“Holy- Someone just bailed out.”
“Should we make sure they’re okay?”
“Of course not, rookie, we’re on a mission. We can’t afford any distrac-”
“Captain, I think that was our mark.”
The middle aged man pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and craned his neck around. His name was Roger, but he everybody called him Captain. He sat behind the driver, hearing too many bad experiences and warning stories of riding shotgun while on a mission. Firefights and car wrecks put more than enough officers out of commission - permanently or otherwise - and a rookie crew like his didn’t need a disaster for their first mission. He scratched at a scruffy, two-day beard and commanded the driver to pull over. The three others in the car were all new recruits, but had performed well in training. They turned their heads with him as the car rolled to a stop.
“That car matches the make, model, and color of his foster father’s car, and looking at the picture here I would say that our boy just bailed out of it,” said the agent in the front passenger seat, flipping through a small file folder.
“Alright, let’s go check it out. Remember, the kid’s real father will shoot to kill while the foster father’s more protective than anything and probably isn’t armed. Be cautious but friendly, like they taught you at training. I’ll do the talking. If the kid tries to run then follow him, don’t use excessive force. He’s been shot already, we don’t want him whining all the way back to base.”
A round of affirmatives were given as they exited the pure black work van, lethal and nonlethal weapons concealed under their plain clothes appearance. Captain took another drag of the cigarette before stomping it out in the road, hoping the young guns he was working with didn’t screw up their first time in the field.
* * *
Cody stayed down in the dirt, still shaking off the adrenalin that followed him out of the car. He had rolled a long distance down the road and away into a ditch to the side. Dirt and grass had stained his clothes and he rolled over onto his stomach. When he tried to push himself up, a sharp pain stung up and down his right side stemming from his shoulder. Surprised, Cody dropped back down with a yelp.
“Cody! Cody, what on earth were you thinking? Come back to the car this instant!”
Hearing his fake father calling his name gave Cody the resolve to try again. He pushed off with his good arm, stood, and began trotting away while clutching his aching shoulder. Reinhart closed in quickly as Cody tried to hurry into the thin forest to escape. He passed over the first roots of the closest trees when an arm on his shoulder turned him around. Cody grunted with the forced movement, tensing up and glaring at the man pretending to be his dad.
“Don’t ever do that, Cody, I’m already worried sick about you and Ian. Look, your leg is bleeding and it seems like you pinched a nerve in your arm. It’s a miracle you weren’t hurt any worse pulling that little stunt. Come back to the car and I’ll get you a bandaid, I know your mom keeps them in the glove department for that-”
“She’s not my mom. And you’re not my dad.”
Reinhart’s expression instantly changed from annoyance to hurt, and he spoke more slowly. “Cody, I know you’d rather be with them, but she and I are doing everything we can to take care of you and give you a loving home. Weren’t you happy with us, with your own warm room and home cooked food? We tried our best to love you and your brother as if you were our own children.”
“But...” Cody started to hate himself. He looked down in dejection, turning his left leg to see the wound. There was a gash down the side that was a slippery red color that bled down to stain his white socks. Every day since he was adopted was a thousand times more comfortable than when he was on the run, so much so that he was uncertain if he would choose to go back to his real world. How could he tell this man that seeing his father made him want to throw it all away? Even if he did go back home, would things be any better than how he left?
Will I still have to keep running away?
Cody shivered. The sun was close to saying goodbye, and the temperature had begun dropping.
“Hey, bud, let’s head back home and talk it out. What do you think? Mom probably still has some of that hot chocolate and marshmallows that you said you really liked.”
The kid looked up as he felt his foster father’s arm around his shoulders. Cody’s eyes locked onto five figures that had pulled out of a dark van up by the road. Reinhart began to move forward, but Cody stayed put. The situation felt wrong - five grown men in dark clothing exiting a windowless van. Nobody else was traveling down the road. All sorts of alarms were going off in Cody’s head that were telling him to run. The arm tightening around his shoulder told him that the man next to him felt the same way.
“Stay close,” Reinhart whispered.
That’s the last thing I’m gonna do, thought Cody, shivering once again in the fading light of the sunset.
Whoo! Part 14! And with what I've got planned in my head, I'm looking forward for at least five or six more parts. It almost seems like I'm going really fast, but this is nothing compared to how much crap I wrote last month...
And with that, I leave you with this.
And with that, I leave you with this.