“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-seven

He set up a lit candle on the kitchen table, closed the doors in and out of the kitchen, and loosened the propane connection to the stove until he heard the hiss of escaping gas. Picking up Kathy’s stack of files, he and Shadow ran to the barn. He remembered a kerosene lantern sitting near the trap door and broke it near a stack of boxes and old lumber. Giving the kerosene a minute to spread, he threw a match into the oil and ran out the door, leaving it open to create a draft to feed the fire. Jack and Shadow joined Kathy and Jody in the crowded Cherokee and said, “Go!” By the time they were almost out of sight, Jack saw the kitchen blow. He and Kathy exchanged looks and Kathy gave him a thumbs up.

When Lou dropped the Brandons and their newest houseguest off, Kelly and Sally had not yet arrived. Jack helped Jody in the house, while Kathy ran ahead with Shadow to arrange a room for Jody and to alert the Minhs a new guest with special needs was arriving. Kathy and Mrs. Minh helped Jody to her room on the main floor. Kathy helped her undress and get into the bath Mrs. Minh had run for her. When Mrs. Minh saw her naked body, she gasped and said, “It has been many years since I have seen anyone like this. Only a prison or a famine can do this. I will bring Jody a tray. To eat too much too soon will make her sick. First soups, tea, and a little rice.”

Jody settled in the tub and started to cry. “This feels so good. I dreamed about this moment. Getting clean, food available, and good people around me. I’ll get better as fast as I can. I don’t want to be a burden.”

“Not a problem, and no need to force things. Tell me, does any one know you were missing?” Kathy asked.

“Not really. My parents died years ago. I have no siblings. A few friends but I doubt anyone is looking for me or reported me missing.”

“How did those terrible people get you?”

“I was taking some classes at the University of Richmond at nights and working as a fitness instructor at a local health club. People like me come and go at jobs like that. They were probably upset that I gave no notice. Nothing beyond that.”

“Keep talking and I’ll give you the first shampoo you’ve had in a while. How did they grab you and when?”

Jody started talking and the door eased open. Kathy thought it was Mrs. Minh. Instead Gideon pushed into the room. Jody smiled and said “who are you?” Gideon stuck his head over the edge of the tub and licked Jody’s shoulder. She started to cry again. “Even the dogs are kind here. What is he?”

“You’re looking at a six-month-old Bouvier des Flandres. To know them is to love them. The big dog that was with us and found you is also a Bouvier. He found the pit under the barn floor and he has saved our lives more than once. I trust that dog more I could ever tell you. But go on with your story, at least part of it. We can talk in more detail later. Being a fitness instructor you know what you need. Rest, nourishment, exercise, and time. I don’t know about the mental part. An experience like you had leaves scars, unseen scars. So for now just the facts.”

“I was taken on my way to talk to my course advisor at the university. It was on the 15th of April.”

“My God, girl! You been a captive for more than six weeks. What do you remember about the kidnapping itself?”

“I parked in the student section of the parking lot, used by most night school students. On the way back to my car two men came up quickly, one on either side. I was startled but felt I could fight my way out. I hit the man on my left a hard blow to the throat. Then I felt a sharp pain in my left upper arm. I tried to keep fighting but lost strength and the ability to coordinate my actions. My last memory is losing consciousness and starting to fall. When I woke up I was in that damned pit in the barn.”

“That’s enough for now. Soak as long as you want. Push the call button when you want out. I’ll come and help you. Your hair looks a lot better. You are a blonde. Mrs. Minh will bring a tray down when you get in bed. Don’t worry. She loves taking care of Jack’s friends. She’s worked with his family as a house staff and friend for forty plus years. Please do not try to get out of the tub by yourself. At any time if you feel sick call someone. The intercom is always manned. Bye, see you tomorrow morning. Call anytime for anything. Jack and I are just down the hall.”

“Thank you. I’ll be your friend for life. Where did your husband come from? He’s wonderful. When he was holding me in that terrible cellar I felt safe for the first time since I was kidnapped. Is he some kind of a super hero?”

“I think so. But, he’s too humble to play the super hero role.”

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“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-six

Jack dragged Conrad across the barn floor to the open door of the pit and pushed him in. He heard Conrad hit the cement floor. There was silence. He listened for a minute, heard no sound, and closed the trap door, slipping the locking rod into the hasp. He found Kathy and Shadow watching over a glowering woman. Jack said, “God, she is ugly. Must be a witch. Her husband wants her. Bring her along.” Kathy lifted her by her hair and said, “Walk bitch. Don’t make a wrong move or you and our bear will have another session.”

Inside the barn Jack asked her what she wanted to tell them.

She responded, “My husband’s friends will kill you.”

“That’s almost exactly what he said. We’re running out of time. Anything else?”

“I want to see Conrad.”

“Good. We can do that. Bring her along.”

Jack opened the pit trap door slowly and said, “Conrad, your wife wants to see you.”

He heard some groaning and cursing and said, “Good. You too. I’ll send her right down.”

The trapdoor was fully open and Jack motioned to Kathy who dragged the woman over to the pit and said, “Climb down or fly down. It makes no difference to me.” She took one look at Kathy and started down the ladder, screaming obscenities. When her head was below the barn floor, Jack closed the door. With the trap door closed no sounds came from the pit. Kathy started to lock the door but Jack stopped her and said, “What happened here is that the two of them went down into the pit with the door pushed back leaning against the stack of heavy hay bales. The stack of bales tipped over and smashed the door closed. The door with its steel plate is heavy enough to lift from the ladder. With hay bales on top, they just couldn’t get out. Are you okay with that?”

“She mistreated Kelly and kept her in that pit to sell her into the modern slave market. I doubt there is any evidence admissible in court that would get them convicted to do serious time. An arrest would also tip off Marshall and the cop in Baltimore so they could get away clean and rich. Justice can be hard. Let’s clean up any evidence we were here, search the house and get out of here with Lou and his team.”

“Let’s go. Dawn is coming soon.”

They entered by the open back door and began a quick search. Shadow ran all through the house and came back to Jack who was just opening the door to go to the cellar. He told Shadow to stay with Kathy, knowing that Shadow would protect her while she concentrated on searching. Kathy was the expert in searching a place for hidden compartments or rooms. She knew Conrad must have kept some records and went immediately to a banged up desk overflowing with stacks of outdoor magazines and paper. Believing the stuff she wanted would not be out in the open, she checked for a locked drawer. The bottom right drawer was locked. Rather than search for a key, she picked the lock in less than 30 seconds. There was a loaded .38 chromed Smith and Wesson Revolver, a box of ammunition, and a stack of files containing names of girls, records of payments, and business contacts. A quick check of the rest of the drawers revealed nothing of interest. She was collecting the files when Jack called for her to come down to the cellar. Leaving the pile of files near the back door she and Shadow went down the steep stairs.

Down in the musty cellar strewn with generations of cobwebs, Jack put his finger to his lips. She stopped and was about to say “what” when she heard a faint sound. Moving over to Jack’s side. He whispered, “I think someone is down here. I’m sure I heard a faint human voice.”

“Those inhuman bastards could be keeping another girl locked up down here,” Kathy said quietly, scowling.

Jack released Shadow and he ran immediately over to cluttered shelves covering part of the cellar wall.

“This is not a big house. I don’t think the cellar goes beyond the lines of the house. We should be able to find a place big enough to hold a person captive,” Kathy said, “Two of the walls are lined with sections of shelves. One of them must be covering an entrance to a hidden room,” Kathy said, pointing.

“Look at Shadow. He’s sitting in the dark by a section of those shelves. He’s already found the hidden area,” Jack whispered.

Moving to the shelf-covered wall, Kathy heard a very faint voice. She called Jack and said, “Shadow is right. I heard a voice.”

Jack joined her and they began struggling to move a section of shelves. Jack looked down at the floor and said, “Look at those marks on the floor. They form part of an arc. That section right in front of us must move.”

“We tried to move it already.”

“Yes, but the section must be locked in some way. The marks indicate it must swing from here on some kind of a pivot.”

Sweeping the shelves clear of paint cans and the hubris of generations, Jack found a six-inch lever on a middle shelf. When he pulled it down the section released from the wall and was easy to move. Kathy moved up with her gun drawn and her red light filtered flashlight. Jack swung the door open and Kathy shone her light inside the small cell like room. A screaming shape lunged out of the darkness. Kathy threw her SOCOM forward. Jack knocked her weapon aside and yelled, “No!”

The shape fell to the floor. Jack pinned it down. Shadow leaned in close and licked the writhing shape. Kathy watched Shadow and put her weapon away. The beam of her light showed a thin naked woman covered with bruises and abrasions clutching a tattered, smelly robe. Her long blond hair was tangled and the woman smelled like she hadn’t had a bath in weeks. Each rib was prominently displayed, her shoulder blades looked like little elbows sticking out of her back, her shrunken breasts were bruised. Her dark eyes gleamed with a feral fury. Her hands looked like small claws. The nails were all broken. Some were bleeding.

Jack asked Kathy to get some drinking water. He held the woman and talked quietly to her. When Kathy returned with water, the woman was racked with sobs and clinging to Jack. Kathy knelt down and held a glass of water to her lips. The woman drank deeply and with tears running down her face said, “Save me.”

Jack said, “You’re safe now. We’ll take you out of here.” Kathy ran up the stairs to get a few blankets. Jack asked the woman her name. “Jody. Jody Miller from Richmond. Who are you?”

“Right now that’s not important. Are other people being held here?”

“Yes. Other women are being held in the barn. Can you help them?”

“The dog sitting beside you and licking your shoulder found them and they are safe. Is there anyone else held here in the house?”

“I don’t know. I never heard or saw anyone else. I’m here for punishment. I fought them and fought them. I’m not sure but I’ve been here for almost 50 days. I marked every time I got my once a day meal. I hate those people. I’ll gladly kill them. Where are they?”

“They’ll never bother you again.”

“For sure?”

“Positive.”

Kathy came back with blankets and some clothes she found with labels still on them.

Jack said, “Take her to the car. She thinks she can walk. She can’t weigh more than 80 or 90 pounds. Get everyone ready to go. I have some things to do here first.”

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“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-five

Kathy kicked the garbage cans around and then took cover with Shadow. Just as Jack planned, Conrad turned on the porch light and came charging out with a shotgun. When he hit the bottom step and turned toward the scattered garbage, Jack moved out of his concealment behind a five-foot high scraggily Virginia cedar at the base of the stairs, used his left arm to put a neck lock on Conrad’s throat, while his right hand and arm controlled the shotgun. With Conrad helpless, he pivoted to his left and slammed him down on the flagstone walk. Jack shoved the barrel of the 12-gauge up under Conrad’s chin and said, “Your gambling buddy in Atlantic City sent me to talk to you. Now call your woman to come out. Tell her you’ve fallen and hurt your leg. Don’t move from this spot. Even a small movement will get you both killed.”

The back door opened and the woman came down the steps. She saw Conrad down on the walk and said, “What happened? I told you that walk was a menace. How badly are you hurt?” As she reached the halfway point on the stairs, Kathy called, “Stop right there. Put your hands where I can see them.”

The woman turned and started back up the steps. Kathy, with one hand on Shadow’s head, gave him the signal to attack. Shadow bounded up the steps, seized the flowing housecoat and pulled her down the steps. When she hit the ground, he put his front paws on her chest and his huge open jaws inches from her face. Before the woman could even scream, Kathy’s SOCOM was in her mouth, chipping a few teeth.

Kathy said, “Be still and quiet and you might live.”

Kathy rolled her on her stomach, face in the grass and put plastic cuffs on her thick wrists.

Jack heard the cars pull into the driveway. Leaving Kathy and Shadow to guard Conrad and his wife, Jack ran back to the barn. Lou and Sally had helped Kelly get the three other captives ready to move. Jack pulled Kelly and Sally aside and said, “Look, girls forget your empathy for these ladies. We need to get them back into their lives without any of us being involved any further. Kelly, tell them they were freed by a special group that is hunting down the entire human trafficking gang.

If they give testimony to the police or newspapers, they will be putting themselves and their families in danger. Take this envelope. There is enough cash in there to give each of them $4,000 and pay for a motel for a few days. Pick a decent motel, pay cash for two days. No true names. Take the girls right to their rooms or room. Not through the lobby. It might be better for them to be in the same suite or two adjoining rooms. They can call anyone they want. Try to get them to calm down their families, so wailing sirens don’t arrive with news media. Sally’s the only one in decent clothes. She should make the reservations. It will be daylight soon and they’ll be able to take a taxi to a shopping mall and buy clothes, suitcases, etc. If they agree, get them to make their own arrangements to fly home or wherever.

“Kelly, leave no phone numbers and no plans for a reunion or get together. Tell them you were working undercover to take this gang down. Ask them to protect you. No one from this gang will be coming after them but they should low key the whole thing. No media. Take the Flex. Try to avoid cameras at the motel, if any. Kathy and I will see you at home in a few hours. Let’s get going. It will be light in less than an hour.”

Sally said, “There’s a young black lab hanging around in the driveway. May I take him with us?”

“Yes! I was wondering what I could do with him. Either keep him or find him a good home. But not at our house. I think he is terrified of Shadow, and Gideon might think he’s a toy.”

Kelly led the girls off to their ride back to the world. Lou went back to the car to wait with Ted and Warren while Jack cleaned up the scene.

Jack joined Kathy and took Conrad to the barn for a quiet talk. Once inside, Jack told Conrad to sit on a bale of hay. Conrad had recovered from Jack’s takedown and said, “I don’t know who the fuck you think you are or what you’re doing but you’re a dead man.”

Jack said, “Bad start,” and slapped Conrad hard enough to knock him off his seat.

“Okay, Conrad. Can we start over? If not, it will get much worse. I won’t lose any sleep over killing you. I’m listening!”

Conrad just stared at Jack. Opened his mouth but didn’t say anything. Jack seized his right fore finger and broke it at the third joint. Conrad screamed. “See, you can talk. Now what do you want to tell me? You have nine more fingers.”

Conrad said, “Go to hell. I’m going to have you killed.”

“Wrong answer.” Conrad hurriedly put his hands behind him. Jack put both hands on his face and pressed his thumbs hard upward under his cheekbones. Conrad tried to scream but couldn’t. Jack increased the pressure. Conrad grabbed at Jack’s hands and screamed when Jack broke his middle finger and said, “Be careful, Conrad only eight left. Now are you ready to start by telling me who you would ask to kill me?”

Conrad shook his head.

“Okay. You win time in the pit.”

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TRUMP’S FOES

We are getting close to a very critical election day. It is an overused term to get attention, but I think in this case it is not strong enough to say this is an historical election. It may be the last real election. Once the radical left gains power they do not like to give it up.  The whole struggle with the Trump populist movement was to gain power. Why risk another game changing election. Better to use the time to fortify the win.  

A good example is the issue of law enforcement. The left has made significant progress in marginalizing the police forces in our big cities. Even the Socialists know you can’t govern without an ability to enforce compliance. How can they replace the defunded police forces? Simple take a page from the early history of the Nazi socialist Party after Hitler gained power. The Nazi Party used the “Brown Shirts,” the fore runners of ANTIFA and BLM. If the radical left wins the coming election, law and order will become enforced compliance and BLM and ANTIFA Forces will rapidly become the new well-funded socialist police. Forget due process, the Constitution, and the balance of power in our current three-part government. Any elections after the socialists take control will only be a sham.  

Under our Constitutional form of government an appointed group of people form the bureaucracy that runs the Government at the direction of the Executive and applicable laws. As we have seen in the coup attempt against President Trump, the civil service was no obstacle. The coup could not have been run without many of our bureaucrats committing treason or pretending it was not happening. 

The civil service, the military, and local police forces will not stop a socialist takeover of America even if the process is clearly unconstitutional. Does anyone doubt that the media is already on the side of the Socialists? The elites that run our failing colleges and universities have managed to convince the young people we send to them on trust they will learn useful skills and the ability to think have taught them that our culture and national history needs to be replaced by some utopian socialist system that has never worked anywhere. 

Trump has foes within his own party. Several Senators are not helping him. They instead are serving those who give them campaign funds. These Globalist don’t care about America or the working class. Another round of the “Rust Belt” with high profit margins for their big corporations would suit them just fine. These managers learned what counts is profits now. Those profits came from moving American manufacturing to China, India and elsewhere where labor was cheaper, and taxes were lower than in the United States. Get rid of Trump and his America first deal making and they will be in charge again. Just ask a Bush, Romney or any of the other RHINOS if they want a world without Trump. 

President last major foe are the Republicans who don’t like Trump. They don’t want him to tweet even if there is no other way to get the good news out to the people. The main line media will not report it. They also don’t like it that President Trump is not manageable by the Washington establishment. Why did he fire so many of the staff he inherited from Bush and Obama? The fact that he makes his own decisions and has been right so often irritates ‘politically correct’ who would sooner have a socialist government rather than a successful pragmatist like President Trump. They have never lived in a socialist or communist country. I have and guarantee they won’t like it. The problem is that these lemmings won’t get another chance. 

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“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-four

Jack found the recessed handle and locking bolt to the trap door. Making as little noise as possible he slid the lock open and eased the door up. The heavy weight of the door surprised him. Shining the red-beamed light down into the pit, he saw the ladder-access to the ten-foot-deep cavern. Too high for Shadow to jump and Shadow wasn’t friendly with vertical ladders. Jack could hear sounds but couldn’t see anything. Telling Shadow to stay and guard, Jack went down the ladder. The pit was lined with cement blocks, the floor was poured concrete. He saw a light switch but rejected using it. He felt he had to move quickly. He couldn’t believe there wasn’t an alarm that indicated the door had been opened. Along the wall in the back of the 15-by-10-foot chamber, he saw four shapes in cots that were fastened to the wall. Hurrying across the room he uncovered the shapes huddled under blankets on each cot. The last one he uncovered was Kelly. She was awake but was gagged and tied to the bunk. Jack carefully removed the gag and cut the ropes binding her. Kelly immediately sat up, put her arms around Jack and said, “I knew you would come but couldn’t see how you could ever find me here.”

Jack wiped a tear from her cheek and said, “We have to hurry. Can you walk?”

“Yes. Let’s go get these bastards. There are two of them. The woman is the worst. She enjoyed hurting us.”

Jack gave Kelly his knife and said, “Get these other women loose and up the ladder. Here’s my SOCOM. Stay near the barn. We have other people outside. Don’t want any friendly fire causalities. If we’re not back in ten minutes, head out to the road and follow it up the grade. Cars with two of our people are waiting. When I get out of this hole, I’ll call Lou. He and Sally will be here in a few minutes. Sit tight. Get everyone out of this prison and ready to move. Don’t tell them who we are. Just say you don’t know.”

Jack found Kathy and Shadow at the barn door. Jack said, “Got her. She’s okay and ready to go. There are three other women. Be thinking what we should do with them. I don’t want them to be able to identify us. I believe we will find Conrad and his wife still in the house. Be careful with the woman. Kelly said she is bad, real bad. I couldn’t find any alarms. Give me a minute to talk to Lou.”

Lou answered immediately. Jack asked him to bring the cars up. “Kelly is okay and is organizing three other captives. We have to figure out what to do with them. Do not give them any real names and don’t let them overhear our talks. I don’t want them to be able to direct the cops back to this place. We don’t need the cops involved. Maybe later. I’ll send Kelly up with her fellow captives. I’d like them to all be in one car with as little exposure to us as possible. When you pass the word, bring Sally and come down to the barn. Announce yourselves. Kelly is armed and in the barn waiting for you and Sally.”

Kathy heard Jack’s talk with Lou. When he was finished with with Lou, Jack took Kathy’s arm and said, “We have to get them out of the house. Too dangerous to take them in the house. I saw a couple of garbage cans near the back porch when the porch light was on. You and Shadow go make a racket with the garbage cans. They’ll think the young bear came back. The guy, Conrad, will come outside to see what’s going on and to chase or shoot the bear cub. When he comes off the porch, I’ll take him and make him call the woman to come out. She may be armed. Stay under cover and tell her to drop the weapon and come down the stairs. Don’t hesitate to shoot. About that time Lou will be telling Ted and Warren to move the cars up. You organize the move out. I’ll use Kelly and Sally to help with the kidnappers.”

“Do you walk around all the time with plans in your head?” Kathy whispered.

“More than I want but I need people like you and Lou to make them work. You could make even a bad plan work.”

“Husband, you are incredible, but please be careful.”

“I will. The tricky part is getting the three other captives back into safe hands without anyone being able to identify us. Now move out!”

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