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Frayed 1-12

Frayed!

by: Leath

Rating: NC-17

Warning: This story deals with the darker side of humanity. Just about every bad thing people can do to one another is in this. So, reader be warned..

Disclaimer: I don't own The A-Team. This is just for fun.

Summary: Some things are just too horrible to remember. It is worse what you are a child and those things happen to you. There are questions about Face's past that are better left unanswered. He doesn't even remember anything much about the past. Until after a mission and everything comes back at him. Can the team save him from himself? Can they find out enough about the past to help Face through it? Or will of this finally destroy the Conman once and for all!

Spoiler: This is just before Deadly Maneuvers. This is my answer to why they were really at that cabin.

Special thanks to Star. She did a great job of helping me with this story and it wouldn't be as good as it is if it wasn't for her.

ttttttttttttttttttttt

Chapter 1

'Stupid!'

"Shut up!"

'Can't even talk right!'

"I said, shut up!"

'Whore's brat! You don't even know your father's name!'

"I said, shut up!" Templeton Peck yelled out, slamming his fists into the bathroom mirror, shattering it into pieces. Face looked at his cut up hands with a look of wonderment. There was little pieces of glass sticking into the side of it and blood was running down the side of his arms. He should have felt something he knew that much but there was no pain. There was nothing!

He stumbled out of the bathroom, leaving a bloody streak on the wall as his hands slowly dragged across it. He staggered into the bedroom and dropped listlessly onto the bed. He looked up at the ceiling fan watching it spin aimlessly around. He laid there needing to sleep but he feared sleep. Sleep only meant that the nightmares would come back. They would take him over and drag him down even more. He knew he had to do something, but he didn't know what. Was there anyone out there who could save him? He thought there was, but his mind just couldn't figure out who. So, he pulled his legs close his chest and lie there, trying to gain control.

Hours later, after another battle with his nightmares, Templeton walked the floor of the penthouse. He slowly tapped the revolver against his skull.

"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" Templeton whispered, over and over. He wanted the screaming to stop. He wanted the voice to go away. He wanted to sleep without nightmares. He was close, so close to going over the edge when his leg hit the table where the phone sat. At first he just stood there, looking at it, dumbly. A name popped into his head. "Hannibal! He'll make them go away," Face said to himself, grabbing the phone and dialing a number. He slipped down to the floor as he heard it ringing on the other end.

A voice came over the line. "Fred's Pizza!"

"Hannibal!" Face said, almost pleading.

"Face, what's wrong?" Hannibal asked, knowing right away that something was wrong with his second in command.

"They won't shut up!" Face cried.

"Who won't?" Hannibal asked, not understanding what was going on. Was there someone with Face, hurting him? What?

"They won't shut up! They keep yelling at me. Please tell them to go away!"

Hannibal lowered the phone and looked at BA. "Change of plans. Head to Face's!" Hannibal ordered. He didn't know what was going on, but something deep inside him told him to get to Face ASAP! "Face," Hannibal said, turning his attention back to the phone. "BA and I are on our way. Hold on!"

"I want them to go away. I can't take them any more. I want to sleep." Face dropped the phone on the floor and started to cry. He lie there, fighting the madness that was slowly taking over. "I'll make them go away. I promise. You just hold on for me," Hannibal said, trying hard not to panic. He wanted the van to move faster. He wanted time to stop. He wanted to know what was going on with his friend.

BA and Hannibal ran to the elevator and headed up to Face's penthouse. It didn't move fast enough for either of them and they almost ran over a couple as they made their way down the hall to Face's apartment. Hannibal used the spare key he had and opened the door. Face was still on the floor, lying in a fetal position. He was covered in blood, and still wore the same clothes he had on days before. The place was a wreck and there was a strong odor filling the room. Hannibal and BA rushed to Face's side and rolled him over.

At first, they thought someone had jumped him, but after looking him over, the only wounds they found were the cuts on his hands. Hannibal gently shook Face and said, "We're here, Face."

At first, Face had no idea who the man holding him was. He thought he knew, but it took a few moments for his mind to process the information. When he realized who Hannibal and BA were, he grabbed hold of Hannibal's arm in a death grip. He looked at Hannibal with pleading eyes and begged. "Make them go away! Please shut them up!" he cried. He leaned his head against Hannibal's shoulders sobbing.

Hannibal and BA both looked at each other in shock. They had seen men go mad before. They had watched Murdock break down, but they never dreamed to see Face in this situation. Face was always in control. He had never once let on that their was a kink in his armor.

Hannibal wrapped his arms around Face, rocking him back and forth. BA knew, without Hannibal telling him, what he wanted. He stood up and left the room. He was going to the van to get the medical kit. Hannibal kept rocking Face, talking to him in a low, hushed voice.

"It's okay, Face. There isn't anyone here that can hurt you. I'll take care of you," Hannibal said, brushing a stray hair out of the way.

Face looked up at him with wide, scared eyes. "You promise?"

"I promise. We will fix this," Hannibal told him. He didn't know who or how, but he knew he was going to try. He couldn't lose Face to the madness. Watching it eat at Murdock was almost too much sometimes. Hannibal was sure that if he lost Face, he would soon join them.

"Tell me, what do the voices say?" Hannibal asked, after a long moment of silence. Was it 'Nam, or living on the run, that was too much for the younger man? He needed to know what set this off.

"Cackling! They keep on cackling! They call me stupid. Slut's brat. No good," Face said, and he looked up at his leader. "I'm not 'no good', am I?" His speech was almost child-like. This bothered Hannibal, as he slowly realized this didn't have anything to do with the adult Face, but with the child.

"Kid, they are lying. You are worth a lot to the Team. We need you," Hannibal said, resting Face's head against his shoulder. I need you! he thought.

BA walked in at that time. He put the medical kit the floor and took one of Face's injured hands. Face didn't flinch as BA pulled broken glass out of the gashes. He then put antiseptic on the cuts and wrapped up Face's hands. He pulled a syringe and looked at Hannibal. Hannibal nodded and held out Face's arm.

Face looked at the needle. "What's that for?"

"It will make the voices go away," Hannibal told him, and he held on to Face as BA gave him the injection. It only took a matter of moments before Face slowly drifted off to sleep. Hannibal waited until he was total out before they lifted him up and carried him into the bedroom.

BA stripped the bed, as the covers were stained in blood. After it was cleared, they put Face down, using an extra blanket to cover him up. Hannibal stood there silently, watching as Face slept peacefully for the first time in days.

BA finally broke the silence when he asked, "What set him off?"

"I think his childhood played a part in this, but I don't know what it could be. I know he had a rotten life, but nothing that would cause this," Hannibal said, puzzled.

"Kids files are sealed. They are not made public record. How do we really know what Face's childhood was like? He's told so many stories about his past, and none of them really sounded right to me," BA said.

Hannibal stood there, taking this all in. He realized that BA was right. Face did tell a lot of stories, but they all dealt with his later years in the orphanage or his college life. He never talked about the early years.

An idea hit Hannibal and he picked up the phone on the bedside table, dialing rapidly. He waited for a moment before an old, raspy voice answered. "Father Magill, this is Colonel Smith."

"Colonel Smith! I hope no harm has come to Templeton?" the older man said, sounding worried.

"Physically, no, but something happened that I think you can help us with," Hannibal said, and he filled the priest in on Face's condition.

The old man was quiet for a long time after Hannibal finished talking. When he finally spoke, he only said, "I'll be right over!" Hannibal couldn't help but note the worry sound in the priest's voice before the phone went dead.

Hannibal looked at BA with a shrug. "He's coming over."

"Did he tell you anything?" BA asked.

"No, but I get this feeling he knows what is going on," Hannibal said and he looked down at Face. What could have happened when he was a child that would have caused him to fall apart? And why now?

*****************************

Less than an hour later, BA opened the door to Father Magill. The priest stood there with a thick file under his arm and a worried look on his face. "Where is Templeton?" Father asked BA.

He's sleeping," BA said, waving the priest into the room.

Hannibal walked out of the bedroom about that time. He looked at BA, nodding, and the two men switched places, BA going in to sit with Face while Hannibal talked to the priest.

"Thanks for coming on such short notice."

"Well, there is a plus to growing old. You can turn over daily operations over to others," the priest said, as he walked into the penthouse and took a seat.

Hannibal sat on the couch and pointed to the file. "Is that Face's?"

"Yes, it is," Father Magill said, handing over the file. "I wish it was different, but sadly, Templeton did not have a nice childhood."

Hannibal nodded his head slowly, reading the file. It took him a while to read over every detail of the file. Hannibal looked up when he was done and said, "He knows of this?"

"No," Father Magill said, softly. "We only told him the basic facts; he was five when he was found on the streets, after his mother abandoned him. Templeton filled in the rest himself. We never discouraged it. In fact, I think because of those things, we let him get away with a lot more than the other children. It was our way of trying make up for past wrongs."

"Past wrongs? That is nice a way of putting it. "They put him in that place and forgot about him!" Hannibal yelled, throwing the file on to the table.

"I know, and I'm sorry for that. I wish I could change it but I can't. At the orphanage, we dealt with Templeton's problem on our own, because he was hurt enough by the system. We might not have done everything right, but we did try. Should we have told him? Probably, when he was older, but he was coping. We didn't want to make things worse. So, we let him continue to believe as he did. It was easier."

"For you or him?" Hannibal asked.

"Both," Father said, and he sat up straighter, looking right at Hannibal. "Do you know why he was never adopted?" Hannibal shook his head. "Because the moment a couple read his file, they ran the other way. They weren't ready to deal with a child with those kinds of problems. I had to come up with lies to tell Templeton as to why people didn't want him. I knew how it affected him. I saw it in his face, and if I had told him the truth, well, I was afraid that I would lose him completely. I was worried he would just give up totally."

Hannibal stood up, walking to the window. "Did you give this file to the military?"

"No, I took sections out of it. After years of watching people walk out of that young man's life because of his history, I thought it had affected him enough. I wanted him to belong somewhere. I thought the military would be good for him. I sometimes wish I hadn't done it; he might not be wanted right now. But then again, he might be dead as well. I do know that in spite of it all, the best thing that happened to Templeton was the Team. You became the family he had always wanted and needed."

Hannibal nodded and turned back to the priest. "I don't mean to blame you. It just upsets me that all of this happened to him."

"I understand, believe me. We hated it so much that we had the place he was taken to shut down. We wanted to prevent it ever happening again," the Father said.

"That's good. What happened to the Taylor brothers?" Hannibal asked.

"I don't know. I assume they went to prison. I did not get that information," Magill said.

"I'll find out," Hannibal said, his voice filled with malice.

***************************************

The priest, just left, after urging Hannibal not to do anything 'unwise'. BA was on the couch, reading the file. He looked up at Hannibal, asking, "What do we do?"

" I don't know. The more I read of that file, the madder it made me. Not only was Face hurt by men like the Taylor brothers, but he was hurt by people who should have been protecting him," Hannibal snapped.

"What we do?" BA repeated, patiently.

"I don't know; this is way over my head. I know we've all dealt with Murdock, but that's not enough to help Face," Hannibal said, walking over to the bar and pouring himself a drink. He downed it, then turned to BA. "How about Murdock's doctor? Do you think we can trust him?"

BA thought about this. "The fool does, but that doesn't mean much."

"I know," Hannibal looked over at the bedroom door, thinking. He finally made a decision. He walked to the phone and called Murdock.

"It's your dime!" Murdock said.

"It's me," Hannibal said.

Got a mission?" Murdock asked.

"No, how are you feeling today?" Hannibal asked.

"On level ground," Murdock asked, looking at the phone with a puzzled look. He didn't know why Hannibal was asking.

"We have problem with Face," Hannibal said, and filled Murdock in on what had happened.

"You want me to come over?" Murdock asked, anxiously.

"If you want, but mainly I need to know how much you trust your doctor," Hannibal asked.

"Richter?" Murdock asked, thinking about it. "He cares. He wants to help. You think he can help Face?"

"That is what I'm asking you," Hannibal said.

Murdock stood there for a moment, then nodded. "I'll get back to you," Murdock said and he hung up the phone. He looked at the time. In an hour he had a session with Doctor Richter. He would have an answer for Hannibal after that.

 

Chapter 2

Murdock talked Doctor Richter into going for a walk around the grounds for this session. They were walking alone down a pathway, Murdock closely watching the orderlies who were wandering the grounds.

"If they bother you, we can go back inside," Richter said to Murdock.

"No, I like it out here. It is more private," Murdock said. Murdock knew that Richter taped every session and this was one session. He didn't want on record.

"Okay, if this is what you want," Richter said, walking alongside Murdock, letting him call the shots today. He knew something was on Murdock's mind but he didn't know what. He figured his patient would get to it soon enough.

Murdock finally found an empty bench and sat down on it. He looked around again to make sure they were alone, then said, "I have a problem; not about me, but a friend from Texas."

"Tell me the problem," Richter said, sitting back. He crossed his legs and looked at Murdock.

"Well, this friend of mine has another friend. He is having problems dealing with his childhood. It wasn't the best. He was abandoned by his mother. He doesn't remember much about any of it. He hardly ever talks about it with anyone and when he does, he doesn't give you much. The trouble is, this friend, well, the things from his past are starting to hurt him. He is sort of falling apart. My friend wants to know how to help."

"I would say get this friend some professional help," Richter said.

"There is a problem. This friend can't. It would cause a lot of...problems," Murdock said.

"I see," Richter said. He knew by now who Murdock was talking about. "Is this about the A-Team?" Richter asked Murdock. Murdock didn't reply. "I can't help your friend if you don't trust me."

Murdock sighed, looked around, then said, "Yes. It is about my friend, Face." Murdock went on, telling Dr. Richter what Hannibal had told him.

"I assume bringing him here for help is out of the question," Richter said.

"Yes," Murdock said, watching as one of the orderlies walked by. The man nodded at the doctor and walked on without stopping. "They would arrest him in a heartbeat."

Richter nodded at this. "Okay, what do you want from me?"

"I was wondering if you could help him without having him brought in," Murdock said.

Richter thought about this for a moment. "Can I see him?"

"Now?" Murdock asked.

"Yes, it would help me understand how bad he is," Richter replied.

Murdock sighed, thinking. He knew the risk he was taking, but he had already gone this far, he figured he might as well go all the way. "Okay, but you need to get me out of here. I can't just give you the address. I will need to go with you."

"Fine with me," Richter said. "I'll make arrangements for us to have an outing together later today."

"I'll be ready, and Doc? I want you to know if you tell on the team and they get arrested, I'll never trust you again," Murdock said in a no-nonsense voice, as he stood up to leave.

"I understand, Murdock. You can trust me," Richter said, and the pair walked back to the hospital together.

******************************

After leaving the hospital, Murdock had Richter pull over near a phone booth. Murdock dialed Face's number and Hannibal answered.

"I'm bringing Dr. Richter up to see Face."

"Make sure you're not followed," Hannibal told him.

"Got it," Murdock said, and he hung the phone. He looked down the street to see if anyone was watching him before going back to the car. "Okay, let's go."

"You do this a lot?" Richter asked Murdock.

"No, this is my first time," Murdock lied, with a big smile on his face.

"Murdock, I'm starting to doubt your mental condition," Richter told him.

"Doc, I'm as nutty as a Snickers bar!" Murdock said.

"Uh huh."

***************************************

Murdock and Richter arrived at Face's building and went up to the penthouse. "How does he afford a place like this?" Richter asked Murdock.

"He scams it. Face has a talent talking people into things...or out of them," Murdock said, smiling.

"I'll have to remember that," Richter replied.

"You might want to remember that he's not going to trust you at first. He doesn't trust many people with his true feelings," Murdock said.

"I'm used it that," Richter replied, giving Murdock a knowing look.

"Doc, I trust you."

Richter didn't have a chance to comment on that one. The elevator door opened and a young woman stepped in. The pair rode the rest of the way up in silence.

********************************

Murdock and Richter walked into the penthouse a few moments later. "Where's Hannibal?" Murdock asked BA.

"In the other room, watching Face. You were careful, Fool?" BA asked.

"Of course," Murdock said.

Richter ignored BA's remark, but he did make a mental note to ask Murdock how he felt about being called 'Fool'. "May I speak to Lt. Peck?" Richter asked.

"He's still asleep," BA said.

"And will be for a while, yet," Hannibal said, walking out of the bedroom. "If you want, you can read the file the priest dropped off." Hannibal pointed to the folder that was still on the coffee table.

Richter nodded, and carefully started reading over every detail. While Richter read, Murdock went into the bedroom to stay with Face. Hannibal and BA sat in the living room, waiting for the doctor to get finished. Finally, Richter sighed heavily, laying down the file. He looked up at Hannibal, saying, "I already asked Murdock this once, but now I'm asking you. Is it possible that you will allow me to take Templeton to the VA?"

"No," Hannibal said, in a cold, harsh tone. "The military will not worry about his mental health. The minute they found out who he was, they would lock him away just like the others did. I'm not going to allow that to happen."

Richter nodded, "Alright, so that is out. What do you want me to do?"

"I want to know to how to help him," Hannibal said.

Richter sighed and thought for a moment. "I have a cabin not far from here. Murdock knows where it is. I have taken him and others there for outings. I'll give you the key. It is out of the way and I'm sure no one will find you. I go there often, so that will not send red flags to the wrong people. I can help your friend from there."

Hannibal thought about this. "How do I know I can trust you?" he asked.

"Murdock already told me that he will not trust me again if you got captured because of me. I worked very hard to earn his trust. I'm not blowing it now. Besides, this is your only real choice; your friend needs professional help. This isn't something you take lightly."

"Alright," Hannibal said, relenting. "I'll go along with it."

"Good. I'll write some prescriptions for Templeton. They will help him rest and gain control again. I want you to remember one thing. Don't push him. If he wants to talk, then let him, but don't try to force it out of him."

"We know that, Doctor. We've dealt with Murdock enough to know that much," Hannibal said, sounding frustrated.

Richter walked up to him and said, "I know you're worried, but I will help him."

"I know. What I want to do is find the people that hurt Face, but I know most of them are probably dead," Hannibal said.

"All you can do is be there for him. He needs you as his friend, more than his commanding officer," Richter told Hannibal. He looked at the file. "I'm going to take that with me. I know someone who might be able to help find the old records. They will tell me more about what happened to Templeton."

And I know a young lady that can get me the case file on the Taylor brothers. It will help fill in the rest of the holes," Hannibal offered.

"Alright, I'll go say goodbye to Murdock. I'm sure he will want to go with you. I'll just say that he wandered off on me," Richter said, with a knowing grin. Hannibal grinned as well. He couldn't help but wonder how many more times Murdock would just wander off from the VA.

 

Chapter 3

Night had fallen and the guys were almost to the lake. Murdock sat in the back, keeping a close eye on a still-sleeping Face.

"How is he doing?" Hannibal asked Murdock.

"I think the drugs are wearing off. He is starting to get restless," Murdock replied.

Hannibal looked at the map and noticed that they were less than a quarter of a mile from Richter's cabin. "We are almost there."

"Hannibal?" BA spoke up.

"Yeah?"

"What are we going to do if Richter can't help Face? I mean, it is hard enough dealing with that fool back there. How can we look after both?"

"I resent that! You don't have to look after me!" Murdock snapped.

BA grunted at this. "I look after you all the time!" he snapped.

Murdock opened his mouth to say something but Hannibal raised his hand and broke it off. "Alright, you two; that's enough. We have enough to deal with right now. I don't need to listen to the two of you going at it. So, until Face is on the road to recovery, I don't want to deal with anyone's petty bickering!"

"Yes, sir," BA said, quickly turning his attention back to the road.

"Sure," Murdock said, looking down at Face.

Hannibal sighed. "Guys? Look, I didn't mean to bite your heads off. It is just·"

"We know. We're worried about him, too. Me and Fool will behave ourselves," BA said.

"Yeah, no fighting. That's a promise," Murdock said, crossing his heart.

Hannibal laughed. "Thanks." He didn't believe they wouldn't fight. It was impossible for them not to fight. He just hoped they would keep it low key for a while.

BA parked the van in front of Richter's cabin and the three men climbed out. "Murdock, BA, take care of the gear. I'll look after Face," Hannibal ordered.

"Yes, Colonel," BA said, and the pair went to work.

Hannibal, in the meantime, climbed in the back of the van and gently shook Face awake. A pair of bloodshot eyes opened and Face slowly looked around in a dazed, confused state.

"How are you feeling?" Hannibal asked.

"Fine," Face said, rubbing his eyes and looking around the van. "Where are we?"

"Richter's cabin. Do you remember anything?" Hannibal asked.

"No, not really. I don't even know what time of day it is," Face said, feeling like he had just awakened from a nightmare.

"It's two in the morning, LA time," Hannibal answered.

Face looked at his bandaged hands and asked, "How did this happen?"

"Far as I could tell, you cut them when you broke the mirror in the bathroom," Hannibal said.

"I did what? When? Why?" Face asked, looking at Hannibal like he had lost his mind.

"That's why we are here, to find out why. Face, when BA and I found you, you were on the floor, with a gun at your side, begging me to stop the voices. I didn't know what you meant. I still don't know."

"Voices?" Face said, looking around the van, trying to make sense out of all of it. He couldn't put anything together though. It was hard for him to think for more then one second at a time. It was like there was big wall in his skull and it wasn't breaking down.

"Hannibal, I don't remember that. In fact, I don't remember doing anything."

"Don't force it. It will come to you. Right now, let's just take this as a vacation and enjoy the time off," Hannibal said, helping Face to his feet.

"Easy for you to say. You're not the one that is losing his mind."

"You're not losing your mind. You're just having trouble dealing with some things. What, I don't know, but we will figure them out," Hannibal told him. "Okay?"

"Okay," Face said. He was too tired to argue with him. He felt like he'd slept for weeks, but could sleep for several more.

Hannibal helped Face out of the van and the pair walked into the cabin. It was small with a tiny kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms. One bedroom had two sets of bunk beds; the other had a king size bed and a desk in it.

"Not the Hilton," Face said, looking around the room, not really impressed at what he was seeing.

"At least, the we have a roof over our heads. We could be sleeping on the ground," Hannibal reminded him, although he was glad to hear Face sounding more like himself.

"I don't care where we sleep tonight. I'm bushed," BA said, walking to the room with the bunk beds. He picked one out and dropped down on it.

"I get the top bunk!" Murdock said, cheerfully, as he jumped on the bunk just above BA.

It was watching Face walk into the bunkroom and drop down on one of the beds that stopped BA from complaining. He remembered what Hannibal had said in the van and realized it really didn't matter where any of them slept. This stay wasn't about their needs, but Face's.

Lights went out and the guys dropped off to sleep. It didn't take long, though, for Face's nightmares to start. It was Murdock that heard him first. He climbed down from the top bunk and slowly walked over to where Face lie. Face was on his back, his hands held out in front of him. He was muttering something under his breath that Murdock couldn't figure out.

"Face? Facie, are you okay?" Murdock asked, gently reaching out to touch Face on the shoulder.

Face suddenly pulled away from Murdock, moving to the corner, wide-eyed and scared. He sat there for a long time, breathing hard. The commotion woke the others and soon the lights were on. Hannibal walked in from the other room.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"I think he is having a nightmare," Murdock said. He wanted to touch Face again, but Face kept pulling away from him. He finally sat there and tried just talking. "It's okay, Face. No one is going to hurt you."

"Don't tie me down," Face said, in a voice that was so child-like it was heartbreaking for the others to hear it.

"We're not going to tie you down," Hannibal said, in a reassuring voice. "Why don't you lie down?"

Face looked at him, at first not sure if he could trust him or not. Then, slowly, he slipped back down, pulling the covers close to his chin.

"You want something to drink?" Murdock asked.

"Okay," Face said.

"Go get it, BA," Hannibal said, turning away from Face as he mouthed, "and the pills!"

BA nodded, heading off to get what Hannibal wanted. He was back a few moments later and placed the pills in Hannibal's hands. Hannibal held them out for Face to take. Face shook his head and covered his mouth with the blanket.

Murdock would have laughed if it wasn't so painful to watch this coming from his friend. Murdock took the pills and held them out to Face. "It's candy," he lied.

"You're lying," Face said.

"Let me, Fool," BA said, taking the pills away from Murdock. He bent down, holding out the pills to Face, and said, "They will help you sleep. They keep the nightmares away."

Face tilted his head, thinking, then slowly reached out, taking the pills from BA's hands. Hannibal handed him the glass of water. After drinking it, Face slipped back down and went to sleep. The three sat there, watching him.

"Let's get some sleep," Hannibal said, finally, and they slowly went back to bed.

Hannibal didn't sleep though. He lie there, unable to chase away the memories of Face's reaction to them. He knew that in Face had really still been asleep. They had been talking to the child that was in Face. The child that was hurt and scared. Hannibal had no idea what he meant about being tied down. What had they done to him? What had they done to the boy that affected the man he was today? Hannibal didn't know, but he knew he would have to get those answers, and get them soon.

 

Chapter 4

Face was the last one to roll out of bed later that day. He looked better then he had yesterday, once he showered and shaved. Face dropped down in one of the kitchen chairs, lowering his head to rest it against the table.

"You hungry?" Hannibal asked.

"Coffee!" Face snapped.

"Sure," Hannibal said, filling the cup without saying anything else.

Face sipped the coffee in silence. He knew they were watching him but he was ignoring them. He was halfway hoping they would go away sooner or later, but knew that was a pipe dream. After emptying the cup, Face looked at his friends and asked, "What happened last night?"

"What do you remember?" Hannibal asked.

"Did you give me something to sleep?" Face asked.

Hannibal held up a bottle of pills. "Richter prescribed something to help you sleep and something you have to take during the day."

"How nice of him," Face said, sarcastically.

"Richter is just going to help," Murdock said.

"Murdock, I put up with people like Richter my whole life. I have seen more psychiatrists in my stay at the orphanage then your stay at the VA, and I'm not very open to deal with them again," Face said, dropping his head back on the table.

"You might not have a choice," Hannibal told him.

"Why do you say that?" Face asked, lifting his head up.

Hannibal sat down and looked right at him. "Face, look at you. You can't operate like this and you know it. Now, we are staying here until we figure out why it is happening. I don't care how long it takes, but you have to meet us half way."

Face's eyes narrowed at this. "Meaning, I won't have a choice in the matter."

"That isn't want I mean," Hannibal said.

"Yes, it is. You think talking to Richter is going to help, so I have to do it. Well, let me tell you something about jerks like Richter. I dealt them my entire childhood. They go in, telling you what is wrong with you. They act like it's real easy to fix things. All you have to do is trust the world a little bit more. I don't care to hear it. Why would I trust this damn world? What the hell has it done for me?" Face snapped, and stormed off, knocking the coffee cup over as he went.

The others just sat there, looking at each other. This was the first time Face had actually shown the guys that he was angry about his childhood. He normally joked about it, or told wild stories about scams he had done. He had never once said anything about how it affected him today.

 

Face went for a walk to cool off. When he came back, he sat on the porch, alone, looking out at the lake. BA was working on the van's engine. Face caught him, now and then, looking in his direction but thankfully, he stayed where he was.

Face just didn't want to talk. He had no idea why he'd gone off the way he had. He had no problem with Richter. Well, as long as he talked to Murdock. He just didn't want to talk to the guy, but Face had no idea why! Okay, he'd disliked doctors all his life, but he never actually hated them." Face really, truly felt he hated Richter.

Then there were the nightmares. He did remember part of them. He remembered a room full of doors. He standing in front of one of them, trying to open it, but it wouldn't open. He tried to find the lock, but there wasn't any. He tried taking the hinges off, but they vanished. He even tried kicking it in his dreams, but he couldn't move. When he looked down, he had no legs. That was as much as he remembered; the rest was a mystery to him. He didn't know what it meant, but it worried him.

It also worried him that he didn't remember much about the last five days. He didn't remember calling Hannibal. He didn't even remember the last time he had a meal. Which reminded him he was hungry, but his pride was keeping him out the kitchen. Murdock was in the house and Face knew that Murdock would be the one to say something to him. So, he stood there like a mule, waiting for the guy to leave the cabin so he could raid the fridge.

Face groaned when he heard Woody's laughter from the TV fill the air. He knew then that he was going to have go in regardless. Murdock wouldn't leave the cabin as long as afternoon cartoons were on. Face looked at the door, then looked around. "Oh, hell," Face muttered to himself, and he walked inside.

He did make it to the kitchen and was just making himself a sandwich when Hannibal showed up.

"Face?"

Face groaned and turned to look at him. "What?" he asked, trying not snap, but he knew he did.

"Richter called. He is coming this weekend."

"Thanks for the warning. Is that why BA is taking the carburetor out of the van?" Face asked.

"Hiding the keys wouldn't do any good. You can hotwire it!" Hannibal said, smiling as he tried to lighten the mood. Face wasn't going for it.

"I can walk," Face said.

"Yeah, but you're not the type to run from things," Hannibal said lying. He knew Face would try to run but he wouldn't get to far. They wouldn't let him.

"We are on the run," Face pointed out.

Hannibal nodded. "I know and that is why I want you to talk to Richter. You know what could happen if one of us gets caught."

Face nodded, sighing. "I know and you're right. Truth be known, I don't know why I don't want to talk to Richter."

"Maybe you're worried about what you will find out?"

"Maybe," Face said. "Do you know what is going on with me?"

"I have an idea, but all I'm going to tell you is that it has something to do with your childhood. You will have figure the rest out for yourself."

Face groaned. "I guess now I know how Murdock felt when he asked what happened at the camp."

"Yeah," Hannibal said, nodding his head.

Face suddenly wasn't hungry. He put down his sandwich and walked out of the kitchen. He had a lot on his mind, but no answers for what was going on.

 

Richter showed up early Saturday afternoon and to Hannibal's surprise, Face was waiting on the porch. The scowl was still there, but that had became permanent fixture with Face, along with mood swings.

"Hi, Doc!" Murdock called out. "How was the trip?"

"Too bad he made it," Face muttered. He stood on the porch, watching as Murdock helped the doctor unpack. Face wondered if he couldn't borrow the doc's car, but sadly, BA was already ahead of him. Face noticed BA pulling out his tool box. The guy was going to fix this car as well.

"Sorry, Face," Hannibal said.

"You don't trust me?" Face asked.

"Nope," Hannibal said, smiling as he walked down the steps and went to greet the doctor.

Richter walked up the steps and looked at Face. He had been told earlier that things hadn't gone well. He was also ready for Face's unwillingness to cooperate. "Hi," Richter said.

Face growled at the doctor and walked into the house. Richter shook his head.

"Hope you're ready for him," Hannibal said.

"You should have dealt with Murdock when he first arrived at the hospital. He was worse," Richter said.

"I was not," Murdock said, sounding hurt. "Was I?" he asked, popping his head over Richter's shoulder.

"You were," Richter said, smiling, and he walked into the house.

After unpacking, Richter went looking for Face. It took him a while, but he finally found him sitting by the lake, throwing rocks into the water. "What do you think of my cabin?" Richter asked, as he walked up and sat down beside Face.

"I think you could make a bundle selling this to a land developer," Face said.

"I've had offers, but I like the place too much," Richter said, leaning against the rock, looking out at the water.

They sat silently for a while, then Face said, "So, am I going to start talking to things that aren't there, like Murdock?"

Richter laughed. "No, there is a big difference between you and Murdock's problem. You're not trying to run from what you remember. Your problem is accepting that you need to remember."

"What does that mean?"

"I means your subconscious is protecting you. It doesn't want you to remember. The trouble is, it can't keep what happened hidden any more."

"That explains the doors," Face said.

"What doors?" Richter asked.

Face cursed under his breath. He didn't want to give Richter anything but he just had. "My dreams...I dream about a room full of doors. I can't open one. I try, but nothing works."

"You always dream this?" Richter asked.

"Most of the time," Face said.

Richter thought about what Hannibal had told him and said, "I think sometimes you do get the door open, but you don't remember it."

"Why do you say that?" Face asked.

"What you say to the others when you are half awake. They tell me you talk like a child, and I know that this has something to do with your childhood," Richter said.

"Hannibal said that, but I keep going over my childhood. There isn't anything there," Face said, sounding very sure of himself.

"Not that you remember. Isn't there any part of your childhood where you are left with a huge gap?" Richter asked.

"The only thing that I can think of are my first years of life," Face admitted. "But no one remembers those years."

"Not often, but they still affect us."

"Great. How am I going to remember that stuff?" Face asked, sarcastically.

"How about hypnotism?" Richter suggested.

"You want me to trust you enough to hypnotize me? Forget it!" Face said, shaking his head.

"Why not?"

"Because I will end up clucking like a chicken!"

"I will not make you cluck like a chicken."

"You might not, but they would!" Face said, pointing back to the house.

Richter smiled at this. "I promise, the only person you will be able to hear is me. If it really bothers you, we can do it with just the two of us in the room."

"No, they can be there," Face said, suddenly realizing he really didn't want to be alone with Richter. He didn't know why, but he got a cold feeling just thinking about it.

"Alright, we'll do this your way," Richter said, making a mental note of the tension that suddenly ripped through Face's body.

 

Later that afternoon, Face sat in a kitchen chair with Richter across from him in another one. "Okay, first of all, no one says anything. Face only agreed to this if the three of you behave," Richter warned.

"Damn, and Billy was looking forward in having a friend," Murdock said.

"That's it! I'm gone," Face said, getting up to leave.

Hannibal grabbed Face and BA took Murdock.

"Sit down," Hannibal said to Face.

"Shut up, Fool!"

Richter looked at Murdock and cleared his throat. Murdock gulped, but kept his mouth shut. Richter turned his attention back to Face. "Remember, you will only hear me."

 

"Alright," Face said through clenched teeth. He kept an eye on Murdock. Out of all of them, he trusted Murdock the least right now.

"Relax," Richter told Face. Face sighed, let out a deep breath, and let his shoulders slump. "Alright, I want you to watch the pen·."

 

Chapter 5

Richter lowered his pen and started. "Alright, I want you to remember that nothing can hurt you. The things you will see are not real. They are just memories. Do you understand?"

"Yes."

"Good. Now, I want you to picture yourself in the room with all the doors. Can you do that?"

Face nodded. "I'm there. There is nothing but doors."

"Good. Now, you told me there is a door you can't open. Do you see it?" Richter asked.

"Yes, but there is no door handle," Face said.

"That's okay. We are not going to that door. We are going to the door on the side of it. I want you to go to it and open it," Richter said.

Face walked the door and stood for a moment, then reached for door handle. He slowly turned the knob and stepped into the room.

"What do you see?" Richter asked.

Face looked around and saw a dam. Hannibal was running on it. "Our last mission. Hannibal has a bomb; it is about to go off."

"I liked that mission," Hannibal said, smiling.

"You would," BA growled.

Richter cleared his throat. "We can leave this room and go to the next one," Richter said to Face.

Face did what Richter told him. Going through the next door, Face found himself in a prison cell.

Richter noticed that Face was breathing hard and he looked at him, worried. "Where are you?" Richter asked.

"In a prison cell in Fort Bragg. I'm alone. It is late and the others are asleep. I hear the noises around me and I can't sleep. I know Hannibal is working on a plan to get us out, but I'm not sure. I'm starting to wonder if I'll be here until I'm old and gray."

"You can leave the room, just back out the way you came," Richter told Face.

Face did as he told, and they went on, going from door to door. Each door was a view into his life. He wanted stay in some rooms, but others he couldn't bring himself to enter. One room held the memories of the POW camp. Richter decided not to deal with those memories. He knew they were bad, but he also knew they had nothing to do with what was going on now.

They finally made it back to the door that he couldn't open. "Okay, I want you to try to open the door."

Face looked at the door. It now had a door knob, but he wasn't sure it would open. He slowly reached out for it but it moved away from him.

"It moved," Face said in frustration.

Richter sighed. He had hoped going to the other doors would help Face relax enough to let him open this one. He thought for a moment, looking at the others; he realized there might be a way. Face was used to doing things with the team. He wondered if that would do it.

"Face," Richter said, "I want you to go to the room where Hannibal and the others were. I want you ask them to follow you."

"Why?" Face asked.

"They are going to help you open the door. Okay?" Richter said.

"Yes," Face said, and he walked to the door where he had first gone in and opened it.

The guys were standing around talking. He was the only one that was missing. He walked up to Hannibal and asked, "Hannibal, I need to get a door open. Will you help me?"

Richter looked at Hannibal, nodding. Hannibal understood and replied, "Sure, anything."

"BA, Murdock, will you help?" Face asked.

"Sure, Face," the pair replied in unison.

"I'll show you where it is," Face said. He walked out the door and into the room with all the doors. He stood there and pointed. "That's it. I can't get it open."

"Let me try," BA said reluctently, hoping that in Face's mind that is exactly what was happening.

He had been right. BA, in Face's mind, walked to the door and forced it open. Face looked in, but all he saw was a dark space. Richter noticed Face's breathing went up a notch and guessed that the door was open. He looked at Hannibal and wrote on a piece of paper," Take over - treat this like a mission!"

Hannibal nodded. "BA, take point," Hannibal ordered.

"Got it, Colonel," BA said. Face watched as BA walked into the room. To the real BA, it was a bit strange, playing along with something he couldn't see, but he was ready to try anything if it helped his friend get back to normal.

"Face, you go behind BA and I'll be behind you. Murdock, you take the rear," Hannibal said.

"I don't want to go next," Face said.

"Why not?" Richter asked.

"I don't know. I just can't go," Face said.

"Face, BA is in front of you, and I'll be right behind you. I promise nothing is going to hurt you," Hannibal said.

"Promise?"

"I promise."

Face looked through the door and all he saw was BA's shadow. He stepped forward into the unknown.

"What is there, Face?" Richter asked.

Face looked around. "We are in a hospital and it is dark. The lights are dimmed and there isn't anyone around."

"What do you hear?" Richter asked.

"Moaning...and something else, but I can't place it." Face said. He looked around and slowly moved down the hall. "This way," he said.

Face moved down the hall with his version of his friends behind him. He walked to a door and tried to open it. "It's locked."

"Pick it?" Hannibal said.

Face pulled out a pick set from his pocket and bent down to open the door. He walked inside, reached out and turned on a light.

"Who are you?" Face asked.

"Face? What is it?" Richter asked.

"There is a child in here," Face said. He moved to the child's bed and knelt down next to it. "What's your name?"

"Rich·ard," the young boy stammered.

"You cold?" Face asked.

The child shook his head.

"Scared?" Face asked.

The little boy nodded. Face picked the child up, taking him on his lap. "BA, get me that blanket on the table."

"Sure, Face," BA said. "Here."

Face took the blanket and wrapped the child up in it. "Why are you here?" Face asked the boy.

"I don't know," the child said. "The man with the strange hat brought me here."

"Why? Were you hurt?" Face asked. The child pulled away from Face. "Hey, what did I say?" Face asked.

"I can't tell you. They will get mad at me," the boy said.

"Who's they?" Face asked.

Before the child could reply, the door opened and a heavy-set nurse walked in. She walked past the team like they weren't even there. She walked over to the child, picked him up and shoved him hard onto the bed.

"Stop that," Face yelled, reaching out to grab the woman, but he couldn't move. He found that his feet had were planted in stone. The child started to cry.

"I'm tired of coming in and dealing with you," the nurse snapped. She took the blanket and started to wrap the boy in it.

"Stop her!" Face yelled, looking for the others, but they were gone. "Guys?

Face's breath started coming faster and faster. He watched as the woman wrapped the boy in the blanket so tight he couldn't move. The child cried but it came out as mere whimpers.

"There," the nurse said after she was finished. "Now, you stay quiet and still for the rest of the night. Understand?"

"Yes," the child nodded, tears filling his blue eyes.

"Why are you doing this? He wasn't doing anything!" Face yelled. But the nurse turned and walked out. She looked at Face but her eyes were just empty sockets.

"NO!" Face screamed.

"What's going on?" Hannibal asked Richter.

"Face, calm down," Richter said.

"No, let him go. He doesn't like this," Face cried over and over again.

Richter gripped by the arms. "Face, I want you to listen to me. I'm going to count to three and then you will wake up. One, two, three!"

Face jumped out of the chair the moment he came around. He felt the need to run but didn't know where he wanted run too. He stood breathing hard for a long time. He was scared but he no idea why. He wanted to hurt someone but didn't know who. Richter stood up put a hand on Face's shoulder and asked, "Are you okay?" Face pulled away though. He didn't want to be touched not by Richter or anyone. He walked away and went outside on the porch to get some air.

Hannibal looked at Richter. "What in hell happened?"

"I can't tell you what was happening that scared him. What I can tell you is that I believe Face's subconscious fought what I was doing," Richter said.

"What?" BA asked not understanding any of this.

"Face doesn't remember any of this not because he choice forget it. His mind choice it, at the time because wasn't able to deal with it. It still thinks he isn't ready. He fought back. How I don't know but I will find out," Richter said and he walked out on the porch to join Face.

The three of friends sat there watching as Richter and Face quietly outside. BA leaned close to Hannibal and asked, "What if this takes longer then a few mouths. What we do?"

 

Hannibal thought about it for a long time then said, "If we have to leave the country and live in place where were our government can't get us. Then I'm willing to do it. As long as he gets the help he needs. I'm not walking out on him that has been done once to often." Hannibal stood up and walked the kitchen a beer. He wanted something stronger by all they had at this moment was beer.

BA didn't argue this for he felt same way. He really didn't care how long it took as long as Face got help. He would never admit it to Face personally but he saw Face as a brother and right now he felt the need to protect him. The trouble was there was on one to hurt for the monsters that hurting Face were inside his own head. This left BA feeling and helpless and out place as Hannibal was feeling.

 

Chapter 6

Richter walked out on the porch to find Face standing at the railing, holding on to it so tightly that his knuckles were turning white. Richter walked over and stood next to Face. "Are you okay?" Richter asked.

"No," Face snapped. "What in hell just happened in there? Why do I feel like running?"

"Because you don't understand what is going on, and that is to be expected. Face, you do know this is going to take awhile, right?"

Face nodded. "Yeah, I know." He looked over to the side of the building, where Murdock was standing, watching them with a worried look on his face. "Am I hurting him?"

"Murdock?" Richter asked.

"I don't want this to affect his mental state. I'd hate it if I caused him to backslide in some way," Face said.

"Is that way you have been avoiding him?" Richter asked.

"He tell you that?" Face asked.

"He said something about it to me. So, are you?" Richter asked.

Face sighed. "I don't know. Maybe I'm avoiding all of them. I feel like I let the team down, that I can't hold up my end any more."

"That bother you?" Richter asked.

"Yes, that bothers me. I'm the one that gets things done for them, not the other way around. I don't like having to depend on anyone. I'm normally very good at taking care of myself. In fact, I'm usually the one that looks after Murdock. I guess it bothers me that I can't do that right now. I'm having hard enough time taking care of myself," Face said in frustration.

"Face, Murdock doesn't need you to look after him. He is very capable of looking after himself, believe it or not. But if you are worried that this could hurt him, don't be. I will know if things start getting to Murdock and if that happens, I'll send him back to the VA. I don't want anything to affect Murdock's recovery any more then you do," Richter assured Face, "So, don't worry about Murdock. I will keep an eye on him. What you need to think about right now is Face."

"That is easy for me to do. I was always told that I was self-absorbed," Face said, jokingly.

"Who told you that?" Richter asked.

"Social workers, doctors like yourself. They all told me same thing. I wasn't adopted because I never let anyone get too close," Face said, the anger very clear in his tone of voice.

"Were these the same people that placed you in those foster homes of yours?" Richter asked.

Face shot him a look. "You read my file?"

"Yes, I read your file. I asked the Father for it. He is worried about you and he was hoping it would help."

"I should have known," Face said, shaking his head. "Well, to answer your question, yes, they were the same people."

"Well, I wouldn't take their word on the state of a dog, let alone a child. I can't believe they picked those people out to take care of a small boy."

Face couldn't help it; he laughed. It wasn't because it was funny, but because Richter's reaction was the same as the Father's had been when Face was brought back to the orphanage on several occasions.

"What are you laughing at?" Richter asked.

Face sighed, shaking his head. "Nothing. It's just been so long go, dealing with this now is almost ludicrous. I thought I was over all this adoption crap."

"Sometimes our past has a way of coming back to haunt us when we least expect it," Richter said.

"Yeah, well my past's timing sucks," Face said. He looked towards the water for a long time then said, "Well, thanks, Doc. I think I'm going for a walk. I'm not in the mood to talk any more." Face turned away from Richter, slowly walking down the steps and toward the lake.

Richter stood there, watching him walk away. He was thinking about everything that Face had said and what happened over the last few hours. He didn't hear Murdock walking up until he was standing right beside him.

"How is he, Doc?" Murdock asked.

"What? Oh, Murdock, it's you. Your friend is fine," Richter said.

"Don't double talk me, Doc. I know when you are worried about something. Out with it!" Murdock demanded. "What is wrong with Face?"

Richter smiled. "Sometimes, Murdock, you say things that make me doubt your insanity. As for your friend, he is frustrated. He wants answers, and now, but his mind doesn't think he is ready for them yet."

"How are you going to help his mind get ready?" Murdock asked.

"I'm not sure yet, Murdock, but don't worry too much about him. He is a strong man. I'm sure he will get through this," Richter said, and he turned, walking back into the house.

Later that evening at dinner, Face sat at the table, playing with his food. He knew all eyes were on him, so he concentrated on his plate and ignored the looks he was getting.

Hannibal finally got tired of watching Face chase his peas around the plate and asked, "What is it? Is my cooking that bad?"

"No, I'm just not hungry," Face said, still not looking up.

BA grunted at this. "You weren't hungry at lunch or breakfast, either. In fact, I don't remember the last time you actually ate anything. Oh, you made yourself something to eat, but I don't think I ever saw you finish it."

"You've been watching how much I eat?" Face asked, looking at his friend, accusingly.

"No, he hasn't, Face, but you haven't eaten anything." Hannibal said.

"Get off my back," Face yelled. "I'll eat when I'm ready." Face stormed out, slamming the door behind him.

The others sat at the table in silence. No really knew what to say. It was Murdock that made the first move. He picked up two pieces of chicken from the plate, wrapping them up.

"Where are you going?" BA asked.

"Outside to get some air," Murdock said. He walked out, going after Face.

Murdock found Face by the lake, watching the stars reflecting across the surface. Face was leaning against a large bolder. Murdock knew his friend had heard him approach, even if he hadn't looked in his direction. Murdock climbed up on the rock, handing Face the chicken.

"Here eat this before Billy steals it," Murdock said.

Face chuckled, giving in as he took the leg from Murdock. He took a bite and slowly started to chew. Swallowing, he said, "Murdock, were you ever afraid of going to sleep?"

Murdock rolled his eyes at this. "All the time! Why? Is that what is bothering you?"

"Murdock, you have no idea what I would give for just one night without the nightmares."

"You're taking the pills that Richter prescribed?" Murdock asked.

"Yeah, and all they do for me is keep me trapped in my nightmares," Face said.

Murdock thought about this. "Why don't you try changing what your dreaming about? I have learned that if I really work at it, I can control my dreams. In fact I have turned some very bad nightmares into some very interesting dreams," Murdock said, smiling.

"Murdock, I don't have your imagination. I can't just think it and my dream will change," Face said.

"Well, try thinking about me. I'll help," Murdock said, grinning.

Face raised an eye brow at this and started to laugh. "Okay, I'll try." Face bit into the chicken and finished it off. He didn't believe what Murdock said would work, but he wasn't in the mood to argue about it. He knew Murdock was only trying to help, and he figured he would just let him think that he had.

Later that night, Face lay in bed, listening to the others snoring softly around him. He was close to giving in to sleep, but he was fighting it. Murdock's words came back to him as he slowly started to drift off.

"Think about me and I'll help," Face heard Murdock say one more time as he drifted off to sleep.

Face found himself hanging from a steep cliff. When he looked down, there was no bottom. He looked up and the sky had turned dark. He could feel his heart beating wildly in his chest and he knew if he let go, he would keep falling forever. Face hung on as long as he could. He even tried crying for help several times but his mouth just wasn't working. He couldn't get the words out right. He was very close to giving up when suddenly someone tapped him on the shoulder. He looked over and there stood Murdock. There was nothing below him but empty space, yet he wasn't falling.

"Hi," Murdock said, smiling brightly at Face.

"Murdock, what are you doing? Don't you know you could fall?" Face yelled.

"In the real world, yes, but things work differently around here," Murdock said and he reached out, starting to pry Face's fingers from the cliff.

"Murdock, what are you doing? Stop that, you are going to make me fall!" Face yelled.

"Trust me, Face, you're not going to fall. Just let go," Murdock told Face.

At first, Face refused to do so, but his fingers hurt so much from holding on to the sharp rocks that he had no choice. He had to let go. He was shocked to find that he didn't fall. He was standing there beside the cliff with Murdock at his side.

"See, I told you. Now, come on. Lets go have some fun before you have to wake up," Murdock said, and he ran lightly across the sky. Face watched him for a moment, unsure, before going after him. His dreams slowly changed and they went from a nightmare to some very interesting ones. When the nightmares did try to take cover. Murdock just changed things about and they went another direction.

What Face didn't realize was that Murdock was sitting beside his bed listening to his dreamful muttering. When Face started to show signs of having bad dream, Murdock would whisper in his hear telling him something better to dream about. Murdock could tell it worked for didn't toss and turn as much as he had nights before.

 

Chapter 7

Face woke up feeling better than he had in a long time. Okay, his dreams were stranger than normal, but they weren't like his nightmares. He wasn't feeling like the world was ready to swallow him up.

"Good morning," Face said as he walked into the kitchen.

"Morning," Hannibal said, eyeing Face closely.

"Sleep well?" Richter asked, glancing in Murdock's direction. Murdock was sleeping at the table. Now, Richter had no idea what Murdock had done, but he had this feeling that the pilot was somehow responsible for Face's good mood.

"I didn't have one nightmare," Face said, smiling and he took a double helping of pancakes.

"That's good," Hannibal said, figuring he wasn't going to fight this. Face had a good night and that was all that mattered. "After breakfast, how about we start to work on getting back in shape?"

There were groans from the three men at the table.

"I didn't sleep that well," Face said.

"Forget it, Face, it isn't going to work. We are all going on a three mile run. I'll double it if I hear one more complaint out of any of you."

Murdock was just about to open this mouth when the other two clamped their hands over it. "You say one word!" BA warned. Murdock smiled, pretended to zip his lips and went back to his nap.

 

Richter went into his office to go over Face's files. Before coming to the cabin, he had gathered as much information as possible on the people connected with Face and the events of his past. He wasn't sure what was going to come out of his sessions with Face and he didn't want to be caught off guard.

He had a few questions about what Face had revealed to them the night before, some of them being about Face's reaction to the nurse. He had an idea who it was, but he wanted to know more about her. He wanted to know what her roll in all of this was. It took Richter a bit of digging, but he finally found what he was looking for. He sat back, sipped his coffee and started reading.

The nurse's name was Helen Bostwirk, and she had been a nurse for over thirty-five years before she ran into Face. She was the head nurse on the ward where Face had been placed. She was single and had never really dealt with a child before, only adults. Richter flipped further through the file and didn't like what he read. Nurse Bostwirk had gone from the hospital where Face had been placed to a nursing home. She was only there for a short time before she was relieved of her duties. It seemed several families had complained about her and how she treated their loved ones. She was never charged with anything, but she never worked in the medical field again. She became a prison matron at Sing Sing until her death a few years later. It seems the prison liked her better than anyone else had.

Richter sighed, put down the file and thought. Nurse Helen was not a loving woman. He had a pretty good idea she had hurt Face, but how far had she actually gone? Did she do something else to him besides slap him around? He didn't know what she had done, but he knew there was something about her...

 

Face was out of shape and he knew it. He was so far behind the guys, he finally gave up running and started to walk, wandering farther and farther from the path. He had no real idea where he was going; it was just nice not to have the guys hovering over him. Face soon found himself in front of a small spring that led into the lake.

Suddenly the air seemed to grow cold and he found it hard to breath. He looked at the spring with a feeling of dread. What should be giving him joy was sending him into a panic attack. He finally dropped down on his knees, looking at the water with unseeing eyes.

Murdock was the first one to realize Face was missing. He called Hannibal and BA back.

"Face is gone! He was right behind us, but..." Murdock said.

"Okay, let's go find him," Hannibal said, hoping to find Face just down the path, lagging behind.

Hannibal walked on one side of the road, Murdock in the middle and BA took the other side. They were not only looking for their friend but for any sign of where he could have wandered off. BA was the one that found the point where Face had entered the woods.

"Okay, BA you go right, Murdock head up the middle and I'll take the left. Call if you spot him."

"Maybe he found a girl that needed help."

"Lets hope so," Hannibal said, and the three of them entered the woods.

It only took a few minutes before Murdock found Face sitting by the spring with a lost look on his face. "Facie?" Murdock asked, bending down to gently shake his friend. Face didn't move. He just sat there like a stone statue, looking at the water. "Hannibal! BA! Over here!" Murdock yelled.

Within moments, the others were beside them. Hannibal tried several times to get Face to respond, but it was useless. Finally, the guys pulled Face to his feet and took him back to the cabin.

"Doctor Richter," Murdock called out as they neared the cabin. "Come quick! Something is wrong with Face."

Richter hurried out to the porch to see what was going on. "Sit him down here," Richter ordered the moment the men neared the cabin. He gave Face the once over, then asked, "Where did you find him?"

"By a spring. He was just sitting there, looking at the water. He wouldn't talk or respond at all," Murdock said, and then he turned to Face. "Its okay, Facie. Doc is going to take real good care of you."

"Doc?" Face said, his voice rising to a panic. He started to pull away, but the guys held him tight.

"Face, stop," Hannibal ordered, but Face wasn't listening. He was in another place, dealing with things they couldn't understand.

"Murdock, go inside and get me the syringe," Richter ordered.

Murdock rushed off while Dr. Richter, Hannibal and BA fought to get Face under control. Murdock wasn't gone long. He handed the syringe to Dr. Richter and he prepared to inject Face.

"NO!" Face cried at the sight of the needle. "He's going to kill me!" Face shouted over and over again, trying to get free. It was no use; the others overpowered him. The needle went in and darkness slowly enveloped him.

Face started to lean toward Hannibal as his fighting stopped. Hannibal looked at Richter and asked, "What just happened?"

"I don't know, but we will find out. Let's get him inside," Richter ordered, and they carried Face into the cabin.

 

Face slept the rest of that day and most of the next day. When he finally did start coming around, he found Richter sitting in a chair beside the bed, looking at him.

"How are you feeling?" Richter asked, when he saw Face open his eyes.

Face remained quiet for a moment, then asked, "What happened?"

"That was what I was going to ask you. What happened?" Richter asked.

Face sat up cautiously and shook his head. "I don't know."

Richter thought a moment. "Okay, let's try this. I'm going to give you a word and I want you to say the first thing that comes to your mind."

Face groaned. "Not this."

"Trust me?" Richter said, giving Face a hopeful smile. Face sighed in resignation. He sat straighter in bed, waiting for Richter to start. "Okay. Sunlight."

"Warmth."

"Birds."

"Pests." Richter looked at him. "They shit on my car after I just wash it!"

Richter laughed and then went on. "Moonlight."

"Romance."

"Water."

Face paused. "Cool drink."

"That isn't what you were going to say. What was it?" Richter asked him.

Face thought about it for a moment, then said, "Death."

This caught Richter off guard. He wasn't ready for that. "Why do you say that?"

Face sat there, thinking. At first nothing came to him, but then a memory slowly started to take shape. He tried fighting it but it was no use. The memory just didn't go away. Richter noticed Face's breathing changed and he tried calm the younger man down.

"It's okay. Remember, they are just memories. You're not going to get hurt. It's okay to tell me."

Face took several deep breaths, then said, "I'm in a room, alone. The walls are gray. I'm cold and I'm wet. I think I'm crying. I know I shouldn't be, but I can't stop. I hear the door open and I try to hide. I don't want the person opening the door to find me. I don't know why, but I don't. It's a woman. She isn't old, but she isn't young, either. She's mean. She grabs for me. She shakes me and starts yelling."

"What does she say?" Richter asked.

"That I'm bad, and that I cause her a lot trouble. I think the reason I'm wet is because I just...wet the bed. I didn't mean to, but it happened."

"How old are you?" Richter asked.

"I don't know. I can't be more than five; that's what it seems like, anyway."

"Okay, go on. What does she do?"

"She drags me down a hall. I don't want to go with her. I know she will hurt me. She usually does. She shoves me in a room and starts taking my clothes off. I fight her. I don't want her to touch me, but she overpowers me. She keeps yelling at me and she hits me. I start to cry again, and that just gets me hit for crying. Then she picks me up and shoves me into the bathtub. The water's hot. I want out, but she won't let me. She holds me there and starts pushing my head under the water. I can't breathe and I start choking·" Face was close to losing it. The memory was so real to him he could smell the woman as if she were right beside him. He couldn't go on talking, and pulled away from Richter.

Richter moved closer and said, "Don't run from this. Remember, she isn't here and she can't hurt you. All you have to do is keep talking."

"I don't remember," he yelled.

"I know. Remembering hurts. But not remembering is destroying you. Come on, keep going. What does she do?"

Face took a moment, composed himself. He was shaking all over and his hands were wet and clammy. She finally found the courage to go on. "She stops shoving me under the water and picks up a bar of soap. She uses a hard brush to scrub me down. I really don't remember much after that. I just know it hurt." Face leaned over resting his head into his hands. The memory rattled him. Not because of the brutal ness but because it was to new to him. He was starting to think the others were right. There was something in his past he didn't remember. It scared him. He didn't want to remember but he knew he had no choice. He was going to remember. He was going to remember every rotten detail.

Richter thought about it. He knew telling him everything could harm him more, but giving him a little information might help trigger more memories. So he pulled out a picture and handed it to Face. "She was a nurse at the hospital you were taken to, after you were found wandering the streets. She was put charge of your care. I guess you could say she wasn't very good with children."

"You guess?" Face said, sarcastically. "I don't remember much about her, but I do remember feeling like my skin was being pulled off."

"I'm sorry. I wish people like that weren't in the world, but they are."

"Tell me about it; my trouble is, I keep on finding them," Face said. He abruptly rolled over and blocked Richter out. He needed time to absorb what he remembered. It irritated him that he had gotten so emotional. He normally managed to keep everything under control, but he'd failed miserably this time around.

"Okay, we can finish this later," Richter said, as he got up to leave. He figured Face had said enough for one session.

 

Chapter 8

Richter wasn't surprised to find the others sitting in the living room waiting for him. "How is he doc?" Murdock asked jumping to his feet.

"We took just took a small step. I think he is starting to realize that we haven't been lying to him," Richter said, sadly, as he sat down in a empty chair.

"What do you mean?" Hannibal asked.

"I don't know. It isn't something he said, but the look on his face afterwards. When you've been doing this as long as I have, you start picking up on the unspoken things. As for what happened to him out there, he actually remembered something."

"Remembered what?" BA asked.

Richter sighed. "Before I tell you that, I think it will help by telling you something I found out about the history of the staff that took care of Face. More importantly, about the history of the nurse that was put in charge of him."

"Helen something," Hannibal said, trying to remember.

"Yes, and thanks to your reporter friend, I have the background information on her and the others that came in contact with Face. It seems Nurse Helen should not have been allowed in the medical field at all, let alone have been put in charge of caring for a child," Richter said, harshly.

"That bad?" Hannibal said. Face's files said very little about Nurse Helen; in fact, his files said very little about any of the medical staff involved. All he really knew was that Father Magill and the Church had filed suit to have the hospital closed down soon after Face was turned over to their care. Nothing was really said in the file about the reasons for it, but he knew it had something to do with Face.

"Before, during and after being put in charge of Face, Nurse Helen had been reprimanded formally and informally on her treatment of patients. She was even accused of sexually assaulting one of them," Richter said.

The glass BA was holding shattered into pieces, sending milk and pieces of glass flying around the room. "Sorry," BA said, brushing his hand off on his pants as he stood up. He mumbled something about cleaning up the mess as he hurried out.

Hannibal and Murdock looked at each other. They knew that glass didn't break by itself. Hannibal looked at Richter, bracing himself, and asked, "Do you think she hurt Face?"

"I don't know. She could have, but I have no real evidence of it. What happened is this·" Richter went on to fill in Hannibal and Murdock on what Face had told him.

"Poor Face," Murdock said. "How could she do that to him?"

"I don't know, Murdock. I just don't know," Richter said.

Hannibal stood up and started to pace. "That woman·" he started, but couldn't finish it. He was raised to respect women, but in his book, Helen wasn't even human. Slowly he got himself under control again.

"Where do we go from here?" Hannibal asked Richter.

"That is up to Face. If you are asking how to treat him, just keep on doing what you have been doing. Doesn't focus too much on his mental health; just be his friend," Richter said.

"Okay, doc," Murdock said, looking at the bedroom door. "I think I'll check on Face."

"Sure," Richter said.

After Murdock left, Hannibal leaned back and lit up a cigar. He sat there thinking about what Richter had just told them.

"How do you feel about all of this?" Richter asked Hannibal.

"Me?" Hannibal asked, surprised that Richter asked.

"Yes, you. I know Murdock well enough by now to know what he is thinking. You friend, BA, isn't back yet, so, I can only assume my comments about sexual abuse bothered him. You? Your face is unreadable. I have to wonder what you are thinking."

Hannibal raised an eyebrow just slightly and said, "I'm worried, because I know more about Face's past than the others do. I had seen his file before this, or at least, the doctored version. I was given that before Face joined the team in Nam. I was a bit leery at first about allowing him on my team, but the longer Face was around, the more he proved himself. I was able to see past what the others said he was. So, if you really what to know what I'm thinking, it's that I know that kid in there has survived a lot of things over the years. I know he can survive this. It might take our help, but he will get through it. I have no doubt about it."

Richter nodded at this. "He will survive. It might even make him stronger - but it will change him. You can be sure of that."

"Yeah, but every event changes a person. It is up to them to make something of it," Hannibal said, and he stepped out to see how BA was doing.

 

Murdock found Face sitting in the corner of the bunk, his knees up close against his chest.

"Face, you ok?" Murdock asked, as he sat down on the bed.

"Why shouldn't I be?" Face answered, sarcastically.

"I had a nurse once that didn't have the best bedside manner," Murdock said.

"Yeah, what she do?" Face asked.

"It wasn't a she. It was a he. He wasn't able to make it in combat, so the military made him a nurse. He wasn't happy about it and took it out on the patients."

"Did he take his anger out on you?" Face asked, straightening up.

"Yeah, he did some, but I got even. I picked the lock on his door, and planted something in his room that would get him thrown out of the army for good."

"What?" Face asked.

"I knew when they were going to do a spot inspection. I borrowed a couple magazines from one of the lady's lockers and planted it in this guy's locker. I also put several other items in there. Like make up, ladies panties and...other things," Murdock said, smiling.

Face laughed. "I shouldn't have taught you how to pick a lock."

"Well, that is what he got for shoving me around. I remember and I get even," Murdock said.

"Sometimes, Murdock, you worry me," Face said.

"How?" Murdock asked, innocently.

"Sometimes I don't think I really know you. I think there is more to you than what you show us," Face said.

"I'm just a crazy pilot," Murdock said.

"Yeah, right," Face said. He did feel better talking to Murdock. Murdock had away of getting him to forget about things. He had in the camp and he was doing it now. Face knew if it wasn't for Murdock, he might not be here today. He would never have made it.

 

BA was outside working on the van. "I thought you were going to clean up your mess?" Hannibal asked.

"I'll get to it later," BA said, not looking up.

"Don't worry about it. Richter was starting it when I came out. How are you doing?" Hannibal asked.

"I don't like thinking about Face being hurt like that," BA said, staring at the engine.

"None of us do. I sometimes forget that he didn't have a childhood like I did. He doesn't remember what it was like being safe all the time. He's been scared most of his life," Hannibal said.

"Yeah," BA said and he went back to work on the van.

 

Later that evening, Richter was working on some paper work while the others were playing poker.

"Face, stop double-dealing," Hannibal warned him.

"I'm not double-dealing! Even if I was, you wouldn't catch me," Face snapped.

"Yeah, right," Hannibal said, shaking his head.

"You wouldn't. I had best teacher in the world in double-dealing. He got kicked out of Vegas before he found God," Face said, smiling.

"You mean a priest taught you how to double-deal?" BA asked.

"Maybe," Face said, mischievously.

"Still say he is cheating," Murdock said, throwing down his cards. "My hand sucks."

"You suck at poker," BA said.

"You're not any better. You don't even bet anything unless you have three of a kind," Murdock taunted.

"Shut up fool!" BA snapped.

Face was laughing as Hannibal forced his hands down. "You move that card one more time..." Hannibal warned him, a dangerous twinkle in his eye.

"What?" Face chuckled. He was cheating but they hadn't really caught him at it. It had nothing to do with dealing the cards. They were using a marked deck that he had picked up when they were in Vegas the last time.

Richter sat in the other room, listening the men's bickering. He was starting to get used to it. He saw the bond between them and realized they made a very unique group. He would love to do a study of them, but he knew that was impossible. He would never be able to tell anyone about it.

Suddenly there was a loud crack of thunder overhead.

"The storm is moving in," Hannibal said.

"I better make sure the windows of the van are up," BA said, grabbing his keys. The last storm, Murdock left one of them open and the entire van was soaked inside. He wasn't taking a chance like that again.

BA was just about to the door when lights flickered and went out. There was a sudden soft buzzing noise just before lightning flashed outside, striking something very close.

"I think you better stay put," Hannibal said.

"Right," BA said.

"I'll get some candles," Richter said.

Once the candles were lit, the room started to get bright again. It was then the group noticed Face standing ramrod straight by the table.

"Face?" Murdock said, stepping over to look at his friend.

Face was breathing hard, arms tight over his chest. He was fighting to keep the memory at bay, but it wasn't working. It was coming at him with everything it had and he didn't want any part of it.

"Face?" Hannibal asked, moving next to the younger man. "What is it?"

Face was panting by this time. "She·She·" He couldn't say it. He didn't want to even think about it.

"What did she do?" Richter asked, joining the others surrounding him.

"No," Face said, shaking his head.

"Face, it is just a memory. It already happened. Nothing is going to hurt you any more. All you have to do is talk about it," Richter said to him.

"She·" Face tried again. At first he couldn't say any more, and then it just started to flow out. "She came for me. I don't know what I did, but she was upset. She said she was going to teach me a lesson I would never forget. I didn't want go with her. I fought and I cried, but no one heard me. She dragged me down a long hallway and into this room. It had table in it with straps and wires around it. She picked me up and threw me on it. She strapped me down and shoved something in my mouth. I was trying to fight her, but nothing worked," he cried. He covered his face with his hands.

"It is okay, Face. We are here," Murdock said, pulling his friend close to him.

"I tried, Murdock, but she wouldn't stop. She turned it on and it hurt. I don't know how long she kept me there. I don't even know what it was·"

Richter had a hunch. "It made a high pitched humming noise?" Richter asked Face.

"Yes," Face said, nodding his head.

"Damn it," Richter muttered angrily, losing his temper.

Murdock looked at him, startled. "She didn't..." he said, catching on.

"She did," Richter flatly. "It is the only thing that makes sense."

Murdock pulled Face into a bear hug, wanting to protect him. He wanted to take the memory away.

"What?" Hannibal asked, puzzled.

"EST. She used Electric Shock Therapy on him. It screws adults up, let alone a child Face's age."

"I'm glad you don't believe in it," Murdock said.

"They don't use that any more," Hannibal said.

"Yes, they do. I knew several people that think it will help Murdock. I will not allow it," Richter said to Hannibal.

"What the hell kind of place was this?" BA demanded.

Hannibal sighed, "Face was put in a mental hospital after he was found wandering the streets. He couldn't talk and he was unresponsive for a long time. The authorities didn't know what to do with him, so they placed him there."

"You knew this and you didn't tell us," Murdock said, shocked.

"It was in his confidential file, Murdock," Richter broke in.

"And when Richter asked me not to say anything about the file to Face in LA, I figured it was best not to say anything at all. When and if Face remembers any of it, it's going to be on his terms," Hannibal said, sadly.

"How many times did she hurt you like that?" he asked Face gently.

Face shook his head. He couldn't tell him. He didn't even know exactly what happened. He had an idea what they were talking about, but he was still wrapped up his own world. He kept talking, almost to himself. "I stopped fighting her afterwards. I let her do what she wanted. It hurt less than that thing·."

This shocked all of them into silence. They looked at each other, filling in the blanks for themselves. They didn't have the heart to ask for clarification. The storm blew around them as memory after memory hit Face, hard. He talked, sometimes, but most of the time they just let him be. Richter and Face would talk it out later, but right then, he just faced it with his friends around him.

 

Chapter 9

Back in LA, Tawnia Baker, was working at her desk when her phone rang.

"Hello?" she said, picking the phone up absently. "What? Oh, Dr. Richter, how is Face? What? I'm sorry, Doc, I can't hear you. What did you say? Oh, yes, I have that information for you on the Taylor family. Did you know that one of them is still alive? What? His name? Samuel. He has had several brushes with the law. You want me to send the information to you at the lake? No, that's fine, I can bring it to you. I'll leave this afternoon. Yes, see you later." Tawnia hung up and went back to work without even thinking twice about the phone call.

 

In an old rundown hotel room, an old man hung up his phone. "See Doc, I'm a good liar," the guy said.

"Yes, you are, Sammy. Now you just have to finish what we started. Richey must die and, this time, stay dead," Doc said.

"Oh, he will. I promise. This time I'm not going to mess up. He got away from me once before. He isn't going to do it again," Sammy said as he turned and looked at the wall, splattered almost completely with pictures of the A-Team. Among those pictures were photos of Face going in and out of several buildings in town. Each shot of Face had a big red circled "X" covering it. Sammy Taylor walked to the table, picked up a long deer skinning knife and slowly started to sharpen it.

"Carl, what do you think? Do you think he will bleed a lot, like the last time?" Sammy asked.

"If you do it right," Carl replied.

"Yes, do it just right. Nice and slow," Doc said. "You have to make sure your cut goes deep."

"I will. It will go really deep. He will die this time. This time he will die·." Sammy said in a lost voice.

 

At the cabin, Face stood on the porch, watching a few ducks swimming in the nearby lake.

"How are you feeling?" Richter asked Face, stepping out to join him.

"Like I ran one of Hannibal's killer obstacle courses and came in last," Face said, sighing sadly.

"I assume that isn't good," Richter said.

"It isn't," Face replied, turning to face the doctor. "Doc, why? Why was I there?"

Richter sighed, wondering if he should finally tell him. Decided, he said, "Sit down, Face." When they were both settled on the steps, he went on. "I normally wouldn't do this. I would let the person remember everything on their own, but because of your situation, I think you are ready to hear the rest of it. Does the name Taylor mean anything to you?"

"The only Taylor I know of is Andy Taylor. I don't think I was in Mayberry," Face said, sarcastically.

"Well, you know another Taylor, or actually, three of them. They were brothers. They were the local bullies of a town called Taylorville. It was named after their family. They thought they owned the town. In fact, they did own most of the land."

"Doc, I know this story. I mean, we have had too many clients with that same scenario."

"Yeah, but in this story, there is no A-Team to come to the rescue. The Taylor brothers ruled the town with an iron fist. They owned the stores, gas station and road side bar. Their scam was simple. They used ladies to find out if the people passing through had families or someone waiting for them back home. If they didn't, they would be arrested for some crime and put work at the work farm. That was men's fate; the women were forced into prostitution. It didn't matter if they had kids with them or not. The kids were taken away, used as leverage to keep people in line. We think that is what happened to you and your mother."

"You think? You don't know?" Face asked, not liking what he was hearing.

"I don't have all the information yet. Tawnia is looking into the details for me. What I do know is that you were found near Taylorsville by a deputy. A real deputy. You were hurt badly and needed medical care. The only hospital nearby was a state run psychiatric hospital. He was forced you take you there; I don't think he meant to leave you there. But the last time anyone saw the officer was when he left the hospital. His car was found a few miles down the road, abandoned. This started an investigation and it lead to shutting down the Taylor brothers."

"What happened to them?" Face asked.

"I don't know. Tawnia is getting that part for me. I have no idea what happened to them, or how anyone found you, for that matter. What I do know is that soon after being taken to the orphanage, Father Magill and others filed suit to have that hospital closed. They were outraged at the treatment you received there."

Face stood there, thinking. "So that is why they treated me the way they did," Face said.

"Who?" Richter asked.

"I was called Father's 'pet' by the other kids. I could get away with a lot of things the others didn't. I remember early on sleeping in a room by myself, not with the other kids. I think it was because of my dreams. I'm not sure. I do know I didn't talk at first, and when I did start talking, I stuttered."

"From what I read in your file, you were very unresponsive for a long time. You didn't like being touched. You would lock up and freeze while someone helped change you or bathe you. We now know why."

"Yeah, that would do it," Face said, coldly. "I know that I should forgive her, but God help me, I hope she is burning in HELL!" Face yelled, slamming his fist on the rail. "Damn it! Why in hell did she do this to me?"

"I don't know. I really don't."

Face took a deep breath. "And where is my mother? What happened to her?" He asked, quietly.

"I'm trying to find that out. I promise you will get all your answers. It will just take time," Richter said.

"I know. This happened thirty years ago. I have to remember that, but to me, it feels like yesterday," Face said.

"To you, it was, in a way," Richter said. Face gave him a puzzled look. "Your mind blocked it out. It never gave you the chance deal with it. So, what you are feeling now is how you would have felt back then. But you're older now and able to deal with it better."

"I guess so," Face said.

"I know so. You're a fighter, and not just with just your fists. You have something inside you that gives the will to keep on going. You will find a way to get past this and it will make you stronger for it," Richter said.

"Thanks," Face said. He looked inside to see the guys sitting at the table, pretending not to be watching them. "They help me."

"Just like all of you help Murdock. He wouldn't be as far as he is today without you. He didn't start coming around until the Team showed up in LA. I know. I remember the date all too well."

"We are one. We can each live without the others, but we wouldn't be as good as we are together," Face said smiling.

"Yes, that I see," Richter said, nodding his head.

 

It was around two when Tawnia was walking to her car with an arm full of files. She was just about to slip the key into the lock when the tip of a knife was shoved against her back.

"If you scream, we will kill you!" Sammy said.

"Who are you? What do you want?" Tawnia asked, looking around for help. There was no one. She was alone with a man with a very crazed look on his face.

"I want Richey. You will take me to him," Sammy said.

"Richey?" Tawnia said, puzzled, then she looked at the man's eyes. "Oh, God! You're·" She wanted to scream, but he shoved his hand over her mouth.

"You want to live, bitch, you will take me to Richey. Now!" Tawnia nodded her head and put the key into the lock. When the door was open, she was shoved inside by the man and he climbed in beside her. "Take me to the lake!"

"Yes, sure," Tawnia said, starting the car. She fought to remain calm. She knew this guy wanted to get Face, and not for any good reason. It didn't matter. She would take this creep to the team and let them deal with him. It was what they did, right? Amy always said the guys would keep her safe and she was betting her life on it now.

 

Chapter 10

As Tawnia drove her car, the man flipped through the files that were on the front seat. "You found out a lot about me," the guy said, coldly.

 

"A bit," Tawnia said, trying to remain calm. "So, how did you find me?"

"I ran into Richey a few months ago. He took his hot 'vette to the fancy station I was working at to get it fixed. He didn't see me, but I saw him. I later spotted his picture in your newspaper. It was story you did on a group of men called the A-Team. I did some more checking on them. It didn't take me long to figure out where to look for little Richey."

"No, I guess not," Tawnia replied. "So, what do you want with Face?"

"To kill him, of course. It his fault that things fell apart for us," Sammy said.

"Yeah, if you mean getting arrested for murdering a state trooper," Tawnia said.

Slap! Sammy left hand hit Tawnia hard across the face, cutting her lip with the ring that he wore. "Shut up, bitch, or I'll carve you up!"

"Sure," Tawnia said, her voice shaking. She touched her hand to her lip and cursed herself for crying.

"The cop would have never come looking for us if Richey had stayed dead!"

"Dead?" Tawnia asked.

"Yes, dead! He cried too much. He wanted mommy! I shut him up! The trouble was my brothers forced me to get rid of him. It's their fault. They should have dug the damn hole. No, I had to do the dirty work. But the little brat wasn't dead. He crawled out of the hole and ran into that cop, and the cop was going to cause us trouble. We had to get rid of him." Sammy laughed. "That's one guy who's not going to come back from the dead. I don't know how little Richey keeps on living, but this time he is going to die and stay dead."

"Keeps on living?" Tawnia asked, not wanting to know what he meant, but it was in her nature to ask anyway.

"I keep killing him and killing him, but he keeps coming back."

"How many times has Richey died?" Tawnia asked.

"Dozens of times over the last few years," Sammy said.

"Oh, that's a lot times to die," Tawnia said, suddenly growing very sick.

 

Richter gave Face the file that Father Magill had given him. He sat on the couch, carefully reading it.

"Damn. Now I know why they walked away," Face said, throwing the file on the table in frustration.

"What?" Hannibal asked, looking up from the ballgame.

"Potential parents. I would be introduced to families. They would act like they wanted me. It would come down to the final meeting and then they would vanish or walk out with another child. Father Magill and the others stopped putting my name up after a while. The file said they felt it wasn't fair to me any more. They knew people had trouble dealing with a child with my 'issues'. They figured it was better for me in long run if I was never adopted," Face said, sadly.

"I'm sorry, Face," Hannibal said.

"No, don't be. They actually saved me. It says here that the state wanted to put me in the foster system. Father refused to let them. It says he figured it would just cause more damage, so they kept me at the orphanage. I was one of very few children who weren't put in the system. Now I know why," Face said, smiling at this.

"I don't know. You could have found a loving home," Hannibal said.

"Or I could have found people that didn't care. You wouldn't know about this because you weren't around it, but I had friends that told me stories about foster parents that would turn your stomach. No, I was lucky. I had a home, maybe not with regular parents, but they did love me."

"I guess I never thought of it that way," Hannibal said.

"I didn't either, until now," Face said, leaning back and closing his eyes. Hannibal noted that the tension in his friend was fading. He was starting to become Face again.

 

Later on, everyone was sitting around, watching the game, when they heard a car pull up. They all tensed until Murdock looked out the window. "It's, okay. It is just Tawnia."

Hannibal, BA and Face relaxed and everyone went back watching the game. It wasn't until the door was kicked open that anyone realized the trouble that was coming their way.

"Don't move, or she is dead," Sammy yelled, holding the knife against Tawnia's throat.

The guys stood helplessly looking at Tawnia, rage in their eyes. She had a split lip and they could see the fear on her face. Richter looked at the man and said, "I don't know what you want, but you can have it. Just let the girl go."

"I want him!" Sammy said, pointing to Face.

"He's Samuel Taylor," Tawnia choked out.

Face looked at the man, knowing he had seen him before. "You're the guy that worked on the 'vette a few weeks ago. In fact, I picked it right after our last job," Face said, suddenly getting very sick to his stomach. He had to sit down.

"No, stand up," Sammy yelled.

"Look, he isn't feeling that well," Hannibal said, trying to remain calm.

"He'll feel worse when I finally get rid of him," Sammy said.

Hannibal shot the man a dirty look. "You hurt him and I'll hunt you down, and that is a promise."

Sammy laughed. "You remind me of my brother. I bet he would like you," Sammy said.

"No, I wouldn't," Sammy said, responding as his brother, Doc.

Hannibal looked at Richter and Richter shook his head. "Who are you?" Hannibal asked, playing along.

"Call me Doc!"

Face eyes went wide with fear. He was getting memories he couldn't control, but he knew he couldn't freak out. He forced himself to stay put and keep his cool. He was saying the Our Father over and over again his head. It helped him keep his senses, at least for the present.

"You're going to die, Richey," Sammy said, this time his brother Carl was speaking.

"Fine, kill me, but let her go," Face said, finally.

"Tie them up first," Sammy said, in the Doctor's voice.

Face looked at Hannibal. Hannibal nodded and went to a chair and sat down. BA, Murdock and Richter joined him. Face used the light cords to do the job. As he leaned close to BA, he asked, "Where are the guns?"

"The shed."

"Shit," Face muttered. "You would have to lock them up," Face said to Hannibal.

"We thought you might hurt yourself," Hannibal said, pretending to wince as Face pulled on the cord. Face was using a trick he learned in Nam. It would look like the guys were tied up tight, but in fact, they could get free at any time. He was hoping Sammy would check the team over. He figured when he did that, they would be able to jump him. At least, that was his hope.

"Stop talking," Sammy ordered, and he pulled the knife a bit closer under Tawnia's throat.

"Okay, just don't hurt her," Face said, and he finished up and stepped back. "You want to check them out?"

"No, we're leaving," Doc orded.

"But·" Face said; he stopped as Tawnia squirmed under the knife. "All right, but you said you would let her go."

"I lied," Sammy said, smiling.

Face looked at Hannibal who just nodded. Face sighed and walked out. He didn't know what Hannibal had planned, but he was hoping it was a good one. "Where are we going?" Face asked.

"Home," Sammy said, in an evil voice as he stepped out of Face's reach, giving him plenty of room to get out the door. Face glared at him. He might be nuts but he wasn't dumb. He wasn't going to let Face anywhere near him.

Face walked outside and stood by Tawnia's car.

"Get in," Sammy ordered. Face was about to climb in the back, but Sammy said, "No, you drive. We'll sit in back."

"Okay," Face said, looking at Tawnia as he said, "It's okay."

"Yeah, sure," Tawnia said.

"Move," Sammy ordered and everyone climbed inside and drove off.

 

Inside the cabin, Hannibal and the others had just gotten free when they heard the car start. "BA, get the parts for the van. Murdock, come with me. We need to get the weapons."

"What are you planning on doing?" Richter asked.

"Stopping him," Hannibal said and he started for the door.

"Hannibal, wait. I think I should go."

"Yeah, but first we need to get the van fixed. BA," Hannibal yelled.

"I'm on it," BA said, as he came out of the bedroom with the missing carburetor. "I'll be ready by the time you get the gear."

 

In Tawnia's car, Face kept looking back to where Tawnia and Sammy sat. "You could move the knife," Face said.

"I like it where it is," Sammy said.

"I bet you do," Face muttered to himself. He was trying to think of away to get the knife away from Tawnia's throat. Until that happened, there was nothing he could do. He wasn't going to risk her life trying to take the guy out. He was just going to have to wait for the right moment. Until then, Face decided to talk to this guy and find out more about him. "Why do you want to kill me?" Face asked.

"You didn't stay dead."

"I what?" Face said, puzzled.

"I said you didn't stay dead," Sammy yelled, jerking the knife.

"Face!" she cried out.

"Look, ease up on her. I don't remember you, okay? I don't remember any of my early life. That's why I was at that cabin. One of the men back there was my doctor; he was helping me to remember."

"You don't remember destroying our lives?" Sammy asked, not buying it.

"No, I don't. I have no memory of you or your brothers." That was a lie. He could see the brothers in his mind, but at the moment he didn't have time to work on sorting things out. He had to work on staying alert enough to help Tawnia.

"He lying?" Sammy asked Tawnia.

"No," she said, looking sadly at Face. "He doesn't remember. That is why I was looking into your background."

Sammy laughed. "You didn't remember us? Then why did you send the cop after us?"

"I didn't. He found me after·" Face stopped.

"After what?" Sammy asked.

"After you buried me alive," Face said.

"You were alive then?" Sammy asked.

Face nodded, slowly. "I was too hurt to move...my jaw was hurt...I think it was broke. You didn't break it...they did."

"Yeah, we broke it," Doc, said smiling evilly.

Tawnia looked at Face in the mirror, but he shook his head. He knew this act as well as Sammy did. Murdock did it to him all the time, but this was different and he knew it. He was going to have to play along with this guy, just as he'd played along with Murdock all those other times. Face had been watching Sammy, and while he was in control, the knife was right at Tawnia's throat. When the others were in charge, it moved away - slightly. This was when Face was going to have to react.

 

Back at the lake, BA had just finished fixing the van when Hannibal and Murdock arrived with guns in hand. Richter was seated in the van, ready to go. They were off in seconds.

"Where do you think he took them?" Murdock asked Hannibal.

"He said home," BA said.

"Taylorsville," Richter said.

Hannibal nodded. He picked up the phone and called Father Magill. "Father, it's Hannibal. I don't have time to explain, but I need to know where Taylorsville is."

"Let me think. Yes, it is north of LA, on old state road 55."

"Thanks," Hannibal said and hung up.

"Old state road 55," Hannibal told BA.

Murdock was looking at a map. "Next right will take you right to it," he told BA.

"Got it," BA said, gunning the engine, hoping to catch up with the car.

 

Sammy, meanwhile, was forcing Face to go way over the speed limit.

"Look, if we don't slow down we could get pulled over," Face said.

"If that happens, she dies," Sammy warned Face. "And if I see your friends behind us, she dies as well. So make sure they don't catch up."

"What makes you think they will catch up? We left them tied up back there."

Sammy laughed. "Please, you didn't tie them up too tight. I bet they are close behind us. But by the time they find us, you and your friend here will be dead."

"Look, you said you would let her go," Face said.

"I said, I lied," Sammy said.

"You were always good at that," Face said, coldly. "You were the reason your brothers beat me up that day."

"I thought you didn't remember anything," Sammy snapped.

"I lied," Face replied, sarcastically.

"I could kill her," Sammy said, again jerking the knife.

"Then I would run this car over these cliffs and take you to hell with me," Face snapped and to prove he would do it, Face moved the car just inches away from the edge. He knew he was playing a game with a sick man, but Face was betting Sammy still wanted to live. If he showed the guy that he wasn't bluffing, then maybe - just maybe - Sammy would hold off killing Tawnia long enough for Face to get his hands on him. If not, he would have a perfect way to make sure this guy would never hurt anyone ever again.

 

Chapter 11

As Face drove, he kept looking in the rearview mirror for the van, but all he saw was empty highway. That wasn't good. He knew he was starting to lose control. He was having flashbacks about his life with the Taylor brothers, which made driving almost impossible. It also made him think he wasn't going to be able to save both himself and Tawnia. No real choice there; it would have to be Tawnia.

For Tawnia, the drive was the most frightening experience of her life. Here she was, sitting beside a man that had claimed to have killed over a dozen men already, and was about to murder another one. She also knew he wasn't going to let her go, and despite all the faith she had in the Team up to this point, there was still a part of her that was very worried.

She was watching the houses and businesses flash by her as they drove further and further into the country. Sammy was giving directions and Face was doing his best to follow them. Tawnia noticed that from time to time, Face got a lost and confused look on his face. 'Is he losing it?' she wondered to himself. She hoped not; Face was only one that could keep them alive now.

"Pull over here," Doc ordered.

"Sure," Face said, pulling over in front of an abandoned gas station and stopping the car.

As they got out, Face suddenly realized where they were. Taylorville. It wasn't much of a town; in fact, it wasn't a town any more. All that was left were a few buildings, sagging in the California sun.

"Get moving," Sammy ordered, shoving the knife under Tawnia's chin. This time, the knife cut her and a thin stream of blood started to flow down her neck.

"Dear God," she cried out, shaking with fear.

"Why don't you let her go?" Face asked, turning to face Sammy.

"I said move!" Sammy said.

"Okay, I'm moving," Face said, starting to walk, but looking at Tawnia, trying hard to send her a signal that everything was going to be okay.

 

"Where are they?" Hannibal demanded, looking around for a sign of Tawnia's car. So far there was nothing.

"Maybe there is a road that you can take that we don't know about," Murdock said, looking at the map. He hoped it would show them a way to his friends, but there was nothing he could see.

"Taylorville wouldn't be on that map, Fool!" BA snapped.

"BA's right. It wouldn't be on the map. Taylorville doesn't exist any more, at least to the map makers," Hannibal said, tapping his finger on the door. He wanted the van to move faster. He wanted to turn back time and prevent this from happening in the first place. He wanted his hands around Sammy's neck!

"Doc, what was Sammy's problem?" Murdock asked.

"Sucker is like you, he was seeing things that weren't there," BA snapped.

"Not exactly," Richter broke in.

"What do you mean?" Hannibal asked.

"Murdock talks to objects, or turns himself into other people, but deep down, he does realize that those people are not there."

"I do not!" Murdock said, sounding hurt.

Richter raised an eye brow at this but went on. "From the little I saw of Sammy, I believe we were actually dealing with three different personalities."

"You mean, he has split personalities," Hannibal said, trying to figure out a plan of action of dealing with a man that isn't exactly there.

"No, not exactly. But I do believe Sammy is well aware of what he is doing, or at least, that is the impression I got. I wouldn't be able to tell you more without talking to the man in detail."

"Well, I don't care what the sucker's problem is. I just want my little brother back!"

"Agreed. Our main goal here is to get Face and Tawnia back unharmed," Hannibal said. "Just remember, the man we are dealing with is not playing with a full deck. He is nothing like others we've dealt with. I don't believe he will listen to any argument we come up with to let Face and Tawnia go. Right, Doc?" Hannibal asked Richter.

"No, I'm afraid not. Sammy has a goal and will stop at nothing to achieve it."

"But that goal is seeing Face dead," Murdock said.

"Not if we can help it," Hannibal replied.

 

Sammy forced Face and Tawnia to march down a small dirt path behind the gas station. They had walked nearly a quarter of a mile when they came upon an old run down wood clabbered house. Face's heart started to race even faster at the sight. He knew that house. He knew it all too well!

"Get inside," Carl ordered.

Face swallowed, and reluctantly did as he was ordered. He reached for the screen door and pulled it open. The wooden steps creaked as he put his weight on them. Face wanted to run. He wanted to be anywhere but here. Memories of his early childhood were coming at him in a rush. If it wasn't for Tawnia, he might have cracked then, but he knew the only thing keeping her alive was him. So, for her, he was doing everything in his power to stay in control.

As Tawnia and Face walked inside the living room, Tawnia let out a blood curdling scream at the sight before her. Sammy's living room was a shrine to his brothers and sitting in two high back chairs in the center of the room were the skeletal remains of those brothers. Tawnia's fears drove her and she fought free of Sammy's grip and started for the door.

"Get back here," Carl yelled, reaching for Tawnia.

Face gripped Sammy's arm and pulled him back out of Tawnia's reach, giving the girl a chance to get away. "Get to the car, the keys are in it!" Face yelled.

Tawnia glanced back to see Sammy swipe the knife madly in the air in Face's direction. The knife cut low, slashing across Face's chest. "Face!" she screamed.

"Go!" Face yelled and put himself at risk of getting cut again by charging Sammy. He had no choice. Tawnia was still in danger and until she was gone, Face had to risk anything to keep her from getting killed.

Sammy raised the knife high in the air. Face tried to block it, but his responses were slowed and the knife went deep into his right shoulder. Face cried out in agony. Sammy smiled evilly, muttering, "Die, Richey! Die!"

Face pulled free, shoved Sammy back, and started to run the opposite direction of Tawnia. Face used his good hand to pull over anything he could use to put between him and Sammy. One of those things was a chair with one of the brothers' bodies in it. Sammy cried out in pain and rage as his brother landed on the ground, knocking the skeleton's head off and sending it rolling across the dirt covered floor. "Carl!" Sammy yelled, reaching out for his brother's head.

"Go after him," Doc yelled.

Sammy nodded, glaring up after Face with a maddened look in his eyes. "You will pay for this, Richey. You will pay!" Sammy yelled, picking up the knife he had dropped and going after Face.

 

Tawnia ran for the car, afraid to look back, fearing Sammy was behind her. She struggled to get the door open because her hands were shaking so much. Once the door was open, she jumped inside and turned the engine over. Tawnia was soon racing down the highway, putting as much distance between her and that madhouse as she could. Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she drove. She knew Face was dead. There was no way he could get away from a madman like Sammy.

Because of the tears, Tawnia was all over the road, and she almost hit the oncoming vehicle. She saw the van at the last second and swerved to miss it. She hit the brakes suddenly, almost sending the car headlong into the ditch, but thankfully, the car came to a halt just inches from the edge.

A man reached the driver's side of the car seconds after it stopped rolling and yanked the door open. Tawnia was in a panic. Thinking it was Sammy, she started fighting the man.

"Tawnia, it's me!" Hannibal said, reaching for the woman's hands, keeping her from scratching his eyes.

"Hannibal!" Tawnia cried, looking at Hannibal as if for the first time.

"It's me," Hannibal said, putting a comforting arm around her. "You're safe now."

"Oh, Hannibal, it was so bad," Tawnia said, leaning her head into Hannibal's shoulder.

Hannibal held her close, trying to calm her down. "Honey, where is Face?" Hannibal asked her.

"Sammy stabbed him!" Tawnia cried.

"How bad?" BA asked, popping his head up over Hannibal's shoulder.

"I don't know. Face yelled at me to leave," Tawnia said, calming down now she was in the company of the team.

Hannibal looked over where Richter and Murdock were standing. "Doc, you drive Tawnia." Hannibal ordered.

"Sure," Richter said.

Hannibal looked at Tawnia. "Where are they?"

"Down the road back there. You will find a rundown gas station on the side of the road. Behind it, there's a house. Face and Sammy are there."

"Okay, you move over and let Richter drive," Hannibal told Tawnia. "We will go save Face." Tawnia nodded, doing what Hannibal ordered. She didn't believe that Face was alive to save but she was hoping he was. "Let's go!" Hannibal said to BA and Murdock, turning back toward the van.

 

Face was alive, but he had lost a lot of blood. He hid behind a tree, breathing hard. He reached up with his good arm and yanked hard on his shirt, pulling the sleeve off. He used his sleeve to help stem the bleeding.

"Richey," Sammy called out. "Come on out and let's play."

"Fuck off!" Face muttered. "The last time I played with you, you broke my jaw."

Face now remembered more about his life with the Taylor brothers then he ever wanted to. He also knew that this wasn't the place he wanted to die. He looked around for a way to escape, trying to think about the way they had traveled to get here. 'South! We came from the south. That means if I go that way, I should find someplace to get help,' Face thought to himself.

Face started moving to the south, trying to keep an eye out for Sammy. At the moment the guy wasn't in sight. He took a turn around a pile of rocks and suddenly the trees vanished. He found himself in the middle of an abandoned trailer park. He looked around at the trailers, in shock. He knew where he was. His mother lived here and he lived with her. Face walked, mesmerized, to an old trailer, finding the tricycle under it. He pulled it out, staring at it as memories hit him.

"Richey, go out and play. But stay away from Sammy," he heard his mother say.

"Yes, Mommy!" Richey said as he rushed out the door of the small trailer and jumped on the trike. Richey rode down the path, away from the trailers, pretending to be a member of one of the biker gangs that visited the bars. He was just a few yards away from his mother when suddenly Sammy jumped out from behind a tree. "Want to play, Richey?"

Face shook his head, pulling himself out of the memories. He suddenly realized that Sammy's question wasn't coming from his memory but from behind him. Face turned and saw Sammy standing there with the knife in his hand, Face's blood sliding down the handle.

"Let's play!"

Face backed up, tripping over the trike and landing hard on the ground. He lie there helplessly as Sammy stalked towards him, an evil smile on his face.

 

Chapter 12

Hannibal, BA and Murdock found the gas station that Tawnia had told them about without much trouble. They jumped from the van, pulled their weapons from the back, and slowly moved behind the station, down the path and toward the house.

"BA, you go through the front door. Just give us a few moments to get around to the back," Hannibal ordered, as he and Murdock moved around the outside of the house, looking around for Face.

BA met the team inside the small kitchen of the house after checking out the front of it.

"What's wrong?" Hannibal asked, noticing a look on BA's face that worried him.

"The sucker is nuts," BA said, finding it hard to find the words to tell his friends what he had seen.

"We know that," Murdock said.

"No," BA said, shaking his head. "He had two bodies in there. Or what was left of them."

"No wonder Tawnia was so freaked out," Hannibal said, as he looked down and saw a trail of blood leading into the woods. "What's this?" he asked, bending down to check it out.

"Face's?" Murdock asked.

"I don't know," Hannibal said, "but it leads out that way."

"Well, let's move then," BA said. After seeing what he had inside the house, he didn't care what he had to do to stop this madman. He was going to stop him. He only hoped they had arrived in time to save his friend's life.

The three men moved forward, looking for signs as to which way Face and Sammy could have gone. The men followed the trail of blood until they arrived at the trailer's. As they neared, the three men split up. Murdock went left and Hannibal and BA went right.

 

Face, in the meantime, was on his back, Sammy inches from him. Face quickly threw a handful of dirt into Sammy's face. Sammy raised his hands to his face, yelling in pain as the dirt burned his eyes.

Face wasn't sticking around. He jumped to his feet, scrambled over the trike and ran into the woods. Sammy was behind him, moving like a man possessed.

"Stop him, Sammy!" Carl yelled.

"Get back here, Richey!" Sammy yelled.

 

Hannibal and BA heard Sammy's cries and started to run in that direction. This was the first clue they had that Face was alive. Murdock heard it as well and ran quickly in the same direction. He moved quickly, but cautiously, into the woods.

Face was running as hard as he could, but because of the loss of blood he wasn't getting too far. He tripped over a fallen limb and landed hard on the ground. Sammy was on him like a cat. He kept screaming, "DIE, Richey! Die! Then my brothers will live!"

Face raised his hands to block the knife, but it was useless. Sammy's next blow went deep into his other shoulder, missing his lung by inches. Face cried out in pain. He stared at the madman, realizing this was where he was going to die. He wasn't going to get away from Sammy again. Sammy was going to win.

At that moment, Hannibal, BA and Murdock appeared from different directions. Murdock was behind Face and Sammy. He saw Sammy on top of his friend, raising the knife for its death blow. He raised his gun and leveled it, prepared to fire.

Hannibal and BA were off to the right, but didn't have the clear shot Murdock had. They had to rush around several tall trees before they could get Sammy in their sights. They were just rounding the trees when Murdock fired his weapon, hitting Sammy right in the back.

Face jumped at the sound of the gunfire. He looked into Sammy's eyes that stared back at him with shock.

"Die with me," Sammy said, softly, and using the last of his strength, he lowered the knife once again.

Using the last of his strength, Face shoved Sammy off him. Sammy laid there, blood flowing from his mouth, instinctively reaching for the knife, but BA rushed up, stepping on it.

"You screw-up! He's alive!" Carl said.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Sammy cried out. Pain wracked his body. He suddenly relaxed and died.

"Kid, you okay?" Hannibal asked, rushing to Face's side, reaching into his own pocket, pulling out a hanky to try and staunch the blood.

"Yeah, thanks for taking Sammy out," Face said, fighting to stay awake.

"I didn't do it," Hannibal said, looking back at Murdock, who was still standing there, holding his gun on Sammy's lifeless body.

BA walked to Murdock's side, took the gun from him and patted him on the back. "Nice shot, Murdock."

"Thanks," Murdock said, looking towards Face. "You okay?"

"Yeah, thanks," Face said, just before he passed out.

 

Hannibal, BA and Murdock carried Face back to the house. They found Tawnia waiting for them.

"Is he...?" Tawnia asked.

"He's alive, but he needs medical attention," Hannibal said.

Richter walked out the backdoor of the house, looking pale and shaken. "You take him to the doctor. I'll keep Tawnia and Murdock with me. We need to report this."

"Yeah, but Murdock shot Sammy," Hannibal said to doctor. "How will that look?"

Richter gave Murdock a worried look, but noticed that he seemed reasonably calm. "I will think of something. You go!" Richter said to Hannibal.

"Okay," Hannibal said, and he and BA moved off, carrying Face between them.

Murdock walked over to Richter and asked, "What's the plan?"

"We keep as close to the truth as possible, but leave the others out of it. Tawnia, does your paper know you were looking into the Taylor brothers' story?"

"Yes," Tawnia said. She was still shaken, but calm enough to do what was needed of her.

"Good, this is what we are going to say," Richter said, making sure Murdock and Tawnia knew what to stay when the cops arrived.

 

Hannibal sat in the back of the van, working on Face as BA raced towards Maggie's.

"How bad is it?" BA asked.

"He lost a lot of blood," Hannibal said, bandaging the wounds.

"Hannibal, the Fool killed·" BA started to speak.

"He saved Face's life. We would have never gotten our shots off in time," Hannibal said.

"Yeah, but you know how Murdock is," BA said.

"He looked okay·He will be okay," Hannibal said, trying to convince himself. Murdock shouldn't feel any regret for shooting Sammy. The guy was a killer and was about to murder Face. Murdock saved Face's life.

 

Soon the house at Taylorville was crawling with cops, but it wasn't until they got a look inside the house that they realized what they had. The captain of the state police walked up to Richter, who was standing beside Murdock, talking to him quietly. Murdock was rocking back and forth, muttering to himself.

"He okay?" the captain asked Richter.

"Yes, he'll be fine. Mr. Murdock is a patient of mine. I was treating him when this madman burst into my cabin," Richter said.

"That is what you told my men. Do you know what is in that house?" The captain asked.

"Yes, I was in there," Richter said, shaking his head sadly.

"Those were Sammy's brothers," Tawnia said, breaking in.

"Sammy?" the captain asked, puzzled.

"Samuel Taylor. I was working on a story for my paper. I guess I stumbled on something bigger," Tawnia said, smiling sheepishly.

"Yes, I guess you did," the captain said. He didn't believe everything Richter or Tawnia was saying, but at the moment, he had no choice but to accept it. He had other problems to deal with. He had a dead serial killer and a house full of dead bodies.

"Captain, how much longer will you need us?" Richter asked.

"Sorry, Doctor, but I will need you for quite a while. Why don't you go to my car and sit down? You can take Ms. Baker with you," the Captain said.

"Okay," Richter replied, putting an arm around Murdock's shoulder. He talked to him all the way up the pathway.

 

It was close to midnight when Tawnia pulled her car up in front of Maggie's house. The three climbed out and walked toward the house. Hannibal opened the door before they even reached the porch.

"How is Face?" Murdock asked.

"Maggie is still working on him. She had to wait until she got his blood pressure back up," Hannibal said. "How did it go?"

"You would have loved it," Murdock said. "Richter is a better liar then Face. He had those cops eating out of his hands."

"And you?" Hannibal asked.

"Oh, I'm fine. My part was easy. I just had to act like I was out of it," Murdock said, smiling.

Hannibal looked at Richter, who just shrugged his shoulders. "We were credited with solving a group of killings that have puzzled the FBI for years. It seems Sammy has been killing young men Face's age for over five years. He stacked their bodies up in the house."

"BA told me," Hannibal said. "He found them when he went in looking for Face."

"And I thought seeing that shrine to his brothers was bad," Tawnia said, shaking her head.

"What?" Hannibal asked, puzzled.

"Well," Richter said, as he sat down in Maggie's living room, "the police found Sammy's journal. In there, he wrote that if he killed Richey, then his brothers would come back to life. But, to Sammy, Richey never stayed dead. So, his brothers were never allowed to come back to him."

"That man was nuts," Hannibal said, shaking his head.

"Yes, normally I don't like that word, but that was exactly what he was," Richter agreed.

Maggie walked out of her examining room with BA at her side. Everyone looked up and she smiled, "Face is sleeping. He will be sore for a few weeks, but he should recover completely."

"Thanks, Mo," Hannibal said, smiling.

"No problem," Maggie said. "Now, please tell me why he kept on crying that this Sammy character was going to kill him?"

Hannibal grinned, walking to Maggie and putting his arm around her. "Come on, let's go in the other room and I'll tell you everything," Hannibal said, smiling impishly.

"You plan on doing more than talking," Maggie told him, eyeing him closely.

"Yep," Hannibal said, kissing Maggie on the lips.

 

TBC

 


Frayed by Leath
Frayed 2 by Leath

 

 


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