It did not take too much prodding to get Dave and Damian join her to do a bigger project. She spoke to Dave several times a week since arriving home. If she wanted to plan something bigger, she needed information from him. At first the conversations were all business, now she just looked forward to talking to him. When he told her about a waystation for the kids; it was like a punch in the face. She just knew that was the target.
After 2 months of training the three of them were on their way. It was dark out, no lights on the inflatable craft as they quietly skimmed across the water. Casey turned to look at Dave and Damian, returning the thumbs up they gave her. She was enjoying the boat ride with the wind rushing past her, looking across the Mediterranean Sea; seeing what could only be millions of stars in the sky. The moon nothing more than the thin smile of the Cheshire cat floating in air. The beauty of it all seemed to settle her nerves.
They were going to be dropped off at a compound that holds children until they can be loaded on a container ship for delivery. The pictures of the building showed huge dirt floor cages lining the walls, no windows, one door in and out. Dave told her the older ones are left to tend to the youngest ones and with food in short supply, the weak get weaker if they cannot secure something from the daily ration. The containers had shackles mounted around the inside wall. She saw pictures of kids' duct taped into shipping boxes; mouths taped shut, bound at ankle and wrist. Their scared, horrified eyes staring back at the camera. She learned that many of them do not survive the trip; shackled in place, sitting in their own waste, at the mercy of any drunken crew member bringing them their rations. The sun baking them in the metal containers, storms tossing them around in the restraints. They can be in that environment for weeks.
The engine cuts off as they near the drop off point, momentum carries them the rest of way. Using night vision, the three of them jump out in knee high water, rifles drawn. They were told that security is minimal because no one has ever interfered with operations, EVER. Dave had told her there are estimates of 500,000 children pass through this waystation; about half of the 1 million missing children world wide a year.
Dave takes the lead; Casey and Damian follow. There is no path to take; Dave uses a machete to hack out a path. After about 100 yards; Dave raises his hand in a fist as he takes a knee. Casey and Damian stop and kneel. They can hear talking in the distance. As they move in to observe, they see a group of six men sitting around a fire; some of which have guns. The three buildings which were nothing more than corrugated steel attached to wooden poles. Casey remembered the photos Dave had showed her. There is a torch lit path going to each building. Casey looks at the guys raising her rifle, shrugging her shoulders and says “Fuck it, let's go.” Dave and Damian look at each other smiling and say “Fuck it” Three M16A3s made quick work of it, and they saw no other movement. They move to check the two smaller buildings, the first is empty except for a bed and more shackles mounted to the floor. Casey’s stomach tightened at the sight of it. These poor kids. The second building they could hear movement in. Dave kicks the door in and Damian enters; his Glock 19 drawn. He lowers his gun soon after entering. Casey walks in, she sees a huge rat eating oats out of a burlap sack. She raises her gun and shoots it, turning to leave she sees Damian looking at her slack jawed. “What? That’s for the kids.” she says smiling.
As they walk out of the building shots ring out. Damian pushes Casey back through the doorway, Dave cries out in pain as he turns to take cover inside. He lands of the floor, blood running out of a wound in his shoulder. With gunfire ringing, bullets ricocheting Dave asks “How many out there? Anyone see?” Both Damian and Casey shake their head. After a few more seconds the gunfire quiets; Dave takes a quick look out. He sees two men, fumbling with the gun trying to clear a jam. He raises his gun and shoots one in the head, missing the second as the guy dives into the brush. “Shit, we got to get that guy.” Dave said. Damian starts tending to Dave’s shoulder, as Casey walks towards the door. Dave looks at her and tells her to head towards the dock: that’s the only way off the island.
Instead of trying to follow the escapee Casey headed straight for the dock. She intended to get there first and ambush him. She noticed the sky had begun to lighten with the morning sun. Soon she would lose the advantage of the night vison goggles. Following the tire tracks worn into the turf, she struggles to move slow and cautiously. Giving up she breaks into a jog, looking from side to side as she advances faster. Seeing the clearing for the dock she stops and removes the goggles. As she is surveying the clearing two things happen, she hears someone coming up behind her and she can hear an engine approaching dock. She steps back into the tree line, not knowing if she was seen or not. The guy is waving his arms and yelling, as he runs towards the dock. Casey steps out behind him as he passes, aims at his head and pulls the trigger. She cannot see the boat yet, so she grabs the body by the legs and pulls it into the brush; making sure it cannot be seen immediately. She finds a spot where she has a clear view of the dock. The boat pulling up was a long, bright red cigarette boat. The engines gurgling loudly with the fall and rise of the waves. Two men dressed like characters out of Miami Vice tie up the boat next to the one already there and walk towards Casey. As they approached, she can hear their conversation. Crockket dressed in white baggy slacks with a light pink tee under a white jacket with the sleeves rolled to the elbow, tells Tubbs wearing a blue suit with a white dress shirt unbuttoned to show his chest and gold necklace; “He was supposed to meet us at the dock with the girl. There better be a good reason he didn’t follow orders.” Tubbs looks down at their white cloth boat shoes, shaking his head. Probably will ruin our shoes in this jungle. Crockett replies calmly “We can afford more.” As they walk past Casey Tubbs bends over and picks up a set of keys on the ground stating “Lookie here, this can’t be good.” Crockket stops and turns around saying “What now?” his eyes widening at the sight of the keys dangling from Tubbs fingers. “Shit, could be trouble. Let’s go back to the boat and get our guns, just in case.” They get about 5 yards down the path and Crockket falls to the ground with a gaping hole in his head. Tubbs screams when he realizes what happened and drops down to Crockkets lifeless body screaming “You’re gonna pay bitch.” Casey draws aim, from behind her she hears “Hold your fire solider.” Damian and Dave are walking down the path. She nods in acknowledgement without taking her eye off Tubbs who is now turned his attention towards the sound of Damain's voice.
Dave stands next to Casey with his gun drawn at Tubbs on his knees next to Crockket. As Casey tells them what transpired, Damian approaches Tubbs and grabs him by the shirt and pulls him to his feet. Eye to eye Damian asks “Who do you work for?” Tubbs laughs replying “Who the fuck are you? I am not going to tell you shit.” Damian promptly breaks his nose with a quick jab. Tubbs is on the ground again, looking up holding his nose in agony tells Damian “Fuck you, man.” “Last time I am asking; Who do you work for?” Damian said stepping toward Tubbs. Tubbs recoils from him looking at dead Crockket he says; “Man what do you want? Money? I can get you money.” Casey steps forward and asks “Who was you going to take the girl too?” Tubbs turns to her and replies “Bitch, I’m not tell you that either. You’re a dead woman for killing Jason.” She almost asked “Who?” before she realizes Crockket is Jason. Casey looks at Damian asking “Do we really have time for this?” Damian shakes his head no. She turns back to Tubbs “Who’s gonna know?” with a menacing look on her face, “FU....” was all Tubbs could say before she pulls the trigger and watches Tubbs brains splatter in the dirt. Dave puts a hand on Casey shoulder and says “We could get the guns off the boat and run them through ballistics to check for a match, also get the registration numbers off the boats. “Damian replies “Damn son, you're good for something now aren’t ya.” The three of them laugh at the terrible southern accent he tried to use.
Searching both boats, they found 3 hand guns, a sawed-off shotgun, a crossbow and a cooler filled with sandwiches and beer. The cigarette boat had a registration number, the other boat did not. Dave slung the crossbow over his shoulder, Damion safety checked the guns and divided them up between Casey and himself to be put in their packs. “We should blow up the boats.” Casey states. Damian and Dave look at one another. Casey adds “We should blow everything up.” Dave smiles “That’s an explosive idea.” snickering at his own joke. Damian groans, shaking his head. “We’ll rig the buildings on timers and blow the boats on the way out.”
The three of the start walking back up the pathway to the buildings, as they pass by the bodies a cell phone starts ringing. Casey points to Jason formally known as Crockket; Dave asks “Should we answer for him? It might be his work; we can call him off dead.” Laughing they continue down the path, Dave and Casey check the two smaller buildings again, no more surprises Damian had said. They give Damian the all clear after they check inside. Damion sets charges in both buildings; Dave has the dummy phone that will activate them. Afterwards, the three head to the third building. As they walk the 100 yards to the third building, you can fell the anticipation of the 3 of them building in the air. Casey takes some deep breaths to try to still the “Beckey” who it struggling to walk at this cautious pace. Dave splits off and goes around the back side of the building meeting Casey and Damian at the only entrance. Dave tells them there was nothing around back, not even a window.
The door they are looking at is nothing more than bare plywood, warped and weathered. There is no door knob, just a padlock and a metal handle to pull it open. There is no noise behind the door, Damian shrugs his shoulders and easily kicks the plywood in.
Light breaks through the cracks and seams of the building, possibly a few bullet holes too. The smell was similar to the buildings at the zoo that house animals. The floor was damp dirt, there was two cages made of wood and metal bars running down the center of the building with about a 6” clearance on either side.
In the cage on the left stood a little girl 10-12 years old she was trying to hide in the shadows, skinny as a rail, her hair was a ratty dirty mess. Casey took a few steps forward saying “My name is Casey, we are her to help you.” The girl stays quiet, fading back into the shadows as far as she could. “Do you speak English?” Dave asks softly now standing next to Casey. The girl cowers at the sound of his voice. Damion breaks the lock on the cage: “We need to go.” he states just before the girl starts screaming. A loud high squealy scream, echos in the empty barn. Damion runs in and grabs the little girl kicking and screaming he carries her like a sack of potatoes. She grabs the cage opening as Damian walks out, Casey walks over to the girl and peels her fingers off the bars, when the girl grabs Casey’s arm. Casey turns to look at her face, small terrified eyes full of tears meets her stare. “I got her.” Casey says holding out her hands to the girl. The girl reaches for Casey, Damion lowers his shoulder to help. The little girl latches on to Casey, arms around her neck and legs wrapped around her waist making nothing more than a hitching crying sound.
Damian tells Dave to call their ride and meet them at the dock. Damion set another charge in the barn and they head to the dock. Casey and the girl waited in the shadows of the forest while Dave and Damian unhook the gas cans in the boats and pour them out. Casey hears a boat motor coming, the guys motion her to come out to the dock.
As they ride away Damion shoots a flare in each boat, while Dave makes the phone call. Casey still holding the girl turns to watch the boats engulfed in flames, she hears then see the flames as the buildings blow up. Smiling she sits down wraps her arms around the girl and tells her “We’ll find your home.”
About the author
Hello! Thanks for stopping in. My writing has appeared in notebooks, forgotten scraps of papers and a box in the attic for years. I enjoy reading, writing, crafting, gardening and being a Patriot. Feedback welcome & appreciated.