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The Faceman Chronicles…. the Next Day
Warning: Corporal punishment of a teenager.
Summary: Little did Face know that in saving a runaway boy he would come face to face with an evil that could scar him for life. It is based loosely on The Children of Jamestown episode.
AN: This is the second in the series featuring Templeton P. Smith (Face); and it takes place the next day after the recovery of the diamond and sapphire ring.
I know that I said that the next story would be dealing with school but I decided to delay it for now.
"Quick, in his state, anything could happen." Hannibal said as they ran to the van and jumped in. Moments later BA was in pursuit for their upset kid only by the time thy got on the road there was no sign of the corvette.
"Never fear Colonel, we can always track him through the tracking device in his ID bracelet." Murdock said brightly as he looked at BA.
"No we can't, there is a loose circuit in the receiver and I haven't had a chance to fix it yet."
"Does anyone have any idea where he might have gone?"
"Facey has a place in the foothills the San Gabriel Mountains that he likes to go to think. Maybe that is where he's headed now. I don't know exactly where it is but at least we have a direction to head."
Murdock was right about where Face was headed. He liked the place…it had trees and a few rock formations that he liked to sit on and watch the sunset, he wasn't usually awake to see the sunrise. He found the peaceful atmosphere relaxing and knew that he could think over all he had endured in the last hour without interruption…or so he thought. By the time he arrived he had stop crying and parked in the stand of trees before exiting the car and heading towards the rock formation to sit. He had only been there a few minutes when he heard the sound of motors and looked up to see two jeeps heading in his direction. It wasn't until he took another look that he realized that they were coming for him but were chasing a boy. The kid looked about his age and was running as fast as he could. Face reacted at once and ran to his car and starting it up headed for the boy getting there only minutes ahead of the jeeps. He pulled up and yelled, "Jump in," and was speeding away even before the boy had a chance to close the door.
It was touch and go for several miles until Face hit the black top and soon left the jeeps in the distance. They had no chance in catching his corvette. "What's your name?"
"My family and friends call me Face." Face introduced himself.
"Who were those guys after you?"
"Brothers from the Children of Love compound further up in the mountains. I escaped. Where are we going?"
"I'm taking you to my father and brothers, we will help you. Just rest until I get us home."
Face was so relieved the see the familiar black with red stripe van coming towards him. He pulled to the side of the road to wait for them. "Hannibal he needs our help," pointing to his passenger. "He's being pursued by men in brown robes."
"Follow us," Hannibal shouted as BA pulled out and headed home. Face stayed on his tail all the way home.
As soon as Face had pulled up Hannibal was at his door peering in. "What's this about Face?"
"I found him running from two jeeps full of the men in brown robes. Billy said that they were Brothers from the Children of Love compound in the San Gabriel Mountains."
"Can you walk Billy?"
"I don't think I can without help. I'm so tired."
BA was quick to pick him up and carry him inside Hannibal's house. He placed him gently on the couch in the family room.
As soon as he set the boy down Mrs. B was there along with Hannibal to check him out. Billy was too exhausted to do much of anything but allow it. They found no immediate signs other than exhaustion and dehydration.
"Mama, he weights next to nothing," BA was quick to add.
"Then we will just have to fix him something to eat. When was the last time you ate, son?"
"Yesterday at noon and then it was only a thin bowl of oatmeal."
"They were punishing me. They were trying to break my spirit and the other methods hadn't work…. like beatings."
"Why would they want to break your spirit, Billy?" Face asked as he handed Billy a glass of water.
Billy waited until after he had drunk his fill to reply. "They want slaves that will cause them no trouble and do as they are told…I would fight them so they thought that starvation would change that."
"Tell us about this place you escaped from. How did you end up there? And are there others still there?"
"I had a fight with my step father, my mother died earlier this year. I knew he didn't want me so I was running away. I happened upon a group of people talking to young people in an abandoned parking lot and stopped to listen. They talked of a place where we would be treated well and be loved. They called this place the 'Children of Love' compound and it was located in the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains. They even had a picture of it…it was beautiful, it looked like what I imagined a summer camp in the mountains to look like. So, four of us in that parking lot agreed to come with them. We left in a Jeep Cherokee and were served sandwiches and soft drinks for the journey. They spoke lovingly to us and invited us to take a nap since the journey would be long. I fell asleep a few minutes later but when I awoke we were not at the beautiful camp but at a fence enclosed compound that reminded me of the TV series Hogan's Heroes. It was bleak with its wooden barracks and shower room. There was a place to eat and a whipping post in the middle of the yard. I had agreed to come to Hell and there was nothing I could do about it. I don't know the actual location of the compound only that it is the mountains. There were about ten kids working when we arrived. They were working in a garden, or raking the gravels around the barracks or just running around the compound with a man with a whip urging them on."
"Hannibal we have got to do something."
"I agree Face but first we have to find them."
"Billy what are the ages of the kids, do you know?"
"I would say that they are somewhere between the ages of twelve and fifteen, and they are all boys….no girls!"
"Do you know who is in charge?"
Billy shuddered before answering. "Brother Thomas, is what he told us to call him. He seemed so caring when he was lying to us in that parking lot but we found out that there is nothing loving about him. He likes to inflict pain and fear.
His guards are dressed like monks. They wear brown robes while carrying rifles and revolvers."
"That's enough questioning for now…this youngster is going to have something to eat, then a bath and bed." Mrs. B had returned. "Face go and get a pair of your pajamas for this youngster to wear and leave them on the guest bed." She added, knowing she would be obeyed.
Billy was helped to the kitchen table to have the first real meal that he hadn't had in some time.
When Face rejoined his family they were discussing what they should do. "First we need to discover where this compound is located. Face in what direction was Billy coming from when you discovered him?"
"In a northeast direction, but he might have changed directions several time in his haste to flee. The terrain is rough further up with hills and valleys and rocks."
"They told Billy that their compound was located in the San Gabriel Mountains, and that is located in the direction he was coming so that is where we will begin our search."
"But Hannibal that is a large area to search and while we are searching those kids could be sold and be gone by the time we find them."
"You have a suggestion Face?"
"Yes, let me go undercover. I'm the right age and if Billy can tell us where he got pick up from I'll go with them. I'll be wearing my ID bracelet and you can track me and then rescue the kids."
"No…I will not put you in that situation. What if something goes wrong and we aren't able to get to you in time…then they could sell you. No I finally got the son I always wanted, I won't sacrifice you to the case. We will find a better plan. Murdock can go up is his chopper and survey the countryside…it might not be as quick as you like but it will be quicker than in the jeep."
"I said no Lieutenant and that is an order."
"Yes, sir," Face replied in anger and walked away.
Murdock waited until Face was out of earshot to say, "You know if Face was older you would have approved the suggestion. He looks so young now that even at twenty-one I bet he could pass as a young teen."
"But he isn't older and I won't put our kid is a situation that might prove to be more than he can handle. You realize what type of slavery those boys are most likely heading into."
BA nodded, "All too well, one that we fought to keep him out of in Vietnam. Charlie would have taken great delight in inflicting that type of torture and anguish on Face. I don't know if he would have survived."
Face was passing by the guest room when Billy called out. "Face?"
"What's wrong? Can I get you anything?"
Billy had just had his bath and was dressed in a pair of pajamas. He was sitting on the bed. "No, I just wanted to thank you for rescuing me today. I don't know if I could have held out much longer without giving in to their wishes."
"How long were you there?"
"About month ago, I think. It's hard to keep time up there…one day of misery goes to another."
"Where was the parking lot that they operated from?"
When Billy told him Face shuddered, it wasn't far from the Orphanage where he was raised. It would be perfect. He could leave his car there safe and sound. After thinking back, he remembered a group of kids hanging around listening to a man dressed in black. That must have been Brother Thomas.
"How often do they pick up kids and what time were they there?"
"Only on Wednesdays, which is also the day of the auctions. New ones come in as those selected leave. It was around ten that I stopped to listen and we were gone by twelve."
Face nodded. "Thanks for the information Billy, I'll be sure to put it to good use."
"I'm getting kind of sleepy, you won't mind if I go to sleep now?"
"No, not at all," and helped him into bed. "Good Night, Billy."
As soon as he was out of the room Face decided to disobey a direct order from not only is colonel but from his father as well. 'I know where the pickup point is and tomorrow is Wednesday which is the day they will pick up. I can be there in plenty of time to agree to go to a better life. All Hannibal and the guys can track me through my ID bracelet. This will be must faster than Murdock using the chopper,' Face thought as he made his plans. He had to prove to Hannibal it was a good plan and that he could handle it.
Wednesday morning found Hannibal and Face eating breakfast, Billy was still sleeping. "Now why are you going to Los Angeles this morning?"
"You are nearly out of your favorite cigars. I called yesterday and they charged the order and said they would have them packaged up for me to pick up."
"Thanks Face, and by the time you return we should have some news concerning the search. I'm going to call and report this to Sheriff Jenkins about the white slavery operation so we can work together…. have a nice trip and be safe.
Face smiled and said his goodbyes before heading out on his own rescue mission and soon was on his way. He made sure that the ID bracelet was firmly on his wrist, that was his safety line.
He made good time and was in Los Angeles within an hour of leaving home. He had worn his worse looking jeans, making sure to dirty them up a bit to make him look the part of being a runaway. He mussed up his hair a bit and made sure that the shirt he was wearing had so wear and tear to it. After parking his car in the orphanage parking lot he pulled out his shirttail and rubbed some dirt from the courtyard on it. 'Now I'm ready to go,' he thought as he headed out.
Back at home Billy finally woke up and headed to find something to eat. The soup he had the night before was so good and soothing on his empty stomach that it had filled him right up.
"Good Morning, Sleepyhead," Mrs. B greeted the boy as he entered the kitchen. "Are you hungry?"
"Good morning, ma'am and yes I am. Could I have some more of that delicious soup?"
Billy nodded. "It was good."
"How about I fix you some scrambled eggs and a piece of toast with some homemade blueberry jelly to put on it instead?"
Billy's eyes lit up. "That would be great…. thank you."
While Mrs. B cooked Hannibal wandered back in. "How are you feeling this morning Billy?"
"Better, sir. I want to thank you for helping me. I thanked Face last night."
"Here you go Billy, try this out." Mrs. B placed a plate in front of the boy but knowing that he had been starved hadn't given him much as not to upset his stomach. She had given him a child's portion. "If that sits well with you I'll give you more to eat. I thought I would feed you small meals several times during the day until you are able to eat more." She also put a cup of hot tea at his place.
BA and Murdock wandered in to talk with the Colonel about the plans are rescuing the kids. "Did you talk with the Sheriff?"
"Yes, he's on board with it as well. He hadn't heard anything about a white slavery operation in our areas although there has been a flood of reports of missing kids from LA going through the wires. It would seem that some of those kids that went with you, Billy weren't runaways. IF we only knew where they were being picked up from?"
"Face knows." Billy spoke up after swallowing some eggs. "He asked last night and I told him where I was picked up. He told me that he would tell you…did he forget?"
"Nope, he didn't forget. He decided to follow through with his suggestion of last night even after I ordered him not to. He disobeyed a direct order. BA see if you can reach him by phone. He should be in LA to pick up my cigars, are at least that is the story he told me."
"The phone is ringing but no one is answering…. wait." Some answered and talked to BA for a minute. "Thank you Father, I will tell him. Goodbye."
"That was Father Magill. It seems that Face parked his corvette in the orphanage parking lot. It will be safe there until he returns for it."
"Is the receive fixed?"
"Not yet, I'll get right on it." BA left scowling.
"Hannibal what's wrong?" Mrs. B sounded very worried.
"Face had an idea last night on how he could find the compound. He purposed on going undercover as a runaway and allowing himself to be persuaded to follow Brother Thomas into a new life. He's counting on our following the tracking device in his IF bracelet to the compound. I felt it too risky and dangerous and told him NO! I even made it an order but he disobeyed me anyhow. This is the first time he has ever disobeyed a direct order from his commander. Trust me when I say that he will regret it. I see several days of running the obstacle course in his future once we get him home!"
"He will be running it with a sore bottom when I get my hands on him." Mrs. B vowed.
Face's plan had worked exactly as he planned and he was sitting on the Jeep Cherokee headed to his new home. He figured that Billy had been drugged on the return trip so he had faked eating his sandwich and drinking his beverage. He waited until he saw Tony, the other one that had decided to come fall asleep before closing his eyes, too. Since he had a window seat he was able to sneak peeks as the moved on. He stored that information for further use. He had taken them three hours to get to their final location just as Tony began to wake up.
The treatment leaving the vehicle was quite different than the one upon their entering. They were yanked from their seats and hustled out until they stood outside looking at their new home.
Brother Thomas exited the vehicle and walked up to the two boys. "This is your new home. You will be here only long enough for new homes to be found for you. I will interview you personally." And with that he grabbed the other boy and pulled him into the only building that had a TV antenna on its roof. Face was left in the care of the two guards in brown robes standing next to the vehicle.
Face was kept waiting for nearly an hour before he saw the chopper land on the landing pad at the back of the compound. He saw two men exiting and walking towards him and the guards.
"We're early and thought that we would like to inspect the boys to be selected for the auction. They are in Barracks two, I believe?" The taller man spoke to the guard all the while as he looked at Face.
"Yes, sir, Mr. Michaels…you know the way. Brother John will be there to assist you."
It was after they had left that the other boy, Tony he had told Face, was pulled from Brother Thomas' home. He was dressed in the white shirt and trousers looking scared.
Face was pushed towards the building for his "interview". The brown robed guard accompanied him inside. Face couldn't help but notice the chains coming from the ceiling and began to get scared. He swallowed his fear as he faced Brother Thomas.
"Stand there and do not move. Speak only when asked a question. If you fail to obey you will be punished at once. Do you understand?" The guard told him.
Face nodded and received a lick from a strap held by the guard for not speaking.
"Ow…why did you do that. I responded." Face rubbed his upper thigh where the lick caught him.
He was given three more licks for his continued speech by Brother Thomas, himself.
"Strip!" The order from Brother Thomas took Face by surprise and he shook his head…NO!
Thomas nodded to the guard and before Face could react he was chained to the cuffs hanging down from the ceiling. They cuffed his wrists above his head and chained his ankles to the cuffs located on the floor in a spread eagle design.
"That will be all," Brother Thomas said as he dismissed the guard.
With his hands above his head Face's shirt sleeve showed the IC bracelet he was wearing, which caught Thomas' eye. He quickly removed it causing Face to yell.
"No, give that back. My brothers gave that to me."
"Your brothers…so you aren't the runaway that you want me to believe." He read the inscription on the back and then threw it in the trash. "You won't be needing this any longer."
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