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Callen's bigger problem

By Gina Mae Callen

Thriller / Other

Chapter 4

Callen skidded to a halt outside the building he had last set foot in as a child.

Suppressed emotions and memories from his time here flooded over him and he had to hang onto the car door to ride them out.


The beatings he had taken from the 'house-father' who had taken an instant dislike to him when he had been returned from his fourth foster home in as many weeks and had decided that it was his fault and had made the decision to beat the bad out of the boy.

Fifteen year old Callen was curled in a fetal ball, he had actually cried and wailed and sobbed until there was no more emotions left in him, Jackson Grey, the 'house father' had just beaten him for the fifth time in a row and thrown him back in the room behind his office.

"You stay there boy until you can tell me what's wrong with ya, you're a reject boy and I don't have rejects here so you need the bad beaten outta ya, this is for your own good!" He snarled, closing the slatted door.

Callen had his one unbroken arm wrapped around his ribs, he knew at least three were broken and his ankle as well maybe, he had felt a flare of pain as Jackson stamped on it.

He had been at this home for just over a month and had been placed with five different foster families.

The first had wanted a girl and thought Gee was a girls name, they had no room for boys so sent him back within hours.

The second and third had problems dealing with a boy who was as introverted as Callen was and found the look of loneliness in his eyes too much to bear.

Both had sent him back the next day.

The fourth had lasted a week, until they had caught Callen kissing their teenage daughter.

He tried to explain she kissed him and he didn't like her in that way, but they sent him back blaming him and protecting 'their little angel'.

The fifth had sent him back a week ago. He had been there two days the foster mother was lovely, her name was Sheila, she had made him feel welcome and he had felt safe, then she had a heart attack.

The welfare workers had just told Jackson it did not work out and Callen had thought he had killed the woman. He had been distraught when they had brought him back. However, Jackson didn't like rejects it was well known that he was heavy handed and would meter out punishments that were only whispered about amongst the children that stayed there.

It had taken an hour after lights out for Jackson to come, drag Callen from his bed, and haul him down to his office.

"Do you know why you're here boy?" Jackson had asked on the first night.

"No Sir," Callen replied not looking at the larger man.

"Five homes in a month boy, they rejected you….you're a reject. Worthless. Tell me why should I put up with you?" He snarled.

"I dunno Sir," Callen mumbled.

"I'll tell ya why, because it's my God given mission to get boys like you into good homes. Well there is obviously something wrong with you, I can see the evil in your face. It needs to be beat outta ya boy." Jackson said taking off his belt.

Callen dropped his pants as ordered and leant over the table as Jackson hit him fifteen times with a belt. Each time Callen wanted to cry and scream, but he knew from past experience it was no good, they would only beat him harder so he stayed quiet.

When Jackson threw him back on his bed and left the room Callen sobbed silently into his pillow, yet again he prayed for God to send his parents to save him.


He spent the whole of the next day in the bathroom studying his face in the mirror; he could not see the evil Jackson had insisted was there.

He grabbed a piece of glass and held it under his chin while thinking of cutting his face to get the evil out.

His friend Andy walked into the bathroom at that moment and stopped him from hurting himself, both boys sat on the floor while 17-year-old Andy patched up Callens wounds the ones on his back and the one that would eventually leave a small scar under his chin.

Callen had gone to bed that night feeling a bit better….until Jackson came for him again.

Night after night the same thing….just the belt and the insinuations.

Then this night, Andy had been visiting his social worker and had told her about what had happened to Callen. The worker thinking Andy was just vying for attention had called Jackson to ask for his side of the story, Jackson denied everything and walked over to his liquor cabinet and had started drinking.

This night Jackson hadn't even waited for lights out he had just grabbed Callen by his longish straggly hair and dragged him into his office Callen had been denied meals as Jackson figured fasting the boy would be good for his demons but had made him watch the others eat. Callen was already tired and hungry when Jackson started on him. Yet still he wouldn't scream, even when Jackson trod on his arm and ankle almost certainly breaking them both.

Andy had looked through the window into Jackson's office and knowing it was certain death for him if he was caught he ran down the road to the nearest payphone and had called the police.


Hetty had awoken to her house phone ringing, she'd had a wire tap on the phones in and around the home, to keep an eye on Callen, she knew this last month had been hard on him having been informed about all the homes he'd been placed in.

"Ms Lange…..Owen Granger Ma'am, I have had a hit on that name you asked me to keep an ear out for you." He said.

He had played Andy's garbled message to the police…

"911 what is your emergency?" The operators voice came over the speaker.

"My names Andy, I live in the Valeria street orphanage, you have to send the police, he's going to kill him, he's been beating him all week, it's worse now…." Andy voice cut out as he sobbed.

"Police are on their way, who's going to kill someone?" The operator asked calmly.

"Jackson….our house father, he's going to kill Callen."

"Ok…Andy I don't want you to go back into the house, can you find somewhere safe to wait and let the officers find you when they arrive ok?" she asked.

"Please tell them to hurry….." Andy said and hung up the phone.

"Thank you Agent Granger." Hetty said and hung up the phone.

Within two minutes, she was in her car, breaking numerous traffic laws on her way to her boy.

"I won't fail you again Clara." She vowed as she pulled up just behind the police officers.


"Ma'am, you'll have to wait here." The first officer said drawing his weapon preparing to go in.

"I'm Agent Hetty Lange CIA. I have jurisdiction." She told them and they stepped back allowing her to take the lead.

The police officers found him first.

Jackson, covered in blood, sat drinking in his office as they burst in.

"Police, hands behind your head and step out from behind the desk, where's the boy?" they asked as they cuffed him.

"Dead hopefully," Jackson sneered as he was dragged out in handcuffs.

The other officer used his phone to call child welfare to come and re-house the other children left.

Hetty walked in "Have you found him officer?" She asked.

"Not yet we are going to organize a search." He replied.

Hetty sat in Jackson's chair and heard a small movement in the closet behind her. She motioned to the officer who took a protective stance behind her with his weapon drawn.

When Hetty opened the door the sight of the broken and bruised body of made her want to sob, for a second she thought he was dead, she reached down to move a lock of hair from his face and he flinched and whimpered.

"Oh my God, he's alive. Get a paramedic in here!" she exclaimed as the officer ran to do as she asked.

"It's alright my son, I have you now." She said softly.

At that, Callen said the one word that meant their lives were to be forever linked, "Momma?"

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