Chapter 1 - Midnight rescue
Because everyone was exhausted from the long drive back from Sturgis they’d had to make that day, prospects Andy, Edmond and Jess, who were still on duty and took turns patrolling the yard, made sure the gate was locked and that there were no new footprints in the dirt around it. That was something team 1’s leader and the MC’s best tracker, Wolf, had been teaching them and Jess, especially, was getting really good at it.
About midnight, two of the “fathers” from a recent rescue from an abusive cult that went by the name “Devlin’s Disciples”, Billy and Joe, showed up in the living room where the boys were watching TV. “What are you guys doing up?” Jess asked.
“Giving you a chance to get some sleep or at least a chance to rest.” Joe said.
Jess and Andy looked at each other. “Thanks for the thought but for us to not be up and on duty, if someone were to get up, would be considered deserting our posts and that could get us kicked out of here. I know I’ve worked too hard here to take any chances of getting kicked out.
Besides, you were nice enough to let us sleep for four hours today and I really appreciate it. Once the members get up, we might get a chance to get some sleep. Don’t worry. This part is a cruise so long as nothing goes wrong.” Andy told them. “Besides, we’re supposed to be relieved by the next shift soon.”
“How much longer do you have to be a prospect before you can become members?” Billy asked.
“Only until we turn 18.” Jess said.
“My birthday is April 3rd and Edmond’s is April 20th.” Andy said.
“Mine is not until May 8th.” Jess said with a depressed expression on his face. If they didn’t get some new boys in here soon, he was going to have to do all of the prospects duties on his own and just the thought of it made him tired.
He wondered if Prez was going to let David and Daniel patch in, even though they had not been there as long as the rest of the prospects, just because they either are already or would be 18 soon.
“Well, tomorrow, I’m going to.........” Joe started to say when suddenly the phone began to ring.
“Uh-oh! This is not good.” Andy said as he ran for the phone. “Hello?”
“Please. I need help!” Someone whispered.
“Where are you?” Andy asked.
“By the bleachers behind the high school in Winchester. Please hurry. He’s coming. If he finds me............” The voice whispered and then the phone went dead.
Andy hung up and took off running upstairs. He banged on Prez’s door.
“What the hell?” Prez yanked open the door and glared at Andy. “Boy, you had better have a damn good reason for waking me up.” Prez growled at him.
“We got a rescue call from a boy hiding under the bleachers at the high school. He said someone was after him then the phone went dead.” Andy reported.
“Did he say if he was hurt?” Prez asked.
“No but the phone went dead before I could ask. He was whispering and breathing hard like he could barely speak.” Andy told him.
“Go wake up Thor and team 1. Tell them to be ready to ride in 10 minutes. Tell Jess to get an SUV ready to bring back the boy. If we need Doc, we’ll call. I just need to wash my face and empty my bladder and get dressed.” Prez said, when he realized Andy seemed to be staring at the ceiling above his head and then after a quick glance down, he realized that he was naked. He quickly shut the door and started to head to the bathroom when Amanda sat up in bed and sleepily asked “What’s going on?”
“We’ve got a rescue. A young boy is hiding out under the bleachers behind the high school. He said someone is after him. I’ve got to get dressed. Go back to sleep. I shouldn’t be gone long.” He said as he bent over and kissed her forehead.
Ten minutes later, 5 very sleepy and tired bikers pulled out of the yard with Jess right behind them in an SUV. 15 minutes later they pulled around the high school to the back where the football field was located. They shut off their bikes and began shining flashlights under the bleachers but didn’t see anything at first.
Jess crawled out of the SUV and stood listening for a second, then yelled “Prez! Over here.” Jess ran over to where there was a kid about his age but half his size, laying on the ground face down. His whole back was bleeding from where someone had whipped him. His feet were bare and bleeding too. “Oh man! Someone really did a number on you.” Jess said as Prez and the others joined him.
Prez bent down and put his fingers on the boy’s neck, checking for a pulse. “Well, at least he’s alive. Damn, I wish Doc was here. We’d better take him to the hospital.”
The boy began to moan and Prez bent down and said “Stay still son. We’re going to get you to the hospital. Who.......”
“No! No hospital. He’ll find out.” the boy moaned and tried to lift up but he was so weak that he dropped back down. He managed to remain conscious but he was really weak, probably from loss of blood.
“Who will find out? Who did this to you?” Prez tried to find out.
“My un........” the boy mumbled and then passed out again.
“Jess, bring a blanket. Someone, push the backseat all the way forward. We can lay him down in the cargo area.” Prez ordered. Suddenly everyone was wide awake as they rushed to do as they were told.
Jess came back with a blanket and Prez told him to spread it out flat on the ground next to the injured boy. Prez grabbed his shoulders, trying to be careful not to hurt him anymore while Chains grabbed his feet. Thor reached down and grabbed the back of his jeans and together they lifted him up and put him on the blanket. Then they picked up the corners of the blanket and moved him into the back of the SUV.
“Jess, drive carefully and get as close as you can to the clinic door. I’ll call Doc and wake him up.” Prez said.
“Yes, sir. Don’t worry. I’ll get him there.” Jess reassured him.
Prez pulled out his phone as Jess ran around the SUV and got inside. Jess carefully pulled out as Prez walked to his bike and waited for Doc to pick up, which he did on the 3rd ring.
“Hello?” A sleepy voice answered.
“Doc? We’re on our way from the high school with a kid who’s been badly whipped. His back and feet have had almost all the skin whipped off of him. He’s a real mess. We were going to take him to the hospital but he started freaking out, afraid that someone was going to find out but before we could find out who he was talking about, he passed out again. We’re bringing him as close to the clinic door as Jess can get him. He should be there in about 10 or 15 minutes.” Prez explained.
“I’ll be ready.” Doc said, now sounding much more awake, and then hung up.
Prez jumped on his bike and along with Thor who had waited for him to finish his call, tore out to catch up to the others. Thankfully once they were off the field, they were able to drive faster and made it back to the compound in 12 minutes.
Jess carefully maneuvered the SUV as close to the back door to the clinic as he could and as soon as he put the SUV in park, Doc opened the back door and Jess heard Melinda gasp. “OH my God.” Thoughts of her son’s instantly popped into her mind.
“Seems like a whip is a weapon that is becoming popular with abusers again. Let’s lower the gurney to as close as we can get to the tailgate.” Doc told her and they adjusted the gurney until it was almost level with the SUV’s tailgate. By then Prez and the others were rushing up to help.
“Let me see if there is any damage to his front first before we go sliding him around.” Doc said as he climbed up and carefully rolled the injured boy to his less injured side. “It looks like the whip may have caught him a few times on the chest but his back is definitely worse. Let’s try to lift him as much as we can.” Doc said as he grabbed one corner of the blanket and lifted it as much as he could as the others began to pull on the other corners.
They got him out of the SUV and on to the gurney. As they began to push him into the clinic, he began to wake up and started calling for someone named “Kelly” or “Shelly”. It was hard to hear because his voice was coming out in a whisper.
“Who are you talking about, son?” Doc questioned him.
“He was touching her. She’s only a baby. Have to get help.” The boy whispered and then he passed out again.
“Oh, my God! I think there is another child in danger. Look in his pants pockets and see if you can find any kind of ID on him so that we can get an address. Damn, I wish Wolf was here.” Prez said, running his hand through his hair, again.
“Prez? How about Jess? He’s gotten really good at tracking. Maybe he can back track where the kid came from? As badly as he’s hurt, it can’t be very far from the school and it looked like he had walked or rather crawled there. He has to have left some kind of trail or tracks.” Hammer said.
“Jess, do you think you can backtrack him?” Prez asked Jess, who felt honored just to be asked and that Hammer had that kind of confidence in him. “I’ll do my best, Prez.”
“Good deal. Chain, go wake up team 2. Tell someone to turn on the coffee pot and tell them to meet me in the meeting room.” Prez said as he began to walk back in the clubhouse.
“Prez? I hate to ask it of them but this kid is torn up pretty bad. Do you think Rachel Jensen would be willing to come and help us? She’s got excellent stitching skills.” Doc asked.
“I think her husband is up. I’ll ask.” Prez said as he continued to follow Jess down the hall.
Jess ran to the kitchen and was going to hit the switch on the coffee pot but found Joe Jensen leaning up against the counter holding a cup of coffee.
“Oh, you’re back. Did you find him?” Joe asked.
“Yes, sir. I think Prez needs to talk to you.” Jess said as he turned to leave the kitchen, Prez stepped up behind him. Jess hooked his thumb over his shoulder and said “Mr. Jensen is in there.” Then he took off to go wake up team 2.
Andy and Jess banged on team 2’s doors and everyone of them were not happy about being woken up but as soon as they heard that there was a rescue and Prez had sent him, they turned to go get dressed.
“Damn! Do all of these guys sleep naked? Talk about being made to feel inadequate!” Andy thought to himself as he banged on the last door, which was Cranks. Andy was glad that at least he answered the door with his boxers on. “Crank, there’s a child in danger in town. Prez told me to tell you to get ready to roll. We’ve already brought one kid who was badly whipped but he’s telling us about a little girl in danger of someone touching her.” Andy rushed to explain.
“Okay, I’ll be there in a minute.” Crank said with a big yawn.
Just as Andy turned to go back downstairs, Rooster opened his door and saw Andy passing. “Hey, kid. What’s going on? Are we under attack?” Rooster asked.
“No sir. We got a call for a rescue. Prez and team 1 found a kid nearly whipped to death by the high school in town. Now, he’s telling us there is a little girl in danger of someone touching her.
They’re going to go back and see if they can figure out where he came from since he can’t tell us his address. He warned us about a baby being touched, then he passed out.” Andy explained as quickly as possible.
“I’ll wake up Tracker. He can help.” Rooster said and then walked down the hall to the room Tracker had been assigned. “Tracker, there’s a baby girl in danger. Get dressed.”
That’s all that Tracker needed to hear. He hurried to get dressed and then ran down the stairs. Tracker had been dead asleep but as soon as he heard there was a child in danger, he became wide awake.
Ten minutes later, everyone had been briefed and were ready to go and pulled out of the compound. A dozen bikes starting up and pulling out made a lot of noise and there was enough vibration that you could feel it through the floor on the ground floor.
Joe Jensen woke his wife up and told her what was going on and she quickly got dressed and hurried to the clinic to help Doc and Melinda. She had to stop and catch her breath when she saw the condition of the boy’s back on the table under a strong overhead light.
“Damn. I had hoped I would never have to see or do this again once we got free of Jacob. What do you need me to do?” Rachel asked.
“Before I explain, can you please stick your head out the door and yell for a prospect?” Doc asked and Rachel did as he asked. When she returned, she quickly washed her hands, then dried them and slipped on some rubber gloves.
“What do you need me to do?” Rachel asked as she stepped up next to Melinda.
“I’ve typed and cross matched his blood and I’m going to need some of the brothers with type O blood to donate because this kid has lost a lot of blood. At first I thought whoever attacked him had whipped his feet too but after looking at them it looks like someone cut the souls of his feet with a knife or maybe he stepped on broken glass because he was running barefoot. He’s damned lucky he didn’t lose his toes. I’ve already stitched one back on as best I could.
I’m cleaning the trash out of the wounds on his back now. He must have fallen a couple of times and landed on his back because he’s got dirt in some of the wounds on his shoulders. We may have to do some skin grafts on some of his back because there’s just not enough skin left in a couple of areas to be able to cover it.
Thankfully none of the cuts are really deep, just enough to break the skin so hopefully he will heal pretty quick but we have to stitch his skin back in place or it will take longer to heal. This poor kid is going to be scarred for life.
He’s also got some wounds on his front but I think they are more scratches from running through the woods. Before he passed out, he told us there was a little girl in danger. The guys went to see if they could find out where he came from and try to save her.” Doc told her.
Andy came back to the infirmary and asked “What do you need Doc?”
“I need Bullet and Wizard to come down here and donate blood for this kid. Tell them Dracula calls!” Doc chuckled, causing them all to grin then Andy took off to call them down to the infirmary.
Between Doc getting blood from other members who were the same blood type, the three of them, they worked on the boy for over 3 hours stitching the wounds that could be closed back together.
Then Doc began preparing him for skin grafts. Melinda and Rachel carefully bathed the boy’s legs and Doc removed thin slices of skin from the back of his thighs to replace missing skin on his back.
Thankfully the grafting area was not that large but this meant that the boy would definitely need to lay on his stomach for a while until he healed. Once his back was all stitched up, they rolled him to the side and Doc was able to get a closer look at his chest and stomach. There were some minor cuts and the women carefully cleaned his front and then they applied some antibiotic cream and bandaged them.
Once the men got back to the football field, Prez and Jess showed Tracker where they had found the boy. Prez was impressed when Jess was the first one to find the trail of blood spots that the boy had left across the grass on the edge of the field.
From there, the men spread out to follow the trail through the stand of trees to a road where they followed the occasional drop of blood for over a half a mile and then it disappeared into the woods again. They could tell the kid had fallen a couple of times and once he must have landed on his side and then rolled on to his back because there was more blood in one spot than what they had seen so far.
“Damn, I wonder how old this kid is. He’s got some stamina for sure to have made it this far to be bleeding this badly.” Tracker whispered to Jess who could only nod. He squinted trying to find what direction he had come from. It was extra dark here under the trees, even with their flashlights, but they finally spotted where he must have pushed through the bushes. After about another hundred yards or so, they finally came up on a mowed area that apparently hadn’t been attended to in a while because the grass was above their ankles. Then they spotted a small wood framed house with lights on inside.
They all bent over and Jess and Tracker saw larger spots and smears of blood leading right up to the side of the house. When they got within a few yards of the house, they could hear someone stomping around inside, talking loud.
“I said come out now! I’m not going to hurt you if you come out but if you don’t, I’m going to whip you good when I find you.” The man sounded drunk as he called out to someone.
Prez used hand signals to tell everyone to look in the windows to see what they could see and then to report back to him. All of the men spread out and looked in each window.
A few minutes later, they all went over to what looked like an old garage and stepped behind it where they couldn’t be seen and wouldn’t be heard.
Hammer said “He’s in the hallway, stumbling around looking for someone. He’s not very tall but heavy set and is drunk as a skunk.”Snoop said “I can’t tell how old she is because her face is turned but there is a girl or a small woman in the back bedroom. I’m not sure if she’s alive or not. She’s on her knees on the floor laying across the bed with the top part of her body. She’s naked and not moving.”
Chain said “There’s an empty bedroom that looks like there’s been a fight in there but I can’t see anyone in there.”
Knife looked kind of green as he reported. “Prez there’s a room that looks like it’s for a little girl.” He had to stop and take a big breath and swallow a couple of times before he said “There’s blood on the bed.” He turned and ran around the corner of the building and they could hear him throwing up.
Everyone heard knuckles cracking and then Thor quietly asked “Is he carrying a gun, Hammer?”
“Not that I could see. Just a leather belt wrapped around his hand.” Hammer answered.
Without another word, Thor turned and headed for the back door of the house. He didn’t even bother knocking but ripped the screen door right off the frame and put his shoulder to the inner door and pushed. With one heave the door popped open and slammed against the wall.
“What the hell?” The man inside yelled when he heard the sound and then “Holy shit! Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?” He yelled.
“Where is she?” Thor asked and grabbed him by the throat.
“Who?” the drunk asked.
“The little girl.” Thor asked, his patience was wearing thin but knew he had to give the man enough air to answer his questions. That was the only thing that kept him from snapping this asshole’s neck right now.
“I don’t know. I can’t find her. She’s playing hide and seek with me.” The drunk started to laugh drunkenly.
“Have you been hitting her with that belt?” Thor asked, noticing the bloody belt wrapped around the drunk’s hand.
“No, not yet. She knows I don’t like to play games like that. I expect them to listen and do what I tell them. But when they don’t listen, I have to put them in line.” The drunk slurred.
If Thor hadn’t had a hold of his shirt front, the man would fall over. He yanked the belt away from the man and then yanked on the front of his shirt. “I’m going to show you what it feels like to have someone whip you with a belt to “keep you in line”. Thor said as he dragged the man to the door and then threw him outside.
“Tie him to the clothes line. I’m going to dish out some payback.” Thor said. As he stepped through the door and made a whipping motion with the belt, making it snap like a whip. Buzzer and Chain grabbed the man by the arms and dragged him over to the clothesline support pole and tied his hands to the top of the “T”.
“Jess, you and Tracker, go see if you guys can find the little girl.” Prez said. “Don’t bring her back out this way.”
“Okay Prez.” Jess said, glad that he was not going to have to watch this part but was rather nervous at what they might find inside the house.
“Crank, go back to the school and bring back the SUV.” Prez said.
“Sure thing, Prez. I wonder if that truck runs? Looks like a piece of crap but maybe it will save me the walk.” Crank said as he walked over to the beat up old Ford. He looked inside and was amazed that the key was in the ignition.
He jumped inside and after a couple of attempts, the old truck finally started. He put it in gear and called out to Snoop “come on dude, let’s go for a ride. I can only drive one at a time.”
Snoop looked at Prez, who nodded. Snoop hopped in with Crank and they left to go bring back the SUV.
“Somebody stuff something in his mouth so he doesn’t scare the kid.” Prez ordered before Thor started dishing out the punishment.
Jess and Tracker walked through the house, down the hall to first check on the woman that Snoop said was in one of the bedrooms. They found her unconscious, laying half on half off the bed. She had been badly beaten but her injuries looked more like she had been punched instead of whipped, although there were scabs on her back, arms and legs that told them she had been whipped in the recent past.
Beyond the fact that she had dirty blonde hair, it was hard to tell what she really looked like because her face was so swollen but she had no body to speak of. Small chested, narrow hips and mostly skin and bones skinny. How old she was was anybody’s guess but she sure didn’t look old enough to be married to the drunk.
“If this is his wife, then he robbed the cradle. She’s not developed enough to have had kids and it looks like he’s been starving her. You can count her ribs like a xylophone. I bet she’s the boy’s sister.” Tracker said as he picked her up and laid her down on the bed. “Damn, she hardly weighs anything.”
Just then they heard what sounded like a small child whimper and Jess got down on his hands and knees. He looked under the bed and he suddenly felt sick to his stomach. “Oh my God! They’re just baby’s!”
“Oh lord. I wonder if they saw him doing this to this one?” Tracker said as he got down on his hands and knees and looked under the bed. What he saw made bile rise up in his mouth.
There were 2 children under the bed and from what little he could see of them, he guessed that they couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 years old at the most. They were completely naked and curled into a ball together near the head of the bed as far from them as they could get.
“Hey little ones. My name is Jess. I’m here to help you. We made the bad man go outside. Can you come out so that we can help you? Maybe get you something to eat?”
Just then they heard what sounded like a whip being cracked and saw the little girl flinch and begin to cry and whimper. The other child appeared to be a little boy about maybe 3 or 4 years old judging by his hair cut, which is all Jess could see, tightening his arm around her.
“Tracker, go tell Prez we found them but they can hear what is going on out there. They’re not going to come out with that going on. See if you can find some milk or cookies or something.” Jess said.
“They? I thought there was only a little girl?” Hammer asked. He had followed them inside, hoping to help.
“No, there is a baby girl but there’s also a little boy, maybe a year or two older than her. I can’t tell. I don’t want to scare them by dragging them out. Plus I can’t see if they are hurt or not.” Jess explained.
Tracker nodded and then stood up and knowing that their sheer size was going to scare the children, told Hammer to back out. Being that Jess was smaller and younger than them might help the kids to trust him more. Tracker took off down the hall and through the kitchen to where the men were standing around watching Thor dish out punishment to the drunk.
“Prez? We found them but they can hear that whip cracking. It’s scaring them even more, like they’ve heard it before.” Tracker called out. “They?” Rooster asked and Tracker just nodded. “A baby girl and a little boy. There’s an older girl too but she’s unconscious and in bad shape.”