Chapter 11 Tuesday, 1900 hours (7 PM)
Derek was fraternizing with the rest of the hostages and explaining that they’d soon have the dorm room for their own, when Jeffrey opened the connecting door.
"Derek," he called in a small voice.
The boy was wide-eyed and pale. Something had frightened him. Derek rushed over, and led the boy back into his room, closing the door behind.
"Jeffrey. What’s wrong?"
"I was going through the channels. He was on television, one of the guys that hurt me."
"Come on," said Derek, ignorant of the CALF TV broadcasts.
"Really Derek, I saw him."
Derek looked at his son. It was certainly possible that CALF could manage that, especially considering all the TV gear they had.
"You’re sure?" Derek asked.
"Yes," insisted Jeffrey.
"One of the guys who hurt you?"
"Yes. That's what I said. I hate him."
"Jack? The one that hit you?"
"No, the other one. His name is Joshua Cave. He’s the one that held me down while Jack hit me. I hate him. I think he likes hurting people."
"What did he say on TV?"
"He said he was going to hurt a hostage tomorrow."
Derek sized up his kid. Jeffrey was imaginative but it didn’t seem he was making this up.
"How is he going to hurt a hostage?"
"I don’t know. He said if the police negotiator didn’t do what he wanted, he’d hurt someone. What's a negotiator?"
Derek explained the word.
This changed things. Now instead of escaping only with his son, he’d have to convince all the hostages to escape with them.
"Okay. You can watch TV for a few minutes. I’m going to back to talk to people in the other room. They might want to escape with us. Are you OK?"
"Yeah. Derek, are we going soon?"
"Yes, very soon."
Back with the other hostages, Derek learned that adversity not only could bring out the best in people, but also the worst. He walked to a central point in the room and raised his hands for attention.
"Excuse me people. I need to talk to you." He spoke softly so as not to be overheard by the guard outside the door. Derek made small gathering motions suggesting that people gather around. They did, though some walked with a diffidence suggesting they had done quite enough at the orders of others.
"Look, my son saw something troubling on his pocket TV," said Derek.
"What?" commented a hostage angrily, "The little brat has his own room, and a TV."
"Yeah," said another, "and he’d better get his ass out of there. I want one of those bunks."
"Well, I think the women should get the bunks," said a woman.
"Says you, sister," said a man in his early thirties who sported the tough thug look.
"I’m not your sister, buddy, and who the hell are you anyway."
"My name is Reggie Foreman. Do you want to make something of it." He poked his finger into her arm.
Derek tried to re-focus the dialog away from discussions of accommodations. "My son saw one of the people that beat him speaking on television. The guy said that tomorrow he would probably have to hurt a hostage. My boy and I are going to escape tonight and I think that under the circumstances all of you should come with us."
There was a moment of quiet and then a woman spoke up,
"I don’t believe it. They’ve treated us pretty well. They’re nice kids, most of them. I’m staying here."
"So am I," said another. "There are lions on the loose out there, you know."
Derek pressed on. "Treated us pretty well? I don’t think my son would agree."
"The kid probably deserved what he got. Kids need a good hiding now and then."
"Look, I’m not here to discuss child rearing," said Derek losing patience. "We’re going. If any of you want to come along, fine."
"Seriously," said another hostage. "What makes you think he’s not making it all up?"
"Because he didn't know what a negotiator is."
"Forget it." Derek tried a last shot. "I don't believe there are lions out there. It would be stupid. While we're safe in here, the Calf kids are outside. If there are wild animals out there, the Calfers are at risk. But, I don't believe them. They lied to us. Any of you see lions."
"I don't give a shit," said the thuggish-looking hostage. "I'm staying right here."
Derek looked from face to face. "Is anyone coming with us?"
He turned and walked back to Jeffrey’s dorm room. No one came with him.