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Callen's Shadow

By Gina Mae Callen

Other / Mystery

Chapter 1

Los Angeles – 1975

The small blond haired boy ran down the corridor with his friend skidding to a halt at the main entrance where a small woman stood.

Eyes wide he stared at her even at that young age he knew she was important.

The social worker bent down and beckoned him over.

"He's settling in but he still isn't talking, so far we have only been able to communicate by gestures. My boss said you said you could help with identifying him?" The woman asked.

Hetty bent down and looked the boy in the eye, "Bună ziua Callen, ai făcut un prieten?"

Callen's eyes brightened for the first time in a month someone he could understand; a huge smile brightened his face.

"Da. Nu mă cunosti? esti familia mea?" he asked hopefully.

She shook her head sadly, "No, Mr. Callen. I'm not."

He looked sad he knew what that head shake meant and the tone of her voice even if he did not understand her words.

She put a comforting arm on his shoulder and turned to the social worker.

"I would suggest you have someone come in and teach the boy English, however for now if anyone speaks Romani he would be able to communicate through them, but I wouldn't encourage him to use it. It would be safer for him if he forgot he could even speak the language."

The social worker ushered Hetty into her office and they sat down.

"Coffee?" She asked.

Hetty smiled and shook her head, "Thank you, No."

"All the information we have on the boy is his surname and a letter for his first name, do you have any other information for me, and it would be good for him if he knew his roots anything about his family?" She asked Hetty hopefully.

"Mr. Callen's life will be safer if he does not know. There are things in his past, traumatic things that would put his life in danger if he were to know about them. This is all the information about him I am allowed to release," She handed the social worker an envelope.

"But without more information, we will not be able to reunite him with any family or place him for adoption." The social worker argued.

She knew this small woman we from the government and she exuded power, but her overwhelming desire for the well being of the child in her care overrode any feelings of danger she was getting from the woman.

"For his own safety he must not be placed for adoption, Foster care will be satisfactory. However he must be moved it would not be safe if he stayed anywhere longer than a four month period he must not be placed in any orphanages for longer than a month and needs to move out of this one and into his first foster home as soon as possible."

The social worker looked shocked, "That's unacceptable, G, won't have any stability in his life!" she sounded shocked.

Hetty looked sad, "I know, his mother was a good friend, I know she would hate this for her son, but it is necessary."

"Are you family?" The social worker asked confused.

Hetty smiled, "That's what Mr. Callen asked me, No I'm not, I worked with his mother from time to time, but I'm afraid I was too late to help her and she passed away." She looked sad and the social worker was shocked by the level of sadness in her voice.

"Do you know his first name?" She asked.

"No, Clara only called him her baby." Hetty said a moment of wistfulness crossing her face.

"Can you not take him in?" The social worker was feeling desperate, whoever this government woman was she obviously, cared for the boy and more than anything she wanted Callen to be settled and have a childhood.

"I'm sorry, my job prohibits it. However if I may ask that you would keep me informed of each move he makes, it will help if we know where he is."

"I can do that," The social worker said sadly and took Hetty's card, "Thank you Ms. Lange."

Hetty shook the social workers hand "Thank you, I will expect your call about his first move by tomorrow." She said.

The social worker stood opened mouthed in shock as she watched the woman leave. In the corner of the hallway, she spotted Callen playing with a car in the corner. She smiled at him and went to her office to make the calls that would disrupt the poor boy's life. It was situations like this that made her hate her job.


1985

Callen sat in an office staring intently at his sneakers, which were held together by duct tape, and was being guarded by a uniformed officer. He was dirty, tired, hungry, and dejected.

On the other side of the glass, Hetty stood with the detective. "Why is he being held?" She asked nonchalantly as she could, even though her heart was breaking for the boy she had surreptitiously watched growing up all these years.

"Serial runaway from foster homes, been gone six months this time before we found him, and we only found him because he was injured." Detective Jack Dixon told the CIA Agent.

"How?" The Agent asked.

"Beaten up fighting for food or drink or drugs, on the streets who knows." He shrugged, "Another few years he'll be out of that system and into the prison one most likely."

Hetty reached in her bag and pulled out a flyer for the U.S Marine Corps. "Give him this; tell him it's time he had something permanent in his life and a goal to look forward to."

She handed the Detective the flyer and watched as he gave it to the young man and passed on the message.

For once, she stayed and watched as he read the flyer and a small look of hope crossed his face, which he quickly hid as he heard his current social worker, and foster father come in yelling obscenities at him. He quickly hid the flyer up his shirt and stuffed his hands in his pockets, eyes downcast and followed the pair of them out of the building.


1989 – Parris Island.

Hetty stood with the crowd of well-wishers and parents, she had taken a seat at the back having called the commandant to allow her a base pass to attend this groups graduation.

Quietly smiling, sitting next to a pregnant woman who was crying with happiness at her husbands graduation.

"Which one is your son?" the woman asked Hetty.

Hetty without bothering to correct her pointed to Callen "That one." She said proudly.

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