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Mito medical kidnap file.., p.25
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       Mito, Medical Kidnap Files #1, p.25

           P.D. Workman
 
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  Chapter Twenty-Four

  THERE WAS ONLY ONE thing that Gabriel wanted to do. He wasn’t sure what he would do after that.

  “You’ll get her in trouble,” Renata warned. “They’re going to have her phone tapped, and they’ll know as soon as you call her.”

  “I just have to… I can’t keep running and never have the chance to talk to her again.”

  Renata made a wide shrug. Gabriel picked up the receiver and dialed the familiar number. He waited while it rang, afraid she wouldn’t answer.

  “Hello?”

  Keisha’s voice gave Gabriel a thrill. He had missed her so much.

  “Mom. It’s me.”

  “Oh, Gabriel!” Her voice broke. “Baby, are you okay?”

  “I’m okay, Mom. I am.”

  “When they said on TV that one of the boys was missing, I didn’t know if it was you. Nobody would tell me anything. You’re all right? Really?”

  “I don’t know what to do. Nothing has changed… we didn’t make any difference.”

  Renata scowled at this. But she had to know it was true. She’d seen Kirstie’s report in the women’s sleeping room too.

  “Mom… what should I do? Should I just come back? If I go back to the program, I’ll still be able to visit you… If I just go back and do what they tell me to…”

  Keisha was silent. Gabriel waited for her to tell him to go back. If she said to go back, he would. He would take the pills that made him sick. He’d toe the line. So that he’d be safe from harm and be able to see his mother.

  “Gabriel, you can’t give up. You are making a difference. People know what’s going on now. Other moms are coming to me… I don’t want you to go back.”

  Renata was staring at him, waiting for some sign of what Keisha was saying.

  “You want me to keep trying,” Gabriel echoed.

  “I want you to be safe… but I don’t think you’d be safe if you go back, either. You are helping. I’m proud of you.”

  “Okay.” Gabriel sniffled a little. “I guess… we’ll keep trying…”

  “Be safe, sweetie.”

  “I will.”

  “You can’t call me again, though. I have to report this call after we hang up, or they’ll charge me with harboring a fugitive.”

  “Yeah, okay. Sorry.”

  “No, I’m glad you called. I needed to know that you were still alive.”

  “Okay. Bye, Mom.”

  “Bye, sweetie. I love you. And Dad does too.”

  Gabriel hung up. He stood there looking at the phone for a long time before turning to look at Renata.

  “She says we’re making a difference… other moms are calling her.”

  Renata’s eyebrows went up. “They are?” Her voice rose. “Then maybe… the underground railway is still a possibility. If there are others who want to help…”

  Gabriel nodded.

  “We’ll need to set up an organization,” Renata went on. “Burner cell phones… people can’t know more than one or two others in the organization, to prevent one person from ratting us all out.” She spoke rapidly, bounding on ahead. “We’ll need passwords and signs to recognize helpers by… the underground railway had songs that were escape instructions…”

  “That might be going a bit overboard,” Gabriel laughed.

  Renata scowled. “Do you want it to work, or not?”

  They worked hard, getting phones at different convenience stores so that no one could identify them as the same lot, making short, cryptic calls to those that they thought might help out. They didn’t talk about Nick and Ray and the very real danger they were still putting themselves in. If they gave themselves away, another hired gun might show up to take care of them.

  Renata saw spooks everywhere, paranoid of every car with tinted windows or extra antennae, but so far Gabriel hadn’t been able to identify any more real threats.

  They stayed at the shelters for a few days, getting caught up on sleep, but never going to the same one twice in a row. They had become invisible like the rest of the homeless.

  But one morning, Gabriel waited for Renata outside the shelter the next morning, and she didn’t come out. He waited until everybody had cleared out, growing more anxious by the minute. He finally went to one of the workers to inquire.

  “Have you seen my friend, Renata? She was here, but she hasn’t come out… is she sick in the bathroom or something?”

  The woman looked at him like she’d never seen him before and didn’t know what he was talking about. Then she nodded. “We had a disturbance last night. One of the women had some kind of meltdown, and she was taken by ambulance to the hospital.”

  “Was it Renata?”

  “I don’t really know names. I think I’ve seen you two together. Young girl.”

  “Yeah. What happened?”

  The woman looked around as if expecting someone else to fill in the details. “I don’t know, exactly… She attacked another woman, said she was watching her, involved in some plot to kill her… a real break from reality… she was very wild…”

  Gabriel sighed. It had been bound to happen sooner or later, with Renata off her meds. He’d seen how paranoid she had been getting. Nothing he said to her helped.

  Running the railway was going to be up to him.

 

  Epilogue

  GABRIEL WATCHED THE BUSES coming in and finally saw the one he was expecting. He walked over to the arrivals door and waited for the passengers to disembark and sort out the luggage. A few people came in through the doors and then he saw the tow-headed ten-year-old. He waved.

  “Sky! Over here.”

  Skyler looked around for a minute, ignoring Gabriel; then Skyler walked over to him.

  “Everything go smoothly?” Gabriel asked.

  “Yeah. Good. Where do we go from here?”

  “Come on.” Gabriel turned and Skyler followed. It was a complicated trip, never in a straight line. Walk, bus, surface train. Making sure no one could follow them without being seen. They arrived in a residential neighborhood and again walked. They were both tired, moving slowly and taking frequent rests. They finally reached the safe house and Gabriel knocked on the door.

  “Hello?” the intercom beside the door inquired.

  “I have a package for you. It needs to be signed for.”

  “Someone will be right down.”

  “If it wasn’t safe,” Gabriel told Skyler, “they’d say they weren’t expecting a package.”

  Skyler nodded. The homeowner opened the door and looked at the two of them. Then she scanned the street behind them.

  “All clear?”

  “All clear,” Gabriel agreed.

  She motioned for them to enter. Gabriel let Skyler go in first and brought up the rear. They went up the stairs to the living room. A man and a woman were waiting there. The man had sandy hair that had probably once been light blond like Skyler’s. The woman was short and frail-looking. Both jumped to their feet on seeing Skyler and hurried over to hug and greet him.

  Gabriel hadn’t ever seen Skyler smile before, but he did now. Their words of greeting all overlapped each other, parents and child who hadn’t seen each other for months. It was a few minutes before they broke apart. The woman looked at Gabriel.

  “Gabriel… I can’t thank you enough! I didn’t think we’d ever be able to be together with Sky again.” She stepped closer and gave him a hug. Her shampoo smelled fruity, like strawberries.

  “I’m just glad we got him out,” Gabriel said, unable to suppress a huge smile over the successful extraction. “Now, you’ve got everything you need? You know where you’re going?”

  “We have all our new identification. Enough meds to last until we get established and can find a trustworthy doctor. We’ll be far away from here.”

  “You have new ID for me?” Skyler asked, looking up at them.

  “Yes. We have everything we need, thanks to Gabriel’s connections.”

  “Does it say boy or girl?


  Skyler’s mother laughed. “It says boy. Which will make us even harder to trace.”

  “Perfect,” Gabriel said. “Renata will be happy to hear that we got you out next time I see her. She was always really concerned about helping you.”

  “Tell her thank you,” Skyler’s mother said, squeezing Gabriel’s hand. “I hope she’s feeling better soon.”

  Gabriel returned the squeeze. He didn’t know how long it would be before Renata was released or managed to escape yet again. He didn’t know if she’d ever be stable enough to help with the underground railway that had been her vision.

  But as long as there were kids being stolen from their parents because of their medical conditions, Gabriel was going to keep working on getting them out.

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  Also by this Author

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  Looking Over Your Shoulder

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