Fair warning. There’s no sex in this chapter. But there is the aftermath of rape. It’s a cop story.
Also: I’ve left it in this genre in order to keep it with the other chapters. But sorry, there’s also no incest.
Thanks for reading. As you’ll see, Johnny Rand is really in for it now.
It had been, as someone once wrote, another shitty day in paradise. It had been in the 70’s in Lake Arrowhead and I was driving back home from the cabin of an old cop friend. I’d had some wine and one shot of Rye over the long course of lunch and dinner and I was wide awake and sober. Which was a good thing. I was headed down a very curvy forest road towards the 210.
My headlights caught a flash of movement ahead and to the right. I slowed the ZL1 and focused on it. It was a woman – no, a young girl, maybe 13 or 14, running naked in the gravel to the right of the road. As I got closer I could see that her feet were a little bloody.
I sped up a little, got past her, then stopped the car and got out. She stopped running before she got to the car.
“Hello,” I said. “My name is Johnny. And you are…?”
She stared at me.
“This will go a lot better if you talk, too,” I said.
She started shaking.
“Oh, shit,” I said to myself, and ran towards her. She screamed and backed away from me.
I stopped and held my hands up. “I was just going to give you my coat,” I said.
She just stared at me.
“I’m a cop,” I said. “Or I used to be a cop. I’m still sort of a cop. Okay, we’re still working out whether I’m a cop or not. But I can get cops here right now, if that’s what you want.”
“… or you could get in the car with me and I’ll take you to the cops, or to the hospital, or anywhere you want to go.”
Think. Little naked girl running down the road. Running away from something, probably something really bad.
“I will protect you,” I said. “I will start by taking you to a place where women will care for you, then when you’re ready, you can tell us all what you want us to do.”
“Protect me, yeah,” she spat.
“I swear it,” I said.
She stared at me some more.
“If you get into my car, I promise you three things. I will not hurt you in any way. I will take you to a place where you will be loved and cared for, for as long as you want to stay there, and nobody there will hurt you in any way. And if people have been hurting you up until now, I will rain hell down upon them.”
“Why should I trust you?”
“Well, I can’t think of a reason,” I said. “Except that it’s a long way to Highway 18.”
She stared at me some more, then got into the passenger seat. I covered her with my coat and started the engine. I made a call.
“2501,” Jay said as I’d taught her.
“Oh, hey honey. Are you on your way home? We were thinking of starting without you.”
“I have a situation.”
“Oooo, is it a situation that we can deal with by groping and playing and stuff?”
“Jay, I’m in trouble.”
Silence. Then, “Wait one. Girls!” A pause. “You’re on speakerphone, Johnny.”
I looked over at the girl. She was hard asleep.
“I’m bringing in a girl, age 12-15, I don’t know, that I picked up along the road running naked away from something. I have no idea what. I’m going to need all hands on deck to help.”
“Got it,” Jay said. “When will you be here?”
“Couple hours, I think,” I said. “I didn’t plug it into the nav.” I thought a moment. “Can you call Jen and see whether she’d be willing to come over? She would know the protocol for care and who to call and…” I looked at the little girl – still passed out. “And maybe a rape kit.”
The girls met me in the driveway. The little one I’d picked up hadn’t woken up and couldn’t be woken, so I carried her into the house and into one of the spare bedrooms. I cleaned and dressed the wounds on her feet. I made a quick check over the rest of her body to make sure that there was nothing else that needed triage attention. I had made Dawn come with me so that while I did this there would be somebody else in the room. I placed her on the bed and pulled the sheet up over her.
“Nobody here thinks you’re going to ravage her while you’re fixing her and putting her to bed, Johnny,” Dawn had said.
“But what if she woke up while I was doing it?” I said.
Dawn had no answer for that.
Jen was already at the house. She was arguing for an ambulance and police intervention.
“We need to get her to a hospital and get cops on board, Johnny,” she said. “She needs that care, and to be able to file charges if that’s what’s required.”
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” I said. “We’ll all wait for her to wake up, then try to get her to tell us what happened and try to get her to tell us what she wants us to do. If she has parents, we’ll try to contact them and then they’ll sort of take over that part.”
“That’s not pro forma, Johnny,” Jen said.
“Tonight, pro forma is she’s going to get a lot of sleep, one of us will be in there with her at all halkalı escort times until she wakes up, and then we’ll figure out what’s next.”
Being pretty much back on my former schedule, at 5:15 AM I was out by the pool doing calisthenics and wing chun forms. It took me a while to figure out that the little girl was in a lounge chair watching me. And a little while after that to remember that I was naked. And so was she. I hopped sideways into the pool.
When I came back up and shook the water out of my hair, I said, “Good morning.”
“I apologize for… umm… can you maybe hand me that towel?”
“I’ve seen everything on a man. Are you going to be the one who fucks me now?”
Mary Beth had fallen asleep in the chair next to the girl’s bed, which is how the girl managed to make it out to the patio. Mary Beth was very contrite.
I made breakfast for everybody. Eggs Benedict, bacon and country potatoes on the side. The girl, whose name turned out to be Kimmy, and who was now wearing one of my Army t-shirts which, on her, was like a dress, was ravenous. I wound up having to make more.
Between me and the girls and Meyer and Jen, we got the whole story out of her.
She was 13. Her parents had been killed in an automobile accident when she was 12, and there was no family to care for her. She had wound up at an orphanage in San Bernardino until the state could find her a foster home. Meanwhile, since the orphanage did not include a school, she was transferred to the public school closest to the orphanage. Walking distance. Which is how the people who took her picked her up.
My friend Buddy Magellas got up and started pacing at this point. Because of our long association, I could feel his anger building.
“What this is, at this point, is a staff problem. We’re going to get the intel, work through it, and figure out what we might do. Your anger might be useful down the road, but right now what you’re going to do is sit down, listen, and ask clarifying questions.”
He stared at me. I stared back. I could tell that he was working towards a high rage. I couldn’t really blame him.
“Sir, yes Sir,” he said, and sat down.
What Kimmy described in Lake Arrowhead was a rape cabin for high rollers. Maybe originally just a sex cabin for men to meet consenting women, but of course Kimmy was of no age to consent, and consent was not what the proprietors had in mind for her. What they apparently had in mind was large money from men who wanted to have sex with a little girl.
What I wanted was to drive back up there with Buddy and kill them all. But there were things we needed to do first. Like call the LAPD chief of police and get his permission to go back up there and kill them all.
I took Jen and Meyer with me to make the call. We were all former cops. So was Buddy, but he was in no shape to be rational.
“Jen was right,” the chief said. “You should have taken her to the hospital immediately. Medical care, rape kit, evidence.”
“Okay,” I said. “So I fucked up. You see a naked little girl running down the road, her feet bloody, tired as shit, you want to run her through processing and more groping and stuff?”
The chief sighed. “No, I want to fix her a cup of hot chocolate and convince her that everything is going to be alright from now until forever. Forgiven. But you need to get her to a hospital today.”
“Indelicate question… Has she showered yet?”
“No,” Jen said.
“Okay, good. DNA and all that. Should I send a car out there to transport?”
I looked at Jen and Meyer. They shook their heads. “Strangers,” Jen mouthed.
“No Sir, we have it covered,” I said. “We’ll get it done. If you could just have a sworn in female meet us at Reagan at…” I looked at my watch. “9:00 AM, that would be great.”
“Done,” he said.
The girls and I drove Kimmy to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. We met Sergeant Mary Maurice Blakely in the lobby. I didn’t recognize her.
“Maurice?” I said.
“Don’t make me hurt you,” she said. And then, “Hello, Kimmy.”
“What we’re going to have to do is take you to a room in the hospital where the nice doctors and nurses are going to examine you. I’ve cleared processing and they’re waiting for you right now. They’re going to do some poking and prodding, but they are medical professionals and they absolutely will not hurt you in any way. All we’re doing is trying to get some evidence to get the bas… the people who have done this to you. Do you understand, Sweetie?”
“Do you want to pick one of these three nice ladies to be in the room with you when all of this happens?”
“No.” She pointed at me. “Him.”
“What? No. Not only no, but hell no! I can’t… No.”
“Sweetie, he’s a man.”
“Right now, in this entire world, he’s the only person I trust.”
“Because he didn’t try to fuck me.”
So taksim escort I held Kimmy’s hand while the medical professionals did their poking and prodding and Sergeant Maurice stood in the corner watching and protecting the chain of evidence.
Afterwards, Sergeant Maurice and I listened to the doctor tell us what she’d found.
“No major trauma. Lots of semen. She’ll have to come back in a couple of weeks to be tested for pregnancy and STDs. Bite marks and, um, suck mark contusions on her back and breasts. No sign of anal penetration, which is good, because that is a better path for STD viruses.”
“I’m going to get her a morning after pill,” I said. “Are there any ramifications for that at her age?”
“You can’t just ‘get her’ that. It’s prescription and if she has no parents it’s going to be complicated.”
“I have back channels. What I asked you is whether there would be problems taking it at her age.”
She looked at me for a while, and then said, “No.”
“Is there anything else you can tell us,” I said.
She thought a moment.
“Off the record?”
“You’re her daddy now.”
“I was told you had three women with you in the waiting room. And that you said one of them should go with the girl into the exam room. And that she picked you. I was told this because I was going to kick you out of the exam room so I asked the staffers and they told me about it.”
“You’re going to have to get over it. You’re her daddy now.”
“Fuck,” I said.
“Congratulations,” she said. “It’s a girl.”
We took Kimmy back to the house in Santa Monica. My girls were excited about taking her shopping as soon as the shops opened in Beverly Hills. I was somewhat less excited. I called Meyer and he agreed to meet me at the Pacific Dining Car in LA, which was open 24 hours. It was now around 8:00 AM. So I had a Sazerac Cocktail. Meyer drank coffee.
“Something on your mind, maybe?” Meyer said.
I explained what had happened after he left the house, and what the doctor had said.
I finished off my Sazerac, and signaled the bartender. Meyer put his hand on my arm.
“Never usually being one to impair the process of imbibing, still, I feel it necessary to intercede in this case.”
“Stop drinking, Johnny.”
“Okay.” The bartender came over. “Coffee,” I said. He ran off to get it.
“You are pissed,” Meyer said. “And conflicted. Being an expert detective, I can discern these things.”
“The doctor told me I was her ‘daddy’ now,” I said. I explained how Kimmy had forced me into the exam room, and why.
“I’m going to give her a morning after pill later this morning. I’m going to do whatever I can to get her past this, and that includes the best therapist I can find in Los Angeles. I’m going to get her tested for STDs and if there are any, I’m going to do whatever it takes to knock them down. And then I’m going to go after ‘those people.'”
“Johnny, you and I worked RHD together and you know what we need to do to build a case.”
“Fuck ‘case’,” I said. “They raped a little girl.”
Meyer was silent for a while. Then he stood up, walked around the bar for a while, then sat back down.
“I was thinking like I still had a badge,” he said. I’m with you.” He signaled the bartender, who came over.
“Another one of those for him,” Meyer said. “And your Highland Park 25 for me. Neat.”
I looked at Meyer. “So, we kill them?”
“We kill them,” Meyer said.
“You can’t kill them,” the chief said.
“What this is is likely not an isolated enclave of sex dealers. If they had only dealt in women of majority who were willing participants, while it would have potentially been a violation of statutes, it would have been only thus. When they kidnap children and force them to have sex, what we need to do is follow to the root cause and kill that. There could be a nationwide network at play.”
Meyer and I looked at each other. “We’re going to go and kill them,” I said.
The chief sighed. “Johnny. Can you at least try to find out who is sponsoring this abomination?”
I had never loved Meyer more than when he said, “Yes Sir. If they can still talk when we’re done, we’ll do our best to find out.”
Myer, Buddy, Jen, and I prepared for boots and saddles. We all pulled comm gear and the throwaway 10 mm suppressed pistols out of my little armory. Buddy and I opted to also grab a couple of Springfield Arms XD45s, and Meyer grabbed the Mossberg 590 shotgun that I keep upstairs. I thought about the Sako sniper rifle but dismissed the idea. If they were able to hold us outside of a distant perimeter, I wasn’t going to go trading shots without knowing who all was in the cabin.
Tricky part. I sat Kimmy down on a sofa and sat on an ottoman facing her and took her hands. She sat quietly and watched me.
“Sweetie, here’s the problem. I don’t know where the cabin is. I don’t suppose you have the address…”
She şişli escort shook her head no.
“Is there any chance you could describe exactly how you got from the cabin to where I found you?”
She shook her head again.
Okay. “Then the only way we have a chance of finding it is for you to come with us and try to lead us there. We’re taking multiple cars so as soon as we’re sure we’ve got the right place, you can leave it and come right home.”
Her grip tightened on my hands.
“Do you have guns?”
“Will you protect me?”
“With my life.”
“Then let’s go.”
“That way. Turn right.”
“Are you sure?” I said.
“Yes. I remember that flickering light.”
On a hunch, we’d made the drive in the dark since she’d run away in the dark. It also helped with operations if we decided to engage right away. We’d been slowly backtracking her route, which she’d established with “That boulder,” “The flag with the light on it,” and the like.
I made the turn. “We’re close,” she said. “It’ll be on that side of the street, not too far in.”
I slowed more.
“How many people were in the cabin?” I said.
“Five that I saw,” she said. “A man and a woman who just watched and made drinks and stuff, and the three men who…” She stopped.
I put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry, Kimmy. I had to know.”
“It’s okay,” she said. Then she pointed and said, “That’s it.”
She stared at me, and I suddenly felt stupid.
“Trust me,” she said. “I remember.”
Two things were obvious about it immediately. First, it might have been called a cabin but it looked more like a regular house, just built in the forest. Second, there was a man on the front steps reading some papers under the porch light. He was already looking at my car curiously.
“Was he there?” I said.
She looked at him for a long time. “No,” she said.
I had to talk to him now, so I called in the troops who’d been tailing us.
“When they get here, we’ll put you in the car with Dawn and she’ll take you home.”
“I want to stay with you.”
“I have to go talk with that man. This could just be talk, but it could also get very ugly very quickly and you are not going to be anywhere near it if it happens. Young lady,” I added, because I’d heard parents do that to make their points.
She just stared me down.
“I’ll compromise with you,” I said. “Do you trust Dawn?”
“I do now,” she said.
“Then I’ll have her drive you back to where the big boulder is and wait there to hear from me. I’ll be back with you just as soon as I can be.”
She thought about that. Finally, “Okay.”
The troops arrived behind me. We did the transfer and Dawn drove away, then the other four of us walked up to the porch. The man stood up but did nothing more threatening than put the papers he’d been reading down on a small table.
“Do for you folks? Lookin’ to rent?” he asked. He was older, maybe 60’s, thin and tall with a thick shock of white hair. I was starting to suspect that he wasn’t one of the droids we were looking for.
“My name is John Rand, Sir, and these are my colleagues. We work for a private security firm.” I showed him my credentials. I realized that if this guy was an innocent and knew who we were, and we eventually did grievous harm to people he knew, it could be a problem for us.
But you’ve got to start somewhere.
“Oh,” he said. “Bigwig comin’ up here for a stay?”
“Maybe,” I said. “Would it be possible to have a look inside this cabin?”
“Sure! And your timing couldn’t have been better!”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I work for the company that rents and leases this cabin. The couple who were leasing it up and took off sometime today. Without even telling us. It was a three-month lease and they’re paid up until the end of it, so we won’t lose any money or anything. But I would like to know whether I’m free to put it on the market again.”
I glanced at Meyer and he grimaced. We’d been afraid they’d bug out fast, knowing that one of their victims had gotten away.
“C’mon in and I’ll show you around,” he said as he headed for the door.
“How did you know they left?” Meyer said.
“Neighbors.” He pointed across the street that we’d parked on. “Bill’s wife Marie is the secretary to the owner of the property management company we work for. Bill saw them packing up and told her, and she told her boss, and then her boss told me to come out and see what was going on.”
He opened the door and waved us in.
“Keep an eye on him, Buddy,” I whispered. “I think he’s a citizen but I don’t want any nasty surprises.”
As we walked in I said, “What’s your name, Sir?”
“Mark McGuire.” I stared at him, and he chuckled. “Oh, not that Mark McGuire.” He fished into his pocket, and Buddy tensed, moved his coat, and placed his hand on the butt of his 10mm.
But all Mark came out with was a wallet. He extracted a business card and handed it to me.
“‘Mark McGuire, Arrowhead Property Management’,” I read. “And in parentheses below, ‘No, not that Mark McGuire.'” I smiled. “Nice. May I keep this?”
“Sure,” he said. “That’s what they’re for. I got about half a jillion of them.”
Buddy visibly relaxed.
“Sir,” Meyer said. “I’m going to ask a couple of strange questions.”