Through Child's Eyes
Though Child's Eyes
It was dark in the militairy base. The clock in the mess stroke two. The
vague footsteps of a night supervisor died away in the long hallway. The moonlight
fell on the many doors of the recrutes' rooms. A peacefull silence filled the
Then a door softly opened. Two brown eyes gazed threw the hallway to look if all was safe. When he saw the supervisor had began a new round, the boy came out of his room. With careful steps, continuously looking over his shoulder, he walked threw the hallway. In the moonlight his shadow was a big black spot on the wall.
He wasn't much older than eighteen. He stopped at a door and knocked softly, quickly putting a lock of short brown hair back behind his ear.
"Temp, it's time," he whispered, when everything kept silence. He knocked again.
"Hurry up, before the sergeant comes back."
The door opened. Two blue eyes looked at him.
"What took you so long?," the boy said to his friend.
But he dragged him inside and quickly closed the door. They could hear steps on the hallway again. With their ears to the door they listened until everything was silent again.
The other boy, who was a few years older than him, took his bag and whispered: "We've got three minutes before he gets back. Let's go, we can make it."
Close to the wall they ran to the main door.The blue eyed young man took a metal object out of his pocket and put it in the lock.
"Are you sure your lock pick works, Temp?"
The blue eyes of his friend looked at him offended.
"Of course it'll work, Tim. I've spent five nights on it, it has to work."
"Just hurry up, will you? We've got only two more minutes."
"Don't put pressure on a master, kid," his friend answered and with a little click the lock opened.
With a little smile he said: "What did I tell you?"
Then they sneaked outside. A cold wind blew in their faces.
"We made it!," Tim sighed.
"Have you ever doubted on that one? We're the perfect team, we can do anything together."
"Still, that was a close one. Where shall we go? To the hill?"
"Yes, that's fine with me."
They ran to the east side of the base, where there was a hole in the mazes of the gate. Then they disappeared in the dark forest.
Tim chewed on a palm of grass. The lights of the city far below gave a yellow
glow to the horizon. He breathed deep. The soft night air smelled like flowers
and grass. Next to him his friend lay on his back, watching the stars.It was
amazing how soon they had become friends, he and this blond haired man. On his
first day at the base, he felt helpless and alone. He had only joined the army
for his mother, who wanted that he became what his father was: a respected colonel.
But his father had died in Korea, fifteen years ago.
The sergeant had known his father and he had assured his mother that "her little boy would be just like his father in no time at all." That's why he yelled at him that first day: "You're going to get the full treatment, young Timothy Parker. I'm going to make you a man."
Tim just stood there, watching the big, strong man. But at that moment a brown car stopped with a lot of noise before the fountain, where the group of men was standing. The sergeant turned.
"What have we here?," he said surprised.
A man with blond hair came out of the car and closed the door angrily."I hate this peace of shit," they could hear him curse," one of these days it's going to get me killed."
He looked at his watch.
"And I'm late too of course. That's about it."
He saw that everybody was looking at him. With quick steps he walked to them and stopped next to Tim to join the row. He smoothened his hair back and put his hands on his back.
The sergeant looked at him and he looked back.
"And you are?"
"Templeton Peck reporting for duty, sir."
He searched in the pocket of his blue jeans and handed over a paper to the sergeant.
His superior's eyes quickly moved over the page. Then he looked at his new recruit.
"And why were you so late? That isn't a good start with me. I hate people who are always too late."
"Well," Templeton searched for words. Then he straightened up and there were little lights of pure joy in his blue eyes.
"Half way L.A. there was this HUGE car crash. It was horrible. A woman lost control over the wheel and she bumped into another car, which drove in the brush and lay on his side. I saw it all happen and I stopped immediately at the side of the road. The woman got a grip again and stopped some feet in front of me. I ran threw the bushes to the car. There came gray smoke out of the engine and I realized it wouldn't take long before the car would explode. I could drag the heavily wounded man out and with the help of the woman we could bring him to safety. Just a few seconds later the car exploded. We were lucky there drove an ambulance by and took the man to the hospital. I had to go to the police office to tell them what had happened. Finally I could go to the base and that's why I'm so late."
It was silent for a moment. The sergeant looked at the little man below, apparently doubting about believing him or not. All of a sudden his big hand took the collar of Templeton's blouse and pulled his face close to his.
"You are not playing games with me, are you?," the sergeant yelled.
But two blue eyes, who were full of innocence, looked at him.
"Of course not. I wouldn't even think about it. I respect my superiors. Can you let go of me, please? I can hardly breathe."
The sergeant pushed him back. Templeton straightened his collar.
"I'll believe you this once, but I'll be watching you, Teck."
"Err... It's Peck, sir."
The sergeant just gave him an angry look and turned away.
"We are complete now. You have an hour to settle down in your rooms. Then you're back here. And put on the clothes that are in your closets. I only want to see brown and green."
Tim sat down on his bed. He hated this place. He hated it with all of his
"Hi there, neighbor," a voice said behind him.
Tim turned and saw it was this man called Templeton Peck.
"Hi," he softly said.
Templeton looked around.
"This place isn't well decorated. They have really no taste in the army. Ah well, I have to live here for a year, then I'll be a sergeant."
He lay down and looked at the ceiling.
"Sergeant Peck, it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?"
"It's alright," Tim said.
Templeton looked aside and sat straight.
"I am being rude, I haven't even introduced myself properly and I'm already annoying you with my future plans."
He put out his hand and Tim shook it.
"Tim. Nice to meet you."
Templeton observed him for a moment.
"I don't want to offend you or anything, but you don't seem a soldier to me. What brings you to the army?"
"Call it my destiny," Tim said," can't resist the call of the country."
A smile appeared on Templeton's face.
"I like you, kid. I hope we'll become good friends and can stand up together to the big angry serge'."
They became good friends. Where one of them went, the other went too. On
patrol, on the practice track, in the mess.
Templeton was a good listener. He understood Tim. He understood why he went in the army and he understood why he hated it so much.
"Temp?," Tim whispered.
"Yes?," his friend answered, still lying on his back on the hill.
"Can I ask you something?"
Tim looked at the little lights below.
"If I die, will you take care of all the people I leave behind?"
Templeton sat straight and looked at his friend.
"Why are you talking about your death? You have your whole life in front of you."
."I know. But I...well..."
He kept silence.
"Tell me what's on your mind, kid. I'm your friend."
Tim rubbed his eyes.
"I'm just so afraid I won't come back from the war if I'm being send there."
"What? You mean Vietnam? Come on, it'll be a year before we are ready to go there and maybe the war is all over then. Don't worry so much, kid."
"I know," Tim sighed," but there's just something inside of me that doesn't feel right."
He turned to his friend.
"I know that there won't happen anything, but it would be a relieve for me if you promiss you will make sure my mom will be alright if I die."
"You won't die, kid."
"Please promiss it, Templeton. Do it for me. It's very important to me."
Templeton saw his friend was serious.
"If it means so much to you, I'll promiss you that I will take care of your family when you die."
"Thank you," Tim sighed.
Templeton patted his arm.
"Hey, but you won't die. You will die when you're old and gray. You will even outlive me. You have a strong willpower, kid. That's why I admire you so much."
"You're a real friend, Temp."
"It's alright, Tim. And now I don't want to hear another word about it. Or..."
"Or I'll prove to you I'm still stronger than you," he smiled.
"You aren't," Tim said," I'm stronger."
"Yeah?," Templeton said," give it your best shot, kid!"
The screames of exitement of the two friends filled the night air.
Spring 1987, somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean
The sound of the motors of the plane pushed Face's thoughts back from 1970
With his hand he rubbed his eyes and sighed.
He had been so wrong back then. The Vietnam war came, approached like a black devil. He hadn't become a sergeant, he was lieutanant on the day he had to go to the Asian hell.
Timothy was a lieutanant too, they had always sticked together and Face thought they would be together in Vietnam too. But on the day their unit left, Tim told him he wasn't going. He was leaving the army.
Face looked at him in complete disbelieve. Tim told him he couldn't go. He wouldn't be of any help.
Face tried to understand him and respected his choice. He asked where he was going. To England, his friend said.
Because his mother had died a month ago, he didn't have any reason to stay here in America. He wanted to start all over again, on the other side of the world. To live in peace. Face embraced his friend and wished him all the luck of the world. It would be the last time he would see him.
Two days ago a reverend from his old orphanage stood before the door of their villa in Langley.
Face was happy to see him again, but the reverend wouldn't just come to say hi, so he asked him what was wrong.
"I have a letter for you," he said," it was send to the orphanage with your name on it. I gave your friend Murdock a ring to ask where you were and he gave me this address."
He handed the letter over to him. Surprised Face looked at it. It was a letter announcing someone's death.
Thinking of who had died, he opened the letter. He read it and his face got a sad expression. His old friend Tim and his wife didn't survive a plane crash.
"I'm sorry I couldn't bring this letter sooner," the reverend said," but you're always somewhere else. No wonder people send mail to the orphanage, it's the only place where you have stuck around more than a year."
Face vaguely smiled, deep in thoughts. The reverend saw what he had received.
"I'm sorry, Templeton, I didn't know someone had died. Was it a good friend of you?"
Face put the letter back in the envelope.
"It was somebody I knew many years ago."
Threw the little window of the plane Face could see the sun glitter in the
dark blue ocean far below.
Memories of the past, they all came back. The thing of which Tim always was so afraid of, had happened.
He had died young.
Face felt tears in his eyes. Why hadn't he looked him up in all those years? Now he thought of him again, it was too late. His funeral was the next day in London.
Face had decided he was going to it to show the last respect to his friend. How sorry he was things didn't go different.
When he had told his friends about Tim, Murdock wanted to come with him to England. But Face wanted to do this on his own.
"This is your captain speaking," a voice sounded and Face looked up," we
are going to land at London Heathrow in five minutes. Please stop smoking and
fasten your seat belts."
"Is everything all right, sir?," a young stewardess asked him.
Face looked at the beautiful girl.
"Yes, I'll be okay."
"Please fasten your seat belt, sir, we're landing in five minutes."
She smiled at him and he tried to smile back as cheery as he could.
It was a warm April morning when the little group of people, dressed in
black, stood on the cemetery by the graves. Even the birds sang. It almost covered
the sad atmosphere.
Face listened to the voice of the reverend of the little church on the countryside near London, but the words passed him by like shadows in the night. His thoughts were back in 1970-1971.
"Our community has lost two loved people. Although they lived in isolation, they were never too busy to help somebody. It's sad that only so few people are here today. We are all God's children and..."
Face noticed somebody was staring at him. He looked up. On the other side of the graves two blue eyes were looking at him. They belonged to a little girl of about six or seven years old with two blond ponytails. She was all dressed in black and an old woman stood behind her with her hands on her shoulders, listening to the reverend.
Face looked at the reverend again.
"And so the moment to say goodbye is there..."
Face turned around and walked away. He couldn't do this.
He entered the meeting room of the church and with a sigh he sat down. An aged woman gave him a cup of coffee.
"Here you are, son. Funerals are never easy."
"Thank you," he just said.
He stared at a painting on the wall. It was a beautiful landscape and it reminded him of the hill he and Tim used to go to. His thoughts flew away, back to the past.
Face shook up. He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked aside.
A man with a walking stick stood next to him. Quickly Face looked at his watch. He had been dreaming for fifteen minutes! The people entered the meeting room to drink some coffee.
"Mister?," the man asked again.
"Oh, yes, sorry," Face turned to him," what can I do for you?"
"Can I sit down?"
"Of course. Take a seat."
The old man sat down in front of him and took off his black hat.
"It's always sad when somebody dies," he said," especially when they are as young as Timothy and Kate, his wife."
"I know," Face sighed.
"Did you know him well?"
Face sat back.
"We went threw military training together many years ago."
"Military training? Tim? That can't be, he hated the army."
"Sometimes things go different than you want."
"Yes, you're right."
There fell a silence between them. Face looked outside the window.
After a while the old man said: "You're not from around here, are you?"
"No," Face tried to smile," I come from America. Did you notice it from my accent?"
"Partly," the old man said, while he turned his walking stick around and around in his lap," I saw you sign the guest book and we don't have many Templeton Pecks around here."
"I could have guessed that," Face tried to make a joke.
The old man lay his walking stick on the table.
"Look, kid. I have to tell you something."
"First of all, my name is Gregory Danson and I am a notary in London. I was Tim's notary for many years. The reason why I came up to you is... well... Tim made a last will three years ago and you are in it."
Face looked at him surprised.
"You are telling me that..."
"You will inherit something from Tim."
Face sat back and rubbed his cheek.
"This is quite a surprise for me."
"I have tried to find you in the US, but it's just like you don't exist there."
"That's quite complicated, mister Danson. Don't even start."
"I had hoped you would show up at Tim's funeral. I wanted to fulfill Tim's last wishes as good as I could, but for that, I needed you. There are only a few more inheritors. They are all from around here. I'm opening Tim's last will tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Here is the address."
The old man gave him a card.
"Thank you," Face said and gave the old man, who stood up to go and talk to the other guests, a hand.
He watched him go and smoothened his hair back. An inheritance. That was the last thing he had expected. Frankly, he didn't care about what it was. He had just come to England to say goodbye to his old friend.
On the other hand, what if Tim wanted to give him something precious? He decided to go the next day, but first he would call Murdock.
"Of course you have to go," the voice of his friend said on the other end
of the line in his hotel that evening," if you don't go and Tim wanted to give
you something special, you'll be sorry for the rest of your life."
"Yes, you're right, Murdock, I'll go tomorrow."
Face stare out of the window for a moment.
"Are you sure you are all right, Face?," Murdock said," I can still fly over, if you want me."
"No, no, I'll be fine. I just hate funerals."
"Yes, Murdock, sure. Don't be so worried, I'm not a little child anymore."
"Sometimes you are, Facey," Murdock joked.
"Very funny, Murdock. Say, how are you and the guys doing?"
"Great. Can't be better. We didn't see anything of Stockwell these past days."
"Of course right now, when I am out of town," Face sighed.
"Will you be back soon?"
"I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon, after the opening of Tim's last will."
"That's all right. Shall I pick you up from the airport?"
"No, I'll see you in Langley."
"I almost forgot, there has called a girl for you yesterday. What's her name...Cindy, Mindy, Linda? Yes, Linda."
"I completely forgot!," Face said," if she calls again, tell her I'll be home tomorrow."
"Is Hannibal around?"
"No, I'm home alone right now. The others are out."
"Say hi to them for me, will you."
"And tell Frank he stays out of my closet."
"I will. Good luck tomorrow, Face. You can always give me a ring if there's something wrong."
"Yes Murdock, I know. Enjoy the rest of your evening."
"We are all here today to fulfill the last wishes of a respected and friendly
married couple who came to their end so tragically," mister Danson said the
He sat on one side of the big wooden table. Face and an old couple sat in front of him.
"Mr. and miss Rosefield, Mr. Peck, thank you for coming this morning. I will be brief, the funeral of yesterday still plays threw our minds."
The old man put on reading glasses and took a file.
"You are all in the last will of the Parker's. Well now, let me open the envelope."
Face felt his heart banging in his chest. What did Tim wanted to give him?Mister Danson took out a little pile of papers.
"This last will is made by Timothy and Kate three years ago. They didn't have much of value. I will go immediately to the part where you come in. You all will get a copy to read the rest. Well now."
The old man turned the page and cleared his throat.
"I, Timothy Jonathan Parker and my wife Kathleen Maria Thompson, have made this last will on the 15th of December 1984 to make sure everything goes to the right people when we die. First of all, we want to thank all the people who treated us like we were family in the community. Although we lived a bit isolated, you never doubted a moment to respect and help us.
Life goes by in a few seconds, it seems. Years pass by as the leaves turn green, yellow, red and brown. But real friends stay forever. I can't thank you enough for that. Everyone in this last will was special to me and Kate.To me, life was always a black shadow, hunting me where ever I went. I was afraid of death, afraid of what was next. Things changed when I met my wife Kathleen. She made me realize that I was driving myself to the limit.
She made me see what life was. What happiness and peace was. She gave me the most precious gift of all, Emma.
Now I see life is just like a three. Leaves may turn brown in Fall, in Spring there always will be fresh green.
After I die, there will be new life, full of ideals, full of happiness.
The same happiness people gave me during my life.
Let me get serious now. Although I'm less afraid of death now, there always
will be a chance I die early.
In that case I want my wife Kathleen to have all my possessions. She knows what to do with them.
This will be the same when she dies.
However, if we both die, you all get parts of my life. Mister Danson as our witness, my wife and I have come to the following..."
Mister Danson looked over his glasses to the three people in front of him.
"Are you ready?"
They all nodded.
Mister Danson continued.
"Mr. and Miss Rosefield, good neighbors and true friends. Always there when one of us needed help.
My friends, we want you to have our furniture and jewels. We know you can use the money, so you can sell them. As for the house, I want you to sell it and put the money on the bank for Emma. We know we can trust you to do this."
The old couple nodded.
"And now my friend Templeton Peck. Temp, I know we go back a long way. You were the best friend I have ever had, even if it was just for a year. I know you're still alive, a person like you doesn't die easy. I want to thank you for being there during the toughest period of my life. You were the only one that understood me like Kate does now. I wish I could give you money, you deserve a million for being a real friend. But I am not very rich man and I know money can't fill in friendship. So I want you to have my uniform. See it as a symbol of the year we spent together. It would mean a lot to me if you took it. Thank you for all the nights on the hill, Temp."
Face sighed relieved. Tim's uniform, all the money of the world couldn't buy him that. He didn't need more of Tim besides that. He had his memories and nobody could take them away from him.
"The next part is more complicated."
Face looked up.
"You mean there's more?"
"Yes, mister Peck. This part is about the most precious thing to Kate and Tim."
Face rubbed his cheeck. What would that be?
"We have only little things to give to our friends. But there's one thing we want to go to the right person.
My wife and I have talked it over and over. But we couldn't find the right person in London to take this task.
Then I remembered the promise you made many years ago, Temp. You said you would take care of the one's I would leave behind. Besides Kate I don't have any family left to take care. You always were a good friend and I know you are the right person to do this. Templeton, it's hard for me to ask you this, but I will be honest to you.
I want you to be the guardian of my daughter Emma until she can take care of herself."
Face's eyes got bigger and bigger and he looked at mister Danson in complete
"Daughter???? Guardian????," he stammered.
"You seem to be surprised," mister Danson said.
"SURPRISED???? Until now I didn't even know Tim HAD a daughter. I can't take care of a child, what kind of nonsense is this???"
"I see that you didn't expect this, Mr. Peck."
"You're right I didn't. I am not in the position to take care of a child. I had expected some things, but they didn't include a human being."
"I wish my husband and I could take care of the poor thing," Miss Rosefield said," but we are old and soon we will die too. We can't do that to Emma."
"Isn't there a young couple who can take care of her?," Face said.
"Tim wanted you to take care of his daughter," mister Danson said," I'm sure he has a reason for that. However, Tim says if you really aren't able, he wants you to search the right home for here."
Face rubbed his cheek.
"Jesus," he sighed and he stared in front of him.
"Tim has written a letter when he made his last will. He wanted me to give it to you if something would happen to him and Kate."
Danson handed over a white envelope to him.
With shivering hands Face opened it and took out a paper. His eyes ran over the lines.
15th December 1984, LondonDear Templeton,When you read this letter, I won't
be around anymore. You will have heard my last will.
I understand that it must be quite a shock for you to hear I want you to take care of my child.
But, dear Temp, you are the only one who is capable of it the way I want her to be raised.
Long ago you promised me something and now is the time to keep your promise.
I know times have changed since '71, but I just want to have my little girl in a safe place. I know you can give her that.
However, I know I'm asking a lot of you. Raising a child, that isn't an easy task. If you, in some way, can't take this responsibility, I want you to search a suitable family for her.
Threw the years I haven't had much close friends. But you were one of them. You are a good person, Templeton.
Forgive me that I haven't looked you up in all these years, I know I should have. But I had started a new life and I didn't know if I could go back to the past.
Let me be direct, Temp, I know you hate it if people talk in circles. I'm asking you this because you are the only one who knew me well enough to understand my hopes, my dreams. You are the only one who can pass them on to my daughter if Kate and I have died.
Can you understand I am afraid that she might end up in an orphanage? You are the person to know that that isn't a life. You haven't had a family when you were little and you suffered with the empty hole deep inside. I don't want that to happen to Emma too. Temp, can you make sure that she will be all right?
My friend Greg Danson will help you the most as he can to see to it that everything will be arranged properly.
There is a bank account with some money. You can use that for Emma. Greg will inform you.
Templeton, please take care of her. You know how I think of life, it can end every moment and I just want to make sure everybody will be all right.
I want to thank you for that year of friendship, for our many long talks, for just being there during those months of hell.
With feelings of gratitude I sign,
Face stared at the piece of paper. The letters were dancing before his eyes.
He remembered what he had promised many years ago, but he would have never guessed Timothy would ask him that for real. Face couldn't just take care of a child, even if it was of one of his friends.
"Are you all right?," mister Danson said.
Face looked up.
"It's quite a shock for me," he said," what Tim asks of me isn't a usual question."
"You can think it over. This isn't a decision you can make in five minutes."
"Can I talk to you in private for a moment?"
"Of course. Mister and Miss Rosefield?"
"We understand. Thank you, Greg."
The two old people left.
Face folded up the letter and put it in his pocket.
"Mister Danson, can you guarantee this is a confidential conversation and that you won't use this against me."
"I promise, mister Peck. You can trust me on my word."
Face slowly stood up and walked to the opened door to the balcony. A soft April breeze blew up the thin curtains. Face leaned on the balustrade. On the lawn below children were playing with a red ball.
Shouts of joy filled the air.
The daughter of Tim could be one of them. Face softly shook his head. No, she wouldn't play so soon after her parents' dead. She would sit in their empty house, maybe at friends'. But she would experience the silence. The pain. The loss of feeling warm, loving arms around you. The loneliness, like he had felt it many years ago, when he was a little kid.
His thoughts flew back to his childhood. To the nights he had cried himself into sleep in the orphanage. To the days on which he saw fathers taking their little boys to a theme park. How lonely he felt back then and how jealous he had looked at kids who played in the park eating cookies they had baked with their moms.
To the supporting hand on his shoulder that wasn't there when he needed it.
The nights were long and cold when he was little. He remembered the shadows who runned on the walls when he lay in his bed. How he always pulled the blankets over his head to run away from the tough reality.
Those first years were terrible, but when he reached his teens, he missed a dad to show him what life was all about. He missed a mom to give him the feeling he was at home, in a safe place.
With many tears he had come threw his childhood. He was on his own, like he had always been. But now he could take things in his own hands. He didn't want to feel that way again and he would do anything to avoid it.
He tried to avoid loving people too much, afraid of losing them again. The loneliness would be back if that happened. But caring for people is something you can't control.
Through the years there were many people who meant something to him. Tim was one of them. But Face knew Tim's destiny and his wouldn't cross in the future. So even with him he tried to hold back.
But some years later he met Hannibal, Murdock and B.A. They accepted him in their close group. He felt secured around them. Strong feelings of friendship developed threw the years. He couldn't hold back to the people who loved him so much. For the first time in his life Face experienced what it was like to have a family who cared about him. They learned him to live with those feelings of his childhood. But they couldn't let him forget.
And now another child had lost her parents. It was possible she would go the same way as he did many years ago. To an orphanage. The people there were friendly, but she would never experience the warmth of a real family. She would never wake up on Christmas morning with the face of somebody she loved smiling above her.
She would suffer the same pain as he had done. If he ran out now.
This time things were different. Back then, he didn't have the chance on a real life, she did. And that choice was in his hands. Her future lie in his hands. His choice would influence her life for good. Maybe that was the reason why Tim chose him to be her guardian if he would died. Of all people in the world, Face knew what it was like to lose your parents when you are young. Face breathed in deep. The air was filled with the fragrance of Spring flowers.
Face realized he could make sure a child wouldn't suffer the same as he had done. Tim had known Face couldn't just let that happen. That he would fight to avoid an orphanage.
The kids below took their ball and ran home when the Big Ben stroke eleven.The strikes echoed threw Face.
Two-the cold nights which staid when he grew older
Three-his college years
Nine-those many years on the run, loved people coming and going
Ten-the trial and the missions for Stockwell
Eleven-a little girl who was about to go the same way as he
The clock kept silent. Face realized the twelfth strike was the future.
And he could control it. He could decide what the next strike was for Tim's
Face turned around and closed the doors behind him. He walked back to the chair and sat down.
"Look, mister Danson, I can't take the responsibility of a child. Not the way I live. It is too unstable for a child to live in."
"I see," mister Danson said disappointed," so this means you won't be Emma's guardian?"
"I said I won't take care of her myself. But I am willing to find her a loving family."
"You are a good person, mister Peck. I am glad that you want to do this for Timothy."
"I'm doing this for myself too. I know what it is to be an orphan and if I can prevent somebody from ending up in an orphanage, I will do it."
"How are you going to do things?"
"My plane is leaving this afternoon. I have to go back to America, I can't stay here. So I guess I will take here with me to America and see how I will do things there. I can cancel my flight until tonight, because there is still a lot to arrange. But tonight I will go."
"I appreciate it you are prepared to put some effort in it. Emma deserves a happy life, London would only remind her of the past. If you need any help, you know where I am."
Face put down a white rose on the gray pebbles of Timothy's grave. His fingers
touched the marble memorial stone.
With a soft voice Face read it out loud.
"Timothy Jonathan Parker
Husband of Kathleen Maria Thompson
Loving father of Emma Muriel Parker
We are all God's children and go to Him someday
But you went so early
Smile down on us from heaven
And we will know we'll meet again."
Face slowly stood up and took a step back.
"I'm sorry this was the reason why I came back to see you," he said," but so much has changed since you left to England. I've been in Vietnam. But things turned out different than I had expected. I never got married and I don't have any children. But I did get the family I always wanted. They are my best friends. Oh Tim, if only you had the chance to meet them. They are just so different from normal people and that makes them so special.
I don't know what life would be without them. And frankly, I don't want to know. I am used to this way of living."
It was silent on the cemetery. Only now and then Face heared some birds sing.
"I'm going to pick your kid up in half an hour. Danson makes sure all her stuff is ready."
Face smoothened his hair back.
"You scared me back there for a moment, Tim," he said," I remembered my promise, but I didn't know I had to keep it someday. It isn't usual that I have the responsibility over a child. I have my hands full on Murdock, keeping him as an adult," he smiled.
He kneeled and moved the rose a few inches to the right.
"You know, white is the color of peace. I hope you will find that here."
Face stood up again.
"I have to go now. I promise I will find a new family for your daughter. So... guess this is goodbye."
Face sighed for a moment.
"You know how I hate good-byes. Let's make it a: See you again some day.. Because I know we will. It will be at another place, in another time, in a world that knows no hate. Bye, Tim."
"If you sign here, everything will be settled."
Face took a pen and signed. He handed over the paper to the woman on the other side of the desk at the City Hall.
"Your friend mister Danson will deal with the rest of the paperwork. You are officially guardian of Emma Parker and can take her to America."
She stood up and gave him a hand.
"I hope you can find a nice home for her. Such a poor thing, all alone.. I will fetch her from my colleague's office. Just a moment, please."
The woman left the room.
Face turned the pen around and around in his hands nervously. He just hoped the kid wouldn't be of any trouble, things were complicated enough. He would take her to Langley, but he had to find a family before Stockwell showed up.. The general wouldn't be very pleased with a child running around.
The door opened again.
"Don't be afraid, little thing, go right in," he heard the woman say.
Face turned around. In the doorway a little girl stood, pressing her teddy bear close to her body. Face recognized her from the funeral.
"Come, Emma," the woman said," enter my room."
The little girl made a few steps and stopped a few feet of Face's chair.
"This man will be your guardian, Emma."
Two big blue eyes looked at him.
"I know you," a little, soft voice said," you were on the funeral of my mom and dad."
"Yes, that's right."
"Did you know them well?"
"I knew your father many years ago. We were very good friends."
"Are you going to take me to America?"
"Yes, I am."
"But I want to stay here, where mom and dad lived before they went to God."
"Please, Emma," the woman said," sit down and listen. It will be the best if you go away from here. It is not that we want you to go, but there is just nothing left here that is important to you. Your dad wanted this mister here to take care of you and he lives on the other side of the ocean. That's why you are going to America."
The little girl thought for a moment, still standing.
Face saw it was hard for her to leave the place where she had spent so many happy years.
"If you come with me, I'll introduce you to some very good friends of mine. One of them is very smart. You can talk to him, he would love to listen. And B.A. will take you everywhere you wanna go."
A little smile appeared on his face.
"And Murdock has an invisible dog..."
The eyes of the little girl grew bigger.
"Can he do tricks like a normal dog?"
"Oh yeah, Billy even can do more. You'll love him."
The little girl sat down on the chair.
"I always wanted to have a dog. Can I play with him someday?"
"You can play with him as many times as you want. But you'll have to come with me."
"Emma," the woman said," what do you think?"
"Are you sure mom and dad won't be mad if I go?"
"Of course not. They are up there now and they will be watching over you, no matter where you are," she answered.
"It was your parents' last wish that you came with me to America to find you a new home."
"What do you think, Teddy?," she whispered in her bear's ear and put his face against her's.
Then she looked at Face.
"Teddy says I have to go."
"That's very wise of Teddy," Face said," are you two coming? Our plane leaves in an hour."
Face stared to the seat in front of him. The sound of the plane engines
faded to the background when he went back to his past. What had his life given
him so far?
Things had gone different than he had expected. It seemed that misery was his destiny. Being an orphan since he could remember, running from the government for a crime he hadn't commit. Life had been very cruel for him. But threw the years he realized that life had given him the most precious gift of all too: his friends. Their love and presence and the way they were connected to each other gave him a warm feeling deep inside. Only a few times more he had experienced that feeling. One of them was with Tim. He had been a few years older than this brown-haired boy, but there had been some kind of weird bond between them.
Face looked aside to the little girl who sat next to him, her nose pressed against the little window. With her blond hair and her blue eyes she didn't at all resemble his old friend. But the way her eyes twinkled when she heard about Billy made him shiver. He had seen that look before, many years ago. It was a happy look, even filled with hopes and dreams.
"So...err...Have you ever flown before, Emma?," Face started a conversation.
The two ponytails moved quickly when she turned to him.
"My mom and dad nicknamed me Emmie, so I would appreciate it if you would call me like that too."
"Right," Face said unsure.
Normally the words just flew out of his mouth, but in this situation he felt a bit helpless. He didn't know how to get on with children. He decided to ask B.A. if he wanted to look after her when he was finding her a home.
It would save him a lot of trouble.
He saw Emmie was rubbing her teddy bear's belly nervously. Apparently she didn't know what to say either. But he could understand that, he was a complete stranger to her. He looked to the seat in front of him again.
"No, I've never flown before," her soft voice said all of a sudden," I was happy where I lived until my parents died and they never wanted to travel."
It was silent again.
Emmie caressed her teddy bear, while she said: "So do you have a name too?"
Face turned at her. In all of the commotion he had forgotten to introduce himself.
"Of course. My name's Templeton Peck."
The big blue eyes looked at him surprised.
"My father has told me about you. Weren't you two in the army together?"
"Yes, we were. But he wasn't fitted for the army, so he left to England. I guess he has met your mom there."
"They met in London. My mom worked at a television network and had to interview my dad. At that time he was collecting money to protect animals. She fell in love with him the moment she saw him."
She sighed and Face saw there came tears in her eyes.
"You must be missing them a lot," he said softly.
"Yes," she said, pushing the bear against her head," but I know they are with God. They will be happy up there. My dad will finally find the peace he always wanted. I have accepted that they have gone so early. I think God has an important destiny for them. Still, I miss them so..."
"I know how you feel, kid. I never had parents when I was young."
He saw she was crying and decided to leave her alone for a while so she could grieve for her parents.
"Mister Peck," a little voice said in Face's ear.
He woke up.
"We are going to land in ten minutes, Mister Peck."
Face looked at his watch. She was right. How could he have fallen asleep?
"To which part of America are we going, mister?"
Face straightened his back.
"You don't have to call me mister, Emmie. Just call me Face, like my friends."
"Face...," she tasted the name on her lips," I see why they nicknamed you like that. All right, Face, where are we going?"
"To Langley, Virginia. I live there with my friends."
"What do you and your friends do for a living?"
Face paniced. How was he going to explain his situation to a six-year-old?
"We...err...do some jobs for somebody."
Face sighed relieved when Emmie didn't go further with the subject.
"Wow, is this your car???"
Emmie touched the door of the 'Vette admiring.
"Yes, it is. Do you like it?"
"Yes, I do!"
"That is a good thing, 'cause you can sit in the back."
Face put the luggage next to her and drove off the parking lot.
With a slam Face entered the living room that evening.
"And?," Hannibal said.
"I had to fill in about twenty forms and then they said: "We will call you back." So what do you think?"
"That you have to sit down and wait."
"B.A. took her out. They will be back anytime."
The door opened again.
"Faceman!," Murdock yelled and ran to his friend, hugging him strong.
"Yes, Murdock, I know you missed me. Could you just let me breathe???"
"Sorry," Murdock said, while letting his friend loose," how did it go? What did you inherit?"
"I'm back!!!," Emmie yelled from the doorway, B.A. standing behind here.
Murdock turned around.
"That is what I inherited," Face said.
"Yes, a child."
"Hey, I don't know you yet," Emmie said," you must be Murdock."
"Well, yes I am. But..."
Murdock looked at Face.
"I'll tell you later, Murdock," his friend said.
With little steps the girl ran to Murdock and pulled his sleeve.
"Face said you had an invisible dog."
Murdock looked in her blue eyes and he smiled.
"Yes, I have."
"And Face also said that he could do tricks."
"Of course he can do tricks. He's the smartest dog in the whole wide world."
"Oh, man, cut the crap," B.A. said," look Emmie, Murdock is a fool. He sees things that aren't there. Like Billy. There's no such thing as an invisible dog."
Murdock looked at his friend mad.
"What are you saying? That Billy isn't real?"
"Yes, and I am also saying that you are a fool."
Murdock walked to B.A.
"Oh brother," Face sighed," here we go again."
"Well, I can tell you, mister Jeweleryshop, that Billy IS real."
"He is NOT," B.A. said, while grabbing Murdock by his collar.
"He is NOT!"
"Hey, look at that cute little doggie outside!"
Both men looked at Emmie, who was pointing to the window.
"I don't see any dog," B.A. said.
"But that's Billy!," Murdock yelled, while pulling himself out of B.A.'s grip,"see, B.A., I'm not the only one who sees him anymore! So who's the fool here?"
When B.A. wanted to grab Murdock again, he felt a little hand on his arm.
"Don't fight, B.A."
B.A. looked down and kneeled by the little girl.
"You're right, Emmie. But there is no such thing as an invisible dog. Murdock made that up, because he's crazy."
"You don't have to be crazy, B.A.," she answered," if you believe hard enough in a good thing, it will be there."
"Exactly," Murdock added.
"Now, B.A., are you coming with me and Murdock to play with Billy?"
B.A. doubted for a moment. But when he saw her little blue eyes, he melted.
"Well, alright then."
"See, B.A.," Murdock said happily," I told you you would come into my world someday!"
B.A. stood up and looked at the Captain angrily.
"Just don't expect me to walk the stupid dog."
Then the Sergeant followed the two to the garden.
Face rubbed his eyes.
"Is there something wrong with me? Did I just heard B.A. saying that he was going to play with BILLY???"
Hannibal looked at the Lieutenant.
"I think so, although I can't believe it."
"The big fellow playing with Murdock's invisible dog.. How can that be?"
"I think it's Emmie."
"Children can believe in things more than grown-ups do, Face. And I think Emmie is showing B.A. that when you can't see something, it doesn't mean it isn't there."
"You mean that Billy could be real?"
"Only Murdock and Emmie know."
"And if things are going as they do now, B.A. will know too..."
They both couldn't prevent smiling.
Face chewed on the back of his pen. It was a week ago since he went to the
adoption bureau and this morning he had gotten some letters from people who
were interested in Emmie.
"Too old, too young, too poor..."
Face sighed. Would he ever find good parents for her?
Distracted by screames from the garden he looked outside the window.On the lawn he saw his friends running after a ball. They were playing American football with Emmie.
This week had been quite magically for them. With Emmie's presence it was like they had something from a normal family. She was the child none of them would ever have. Even Hannibal was showing her some of his fatherly feelings.
Face looked back to the letters. He didn't have a thing for children. True, he liked Emmie, but he didn't think he would ever play with her like the others, running around like teenagers.
He took his mind off the subject and read the next letter.
"Face," Emmie's voice sounded all of a sudden.
"Mmm...?," Face said, without looking up.
"Are you coming too?"
"No, not now, kid. I have to read these letters. They are from people who want to adopt you."
"But I don't wanna be adopted," she said with a sad voice," I wanna stay with you and the others."
Face looked up.
"You know that isn't possible."
"No, I don't know! I like it here, why can't I stay? My dad wanted you to take care of me."
"If I could. But I can't and that's why I am finding you a new family."
"But I don't wanna go!"
"You are going and that's it!," Face yelled.
But when he saw that there came tears in her eyes, he regretted it he had yelled at her.
"Look, Emmie, I'm sorry..."
But she ran back to the garden, almost bumping into Frankie.
"Hey, who are you?," he yelled, but she was gone.
Face shook his head and sighed. Hannibal had to talk about her on that matter.
Face read further.
"Well, hello to you too," Frankie said," how was your trip to Puerto Rico, Frankie? Well, it was great, thank you for asking."
"Frank, I don't have time for that now. I have to finish this."
Astonished Frankie put off his sunglasses.
"Geez, man, how did you become so cranky?"
"Just leave me alone for a while, Frank."
Offended Frankie turned around.
"Oh, and Frank..."
"Put out that jacket. I believe that is mine."
Frankie walked to the garden. There he found the rest of the team on the little bench, comforting the crying girl who just ran past him.
They looked up.
"Hi there, Frank."
Then they looked back at Emmie.
"What is wrong with you all today? I come back from my holiday and nobody says a friendly word at all."
"Sorry, Frank," Hannibal said," but you came back on the wrong moment."
"Who is that girl anyway?," Frankie said.
"We'll tell you later, Frank."
"Now, tell me, Emmie, why did you have a fight with Face?"
With the back of her hand she dried her tears off.
"But there must be a reason why you are crying. Are you thinking of your parents?"
Face ran out of the house. With his fingers he made two circles around his eyes.
"Stockwell!," Murdock hissed.
"Damned!," Hannibal said," where are we going to hide Emmie?"
They saw Stockwell coming in the garden.
Face reached them.
"He just appeared out of nowhere. What are we going to do?"
"We are going to stand before her and hope that the general doesn't notice."With a pull B.A. put Frankie next to him.
"Hey, what the..."
"Hello there," Hannibal said to the general.
"Hello. What are you cheery today, Colonel?"
"You know me, general."
"I hope you enjoyed your holiday."
"Yes, we did."
"Well now, to all the nice things there's an end and I have a new mission for you."
"Oh no," Face sighed.
"What did you say, Lieutenant?"
"I said: Thank God."
"I'm glad you're looking forward to this, Lieutenant."
"I don't know if you noticed it on the news these past weeks, but there have been several terrorist attacks in the US."
"Yes, I heard," Hannibal said," in LA, Washington and New York there were shootings. The police never caught the perpetrators and they didn't know what was there goal."
"Right, Colonel. And now I've heard there is going to be an attempt in Virginia."
"In Virginia?," Hannibal said," you really are stupid if you try such a thing in the state of the CIA."
"The problem is, Colonel, that they aren't at all stupid. They have mislead the police so far and I don't see why they can't do the same to the CIA."
"And now you want us to prevent that attempt."
"That's right, Captain."
"But how are we going to find them when there's no clue?"
"Don't ask me, Colonel. You are the A-Team, capable of everything, as you say yourself. Or do you want to back off and forget about the pardon?"
"Speaking of the pardon," Murdock said," haven't we done enough for that by now?"
"Patience, Captain, hard work will be rewarded. Eventually."
"I don't like him," it sounded crying from behind them.
"What was that?," Stockwell said.
"Err...I said...I don't like you," Face said quickly.
"You don't have to like me, Lieutenant, as long as you do your job you can hate me so much as you want."
"I'll keep that in mind."
"Good," Stockwell said," keep your eyes open and make sure you'll find those terrorists before they make their attempt."
"You know what to do. So my work's done. Good luck, gentlemen."
Stockwell walked away, but at the door he turned back.
"Go and see a doctor. You don't sound very healthy."
"I will," Face said.
They sighed relieved when Stockwell disappeared.
"That was a close call."
"You can say that again, Murdock."
"And what now?," Face said," we have a job to do and Emmie is still around."
Hannibal kneeled by the little girl.
"That man scared you, didn't he?"
"Yes," she dried her tears off.
"Well, he even scares me sometimes. But I will get him for frightening you like that. No more tears?"
"No," she said and embraced him all of a sudden.
"I love you, Hannibal."
Hannibal put his arms around the little girl, who had hidden her face in his white jacket.
"I love you too."
"Then why can't I stay with you?"
Hannibal looked at her.
"Well, Emmie, that is a bit complicated."
"There happened something many years ago," B.A. started," far away from
"The four of us were US soldiers in Vietnam. We had to fight against these mean people, named the Vietcong.
They wanted to have the South of Vietnam, but that was partly of the US," Murdock said.
"But one day," Hannibal continued," there was a chance that we could end this terrible war. A man, named colonel Morrison, said that if we robbed the bank of Hanoi, a big city in Vietnam, four days after the war seemed to be over, we would take away a lot of the Vietcong's money, so they couldn't fight anymore. Well, we took the opportunity. But Morrison, who had given us the order for the robbery, died when the headquarters was being hit. So the US army thought we had robbed the bank for our own profit and they wanted to arrest us."
"They did and locked us away in Fort Bragg, where we had to wait for our trial," Face said," but we went over the wall and we disappeared in the LA underground to search for a way to clear our name. While running for the government, we decided to work as soldiers of fortune to make some money."
"We lived there for about fifteen years and still the government was chasing us. That is why we never had the chance to start a normal life, we were continuously on the run."
"One day we met the man that just left. He made a deal with us: We would do some jobs for him and he would arrange a pardon for us."
"But those jobs are very dangerous and so is the rest of our life. It isn't suitable for a child to live with us. You would live with a lot of fears everyday. We can't do that to you. Emmie, can you understand that?"
"A bit," she said," but I like it here. I would be unhappy somewhere else."
"We just want what's best for you."
"I'm going threw some more letters, Hannibal," Face said," maybe there are some nice people between them."
"Come on, Emmie, let's play some more," B.A. said," you can stay with us until we find you a new home. You will see it won't be so bad as you think."
"Come on, little one," Murdock said," Billy hates to see you unhappy. We will talk about it later. Let's not spoil this beautiful day."
Hannibal soflty caressed the blond hairs of the sleeping girl. She sat between
Murdock and him and leaned on his shoulder with her head, her teddy bear in
her arms. Normally he wasn't exactly into children, but this little girl had
touched a spot he thought he didn't have. He had noticed Murdock and B.A. felt
the same. It was as if she was the kid they all never had. Only Face had troubles
being around here. It was as if he didn't dare to come close to her. Maybe she
reminded him too much of Tim. Or maybe Face just didn't like children. Maybe
they let him see which life he couldn't have. It was certain that there was
something wrong with his Lieutenant.Probably he was still grieving for his old
friend and that made him act different.
On the other side of Emmie Murdock sat, watching TV. But now and then he turned his head to the little girl next to him and smiled. In the week she had been in Langley, it was as if there had been a clear wind threw the team. It made the team forget their problems for a moment and taste something of real life. So far, Murdock was enjoying it. He even got closer to B.A. He knew what the big fellow really felt for them, but he always wanted to keep some distance. But playing with him and Emmie, he discovered B.A. in fact was very open, although he tried to disguise it. Children had always been B.A.'s week spot, 'cause they looked threw his whole image and knew what kind of person he was really.
B.A. was looking at him and he smiled. Shortly B.A. smiled back.These past days he had spent a lot of time with that crazy fool. They both liked children. In fact, Murdock was a big child himself. B.A. didn't know what to do without him, although he could be pretty irritating too.
Children had always been his weak spot. They accepted who he was, no matter what and he felt comfortable in their presence. He didn't mind it at all that there was a little girl with them at the moment. It set his mind off things.
"I have great news!"
They all looked up to Face, who entered the living room.
"I have found some people who are suited perfectly for Emmie to give her a home!"
"Really? That's great," Hannibal said, trying to filter out the negative sound in his voice.
"Yes, I know. Listen to this: Mr and Mrs Jones, 32 and 31 years old, he's a business man, she does the household. He makes about 120,000 a year and they live in a big house not far from here. They both love children, but she isn't fertile. They want a child of approx. six years old. It doesn't matter if it is a boy or a girl. They have some horses and they make long walks with their dogs. It is a perfect atmosphere for children. Well, what do you say?"
The three men looked at their friend. They didn't know what to say. It sounded like a gift from heaven and Emmie would live like a queen there. She would be so happy there and she deserved it. But why did they feel disappointed in some way?
"Well?," Face said.
"Great, kid," Hannibal said," good job."
"Why don't you give me the feeling you mean that?," Face said.
Hannibal looked at Emmie.
"It's just...Well, it all went so soon. I thought she was staying with us some time more."
"Hannibal, you aren't developing feelings for her, are you? She can't stay with us, you know that."
"You're right Face," Hannibal said," but well...We all enjoyed it that she was here."
"That isn't so strange, Hannibal, she reminds us of something we never had. Just don't get attached too much to her. I think the Jones are a perfect family for her. I have an appointment with them at the adoption bureau this evening. Emmie has to come too."
"Mmm," Hannibal just said.
"Come on, Hannibal, get yourself together. Wake her, she has to get dressed."
"Good luck, Emmie," B.A. said," and be nice to those people."
"They will love you right away," Murdock said," I just hope you like them too."
"We have to go, Emmie," Face said," we can't be late, now can we?"
He softly pushed her outside.
"See you guys later," Face said and closed the door.
"What do you think, Hannibal?," Murdock said.
"I hope those people will get along with Emmie so she will have a nice home."
"That isn't really what you think, now is it?"
"Murdock, in this life I can't use any fatherly feelings. I love the jazz and the jazz doesn't include children."
He looked at Murdock.
"No, it isn't," he sighed.
"Is your hair all right?," Face said, while he turned off the road to the parking lot.
"Yes, it is, you've checked that five times already."
"Sorry, but I am just so nervous."
"Why would you be nervous?"
"Just be nice to those people, this is a big opportunity for you to a new life."
The car stopped and they got out.
"Alright, it's five to six. We have five minutes. Come on."
Face took her hand and they walked to the entrance of the building. They walked past a black van and entered the bureau.
From behind the wheel somebody was cursing.
"Goddamned, more people are entering the bureau."
"Take it easy," the man next to him said," it only means we will have more hostages. And more hostages means more demands. Yes, Jackyboy, we are going to make a big hit tonight..."
"We have an appointment with Miss Russell," Face said to the receptionist.
"Let me see. Yes, that is correct. Please sign here."
"Miss Russell is working late tonight," the receptionist said," she's the only one left in the building with those two people."
"Some people love their work," Face joked and walked to the elevator.After thirty seconds the doors opened on the sixth floor and Face and Emmie walked to Miss Russell's office.
Face soflty knocked.
"Come in," it sounded and he opened the door. A girl from around twenty-five years came to him and shook his hand.
"Welcome, Mr. Peck. Good to see you again. And this must be Emma. Hello little girl."
"Hello," she softly said.
"Are you a bit shy?," Miss Russell smiled.
Emmie grabbed Face's hand.
"Please come in, I want you two to meet Mr. and Mrs. Jones."
The couple stood up. Mr Jones had brown hair and a mustache. His wife was blond with green eyes.
"Hello, nice to meet you," Face said and they shook hands.
"And you are Emma?," Mrs. Jones said.
"Yes, I am."
"You're adorable, you know that?"
"Please sit down," Miss Russell said," well now. We are here to see if Emma can live with Mr. and Miss Jones."
"Please, you can say Thorne and Jennifer," Mr Jones said.
"If you want it that way, of course. All right. Thorne, Jennifer, you have read the file about Emma. You know her parents died in a plane crash two weeks ago. Adopting her would mean that you would have to support her with her grieve over the loss."
"We have talked about that and we accept that."
"Good. Mr. Peck, is there anything you want to ask Thorne and Jennifer, or maybe you have a question, Emma?"
"I just want to know if you can make sure she grows up happily," Face said.
"We will try our very best."
"I have read your files, I don't see any negative things. I think we will give this a shot for a few weeks and then we will see if it works out. Do you agree, Emmie?"
With a bang the door was kicked open and three men with guns entered the room.
"Hands up!," one of them yelled.
"What is this?," Miss Russell stammered," who the hell are you?"
"We are your worst nightmare, lady. Now, hands up! You two," he pointed to the Jones," go and stand against the wall."
Quickly the Jones stood up and did what they were told to.
"How did you get past George?," Miss Russell said.
"Who? The receptionist?," one of the men said," I'm afraid he won't be around anymore to tell you, ha ha!"
"Oh my God," she stammered.
"Please, you can take all of my money," Thorne said," just go away."
"Money isn't our goal."
"You want gold? I can get you gold!"
"Shut up!," the man said and pushed him against the wall," you, with the gray suit, come here."
Face slowly stood up. Emmie grabbed his sleeve.
"I am afraid, Face," she whispered.
"Shhh, don't worry," he whispered back.
He walked to the man.
"Tie their hands with this rope. And don't you try something over there, lady, 'cause I will shoot you in a second."
Face took the ropes and pretended as if he was untangling them. Then he hit his elbow in the man's belly as hard as he could. When he gasped for breath, Face grabbed his gun and hit him on the back. Then he turned and kicked the gun out of the other man's hand. He pointed the barrel to the third one."Looks like this story is taking a new turn, wiseguy. Give that gun to the lady over there or I'll shoot a hole in that body of yours."
"If you want a hole in your head, I would do that," a voice behind him said," put down the gun."
Face threw the gun on the floor.
"Why does there always, always is a fourth guy?," he sighed and he held his hands up.
The other men took their guns back and the one Face had hit in the belly pointed his gun to him.
"I'll show you who's the wiseguy, smartass."
But the man behind Face yelled: "Try it, Jackyboy and I'll show you. We need him alive, we all need them alive."
The man, who's name apparently was Jack, put his gun down.
"For just this once," he said," but if we have to kill somebody he'll be the first."
"If you make one more mistake, you'll be the first to be killed," the man said," now you tie them together, blondie."
Face took the rope and tied the Jones with their backs against each other. "You two: sit down and be quiet. Jack, tie blondie here to that sugar over there."
Jack pushed Face to Miss Russell and did what he was told to do.
"Put them with the others."
Jack pushed them down.
"Are you all right?," Face said to Miss Russell, who was sitting back to back with him.
"Shut up!," Jack yelled.
"Geez, don't be so cranky. Have you missed Sesamystreet or something like that?"
"Well I oughta..."
"Leave him alone."
"You heard the man," Face said," leave me alone."
Jack looked at him in pure anger and then turned to Emmie.
"What do you want me to do with her?"
"Let her sit by Blondie. They came together, I think he is her dad."
"Move it, kid!," Jack said, while he grabbed her arm and pulled her up.
"Take your hands off her!," Face yelled," if she has only one little scratch, I'll kill ya!"
"I don't think you are in the position to do such a thing."
Emmie ran to Face and embraced him while he was sitting.
"I am so afraid, Face," she cried on his shoulder.
He softly caressed her face with his cheek.
"Don't be. I will make sure nothing happens to you."
"Ah, it breaks my heart," Jack said ironically," NOT!"
"Jack, shut up and listen. The police has to know we have hostages, so we'll put the five of them under that camera there," Darrell pointed," Harry and Walter have hidden the body behind the desk. They will keep an eye on police activities there. James and Niles are on the roof. We've checked all the floors and made entrance impossible for the cops everywhere. This is going to be it, Jackyboy. LA, Washington and New York were all for practicing, but here in Langley we are going to make the big hit. The Langley of the CIA, they will be embarrassed like hell, ha ha!"
"Look at the sun for the last time, people," Jack said to them, while he closed the curtains," 'cause it can be the last time you will see him..."
With a faraway look Murdock was switching channels. His thoughts were with
Emmie. The Jones would be such a good family for her, there was no doubt that
she was going to them. Face and Emmie would be back in about an hour and in
a few days Emmie would leave.
Murdock stood up to get him a glass of milk. Threw the window he saw Hannibal, B.A. and Frankie sitting in the garden to enjoy the last sunshine of the day. Altough it seemed like they were doing other things, Murdock knew they thought of Emmie too.
B.A. was drawing in the sand with a twig and Hannibal was reading a magazine, continuously looking at his watch. The Frankster was his normal self. He was lying on the grass and listened to a football match. He didn't feel anything for the kid. Of course he had been on holiday when she arrived and didn't spend these past days with her. And besides that he was too young to think of kids. He could do anything with his life after the pardon. For the rest of the team it was too late.
They had grown used to this life and after the pardon they would still be working as soldiers of fortune. They had lived like that for over fifteen years and they simply couldn't change their ways of doing, although some of them maybe wanted to.
Murdock picked up Face's leather jacket from the kitchen floor. The Faceman wasn't himself these past weeks. It seemed as if he was confused about what he wanted after the pardon. But this week had been quite emotional for his friend. That old friend of Face, Tim, had died and Face had the responsibility over a six-year-old too.
Maybe those worries made Murdock see things that weren't there.Murdock put the jacket on the kitchen table and with a glass of milk he entered the living room again.
Trowing his legs over the armrest of the chair, he took a nip of his milk. He began switching channels again.
But all of a sudden he spitted the milk out and stood up.
"Oh my God!," he stammered, the milk running over his chin. He ran to the backdoor and yelled.
"Hannibal! Come quickly!"
Hannibal ran over to his friend.
"What's wrong, Murdock?"
Murdock pointed to the tv. Hannibal followed his friends finger and watched at the screen. All of a sudden he saw the reason why Murdock was yelling. His heart skipped a beat when he saw his Lieutanant and Emmie sitting in a room with some other people. With a shiver he read the lines under the picture.
TAKING OF HOSTAGES IN AN ADOPTION BUREAU IN LANGLEY,VIRGINEA
"This is Carley Jennings, live reporting from outside the adoption bureau in Langley. At five minutes past six an unknown number of terrorists entered the building with guns. Eyewitnesses heard shots a minute later and the doors were being closed and barricaded by the terrorists. The police arrived and at a quarter past six they received pictures of the hostages. It involves two men, two women and a little girl. They seem to be all right. We have these pictures for you too. The goal of the hostage takers is unknown. The police denies any resemblance to the shootings in LA, Washington and New York earlier this month. It will be difficult for the police to enter the building behind me, because the terrorists have sealed off the building completely, so there's no getting in or out. This was Carley Jennings for **** news. We'll get back to you as soon as something happens."
The words flew past Hannibal. This was hell. Face and Emmie had been taken
hostage by terrorists.
How could this have happened? How was he going to get them out of there? The place was jammed with cops and it wouldn't be long before somebody from the MP recognized Face and rushed over to Langley.
"Hannibal, what are we going to do?," Murdock said.
Hannibal kept silence for a moment and looked at Face, then to Emmie."Get me Stockwell ASAP."
Face could feel Emmie's heart beating fast. She was scared to death.
"Shhh, little girl," he whispered," it will all be over soon.."
On the desk Jack was giving his gun a rub. When he stood up again, the nameplate of Miss Russell fell on the ground. He picked it up.
"Miss Theresa Russell," he read out loud," nice name, honey. How can such a sweet thing still be single?"
Theresa looked the other way. Jack kneeled by her and turned her head back."What about a little kiss, Miss Russell? You wouldn't mind that, now would you?"
"Go to hell!," she yelled.
Jack took her head between his hands and moved his lips to hers. But she spitted in his face.
"You little bitch!," he yelled and smacked her in the face.
Darrell pushed him back to a corner.
"Have you gone mad? Did you forget about that camera hanging there? Would you like to be identified by the cops?"
"You have still a lot to learn, Jackyboy. Now you listen to me. You don't touch these people with one finger if I don't tell you so. Understood?"
"Sometimes I wonder why I still have you around, Jackyboy."
Darrell sat down on the chair and put his feet on the desk.
"It won't be long before the police tries to contact us. When they do, they will be sorry that they didn't see this coming."
"He scares me, Face," Emmie whispered.
"Shhh. Hannibal will come soon, he'll get us out of here."
Face felt that the little child pushed herself closer to him. I was then when he realized he would do anything to get her out of here alive.
"Stockwell, we have to get Face out of there."
Hannibal walked back and forth while he looked at the monitor.
"Colonel, I know those terrorists have made their attempt sooner than we had expected and that the Lieutenant was there by accident, but what do you want me to do about it? I only see an advantage in one of my men being inside."
"He isn't one of "your" men, Stockwell, he is part of the A-Team and we are not part of your organization."
"Call it the way you want, Colonel, but the fact is you are working for me and your mission is to get those terrorists."
"But the hostages are on air in all of America. Somebody from the MP's will certainly recognize him."
"Even the MP's can't enter that building. Those terrorists aren't amateurs, Colonel. I have my reasons to expect that they are willing to give their life for their goal and such people are the most dangerous of all. They have nothing to lose, only to win."
"So with other words: See for yourself how you stop those terrorists."
"Colonel, I wouldn't have made a deal with you if I didn't know you and your men can go further than the police, than any other squad in the world. And that's why I know you can do this. Perhaps..."
Stockwell leaned back.
"Perhaps I will even call a person in Washington after you've pulled this off. Maybe he will give you..."
"That pardon is the least I am worried about right now," Hannibal yelled," one of my men is in there and with him four innocent civilians."
"Then you have all the reasons more to end this attempt."
"Look, Stockwell," Murdock said all of a sudden," we wouldn't have contacted you if we didn't need you for this once. The A-Team has always managed to work for its own and we never needed any help from people like you. But in this case we can't go around all the police forces there. So stop the crap about who works for who and just give us a way to get past those cops, goddamned!!!"
Stockwell kept silence for a moment. Hannibal couldn't prevent smiling at his Captain.
"Well, Captain," the general said," you...err...have made your point. I will see what I can do for you."
And with those words he broke the connection.
Hannibal put a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Thank you, Murdock."
With soft sounds the clock on the wall stroke seven. Face had closed his
eyes. Sweat ran down his forehead.
Emmie lay silently against his chest. Behind him he could feel Theresa shiver."Are you all right?," he whispered.
"Yes, I'm okay," she answered.
Darrell was standing by the window.
"Police helicopters all over the place, but nobody contacts us."
"Maybe they don't know what to do with the situation," Jack said.
"Don't be stupid, Jack, they are up to something. The best thing to do now is to contact them ourselves."
Darrell walked to the desk and picked up the phone. He dialled.
"Hello there below, officers. This is the leader of the hostage takers speaking. I see you have come with many to the bureau. Irritating, isn't it, to watch but can't come in? The hostages are still in perfect condition, as you have seen. We won't hurt them as long as you do what we say. First of all, no police activity in fifty feet from the building. For every cop I see, there will be a little hole in these people here. You will hear of our demands later on."
He hang up.
"So stupid, those cops," Darrell laughed," nobody is getting in this building."
"We have to get in that building," Hannibal said, while he looked at his
friends," one way or another, with or without Stockwell's help."
"I think that will be with Stockwell's help."
They all looked at the monitor, where they saw the picture of the general.
"And...," Murdock said," what do you have for us?"
"Captain, I have given a friend of mine a ring. He happens to be the officer in charge in this case at the police. I have told him I was sending him some troupes, specialized in these sort of attempts. Normally the police wants to settle this their own, but he and I go back a long way and he owes me one. In the brown Chevy on the driveway there are some special jackets. On them is a badge, which will give you the right to go to officer Thompkins. He will be as close to the building as possible. You can discuss with him how you are getting in. He will give you the permission."
"And what about the MP's?"
"I have called some people who are going to make sure that they won't show up."
"Let's go, men," Hannibal yelled.
While the rest ran outside, Hannibal waited a moment at the monitor."Thanks, Stockwell."
"Just remember that nothing is for free, Colonel. You will have to do something in return for me."
"Talk to you later, general," Hannibal said and switched off the monitor.
"Please sir, we haven't done you anything. Why can't you let us go?"
"I told you to shut up," Jack said to Thorne.
"Geez, you really have to do something about that attitude of yours," Face said," you won't make much friends if you keep yelling like that."
"You think you are quite a guy,mmm?," Jack said," not afraid of anything."
"Normally I would use bug spray for things like you."
"Now you have gone too far."
Jack grabbed Face's hair. Emmie started screaming. With a strong hand Darrell pushed Jack against the wall.
He grabbed his colar and looked at him furiously.
"Jackyboy, your madness is going to get us killed someday. Didn't I told you half an hour ago to stay out of the camera's sight? Are you deaf or something?"
"But Darrell, he said that I.."
"He can call you a mudsucking pig as far as I am concerned. We are not here to waste people, remember?"
Darrell let him loose.
"And one thing more, Jackyboy. My patience with you is running out. If you disobey my orders one more time, you will go and live with the fish."
Darrell walked to the other two men.
"Hall, Bomber, you make sure Jackyboy doesn't cross the line again. I'm going to check on James and Niles. And you," he pointed to Face," don't overtry your luck. I can have much, but to all things there is a limit."
"Special squad leader Lieutenant Brown, sir. We were send by a friend of
yours," Hannibal said to officer Thompkins.
The aged man looked at him.
"I see. Follow me to the back of the police car, where we can talk in private."
The team followed the officer.
"Hunt told me you were the only guys capable of the job. The police doesn't know what to do. If we get too close, they will open fire. We have tried to get a person in, but he was shot in his leg."
"We won't make that mistake," Hannibal said, putting his cap straight.
"So, what is your plan, Brown?"
"My men and I are going to invade the building at three places. Frankie here," Hannibal pointed to his friend," will stay with you to keep in touch with us. Leave the rest to us, Thompkins, it'll work."
"All right then."
A young police woman ran to them.
"The terrorists are on the phone for you, sir."
"Come on," Thompins said to Hannibal.
He picked up the phone.
"Hello again, cop. How is everything going down there? Planning a way to get inside? But dear man, why the effort, you won't succeed."
"What do you want?"
"So you want to go straight to business? Fine with me, I like that in a person. Alright, cop. Listen carefully.
In Strikerville, Florida, there is a man in jail, named Mike Roberts."
"What, you mean Mike The Hammer?"
"Yes, that's the guy. We want you to release him."
"But how am I going to do that? He is convicted for 30 political murders!"
"If you want to see these five people alive again, you will find a way. Get him over here."
He hung up. Thompkins turned to Hannibal.
"They want Mike Roberts to be released."
"Wasn't that the guy who murdered 30 people to get in the government?"
"Yes, but he got caught when he murdered the last one."
"It all makes sense," Hannibal said," those terrorists are friends of Mike. They would get a lot of power if Mike came in the government. Maybe they planned the murders together. But Mike was arrested when the police found out. And now those friends want to get their leader out of jail and run to the other side of the world."
"Talk about friendship," Murdock said.
"Those men will do anything for their leader," B.A. added," even kill more people."
"But that will not happen," Hannibal said," not when we are around. Get me some maps of the building, Thompkins. I will study them to see how we can get in."
"They will call us soon," Darrell told his friends," Mike will be out in
no time at all. It can't go wrong. Soon Mike will reward us for all our effort.."
"We'll be on a tropical island tomorrow," Jack laughed," and the nice part is that we will get away with all this."
The clock stroke eight.
"We're exactly on schedule, guys."
The men laughed.
On the other side of the room the hostages were sitting.
"Can't Emma make the ropes loose?," Theresa asked.
"Even if she did, they would notice. That guy over there is watching us all of the time. We just have to wait what comes next," Face said.
"Wait?," Thorne said," I can't stay here, I don't wanna die! Let that kid untangle the ropes, so I can run."
"Don't be stupid," Face said," you will be shot in a second."
"But I don't wanna die."
Face saw Thorne almost was going to cry. That was all that he could use right now.
"Shut up, Thorne," Jennifer said," and listen to the man. They will kill you if you won't be quiet."
"I'm afraid, Face," Emmie said.
"I know, kid. Close your eyes and think of something nice. Hannibal will be here soon."
And with the two little arms around him, Face softly began to sing a lullaby.
"I see three possibilities," Hannibal said," one is threw the front door.
Two is this little window on the first floor. It comes out in the toilets and
is just big enough for somebody to go threw. And the third one is via the roof..
I suggest that B.A. goes threw the front door and Murdock takes the first floor.
I think the terrorists have some men at the reception. Murdock comes down to
the main floor and with B.A. he will eliminate those men. They will work their
way up to the sixth floor, where I have seen some light. The hostages will probably
be there. I will climb to the roof and take care of the men there and work down
to the sixth floor. We will regroup there and try to get the last of the terrorists."
"And when are you going in?"
"We have to wait for the right time. They have to be distracted. Let Mike come over to Langley under police surveillance. He'll be a perfect distraction."
"But that can take all night! He has to come all the way from Strikerville."
"It will be our only chance. If these guys are as good as I think, we have to wait for him. In the tension of the moment their attention will focus on Mike and then we can get in."
"I'll give Florida a ring right away. They will put him on a plane to Langley."
Face was tired. So tired. He would do anything for just a minute of sleep.
But he couldn't. He couldn't let down Emmie, nor the other hostages. He had
been through a lot, he was the only one who could prevent them from going crazy.
The whole situation was just so unrealistic. One moment he was hurrying to get to the adoption bureau, the other he wished he would have never gone.The clock stroke nine. There had gone by three hours since those terrorists came.
Where was Hannibal? He had to be here by now. But Face realized the Colonel had to come up with a good plan before rushing in. He had to wait patiently until the time was right for his friends to show up. And they would show up. They had always been there when he needed them. There had happened so much these past years.
"Face," Emmie whispered all of a sudden.
"Yes?," Face replied, softly rocking the little body.
"Do you believe in God?"
Her big blue eyes met his. There was a sparkle of hope in them. Face felt his heart turning. She looked like Tim more than ever.
"Yes, I believe in God," he said," I believe there is someone looking after us from up there."
"My parents have always told me God would give people who live good happiness. I haven't done anything wrong. But why does he take my parents away from me and let me taken hostage in one week?"
There came tears in her eyes.
"Look Emmie. There is one thing you always have to remember. You are the sweetest and caring kid I have ever met. You are a good person. And God knows that. But sometimes you have to suffer before you will be happy."
Face saw she didn't understand. He had to make her see. But for that, he had to tell her something he had hidden so far.
"What I am going to tell you, Emmie," Face whispered," is something nobody knows. Even Hannibal and the others don't know it. Can I trust you?"
Face looked around the room to see if nobody was listening.
"I have been an orphan all of my life. The fathers of my orphanage have told me I walked in there when I was five, only one year younger than you. I grew up to be a tough kid, at least everybody thought so. I didn't let any of the boys offend me and I gave the fathers and the nuns quite some trouble. But in fact, I was a frightened, all alone boy. During the day I showed the other kids I wasn't somebody to mess with. But every night when the lights went out and the father told us to go to sleep, I cried. I missed a warm hand, a motherly hand to tuck me in at night and sing a lullaby until I fell asleep..
I missed a father who would take me in his arms when I had had a nightmare. I often was mad at God. Why hadn't he given me parents, like other kids? What had I done wrong to go through all this pain?
I was hurt deeply when I was a child and I blamed God. At that moment I decided that I would take control of my life from that point on. If God wanted to take all the people I loved away from me, I would make sure he wouldn't have an opportunity to do so. From that day one I changed. I didn't let people get too close to me, even if I wanted it so badly. And that way I grew up."
"But why can you believe in God when he did all those things to you?"
"Well, Emmie, after some years God showed me that the coin has two sides. I met your dad and he was a real friend for me. But he left and again I felt the pain of losing somebody. I went to 'Nam. And 'Nam changed my life forever. Threw the years I have realized God has given me the greatest gift of all in that period: Hannibal and the others. I can't really explain what I feel for them, but...| well, it goes deeper than they think. To them I am a friend. To them I am Templeton Peck. In their presence I can maintain my protecting attitude and still I can love them in some way."
Face sighed for a moment.
"It's hard to talk about this for me, Emmie. I have never shared these feelings with somebody else. And to be perfectly honest with you, I don't think I could explain it the way I want. But I have to tell you this to make you realize that God sometimes has unexpected destinies for people. But every time, he only wishes the best for a person.
Look at me, I had a terrible childhood, but many years later I met my friends. If God hadn't planned my life this way, I would have never met them. They are the ones that were made to be my friends, as silly as it might sound.And at the moment, I can't thank God enough for letting me be a part of such a close team."
"But have you never regretted it that you had close friends instead of a family?"
"They ARE my family, Emmie. They are in my heart, in my blood, they are the family I never had. I should tell you I found out I had a father and a half-sister some months ago."
"Yes, but my father died before he could tell me."
"But why didn't he look you up in all these years?"
"That's a long story, Emmie, but I know that my father wasn't the dad I dreamed of when I was young. So maybe God let me go through all that pain just to prevent my dad doing that to me."
"And your half-sister?"
"I visit Ellen quite regular. We talk about the past a lot. But I can't tell her of all those year..."
"So, you would rather have the life with your friends than have had it with parents."
"I'm not saying that. Maybe I would have been another person now. Maybe I didn't have to protect myself against others. But I like the person I have become. And I like to live with my friends. Look, Emmie, I'm far too complicated to understand, so please don't even try. But the bottom line here is that you have to have some faith in situations in which everything just seems hopeless. But after every dark night there is day and after every storm there is the sun. God will send you happiness soon. Just don't lose your faith and believe. Believe in things you can't touch. Believe in hopes and dreams...Like your father used to do."
Face kept silence. Emmie lay her head against his chest.
"Your heart is beating really fast," she said.
"Well...err...that is because it is hard for me to talk about it."
"You have given me some hope that this will all be over soon," she said and she looked at him," but Face, keeping people away from what you really are isn't always the right thing to do, even if you are doing it to prevent yourself from getting hurt."
She sounded wiser than all the people in the world and Face would give anything to put his arms around her and cry. But he couldn't. Not yet.
"Damned, Hannibal, why are they taking so long?"
Hannibal could notice that his friend was nervous.
"Take it easy, Murdock. They will have to come all the way from Florida."
"I hate it to just stand here and do nothing."
"Look, we all are worried about Face and Emmie, but there's nothing we can do now, besides waiting."
Murdock kicked against the tire of the police car. Softly Hannibal put his hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Why doesn't there come anybody to save us?," Thorne said anxious.
"Because if they do, we will shoot you," Jack replied.
"Please, let us go, we haven't done you anything."
"Geez, you are a real whimp, you know that mister? At least your wife shuts up."
"That is because she knows you mustn't talk to scary men, like you."
"You again, Blondie," Jack hissed," you know, I wonder where you got the courage to dare me in your position. I can kill you anytime you like."
"I'm a mailman," Face smiled," I'm used to ugly dogs trying to bite me in my legs."
Jack could hardly hold himself together. He decided to ignore Face and turned to Darrell.
"What is taking those cops so long? It's eleven o'clock and they haven't contacted us in an hour and a half. What are they up to?"
"Jackyboy, they have to transport Mike from Florida to Virginia. If you would have been at school some more, you would know that that isn't just a five minutes walk. But I have to contact them anyway, they have to let a helicopter land on the roof, in which we can run when Mike has joined us."
Darrell picked up the phone and started talking to officer Thompkins.
His words flew past Face. Smiling the Lieutenant looked down at the little girl sleeping on his lap.
She fell asleep half an hour ago because she was tired to death of all the emotions. It was weird to experience these feelings under these circumstances. Through his normal attitude to children he could feel a warm admiring. For the first time in his life he understood why B.A. loved children so much.
It was their face, glowing with pureness and honesty. Maybe it was because of the weird situation, maybe it was because he had told her something about what lived inside him. But he could feel he was changed in these past five hours.
It was as if God wanted to show him something that he would have never seen if it wasn't in this situation. And it was then he realized that a child symbolized peace and happiness and that Tim had found those the last six years of his life because of Emmie.
Face knew that he would never experience those feelings through his own children, he would never lead such a life. But he also knew that every year that went by, his friends filled a little place in his heart with feelings that were the same.
With a sigh he leaned back against Theresa's head and closed his eyes.
Hannibal looked at his watch. It was a quarter past four. It wouldn't be
long before the sun came up and he needed the darkness for his plan. The whole
night they had been sitting by the television set. The network still broadcast
live pictures of the hostages in a corner of the room. They could see every
bead of sweat running down the forehead of their friend and they knew they would
hit those hostages for everyone of them.
Hannibal looked at his friends. Especially Murdock was getting worse every minute. He wanted to get Face and Emmie out of there. Hannibal wanted the same, but he knew it wouldn't help Face and Emmie a bit if they came in now.
They had to wait for Mike.
"Do you hear that, Hannibal?," B.A. said all of a sudden.
Hannibal listened. From far away he could hear the wings of a helicopter. He stood up and looked at the horizon.
After a minute he saw the helicopter approaching.
"They're here," he said," Thompkins, tell the pilot to land on the ground. Slow things down as much as you can. They will say that the helicopter has to land on the roof. Gain us as much time as you can. We're moving into action. Guys, let's go."
"They are here, Darrell," Jack yelled from the window," the chopper has
"I knew things would go as we planned," Darrell smiled.
"The pilot is landing on the ground."
"He has to land on the roof. I'll contact that police officer."
"What is happening?," Theresa asked Face.
"They're leaving soon."
"Will they let us go?"
"I don't know. Maybe they'll take one of us with them to be sure. Maybe they won't. Maybe they will shoot us all."
"Shoot us all?," Thorne said," but I don't want to die!"
"Nobody is going to die if you keep silence," Darrell said, while he dialed the number.
Emmie woke up.
"Hey there, kid. How are you feeling?," Face softly said.
"I dreamed that I was running over a big hill. And mom and dad were on top of it. I wanted to run to them and I could almost hug them when I heard someone call my name. I looked aside and it was you. And next to you there was a man. He was very old, but his eyes were friendly and a white light surrounded him. I looked at my parents and they said:
"Go, Emmie, don't be afraid." And I smiled to them and ran to the old man. He took my hand and yours and put them together. He said: "You are all my children. Take somebody's hand and be one with them. Learn to trust and love again." And then I felt a hand on my shoulder that was soft and warm and I heared a sweet voice say: "Come on, Emmie, let's go home." And then I woke up."
She kept silence and looked at him.
"What do you think, Face?"
"I think God wanted to let you know that he thinks of you and that he will make sure you will be all right."
"I hope you are right, Face."
"I am, little one, I am."
Hannibal rubbed his fist, throwing the second men on the roof on his back.
That went easy. He would have expected more terrorists on the roof, but apparently
they weren't as smart as he had thought.
"Murdock, how are things going below?," he contacted his friend.
"Alright, Hannibal," Murdock replied," the big fellow and me just took care of two terrorists. We have found the body of a dead man behind the reception."
"Leave it there. The police knows what to do with the body. Go to the sixth floor and check every floor for more terrorists. These guys aren't as smart as I had thought. They used those shootings in LA, Washington and New York to let the police think they were some tough guys and let them feel hopeless on their big hit, but they still have a lot to learn. When you're on the sixth floor, contact me again. I'll try to get a look on the situation and we'll decide then what to do. GO!"
"The pilot is going to get the chopper in the air as soon as he has new
fuel. So he'll be there in about six or seven minutes."
"Good," Darrell said," very good."
Face shook his head. That guy had too much self-confidence. Hannibal and his friends would be here soon and then they would show this guy a lesson. He hoped...
Hannibal put his ear against the carpet of the 7th floor. He could hear
voices. Bingo. He took his knife and cut away a part of the carpet. Wooden plates,
just as he had expected. With a crowbar he tried to get a plate loose. It worked.
Quietly Hannibal put the plate down and looked threw the hole. He was right
above the hostages and could see Face, Emmie and the others. For his plan he
needed Face's help and he had to untie Face. He saw the terrorists. There were
four of them. One standing by the window, one sitting on the desk and two watching
the hostages. The one by the window was the problem. There was a chance they
couldn't reach him before he started shooting. But he had to take the risk.
Hannibal put the plate back and contacted Murdock.
"Murdock, where are B.A. and you?"
"We're on the 6th floor, Colonel, just before the door of the room. We didn't spot any other terrorists. These guys are really stupid, I would have dubbled security."
"Listen carefully, Murdock. There are four terrorists. The hostages are near the door. They are being watched by two men. You two have to take care of them. I will untie Face and he will take care of the one on the desk, while I go to the one by the window."
"There is a risk that..."
"I know, Murdock, but we have to take that risk. It will be our only chance. I will give you a signal when we are making our move."
Hannibal looked in the room again. He had to catch Face's attention. But if he said something, the terrorists would here. How was he going to do this?But all of a sudden he looked in the big blue eyes of Emmie. Thank God. He put a finger before his mouth to tell her she had to keep quiet, when he saw she wanted to yell something. He saw she whispered something in Face's ear and he looked up.
A feeling of relief rushed threw Hannibal's vanes when he saw his Lieutenant was smiling at him. He pointed to his knife and then to his wrists. Face understood what he wanted to do.
"Can the kid sit on Theresa's lap for a while?," the Lieutenant asked Darrell."Well, all right. But hurry up."
Emmie ran to Theresa. Face looked at Hannibal and the Colonel could see his friend was nervous. But he trusted Hannibal, so he leaned to the front a bit, so there came some room between his back and the one of Theresa.
Hannibal concentrated. This was it. He couldn't let them down now. And with sweat on his forehead he threw.
The throw was without a sound, but thanks to Face's sigh Hannibal knew the knife had hit target: the ropes.
Hannibal signaled Face he had to wait for his sign and then jump on the man on the desk.
"The pilot has landed," Darrell said all of a sudden," let's go to the roof. Jack, shut down the camera and untie him."
He pointed to Thorne.
"What? What are you going to do with me?," he stammered.
"You are coming with us to the chopper and will serve as a shield."
Jack pushed Thorne up with the barrel of his gun in his back.
"No, please don't shoot me!"
"Walk!," Jack yelled.
"Please don't take me, I don't wanna die!"
They walked past Face, Theresa and Emmie.
"Don't take me, take her!"
Thorne put his hand around Emmie's wrist and pulled her up.
"Take her, she'll be a better shield!"
"Thorne, what are you doing?!," Jennifer yelled.
"Let them take her!," he cried.
"You take your hands off her!," Face yelled and he jumped up.
Hannibal could hardly prevent himself from yelling.
"What is he doing untied?," Darrell yelled.
Face pushed Thorne on the ground and hit Jack as hard as he could in his face. He fell down.
"Are you all right?," Face said, while he kneeled by Emmie. He heard a bang and all of a sudden a pain struck his back. He turned around and saw that Darrell had fired. Emmie screamed. The room began spinning before his eyes. He heard voices and other sounds. He heard Emmie yelling his name over and over again. And then everything turned black...
Face felt like he was floating. He was as light as a feather and he flew
threw complete darkness. It was silent where he was. The place was dark, but
he knew nothing would happen. He floated further. With his mind set free he
didn't worry where he was going. There was nothing holding him back from just
floating and he had forgotten everything besides this wonderful feeling.
But he realized there was something wrong. It was as if he didn't belong here. Not yet. He stopped and closed his eyes. A soft, monotonous beeping reached his ears and he followed it. And in a flash he saw his whole life running by like a train. Then he opened his eyes again.
A white light almost blinded him. He saw somebody was leaning over him. He saw it was a little girl. Her blond hair glowed golden in the light. Was it an angel?
He heard a voice.
"What are you doing here? You can't sit here, this is a restricted area!"
The girl turned her head and she disappeared. A woman's face appeared.
"Oh, my God, he's awake!," she said," please keep your eyes open, I'll get the doctor!"
It was as if Face struggled through a cloud of cotton wool to get to his senses. He was tired, so tired, but he knew he had to fight threw. And finally, he was awake. He saw the light came from a little lamp above him. He moved his head and he saw he was lying in a hospital bed. Bit by bit, his memory came back. He remembered being shot and he remembered the pain.
"Mister Peck, you are awake!"
He turned to a doctor, who felt his wrist.
"How are you feeling?"
"Tired," Face whispered. His lips were dry and he didn't have the strength to talk much.
"That is normal. Get some rest, we'll talk later."
"He is awake again," the doctor said four hours later.
"How is he feeling?," Hannibal asked.
"He's doing fine. The coma didn't harm him in those six hours. If he lies still, his shoot wound won't bother him either. He was very lucky the bullet hit a rib. An inch lower and his heart would have been hit."
"Can we go and see him?," Murdock said.
"Only for a few minutes and one at a time. He still needs a lot of rest. He asked for you all several times."
"Who goes first?," Murdock said.
"I'm going," Hannibal said," I'll tell him what happened. You two keep an eye on Emmie, she slipped in the room once before."
Hannibal followed the doctor inside. In the bed his Lieutenant lay. His face was almost as white as the sheets, but Hannibal could see he was doing better.
"Colonel!," Face said when he saw his friend.
Hannibal sat down and took the hand his Lieutenant put up.
"Hi there, kid. How are you feeling?"
"Still a bit tired, but I'm doing better. This only hurts," he pointed to the bandage around his chest and back," when I smile, so I guess Murdock has to wait a bit more before he comes in!"
"You have been very lucky, Face. Things could have been much worse."
"Yeah, I know this was a close one."
"It wasn't very smart of you to jump up back then, although I understand you wanted to protect Emmie."
"How is she?"
"You've scared her a lot, Face, just like us."
"I saw her earlier."
"Yes, she sneaked in."
"So, what has happened after I faded out?"
"After that guy had shot you, we came in. He wanted to shoot at us too, but I could kick the gun out of his hand. B.A. and Murdock could overmaster the other two. Murdock and I took you to the roof, where Murdock flew you with the helicopter to the hospital. B.A. took Emmie home. The cops entered and they arrested those terrorists."
"How are the others doing?"
"That woman of the adoption bureau..."
"Yes, that's her name. She's okay. She sends thanks to you and will visit you later this week."
"And the Jones?"
"Well, I hope you didn't mind I smacked Thorne against the floor for using Emmie as a shield."
"That's just what I hoped you would do."
"Anyway, Jennifer was furious at her husband. The trauma-team took them with them. Frankie and I left after that."
"Well, they can forget about adopting Emmie, I won't leave her in the hands of a man who treats children like that."
"He was just too afraid of death, Face. Still, I agree he wouldn't be a suitable father, how rich or friendly he might be. Emmie needs protection and Thorne certainly can't give her that, he has proven that."
"You know, Hannibal, although I don't want to go through this ever, I'm glad this has happened. Otherwise I would have send Emmie to people who can't take care of her."
"We'll find her another home, Face."
Three weeks later Face, Emmie and Theresa stood by the grave of Tim.
"Hi mom, hi dad," Emmie said, while she lay some flowers on the ground," here I am again. I just wanted you to know that I'm all right. Face has taken good care of me these past weeks and I'm glad because of that. He and his friends supported me in my grieve. I think I am able to start a new life, although I will never get over you two."
Face and Theresa both put a hand on her little shoulders. She looked up and smiled at them.
"I'm going to live with Theresa. She wants to take care of me. I like her a lot and I think things will work out. We're going to live in our old house. Theresa has gotten a part-time job in London. She wants to leave America behind after all that has happened. She loves children and is prepared to raise me as one of her own. I think this will be the best. I can visit you as often as I can and I think I will be happy with this new life. I hope you are too. Bye mom, bye dad, I'll come back next week. Take care of each other."
"Come on, Emmie," Theresa said, while she took her hand," let's go home."
"Home," Emmie repeated and she smiled.
"Are you coming, Templeton?," Theresa asked.
"Go ahead, I'll catch up with you later. I want to say goodbye to Tim."
The two slowly walked away.
"Your daughter will be okay with Theresa, Tim. She couldn't have gotten a better family. I hope you are happy with that. I've done what I could."
He kept silent for a moment.
"I'm going back to America tomorrow. My friends are waiting for me. They are a fine bunch of guys, Tim. They will always have a special place in my heart, just like you."
Face felt tears coming up.
"I'm going to miss your daughter, Tim. As much as I miss you. But she will be happy again and I am glad I could give her a chance to be it."
A bird began singing in a tree nearby.
"Life is a strange thing, Tim. It can give you tears, it can give you joy. But no matter what the future will hold for me, I know my friends will be there, just like you was many years ago. Thank you."
He smiled, thinking of many happy moments in his life. Then he turned and began walking up the hill on the cemetery to catch up with Emmie and Theresa with a song in his head.
The Victims we know so well
They shine in your eyes
When they kiss and tell
Strange places we never see
But you're always there
Like a ghost in my dream
And I keep on telling you
Please don't do the things you do
When you do those things
Pull my puppet strings
I have the strangest void for you
We love and we never tell
What places our hearts in the wishing well
Love leads us into the stream
And it's sink or swim
Like it's always been
And I keep on loving you
It's the only thing to do
When the angel sings
There are greater things
Can I give them all to you
Pull the strings of emotion
Take a ride into unknown pleasure
Feel like a child on a dark night
Wishing there was some kind of heaven
I could be warm with you smiling
Hold out your hand for awhile
The victims we know them so well
Show my heart some devotion
Push aside those that whisper never
Feel like a child on a dark night
Wishing we could spend it together
I could be warm with you smiling
Hold out your hand for awhile
The victims we know them so well, so well
(This song belongs to Culture Club, written by George O'Dowd (Boy George), Roy Hay, Michael Craig and Jon Moss. All credits should go to them. P 1982 Virgin Records Ltd.)
Copyright to: Malou1337, Halsteren, 9th April-4th May 2000