Marketable

By James F. Timmins All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Thriller

Chapter 2

2

I located my personal handgun, a P2000 357, which had seen use recently, and placed it in my shoulder holster. I checked the two spare clips, found that they were fully loaded and placed those in a small shaving kit along with fifty rounds of ammunition. I also took a TDI ankle knife and expandable baton, which both had sheaths and placed them into the bag as well. Lastly I added my Leupold 10 x 25mmCompact Binoculars which would be helpful in long-range surveillance if needed.

I removed the Dell laptop from its travel bag and began surfing the Boston hotels for a place for us to spend at least the remaining week of our vacation. The Marriott’s Custom House was slightly above my normal budget, at two hundred and twenty five nightly, but I didn’t want Claire in some fleabag hotel. Besides, it was within walking distance of Faneuil Hall which would afford some shopping and nice restaurants. Parking was another twenty-five per day but we would need Claire’s truck available to cruise Boston and the surrounding communities. I booked a room for six days that came with a king size bed and Jacuzzi tub. I hoped the tub would comfortably hold the two of us; I was on vacation after all.

I began removing the items I had packed for the trip to Sebago, but stacked them neatly on the bed. The stay had been so brief that most of the items had not been used. The underwear and socks would just be going back into the bag anyway. I counted off eight sets of socks and underwear along with four t-shirts and shorts. I took my work suits from the closet and packed three in a garment bag, including six dress shirts and ties. I laid out my Monday clothes and headed for the shower. I was a creature of habit, without vanity, so my work suits were all identical except for the ties. It’s easier than choosing what to wear each day anyway. Maybe someday I’ll go shopping but it’s not exactly on my to-do list. I would prefer to have a root canal actually.

The hot water felt good and relaxing as it rolled over my hair and down my back. My mind drifted to Chuck and Amanda and the last time I saw them. We were all at the OOB fifteenth class reunion and having a good time. Someone had spiked the punch and I was pretty sure it was Mark Hanson who had done the same thing at our Senior Prom; I had four glasses.

During the reunion I danced once with Amanda in between dances with two of my ex-girlfriends. She was a good dancer, considering we were dancing to CCR which was more like just bouncing around to keep up with John Fogerty’s throaty vocals. She was very pretty, well dressed in a white skirt and black blouse. She was very genuine, likeable, and always smiling. I remembered commenting to Chuck that he was fortunate. He had replied that I had no idea. Although Chuck and I kept in touch with the occasional phone call I never saw Amanda again.

The reunion had been fun and had ended with Vicki, an ex-girlfriend, and me hooking up for a night at my place. She had learned a few new tricks over the years and one night turned into the entire weekend. On Monday morning she was on a plane back to Seattle and, just like all those years ago, she became a fond memory.

Claire arrived just before noon, dressed in tight shorts with a jungle fatigue design, black military lace up boots and an Army t-shirt with the slogan “Be all you can be” across the chest. I wondered how many active military personnel could draw your eyes to the text on a shirt as well as Claire could. She finished off the ensemble with mirrored aviator sunglasses and an Army green baseball cap with a yellow and black Army Sniper School patch. She looked great as usual. “Ready?” she asked.

“Yeah, just help me with my stuff,” I said as I hoisted my garment bag and she grabbed my suitcase. Ten minutes later we were headed down I95 towards Boston.

I looked over at her as we passed the Scarborough, Maine, exit and was instantly reminded why I had fallen so hard for her. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever met. She stood at five feet one inch tall with dark skin that tanned quickly. Her jet black, wavy hair was tied in a ponytail and pulled through the back of her ball cap. When we were alone together, she would wear it down and it fell to the middle of her back. Her body was strong and well-toned with a defined yet subtle muscle structure. When we had first met she had been my trainee. I had worked her mercilessly and she had never complained. She was a gifted detective, observant and inquisitive. During that time, we had gained a symbiotic working relationship and eventually a friendship. The intimacy of our relationship grew. Now we were lovers and I was a happy man.

“You’re staring,” she said as a broad smile appeared on her face, making my heart skip a beat.

“Sorry, I can’t help it in the presence of such stunning beauty,” I said and meant every word.

“Nice, flattery will get you whatever you want.”

“I’ll file that for later.”

We rode on in silence and my mind drifted to the reason we were headed south toward Revere, a suburb just outside of Boston. Women just don’t disappear, especially those near term in a pregnancy. Sure, hormonally they are going through massive changes in body chemistry, can have mood swings and cravings for strange foods, but they don’t normally leave their comfort zone for the unknown. The odd thing was that no ransom demands had been made and, given the time that had elapsed since her disappearance, kidnapping for money was beginning to look doubtful. With her money and credit cards at the abduction scene, this was not a typical robbery. Whoever had taken her had a reason.

I took out a small notebook computer, turned it on, and opened to a blank word document. I typed on the top of the page the word abductions. “Claire we need a list of why women are abducted. Let’s explore scenarios of women that survive the abduction based on type and those that are murdered.”

“Do you think she’s dead?”

“God I hope not. But for now let’s brainstorm on why women disappear and why they are killed or kept alive.”

Claire stepped on the gas to pass an eighteen-wheeler with “Yellow Freight” written on the side. The hum of the big rigs wheels reverberated through Claire’s black F150. I heard several small pebbles strike the door as we passed. “Based on the circumstances, a ransom demand would be the most logical,” she began as she reached up and tucked a few locks of hair back under her ball cap. “He is a VP of a large bank, so money could be the motivation here.”

“I agree that it tops the list, but three days without a demand isn’t typical.”

“Maybe the kidnappers want to make Mr. Casey sweat a little, drive up the price. She is pregnant after all. The closer she gets to term, the more risk involved to both her and the baby.”

“Remind me to ask Chuck if her pregnancy was problematic. An abduction involving a difficult pregnancy could create a host of problems for the kidnappers that they may not be prepared for. What if she gave birth early?”

“Maybe they understand the risks because if not, they could lose both mother and child before they get their money.”

“They would need to have set up some kind of birthing room. Nothing too elaborate maybe, but enough, just in case shit happens. I wonder how many medical supply houses there are in the greater Boston area.”

“There must be a ton with all the hospitals, Mass General, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children Hospital, Brigham Young’s Women’s Hospital along with a half dozen more university and research hospitals.”

I took a deep breath, “I wonder if the FBI is looking into this. The kidnappers would only require a relatively small purchase for the supplies they might need. What would they need to cover both a normal birth and one with complications? The closest I have ever been to witnessing a birth is an episode of “One Life to Live”.”

“Soap operas? You watch soap operas?”

“In an effort to maintain my manhood, I was sick and it was either that or Dr. Phil with the subject of “Why Does My Daughter Have So Many Piercings”. I decided that a soap opera would be ok in-between my trips to the bathroom.”

“Sure but now your addicted and TiVo it daily, right?”

“No, the only addiction I have is a Mexican broad with a hot body and a smart mouth.”

“Want me to take her out for you? She sounds like a real bitch.”

“No, her smart mouth keeps me on my toes and her body I love. If you fuck it up somehow I’ll hunt you down like a dog.”

Claire laughed out loud, “Bastard. Back to birthing equipment, technically you really don’t need much. The old movies that have people yelling for hot water and clean towels are more accurate than you might think. There are even companies that sell at home birthing kits that contain all you need for a birth without complications.”

“So the supply houses might be a dead end. Wouldn’t they need a doctor? Someone would need to at least be knowledgeable in how to deliver babies.”

“They could hire a mid-wife maybe?”

“Possibly, some kind of medical professional at the least, with a big enough payout, the skill level increases.”

“With all the medical personnel employed in and around Boston’s various hospitals, it could be anybody.”

“Right not exactly a task for just the two of us to tackle. Let’s see if the FBI is looking into this at all.”

“How about sex?”

“Really, now? Do you want me to find you a place to pull over?” I asked knowing what she was really referring to but hoped she would say yes anyway.

“No. Abduction for sex,” she said looking over at me with a killer sexy smirk. This was the look that first began to make me realize how beautiful she was and how much I loved being around her.

“You should really be clearer when you speak. Now I have to think about baseball,” I said as I leaned back and closed my eyes. “Bottom of the first, nobody out.”

“You’ve got problems,” she added with an exasperated little laugh.

“It’s a male thing.”

“Maybe you should see someone about that male thing.”

“I am but she’s driving at the moment.”

“Well we just hit the Mass border so keep your hopes up. Which reminds me, where are we staying?”

“Marriott’s Custom House at 3 McKinley Square off Boston Harbor. It’s about 15 minutes from Revere.”

“Marriott in the center of Boston, sounds nice. You win the lottery or something?”

“No but you deserve better than some flea bag hotel.”

She took her right hand from the steering wheel and placed it on my leg and gave me a big smile, “That’s very sweet,” she said. I immediately needed to think about baseball again.

“You’re welcome, but partially as a means of distracting myself, let’s get back to the list. You said sex, as in rape?”

“Not necessarily but we can start there.”

“Who kidnaps a pregnant woman to rape her, for Christ sake?”

“Don’t you think mommy’s to be are beautiful?”

“Yes but not in a sexual way. More like an inner shine that pregnant women seem to radiate. A promise of life and hope through giving of themselves to create a new child.”

“So are you saying if I was pregnant you wouldn’t think of me anymore in a sexual way?”

“You’re not are you?”

“No, I’m not. Don’t change the subject just answer the damn question,” she said as she gave me a dark look from under the brim of her cap.

“This is different; we are talking about abducting a pregnant woman for the purpose of sex. I just don’t get that. I love you, so I’m positive that I would still think of you sexually. Of course we couldn’t have sex as it would just poke the baby’s head, give it brain damage and we couldn’t have that.”

“That’s absurd!”

“Yeah, well, what do you think causes that soft spot? It’s from getting poked in the head so often by the father that the cranium doesn’t have a chance to fully form.”

“Where the hell do you get this shit?”

“I don’t know, it just sort of comes to me. Staying on the subject of sex, what about prostitution?”

“Kidnap a pregnant woman to turn her into a prostitute?”

“It does sound far-fetched, but if you look at all the runaways that disappear every year, many are turned into prostitutes. This is certainly different being a kidnapping. She would technically have to be sold into prostitution or some form of white slavery. I wonder how good the Revere Vice squad is”

“Maybe ask your buddy at the State Police his opinion, as well as Vice in some of the surrounding communities, including Boston.”

“Yeah I’ll call him when we get to the hotel. What about the dungeon keepers?”

“Dungeon keepers?”

“The perverts who keep these dungeons where they hold women indefinitely for sex games. They lock them away, for sometimes years, until the woman dies or they are caught.”

“I guess that would be a worst case scenario for us then wouldn’t it?”

“Meaning?” I asked.

“If she is being held in some sort of dungeon, she could be nearly impossible to find, barring some extremely lucky break. Not too long ago a sick bastard in Dewitt, New York, was found with a dungeon where he kept women locked in rooms beneath his back yard. You had to crawl through a hole beneath the cellar just to get to it.”

“If I remember correctly his victims were kidnapped from places hundreds of miles away. If that were the case, she could be anywhere.”

“Not good.”

“No,” I said as I heaved a sigh. I did not like the scenarios we were coming up with. The likelihood we could actually find her was becoming doubtful. “Let’s look at this from the standpoint of looking where the FBI won’t.”

“How do you mean?”

“If this is a kidnapping and the kidnappers are just biding their time for a higher ransom, then the FBI will eventually get a call. I would also guess, but will ask, that the FBI and local authorities are rounding up every local pervert they can find and questioning them. Maybe they get lucky, find a dungeon keeper and she is there. So what is left, sex for sale?”

“You think someone is selling her for men to have sex with a pregnant woman?”

“No, I was thinking more about selling her and the child to someone.”

“I have heard of baby selling but this is way outside of the norm. Usually women are paid to sell their babies after birth, but kidnapping and selling both mother and child? Maybe it’s just the baby they want.”

“If that were the case, wouldn’t it be easier just to kidnap a baby rather than go through all the trouble of kidnapping a woman close to term? No I would think they needed to have both of them if this were the case.”

“Why would someone want both mother and child?”

“Maybe the buyer can’t have kids? Maybe he wants a subservient wife and how better then to hold their child hostage?”

“That’s as creepy as it gets.”

“I know. But we know selling for sex slavery happens and we know baby selling happens, why not a combination of the two?”

“So, is that the premise we begin under?”

“It’s early to say, but finding out if there is an active white slave trade in Boston maybe a place to start. Here’s our exit, route one, Saugus.”

As we took the exit I thought about the reasons we had discussed why someone would want to take Amanda Casey. For the average person, the workings of an often twisted criminal mind were difficult to understand. It was beyond comprehension why people killed, raped, stole, and injured each other in ways which sometimes paled the worst of horror movies. Having been involved in, what was thankfully rare in Maine, some of the most violent criminal investigations, I had the opportunity to track and question a few very sick individuals. The most disturbing of them showed no remorse, no conscience, and justified their every action. They would explain in great detail how their crimes were not crimes at all, but a natural order.

In one of my first major cases for the Portland Police, a man had kidnapped a mother and her three girls, ages ten, twelve, and fourteen. The man was well known to them and spent several evenings a week visiting with the girls even though he had a wife at home. One night, he took them all for an ice cream and proceeded to take them by gun point. He claimed that the two youngest were his children and shot both the mother and oldest daughter, execution style, in front of the two youngest girls. With the help of his current wife, he buried the bodies in the backyard of his home. He then went on the run with the remaining girls. After three days, they were found in an abandoned barn in the rural community of Buckfield, Maine, through a tip from the local gas station attendant. A sniper from the HRT (Hostage Rescue and Tactical Unit) of the Maine State Police caught the suspect in his sights through a window. The bullet passed through his face, exploded through the opposite side, but spared his life.

I spent many days following his arrest at his bedside in the Androscoggin County Jail Infirmary, discussing his motivation for the crime. Through it all, he maintained a clear reasoning to the brutal murders and the abduction of children that he felt had been wrongfully withheld from him. He explained, in detail, how he had gained the trust of the family as he plotted to take what he perceived was rightfully his. Fortunately, neither of the two surviving girls had been harmed physically but mentally they would never be able to rid themselves of the torrid memories placed there by this demented individual.

The man was dead now. He lasted only a few weeks in a maximum-security prison just outside of Boston. He was found dead, his tongue cut from his throat, his eyes removed from their sockets and his throat slashed. The warden had called it a case of Jailhouse justice. I remembered thinking that all though he deserved death, his was perhaps harsher than it should have been.


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