieu of actual cash.  The kidnappers were being watched, and they knew they were being watched. The FBI agents were not aware that the kidnappers had set an elaborate trap. After they noticed they had been scammed, they opened fire, killed the agents and escaped.”

“There was one more phone call to Mr. Patterson, and that was to tell him that he had ‘fucked with the wrong people’.  He never got another call and two weeks later, their house burned to the ground.  When the fire was put out, his and his wifes’ charred bodies were found, and it was obvious that they had been tortured.”

“No one could figure out how the killers gained access through the Pattersons’ tight security.  One agent suggested that Parker may have been used as a means of gaining entrance.  If that was true, it would never be known.  If she had witnessed their torture, it would also never be known. All of the security cameras and videos were destroyed in the fire.”

“Not having been returned, everyone assumed that she was dead.  She was ‘buried’ alongside her parents.  I was her Godfather, and the Patterson’s last wishes stated that their entire fortune would go to Parker, but would remain in my possession until she reached the age of 25.”

As I listened, I was mesmerized and had a bazillion questions, but I just sat and waited for the “next chapter.”

“Even though we buried Parker and her parents, I could never shake the feeling that she might still be alive,” he said. “We always had a special connection, and I just didn’t feel that it had been ‘broken’ for some reason. You know how sometimes you just feel something in your gut?  I never gave up hope that some day, she would come skipping down the hall and into my library.”

I didn’t care if I made him mad by speaking out of turn when I said, “obviously, she survived.”

He didn’t react in the hostile way I expected when he said, “well, there’s surviving and then there’s surviving.  Yes, she survived in that she was still breathing.  The kidnappers kept her, but they had not kept her as a toy or a child of their own.”

“When she was fifteen, she managed to escape.  A farmer found her running along a road out in the country and called the police.  They weren’t quite sure what to make of the situation, but they took her to the station.  There, officers tried to talk to her, both male and female but she wouldn’t say a word.  She just sat in the corner with her head resting on her knees.”

“A sharp-eyed old-timer remembered seeing a missing child flyer from ten years earlier.  Using the process of age-progression, a rendering of what Parker Patterson might look like at fifteen years old, revealed a dead-on match and a little digging into the past revealed my name.”

“I’ll never forget the day that phone rang.” he said.

Harville glanced at his telephone and said, “that call changed my life forever.  Officer McDowell was on the phone and told me that he was sure Parker Patterson was in his interrogation room.  My first reaction was of course to completely dismiss him, but he was adamant.”

Officer McDowell said, “according to what we can determine, you are her Godfather.  Is that correct?” Harville said, “I don’t think I even answered.  I called my driver, Porter and told him that we were going to the police station.  I wasn’t sure what I would find.  I had always believed, or wanted to believe, that Parker was still alive, and part of me wanted to shout with joy, but the other part of me was thinking, ‘this could just be a cruel joke’.”

“When I walked into the room, I immediately knew that it was her.  She looked up and for a few seconds, I wondered if she remembered me.  She held her gaze, but didn’t even offer a twitch as far as recognition.  I walked over, bent down and asked if she knew who I was.”

“She didn’t respond.  I offered my hand but she didn’t take it.  I told her that I was her Godfather and guardian and I would be taking care of her.”

“A victim’s advocate had tried to talk to her but again, no response.  Since I was to essentially take custody of her, the advocate and I agreed that she should be taken to the hospital for a thorough check-up.”

“Parker didn’t resist any of our efforts.  She got up and walked with us to the car.  On the way to the hospital, I told her who she was. She didn’t even blink.  I told her that a doctor was going to do a minor check-up, just to make sure she was alright.”

“I remember thinking, of course she wasn’t alright.  Who knew what hell she had been through during the last ten years?  I certainly didn’t and she wasn’t talking.”

“Dr. Trask came up and introduced himself.  I told him who she was, what had happened to her, and how long she had been gone.  He shook his head and said, ‘I remember that kidnapping.  Well, let’s have a look’.”

“After what seemed like forever, Dr. Trask came out to talk to us.  He said, ‘well, she wouldn’t let me touch her but she did allow us to take x-rays’.”

“He said, ‘the x-rays showed nothing, but I can only imagine what kind of mental and psychological damage has been done. And of course, she is a bit malnourished. We couldn’t get her to talk, which makes me wonder if maybe she has forgotten how.  Ten years is a long time and being so young, it’s possible she’s forgotten, especially if no one was talking to her.  Captivity and abuse can do things to you’.”

Harville said he asked Dr. Trask what he would recommend.  He said, “I would just try to make her feel as safe as you can, and see what happens. You know of course, about Stockholm’s syndrome.  She may try to bolt and go back to the person or persons who held her captive, or she may not.”

Harville paused long enough for me to ask him if he remembered how he felt the first time he saw her.  Big mistake. “You astound me.” he said.  “How am I supposed to answer a stupid question like that?”  

Once again, I apologized and said something lame like, “I’m sorry.  I just can’t imagine.”  He glared at me and said, “of course you can’t imagine unless you have been in that situation.”

Then he said, “can I continue or do you have any more asinine questions?”  Embarrassed, I asked him to please continue.

“I brought her here and showed her where she would be staying.  I asked if maybe she would like to go shopping for some new clothes, but she never answered.”

“I don’t know how long she had been wearing the clothes she had on when she was found, but it took my maid, Maria a while to let her at least wash them.  After a few weeks, Parker seemed to warm to Maria, and would wear the clothes she bought for her. She never thanked her, but Maria said sometimes her eyes would light up when she came into her room with some new clothes.”

“Maria tried to hug her once, and Parker recoiled.  Even though it was apparent that she was touched starved, she seemed to be repulsed by the very thought of an embrace.”

To be continued__________________

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