Chapter 9 Tuesday, 1200 hours (Noon)
Making one of his ritual circuits of the room, Derek was just at the point of grabbing the doorknob for his ritual check of the lock. Then he saw the knob turn. Derek stopped and stepped back. He hoped the Calfers had the cart with them. He could do with some lunch.
The door opened and four Calfers came in. First came Joshua Cave, fiftyish, and with a politician's face. He seemed to be the leader of the zoo take-over. Jack entered right behind him. These two, Derek did not like at all. Two more gun-toting, college-aged kids came in, and the last locked the door behind him. There was no food cart this time. Joshua and Jack stood aside while the Calfer with the keys, unlocked the kids' room.
Through the opened door, Derek saw Jeffrey standing in the middle of the room. He was wearing only underwear, and stood in the midst of a clutter of blue scout uniforms. He was alone.
While Derek wondered what was going on, Jack and Joshua stormed into the room.
Derek stiffened as the two men walked up to his son.
Jeffrey looked up at Joshua. "I want to go back to my father," he said, petulantly.
Joshua shrugged. It didn't seem to matter to him.
Jack glowered at the boy. "Where are they?"
"Leave me alone."
"Where the hell are they?" Jack shouted.
Jeffrey shouted back, "Go pick on someone your own size."
"I said, Where are they." Jack punctuated his statement by slamming the door shut.
Derek's view was blocked by the closed door, but he could still hear.
"Bend him over the bunk." That was Jack's voice.
He heard the stroke, like the snap of a dry stick. Then he heard Jeffrey's scream.
Derek leapt up and lunged for the door. He stopped short as a Calfer guard grabbed him by the neck from behind. The other came around and pointed his AK-47 at Derek's stomach.
Derek didnít struggle. There was nothing he could do but listen to the cries of his son in the next room. Five more strokes sounded cracked like gunshots.
"Stop. Please stop," screamed Jeffrey, "Iíll tell you where they went."
"OK, Where?" came Jack's voice.
"Theyíre hiding out at the zoo cafeteria."
"All right then." Jack's voice came clearly through the door. "Get your clothes on, kid."
The door opened and Joshua came out, followed by Jack. Joshua was smiling his politician's smile while Jack, it seemed, was trying to avoid the eyes of the hostages.
Before the door closed, Derek caught a glance of Jeffrey crying, face down, on his bunk.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger. Derek held to that thought and hoped Jeffrey would be made stronger. Derek himself prayed for strength--strength to kill the brutal, sadistic child-beater. First though, he had to rescue his son and escape.