Friday, July 8, 2011

Chapter Twelve

“I am going to return your daughter to you.”
When Walters said it, I didn't even let my pulse increase by half a beat. It wasn't going to be that easy. He knew it. I knew. We glared through another long ‘he who speaks first’ moment.
He lost, again.
"I'm going to return her to you -- if you agree to work for me."
No shit. A blind man could have seen that one coming. I didn't even have to ask what he wanted me to do.
"If you don't work for me, you'll never see her again."
For Moira's sake, I resisted the remark that rose like bile to my mouth – something about him performing an anatomically impossible act.
Eventually, Walters "allowed" me to return to my makeshift cell to think on my decision.
A single bulb lit my room.  The temperature was mild, yet I felt cold.  I assumed everything I did was monitored.  So I sat down with my back against the wall and stared at the door.  And I thought.
I already knew I would accept.  I didn't even have to think about that.
I thought of other things.  Like the day I learned my wife was pregnant with a Down's Syndrome daughter.  I thought about the day Moira was born.  I remembered how she would sit in the sunroom and smush her face against the glass doors and laugh at me as I worked at my desk in the living room.  Images flooded my mind of her at the beach, in her footy pajamas, of Christmas mornings, of her napping with Tonka.
I also thought about what our government had become.  What had begun as a fight against tyranny by our founding fathers was now corrupted beyond recognition.  What would those wise old men say about the mess we're in today?  Would they rebel against it?  Apparatchiks like Walters had their own fiefdoms and agendas totally unrelated to the best interests of the people.  Leaches like him, had always been with us.  But when had the interests of the governing class so diverged from the governed?
A pipe hammered somewhere in the bowels of the unknown building where I sat.  A fan kicked in and pushed air through ducts.
I came back to my thoughts.  When did our government go off the rails?  It didn't matter when, only that it had.
None of that, however, would help Moira.  Helping Moira was all I must think on.  I knew I needed to get her back, then do whatever it took to get her to higher ground.  How?  And what would higher ground look like?  It would be someplace where the likes of Walters could never, ever touch her again.   
As I listened to the pipes and pumps, I began to formulate an idea.
The only question was – did I still have it in me to do something?

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