The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer    The Nineteenth Year
by Jevic
The Tarheel Writer
Chapter Eighteen
"One Bounce Thud"

Back to Chapter Seventeen
"Mustering the Troops"
On to The Epilogue
"Wrapping Things Up"
Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page

The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer

Action Adventure
Violence
Sexual Situations
Rated Teen 13+

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Jevic hung the phone up gently. He took a deep breath and then screamed out in frustration. While he had agreed to take over Daniel's job while Daniel was out chasing down Mister Evil himself, that didn't mean he had to have an endless supply of patience. The technical assistance call he had just fielded stretched his professional demeanor to the very limit.

"People should have to pass a test before they're allowed to buy a computer!" he yelled out to the empty room. "Fifteen minutes!" he screamed in frustration. "I just wasted fifteen minutes with an idiot that didn't even have his computer plugged in! What an idiot!" Jevic suddenly swirled around and knocked all the paperwork off the desk. "No, I'm the idiot! I just assumed that the freakin' idiot had his computer plugged in. I'm the ass in you and me that assumed!" As even more colorful explicatives passed over his lips at a decibel level equal to that of a thundering herd of elephants, the monitoring program on the far right screen started to show spikes of Internet activity. Just as the telephone sailed through the air and slammed into the wall, the audible alarms went off. Jevic whirled around and glared at the monitor like a Mongoose glaring at a snake. The graphics and text on the screen immediately grabbed his attention. Jevic quickly silenced the audible alarms, slid into his seat and glued his eyes to the screen, all thoughts of mindless technical assistance calls vanishing from his thoughts. The scrolling numbers were almost a blur, but the site address stood out like a beacon in the night. A few quick keystrokes later and Jevic had the server located and identified. The security encryption was pretty standard, but did have a few extras thrown in. Years of experience paid off as he hurriedly disabled the security and accessed the server. He checked and confirmed that the streaming video was indeed live. Then, two mouse clicks later, the streaming video appeared on the monitor. The images almost took Jevic's breath away … and at the same time lit the fuse on an apoplectic rage. The fury consumed every fiber of his being. Never before had he seen such horrific images. Never before had he been subject to witnessing the brutal torture … of a friend.

The rage slowly concentrated and a new directive took over. Jevic identified the servers receiving the streaming video and saved them to his hard drive. After a few more key strokes the streaming video came to an abrupt end and was replaced by text. Jevic couldn't help but smile as he saw his typed words crossing over the server.

"Authorities have been notified. You are about to be arrested. You are a sick fuck!"

The telephone was deftly snatched from the floor. Jevic held his breath as he dialed and waited.

"Come on, Teri. Answer the phone!"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Sergeant Brown fought to stifle his yawn, but it was to no avail. Despite the reasons for staying awake and alert, he found himself nodding his head. The next yawn actually brought tears to his eyes. He hastily wiped them away. Was someone playing with the thermostat? It certainly did seem warn in the room, stifling even. The sounds of keyboards, computer fans, muffled conversations in the background and the constant droning sounds of the clicks and beeps of the cell phone web program gently serenaded him to a restless sleep.

His mind wandered across all the information about Daniel, or Danny as he was known by way back then. The case had been open and shut. The bad guys had been caught and the kids had been returned home. Open, shut, case closed, but there was something that kept niggling at the back of his mind. Surely it was some small insignificant detail that meant nothing, but at the same time, it festered just under cognizant thought. It needled him enough to be aware of it and to constantly think of it every time he dozed off to sleep. Perhaps his dreams held the answer, but they always faded from his memory as soon as he woke up. Sergeant Brown desperately needed the case file. There was something there that held a clue. There was something there that might pull all the evidence and all the clues together.

The sounds of "Rule Britannia" cut through the background clutter and Sergeant Brown found himself squinting one eye open and looking for the offending source. For a brief moment, he even thought he heard bagpipes. As his eye landed on Teri and watched as she answered her cell phone, something stirred his interest. He sat up straight, suddenly very awake, and looked at Teri who was carrying on a concerned conversation on her phone. The look on her face told him this was no social call. Teri suddenly snatched up a pen and a scrap piece of paper and started scribbling furiously.

Agent Brodenheimer tapped Sergeant Brown on the shoulder. Barely able to tear his eyes away from Teri, Howard looked at Arnie. They both saw the same inquisitive look on each other's faces. Teri snapped the phone closed and looked up.

"I know where Daniel is," she said confidently. "Here's the address." She handed the scrap piece of paper over to Sergeant Brown, who in turn, looked at it with Agent Brodenheimer. "But we've got to hurry. Stan has Daniel and he's torturing him."

"What?" stammered Sergeant Brown.

"Our friend Jevic detected a spike in Internet activity from a server and traced the source back to that address here in Prague." Agent Brodenheimer grabbed the scrap of paper and turned to a computer terminal. He entered the site address and hit enter. The screen that came up caused him to look back at Teri.

"Authorities have been notified. You are about to be arrested. You are a sick fuck!" he read off the screen. "What does this mean?"

"Jevic cut off the feed and sent that message to everyone accessing the site," she explained with a heavy hit of frustration in her voice. "We have the address. Let's go get Daniel. Stan is torturing him right now!"

"It's not quite that simple," Arnie Brodenheimer stated slowly. "We're in a foreign county and we have to abide by their laws. Before we can go charging in, we must have a court order and to get that, we must show proper cause and evidence." Arnie lifted the paper up and continued. "This just isn't enough. The court will look at it as speculation and they don't issue warrants on evidence this flimsy."

"Bullshit!" Teri exclaimed as she stood up, her face turning redder by the minute. "I will not sit here and listen to this crap while that sick bastard is torturing Daniel. Did John Wayne wait on the proper evidence? Did Inspector Callahan wait for a court order? Did Harrison Ford wait for the CIA before he said 'get off my plane'?" Howard looked at Arnie. "Honestly, you two could pass as Don Knotts and Tim Conway!"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The pain in Cody's chest was slowly returning with a vengeance. He staggered down the sidewalk. Everywhere he looked, he got strange looks. The thoughts of the people peering at him with disgust filtered through his brain. He knew they thought of him as a predator. If they would only understand that he was on their side. Cody wished he had time to tell them all what he was doing there, but that would be a waste of time. They had already made up their minds and he would need a very persuasive interpreter. The only thing that Cody had on his mind was a silver Audi. That was his link to Stan and Stan was his link to Daniel.

Cody stumbled on a rise in the sidewalk and grabbed onto the stone wall the flanked it. With each breath, a new flash of pain surged through his chest. Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead as he struggled to rein it in. He stumbled down the sidewalk toward what he hoped was a main thoroughfare.

"You like my boy. He make you feel real good." Cody looked up into the frightened eyes of a young boy that could be no more than eleven. "You pay me now, then you have fun." A burst of energy swept through Cody's weakened body. It strengthened and empowered him.

"No," Cody said weakly, but the man persisted. "NO!" The man stepped back quickly in surprise. Cody looked him straight in the eye. "Don't you understand!?! This is wrong!" Cody grabbed the man's shoulders and violently shook him. "You can't whore out your son!" Without warning, the boy kicked Cody in the shin and pushed him back. Cody stumbled and fell back against the brick wall. The stream of words coming from the boy's lips were foreign, but the emotion they held conveyed the message. Cody shook his head sadly. He turned away and slowly continued his way down the sidewalk all the while wondering how anyone could sell their own son for sex.

"Hey!" Cody turned to see a young boy sitting on the stone wall just a few feet ahead of him. Cody couldn't believe it. Here it was happening again, but this time the boy was on his own.

"Not interested," Cody shrugged as he kept walking. The boy hopped down from the wall undeterred.

"Hey, Remik really with his matka?" Cody turned and eyed the boy for a moment, then nodded. "I hear you talk with Petr. Do you know about Sebastian?"

"No, I haven't heard anything," Cody replied as he leaned against the stone wall for support.

"What wrong with you?" the boy asked as he saw the bandages just inside of Cody's shirt.

"The bad man hurt me. And, he hurt a friend of mine. He's going to hurt other people and I want to find him so I can stop him."

"That easy. He be at his podnik, ah, his work place. Come, I show you." Cody stumbled down the sidewalk trying to keep up with the boy.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"Can you tell me which room Cody Campbell is in?" Timmy asked the lady at the front desk of the Na Homolce Hospital. She looked up at him with a confused smile. She looked over the group of teenagers in front of her for a moment then held one finger up indicating for them to wait a minute. She turned and picked up the phone. Timmy turned to his friends and shrugged.

"Maybe she's calling the cops," offered Dillon.

"No, I don't think so," smiled Casey. "She's probably calling a translator. I hear there's been a big demand for English teachers here in Prague. She's just getting someone that can understand us." The woman hung up the phone, turned and smiled. Once again, she held up one finger indicating for them to wait.

"Hurry up and wait," grumbled Timmy. "It's the story of my life." Casey put his arm around Timmy and hugged him.

"It'll be fine, ya mucker. We'll find Teri chattin' away with Cody and totally fergettin' the time o'day. She's just like an ol' bird, fergettin' 'bout her friends and chattin' 'bout whatever ol' birds chat 'bout." Timmy couldn't help but smile at Casey's easy Irish brogue. Dillon smiled as he watched his boyfriend comfort Timmy. Boyfriend? Was this brash Irish boy really his boyfriend? Dillon thought back about everything. From setting sail on a cargo ship with thoughts of losing himself in some foreign land, to instead of losing himself, actually finding himself. He smiled at the thought of holding Casey in his arms for the first time. Then he frowned at the memories of waking up the next morning to a horrid phone call. Since that morning, Casey had been by his side offering comfort, guidance, encouragement and love. Dillon laughed despite himself and actually blushed at the memories of how his love had been physically expressed.

"What's so funny luv?" Casey asked.

"Just remembering why I love you, that's all," Dillon said softly.

"Ah, you love me for my ample male appendage, huh?"

"What?" Dillon gasped with bug eyes. Casey cracked up laughing.

"I love you too, Dillon Rankin and my sore arse reminds me that you love me too."

"TMI, TMI," exclaimed Timmy as he gently pushed Casey away. A young nurse rounded the corner and watched as the boys playfully jostled each other. She smiled.

"Hello, gentlemen. My name is Karolina. Anna," nodding toward the receptionist, "told me we had some English speaking visitors. How can I help you?"

"We're here to see Cody, Cody Campbell," explained Timmy.

"Ah, just a moment. I'll look him up on the computer." Karolina rounded the desk and tapped at the keyboard. A few seconds later, she looked up with a worried expression.

"What's wrong?" asked Dillon.

"It seems that Cody Campbell is missing."

"Missing, that can't be right!" exclaimed Timmy. "And what about Teri? Have you seen Teri?"

"I'm sorry, but who is Teri?" as Karolina.

"She's a beautiful dark haired girl about my age. She was supposed to be here visiting Cody." Karolina frowned.

"I work on the Intensive Care floor and I haven't seen an American girl with dark hair. Cody apparently pulled his IV's out and walked out of the hospital about two hours ago. We have no idea where he is."

"What kind of shape was he in?" asked Casey.

"Not very good. I doubt he could have walked two blocks. We searched the hospital, but came up with nothing. We can only assume he caught a cab." Timmy slumped his shoulders at the news. A single tear rolled down his cheek.

"Tell me, Karolina," started Casey. "If he were to catch a cab, which cab would he have been most likely to catch?"

"Oh, that's easy. There's always a Red Nose cab in the area. Let me check." Karolina picked up the phone and dialed. She had a quick conversation and hung up. "Seems Cody Campbell did, in fact, catch a Red Nose cab. The dispatcher tell me he was dropped off in a rather, uh, bad part of town."

"Where?" asked Timmy quickly.

"He was dropped off in the part of town that's known for, ah, male prostitutes," Karolina said shyly.

"He's trying to find Remik," Dillon stated.

"You're right, mate. And that's what we have to do as well," Timmy stated with resolve. He immediately turned and headed for the door. Dillon followed him and Casey brought up the rear.

"Thanks, luv. You've been a great help," Casey called out as he passed though the front door. Timmy had already hailed a Red Nose cab and moments later they were on the way to find Cody.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"Well, it seems someone has interrupted our video stream," Stan said slowly shaking his head from side to side. "That's not a good thing. First of all, it means I'm losing money. Second of all, it means that people are probably on the way here right now. Third, it means that I'm gonna have to kill you a lot quicker than I wanted to." Daniel's heartbeat picked up. "But, there's always the DVD release of your, ah, demise. That should bring a pretty penny on the market. So, not everything is lost Daniel, my dear. We still have time to give the audience what they came for." Stan tossed the whip to the side. "We'll just have to step up the agenda a bit." Daniel's stamina was almost gone. Pain wracked his body. His strength was almost gone. As Stan moved him to a horizontal metal bar hanging from the ceiling, Daniel hardly noticed. His hands were quickly cuffed to the bar that left his exhausted body hanging by his wrists. Even though the weight of his body pulled on the metal handcuffs causing them to dig into the already sensitive skin, Daniel could only whimper.

"This is it," he thought to himself. "This is how I'm going to die." At that moment, Daniel gave up. The feeling of being entered hardly registered in his fogged over mind. The feeling of the hands around his throat caused no concern. This was the end and he wanted it quickly. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he thought of Teri and even more when he thought of Cody. Daniel had tried so hard. He'd overcome most of what Stan had done to him. He'd made a nice life for himself. And despite all that effort, all that work, all that determination, Stan had come back and ruined it all.

Daniel struggled for air as he thought of all the people he was letting down. First and foremost, there was Cody. Cody had brought something new into Daniel's life. He'd brought love. It was a feeling that was foreign to Daniel, but was quickly becoming not just familiar, but comforting and reassuring. Teri. She was his rock; always there, always his best friend. He was letting them down.

"I'm sorry," he sobbed.

"God damn right you're sorry, you worthless piece of shit. You've caused enough trouble for me and now it's time for you to die. Ya know, it's fitting that it's me that's gonna choke the life out of you. You've caused me enough trouble. It should have been you instead of Timmy. You've got more fight." Stan clamped his hands down on Daniel's throat and luxuriated in the struggles Daniel's body gave without life giving air.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"Diplomatic immunity. That's how we're gonna do it," said Arnie Brodenheimer. "And just to make sure, we have the Assistant Deputy Ambassador along with us." Teri nodded as she and Sergeant Brown followed Arnie and the Assistant Deputy Ambassador down the corridor toward the garage. Sergeant Brown, despite being overweight, moved faster than Teri would have thought possible. She glanced at him as he pulled his pistol out and racked in a round. Careful to set the safety on, he stuffed it back beneath his coat.

As they blasted out the door into the embassy garage, a large black Suburban screeched to a halt right in front of them, it's blue lights already on.

An agent dressed in the familiar black suit and sunglasses jumped out of the front door and quickly opened the back door. They all piled in with Brodenheimer riding shotgun, with Sergeant Brown, Teri and the Assistant Deputy Ambassador in the back seat. Brodenheimer handed the address to the driver and the vehicle sped out of the underground garage and onto the streets of Prague.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Timmy waved some money at the driver and pointed at his watch. The driver smiled and sped up. Timmy sat back in the seat and looked out the window. His thoughts filled with worry about Teri. Of course he was worried about Daniel, but his heart belonged to Teri. He would not stop until he found his dark haired girlfriend.

Dillon and Casey's minds were filled with dread. For Cody to pull out his IV's and just run away from the hospital could mean a thousand different things. Had Teri helped him? Is that where she was? Or did Cody get news about Daniel? Had Remick called with news? There were too many possibilities and they were all bad.

The scenery out Timmy's window was rapidly changing from beautiful urban sprawl to horrid urban slums. Just as the cab came to a stop at a light, Timmy thought he saw a familiar person hobbling down the sidewalk following a young boy. He immediately rolled the window down and shouted.

"Cody!" Timmy beamed as the person stopped and looked his way.

"Timmy?"

"Stop here!" Timmy yelled at the driver. "Stop here!" The driver eased to the sidewalk. "Cody!" he yelled again and he got out of the cab. The two boys embraced as Dillon and Casey got out of the cab too.

"Where's Teri?" Timmy quickly asked.

"I've no idea, but this boy is gonna show me where Stan is," Cody said as he pointed toward the waif boy. Cody's cell phone rang out and he answered it quickly.

"Teri?" Timmy answered with almost breathless anticipation.

"Yeah, it's me, Timmy. I'm with Sergeant Brown and we're on the way to get Daniel. Stan has him and he's torturing him!" she explained.

"What?!?" screamed Timmy. Everyone looked at Timmy, wondering what was going on.

"Jevic found an Internet site that was showing Stan torturing Daniel. We got the address and we're just about there. Where are you?"

"I don't know, but I think we're close to Stan. Hang on."

"Is that Teri? Asked Dillon.

"Yeah, it is. Cody, how far to Stan's?" Cody turned to the boy.

"Just over there," the boy said as he pointed to a run down warehouse.

"We're here at Stan's! It's a warehouse just across the street."

"We're just about there!"

"Okay, but hurry." Timmy closed his cell phone.

"Stan's there," Cody growled as he looked at the silver Audi parked beside the warehouse.

"Cody," Timmy said softly. He was absolutely petrified of Cody's response to what he was about to tell him. The flashback of almost telling Daniel that Cody died in the ambulance came back with a vengeance. That same feeling a dread crept up and sat heavily on Timmy's shoulders.

"Stan has Daniel." Cody whipped his head around and looked into Timmy eyes. "Teri is coming with Sergeant Brown. They'll be here in a minute. She told me, she told me …" Cody grabbed Timmy by the shoulders.

"What did she tell you?" Cody demanded. Timmy took a deep breath.

"Stan's torturing Daniel." Timmy swore he saw red in Cody's eyes just before being shoved to the side. Cody started across the street going as fast as his injuries would let him.

Normally, Casey O'Brien was an easygoing, jovial kind of person, unless his Irish temper came into play. When the word "torture" came out of Timmy's mouth, the short Irish fuse was lit and burned completely. Casey's entire body stiffened up. Without a word, he followed Cody toward the warehouse. Dillon glanced at Timmy then started after his boyfriend.

"He's got a gun!" Timmy yelled. "Wait for Sergeant Brown!" His words fell on deaf ears. He knew they would, but he had to try. As he started to follow, a black Suburban came screaming down the street, lights and siren blaring. It screeched to a halt right beside the silver Audi.

"I hope we get to him in time," was the only thought running through Teri's mind. Sergeant Brown had his pistol out, as did the other men.

Cody totally ignored the arrival of the Suburban. Eyeing an abandoned two by four on the sidewalk, he cleanly picked it up and headed for the door. It was Sergeant Brown's heavy hand that slowed him down.

"Easy, son. I have my key with me," he said as he looked at the determined face of Cody Campbell. The sergeant didn't hesitate as he lifted his foot and kicked the door in. The entire entourage entered the warehouse knowing that somewhere within its bowels Daniel was being tortured.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Jevic knew that this was it. The culmination of weeks of pain was upon them. He remembered Daniel's bright smile and determined attitude. The kid, well, he wasn't really a kid anymore. In fact, Daniel had experienced more of the dark side of life than many people would in a lifetime. It didn't seem fair.

"Nothing in life is fair," mused Jevic. He glanced down at his cell phone. Any minute it would ring and Teri would tell him. The news would be either really good or really bad. The thought that one man could bring such evil on another human being sickened him. Some of that evil had been delivered directly at him. Jevic snickered remembering his house burning to the ground and then the rush to escape the water.

"Well, Daniel. You certainly do make life interesting. Expensive, but interesting." Jevic sat down at his computer and began compiling the locations of the people that had been watching. The authorities would want that. He performed the work as more of a distraction than anything else. His cell phone sat on the desk and stared back at him. At that moment, he knew what it felt like to be accused of murder and watching the jury being led back into the courtroom.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Thoughts of Timmy, the blood stained underwear, the walk in the forest and his guardian angel Carl, the humiliation of the flag pole, the many meals of rice, the stroke of luck with Blue Connect, his best friend Teri, the feelings that coursed though his body when he met Cody, the fear for anyone else getting hurt, the frustration of not being able to stop it all, Javan's severed head, the rouge NSA agents, the car chases, the night at Agréant, Dillon on the freighter, Timmy at the hotel, the black boxes, Casey in the pub, Cody getting shot … Cody … Daniel felt the blackness start to close down on him as he thought of Cody … Cody, the one person who had broken through, the one person who had touched his heart in a way no one else had. Now, it was all coming to an end. The joys of life were being snuffed out by the one man that symbolized evil itself.

"So this is how it ends," he thought it himself.

"That's right Danny, my boy. Now it's time to join Timmy."

Something inside Daniel snapped.

"Timmy," he thought. Spiky jet black hair, olive skin, only thirteen, a born leader with dark brown eyes that sparkled. Bloody underwear in the trashcan. No more Timmy.

He thoughts pierced his very core. And in doing so, it gave him the strength to fight. Daniel's mind called upon its experience with the Ninja masters. It called upon his knowledge of form and movement. It called upon the very reason to fight for life … Cody. Second nature merged with consciousness and a reborn spirit evolved from the ashes of unconsciousness as they closed out his life.

Daniel's body violently jerked back against the evil that was assaulting him. The movement pushed the evil away. Daniel spun around on the bar and faced the man that had caused all the pain in his life. He looked into the face of the purest evil he had ever known and saw the madness in the eyes and the sneer on the face. A rage that had never before made itself known surged into Daniel's very soul. What happened next would be the cause of many a nightmare. Without even thinking, the Ninja training kicked in. Daniel's legs rose and wrapped around Stan's neck. Acting on instinct, and totally without remorse, Daniel's legs twitched to the right and in doing so, snapped Stan's neck. The evil that resided inside Stan didn't even have time to react as the life force evaporated from Stan's body. In that split second, the evil that was Stan ceased to exist. His body slumped to the floor in a one-bounce thud, just as the videotape had done that started Daniel's whole nightmare.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


On to The Epilogue
"Wrapping Things Up"

Back to Chapter Seventeen
"Mustering the Troops"

Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page


The Nineteenth Year is © 2008 by The Tarheel Writer.
    This work may not be duplicated in any form – physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise – without the author's written permission. All applicable copyright laws apply. All individuals depicted are fictional with any resemblance to real persons being purely coincidental.


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