Child of the Tribe Simon
May 1st 1997 Cascade Washington
Jim woke slowly, trying to determine what had startled him. He listened to the sounds that were familiar, the outside sounds, the wind, and the beating heart of the young man who slept underneath the stairs. All seemed normal, so he rolled over and tried to fall back asleep. Just as he was finally drifting off, he heard it again, a small whine coming from downstairs. Jim quietly got out of bed and grabbed his gun from the nightstand. He hurriedly pulled on a pair of sweats, continuing to listen but he did not hear any more unusual sounds. He started slowly down the stairs using his heightened vision to see into the corners of the loft. He then heard the small whimper again, coming from Blairs room. As he headed for the room, he stopped in surprise. Lying in front of Blairs door was a small gray wolf cub, curled into a ball. Jim stopped and stared for a minute, unsure of what was happening. While he had seen spirit guides in the apartment before, both his and Blairs, he had never seen a young one before. He slowly approached the cub, and reached out to touch him but the cub started shaking and cowering.
"Shhh, little guy, it's okay, You're safe."
The cub continued to shake but then dragged himself on his stomach over to where Jim was and weakly licked his hand.
"Why are you here, little guy?" Jim asked.
"To remind you that the adult always has a child inside, a soft voice said"
Jim turned his head and saw the Chopec shaman.
"Incacha, what do you mean?" he asked.
"You are the Sentinel of the great city," Inchaca said quietly, "and it is your duty to protect the people of this city, but most importantly, it is your job to protect the guide, and not just the body, but also the soul."
"I know," Jim sighed, "but I dont know how to help him with this, he just shuts me out and says that he is okay. I know he is hurting but I dont know what to do."
"When the time is right, you will know, but remember you are not alone. Other members of your tribe have protected the child before and now they will help you to protect the guide, and help him heal. Some of them have been there for him through the journey. They will be there for him again. The path the guide has traveled has always been fraught with danger to the body, now it is his soul that is in danger."
"What do I do, Incacha?"
Incacha stretched out his arm and the sentinel saw the hand go into his body and felt it touch his heart. He gasped at the agony he felt. Incacha pulled his hand out, and opened it. In his hand was small malachite stone shaped like a wolf cub. He placed the cub in the palm of the sentinels hand and closed his fingers over the small fetish.
"You must find the child, inside the guide in order to heal his spirit and his soul," Incacha said quietly. "Be strong, Sentinel of the great city, your guide needs you now more than ever."
With those words Incacha and the wolf cub disappeared. Jim sighed and rubbed the tears that were beginning to form in his eyes and stood up. He walked over to Blairs room and silently opened the door. As he looked at the young man, he could see the tracks of previously shed tears left on Blair's face.
Ah, Chief, he thought to himself, I wish I could make all of the pain go away. I wish I could somehow change your past, and undo the damage that was done. He remembered that day, six months ago when he had come home to find his partner struggling to deal with what his mother had done to him for his whole life. Jim again struggled to hold back his tears as he remembered the pictures and videotape that had immortalized forever the damage that abuse could do to a child. He would never forget the pictures that showed the death of innocence in a young childs eyes.
Jim slowly and quietly shut the door and went back up the stairs to his room. As he lay in his bed, his mind went back to that horrible day when Naomi Sandburg once again tried to destroy her son. Jim shuddered as he remembered how close she had come. Jim was unable to stop his mind from going over the sights and sounds of that day in his mind.
Jim opened the scrapbook; the first page was full of pictures of a beautiful little toddler with wild curls and the trademark dark blue eyes, which even then sparkled with intelligence and humor. As he turned the pages, he felt his heart growing heavier and colder as he saw the hell the child had gone through.
The pictures were a child pornographer's dream. That little boy, with the dancing eyes was gone, and left in its place, were empty dead eyes. Jim wiped the tears out of his eyes furiously and wished that he could make this all go away. The pain that he felt at times seemed overwhelming, and he could only imagine what it was like for Blair. Blair had managed to put on a mask and act like nothing had happened and it did not matter, but Jim knew how much it had hurt him. Jim shuddered to think about how close he had come to losing Blair that day. Blair had even gone so far as to call Simon to come and be with Jim, so that he would not have to be alone. Jim had never thought he could hurt as much as he did that day both when he saw the pictures, and also when he and Simon had found Blair sitting beside Amandas grave, talking to her.
"I dont know, Amanda, I didnt understand at first why you killed yourself, when you were finally placed someplace safe. I guess youre smarter than I am. It never really does get any safer and it never goes away. I just wish that I could solve this without hurting the people I care about. You know, Amanda, I forgot how bad it hurts when the person who is supposed to love you more than anyone does, really doesnt. I guess you know all about that, huh. Maybe you were the brave one in all of this. You chose to end the pain, before it could touch the people around you. I dont understand how I managed to forget what my mother did, and now I am going to hurt the people I care about no matter what I do. Damn kid, when did life get to be so hard? Maybe it always was? I dont know what to do; any of the options I have will hurt Jim. You probably dont remember Jim; he was there that night when we found you and the other kids.
He is this incredible man, my whole life I had dreamed of finding my sentinel, and I actually did find him. Man, it was a hell of a ride. You know, Amanda, with Jim, I had finally found a home, maybe that is why I forgot all of the things that had happened to me. We had some bad times, a couple of them were really bad, but we always worked through them. We were quite a team; both of us operating out of fear, except I couldnt even see the fear in me. I guess you could say we were family by choice. I really dont want to do this, Amanda, but I dont know that I have a choice. I dont know what to do, Amanda, I had stopped thinking of killing myself years ago, but now I cant see any way out of this. I cant let Jim be hurt this way, but I cant live being alone again, I just cant do it."
Jim lay back on his bed and tried to figure out what Incacha had meant. How was he supposed to heal the child inside of Blair? This felt like it was something more than he would be able to deal with. Jim knew that Blair needed professional help but he did not know how to convince Blair of that. Maybe Simon will have some ideas, he thought to himself as he drifted off to sleep.
Later that night Jim once again entered the spirit world and himself in a large room, watching a large movie screen. He looked around, confused and unsure of where he was. He heard Incachas voice in his head. //Watch the screen, Sentinel, this is the beginning of your guides journey on his way to becoming the Shaman of the big city. As you will see, other members of your tribe have helped him. //
June 1973 San Francisco Ca.
The curly-haired little boy curled up into a ball in the back of his closet, trying to be as quiet as possible. He could hear him walking through the house, screaming for him. "Where are you, little bastard? The child started rocking back and forth, so scared that he was unable to take a deep breath. // Please go away, please go away/ The closet door through was thrown open and the child felt himself being pulled out by his hair. "What did I tell you about stealing food, kid?"
"Im sowwy," the boy sobbed. "I was hungry, I wont do it no more."
"You're damn right you wont do it anymore, I told you what would happen if you did it again, didnt I?"
"Whats going on?" a sleepy voice asked from the doorway?
"Mommy, dont let him hurt me, please?"
"What did you do, boy?" she asked.
"He got into the kitchen and took food again," the man snarled
"Why?" she asked, looking at the boy.
"I was hungry, Mama," the child cried.
"I am sure you were but you were told that you would not be eating today because you were bad, werent you?"
The curly haired boy just stared at the floor.
"Well, since you defied Greg, you are just going to have to face the consequences of your actions," she said shortly and turned and left the room.
"Mommy, no, dont leave me, Im sworry!"
"Not nearly as sorry as you are going to be," Greg growled as he removed his belt.
Blair tried to run but Greg caught him before he reached the door, and threw him back into the room.
"I could say this is going to hurt you more than it is me, but that would be a lie, because this is not going to hurt me at all, you on the other hand "
Naomi lay on the bed and listened to the sound of the belt hitting flesh and the screams of her son. She waited with anticipation for Greg to finish. Sex with Greg was always better when he had taken out his frustrations on Blair. "At least the brat is worth something," she said quietly as she heard Greg yelling at Blair that he was not to take one step out of his room until he came and got him.
Naomi lit the joint and handed it to Greg as he came into the room, he took a deep drag and held his breath as long as he could. He then looked over the beauty lying in bed next to him.
"We're getting low on bread," he said, "when is that guy coming?"
"Which one?" she replied.
"The one from Denver that is going to take the brat."
"Probably next Tuesday."
"How much is he paying us?"
"Ten thousand dollars for each week that he keeps him."
A week later
Hello, Mr. Neil," Naomi said with a bright smile. "I hope that your trip was pleasant."
"It was fine," the man said shortly, "Where is the merchandise?"
"Blair, come here," Naomi called.
The tiny child with the curly hair walked into the room, staring at the floor.
"Yes Nomi," he said quietly.
"Blair, this is my friend, Mr. Neil, you are going to go and stay with him on his ranch for a few days. Now I want you to be a good boy and do as you're told."
Blair looked up at the man and his eyes filled with tears as he saw the cruel look on his face.
"I dont want to go with him, Nomi," he whispered.
"What you want is not important," Greg said as he walked into the room.
"Here is his stuff, Mr. Neil," Greg said as he handed the bag to the gentleman.
"All right, Blair, let's get on the road," Mr. Neil said.
"Mommy, please " Blair begged.
Naomi glanced nervously at Greg, then kneeled down and looked at the little boy. "Blair, I need you to do this, okay? It's very important. You want to make me happy, dont you?" she asked, looking at the child. "Mr. Neil is going to give us a lot of money if you are a good boy. If he tells me you have been good when you get back, I will take you to the bookstore and buy you any book that you want."
"Will you buy me the one about the Panthers?" Blair asked quietly
"You bet I will kiddo," Naomi said, forcing a smile to her face.
"Will he hurt me?" Blair asked softly?
"Not nearly as much as I will if he tells me you have not been a good little boy," Greg said. "I will whip you until you bleed if he gives me a bad report. Do I make myself clear young man?"
"Lets go, boy, we have a plane to catch," Mr. Neil said and he grabbed Blairs hand and pulled him outside.
Denver Colorado: Two weeks later
"Good morning, Dr. Sanchez," The young officer smiled sadly as the psychologist for the Denver P.D. ducked under the yellow crime scene tape
"Hi, Buck, what have we got," Sanchez questioned, concerned at the pallor of the usually unflappable officer.
"It is pretty bad, sir, there are about twelve children inside, and we are waiting for the ambulances to transport them to Denver Memorial. They are delayed by the pile- up on the freeway. We have also called the coroner, as there are three children in the back bedroom that are dead. I just needed to get some air."
Josiah Sanchez took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "How old are the children?" he asked quietly."
Wilmington opened his notebook, "The oldest is a nine-year-old girl, and the youngest is a six-year-old boy. We dont have an I.D. on all of them yet, and the IDs we have may not be accurate. Some of these kids have apparently been here for almost a year. Banks from Missing persons is here and he asked that we notify you. He thought that it might be helpful to have you here from the start, as some of these kids are traumatized to the point of being unable to talk," he replied woodenly.
It may not be just children who will end up traumatized by this, put thoughts in italics Sanchez thought to himself as he made his way across the yard to the old ranch house.
Entering the house he was overwhelmed by the smells and the chaos that reigned in the house. He looked for the officer in charge and as of yet, there did not seem to be one. There were a lot of patrol officers who looked just as shocked as the children in the room were. He looked around for the junior Detective from Missing Persons, spotting him in the kitchen on the phone asking for Detectives from Homicide to respond. Josiah was impressed by the calmness in the mans voice. This scene was more than most 25-year-old detectives could handle. Well, until Homicide and ambulances arrived, maybe he could help establish some sense of order.
Banks hung up the phone and sighed, looking around, feeling lost. He gave a sigh of relief when he saw the psychologist across the room talking to several officers. He walked over to where they were standing.
"Hey, Dr. Sanchez," he said softly.
"Hi, Banks, how are you holding up?" Sanchez said quietly.
"Not real good," he said softly." I have asked for back up from Homicide and for the senior detective from Juvenile but with this snow, who knows how long it will be before they get here."
"Where is your partner?" Sanchez asked.
"He is on vacation." Simon said quietly.
"Is this the first time you have been the lead detective?
"Yeah, and I am definitely in over my head." Simon sighed, wishing he had never made the decision to leave Washington to take the job with the Denver P.D.
Sanchez nodded and smiled at the young man. "Breathe, Simon," he said, "you are doing just fine. What I suggest you do is assign an officer to one or two children and to try and calm them down. Make sure that the room with the dead children is closed and dont let forensics say anything about them until the rest of the children are gone."
"Why dont I work on that in the living room, and we can leave the kitchen free for phone calls and other business. The important thing is to make sure that all of the officers are calm." He smiled at Banks and gripped his shoulder encouragingly as he walked off to the living room.
"Detective Banks, we have found another child in one of back rooms but we cant get to him. He has hidden in a small storage cupboard and we cant reach him."
Banks sighed, "Okay, let's see if I can do anything". Banks walked to the back room and noticed the officers standing around the small cupboard near the fireplace. Simon quietly asked three of the five officers to go help in the living room. He then slowly walked over to the open cupboard and sat down on the floor. He shone his flashlight though the doorway and noticed that it was not a cupboard but some type of small tunnel. He asked one of the officers to try and find the end of the tunnel, then turned his attention back to the child within.
"Hey, buddy, my name is Simon. What's yours?" Simon was not surprised when he did not get an answer. He could hear the small whimpers and rapid breathing from the small child.
"You know if I was in your position, I probably would not trust anybody either right about now. I bet that it is cold in there though, so I am going to push a blanket down to you, okay?"
An officer gave him a blanket and a bottle of water, "He might be dehydrated," she said quietly.
"Good thinking," Banks replied.
Turning towards the child, he said quietly, "I have a bottle of water for you as well. Can you see it?" Simon heard a small motion and was hoping it was an affirmative. "Can you see the lid is still sealed on it?" he asked. He smiled to himself when he heard a small voice whisper yes. "Well, a sealed bottle means that nobody has opened it and that it is safe to drink. Now I am betting you might have trouble opening it."
"Im a big boy; not a baby," came the whisper that was just a little bit stronger.
"Of course you are," Simon replied, "but I bet that you are really cold. Now I dont know about you but when I am cold, sometimes my fingers dont work so good, so I am going to twist the lid off and then put it back on. That way you can open it and know that it is safe, okay?"
"Okay," came the small whisper.
Simon pushed the water and the blanket as far down the tunnel as he could. His eyes had become somewhat accustomed to the light and he saw the small child down the tunnel. The child was tiny and could not have been more than three or four years old.
He waited quietly and could see the child start for the blanket and the water several times, only to stop.
"Its okay, son," he said softly. "I promise I wont let anyone grab you, okay? Nobody will try to do anything you dont want them to do."
"Back up," the boy ordered softly.
"Okay, I can do that," Simon agreed, and backed up a couple of feet.
He watched as the boy came closer and grabbed the blanket and water and scooted back down the tunnel. Simon noticed that he had only gone a few feet this time, and not nearly as far as he had before.
"Thank you," a soft whisper was heard from the tunnel
"You are quite welcome, son. Can you tell me your name?"
"They called me, Curly," he said.
"Curly, huh? Is that because your toes are curly? Or maybe your legs grew curly, huh?"
"No, silly," came a small giggle. "It's its my hair."
"Oh," said Simon, "how silly of me."
"So Curly, can you tell me something about yourself."
"You first," came the whispered reply
"Me first, huh, Okay," he said, "Well, my name is Simon Banks and I live here in Denver. I have been a policeman for six years."
"My name is Curly and I am from everywhere."
"Everywhere, that is a lot of places to be from."
"Nomi and I went to all kinds of places."
"Nomi, is that your friend?"
"No, she is my mommy but she does not want to be called that."
"Oh, why is that?"
"Because men dont want mommies," he replied sadly.
Simon decided to let that one go.
"Do you know where Nomi is" he asked?"
"You're next, not me," came the indignant whisper.
"Oops, you are right. Let's see, what do you want to know?"
"Do you have any little boys?"
"Not yet but I have a little brother who is seven. Are you seven, Curly?"
"No, I am this many," Curly said and held up four fingers.
"Was that three fingers?" Simon asked. "I couldnt see that far?"
The little boy moved closer to the door. "No, I is this many," and held up 4 fingers again.
"Oh, you are 20,"said Simon
"No, silly, I am this many," and he came closer and held out four fingers.
"Oh, you are four," he said.
Curly noticed how close he was to the open door and Simon could see the indecision on his face- should he move back into the darkness or stay close to the light.
"It is okay Curly," Simon soothed, "nobody will grab you I promise. The only people in the room are officer Collins, and Dr, Sanchez," he said as he noticed the psychologist had come into the room.
Sanchez gave him an encouraging smile and mouthed the words;" You're youre doing fine."
"Doctor?" Curly squeaked in alarm and started to scoot back, "I no want shots."
"Its okay, Curly, I promise," Simon said. He doesn't give shots."
"Where is he?"
Sanchez slowly approached the tunnel and sat on the floor behind Banks.
"You'se big," the small child whispered
"Yeah, I guess I am. I know that I would not have been able to hide in there. That was a very smart thing to do," Sanchez reassured him softly.
"Not smart, stupid," the child said sadly.
"Stupid?" Banks said quietly. "I dont think you would fit my definition of stupid. I think that you have had to be really smart to manage find such a good hiding place as this one."
"Not good enough," the boy whispered, "you found me."
"Well, I am a lot older than you are and I have been specially trained to find people," Simon said softly.
"Really? You have learned how to find people?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah, I have."
"Why did it take so long?" he asked quietly
"What"? Simon asked.
"Why did it take you so long to find me?"
"Well, son, we didnt know that you were here, we came as soon as we did know."
"If I come out, what happens?"
"Well, we will first make sure you are feeling all right, and then we will find someplace safe for you to stay until we can find you Mother."
"I dont feel so good," Curly whispered
"You dont, huh? Well, do you think you can come out, and let us help you?"
"Promise not to poke things into me."
Simon fought the urge to bolt from the room and swallowed hard, attempting to quell the nausea rising in his stomach.
"Are you okay?" Dr. Sanchez whispered to him softly
Simon shook his head sadly
"I promise that nobody will let that happen," he reassured the boy. "Once you come out, a really nice lady from Social Services is here and will go with you to the hospital, and then will find someplace nice and safe for you until your Mom comes."
"Will you come see me in the hospital?" he asked sadly.
"Yes," Simon said softly." I will come see you tomorrow."
Curly finally edged closer to the opening, and reached out his arms toward Simon.
Simon took the little boy into his arms, "Hi," he said quietly. "It's its nice to see you."
The boy looked up at him with bright blue eyes that looked much older than his years.
"Hi," he said softly. "I am Blair."
Simon carried him out of the house to the waiting ambulance.
"I will come and see you tomorrow," Simon promised as he laid him on the gurney.
The child just looked at him with those big eyes and did not say a word.
The next day
Simon walked up to the pediatric unit and asked the nurse on duty if he could see the young child that had been brought in. He was saddened to hear that the boy had already been released to his Mother.
As he walked back to his car, he silently said a prayer for the child with the big eyes, and felt with certainty that he would see this child again.