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Mito medical kidnap file.., p.24
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       Mito, Medical Kidnap Files #1, p.24

           P.D. Workman
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  Chapter Twenty-Three

  RENATA AND GABRIEL WAITED in line, their backpacks growing heavy, weighing them down. But Gabriel kept an image of a cot fixed in his mind and managed to stay strong. When they got to the woman checking everyone in, she paused in her routine speech and stared at them.

  “Aren’t you those two runaways…?”

  Renata and Gabriel had decided to try out an alternative approach. Renata sighed and shrugged. “On TV? Yeah, but they said nobody back home wants us after we caused so much trouble, so we can just suck it up and see what it’s like out in the big cruel world.” She sighed again, rolling her eyes. “Tough love, you know?”

  The woman looked liked she was trying to suppress a smile. She replaced it with a grumpy scowl. “You’ll be expected to follow the same rules as anyone else,” she said, handing them each a thin blanket. “There’s no celebrities here.”

  “Yeah, okay,” Gabriel agreed, sounding as depressed as he could. A cot for the night. A blanket. It was going to be heaven, no matter what the rules were.

  “Find a spare locker, put your bags and the contents of your pockets in it and lock it up. No personal objects in the sleeping room.”

  They followed the rest of the group to the wall of lockers and picked two that were side-by-side. Gabriel removed his evening dose of meds and put them in his pockets. Renata took out a bag of formula she’d already mixed, not sure whether there would be anywhere sanitary to mix it at the shelter. They exchanged satisfied smiles.

  “Easy as pie,” Renata said.

  They were herded like recalcitrant animals into the dining room. Which was more of a sit-on-the-floor-and-use-your-elbows room. One of the supervisors noticed Renata’s formula and pounced.

  “No outside foods or supplements,” she growled, reaching to take it from Renata.

  Renata jerked it back. The woman pursued.

  “You think I can put your beef and potatoes in here?” Renata pulled up her shirt.

  The woman stared at the tube, her mouth open. She didn’t reach for the formula again.

  “So I can keep it?”

  The woman walked away without saying anything else. Gabriel waited for his plate while Renata hooked herself up.

  He was surprised to find that there was a TV in the sleeping room. It was a large flat-screen, mounted up in the corner by the ceiling. Most of the room had a pretty good view of it. People who came into the sleeping room sat or lay down and immediately looked up at the TV as if mesmerized. It looked like television was an excellent choice of sedative to use in a shelter.

  The one downside of sleeping at a shelter was, of course, not being able to stay with Renata. Boys and girls had separate sleeping rooms. There was a family room for women with little kids, but he and Renata didn’t qualify as family. They didn’t have any family anymore.

  The volume on the TV wasn’t quite loud enough, but when everyone was still, Gabriel could make most of it out. It was weird, lying there in bed, watching TV, just like he was relaxing at the end of a normal day. It had been a long time since he had just watched TV.

  The cot wasn’t comfortable, but it was easier on his bones than the ground. Lots of people coughed or had occasional outbursts, but mostly they just watched TV.

  Later in the evening, Kirstie Holt was on. There were some cheers and whistles from the men. She was a good-looking newswoman and obviously popular. Gabriel focused on the TV, trying to block out any other noise.

  Kirstie had on a sad, serious face. She recapped the previous program about medical kidnap. “Many of you felt that this was just paranoid delusions. Others were aware of similar stories, but didn’t know whether to believe them or not.”

  Nick’s picture was displayed in the corner of the screen, his face blurred as it had been on the show. Then they removed the blur so you could see his whole face. There was a lump in Gabriel’s throat. Poor Nick.

  “One of the boys on the segment was Nick Meredith. Sadly, his body was discovered today. At this time, Cause of Death has not been determined. Foul play was originally not suspected.” The picture of Nick was replaced with a picture of Renata, her face still blurred. “An attack was made on one of the other children when a doctor from the Lantern Clinic attempted to inject her feeding tube with a substance she was highly allergic to.” Kirstie waited a few seconds to let this sink in. “The Lantern Clinic denies any complicity in the murder attempt and says that Dr. Glover was acting on his own. One of the other boys is missing, and this network is doing what it can to help with the search.”

  She looked down at her paper copy, her face composed. She looked back up. “This network has been served with an injunction prohibiting us from reporting anything further on the story.” She sat there for another minute. “It would appear that we have stepped on some important toes. We will be appealing the gag order and will keep you updated on our progress.”

  Then they went on to the next story. Gabriel closed his eyes.

  They had failed. Renata had thought that once they got the word out, the conspiracy would crumble. The doctors would go to jail. The Lantern Clinic would be shut down. The corrupt judges would be disbarred, or whatever it was they did to judges. No more kids would be taken away from their parents to be experimented on.

  But instead, they had bombed. They had put themselves into the line of fire and the courts had just shut the story down.

  Nick had been killed and maybe Ray too. Renata had barely escaped with her life.

  They hadn’t gotten anywhere.


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