Is that Kurt Hummel?
Jim Edwards yawned as he looked out of his cab window. This was the downside to being a taxi driver; long shifts and some periods of no clients. He glanced at his watch to see it was half past one in the morning. The fifty one year old groaned, not knowing how long he had left of his shift. He had told his wife Linda not to wait up but she didn't like going to sleep in an empty flat and would usually wait for him to get home before even considering going to sleep. Jim didn't particularly like the idea of his wife at home on her own at this time but there was nothing he could do. He turned the radio up a little bit as he caught the end of Kings of Leon's 'Sex on Fire'. He listened to the radio presenter talk about missing children across America. Jim thought of his twenty two year old daughter and shuddered. He couldn't even cope with the idea of her going missing.
"There's a boy from Ohio who went missing in New York just less than seven months ago. As you can imagine, his family are devastated and are doing everything they can to bring him home. It is starting to look unlikely that the boy will be found as he was snatched from the streets of New York and there has been no lead since. If you do see this boy, please contact the New York Police Department. His name is Kurt Hummel; he is 17 years old, he has brown hair, pale skin, he is five foot eleven inches and of a slim build. He has glasz eyes... apparently a mixture of blue, green and grey. His family and friends desperately want him to come home so if there are any sightings of him, let the police know." The radio presenter said, clearly reading off a script and putting no emotion into it.
Jim switched radio stations and found one playing club classics. He smiled as he heard Bon Jovi's 'Livin' on a Prayer'. His mind drifted to what he had just heard from the radio presenter. His thoughts went out to the boy's family all the way in Ohio. Their son had been missing for seven months and there was no lead. Jim couldn't imagine if that had happened to his daughter. He would be beside him and driving up and down the country looking for her. He knew it was likely that this boy Kurt Hummel was dead but if it was his child, he wouldn't like to give up hope that they would be found again.
Jim's radio flashed, indicating his boss was calling him, "Hey Vic, please tell me you have a job for me?"
Jim heard Vic laugh over the radio, "You bet I do. It'll be your last of the night then you can go home to Linda."
Jim felt so relieved, "Cheers Vic. What's the job?"
Vic coughed, "Sam usually does this but he's completely held up and I don't want to keep this guy waiting."
Jim frowned but didn't say anything as Vic continued, "Look just do this job and then you can go home. Everyone will be happy. I need you go to 152nd Street Washington Heights and pick up a Mr Lee Briggs and some others. You are to take them to West 34th Street. He'll tell you exactly where you need to go."
He didn't like the sound of this at all, "Vic..."
"I'll give you triple the money you make okay?" Vic pleaded, scaring his employee how desperate he sounded, "Just do this and you can go home."
Jim sighed knowing he had no choice, "Fine I'll do it. But you owe me an explanation."
"Thank you," Vic said, sounded relieved, "I will, I promise. See you tomorrow."
Jim bid Vic goodbye before pressing 'end call' on the radio. He turned the engine on and started making his way to 152nd Street. It would only take him about fifteen minutes as he was parked near Central Park West. Jim turned the radio up and smiled when they played the Christmas song 'Do They Know It's Christmas' by Band Aid. There was only about nine days to go until Christmas and he still had some shopping to do. Jim was going to be spending the day with his wife and his daughter; the perfect day in his opinion. He suddenly thought of the Hummel family in Ohio without their son but shook that away. There was nothing he could do about it. Jim pushed that out of his mind and sang along to the song, continuing to sing when 'Fairytale of New York' by the Pogues came on. It was one of his favourite Christmas songs and he loved doing duets with his wife, even if he couldn't sing very well. He drove normally until he reached 152nd Street, ignoring the butterflies he felt in his stomach. The street wasn't lit very well and he didn't know where this Lee Briggs was. He drove along the street slowly until he spotted a man leaning against a building, standing with three other people.
Jim pulled the taxi over and wound down the window, "Lee Briggs?"
The man nodded before opening the cab door. To Jim's surprise, he grabbed hold of one of the people he was and practically forced them into the cab. Jim was horrified and opened his mouth to say something, but it dawned on him that he wasn't dealing with nice people who just wanted a cab ride. Vic was probably being forced to take these people wherever they needed to go. He sounded so desperate for Jim to do it and told him just to do his job then go home. Jim was still horrified as he watched Jim push another two people into the cab before getting into the front himself.
"You know where we're going?" Lee Briggs asked in an impolite tone.
Jim nodded as he looked at Lee Briggs. He was about six foot five with dark hair and wearing a black trench coat. Jim knew he was the sort of man he liked to avoid. He put the cab into gear and started driving, turning the fare meter on. He just focused on the road in front of him, suddenly feeling terrified for his wellbeing. He could still hear Christmas songs being quietly played. At a red light, Jim couldn't help it but glance in his rear-view mirror and see who his three passengers were. It was two boys and one girl. All three of them had their eyes closed and were holding hands; the boy in the mirror clutching both the girl and boy's hands. Jim moved his eyes back to the front to check if the light had changed. When he saw it hadn't, he looked back in the mirror. He was shocked to see how young they are looked. None of them could have been over eighteen. He saw how skinny they all were and the clothes they were wearing. It looked like they had been wearing those clothes for a long time. They were all creased and dirty; although the three of them looked like they hadn't been able to wash in a long time. All of them had bruises on their faces and the parts of their body Jim could see. Jim was worried where he was taking these kids. He wished he wasn't a coward and would try to get rid of this Lee Briggs so he could help the kids. He glanced at the road again to see the car in front of theirs moving. He quickly took the handbrake off and put the car into drive. He continued his journey feeling nervous, hoping for another opportunity to look at the unfortunate children sitting behind him. The cab stopped at another red light and Jim immediately glanced in the rear-view mirror. Jim looked over the features of the three of them. The girl looked absolutely tiny, with her long red hair shielding some of her face. The boy on the other end had short blonde hair and looked like he was the oldest one there. One of his eyes was slightly swollen due to a bruise. Jim's eyes moved to the boy in the middle. He had brown hair that looked like bed hair as it was so messed up. He had extremely pale skin; although it might have just been because he was cold. The boy was of a slim build; although he looked like he had absolutely no fat on him whatsoever. He looked to be quite tall and was around the age of sixteen or seventeen; although he looked younger with his peaceful expression. Jim's mind flew to the radio presenter's description of the missing boy from Ohio. Was this Kurt Hummel? As if he could feel someone's eyes on him, the boy's eyes flew open but Jim continued to look at him. His eyes could be described as a stormy grey with a hint of blue in them. Jim had the strongest feeling this was the missing boy. The boy Kurt had no emotion on his face. He just looked resigned.
"Come on let's go!" Lee Briggs yelled, pulling Jim's attention back to the road.
Jim quickly put the car into gear and continued to drive to West 34th Street. His mind was racing. He was ninety nine per cent sure that that was Kurt Hummel, a boy who had been missing for nearly seven months. Jim felt slightly sickened to think that maybe Sam and Vic knew this but didn't want to interfere and cause trouble. Jim couldn't just do ignore the issue. If this had been his daughter Sophie, he would have hoped that someone would have helped her. Jim glanced at Kurt again in the rear-view mirror. His eyes were once again but he looked slightly scared. Jim felt for the poor kid; he was over five hundred miles away from his home and hadn't seen his family and family for over half of a year. The boy had obviously been through hell, and so had the other two next to him. He wondered how many more there were like this. To Jim's horror he was pulling into West 34th Street. He had run out of time. He didn't know what to do.
"Stop here," Lee Briggs instructed as he gestured to a rundown building, "How much?"
Jim glanced at the fare meter and stammered out, "Twenty five, ninety three please."
Lee Briggs passed him three ten dollar notes, "Take thirty."
Jim nodded as he watched Lee Briggs get out of the cab. He thought about locking the doors so the three kids were locked in the car. Before he could do anything, Lee Briggs had the door opens and was grabbing the girl's arm. Jim longed to say something but he was frozen. The man reached and grabbed Kurt's arm as well. Jim moved slightly as if he was going to grab Kurt's other arm but decided against it. He was forming a plan in his head. He could never live with himself if he let this man Lee Briggs take those three children and he did absolutely nothing about it. Lee Briggs nodded at Jim before shutting the cab door and dragging the three kids into the rundown building. Jim quickly drove away as he saw Lee Briggs glance back at him. Jim drove until he was a couple of streets away then pulled over. He picked up his phone and saw he had a missed call from Linda.
He called her back but reached voicemail, "Hi darling it's me. I've just finished so I will be home shortly I promise you. I just have to make a phone call. I'll explain everything when I get home. I love you. Bye."
Jim ended the call before dialling 911. If he couldn't do anything himself, he was going to get the police involved. They were looking for Kurt Hummel.
"Hello, please state your emergency," said the voice of the operator.
"Hi I'm a taxi driver and I think I just had the missing boy Kurt Hummel in the back of my cab," Jim said, unsure of what to do.
"Ok Sir would you like to elaborate on that," the woman said, her voice remaining calm.
I quickly spoke, "I had to pick up a Mr Lee Briggs from 152nd Street Washington Heights and take him to West 34th street. When I picked him up, there were three teenagers with him; two boys and one girl. They were all in such a state; messed up hair and clothes, skinny frames and covered in bruises. One of the boys matched the description of Kurt Hummel from Ohio, who has been missing for seven months. Lee Briggs took them into this rundown building on West 34th Street."
There was a pause as Jim heard typing, then the woman continued, "Thank you. The police are on their way. What was your name Sir?"
"Jim... Jim Edwards," I replied, praying to God that Kurt Hummel would be all right and returned home to his loved ones.
Kurt pulled his knees up against his chest and wrapped his arms around them. He was resting on a dirty old mattress, trying not to cry. He couldn't cry otherwise he would be beaten up. He glanced to his right to see his friend Hayley Morris fighting back tears as well. Kurt instantly moved closer to him and wrapped his arm around her, drawing her to his chest. Kurt, Hayley and another boy called James Carlton had just been brought back from the brothel. This had been Kurt's life for nearly seven months now. It was as if his old life was a dream. At first Kurt allowed himself to think of his Dad, his step-mum, his brother, his friends and his amazing boyfriend Blaine but now he refused to think about them. He couldn't keep torturing himself by thinking about them and his life in Lima. He had to remain strong and every time he thought of them, he would want to curl up in a ball and cry. The man who was in control here laughed whenever any of them cried and would call for them to be beaten up. Kurt hated Thomas Manson with a passion. He didn't even hate Karofsky or his bullies this much. Thomas Manson was the ringleader of his little group and his prostitution ring. He and his men had kidnapped about ten teenagers from the ages of fourteen to eighteen and had pimped them out; both boys and girls. Kurt could remember the first time he was locked in a room with a man who was nearly three times the age of him. He had screamed but the man had pinned him down. He had cried for hours after that and of course Thomas Manson had instructed him to be beaten up. He said that the 'little fag needs to man up'. Kurt, as well as the others there, was expected to perform a service for several men and women every day. If they complained, they were beaten until they were nearly death or they were forced to take cocaine. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that makes you feel alert and full of energy. Kurt had tried to avoid it as much as possible but had once had it injected into his veins and once been forced to snort it. They needed all the energy they could get as they were hardly fed; only if Thomas Manson remembered, which wasn't often. As Kurt didn't believe in God, he prayed to his mother every night. He prayed to her, not for himself, but to look after his father and his loved ones.
Kurt stroked Hayley's hair and placed a kiss on her cheek, "Hayley please don't cry."
Hayley sniffed a little before looking at Kurt, "I won't. They are not touching me or you tonight. I know if they tried to hurt me, you'd try to help and get hurt yourself."
Kurt didn't deny her but just pulled her close again. Hayley was his closest friend in this hell on Earth. She was seventeen years old and had been here longer than him and had informed him of how Thomas Manson operated. Hayley told him about the few that had been killed by Thomas and his gang because they stood up to them. Hayley held Kurt the first few nights he was there and looked after him, listening to his stories of his family, the New Directions and Blaine. Hayley, in return, told him all about her previous life and how she was an orphan who had been kidnapped right by her foster home in Queens. Most of the teenagers locked up in the basement mainly kept to themselves but Kurt had made friends with a few including Hayley. He had made friends with two boys called James Carlton and Luke Shields. James was gay like Kurt but Luke was straight. Kurt knew the names of some of the others but not all. It wasn't really a place for socialising.
Kurt sighed to himself, letting go of the hope he had felt. When he had found the cab driver looking directly at him in the rear-view mirror he had thought that the man had recognised him and was going to help. When Lee Briggs had reached for Kurt's arm, Kurt saw the man start a little but nothing happened. Kurt was dragged out of the car and was taken into Manson's headquarters. He saw the man drive off and along with it, went his chance of freedom.
"How are my little sluts doing this fine evening?" said the voice of the man Kurt hated most in the world.
Kurt glanced up, holding Hayley tighter to him. Thomas Manson was standing in the room with his henchman. He was grinning at them all.
"I figured you'd all be pretty hungry as you've all had just a strenuous day," he mocked them by chucking a slice at bread at us individually, "You're all just good little sluts for me."
Kurt could feel his bitch glare coming on but had to control himself. He usually couldn't control his quick mouth and would get into so much trouble. Thomas Manson loved punishing Kurt for whatever he had said. He couldn't put himself or Hayley in danger. He just concentrated on the smaller girl trembling in his arms.
Suddenly the door to the basement burst open, "This is a raid!"
Kurt looked up in shock as police officers pooled into the room. Maybe he was wrong about the taxi driver. He had sent the police. Immediately a fight started out between police officers and Thomas Manson and his henchmen with guns being drawn. Kurt watched in horror as two of the teenagers he didn't know were shot by Lee Briggs when they tried to escape. Hayley completely buried her face in Kurt's neck, whispering apologises when he winced slightly, and hid away from the noise. Kurt held her tightly, wondering if this was the end for both of them. He looked up to see more police officers entering the room, riot shields at the ready. It was clear Thomas Manson and his gang were outnumbered. He saw one of the henchmen make a run with it with Manson shooting after him. He clutched at Hayley as he saw Thomas Manson and Lee Briggs tackled by police officers. A young police officer, in his mid twenties, made his way over to Kurt and Hayley, who clutched at one another tighter in fear.
"You're Kurt Hummel aren't you?" The police officer asked.
Kurt nodded, unable to speak. Had he been saved from his life of prostitution?
The police officer crouched down next to them, "My name is Officer Max Adams. A taxi driver thought he recognised you so called us. He had heard your description on the radio about ten minutes before he saw you."
Kurt nodded at him, unable to feel any emotion. He wondered if there was something wrong with him. Surely he should be sobbing with happiness at the prospect of leaving this life.
Officer Adams got up to go and help the other officers. Kurt knew they had to get out of there. Hayley and Kurt got to their feet and tried to make their way past the action. Kurt glanced at the fight close to them to see Thomas Manson aiming at gum at the two of them. They heard the gunshot and before Kurt could react, he felt himself thrown to the side. He whacked his head on the ground but that didn't matter to him. He quickly pushed himself up; ignoring the pain it caused him, to see blood pouring out of Hayley's stomach.
"Hayley!" Kurt screamed as he pulled the bleeding girl into his arms, falling to the ground, "Don't you dare die!"
Kurt heard Officer Adams call for paramedics but he didn't care. All his attention was on the dying girl in his arms. He realised what Thomas Manson's aim was. He wanted to eliminate all of his 'sluts' so there would be no one to speak in full detail about what he had done. He knew there was a slim chance Hayley would survive due to how thin she was and how malnourished she was. She couldn't leave him. He should have taken that bullet, not her.
"Hayley please..." Kurt could feel the tears building but for some reason he couldn't cry.
Hayley grasped Kurt's hand, barely breathing, "You deserve to go home Kurt. You have a family waiting. I have no one."
"You have me!" Kurt cried as the paramedics rushed in and pulled Hayley away from Kurt, despite his protests.
He saw Thomas Manson being handcuffed and let away, as well as Lee Briggs and another henchman. Manson smirked at Kurt before giving him an exaggerated wink. Kurt felt sick to his stomach but he focused on his friend instead. The paramedics were trying to stop the bleeding but Kurt could see it was no use.
"You have to save her! I'm not leaving here without her! Hayley please live!" Kurt screamed as all the emotion crashed down on him.
Officer Adams gently placed his arms under Kurt's and pulled him to his feet, "We need to get the two of you to hospital."
Kurt backed away from him, nearly collapsing, "Please... she can't... she can't die. She's all I have and I can't lose her... please..."
Officer Adams shook his head, "I'm so sorry Kurt."
Kurt ran to Hayley's side and dropped to her knees, "No! Hayley don't leave me!"
Kurt watched as Hayley took her last breath. He had never hated Thomas Manson as much as he had right now. He was furious at himself that he hadn't taken the bullet and was angry he couldn't produce a single tear for his friend's demise. All the time he had trained himself not to cry seemed to have blocked him from actually crying.
"Goodbye you sweet, sweet angel," Kurt whispered as he kissed Hayley's forehead, caressing her cheek with his hand.
Officer Adams stepped forward and helped Kurt up again, "Kurt we really need to get you to hospital."
Kurt nodded without taking his eyes off Hayley. Another police officer came over and gently grabbed the other side of Kurt. Kurt looked around the room. There were five bodies on the ground, including Hayley's. As the police officers started to lead Kurt away from this terrible scene, Kurt's eyes removed back to Hayley and stayed until he was completely out of the room. Officer Adams and the other police officer led him to a waiting ambulance outside. The paramedics helped him inside and laid him down on the gurney.
A paramedic started to clean his head wound, "That's a nasty wound you have there, Kurt."
Kurt just looked at her with no emotion. He didn't know how to feel. His life had completely changed within the last five minutes. He wondered if he would be going home or whether his family would want him anymore. Maybe his Dad was happy to just have Finn as his son, maybe Blaine had found love with another Warbler and maybe he had been replaced in the New Directions. Kurt didn't know how long he had been missing for. It could have been years. He could have been in his twenties and not known it. He hadn't seen his reflection in what felt like decades so had no idea what he looked like. Kurt heard the paramedics talking as him going into shock and how his body wasn't coping with everything that was happening.
The paramedic smiled at him, "It's going to be okay Kurt. We're going to look after you."
Kurt felt no comfort at her words. He watched as she inserted a drip in his hands, barely even wincing despite the fact he hated needles since his Mum died. He watched as she inserted the anaesthetic into the drip. He suddenly really drowsy but he didn't want to fall asleep. He didn't know what was going to happen to him. He just wanted to go home.
A/N: Sorry for the lateness of this. I have been ill with tonsillitis. Still ill but able to function a bit more and update my stories
I don't live in New York so had to google road names and cab fares etc. Hope it was okay.
Hope you enjoy this chapter :) Thank you to everything for reviewing, alerting this story and adding it to your favourites. It means so much to me and I love hearing what you guys think or any suggestions you have. I hope you are enjoying my other stories as well
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