The Seekers

By Sasquaw

The three girls are strolling through the mall, sipping colas, and doing what all girls do, window-shopping. A particular shop has caught their eye as they stop to look at the mannequins.

"Oh wow---that would take my next two months allowance----isn't it rad?"

The dark headed one shakes her head,  "Yeah----it's to die for!"

The third girl with the long auburn hair sighs, "Yeah---it would be perfect for Becky Blake's party next weekend."

They all give the window one last look and then they turn and head towards the cinema, they do not see the stranger walk up behind them. He clears his throat, "Excuse me girls---I'm lost, can I get directions?"

The dark headed one turns and glares at him, "You're in a mall you creep---now get lost or we'll call security on you!"

The strangers' eyes began to water, "You don't have to be so rude, I was just wanting to know where to go."

The girl with the short curly hair looks back at him, "I'll be glad to tell you where to go!"

"Stop it Dana, just answer his question. "Where do you want to go?"

The two girls grab the one with the long hair, "Angela, come on---we don't have time for this!"

The three walks hurriedly towards the cinema, the stranger watches them, especially the one with the long hair. He licks his lips as he watches her hair swing back and forth. He thinks to himself how nice she is, how soft and tender her features are.

The girls get to the ticket window and the dark headed one turns on her friend. "What is wrong with you, Angela? Your Mother is a lawyer and your Dad is a Texas Ranger, didn't they ever warn you about talking to strangers?"

Angela looks back at them, "Yeah---but they also said to be polite, that's more than I can say for you two!"

The one with the short curly hair laughs, "Well, you can be polite all you want to while they slit your throat----and you'll still be just as dead!"

They get their tickets and start for the entrance, some boys from their school are giving them the eye, and they giggle. The stranger watches from a safe distance.
                                 
*************************************************

Hours later a tall blond headed woman is walking towards the cinema, and trying to keep tabs on a small boy walking beside her. The boy has spotted the pet store and pulls his Mother in that
direction, his cowboy hat falling off. The woman stands by and watches him play in the petting area, then she reaches out and takes his hand.

"Come on Little Ray----we got to get to the cinema, the feature is letting out."

The boy tries to pull her back, "Puppy?"

"No, Little Ray---you can't have a puppy, you have animals by the dozen at the ranch----come on, we have to pick Sissy up and get home before the weather gets bad."

The boy keeps looking back at the pet store as they get to the cinema, just as the crowd is letting out. The woman waits patiently as she watches the three girls walk towards her.

"Hi Mrs. Walker, hi Little Ray."

Angela holds out her arms and the boy runs to her, she spins him around, causing his hat to fall off again. He giggles and hugs his sister, as one of the girls reaches down for his hat and puts it
on his head.

"Come on girls--let's go before it starts raining."

Alex turns and starts to walk away, the girls hold back. The one called Darcy hesitates, "Uh----I'm going to wait for my Mom to come and get me, Mrs. Walker----she'll be here soon."

Alex glances at her watch, "Well, okay, we'll wait with you till she gets here."

The girls exchange glances, but say nothing. Alex looks at them a little suspiciously and then she notices the school boys standing over by the coke machine, giving them the eye. Alex nods her head, "Good try, Darcy----but I think we'll just wait with you, till your Mom gets here."

Darcy looks at Angela and grits her teeth. Angela looks to her Mom, "Mom----that isn't necessary----we don't have to wait."

"Uh, excuse me---but, oh yes we do have to wait---till Darcy's Mom gets here."

The girls groan, "Never mind Angela---let's just go."

Alex looks at the girls, "Now, what was that all about---what are you up to Darcy?"

"Mom----she just wanted to spend a little time with Todd Winters."

"Who is Todd Winters----is that a boyfriend, Darcy?"

The girls giggle, "Mom----he's the class nerd."

Alex looks to her daughter and frowns, "If he's a nerd----and so undesirable, why do you want to spend time with him?"

Angela sits Little Ray down, "Mom, can we just go?"

Alex looks at the three girls as they look over their shoulder at the boys, the one called Dana says, "Come on girls---I got to get home."

As they start to walk away, Alex notices the boys following them, she looks to Angela and says quietly. "Do I detect a little trickery going on here?"

Angela sighs, taking her brothers' hand and they walk away. The stranger has watched the scenario, he takes the back of his sleeve and wipes his watery eyes, then he scratches his arms.  He watches Alex and the girls as they walk towards a white SUV, he can't keep his eyes off of the girl with the long auburn hair, her voice was so soft. He assumes the woman is her Mother, same features, but the woman's hair is blonder. The woman is very pretty, he can see where the young girl gets her beauty from. He watches as they drive away, then he turns and walks toward an old green sedan parked nearby.
                                        
**************************************************

The SUV drives through the richer part of Springtown, up the winding drive to a spacious looking home, with the manicured lawns. A Cadillac and a Porsche sit in the driveway. Darcy jumps out and runs up the driveway, without even saying goodbye, much less a 'thank you'. Alex frowns, thinking of how cold Darcy can be at times, but she shakes it off and drives to the other end of Springtown and to a trailer park. As they drive up, a woman comes out to set up a trash can that has been tipped over by the dogs, she waves at Alex and she waves back. Dana jumps out, "Thank you Mrs. Walker, bye Angela, bye Little Ray."

The drive home to the ranch is rather quiet, Angela knows that her Mom is not too happy about the stunt the girls tried to pull.

Angela is playing with her baby brother, "Is Daddy coming home tonight?"

"Yes, he is. They should be home by the time we get there and when the twins try to tell you of their achievements, would you please show a little enthusiasm?"

"Yes, Mom----how did they do in their competition?"

Alex smiles, "Your Father says they both took first place in each of their divisions-----Cordell took state again!"

Angela gives Little Ray a fake jab and the boy giggles. "That's no surprise Mom, Cordell has taken state for the past five years, how did Cooper do?"

Alex is beaming, "Your brother did 5 cement slabs---in one try!"

Angela frowns, "Mom, I can do five slabs."

She turns and looks at her daughter, "With your foot---yes----but Cooper did it with his hand!"

Angela's eyes grow wide, "You're kidding! He broke his record?"

Alex nods her head, "Yes, and your Father was so proud of both of them, I could almost hear his heart pounding over the phone, just talking about it."

"Wow," whispers Angela, "Five slabs, wish I could have seen that".

"Well, it was your idea to stay behind and spend Saturday with your friends at the mall---we could have all gone to Houston for the tournament---it was your idea not to go."

Angela is quiet as she plays with her brothers' hat that keeps slipping down over his eyes. The hat is entirely too big for the boy, it belonged to his Daddy and he isn't parting with it. All of the family, even Grandpa Gordon, had tried to talk the boy in giving it up for one that would fit, their pleas fell on deaf ears. He would look at them and say defiantly, "NO---MY HAT."

Angela looks to her Mom, "Are you going to tell Daddy about what happened at the mall?"

"Yes, I am----I didn't appreciate being put on the spot like that and being made a 'patsy'!"

Angela frowns, "We didn't mean anything, Mom".

"Angela---the point is that when those girls are in my care, I am responsible for their safety, now what they do at other times---that is not my concern. But, when I say I'm taking them somewhere and bringing them back, that's what I am going to do, young lady. And, that's what I expect their parents to do when you are in their care, understood?"

Angela says nothing.

"Answer me, young lady----let me know I'm not just talking to hear myself."

"Yes ma'am----and it won't happen again---I promise."

Angela then turns to her baby brother who has been quiet for the whole ride. "Okay Little Ray----how old was the puppy"?

The boy shows a toothless smile, "Five!" He shouts holding up four fingers.

Angela laughs, "No, Little Ray----if the puppy was five, you have to holdup the whole hand, here let me show you."

She takes the finger that he is holding down and puts his hand up, "This is five, Little Ray."

"No" he holds the finger down and shouts "Five!"

Angela shakes her head, "What is it with the number 5 for him----everything has to be a 5?"

Alex pulls into the barbeque place, "I don't know honey, he's just fascinated with that number----I'm going to get supper---anything special you want?"

Angela smiles, "Just don't forget the cherry cobbler---and the jalapeno peppers, Daddy likes his peppers."
                                    
********************************************************

Across town in the fancy suburbs of Springtown, Darcy is making her way down the long fancy hallway of her home. She picks up her cell phone and dials an all too familiar number.

"Yes----I got the money----do you have the juice? Okay, okay, I'll be out front waiting---hurry."

She tries to walk quietly past her brothers' room, she smells the marijuana, she fans the air. Her brother makes no effort to hide the grass, why should he, their parents know---they even share theirs with him. He sees her walking past his bedroom and gets up and slams his door shut.

"Creep", she mutters to herself. She will be so glad when he returns to college, that is, when his suspension is over with for hitting one of his teachers!

She grabs a heavier jacket, she hears the horn honk, and she's out the door.

At the Walker ranch, Alex and Angela are putting supper on the table. Little Ray comes running through the kitchen, his boots making a clopping noise, his hat bobbing up and down. His cheeks
are rosy from the cold October wind, "I did it, Mommy."

He scrambles to get up in his chair that sits to the left of his Daddy's chair at the head of the table.

"Did you feed the chickens, honey? Were they hungry?"

The boy nods his head up and down, and Alex reaches over to take his hat off. The boy starts to argue.

"You know the rules----no hats at the dinner table."

Angela frowns, "I know a better rule----no brothers at the dinner table."

Alex gives her that look, "Are you through setting the table yet?"

"Just about, Mom."

"Then I would suggest a little less talk----your father and brothers are due any minute and they're going to be hungry."

Angela looks at all the food on the table, "Mom, you only got 10lbs of beef and ham, Cooper can eat that much at one sitting!"

Alex starts to answer when she hears the Ram pull up and doors opening. Little Ray jumps down out of his seat and runs down the hallway, shouting "Daddy----home."

Alex smiles as she hears her husband shout, "There's my buckaroo." He throws the boy up and over his shoulder, the boy is giggling as the twins run behind, touching his hair and tickling him.

Walker reaches over and kisses his wife, with the boy is still hanging upside down. Walker reaches around and turns him right side up and motions for him to take his seat. The twins walk to their Mom, kissing her and then they both start talking at the same time about the tournament and the trophies they won.

"Great guys---I'm so proud of you two, come on, sit down, let's eat."

Angela walks over to her father and kisses him lightly on the lips, "Hi Daddy, did you have a nice trip?"

Walker takes her into his arms and squeezes her, "Sure did, baby, ----but I missed my girls and my buckaroo."

Angela smiles, "We missed you too, Daddy----but I didn't miss "THEM", as she points to her brothers.

"We missed you too, Angela---like a toothache," answers Cooper as he sits down at the end of the table.

Cordell sits down next to his little brother, and they start reaching out to fill their plates.

Walker sighs, as he rolls his eyes. He walks back over to his and kisses her again, "Did you tell her yet?"

"Nooooo---did you tell the twins?"

He smiles back at her, "Yes, I did----and they're happy about it."

Angela starts to sit down and then looks at her parents, "Happy about what?"

Cooper is shoveling potato salad down, "Oh, you're going to be happy about this, Angela."

Cordell smiles, "Yep----deliriously happy."

Alex sighs and sits down beside her daughter. Angela looks to her and asks, "Okay. what is going on---why am I the last one in this family to be told anything?" 

No one is saying anything, "Well? ----I'm waiting."

Alex reaches out and pushes her daughter's long hair back over her ears, "Angela----we just wanted to tell you that-------"

Before Alex can finish, Cooper blurts it out---"Mom's pregnant."

Angela stares back at her brother and then to her parents, "No----no way! Please tell me that he's just joking---say it isn't so!"

Walker and Alex return her look, Walker leans over and takes his wife's hand, "It's true, Angel."

Angela can do nothing but stare back at her family, the only one not interested in this conversation is too busy trying to eat his corn on the cob, with no front teeth.

"Mother!----No, not another baby! Don't you think that four is enough?"

Alex smiles back at her, "I'm sorry honey, but that's just the way it is."

Angela sits back in her chair, the twins are grinning from ear to ear. "Another sibling, you can't do this to me---I'm leaving home, I'm going to live with Grandpa Gordon!"

Walker winks at his wife, "Sorry baby---that your Mother and I didn't consult you first---maybe next time."

Angela pops back up in her seat, "Next time?---You mean there might be another one after this one?"

Alex gives her husband that look, and the twins are milking it for all it's worth.

"Just think Angela, it could be another boy," teases Cooper.

"Another brother-----Mother, what are you trying to do, populate Texas all by yourself?"

Cooper grins, "She had help ---Dad put it there."

Walker stares at his son, "That's enough."

Angela groans, and Walker can't help but tease his daughter a little more. "Guess what Angela, the Dr. said there was a very good chance that it could be twins again."

"WHAT?" Angela turns to her Mother, "Say it isn't so, Mom---please---no more twins."

"Angela, it is too soon to tell, but I doubt very seriously that it will be twins again."

Cordell looks at his sister, "What's wrong with having twins, we can't be all that bad."

Angela throws a piece of bread across the table at her brother, and smirks, "Depends on which side of the diaper you're on, BROTHER DEAREST!"

Walker hits the table with his fist, everyone jumps except Little Ray, and he continues eating. "That's enough, Angela! Now you better adjust your attitude or you will be taking a trip to the barn. Now, whether or not you like the idea of having another brother or sister, wasn't YOUR decision, you got that?"

Alex reaches out and touches Walker's arm, "Can we finish this conversation later---and just finish our supper?"

The twins stare back at Angela, they've had more than their share of trips to the barn, but they couldn't recall Angela ever going there or the threat of sending her there. They quietly resume
eating.

The room gets very quiet and the only noise is of the smacking from Little Ray, still trying to get his mouth around that cob of corn. He has barbeque sauce all over his face, and two big blue eyes stare back at his family.

Cordell reaches over and wipes the sauce away and gently takes the cob of corn from him. "Here, little brother---I'll scrape the corn off and then you can use your spoon, okay?"

The boy nods his head. Walker pushes his hair back, "How do you feel about having a little brother or sister?"

Little Ray just nods his head, and Cooper replies. "You know what this means, Little Ray? It means you won't be the baby anymore."

Suddenly the boy shakes his head, "No----no baby---me no want a baby."

Angela folds her arms across her chest and leans back in her chair, "That makes two of us little brother."

Cooper grins, "Hey, I just thought of something---maybe it will be triplet’s this time------"

And, Cordell adds, "Yeah----all boys!"
   
**********************************************************

Angela is in the twins' room, listening to them brag about their winnings. Cordell sits his guitar down and holds up his trophy for his sister to see. She smiles, "That's real nice Cordell---congratulations."

Cooper shoves his trophy into Angela's face, "This trophy is bigger than any of the ones that you have won Angela----what do you say about that?"

Angela looks him straight in the eye, "It's nice Coop, but if you don't get it out of my face, you're going to be wearing it! What do you say to that?"

Cooper backs off, knowing only too well that Angela is capable of following through on her threat. Angela has won awards and trophies too, she has a black belt in karate and all self defense.

Cordell goes to his side of the room and places his trophy on the shelf, next to the rest of his ‘pride and joy’. He goes over and picks his guitar up and softly starts to strum it, kicking his brothers' boots to the other side of the room.

"You need to fumigate your boots, Coop---they stink."

Angela looks around their room, Cordell's side is immaculate, and every thing is in its place. His bed is so neatly made that a drill sergeant could bounce a quarter off of it. She then looks at the other side, "Cooper, you better get your side of the room cleaned up before Mom sees it."

"What's wrong with my side, it just looks lived in?"

Angela frowns, "By what, pigs?---How can you be so messy?"

"I'm not messy, I'm just trying to build character."

Both she and Cordell shake their heads. Cordell looks up at her, "I thought I was going to be getting my own bedroom, but now with the new baby coming and all, that's out of the question."

Angela nods her head, "If Mom and Dad don't stop making babies---you're never going to have your own bedroom."

"Well, I did ask Dad about taking over the attic---he said he would run it by Mom first."

Angela feels a tug on her gown and looks down to see Little Ray holding a reader up to her. "Thissy----wead book, now."

She motions for him to get on her bed, "And, take those boots off."

Cordell reaches for his little brother, "Hold on, Little Ray----I'll read the book to you."

The boy pulls away, "Nooooooo----thissy wead book----now."

Cordell sighs, "Sorry sis, I tried----but he doesn't want anyone reading him bedtime stories but you."

Angela gives her brother a faint smile. Between the two of them she favored Cordell he was quieter. Cooper could be so darn obnoxious at times, and he was the one with the quick temper, which landed him in the barn more times than his twin. They were identical; it was hard for strangers to tell them apart. They both wore their hair pushed to the same side, though she really did believe that at times Cooper didn't know what a hair brush was for. They took after their father, the dark auburn hair and dark blue eyes that were so dark, sometimes they looked black. They each had a sprinkle of freckles over their noses, the same thick bottom lip like their father, but there was no mistaking their mother's infectious smile.

Their likes and dislikes were so identical, they loved music and Cooper could dance to anything. He could dance like Fred Astaire and he could "boogie" with the likes of Travolta and Michael Jackson, and he did all the steps with boots on. Cooper was the leader, though he was younger by almost 5 minutes, he was always taking control, especially where their music was concerned. Cordell loved music too, and although he could play just about any instrument you put before him, he loved the guitar. They were both active in their church choir, and several times they would be asked to sing solo, with Cooper taking charge of all the arrangements at their Church of New Harvest. Walker would say they were dancing and singing before they could walk, and they always had music going through their heads-nonstop.

Angela shrugs, "I know---goodnight."

She starts down the hallway to her room then turns and runs back to the twins' room. "Cooper---Mom is coming up the stairs----you better get your side of the room cleaned up."

Cooper is lying on the bed, tossing a ball up into the air, "Yeah, yeah, I will," as he makes no effort to get up from his bed.

She starts down the hall again, then pokes her head back in, "And Dad is right behind her."

Cooper jumps from his bed and starts throwing his dirty clothes into the hamper and shoving things up under his bed. His twin just looks at him and shakes his head, "Come on Coop----I'll help you----but this is the last time."

Walker and Alex stop outside the twins' room, Alex's eyes go to Cooper's side of the room, and Walker just rolls his eyes around in disgust.

"Cooper James----if you don't get your side of the room cleaned up in exactly one hour, you are never going to see the outside world."

Cooper looks to his Mom and tries to sweet talk her, "Ohhh, Mom---it's not all that bad."

"Not if you're a pig," she yells back at him---"Get this pig sty cleaned up---NOW!"

Cooper pulls on his brother's sleeve, "Come on, Cordell, help me."

Walker puts his hands on his hips, "Cordell has something else to do----come on son---let's check out that attic."

Cordell's eyes light up, "Alright-----can I have the attic for my bedroom?"

"Well, let's see what kind of shape it's in first, then we'll discuss it."

Walker and Cordell start down the hallway towards the pull down ladder, and Walker replies, "This will be the first thing that has to go----you don't want to have to pull this thing down
every time you want to go to your bedroom."

Cooper listens to his brothers' jubilant hollers, then he catches his Mother looking back at him, tapping her long nails, "Time is wasting Cooper, you now have 56 minutes."

A very reluctant boy goes back to cleaning his room. Angela is watching from her bedroom, her phone starts to ring.

She crosses to her nightstand and picks up the phone.

"Hello."

"Hi Angela, how are you?"

Angela has a puzzled look, "Who is this?"

The voice is soft for a male, "I am your biggest admirer, Angela---I would really like to meet you."

"I said, who is this?"

"Does it matter? You are so pretty, Angela."

"Look---I don't know who you are, I'm going to hang up."

"ANGELA---it's me Darcy---don't hang up!"

"Darcy, who was that guy on the phone, how did he get my number?"

"That was Kiwi---Angela---he really wants to meet you."

"Kiwi? What kind of name is that?"

"Never mind that----Angela, I'm at this great party---there are so many good looking guys and mostly seniors----can you sneak out?"

Angela pulls the phone away from ear, "Are you crazy? There is no way I can sneak out!"

"Angela, just tell your Mom that you're coming to my house."

"No way---My Mom is still upset about that scene at the mall, and besides my Dad is home---there's no getting around that brick wall."

"Angela, you can wrap your Daddy around your finger, just bat those baby blue eyes at him, he'll let you do anything you want."

Angela feels her baby brother tugging on her gown, "Thissy, wead book----now."

"Look, Darcy--I got to go."

"Angela, did your Mom tell your Dad about what happened at the mall?"

The Seekers Part II            

"Angela, are you there? Did your mom tell your dad yet?"

"No, not yet---my Dad just got home---they're too busy making ‘goo goo’ eyes at each other----she'll probably tell him when they go to bed."

Darcy makes a face, "You mean they still share the same bedroom?"

"Of course----what's that suppose to mean?"

"Nothing----how about it Angela, can you sneak out?"

Angela is still feeling the tug on her gown by her little brother, "No way Darcy----look I have to go----got to read Little Ray his bedtime story."

She can hear Darcy groaning, "You know Angela----you lead a very boring life."

"I'm only 15----how exciting can that be?"

"If you would sneak out and come to this party, you'll see how much excitement a 15 yr old can have----your life is wasting away----right before your eyes!"

Angela smiles and motions for her baby brother to go get on her bed, "If I snuck out and went to that party or any other ‘excitement’ as you put it----and my parents found out----I would be on restriction for the rest of my life----NO THANKS!"

"Well, okay, Angela---but what do I tell Kiwi?"

Angela frowns, "I don't care what you tell him-----he sounds like a real "weirdo" to me----and that's another thing----stop giving my number out to just anybody."

Darcy is getting angry, "Okay----I won't! I'm going now, this party is really swinging-----and there are soooooo many guys here, they outnumber us girls --five to one!"

Suddenly, Angela's voice turns to concern for her friend, "Darcy-----don't you think that's a little dangerous? What if they should try and take advantage of you?

"Would you get off of it, Angela? You sound like an ‘oldie'----maybe I should go, so you can take your Geritol and put fresh batteries in your hearing aid! While you're at it----maybe grease the wheels on your wheel chair?"

Angela sighs, "You just be careful----I'll see you in church tomorrow."

"I don't know if I will make church tomorrow----it's so gar-bage----get it?  It's garbage!"

Angela hangs up her phone, and thinks about the conversation with her friend. She's known Darcy since the first grade, she and Dana met the following year. At first Darcy and Dana didn't get along too well, Darcy would make fun of Dana's ‘hand me downs’ and called her ‘trailer
trash’. Angela would always take up for Dana, which put her in the middle of many arguments. Still, Angela held her ground, refusing to give up one friendship for another.

Darcy could really be 'pushy' at times, that silver spoon in her mouth could really be a pain. At other times, Darcy could be really nice. Angela invited her to the ranch and Darcy was a completely different person. She wasn't used to the warmth of a real family, and when she saw Angela's parents kissing---she thought Angela's Dad was a ‘boyfriend’ of her mom's.

Angela laughed---"No, silly----that's my Dad-----my Mom doesn't have any boyfriends," she adds in disgust!

Angela is pulled out of her daydream by Little Ray pulling on her gown again, "Thissy---wead book----NOW!!"

"Okay, okay----you little pest------go get on my bed---and take those boots off!"

Little Ray runs and takes a flying leap onto his sister's bed, he dives under the comforter----giggling-----with his boots and Stetson hat still on.

Angela groans, "Ray Gordon----if those boots get another snag in my comforter----I'm going to skin you alive," then she dives on the bed after him.

The two are laughing, and Angela is tickling her brother, and trying to get his boots off. Finally, she holds him down---"Take the boots off---or no story."

Little Ray starts pulling his boots off in record time, but he will not part with that hat. Angela sighs and takes the book from him, she groans when she sees the title of the reader.

"’PECOS BILL AND THE TEXAS TWISTER’ oh Little Ray----not again!!! I've read this book to you so many times, I could recite it from memory. Don't you want to hear something else?"

Little Ray reaches up and plants a kiss right on his sister's mouth, then he shakes his head----"NO!! Wead book----now."

Angela shakes her head and pulls the cover up around him, kissing his forehead----"Okay, you little twerp------here we go."

The wind outside is picking up; it's a cold October night, the temperature going down into the teens. Angela smiles, she knows that she won't finish the story, she never does----they're always sound asleep by the 3 rd chapter.
                         
***********************************************************

Across town Darcy is starting to feel the ‘buzz' from the drinks, her vision is getting blurred as she listens to the voices around her. She can't recognize all of them, but she knows that she hears
Kiwi's. The other voices are starting to sound angry, and she feels someone pulling on her arm. She starts to giggle, and then a hand caresses her breast.

She feels dizzy and tries to find a place to sit down, then feels someone pulling her down into their lap and then she feels a hand going to the top of her jeans and down the front to the zipper. Another hand pulls her back up and she is thrown over a strong shoulder. The voices are getting louder, and someone is trying to pull her down from the shoulders.  She is being spun around, when a loud voice is heard, "Bring her in here."

She feels herself being carried, and then she lands abruptly down on a couch, as busy hands start to undress her. She feels completely nude and she feels there are others in the room. The voices are jumbled now, and weird sounds, she can't make them out. The hands start to caress her now and she feels her legs being pushed apart. She feels pressure coming down on her thighs, she feels a sharp sting, she's getting weaker---she goes to sleep.

She doesn't know how long she has slept; she wakes up to an empty room. Her clothes are stacked neatly at the end of the couch. She rises slowly, looking around and then she tries to get up---the pain is excruciating! She reaches down for the area that is hurting; her abdomen is on fire, with sharp jabbing pains. She starts to panic, looking around the room and sizing up everything before her. She starts to cry, "Oh no------I've been ----raped!"
                      
*******************************************************

It's now Monday evening, Angela and Dana are waiting at the bus stop. Angela keeps looking around for her friend, Darcy.

"Are you sure you haven't seen her today?"

"No, Angela----I haven't seen her---I can't believe I made a "C" on that algebra test---what did you make?"

"I made a "B"----have you talked to her since Friday?"

Dana frowns, "Nope-------you know she doesn't call me unless she wants something---like help with her essays?"

Angela nods and pushes her long auburn hair back over her shoulder, Dana watches her and sighs.

"Gosh Angela, what I wouldn't give to have your hair----it's gorgeous ! How do you get it to shine like that?"

Angela looks at her friend; Dana wears her hair short and curly. "It's no big mystery Dana, you could do wonders with your hair, if you would just take the time to pamper it. I wash with eggs and mayonnaise 3 to 4 times a week, and 100 strokes before going to bed, my Mom taught me how to care for it."

Dana smiles weakly, "My hair could never look like yours----I'll bet you never cut it."

Angela laughs and nudges her friend towards the curb, "Are you kidding----my dad would have a cardiac arrest---For as long as I can remember I've heard him tell my mom not to ever cut my hair!   But, I do get it trimmed and I think my Dad holds his breath every time I go to the hair
dresser's till the time I come home."

Angela keeps looking around for her friend, who wasn't in class all day. She takes out her cell phone and dials her friend's number----still busy. "I'm worried about Darcy------I told you about that phone call she made to my house on Saturday night, didn't I?"

"Yes----you told me!! About ten times----you know how Darcy is, she gets her feathers ruffled because we don't play along with her games, then she gives us the cold shoulder for several
days------Angela---she'll call you."

"She wasn't in church, either" Angela adds.

Dana keeps looking at Angela's hair----"Do you think I could ever get my hair to look like yours? It's so thick!"

Angela reaches out and touches her friends' hair, "Yes----well---the length and thickness is from my Cherokee heritage. Dana---we could do wonders with your hair---why don't you sleep over this weekend and I can get my mom to look at your hair and we can take it from there. Maybe put a color on it and get rid of those curls."

Dana breaks out in a wide smile, "You really think so?----No---I can't sleep over this weekend, Becky Blake's party is this weekend and you'll be going to that."

"So will you! What about afterwards?"

Dana frowns, "I'm not so sure I'm going-----all of Becky's parties are always so nice---I don't have anything to wear----and besides she wants everyone to come with a date."

Angela stares back at her friend, "Since when do we have to have dates? She knows that most of us aren't allowed to date yet----I don't have a date!"

"What I mean is---she wants just ‘couples’ and you know you’ll be paired off with someone for the party----half the boys at Springtown High have asked you----including ‘HIM’.

Angela starts to smile, "HIM? HIM who?"

"Don't play coy, Angela---you know darn well who I'm referring to, the most popular boy at Springtown---Dylan Reed!"

Angela continues to play coy----"Well ----he has asked me---but I haven't said 'yes' yet."

Dana takes a deep sigh, "All I know is, that if he had asked me to go with him------I would probably faint---dead away----Angela----he is so handsome!"

"Yes he is handsome----and he knows it!! -Sometimes Dylan reed can act so conceited!"

"My God Angela----he's to die for!!!! He's the school hero, he's got letters in all the sports----he can afford to be conceited!"

Angela looks at her watch and starts looking for the bus. "What is taking our bus so long to get here? This is ridiculous! I've got to hurry and get home before Little Ray's pre-school bus beats me home, 'cause if he has to walk home alone from the bus stop ----my Mom will kill me!"

"Relax, Angela---maybe the twins will be there in time---they can walk with him---it's just that short way up to the gravel driveway and then on to your house, it can't be more than a mile."

"A mile? Dana, a mile to a 4yr old is like ten miles to us! And, if I know my baby brother---he'll stay right there at the bus stop till I get there, you know how dangerous that can be----my God----he's just a baby!"

"Angela---calm down---call your brothers and tell them to go to the stop and walk with him."

Angela starts to dials the twin's cell phone, "I can't----they took an earlier bus home, because they have a chore to do before my Dad gets home----They're probably already out in the north
field, taking the cows in."

Dana hold up her hands, "You're going to have a cow----if you don't calm down!"

"I can't help it-----where the heck is that bus?"

The girls are busy so conversing that they don't see the dark green sedan pass by them twice. Finally it stops across the street, the two figures inside stare back at the teenagers.  Finally the big orange bus that goes to Angela's side of town can be seen coming around the corner.
Angela breathes a sigh of relief as she turns to her friend.

"I'll call you later Dana, have fun shopping today."

"It's not a shopping trip, I have to see the dentist about wearing my temporary braces again, see ya'. "

As the bus pulls away, the green sedan makes a u-turn pulling slowly up to the curb, watching Dana. Just as the passenger door starts to open, an old pickup pulls up to the curb and a woman shouts out Dana's name. The girl looks at the old beaten up truck, at her mother behind the wheel.. She looks around quickly to make sure the remaining classmates don't see her crawling into the cab, she sinks back into the seat, reaching for the seatbelt.

The two men look at each other, the older one is playing with a syringe. "Follow the bus," he says quietly.

The school bus stops at the side of highway 199, Angela waves to the driver and crosses the highway in the direction of an old gravel road. She runs to the mailbox and takes the mail out, flipping through to see if anything is for her.  She inches out to the side of the road looking in the opposite direction from where her bus came. She throws her long hair back and goes to lean up against the fence, dropping the mail. As she leans down to pick it up, the jeans are pulled even tighter across her rear. The green sedan has stopped about a quarter of a mile down on the
opposite side of the road. The younger one is watching Angela through binoculars.

"Damn," he whispers to himself, "Now ----she's hot----look at that ass"

The older one turns and looks back over his shoulder, he looks at the younger one and slaps him on the back of the head. "You just remember who you belong to."

The younger one turns and looks at the older one, "How could I forget----'MY' ass won't let me!" He grimaces, thinking of the times he has spent with this man, In the beginning, the man was tender---the last 3 yrs of his eighteen years were pure torture.

Again, the younger one continues to observe Angela, this time keeping his comments to himself. He watches as Angela walks back and forth, going all the way up her body slowly, and then he looks at her face. He swallows, "She's gorgeous----and those lips----what those lips could do to soothe my aching body."  He reaches down and massages himself lightly, making sure the older man does not see him.

A blue and white bus with the letters LITTLE TYKES PRE -SCHOOL pulls up to the side of the road that Angela is on, she waves at the driver, and the doors open,. A small figure jumps from the top step and into her arms, almost knocking her over.  She laughs as she reaches out to retrieve the hat that came off the boy's head. He grabs it immediately, and pulls it down over his ears!

Angela is laughing and bending over to tickle her little brother who is squealing with delight. She is unaware that she is being watched as the young man continues to follow her every move with the binoculars, and he begins to pant heavier. He licks his lips as he watches Angela bend over to pick up her books. He scans her body again with the glasses, letting them linger on her chest. She's wearing a blue sweater that is tucked into her jeans, a short Levi jacket over the sweater.  The girl is built like a model, the long legs tapering up to round buttocks. The jeans are tight; the young man visualizes her laying back on a bed and pulling them up, probably over bikini underwear. He scans back to her face and the incredibility long auburn hair that goes down to those rounded buttocks!  He focuses the glasses to get a better look at her face, he swallows, finding it hard to breathe.

Angela is now walking beside the small boy, her right hand is around his tiny little shoulder as the boy keeps looking up at her and trying to keep the hat from falling off. She reaches out, takes his hand and they start walking up the long gravel drive.

Now the young observer is finding it hard to keep Angela in his sight. He mumbles a curse word, looking back at the older man, hoping he didn't hear his words of discontent. The older man stares back at him, his eyes are a light blue, almost white. His hair is silver gray, and so are the
brows and the lashes, giving him a ghostly look. He continues to play with the syringe, then he takes out a small black case----filled with hypodermic needles in all sizes. He watches the young man, his eyes start to water, and without a word, he jabs one of the needles into the hand of the young man.

The young man yelps, grabbing his hand and cursing the older man. "What did you that for?"

The man hisses back at him, "I will teach you not to look at the likes of "them" and he points towards Angela. "I only gave you a light dosage, now drive while you still can----and when you get to that mass of trees down the road----you can beg me for forgiveness and you better be good ------Better than you were this afternoon----or you will get another dosage."

The young man can feel the affect of the liquid from the needle, his abdomen is burning, his manhood is starting to swell. He starts the engine up, "Okay, Sarge----I'll be good---I'll be real good, you'll see----I'll keep you happy----you'll see!"

Sarge glares back at him, his face showing no expression, just those eyes staring back. He nods his head and motions for the young man to go faster towards the trees, his hand going to the front of the young man's pants, and squeezing. The young man is turning red, but he says nothing. When they have pulled off the road and out of sight of any traffic, Sarge whispers.

"Into the back seat-----NOW!"

The young man is now crying as he scrambles over the seat, he stares back at Sarge, his eyes pleading, "No-----not that---please? I said I would be good----you don't have to use that----please God---No!"

Angela is walking beside her little brother, teasing him about his hat. "Come on, Little Ray----why don't you let Daddy buy you a hat that fits? He will buy you any color that you want----how about it?"

Little Ray looks out from under the hat, and pushes his bottom lip out, and sticks out his tongue through the space where his two front teeth used to be. His eyes squinting. "NO-----my hat!"

Angela stares back at him, letting out a sigh---"But, wouldn't you rather have a hat that fits? How about a red one, and Daddy will buy you red boots to match?

The boy takes off running, shouting back at his sister, "NOOOOOOO, my hat, my hat!"

Angela stops and shakes her head. "Brothers!!!! And to think there might be another one on the way---if it's twins this time----I'm leaving! I'm going to Grandpa's ---I'm----------".

Suddenly a scream fills the evening air, and a chill goes up Angela's spine. She can see that Little Ray has stopped and looking back at her. He's okay, as he looks around, and then he starts running again…Angela spins around looking for the direction from where the scream came
from. She sees nothing, she hesitates and then starts running after Little Ray. She catches up to him and pulls him to her. .

"Little Ray-----are you okay?"

The boy stops crying and looks at her, his big blue eyes looking into hers. "Me scared, thissy."

Angela pulls him up into her arms, "It's okay, little brother----climb up on my back, and I'll carry you."

The boy does as he's told, and Angela starts to half run, half walk the rest of the way to the ranch house.

The two young boys that were herding cattle have also heard the scream. They pull their horses to a stop.

"Did you hear that Cordell?"

Cordell looks around and then points towards the road and the mass of mesquite trees. "I think it came from over there-----let's check it out."

The two boys head their horse towards the direction that Cordell has pointed to. They ride up and down the fence line, "Do you see anything Coop?"

"No----nothing----it was probably just an old bobcat."

Cordell rides up beside his twin, "Didn't sound like no bobcat to me----we better get back to the herd."

As the boys gallop back to the small cluster of cows, the green sedan emerges from the trees. Sarge is now driving as he keeps looking into the back seat, he sneers. The younger man is jerking, his whole body is having spasms, and there's so much---blood!! Sarge is now
humming a song to himself.

"Do you really want to hurt me,
do you really want to see me cry?"                      

The young man pulls himself up to the front seat, "Sarge-----I'm burning up, please let me have 'one'!"                       

Sarge stares straight ahead, "Have you learned your lesson?"

"Yes----yes---I swear I won't do anything like that again, I swear!"

Sarge throws a small packet back at the young man, "Very well----you can put your clothes on now, and when we get home---you can finish begging for my forgiveness."

The young man opens the packet and swallows the contents. His eyes roll back, the spittle emerges from his mouth, he gags and then he starts throwing up his insides. Sarge continues to drive till he sees highway 199, he looks into the rearview mirror, and sees that his young man is still puking. His eyes show no feelings, he laughs quietly, and continues to sing
softly.
                           
*********************************************************

Angela and Little Ray arrive home and the boy starts running to his Father's recliner, pulling the old Indian blanket over his head, his hat falling to the floor. He continues to scream, reaching out for his sister's protective arms. She sits down in the chair and holds him.

"It's okay, Little Ray----there's nothing to be afraid of----you're safe now! You're in Daddy's chair---all is okay!"

The boys' eyes are filled with the tears, "Me scared----boogey man" and he squeezes her tighter.

Angela starts pushing his hair back, the cowlick in front---sticking straight up from the static electricity of his hat. "It's not a bogey man, Little Ray----there is no such thing, and if the twins don't stop telling you that, Daddy is going to tan their hides! You know what I think it was"?

The boy stops sobbing, "No boogey man?"

Angela smiles, shaking her head and wiping the tears from the boys' eyes. "I'll bet----it was another bobcat!!!! Remember that old bobcat that the twins shot that was trying to get into the hen house----that's what it was! That's how they sound when their tummies get hungry-----or they get into an argument with their mates----it was just a mean old bobcat!"

Little Ray tries to smile, and then he tries to laugh. "Bob cat---bang! Bang----"rdell, ooper shoot it---go bang, bang?"

Angela laughs, her brother has such a difficult time pronouncing some words. "Yes!! Cordell and Cooper will shoot it, and then they will take it out in the fields so the coyotes can bury it----okay?"  She thinks twice about saying that the coyote will eat the remains, but the boy does not need to hear the details.

Little Ray nods his head, reaching down for his hat. Angela stands up and takes a deep breath, smelling the aroma coming from the kitchen. Her Mom always sets the timers for evening meals; it's up to Angela to start the potatoes, salad, and the gravy.

"I got to get the potatoes started Little Ray---you better go feed the chickens real quick!"

Suddenly the boy gets scared again, crawling back into the recliner shaking his head. "Nooo---bob cat."

Angela sighs, "Okay----why don't we skip feeding the chickens this one night---and you come into the kitchen and help me fix supper----alright?"?                         

"Daddy-----get mad?"                          

She reaches out for his little hand, "Daddy won't get mad this one time -----I promise." She takes him to the kitchen and sits him down and gives him a glass of milk. She watches him drink it down, and thinks about the scream that she heard. That was no bobcat---that was a human
scream. As Little Ray finishes his milk, Angela goes back to the front window and peers out. She checks to make sure the door locked behind them when they came in. She takes a deep breath, folding her arms across her chest. The phone is ringing.

"Darcy!!---It's about time that you returned my calls----where have you been?"

Darcy's face is pale as she grimaces. She has been bleeding for two days now, her stomach is tied up in knots, the cramps making it hard for her to walk.  She's shaking, as she tries to talk to her
friend.

"I haven't felt well----you know---it's that time of the month."

"Oh, okay----yeah I know how painful your cycle gets---did you take some Midol tablets?"

Darcy's eyes are watering, "No----I don't have any."

"Well, ask your Mom to get you some---they will help to ease the cramps."

"My Mom is not here----she's with that creep, Dr Kelly----she's been with him all weekend---there's no one here but me and my stupid brother."

"Well---he can drive, get him to go to the store and buy you some."

"Angela----are you crazy? Ask my brother? That Neanderthal? He doesn't even know what Midol tablets are."

Angela sighs, "I'm sure he knows what they are, Darcy----he's almost 18 years old----Even my brothers know what they are and what they're used for----they're only 13!"

"Well excuse me-----I have a dumb brother."

Darcy yells back into the phone. "Not all families can be like yours and the Brady Bunch-----give me a break."

Angela, hearing the agitation in her friend's voice, softens her voice, "Okay, Darcy----calm down. When my Mom gets home, I'll ask her to drive me over to your place, and we will bring you some Midol---okay?"

Darcy panics, she does not want Angela's Mom to see her like this, because she would start asking questions-----questions that she can't answer! Something is not right, because she just finished her cycle less than two weeks earlier.

"Darcy----did you hear me?"

"No Angela, it's not necessary----I'll call the drugstore and have them deliver. I have to order some other things too----that will be okay---everything is fine."

Angela does not like the sound of her friends' voice, "Alright Darcy----maybe in the meantime you should take a nice hot bath---it always helps me."

Suddenly Angela hears someone banging on the door, she's forgotten that the door is locked and the twins are back from bringing the cows in. She motions for Little Ray to go open the door for
them.

"Look, Darcy I’ve got to get off the phone now----got to get supper started---my parents will be coming home soon."

"WHAT'S THE IDEA OF LOCKING THE DOOR, ANGELA?"

Angela tries to quiet Cooper, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"

"Yeah, I can see you're on the phone---you're always on the phone, you got a phone growing out of your ear," Cooper yells back.

"Yeah, Angela----it's almost 5:30, Mom and Dad will be here soon and you don't have supper ready," chimes his twin.

"Would you two shut up? I'll be through in a just a minute."

Cooper walks over to the oven, seeing that the timer has gone off. "Angela! Get off the phone----the meatloaf and the bread is done----you need to take them out of the oven!"

Angela's face is getting red as she grits her teeth, "Just a minute!"

Cordell shakes his head, and takes his hat off, throwing it to Little Ray, "Get out of the way----I'll take them out."

"It's not your job, Cordell---that's Angela's job! That's a woman's job to get supper on the table!"

"Shut up Coop, and hand me that pot holder."

Cooper grabs the pot holder and then he sneers back at his sister, "Mom and Dad are going to hear about this Angela, this is your chore---not ours! Cordell and I have ours done already----Mom gives you a simple little chore to do and me and Cordell have to do it for you."

Cordell yanks the potholder from his brothers' hands, "Would you stop complaining and help me take this meat loaf out?"

Angela is still talking to her friend as she watches the twins try to take the long pan out of the oven, they are going in opposite directions and the drippings from the pan is spilling out onto the
floor. She screams at them, and the pan hits the floor!

"Now you've done it!!!! Our supper is in the floor----now what do we eat?"

Cooper's temper is up as he steps over the meatloaf in the floor, "It's your fault Angela, if you had been taking care of supper---this wouldn't have happened!"

Angela pushes her brother back, "No body asked you to help---I told you I was handling it!"

Cooper pushes his sister and the two start swinging, Cordell is trying to get what is left of the meatloaf off the floor before they step in it.  Little Ray is standing in one of the kitchen chairs,
watching the fiasco.

 

The Seekers Part III

The fight is on, as Cooper swings out with his foot and knocks Angela’s out from under her. She falls on top of Cordell and he goes head first into the remaining meat loaf. Little Ray has now climbed on top of the table, coming to the conclusion that the chair isn't quite stable enough!

Cordell is trying to get out from under his sister, he stands up and Cooper hits him with a right fist. Cordell answers back with a foot to his twins' stomach. Angela is sliding around in the meatloaf, taking a handful of it and shoving it into Cooper's face! He lets out a curse word and charges his sister, she sidesteps and kicks him in the stomach, spins around on her right foot and catches him with a left one. He's falling backwards, grabbing Cordell and they both hit the floor. Angela reaches down for more of the meat loaf, grabs a gob of it and throws it, hitting Little Ray in the face!

Little Ray scrambles down to the far end of the table taking small bites of the meatloaf, as it drips down his face. He sits down in the middle of the table, his legs crossed, and he watches the fight like a spectator watching a tennis match. Cordell is now trying to stop Cooper from going after Angela again, and they are both slipping and sliding, trying to stand up. They finally get on their feet, and Cooper is yelling curse words at his sister.

"You're going to get it this  time Angela---Miss high and mighty!"

Angela is pushing her hair back, "Anytime---little brother----anytime you think you can take me---bring it on!"

Cordell gets in between them, getting up in his sister's face---"Back off Angela-----you know we have to pull our punches with you----let it be!"

"Get out of the way Cordell----I'm going to bust her in that smart little mouth of hers!"

Cordell turns and hits Cooper sending him back against the counter, "I said, STOP IT, Cooper---you know what will happen if we hurt her---Dad will have our hides!"

Cooper again goes after Angela. She stands her ground, jumps up in the air and comes down with her foot to his backside.  He groans, "She's sure not pulling her punches----is she?"

Cordell gets back in his sister's face, "Back off Angela or so help me---we'll both take you on. You know what happened the last time you and Cooper got into it, Coop got sent to the barn----all you got was restriction!"

Angela sneers back at Cooper, who is still trying to get around his brother. "Tsk, tsk----isn't that a shame?"

"You always get your way Angela, but one of these days, Dad won't be around to protect you----now back off!"

Cooper is sneering back at his sister, "Yeah----you can dish it out, but Dad won't let us hit you back---you're spoiled Angela----a spoiled brat!"

Suddenly Cooper feels a sharp pain go to his left shin, he looks down and Little Ray is getting ready to kick him again.

Cooper reaches out and grabs his collar, "You little creep----why did you kick me?"

Little Ray answers by kicking Cooper in the other shin, "Weave my thissy alone!"

Cooper shoves his baby brother and Little Ray goes sliding across the kitchen floor, landing in what is left of the meat loaf. Cordell and Angela go after Cooper again, and the three are slugging it out. Little Ray grabs some more of the meat loaf and sits quietly in the corner, eating.

A woman's voice screams out and Little Ray jumps. His Mother is standing in the middle of the kitchen, her mouth wide open.

"What the heck is going on here?" Alex screams.

The Walker brawlers stop and look back at their Mother, their grandpa Gordon is walking slowly up behind his daughter.  He stares back at all of them, in total shock

Angela starts trying to explain as she and the twins are still finding it difficult to keep their footing. "I can explain Mom---it was the twins!"

"Don't lay the blame on us, Angela----you were talking on the phone---you were suppose to be getting supper on the table," Cooper yells back.

Cordell is saying nothing as he sees another figure walk up behind his Mother and Grandpa. He watches the bearded man look around the kitchen, his eyes taking in every little spot of food that is now covering not only the floor, but on the counters and the wall, as well. Little Ray has snuck quietly out of the kitchen and back to the dining room, pulling his chair out and quietly sitting down.

Alex's eyes go the mess, and the mess that her kitchen is in. She sees what is left of the meat loaf, and her bottom lip starts to quiver. She starts counting to ten very slowly, "Angela-----I will---see----you-----upstairs----now, young lady!"

Angela swallows, as she looks to her Dad and hesitates.

Walker's eyes narrow as he stares back at her, "You're Mother is talking to you," he answers slowly.

Angela starts running to the stairs, as Alex stops and looks at her husband, saying nothing, and walks on.

The twins stand there, looking back. Grandpa Gordon looks at Walker and then to the twins, he shakes his head and goes to stand by his namesake. Walker stares into the eyes of his sons, turns around and walks out. Cooper sighs, "Come on Cordell----it's the barn----again!"

Gordon Cahill looks down at his youngest grandson, turning his head slightly and staring at the boy. "Are you mixed up in any of this, Little Ray?"

The boy starts shaking his head back and forth---"Nooo"  --me no trouble."

The old man looks around at the mess and then to the mess that is on his grandson's face and clothes. "Are you sure about that Ray Gordon----you wouldn't lie to papa?"

The boy continues to shake his head. His grandpa can't help but smile back at him. "What the heck----let's me and you go out for some fast food---what do you want, pizza or hamburgers?"

"Pitha" the boy shouts back, his face gleaming.

Gordon looks around and sighs, "Well---we needn't wait on the rest of the Animal House, I don't think your brothers and sister are going to be able to sit down for awhile----we'll bring pizza back for them!"

As they go the bathroom to wash Little Ray's face and clean off his shirt, Gordon asks, "If you weren't in on the food fight---then how did you get so dirty?"

"Me fall down, papa----me hungry---pitha!"

As the October night gets colder, the Walker household has finally calmed down. Angela and the twins will spend the next four hours cleaning up the kitchen, As the boys are down on their hands and knees scrubbing, Angela is responsible for the top half, making sure that the counters are sparkling---just the way their Mother always keeps her kitchen.  Alex has retreated to the bedroom and to a nice hot tub----trying to erase the memory of the disaster. Walker is making trips to the kitchen, and watching the cleanup like a drill sergeant! He lets them stop long enough to eat their pizza that their Grandpa Gordon brought back for them. Little Ray fell asleep in his Grandpa's car on the way home, and Walker has carried him upstairs to his bedroom.

Finally everyone has turned in for the night, Grandpa Gordon has returned to his condo in Dallas. The wind has picked up, and the night is a very restless one for a four old boy and his imagination. He tosses and turns, trying to outrun the bobcat that is hot on his heels. He keeps losing his hat, stops and runs back for it. The bobcat is snarling at him and eating his pizza. The 'boogieman" is chasing him now, he has him cornered in the kitchen and he's sitting in Little Ray's chair---eating meatloaf! The monster now opens his mouth extra wide and he's trying to bite the boy's head off! Little Ray jumps out of his bed and runs down the hallway to his sister's room and jumps under the cover. He cuddles up close to her, then he realizes his backside is left un-protected, so he backs into his sisters' protective arms. Now, he will see the monsters coming, cause he will be facing them. Again, he jumps from the bed and heads for his parents' room.

He climbs up on their bed and scrambles to the top of the bed and burrows himself down in between his parents. He feels having a parent on both sides of him will keep the monsters away. Walker and Alex are laying on their left sides, he has his right arm around her waist but he has to back up when he feels his baby son burrowing in. He whispers to Alex, "We have company."

Alex turns and pulls the boy closer to her, "What's the matter sweetheart, having a bad dream?"

Little Ray nods, "Me thared!"

Alex looks to her husband and smiles, then she nudges her son, "Daddy will make the bad dream go away, won't you Daddy?"

Walker makes a face, "Go away bad dream----there's no room in this bed for you---go away or I'll get out my gun and shoot you!"

Little Ray looks back at his Daddy, "Daddy----'hoot bobcat---go bang, bang?"

"That's right my buckaroo----go to sleep---Daddy will chase that bobcat away."

Little Ray snuggles closer to his Mother, then reaches back for his Daddy's hand and holds it; within minutes he's sound asleep.                           

Walker smiles, "Well, at least his timing was good----if he had came in earlier----it would have been a little-----embarrassing?"

Alex smiles back, and nods her head. "To say the least."

Walker takes his hand away from his son's tight grasp, and pushes his hair back, "I wonder why he was dreaming about that bobcat----that's been months since the twins shot that one in the henhouse?"

"I don't know, honey". She looks down under the covers, "I'd better get some clothes on, before our son becomes wide awake and wants to know why mommy is sleeping with no clothes on---and you better put some underwear on."

Walker sighs, "I suppose-------I hate sleeping with anything on anymore---but, I suppose it's  necessary with four rugrats running around, ----and another one on the way!"

Across town another nightmare is unfolding, but this time the young boy won't be waking up and running to the comfort and protection of his parents. He was going home from his friend's home when the two men in the green sedan stop and offer him a ride. The boy is about 10, he knows better than to accept rides from strangers, he tells them "no" and keeps walking. The sedan stops and the younger one chases the boy down and throws him into the back of the foul smelling auto. The boy fights with every ounce of his small frame, but he's being hit in the face ---over and over. The older man gets out of the car, with the hypodermic needle which is a good four inches long.  He shoves it into the boy's stomach. The boy becomes still. The older man motions for his young friend to continue driving, he crawls into the back seat and starts undressing the young boy.

At daybreak the green sedan pulls up to a landfill, and the young boy is dumped out. The two men drive away, laughing. The younger one is saying, "He was good---wasn't he Sarge?"

Sarge says nothing, he sings his song:

Do you really want to hurt me,
do you really want to make me cry?

*******************************************************

"What do you mean that you're not going to Becky Blake's party? Angela----it's the party of all parties!"

The girls are sitting in the lunchroom at school, and Angela has just told Dana that she's on restriction for the next two weeks.

Angela sighs, eating her yogurt, "You heard me---I 'm on restriction---the party is out."

Other kids begin to sit down at the table with them. A tall lanky kid named Gil turns to Angela and snickers. "I can't believe that your parents put you on restriction ---just for fighting with your brothers---hell--I'm always fighting with my brothers. My parents just let us "duke" it out!"

Angela looks back at Gil, and just shakes her head. She doesn't know the kid very well, and she doesn't feel like discussing personal problems with him. She looks up to see Dylan Reed walking towards their table. Dana sees him too, and she nudges Angela, "He's coming over here!"

Dylan Reed, the hero of Springtown High, a Jr. and he has all the girls gushing over him, including Angela, though she won't admit it.

Dylan smiles at Angela and sits down next to her, "Hi, Angel face---what's this I hear about you not going to Becky Blake's party?"

Angela stares back at him, he is good looking and the boy knows it. He's the star quarterback, and tops in all of the other sports. He's been voted best looking boy for three years straight, there's not an award he hasn't won, except maybe "least conceited."

"You heard right----I can't go," Angela answers quietly.

Dylan looks at the other kids sitting at the table, he turns to Dana, "Get lost! I want to talk to Angela----alone."                             

Dana has a hurt look as she starts to rise but Angela pulls her back. "You don't have to leave----and you Dylan, can stop ordering my friends around."

"Okay, okay, the little pimple face can stay----but keep quiet----you got that?"

Dylan turns his attention back to Angela, as he's been trying to get a date with her all year. He's scored with all the others he has taken out, but Angela is his biggest challenge. All of the boys have been trying to get to know her---or rather---her body! He pops the gum that he's chewing and reaches out to play with her long sexy hair, letting his left hand caress her shoulder. Angela pulls away, making Dylan laugh.

"Why do you fight it, Angela---you know you want it---and I'm willing to give it to you," he says as he strokes the front of his pants.

"You're a creep, Dylan Reed-----and if you don't take your hand away from my shoulder---I'm going to break it!"

The whole table starts to laugh and Dylan snickers. "You know what, Angela----you're a tease----I don't need to waste time with you---I can have any girl at this table. Can't I girls?"

There are two other girls besides Dana, they just giggle and look back at Dylan. Dylan stares at Dana, "But----I wouldn't touch that pimple face ----actually she would have to touch me, I'll bet she doesn't even know how to give a blow job!"

Everyone starts laughing, and Dana lowers her head and runs to the girls' room. Angela stares back at Dylan----"You make me sick---why do you have to say those things to her, Dana has never hurt you."
                          

"That little creep---why do you waste time hanging around her, Angela?"

"Because, she's my friend, that's why?"

Dylan continues to pop his gum as Angela gets up and starts to go after Dana. Dylan whispers, "What about you, Angela----do you know how to give a blow job?"

Angela stops and stares at him and then to the rest of the kids sitting there at the table staring back at her and grinning.  She looks back at Dylan and smiles, reaching out for his hand and gently pulling him up. She lowers her head and looks up at him with those blue eyes, walking towards him slowly, tossing her long hair back.

Dylan is all smiles as he starts to put his right arm around her. She laughs, pushing his hand away, "A blow job? -Now let me think---is that anything like a knee job?" Angela brings her right knee up and slams it into Dylan's crotch. He screams out, bending over---and Angela hits him again with her other knee. The boy goes down on the floor, screaming, the rest of the kids scatter! She calmly walks away towards the girls' room.

"Dana------Dana, are you in here?"

Angela calls out her friend's name as she starts going to all of the stalls. The last two doors are closed and Angela can hear a muffled cry. Angela taps on the last door lightly, "Dana---come on out----Dylan is a creep----he's not going to be saying those things to you again."

After a few minutes Dana emerges, her eyes are red from all the crying. "Why did he say those nasty things to me, what have I ever done to hurt him, Angela?"

Angela puts her arms around her friend, "Because he's dead from the shoulders down----he's not worth discussing----let's finish lunch and get back to class."

As they are walking out of the girls' restroom, the young janitor is watching them. He keeps his head down as they walk past him, but he pays particular interest to Angela, her long auburn hair swaying.  He licks his lips his eyes are starting to water, as he whispers to himself, "She's even more beautiful in person."

He leans up against the wall, and feels his legs getting wobbly, he can do nothing but stare at the girl as she walks away, she's unaware she is being watched. The young janitor looks around to see if anyone is watching him, he sees no one as he throws his head back and swallows the content of the packet.  His eyes roll back and again he starts puking as he runs to the boys' room. A couple of boys are taking drags off some marijuana, they start to dish the butts, then they see who the  intruder is, and continue on. They watch the janitor and then they laugh.

"Wonder what he's on?---Sure is 'rad'----whatever it is?"

The other boy nods, "Yeah---he's a weird one, alright---he looks like an albino---did you see how white his skin is?"

The first boy grimaces as the drag goes down the wrong way, he starts coughing. "Never mind that----did you see those scars all over his arms----like someone or something was scratching him?"

The two boys shake it off and go to their next class. The young janitor watches them as they leave, he thinks back to earlier times when things were 'normal' for him.  Then he starts to cry, things will never be 'normal' for him again, not since the day that Sarge came into his life. His body starts to ache, just thinking about the man and how cruel he can be. He longs to be 'normal' again, being with his friends, and having a girlfriend. He thinks of the girl with long auburn hair, she looks so soft, so tender. Her eyes are a beautiful blue, and when she smiles, her whole face lights up, and those lips…

The young man starts to shake, "I have to call him-----he will take care of me----he always does----maybe he will let me have a girl like that one. Yes-----I have to call him."

He finds a pay phone and dials a number. "Let me talk to him----now!"

A few seconds later, he's whispering into the phone---" I have to see you------things are getting out of hand with Sarge----I want out----O.k. I'll meet you there----thanks! Thanks, I knew I could count on you, --Kiwi."

Angela and Dana are almost to their next class, when Angela stops and pulls Dana back. "Maybe you should wipe the tears out of your eyes, we sure don't want Mrs. Carson asking a lot of dumb questions---okay?"

"Angela, Dana----wait up."

"The girls turn around to see Darcy walking towards them, very slowly. "Hi Darcy----where have you been, you've missed two classes already?"

Darcy stops and stares back at Angela, "So, who are you----my Mother?"

Both Angela and Dana stares back at Darcy, her face is so pale, and her eyes are watery. "Darcy----are you okay? You don't look too good."

Darcy sighs, "I'm fine! Will you two stop asking so many questions?"

Angela smiles weakly, "We're just worried about you Darcy---we haven't seen you in days--------you're not still in your cycle---are you?"

The girl hesitates and then nods her head, "Yeah----and the cramping is getting really bad----it hurts mostly right here." Darcy puts her hand over the lower part of her stomach. "Just in this one area".

Angela motions for Dana to go on to class, then she pulls Darcy off to the side. "How about the Midol tablets---are they helping?"

Darcy shakes her head, "No----and I've taken Tylenol by the handful---nothing is helping----Angela----I need to talk to you----I think something happened at that party."

Angela's starts shaking her head slowly, "No Darcy-----please don't say that you think some boy had his way with you----were you drinking?"

"Yes" Darcy answers, "I had a couple of beers----but I've had beer before, we both have."

Angela frowns, "I took one sip of your brothers' beer and I spit it out----I hate the taste of beer----I don't see how anyone can drink that stuff."

"Never mind that Angela-----something happened---and I'm not sure what it was, I woke up and I didn't have any clothes on and----"

"ANGELA WALKER---REPORT TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE" the voice booms over the public address system.

Angela sighs, "Damn it."

Darcy looks at her friend, puzzled, "What did you do, Angela? Sweet little Angela Walker being called to the principal's office---my, my, this is serious!  What did you do, spill milk in the lunch room?" Darcy asks sarcastically.

Angela stares back at her friend and answers quietly, "It's more like I cracked a couple of nuts----I'll see you later----and Darcy, let's finish this talk."

As Angela is going to the principal's office, she passes by the nurses' lounge, Dylan Reed is still doubled over. He sees her walk by and flips the 'bird" at her. She pokes her head in and whispers, "Careful---it was gestures like that --that got you into your present condition!"    The nurse stares at Angela and then to Dylan.

"Mr. Reed-----I thought you said you got your injury on the field?"

Dylan says nothing as he continues to hold his private parts.

A very angry Alex-Cahill Walker is making her way into the principal's office. The principal explains the events that unfolded in the lunchroom. Dylan Reed was too embarrassed to admit that a girl had kicked him in the groin, the rest of the kids had scattered, but the encounter was witnessed by the cafeteria workers and so---was reported.

It was also reported what was said to Angela, Angela is not commenting on it. Alex looks at her daughter, "Angela Elizabeth---is that true---did the Reed boy say those things to you?"

Angela answers weakly, "Yes-----and I took care of the problem----just like you and Daddy have taught me to."

Alex walks over slowly to the principal, putting both her hands on the desk and staring back at the little man. "Mr. Green------have you got any daughters?"

The man clears his throat, "No----I have all boys---three of them."

"Then you can't possible know how it is bringing up a daughter in these times. That boy was out of line for what he said to Angela, she was just protecting herself."

The man stands up from his desk, "Now see here, Mrs. Walker----this school will not tolerate fighting."

Alex's bottom lip starts to quiver, "Fighting? ----Oh I see---fighting is not tolerated, but these boys can say all kinds of crude remarks to the girls and they are to do nothing, but stand there and take it----is that right?"

The man starts to argue and Angela watches her Mother---she's not giving an inch as she continues to get in the man's face.

"If this sort of behavior continues from your daughter, she will be suspended!"

Now Alex's face is completely red, "Suspended for defending herself? What about the Reed boy, what will happen to him?"

The man again clears his throat, "Well, he will be disciplined, of course."

"Disciplined? How? Why aren't you threatening to suspend him too?"

The man starts to answer and Alex gets in his face again, "I'll tell you why he's not going to be suspended, Dylan Reed is the school 'jock', the school hero, and you can't suspend him because Springtown might lose a game if their star quarterback is suspended----for making crude sexual remarks!!"

"Now see here, Mrs. Walker----I know you are lawyer but that gives you no right coming in here, and throwing your weight around!"

"My weight? Now, are you saying that I'm fat?"

Angela grabs her Mother's arm, "Mom----remember your condition!"

The principal looks at Alex, "Condition?"

Alex's stares into the little man's eyes, "Yes!----I'm pregnant---with another Walker, and guess what? This child will probably attend this same school---but with your attitude towards the female race, I pray you are no longer in charge!"

"Mom, please----come on----you're not suppose to be getting upset----come on Mom, let's go."

"I'm not through talking, Angela"! Alex turns back to the little man, "You little weasel, if you so much as even think about suspending my daughter over something like this, I will have you up before the education board so fast, you'll forget how to put your pants on----is that clear?"

The argument has caused everyone within hearing to stop what they are doing and stare back at the principal and Alex. Angela sees everyone staring, she again grabs her Mother's arm, "Mom, please, let's go."

Alex gives the man one last glare and then she and Angela walk out. They head to the water cooler and Alex takes a long, cool, drink. Angela folds her arms, looking around timidly to see who all is watching. She sighs.                          

"Way to go, Mom----now everyone is going to know what Dylan said to me. I thought I was suppose to handle my own battles, I was handling it just fine---now the whole school is going to know what that creep said. Do you think it's going to stop here?"                          

Alex looks at her daughter, "It better stop here, if Dylan Reed or any other boy says things to you like that again, I'm----''

"You're going to do what, Mom? Just let me handle it-----okay?"                            

Angela stomps off down the hall and Alex goes back to her office. The confrontation in the principal's office will spread like wildfire. Springtown is small, and it will be no time at all till Angela's father hears about it. Walker has never cared much for the Reed boy, not because he's a smart aleck, who considers himself to be God's gift to the girls of Springtown, but because he's Dalton Reed's son----an old flame of his wife's!

Not only has the news spread through Springtown High, it's also found it's way to the Jr. High, just a few blocks away. The Walker boys are running track, their friend Moose yells out to them to stop.

"Hey Cordell----your Mom has one hell of a temper!"

Cordell stops, wiping the sweat from his brow, "What are you talking about?"

Cooper pulls up beside his brother, "You talking about my Mom, what's up?"                             

Moose relays the story to the twins and what was said to their sister. Cooper's temper is flaring, "That s.o.b. said, what?"

Moose repeats what was said and Cooper jerks away, Cordell pulls him back, "Calm down, bro'-----" he pulls his twin away from Moose. "Remember the teachings of Zen---patience is the way of the warrior, the warrior's way---is the patience and the ultimatacy of surprise."

They walk slowly off the field, paying their coach no heed as he is shouting to them to get back on the track.


                      ****************************************************                            

Angela is waiting for her friend to finish her P.E. class. Darcy is having words with her gym teacher about not being able to work out. The teacher is very upset with Darcy and threatening to give her a failing grade.                                

"Fine"! Darcy yells back, "Give me a failing grade----I don't give a crap."                                 

She sees Angela and walks over to her, "Come on, let's get of here before that lesbian tries to walk in on me while I'm taking my shower again!"                                

Angela stares back at Darcy, " Ms Jones walked in on you while you were in the shower?"

Darcy looks back at the gym teacher and makes a lewd gesture towards her, "Yeah-----and some of the other girls, too." She looks at Angela, "You're lucky you don't have that 'lezzie' for your teacher----she would be after you like flies on-----on-----whatever."

Angela shakes her head, "Go take your shower and let's get of here----I want to finish that talk we had earlier."  

"Okay, but first, would you go and get me a couple of pads out of my locker---number 48---over there?"

Angela goes to Darcy's locker, there's a huge box of sanitary napkins and tampons, feminine spray, and several pair of extra underwear! Angela takes a couple of the pads, walking back to her friend slowly.          

"Darcy----you're still going this strong that you need double the pads?"

 

The Seekers Part IV

By Sasquaw

Darcy looks back at her friend and shrugs, "Well, actually, I'm finally slacking off----the flow is not so bad now. " 

Angela hands the sanitary pads to her friend, shaking her head. "Darcy----you still need to see a Dr. ---look at you, you're so pale you can't possibly be healthy."

"I'm going to be fine Angela, really I am" Darcy turns around and goes into the shower. She pokes her head out, "Will you hang around till I get out? I don't want that queer trying to crawl into the shower with me."

Angela looks back to the door, "Sure----I'll be right here----and this discussion is not over with----not by a long shot."


  **************************************************************
 

Rangers Walker and Trivette are investigating the discovery of a body at the landfill. Trivette came onto the scene first. When he sees his partner he walks over to him, shaking his head in disbelief. He points to the small body lying on the ground, "I thought I had seen everything Walker."

The bearded ranger looks at his friend, he's never seen him so ready to lose control. He walks over to the body and bends down, his stomach knots up. He stares at the face of the victim, a small boy, not much older than his baby son. The look on the boy's face is sheer horror; his eyes are wide open. Walker touches the boy's eyes gently, closing them. He stays knelt on the ground, just looking at the boy and then back to his partner. He looks at the medical examiner, "Cause of death?" 

The M.E. says softly, "Suffocation----he strangled on his own vomit-----but there's more." The M.E. lowers the sheet and points out needle marks where dried blood has congealed. The lower part of the boys' body is covered with bruises and welts; the genitals are almost severed. Walker takes a deep breath as he tries to look away. 

"I hope you have a stronger stomach than your partner," the M.E. looks at Walker, as he turns the boy's body over. The boy's rectum is split almost in half. Like someone was trying to pry the boy apart. Walker stands up and starts pacing back and forth. Fifteen years ago, he would have reacted to this gruesome find a lot differently than this day, but now he has four children to think about. Each time he has to investigate a scene, in which a child is involved, these victims take on the faces of his children. He walks over to Trivette and lays a comforting hand on his shoulder. Trivette looks back as they are carrying the boy's body off in a body bag. He tries to clear his throat but the words come out choked, "I think I'm getting too old for this------I've seen a lot of gruesome things in my career as a Ranger----but Walker-----this has got to be the worst!" 

Walker sighs, "I know, Trivette----I thought I'd seen the worst in Nam----but that was during war time, in another country, in another part of the world-----but this is right in our own back yard."

Trivette shakes his head, "It's pretty obvious that some kind of drug was used-----but the boy wasn't a 'user'----there aren't any old needle scars on him that I could see, right?"

"You're right-----the boy was abducted and then drugged, with some kind of drug that renders an almost paralyzed state, but at the same time---his blood was being drained.---And, more than likely he was killed somewhere else and then brought here." 

Trivette starts to write down some notes, then he throws his pad down and swears, "I thought we were winning this war on drugs----but we're not! We're not any closer than we were 20 yrs ago!----It's still in our schools, our recreation, and we have another idiot in the white house that believes that; 'if you don't inhale, then it's not illegal-----and who also believes that it's perfectly alright to have a mistress sharing his bed at the white house as long as the wife can have her own extra martial affairs!"

"Calm down Trivette----I think we are making a difference in the war on drugs!" 

"How can you say that Walker, all of the schools are still using metal detectors, locker checks are made every day, and still the kids are finding a way to bring the drugs into the schools?" 

Walker shakes his head, "I don't know all of the answers, Trivette, but as long as there is one child out there who is fighting to stay off the drugs---we can't give up!" 

Trivette stares back at his partner, "How do you do it, Walker---you got four kids---how can you stomach this?"

Walker's eyes narrow, "You don't think this isn't affecting me too----that little boy wasn't much older than Little Ray---my gut is burning----thinking about what the parents of that little boy will be going through when we have to tell them he won't be coming home----he'll never be coming home!" 

The two rangers stare at each other, Trivette shakes his head---and whispers low, "I'm sorry, man----I didn't mean you didn't have feelings----you know I didn't it mean that way." 

Walker takes a deep breath, "We have to find out who that boy is----any clues?"

Trivette wipes his face, "More than likely, it's the Jackson boy, he's been missing since about 10 pm last night, his parents notified the police, and they’ve been looking for him all night." 

Walker sighs, "Now comes the hard part, asking the parents to identify the body!" 

They start walking back to Walker's Ram. "You know Walker, I've been trying to get J.W. to come back to Springtown to live, to get him out of Chicago, to get him out of that drug-infested place, but now I'm not so sure that Springtown is any safer." 

"There's drugs in all the cities, big and small----drugs don't discriminate---you know that----we just have to try harder to reach our kids, to try and show them the danger of drugs. We have to keep talking, Trivette, and hope they listen----that's all we can do"! 

"Now, we have a new drug to fight----we don't even know what this one is called, or how it really works. I've never seen or heard of a drug that drains the blood, have you?" 

They lean up against the Ram, "Not like this-----killing the boy and sexually assaulting him was cruel enough----but why the 'overkill'? -----The boy had to have been alive when most of the attack was taking place----his eyes were open!" 

Trivette clears his throat, "I know-----we have to find the sons of bitches responsible for this Walker -----and make them suffer first-----I don't want to see them go to court so that some hot shot lawyer can plead an insanity case, and they spend the rest of their lives in a mental hospital!" 

Walker looks at his partner, and knows all too clear what Trivette is insinuating, he has the same thoughts. He shakes it off, and he and his partner of some 20 yrs will go to break the news to the parents of the Jackson boy.

  ***********************************************************

The young man is finishing up his janitorial job. He looks at his watch, and he has to hurry so he can meet his friend, Kiwi. He takes the back entrance from the school; Kiwi said to meet him at 34th and Vegas, it's a good 8 blocks to walk. He's in deep thought as the green sedan pulls up beside him, almost hitting him. A gruff voice yells, "Get in!"

He hesitates, the older man is getting agitated----"I said for you to get in the car-------do you want me to get out and help you to decide----maybe "my little friend" can decide for you."

The young man gets in and they drive off slowly. The old man turns to him and says, "You are making me very angry, Danny------where have you been all day?"
 Danny tries to smile and make light of the conversation, "I got me a job Sarge----I'm working at the high school cleaning up and I make-----" 

Danny gets the man's right fist to his mouth, "I don't want you working Danny-----you're mine----I won't share you with anyone----you got that?" 

Danny fights the tears back, "I'm not doing anything wrong Sarge----I just want to be able to make some money----to get out of the house once in awhile." 

Sarge's anger is rising, "You will quit that job-----and stay home with me-----you got no need for money----I take care of you, haven't I always taken care of you?" 

Danny starts to answer, he knows it's useless, Sarge will never agree for him to keep a job. Sarge wants him with him every hour of the day. Even in their apartment, Sarge is always watching him, caressing him. Danny thinks back to the night before when they abducted that little boy, Sarge was 'literally' drooling at the thought of having a new "toy" to play with. Danny kept telling him that he was being too rough with the boy, but Sarge would say "He will learn that I am his master----and he will never attempt to disobey me, like you have tried to do in the past! He will learn who is master!"

Danny was selfishly hoping the boy wouldn't die, so that maybe Sarge would divert his attention more to him and not so much to Danny. He sinks lower in his seat, knowing he will never be free. They pull up to a stop sign and Danny watches the two boys crossing the street and heading for the football field. He watches them, as both the boys are in deep thought about something. He looks to Sarge, but Sarge has already noticed them. Danny watches the old man's eyes as he watches the boys' every step, mesmerized by them. Danny looks at the boys, they're at a good age---not too young and certainly young enough for many years of pleasure.

They've never attempted to take two at a time, but these boys are completely oblivious to anything around them. They are walking in a stern matter, they definitely have something on their minds. 

Danny smiles, "Sarge----there's two of them----just the age that you like----they could make you so happy---let's take them Sarge---okay?" 

Sarge says nothing as he continues to watch them, reaching back for his little black case. Danny is all smiles, "We better use the biggest needles---catch one by surprise and then jump the other one---they won't know what hit them!"

The boys are getting closer to the football field, and they stop and observe the bigger boys going through their drills. The coach blows his whistle and the team rushes to the gym, only four boys hang back. The younger boys start walking towards them. The figures in the green sedan emerge and start walking towards the younger boys, but stop and observe. 

The older boys are laughing and pushing each other around.

"Hey Dylan-------you're sure not feeling any pain---you were taking 'snaps' just like always." 

Dylan grins and touches his crotch, "It's amazing what sweet little Cindy Mathews can do with her mouth-------it was almost worth getting hit in the nuts for."

All of the boys laugh, they don't see the two younger boys approaching them, and they continue to laugh. Gil sees them first, and his eyes get big as he starts nudging Dylan.

 "What do you want Gil-man?" 

The other boys turn and look in the direction that Gil is pointing. One of the boys curses---"Ohooo shit!" 

Dylan stares at the boys, they stare back. "What do you faggot faces want? This is high school territory----you're on the wrong turf." 

The boys say nothing as they get closer. Gil pulls on Dylan's jersey--- "Don't you know who they are"?

Dylan smirks, "They look like the Boppsey twins to me!"

The other boys back away, and Gill nods his head. "They're the Walker twins----Angela's brothers!"

Dylan smirks again, "So?-----Is that suppose to mean something?"

Gil shakes his head, "It better-----They're not to be messed with, they know all of that karate stuff and that Cooper----he's plum crazy!" 

Dylan pushes his friend away, "I'm not afraid of that karate crap----I'll break them both in half!" 

The boys walk up to Dylan, Cordell stares him down, "We heard what you said to our sister-----apologize to us and then you can apologize to her!" 

Dylan laughs, "I'm not apologizing to anyone and you two little queers can go back to where ever you came from." 

Cooper takes a deep breath, his fists folding and unfolding. "Let me have him Cordell, I'll kick him into next week!"

Gil pulls Dylan to the side, "And, he means it too----I've seen these two fight----Cooper will break you in half, the way he does those cement slabs!" 

Dylan whispers, "There's only two of them---there's four us ---we can take them." 

The other boys back off, "No way---you're on your own." 

"You chicken crap------I'm not afraid of them." 

"Which one of us do you want to fight, Dylan?" 

Gil again pulls his friend to the side, "Don't fight Cooper----I'm telling you----he's crazy!" 

Dylan turns to his friend, "What about the other one?" 

Gil swallows, "He's taken the state championship in boxing for 5 years straight, he'll just rattle your brain and make you wish you "had" fought Cooper!"
 

Dylan shakes his head, "Idiot-----I'm not afraid to fight either one of them" and he starts taking his football equipment off. "Okay, you pint size Jackie Chans----let's get it on, which one of you is first?" 

Cordell steps forward, "I'll take you on---and my brother will take care of your friends if they should change their minds and want a piece of us!"

Dylan is still laughing, "You two are so sure of yourselves, aren't you"?

Cordell's eyes never leave Dylan's face, as he watches, every muscle tighten. His father always said to watch the eyes; they are a dead giveaway. Dylan begins to walk slowly around Cordell. Cordell’s ears listen to the weight of each step, as he keeps his back to him. Cordell never moves a muscle as he listens, not only with his eyes, but the mind's eye as well. 

Cooper watches his brother, never saying a word. He watches the other three boys as they start getting closer. Danny and Sarge have taken cover behind the bleachers, a safe 50 feet away. Dylan continues to circle Cordell, "What's the matter, maggot face----afraid to fight me?" 

"He looks like he's in some kind of trance," mumbles one of the boys. 

Dylan smirks, "Trance, huh? I'll show him----" Dylan strikes out at Cordell's back, Cordell ducks and backhands Dylan with a fist to the mouth. Dylan staggers back, wiping the blood from his lip. The look on Cordell's face never changes, as he puts his fists up. 

"Are we through playing now?" he asks quietly.

"You little prick, I'm going to kill you," and Dylan charges him, swinging. 

Cordell puts up his left hand to block the punch and then hits Dylan with his right. The boy goes to the ground cursing, jumps up and charges Cordell again. Cordell sidesteps, and comes back with a right against Dylan's face, sending him to the ground again. Dylan is sputtering as he looks at his friends, "Get him!" 

The three boys are just standing there, looking back at Cooper, who is starting to grin real slow. "Go ahead-----make my day guys---I haven't had a fight----since yesterday!" 

The boys all put their hands up in defeat and start to back away. Cooper sighs, "Damn it-----well, what the heck," he then goes up in the air and out with his right foot, hitting all three of them." They go down in a heap and then jump up and start running across the field.

Cooper looks at his brother and shrugs his shoulders, "Hey----I couldn't help it, they were so tempting just standing there all lined up-What can I say---it's in the blood!"

Dylan is still on the ground looking at the two of them and rubbing his cheek. Cordell squats down on the ground beside him, "If you ever say anything like that to our sister again----we'll come back and finish the job, now where's that apology?" 

Cooper nods his head, "Oh----and by the way---we don't fancy ourselves after Jackie Chan----we're more partial to the fighting style of CHUCK NORRIS!"           

The two boys walk off, Dylan is still on the ground and Danny and Sarge just stare at each other, making no attempt to follow the Walker boys.


  ******************************************************

Rangers Walker and Trivette have watched the Jackson parents identify their oldest boy. The mother will have to be sedated, and the Father is just shaking his head, "Not my boy----not my boy." 

Trivette has to walk off a few feet, the tears are threatening to come as he forces himself to think of other things. Walker can say nothing, the vision of that little boy still running through his mind. The elevator door opens and Alex walks towards him. She sees the couple, and her hand goes to her mouth, "Sarah?"

The woman turns and sees Alex, her whole body shakes and the two women embrace. Walker watches them; he didn't realize that his wife knew the victims' parents. After a few minutes, the couple walks off with the help of a nurse. 

Alex sees her husband; she keeps opening and closing her mouth, nothing is coming out, Walker takes her in his arms.

"Hon----do you know those people"? 

Alex is trying to talk, nodding her head, "Yes----they go to our church or at least they did until a couple of weeks ago." 

Walker shakes his head, "I don't remember them, Alex". He feels embarrassed because his lack of church attendance is showing. 

Alex clears her throat, "That's because you don't attend church as often as the kids and I do. ----And their little boy, Bobby, was in Little Ray's Sunday school class.---Oh my God, I didn't realize it was them, when I heard the name come down to my desk, I didn't associate the name to them-----oh, Walker ----this is horrible!" 

Walker walks Alex over to a chair and makes her sit down, "Honey, can I get you some water----or something?" 

She nods her head slowly and stares at the closed doors to the morgue, she looks at her husband and asks slowly, "The autopsy report said-----he was sexually assaulted?" 

Walker nods slowly, sitting down and taking his wife's hand. Trivette walks over and sits down on the other side of Alex, putting his arm around her.

"We're going to find who is responsible for this Alex-----and they will pay. Right----Walk-man?" 

Walker looks back at Trivette, Alex is seeing something in her husband's eyes that she doesn't like. That look was there when he went after the ones responsible for his parents' death, and she also saw the same look when Walker put two slugs into the chest of Victor LaRue, many years ago. She looks to Trivette, the same look is in his eyes.

  ******************************************************
 

Angela has again tried to talk her friend into seeing a Dr., but Darcy refuses. 

"Angela----will you get off of it? I feel fine-----and the party of parties is coming up this weekend, what is this crap about you being restricted and you're not going?" 

They're walking to the bus stop and Angela is explaining the incident with the meatloaf, the fight with her brothers, and her getting two-week's restriction.

"I can't believe this----just tell your parents you're going anyways----Angela---you are too old to be put on restriction---this is parental abuse." 

"Call it whatever you like, but as long as I'm living under their roof, I will go by their rules----and what is this parental abuse crap? At least my parents care what I do, can you say the same for yours?"

"My parents don't tell me what to do, they go their way and I go mine." 

Angela nods her head, "Yeah, I can see that! Where is your Mother when you need her?" 

Darcy can feel her patience tiring. "Don't start on me, Angela----your family is not so great----yeah my parents screw around, but yours probably do the same----what about your Dad?" 

Angela throws her hair back, "What about my Dad?" she yells at her friend.

Darcy shrugs, "He's a man, ain't he? All men play around on their wives----and your Dad is gone for several nights at a time---he's probably got a woman stashed away on one of those trips that he tells your Mom he has to go on!" 

Angela's bottom lip starts to quiver, "Those trips you're referring to are cases that my Dad and Uncle Jimmy are on. Sometimes they have to chase suspects, sometimes my Dad has to testify in court cases out of town!"

"Yeah Angela, you just keep believing that". 

"What's wrong with you Darcy, why are you talking like this?" 

"What about the party Angela, are you going or not?"

Angela takes a deep breath, "I can't go, I told you that."

Darcy sneers, "Yes, you can---you can sneak out. We'll pick you up at the end of your gravel drive!"

"And, who is this "WE"?"

Darcy smiles, "I'm sure I can talk Kiwi into coming to get you."

"I don't believe you, Darcy---wasn't he at that last party you attended, didn't you say that something weird went on that night? If this Kiwi is so special, why didn't he look out for you---my God, Darcy---you said you woke up nude. Did you have sex with him?"

Darcy gets very quiet, "I'm not sure," she answers.

"What do you mean --you're not sure-Don't you know---if you had sex?"

"I've never had sex before----how am I suppose to know how it feels?"

Angela shifts back and forth, "I don't know---just common sense---I guess. Aren't you sore----down there?"

Darcy looks at her friend, "That's just it------I'm not sore in that area, I'm not even bruised. The only area that hurts is here---right below my navel----and sometimes Angela----it feels like I'm burning up inside!"

"Darcy please----if you won't see a Dr., then would you talk to my Mom----my Mom is a good listener---please? 

Darcy thinks about it, she can see the genuine concern on her friends' face, "I'll make you a deal, Angela----if you will go to this party Saturday night, I promise that on Monday I will talk to your Mom---I'll tell her everything----deal?" 

Angela takes a deep breath and exhales, "You're bound and determined to get me put on restriction for the rest of my life, aren't you?" 

"Come on Angela, live a little---you're already on restriction, so what is the worse that can happen----another two weeks----big deal! If you miss this party---you're going to regret it----What do you say-? -Say "YES"----PLEASE?" 

"Okay, I will go to the party---but I'm not staying very long----will this Kiwi bring me home when I say?" 

Darcy is all smiles, "You can bet your life on it!"


************************************************************

The twins are getting off their bus and walking up the long gravel drive. Cooper is trying out some new dance steps, as he's spinning around and listening to the music through his headphones. "Hey bro'----have you heard of these guys," Cooper asks as he hands the headphones to his twin. 

Cordell listens and then starts dancing, "No----who are they"?

"Somebody called The Village People----I was going through some old songs up in the attic, and I found this---they sound pretty good, huh?" 

"Yeah, some of their music is not bad----good to dance to," Cordell starts doing his own dance, and soon they are making up steps to a song called "Y.M.C.A". 

Cooper turns the music up louder, and Cooper yells' "Follow me----do what I do." Cooper starts spinning, going up on his toes and then into a split, all the time keeping perfect time to the beat. Cordell follows suit, and the two brothers dance all the way up the drive. They see the gray Ram in the driveway, parked next to their Mother's SUV.

"Dad's home already?" Cooper asks. 

Cordell's smile turns into a frown, "Oh no----they've heard about the fight with Dylan Reed." 

The brothers look at other, and Cooper rubs his butt. "Not the barn again----my butt hasn't had time to recover from the last time." 

They walk into the house slowly, it's very quiet. Cooper takes a quick look up the stairs, "Hey---maybe they're upstairs and you know---maybe they're busy doing ----you know?"

Cordell sees Little Ray coming from the kitchen, eating cookies. "They wouldn't be doing anything with him around." 

Walker steps out of the kitchen, "Your Mother needs to talk to you two." 

They study the look on their Dad's face, he doesn't look angry, now the twins are confused. They see their Mother sitting at the kitchen table. "Are you okay, Mom?" 

She tells them about the little Jackson boy and the request that has come from the church and their pastor. 

"So? Would you sing at the services on Sunday?" 

"Sure Mom---do they have a special request?" 

Alex smiles at them, "I will leave that up to the two of you, whatever you choose to do". 

The boys nod their heads slowly, looking back at their Dad. Suddenly he looks so tired to them, this case is taking it's toll, and they can see it in his eyes. Cordell nudges his brother. "Come on Coop---we got chores to do."

********************************************** 

The small figure approaches the hen house very cautiously, eating his cookies. He stands outside the coop and watches the birds, each time he starts forward to the feed, he steps back. His blue eyes are wide as he looks around, everything is quiet, there are no weird sounds coming from inside.

The boy swallows, pulling his oversized Stetson down lower on his ears. He says to himself very quietly. "No boogeyman----no bob cat" then he starts towards the feed bins again. He does not see his brothers creeping up behind him. Cooper jumps up behind him and screams out "BOO"! 

Little Ray screams, dropping his cookies and running back to the house, shouts of the boogeyman and bobcat filling the air! The twins look at each other, laugh, and give each other "high fives". The boy doesn't stop running till he reaches the kitchen, sees his Mother and wraps his arms around her legs, screaming "Boogeyman get me!" 

Alex reaches down for him, "Little Ray-----what are you afraid of---there is no boogeyman!"

Walker is getting a fresh cup of coffee as he reaches over and pulls the boy towards him. "Hey----come here buckaroo----what happened out there to scare you? " 

The boys eyes are filled with tears, he shakes his head back and forth-----"Me thared----boogeyman gonna get me-----'hoot him Daddy----go bang, bang!" 

Walker sighs and looks at his wife, "If the twins are scaring him again---I'm going to nail their hides to the barn door-----is it the twins, Little Ray----are they scaring you again?" 

The boy runs to his Mother, repeating the "boogeyman" over and over. 

Walker slams his cup down, "That's it!!!!-----I'm going to have a little talk with ‘your’ sons."

Alex stares back at him, "Now, all of a sudden---they're "my sons"----Walker don't you dare lose your temper with them---they were only teasing Little Ray."

Walker says nothing as he stomps out the door and heads to the corral where the twins are saddling up.

"COME HERE--BOTH OF YOU-----NOW!"

The boys stop and walk towards their father slowly, "What?-----What did we
do now?" asks cooper. 

"You know damn well what you've done----you've been told to stop teasing your brother about the "boogeyman and that damn bobcat!" 

The boys look at each other, "We weren't teasing him, Dad, Coop just shouted "BOO" at him, and he ran into the house." 

"You scared him Cooper-----he thought you were the monsters coming after him again."

"I'm sorry Dad, didn't think I scared the little guy that bad."

Walker is steaming, "He's just a baby for Christ's sake, he's still having nightmares about that bobcat."

The Seekers V

Walker is steaming as he glares at the twins. The boys look back and forth at each other in confusion.

"What bobcat, Dad? We haven't said anything about that bobcat to Little Ray, we haven't mentioned that bobcat in months," answers Cooper.

"Cooper is right, Dad----we haven't mentioned the ‘boogieman' either."

"Well something has scared him, and he says it's the ‘boogieman’ and the bobcat----he's scared to death to go into the chicken yard----and then you two come up behind  him and scare him even more!"

The boys start shuffling back and forth, "We're sorry Dad----we'll make it up to him---we'll apologize to the little guy."

"You're damn right you're going to apologize to him! I've got enough to worry about with this damn case without you kids fighting all the time and scaring your baby brother!" Walker yells back at them.

Walker turns to walk off and Cordell shouts to him. "Dad----- we need to tell you something--------it could have something to do with that bobcat."

Walker spins around, "You just said you and your brother hadn't been mentioning the bobcat----now what is it?"

Cordell takes a deep breath and hands his horse's reins to his twin, he's seen his father's temper, he knows to walk on eggshells.

"The other day Coop and I heard something down by that huge mass of mesquite trees---we rode over and went up and down the fence line---but we didn't see anything!"

Walker looks back at his sons, "What did you hear, Cordell?"                        

Cordell looks back at his twin, Cooper is avoiding looking at him. "Well, it was a scream-----Coop said he thought it was another bobcat----but Dad, that didn't sound like no bobcat to me."

Walker walks back to face them, he looks at Cooper, "What did you hear, son?"

"At first it sounded like a bobcat, but after I thought about it more, it sounded like----like someone screaming."

Cordell nods his head, "That's what it sounded like to me too, but we didn't see anything Dad!-----And those trees are so close to the main highway---we thought some teenagers were just screaming as they drove by----you know---school's out---and all?"

He studies their faces, this wasn't any story they were trying to make up, they were obviously telling the truth about hearing something.  He looks up to the ranch house and back to them, "Okay, I'm sorry I came down on you both----I just got a lot on my mind----I apologize."

The boys nod; they know that this last case has their father on edge. "It's okay, Dad----we understand."

Walker looks at the boys as he mounted up, "Where you two going?"

Cordell starts back to his mount, shouting back over his shoulder, "Going over to Ferguson's place and help him get his cows in----you said that we had a storm coming in, and Mr. Ferguson is going to need some extra help."

Walker nods his head, "Wait up----I'll ride over with you, give you boys a hand---let me go tell your mother to hold up supper."

Alex is standing at the window watching the scenario, Little Ray is still holding on to her legs.

Walker is calling to her as he walks in and reaches for a heavier jacket, "I'm riding over to the Ferguson place with the boys---can supper be a little late?"

She smiles back at him, "So now they're your sons again, huh?"

He smirks back at her, pinching her bottom, "For the time being---until they get in trouble again---then they're ‘YOUR’ sons again."

"Okay---Angela and I will fix spaghetti, that's easy to put on 'hold' until you guys get back."

Little Ray sees his Daddy putting on his riding boots, "Me go too, Daddy."

"No--you stay here---you still haven't finished your chores yet."

Alex lowers her voice and looks at her husband, "Honey?----Let him go too."

Walker stares down at Little Ray, the boy looks up at him and that darn hat keeps falling off. Walker sighs, "Okay, you varmint----go get a heavier jacket and I'm going to have to tie that hat down on you----the wind is starting to pick up."

The twins have old Ranger saddled up, they see their baby brother running out to them and Cordell gets down to saddle up his pony.

Walker yells to him, "Never mind son, Little Ray will ride with me!" Walker puts the boy on first, and then he mounts up. Little Ray is giggling as the four of them head down the fence line, towards the mass of tree

"Right there Dad, that's where we heard it," points out Cooper.

They ride down to the gate, cross over the cattle guard and then into the trees.  The trees are so thick, they have to ride slow, and duck the branches. They've come on a clearing that has definitely had some smaller trees run over. They see the tire tracks and how they exited at the other end, going out on the main highway. Walker dismounts, handing the reins to Little Ray, "Hold him steady, son."

Cooper dismounts and follows after his dad. Walker continues to look around, he finds nothing and that is what’s bothering him. If it were teenagers using that area for a place to party, he would expect to find cola or beer cans, even cigarette butts.  He starts to examine the broken branches; Cooper is watching him as he starts to examine them

Walker watches his son, "What kind of vehicle would you say it was, Coop?"

"Judging from the way the branches are bent back, I would say a car."

Walker nods, "And, why do you say that"?

Cooper points to the branches, "Because they were bent back and not broken---if it had been a truck or a SUV like Mom drives, they would have been broken or squashed to the ground, because of the weight."

Cordell and Little Ray walk up beside them, and Cordell adds, "Also, because of the scratches on the bigger trunks----a car rides low enough to leave those kind of scratches, a truck or SUV would ride too high."

Walker smiles and looks at them, he's pleased with their observations. He says softly, "That's very good----you boys are learning to look for the signs----that's good."

The twins look back at him, and Cooper says, "That's because--------"

-------"we've had a good teacher," adds Cordell.

Walker slaps each of them on the back, smiling, "Come on guys, we got to get to the Ferguson place before it gets too dark to see to bring those cows in."


          ******************************************************************

Angela has been thinking about her promise to Darcy, to sneak out and go to Becky Blake's party. She has just missed seeing her father and brothers riding up to the north gate. She has been so involved in her friend's problem that she has forgotten all about the strange scream that she too heard, and how her baby brother was scared half out of his wits. She's walking up to the front porch of the house, when she sees her Dad's truck.

"Oh no----Mom just couldn't wait to tell him what happened at the principal's office----great---now I'm going to be hearing him yell at me, too!" She stomps inside, throwing her books down on the stairs.

Alex observes her daughter's behavior, "Angela----your school books do not belong on the stair case----take them to your room, and then you can come into the kitchen and help me with supper."

Angela stomps up the stairs and Alex returns to the kitchen to make meatballs. Angela returns to the kitchen, saying very little to her Mother.

Alex watches her, "Are you still upset with me about earlier today?"

Angela throws her long hair back and pouts, "I just wish you would let me handle my own battles---I put Dylan Reed in his place--didn't I?"

"Yes, you did-----and that Mr. Green was threatening to suspend you for it----I just let him know what would happen if he followed through with that threat."

"I know Mom---I was there---I heard you! You made it sound like you were in court, prosecuting some dangerous criminal!"
                               

Alex stops molding the meatballs, "Lose the attitude Angela----do not talk to me in that tone of voice!"

Angela lowers her voice, "I'm sorry----well---what did Daddy say when you told him? 

"I haven't told him yet," answers Alex.

"Why not, I figured that was the reason that he's home early----where is he?"

"He and the boys have gone over to Ferguson’s' to help bring his cows in. And contrary to what you might believe Angela----I don't go running to your father every time you and I have a problem-----I still haven't told him about that little scenario at the cinema last week."

"Why not?"

"I decided to let it ride---but it better not ever happen again, do you understand me, young lady?" 

Angela nods her head, she looks at her Mother and for just a split second she wants to blurt it out about Darcy and the problem she's having, then the phone rings.                                  

Angela watches as her mother takes the call, nodding her head slowly. "Yes, Brother Bob---I will tell them when they get back, we'll be there around 8pm."                                 

Alex hangs up the phone, her face pale.                                  

"What's wrong Mom, what did Brother Bob want?"                                  

Alex takes a deep breath, "He was calling to say that the services for Bobby Jackson will be on Sunday at the church. His parents have requested that the burial services be at Greenwood Cemetery, just down the road from our church.                                 

Angela's eyes get big, "Burial services? Bobby Jackson---the same Bobby Jackson that's in Little Ray's Sunday school class----he's dead?"

"Oh my God, Angela----I thought you knew---it's been on the news all day."

Angela puts her hands up to her face, "You mean that little boy that was found at the landfill----that was Bobby?"

Alex nods her head, "Yes, honey---your father and I just came from the morgue, your father and Uncle Jimmy are investigating the case."

Angela has to sit down, and starts to shake. "Some kids were talking about a little boy's body being found-----they were saying that he had been molested."

"Yes----the news media couldn't resist putting that on the air as soon as possible---sometimes I think the news media should have to wait longer before repeating something like that----if nothing else----respect for the victims' families."

"So, you're going over to the church tonight, why?"

Alex goes to sit down beside her daughter, pushing her long auburn hair back and over her shoulder, "The Jackson family and Brother Bob have asked your brothers to sing at the special services, we need to go over to the church and get the arrangements made. Sarah's family is coming in from England, that's why the services and burial will be on a Sunday."

"England?-----That's where the Jackson’s were moving to, wasn't it?"

"Yes, that's why they hadn't been to church for the last couple of weeks, they were packing and trying to get their house sold----Angela, I have to go get dressed and be ready to drive the twins over when they get in----would you please finish making the meatballs?"

"Yeah----sure Mom---you go ahead, I'll get supper started."

As Alex goes upstairs, Angela waits till she's out of hearing, then picks up the phone and calls Darcy.

"Darcy----thank goodness you answered and not that creep brother of yours---I've only got a minute---I'm not supposed to be on the phone."

"What is it Angela----don't tell me that you have ‘chickened out’ about the Saturday night thing?"

"I'm not going to do it, Darcy----I can't."

"Angela----it's all set---I talked to Kiwi---everything is fine, he said he would take you back home whenever you said---Angela----you can't back down!"

"I don't know Darcy----I just don't feel right about any of this, especially after what happened to that little boy."

Darcy frowns, "What about the little rug muffin---he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"That's a pretty cruel thing to say, Darcy----don't you have any sympathy?"

"Yeah-----for myself. If I don't get to go to that party Saturday night, I may end up slitting my throat."

"Darcy! Stop talking like that!"

"Oh, get off of it Angela---that little boy isn't feeling any pain----at least not now. You did hear what they did to him, didn't you?"

Angela starts shaking, "Yeah----they molested him!"

She can hear Darcy laughing, "That's not all they did to him, they cut off his penis and shoved it into his mouth!"

Angela gasps, "What?----How do you know what they did----did they say that on the news too?"

"No, I heard my brother talking to some friends of his, they were also saying that his head was cut off!"

Angela feels herself getting sick, "I got to go----I'm going to puke!"

Angela runs to the bathroom in the hall, splashes water on her face, counts to ten and reluctantly goes back to the kitchen. She walks over to the bowl of hamburger meat and starts to roll them up into balls, the meat squishing through her fingers, all red----and slimy. She runs back to the bathroom and starts vomiting.


                   *********************************************************

Walker and his sons have helped Hank Ferguson get his cows safely to the south field, where there is more shelter and better grazing. Walker has been helping his neighbor for years, and even more so in the last seven years since Martha Ferguson's death.  Since the twins and Angela could barely walk, he would take them over to visit and Martha Ferguson would spoil the kids rotten with all of her baking and those famous chocolate chip cookies. She always seem to know when they were coming, a hot batch of cookies and cold milk would be waiting for them.

As the boys got older, they would go with Walker and help their Dad and Hank, doing some of the minor chores. Soon the boys started going over on their own, doing odd and end jobs for the old man and to get a huge helping of those cookies! They came to think of Martha as the closest to a Grandmother they ever had, and when the news came back that she had died, they both cried openly.

Hank is an old man, and he's aged double since his beloved Martha died. They had but one daughter, back East, but she wasn't close to them, and seldom visited. The old man was standing on his porch, watching the boys drink down the cold milk.

He shares a cup of coffee with Walker and then he says to the twins.

"I'm sorry I don't have cookies for you this time----Martha didn't have time to bake any---she's not feeling too good---maybe the next time you come----there will be a great big plate for you."
The twins look to the old man and then to their Dad, Cooper takes his brothers' empty glasses and sits them down on the porch. "That's alright Mr. Ferguson---maybe next time?"

Cooper mounts up and Cordell hands Little Ray up to him. The boy looks to his brother at the mention of cookies----"Cookies? Me want cookies."

Cooper turns his mount away saying softly, "There are no cookies, little brother------wait till we get home."

The boys ride away and Walker looks to his friend of some forty years. The Alzheimer’s is getting worse, he knows that it will be only a matter of time till Hank will have to sell his ranch and go to a rest home. His daughter has made no attempt to visit him in almost seven yrs., coming back only long enough for her Mother's funeral. Hank and Martha lived for the days that the twins and Angela would come to visit them. 

Walker helps the old man take the dishes inside, where Hank grabs his arm.                            

"I did it again, didn't I, Walker----why do I say these things----Martha is gone, she's been gone---how long is it now? Six years"?

Walker puts his hand on the old man's shoulder, "Going on seven years, Hank----Martha died seven years ago next month."                            

The old man shakes his head, "That's right----seven years-----I remember now---your boys were just little tykes," the old man holds his hand out showing how tall the boys were.

Walker nods, "Yeah---they were just six years old when Martha died----but they still remember her----and they loved those cookies that she would always bake for them."

Walker says goodbye to his friend and rides to join his sons. He rides up beside them, knowing they are sad thinking about Martha. Little Ray is almost asleep as he leans back against his big brother.

"Mrs. Ferguson made the best chocolate chip cookies ever, didn't she, Coop?"

His brother nods and then looks down at their baby brother who is not quite asleep yet. Cooper puts his forefinger up to his lips, "Sssh----you better just spell out the word c-o-o-k-i-e----‘you know who’ is still awake?"

Cordell nods and looks at his Dad, "They were good, weren't they Dad?"

"Yep----the best in Texas------but don't tell your Mom I said that---her cookies come in a real close second."

The twins laugh, and they smack their lips as they recall how Martha Ferguson would insist they have cookies in each hand, which the twins didn't argue. If there were any left, she would send them home to Angela, but Angela never was much on sweets, not even at that tender age.

"Her cookies always had the biggest chunks of chocolate and pecans ever, her kitchen always smelled like Christmas---she was always baking something."

Cooper smiles, "Yeah, and she always smelled so good, just the way grandmas should smell----she was always smiling, always happy."

The boys become silent and Cordell whispers, "I sure miss her."

"Me too, Cordell----I miss her too."

Little Ray wiggles around in the saddle, pulling his jacket tighter around him, "Me, too," he says half asleep.

Walker smiles, he wishes Little Ray could have known Martha, they would have spoiled each other rotten. Then his thoughts go to the little Jackson boy and his grandmother, and wonder how she is taking the news of her only grandson's death.  He wonders what kind of relationship did they have, did they share the magic of chocolate chip cookies?


                       *******************************************************

Alex and the twins are at the church, and their pastor is talking to the boys about the song they will sing. 

Sarah Jackson is talking to some of the church members and she walks over to talk to Alex.

"Is there a special song that you would like to hear the boys do, Sarah?"                              

She's a tall and slender lady, red hair and blue eyes, and her son is her image. She smiles at the twins, "My husband and I have often commented on how gifted your boys' voices are, Alex---it's like listening to the angels."                               

The boys shift around, feeling a slight bit of embarrassment.                               

Alex touches the hair of each of them, "My husband and I are very proud of their "gift"-------thank you so much."                               

Cordell clears his throat, "Is there something special you would like to hear?" 

Sarah dabs her eyes with a handkerchief, "Yes----there are two songs that we especially enjoy hearing you sing----‘You'll Never Walk Alone’ and there's another----something about a ‘railroad to heaven’?"

Cordell smiles and looks to his twin, "That would be  ‘Life's Railway To Heaven’----that's my brothers' specialty."                                

Cooper nods, "I will be honored to sing it for you and your family, Mrs. Jackson."

The boys excuse themselves and go to join the choir director.                                 

Sarah watches them, and the she and Alex embrace. "Keep them close to you Alex----don't ever let your kids out of your sight----not even for a moment----I let Bobby go down to a neighbors', he was only gone for 15 minutes------and now ----I will never be able to hold my baby again----never.                                

The women continue to hold each other as the tears flow.                                

The ride back to the ranch is very quiet. Alex looks over at Cooper who is staring out the passenger window.  "I'm very proud of you boys for doing this----it takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of so many people, especially under such sad circumstances."  

"Don't go getting mushy on us, Mom----it's going to be hard enough ---getting through those songs without you being like Niagara Falls'," comments Cooper.                                 

Alex half smiles and half sobs as she reaches out to touch the back of Cooper's head, "Well-----I'm sorry---I don't mean to get mushy---but when my kids do something like this----I can't help---but get mushy!"                                 

Cordell pulls himself up to the back of the seat, "Mom, would you do us a favor, please?"  

Alex can hardly answer, "What?"                                   

Cooper reaches over and takes her right hand from the steering wheel, "Would you and Dad not sit too close to the front of the church, if we see you crying ----well-----just don't sit too close---okay?"

"Okay," she sobs quietly.                                     

Cooper's face gets rigid as he reaches out and hits the dashboard, making Alex jump.                

"And, there's something else Mom---I know we just left church and all, but there's something I gotta say--I hope that when Dad and Uncle Jimmy find the bastards responsible for this---I hope they beat the hell out of them first before they are brought to trial!"                                 

Alex stares back at Cooper and then she turns to his brother in the back seat. He answers quietly, "I feel the same way, Mom-----those bastards need to know pain, and Dad and Uncle Jimmy know just how to make them feel the pain."                           

Alex shakes her head, "I don't want to hear this kind of talk----you're talking vigilante---are you forgetting the golden rule----vengeance is his---not ours!"                           

Cooper looks back at his Mother; his bottom lip is set, "Well, I'm sorry Mom, but sometimes I think that God needs a little help."                            

She looks back to Cordell, he nods his head lightly----"Yep----they need to be sent to hell---and when they get there, they can praise Madeline 'O’Hare and her beliefs for saying there is no God------and if the courts do send these bastards to a mental institution instead of death row----then I, for one might be inclined to agree with that atheist!"                             

Alex is speechless as she looks at the expressions on her sons' faces. They meet her stare, then slowly look away. She again sees that look that she saw earlier in her husband's eyes and their dear friends' at the morgue. She does not like that look.


                                ********************************************

Danny has snuck out of the house to meet with Kiwi, and Kiwi is not happy about being kept waiting.

"I'm sorry, but you know how hard it is to get away from Sarge, I had to wait till he was asleep.----Kiwi ---please help me---I want out---Sarge is crazy!"              

Kiwi is a small framed young man, dark hair that is neatly combed back and deep brown eyes. He's a very suave dresser, his suits are by Armani, but when he's making the school scene, he dresses like them. His features are very smooth, almost too smooth for a man; he keeps his nails manicured to perfection. He listens quietly as Danny begs him to get him away from Sarge.               

Kiwi answers very slowly, "You knew what you were getting into when Sarge picked you----you were thrilled to be ‘his toy’."               

Danny stammers, "But, I didn't know how cruel he could get----he hurts me. I will do anything to get away from him, help me ---please."

Kiwi stands up and starts circling Danny, "What is it you want me to do, Danny?"                

"I want to be normal again---I want to have friends to pal around with, to go to places like that shopping mall you took me to and you told me to talk to those three girls----do you remember them?"                  

Kiwi smiles, "Oh yes---you disappointed me, Danny---I told you to separate them, so I could approach each of them and get acquainted with them."

"I tried Kiwi----but that one with the dark hair was so rude to me, she called me a creep and threatened to call security on me."                   

Kiwi stares at his friend, "Oh yes---little miss Darcy---I got to know her well at that stupid party a few nights back.   She's quite a 'looker', she will make good bait to lure the others in."                   

"What about me, Kiwi? You promised me that I could have a nice girl---like it used to be, when I was normal. ---I got the job at the high school like you promised, but Sarge wants me to quit and be with him----constantly. ---He killed that little boy!"                      

Kiwi laughs, "And, you helped him do it, Danny----you lured that boy into the car and you held him while the needles were inserted----did you not"?                      

"I had to!!!! Sarge said he would hurt me bad---with that 'thing' ---he made me do it!"                       

"What about the others Danny, I heard what you did to those little boys in El Paso-----you are in too deep, Danny----you will never be 'normal' as you put it."                       

"I can try---just get me away from Sarge---I will show you!"                         

Kiwi throws his nail cutters down in disgust, "You don't get it, do you Danny? I don't want you to be normal ---you are one of us now---there is no turning back!"                         

Danny starts to cry, "Please----I will do anything----just get me away from Sarge!"

"Anything, Danny? You'll do anything?"                           

Danny swallows, "Yes, anything!"                           

Kiwi walks over to Danny and puts his arm around his shoulder, "There are two things you must do before I will let you have your freedom."                            

"What? ----Anything----just tell me what I must do!"                             

"First of all, I want that young girl that you were talking to at the mall, the pretty one with the long sexy hair, the one that you said was so nice, do you remember her?"                               

Danny nods his head slowly, he remembered her. She was the one that he was watching through the binoculars.                              

"Not her Kiwi----she's the one that I want!"                                

Kiwi takes his two fingers and squeezes the muscles on Danny's neck, forcing him to the floor. "You do not get a choice----the girl will be mine----got it?"                               

Danny starts sobbing, "Yes----okay, okay."                               

He stands up slowly, rubbing the back of his neck, "You said there were two things---what's the other?"

Kiwi sneers, "Simple----you will kill Sarge!"                                

Danny's eyes grow big, "Kill Sarge----are you serious?"                                

Kiwi's eyes stare back into Danny's, "Kill Sarge and you will have your freedom---it's that simple."

Danny swallows, "You want me to kill Sarge------your father?"

Kiwi picks up the nail file and starts filing his nails slowly. "You are one of us now Danny--you are a SEEKER, and soon our numbers will multiply. That's why we have stayed with the smaller towns, but soon we will start to branch out, and the bigger cities will be powerless to stop us. You will do as I say Danny, you are a Seeker- kill him!"                                

Danny has the long walk back to the apartment; the weather has gotten colder. He takes a short cut over the railroad tracks, walking aimlessly, and thinking about what Kiwi wants him to do. He's talking to himself and kicking at the ground, in the distance he hears the faint sound of music. He walks in that direction, not paying any mind to where he is going, as the music is getting louder. Danny sighs and sits down on the ground, mumbling to himself. 

The music is reaching his ears, he looks up to see where it is coming from and sees a church about a quarter of a mile away. He listens closely to the music and memories flood back to him, to happier times, he used to sing too. A smile crosses his face as he walks towards the church.

 

The Seekers Part VI           

Danny walks slowly up to the church and goes around to the windows where the music is the loudest. He hears voices and then the choir starts to sing softly to "The Old Rugged Cross". Danny sits down on the ground and listens, singing quietly to himself, the tears roll down his cheek. The choir stops and then more voices, he hears a man's voice talking and then he hears the voices of young people. He can't make out all that is being said, but one voice is very adamant and can't be swayed.  The air is getting colder and Danny starts to walk away, then he hears a song play that brings back many fond memories to him. He stops and listens, the voice singing is young, a very hauntingly but beautiful voice.  Danny strains to listen, as he hasn't heard that song in many years, he recalls it being sung when he was in church----so many years ago.
                   "Life is like a mountain railroad
                    with an engineer that is brave-
                    Who must make  a run successful-
                   from the cradle to the grave."

The song stops and Danny looks around him, the people are starting to leave, he can't afford to be seen. He walks hurriedly away, and then looks back at the name of the church. The Church of New Harvest.
                                 
                 **********************************************************                        

Walker is in the barn doing the twins' chore of cleaning it up, while they are at the church going over the songs for the services on Sunday. He stops and looks out at the corral and at Old Ranger. Walker is glad that he took him out for a light ride over to the Ferguson ranch with the twins.  The horse is getting old, but he still enjoys being ridden, but only by Walker. He raises his head and looks back at his master, and then walks slowly over to the fence so Walker can stroke his neck and rub his nose. Walker sighs, knowing that it's only a matter of time that he will have to make the decision to put him down. His thoughts go back to another time, some four years earlier when he had to put "Amigo" down.                        

That's the hard part in being a rancher, getting too close to your animals. Walker had swore that once he had said goodbye to his beloved "Amigo", he would not get that close to another animal, but "Ranger" had other ideas. He soon warmed himself into Walker's heart, refusing to let
the bearded ranger ignore him. Walker was soon doting over him, the same way he cared and loved "Amigo".                        

Walker is deep in his thoughts as he leans over the corral, talking to Old Ranger.                         

"Daddy----Anything wrong?"                          

Walker turns to see his daughter standing there with a thermos in her hand. He smiles back at her, "Hi baby---did you bring your old man some fresh coffee?"                          

Angela walks to him, handing him his thermos and putting her arms around him, snuggling up to the sheepskin jacket he is wearing. She sighs, "Yes, Daddy---I knew you would be needing some more about now---it's so cold out here."                        

He kisses the top of her head and holds her close, "Thank you baby---is Little Ray still asleep?"

She gently pushes away from him and nods her head, reaching into her own jacket and holding out her hand to him, "Yes, I got him into his jammies----and I thought you might be wanting one of these about now, too."                        

Walker reaches out and takes the cigar from her, "You always know when I'm wanting my Lone Stars, don't you?"                         

Angela smiles as she watches him snip the end off and lights up. He inhales deeply and then turns away from her to exhale, knowing she doesn't like their smell, but she tolerates them as Alex does also. Walker seldom ever smoked in the house, and then after Alex got pregnant the first time, he banned all smoking inside, including himself.                        

"I'll help you, Daddy, what do you want me to do"?

Walker takes a long drink of his coffee, "Well, I'm just about through, except for sweeping up."   

Angela takes the push broom from him, "I'll do it."                         

Walker whistles for Old Ranger and the horse comes slowly into the barn and then goes in his stall. "There you go, old man---got you fresh hay down, water and oats, and I think I might have a carrot or two for you."                         

Angela watches as her dad feed the carrots to Old Ranger, and then Walker takes out the horse blanket and covers him. He then puts the "leggings" over all four legs, and snaps the blanket around Old Ranger's girth, and chest. She remembers how sad he was when he lost "Amigo",
it was the only time she had ever seen him shed a tear over a farm animal.                         

Walker comes out of the stall and sees his daughter watching him. "I know what you're thinking---it's just a matter of time and then I'll be saying goodbye to another dear friend----but I swear I will never get attached to another one---I mean it this time."                        

Angela continues to sweep, "Oh Daddy---you know that's not true---you're just an old 'softie' where your animals are concerned."                         

Walker takes a deep draw off his cigar and winks back at her, "Yeah----you think you know me pretty well, don't you?"                        

She says nothing as she smiles back at him, tossing her long hair out of her way. She could get to him with that smile of hers, just like her mother!

All of a sudden Angela just stops and looks around her, "What am I doing? This is the twins' job."

"You volunteered, Angela----it doesn't hurt to help your brothers once in awhile---it's not going to kill you." 

Angela groans and drops the broom, "But----all of this dust and pollen in the air can't be good for my complexion or my hair."                       

Walker laughs as he watches his daughter start dusting herself off and fanning the air. He can remember a time when Angela was every bit the "tomboy" and she could have cared less about the dangers of sweeping out a barn! But, as soon as she turned 13, her views on femininity took a complete turn. The hours she would spend on her hair and nails, the milk baths, and she and Alex could spend forever in a shopping mall---the credit cards proved that point!                        

Then, there was her wardrobe. He and Alex went round and round on the way Angela was dressing, especially those tight fitting jeans. He was always telling Alex that Angela's jeans were too tight, and he didn't like the way the boys stared at her.                       

Alex would try to tease him, "Honey----it's the trend. When the trend was loose fitting jeans, you didn't like them either! And then when the bell bottoms were making another come back---you hated them even more. Would you please let me make the decision on how our daughter should dress, if she tries to get out of hand, I will jerk her back to reality---real quick---okay?"   

Then there were the boys; they were definitely noticing her. He was also noticing how some of the rangers at headquarters were giving her the eye, and Trivette would have to calm him down when Walker thought some were letting their looks linger too long. When Alex was around, it was twice as bad---even after four kids---she was still turning the heads!                         

Walker is brought out of his daydream when he hears Angela shout. "What? What's wrong Angela---what happened?"                           

Angela looks down at her finger, "I almost broke a nail----that's what's wrong!!!! If I had broken a nail---the twins would hear about it---big time----believe me."

Walker sighs, "Oh, heaven forbid that you should break a nail----here, let me see."    

Walker takes his daughters' hand and kisses it, "There---all better---you'll live to see another day at the manicurists."                          

They sit down on a bale of hay, and Angela leans over on her Dad's shoulder. "I hope we will always be close, Daddy-----I see some of my friends and the way they are towards their parents, and the way some of the parents are towards them. They act like they don't like each other, much less---love one another."

Walker puts his arm around her. "I know, baby----that was always my biggest fear in becoming a parent, that my kids wouldn't like me. When you were born, I had all kinds of fears that we wouldn't be compatible, that I wasn't doing or saying the right things, and learning to 'bond' at that early age."                       

"Daddy---you've always been a good parent! You have always showed all of us all the love in the world, some of my friends should be so lucky to have a Father like you."                       

"What about the twins----do you think I'm too hard on them? I know sometimes I ride them pretty hard----do they resent me for being so tough on them?"                         

Angela looks up at her Dad, "You're asking me---my opinions on the twins? You and Mom should have skipped over the twins and just had me and Little Ray---you can't improve on perfection."                     

Walker laughs, "What about the new baby----are you really upset that there is going to be another one?"

"Truthfully, Daddy?"                       

"Yes---be honest with me."

"At first I was upset, because I'm a teenager now and most of my friends-----well---well---most of their parents don't even share the same bedroom, much less the same bed----and so there's no danger of them having new siblings-----except out of affairs with someone else."                       

Walker thinks about what his daughter has just said, "I'm sorry that you were upset----and I'm sorry that most of your friends' parents are in such unhappy marriages----but Angela---your Mother and I love each other and having a family has been our greatest gift to each other. Having someone to love you and to be loved back is the best thing that will happen in your life.----And, creating a life out of the love that you hold for each other---there is no comparison."

"Daddy----as long as we are being honest with each other, can I ask you a personal question?"

Walker looks into his daughters' eyes, "Baby---you can ask me anything you want---I've never lied to you."

Angela hesitates, "Have you ever been unfaithful to Mom?"                         

"No, Angela---I have not! I have never 'even' been tempted to cheat on your Mother-----that woman is my life. I love her more each day that we are together, and each time that we create a life together----I love her even more. Your Mother and I want this child, just as much when you and your brothers were conceived."

Angela hugs her Daddy, "But why did you wait so long to have another baby after the twins were born----there's nine years between them and Little Ray?"                        

"Well honey, after the twins were born, the Dr. advised us not to have anymore, or at least wait a few years before getting pregnant. So, for the first couple of years, your Mother went on the pill again, but we both wanted another baby and she got off the pills, but she couldn't conceive for some reason. So, we just sort of left it up to the 'man upstairs', if it was to be that we would have another--then so be it. The years passed, and then one day your Mother and I got into a big argument, it was the biggest argument that we had ever had. I don't even remember what
started the argument, I just know I was miserable and so was your Mother----but we were both so stubborn."                      

"What happened, Daddy? How did you make up?"                        

"Well, I took her to your great Uncle Ray's cabin----over on the south side of the ranch---you know the place?"                      

"That old, run down, one room shack, down by the river?"                         

"Yep, that's the one. That's where your great Uncle Ray and Aunt Ruth lived when they first got married. Your Uncle Ray built that cabin, all by himself. Anyways, when the government paid Uncle Ray what they illegally took from him and his people, including your Grandfather John,----he took the money and invested it for me while I was in the Marines. I sent home as much money as I could from my service pay, and Uncle Ray used all the money to start building this place. Each year, the place got bigger---cause he said he wanted me to fill up all the bedrooms with kids, his "grandkids" he liked to refer to them as."

"Anyways, after Aunt Ruth died---he stayed at that old cabin most of the time, saying he wanted to be close to her, and the twins."                          

Angela raises up and looks at her Father, "Twins?"                           

Walker nods his head, "Yeah, baby----there were twins---twin boys that were born to him and Aunt Ruth---unfortunately they died less than a week after they were born. Your Uncle Ray had them buried near the cabin, and when Aunt Ruth died, he buried her next to them."                          

"But, Daddy there are no crosses there---I've never seen any?"     

"No crosses, Angela----Uncle Ray said that he didn't have to know  a specific spot where they were buried----they were everywhere he walked, everywhere he breathed, he felt them in the wind, the sun, and every time a bird would sing. "                          

"What were their names, Daddy?"                             

"Their names were Wren and Raven, your brothers carry their names on the Cherokee registration at the reservation of Oklahoma. Cordell John Wren, and Cooper James Raven".                            

Angela repeats the names to herself, "So, what happened----how did you and Mom make up?"   

Walker smiles and pours another cup of coffee, Angela takes a small sip, and makes a face. She cuddles up closer to him, "Go on, Daddy."                           

"Well, I'm going to have to wrap this up so we can get back to the house and check on your baby brother. All I can say is that I planned a romantic evening at the cabin, I had all of your Mother's
favorite flowers and…"

"And, lilacs?"                           

"Yes baby----lots of lilacs----your mother's favorite. I had soft music, and it was a cold night---just like tonight is. So, I had the fireplace going, blankets piled up on the floor in front of a raging fire, a bottle of champagne, and----well almost nine months later-----Little Ray pops out."                           

Both Angela and her Dad start laughing, "Mom said that he was almost 2 weeks early."  

"Yep, he wasn't due till the 10th of June, but he decided he wanted out of there, so the 25th of May----he made his appearance."                            

"Isn't that amazing Daddy, that all of us kids were born in May, the twins on the 1st, mine is the 19th, and Little Ray's is the 25th! When is the new baby due?"                            

Walker shakes his head, "Would you believe the end of May?"                           

"Are you serious, Daddy?"                             

"That's what the Dr. says, we’ll just have to wait and see, won't we? In the meantime, you better get up to the house, check on your brother and get ready for bed, tomorrow is a school day, you
know?"                              

Angela stands up and yawns, "Okay, Daddy----good night----I love you."                              

Walker kisses his daughter's cheek, "I love you too baby---good night."

As Angela is going up to the house, Alex's SUV pulls into the drive and the twins come towards the barn. 

"We'll finish up, Dad---thanks."                               

"I've got everything done, but one of you can check the hen house for eggs---since your brother has again neglected his chores."                                

The boys’ head for the hen house and Walker watches as his wife walks up to him slowly. He reaches out and pulls her into him, rubbing her back and arms, "What's wrong, hon---you feeling alright?"   

She nods as she nestles in closer to him, "I'm o.k., it's just been a tiring day---actually the whole week has been exhausting. I guess little Bobby Jackson's death has affected us all in so many ways," she says as she thinks back to the chilling conversation that she just had with the twins.                                 

Walker squeezes her tighter, "I know, and we're not any closer to finding out what happened, no witnesses, nothing! Nobody saw anything---and that is very puzzling to both Trivette and me."                                 

"What about this trip that you and Jimmy are going on to Dell City? What do you expect to find down there?"

Walker pours the last of his coffee, and shares it with Alex. "I'm not sure what we're going to find down there, Trivette has been checking all of the crimes against kids for the last 10 years and believe me, he's been pulling his hair out trying to get it narrowed down. He got it narrowed down to sexual crimes with ---well, let's just say---unnatural surroundings."                                

"And Dell City is in that category?"                                  

"Yeah, there's a case involving two little boys, and something about the case made Trivette's hair stand on ends. He said my Cherokee intuition was rubbing off on him, and the bio was similar, to a point.  But yet, the story about one of the little boys was kept hush-hush because the boys' Father was the base commander at Ft. Hood in El Paso."                                

"What do you mean it was kept hush-hush, was the crime committed on base, a military crime?"

Walker stares down at his wife, "It's a long story hon, and I get the feeling that this is not what you want to hear right now, did something happen tonight that has got you so upset?"  

Alex starts to mention the conversation with the twins, then decides Walker does not need to hear their comments. He didn't need any more worries than he already had, and him having to go out of town.      

"Walker--- how long are you going to be gone? What about the services on Sunday, will you be back in time?"                              

"Yes Alex, I will be back in time for the services, if I have to drive all night, I'll be here."      

"Then----promise me something else?"                                 

Walker pushes her hair back out of eyes as the wind has picked up even more. "What honey?"

She goes back into his arms and snuggles up against him, "Promise me---that when you get back, we'll take some time to be alone together---just the two of us?"                                 

He laughs, "Well, you know what? I have been thinking about just that----what do you say that we go over to Uncle Ray's cabin tonight and spend some quality time doing-----whatever that comes to mind?"   

She pushes away from him, "Tonight? Are you serious----what about the kids?" 

"Nope---the kids can't come---it's a school night," he teases.                              

She hits him playfully in the chest, "I mean---can we leave them alone, can we trust them not to get into another food fight?"                              

He turns her around and points her in the direction of his truck, "Only one way to find out, go get in the truck, and I'll talk to the rug rats."                              

She hesitates, "Well, maybe I should tell them where we're going…"                              

He prods her towards the Ram, "I'll do it----you take too long to set the rules, go get in the truck. ----Then I am going down to the basement to get a bottle of wine and some cheese, and we will be on our way." 

Alex walks slowly to the truck, and then starts backing up-"Are you sure about this?"  

Walker says nothing, just waves her away and start towards the house.  He calls out to Angela as he goes through the door, she's on her way upstairs, trying to carry Little Ray.                       

"What, Daddy?"                         

He goes up the stairs and takes his baby son from her and walks towards the boy's room. Walker pulls the boys' boots off and hangs his hat over the bedpost.                         

"He must have woke up again and put his boots back on, because I took them off when I put his jammies on him, and he had that darn hat half way off his head-----really Daddy---you got to do something about that hat."                         

Walker pulls the blankets up and tucks in his son, kisses his forehead and pushes his hair back. "I plan to, baby----but right now I need to ask a favor of you."                         

"A favor, what kind of favor Daddy?"                         

"Well----I want to take your Mother away for a couple of hours and I wanted to know if you think you can hold down the fort till we get back----what I'm really asking is do you think you and twins can refrain from killing one another?"                           

Angela smiles,  "Are you taking Mom to Uncle Ray's cabin?"                           

Walker sees the devilish smile  crossing his daughter's lips, "Yes, I am----we need some time alone----will that be okay?"                            

Angela squeals, "Yes!!!! ----Oooohhh Daddy----that is so romantic-----you need more than a couple of hours-----spend the night! I can take care of things--- really---I'll make sure the twins behave." 

"Angela-----I don't want you bossing them around---that's what starts these arguments. Just because you're the oldest---you can't boss them---understood?"                          

She stands there looking back at him, -------"Oh, okay----but what about when you go out of town you say the twins are the men of the house, and they can boss me and Little Ray----even Mom?"

Walker 's brow goes up, "The twins don't try to boss your Mom------do they?"                           

"To a certain extent---they try to---but Mom gives them that look and they back down."  

Walker smiles, trying to picture the twins telling their Mom that they are now the men of the house, and he's left them in charge.  He couldn't picture anyone telling Alex what to do, not even him!

"Look, Angela---that's different. When I leave the boys in charge, it's to show them that have to make decisions without me around.  They are young men, they have to be the head of the house----the "head of the tee-pee" as your Uncle Ray and your "Showpaw" would say. The man always looks out for the women and the young, it's our duty, it's what bred into us. The twins have to learn to take care of the ranch, and all of you---when I'm not here. Then as they get older and have families of their own, they will teach their sons."

Angela rolls her eyes up in her head, "Oh my God----families of their own----are you aware of what you' are suggesting, Daddy?  That there might be more Cordell’s’ and Coopers’ walking this earth?---- Please, Daddy----just say you were  talking out of your head?"                          

Walker sighs, "Maybe your Mother is right----we can't possibly think about leaving you three alone for five minutes, much less a couple of hours."                          

"Daddy---I'm kidding---go---go take Mom to a romantic setting at Uncle Ray's place---I promise---the twins and I will call a truce----till you get back---tomorrow."

He looks at her suspiciously, "Are you sure?"                          

Angela hugs him tightly, "Yes Daddy---I'm sure."                          

Walker and Alex take the five-mile drive down to the river and to the one room shack that has held so many memories for them.  He makes Alex stay in the warmth of the Ram until he can get the fireplace started, then he returns to the truck and carries her into the shack, kicking the door shut, behind them. 

The Seekers VII    

By Sasquaw          

Alex giggles as her husband eases her down on the floor of the cabin. She looks around at the little one room place, then looks back to Walker and smiles.

"Honey---don't ever change it," she pleads.
               

Walker smiles at her and kisses her tenderly, then raises his brow up towards the ceiling. "What about the hole in the roof---you don't want me to fix that either?"
                

Alex laughs, "Well---maybe you could fix that-----but don't change anything else! I want this place to stay the way that Uncle Ray left it and the way it was the very first time you brought me here".
                 

Walker puts more wood on the fire and starts laying out the double sleeping bag. Because of Alex's  "condition" he has brought an air mattress to put under the sleeping bag to make it more comfortable for her. He piles the blankets up, and starts pulling the wine and cheese from the basket he has packed. He pours them both a glass and walks back to her.

"Oooooh yes----I remember that first time---very clearly." He reaches down and kisses her neck, "it was right after we came back from that rafting trip that a certain blond tricked me into going on. We came here to get away from phones and prying noses. It was pouring down rain and we had a heck of a time trying to find a dry place to lay our sleeping bag down. Finally, we just said 'to hell with it' since we spent so much time in the water, than on the raft."

Alex smiles and looks up at him the way that drives him crazy. "Tricked you? Maybe you were a little hesitant about going, but you sure changed your mind towards evening time, and we made camp away from the other rafters. I didn't hear any ‘complaining’ then."

Walker continues to kiss her neck and helping her out of her jacket. "I'm not crazy----I was about to be seduced by a beautiful blonde, no man in his right man would pass that up!"

Alex continues to tease him, "Oh, I get it----because you think you were going to be seduced, any blonde would do, or redhead, or brunette----like that one on the trip that was literally trying to seduce you---right in front of me?"

"What brunette?

"Don't play coy with me, you know darn well who I'm referring to."

Walker takes a sip of his wine, his brow going up and down. "Can I help it if women find me so irresistible?"             

Alex tilts her head, "Well, you resisted my charms for almost four years, which doesn't say much for my ego.                 

Walker laughs and takes her hand, pulling her towards the fireplace. "I resisted you, because you scared me."      

"Scared you? The great Cherokee warrior scared of a woman?"      

Walker sits his glass of wine down and takes Alex's from her, he sees the full glass then it dawns on him, she's not suppose to be drinking any alcohol. "Oh no----I forgot! Honey---I forgot you're not supposed to be drinking. Want me to go back to the house and get you some tea?"

"Nooooo, I don't want you going back to the ranch house to get me tea----a couple of sips of wine is not going to hurt the baby---besides----I don't want you out of my sight------And, why do you say that I scared you?"
                           

Walker starts helping Alex to shed her clothes, "Because I knew you had wicked thoughts going through that mind of yours, and I couldn't think straight when you were around----wicked, wicked woman---you just wanted my body!

Alex is laughing as she takes off the remainder of her clothes and slides into the sleeping bag. Walker is standing on one foot, trying to get his boots off. The fireplace is emitting a glow that silhouettes his body as he pulls his sweater over his head. Alex swallows, as she looks at his physique. Almost 16 yrs of marriage and Walker still had the same physique he had when they first married, maybe an added inch or two around the waist, but he was still making her heart race                        

She loved watching him go through his martial arts with the kids, doing pushups with one of them laying across his back, and they were always running, even Little Ray. Walker worked with all of them as early as 6 months. He would lay in the floor with Angela, gently pushing her little legs back and forth, encouraging her to kick. As she got older, he would take her to the gym with him and let her have the run of the place, watching other kids that were not much older than her, going through their paces. She would get right out there with them kicking her little feet up,
and trying to copy everything her Daddy was doing. Walker had a special little robe made for her, with a lavender belt. As she got older, the belts were being replaced by the official colors that marked their progress.

It was the same way with the twins and Little Ray, as soon as they were old enough----they were all in the arts.  Walker started the twins out in wrestling, and judo. As they got older, he encouraged them to each take a particular division that they each favored. Cordell's was boxing, and he took his first state title in his age group at the age of eight! Cooper liked to kick, and Walker encouraged him to kick box, he too started taking titles. Angela had her black belt in karate, Ti kwon do, and kick boxing. Little Ray was still going for his green belt, cause he was still trying to wear those boots while going to class. The instructors were having a heck of a time getting the boots and the hat away from him!  

Alex purrs as Walker starts discarding his pants and easing himself into the sleeping bag. "Well------you are right about one thing---I am crazy for your body----but it's what you 'do' with that body that drives me to be a wicked woman."                     

Walker reaches for his wife, putting his hands under her buttocks and drawing her into him. "My body is just re-acting to your wicked spells ---you had your way with me that night on the rafting trip and my body hasn't been able to think straight since!"

Alex giggles as she feels his manhood against her. She massages his chest---"I think your body has been very straight ever since----I just had to show you what you had been passing up all those years---when you kept me at ‘arms' length."

"Yep----you sure have taught me a lesson. But, I kept you at ‘arms' length" or however you want to refer to it as, because you were being sought after by every male in the courthouse. I just had to wait till your 'dance card' was free. I don't like playing second fiddle.             

Alex puts her arms around his neck and kisses him tenderly, she sighs. "What about you?  Each time that I thought you might be interested, you were always involved with someone else, and we still went our separate ways. I sometimes wonder how we ever got together, if it wasn't other love interests getting in our way, then it was our careers."

Walker takes his forefinger and gently glides it down his wife's cheek, tipping her chin upwards and kisses her lips lightly. "We got together----because it was meant to be----all those obstacles were just that, and we got past every one of them, because we were meant to be together. It just took a little longer than what we both wanted. We became friends first, and then we became lovers. Maybe that's why we have managed to keep our sex drive so active.

"Alex looks at him confused, "What do you mean by that?"                           

"Because we know each other, Alex. We know each other so well that sometimes I know what you're going to say or do, before you do it, and you're the same way with me. We've cared enough about each other to find that inner strength in one another that we're like one, but yet we're not. The main thing is that we don't take our love for granted, just like we promised each other that night on the river.           

Alex continues to massage Walker's chest, she nods her head in agreement. "I think we both knew the direction our relationship was taking after that night and I for one, have never regretted ‘tricking’ you into taking that rafting trip."

Walker pulls her in closer to him, his hands going back to her buttocks, "That makes two of us Mrs. Walker."  His lips find hers and he kisses her deeply, his right hand slipping down in between her thighs. "You know what happened the last time that we were here----you got pregnant!                        

Alex returns his kisses, "That was four years ago with Little Ray, but honey---I'm already pregnant."

Walker's hand finds her wet mound and massages her softly, "Well, it's a damn good thing that you are, because if you weren't--you would be after tonight! I plan to make love to you all night, and maybe we will find new positions to explore---and honey ----you can scream as loud as you want---we don't have to worry about waking up the kids!"
                             
************************************************************

Danny makes his way back to the apartment, and he prays that Sarge is still asleep. The old building that they have called 'home' is almost ready to be condemned. There are no utilities, just a shell of an old apartment building. The city keeps leaving leaflets saying the building will be torn down on the 1st of November, that's less than a week away. There are others that have made temporary living quarters, living in old cardboard boxes and going through the dumpsters for food and sometimes clothing. Danny hates the smell, as he makes his way up the creaky stairs to their room. Sarge had promised to take care of him, and this is how the old man was keeping his promise.

The only income they had was from the drugs that Sarge would sell, and he had made arrangements with the man at the corner grocery store to bring them food. In turn----Sarge would give him drugs or now and then, he would bring the man-----a favor of his choice. Unlike Sarge, he preferred the little girls. His last 'toy' was not interesting any more, she didn't fight him----she just lay there.                       

Danny creeps slowly into their room, Sarge is still asleep and snoring so loud that Danny has to put his hands over his ears. He sits down on the floor, reflecting on the events of the day. If only Sarge would let him keep that little janitorial job at the high school, it would mean so much to him. He looks back at the old man, and then he thinks of the conversation that he had earlier with Kiwi, and Kiwi's demand to kill Sarge. Danny still couldn't believe that Kiwi wanted his own father killed. But, Kiwi was just as crazy and weird as Sarge, maybe even more so. Kiwi wanted the girl with the long auburn hair, but Danny wanted her too.    

He smiles as he thinks of her, that long, beautiful, hair swaying back and forth. When she walked, it was like she 'glided', and when she smiled----her whole face was like that of an angel. She had such beautiful blue eyes, her skin looked flawless, and she had a little dimple at one side of her mouth. Danny had her face 'tattooed' into his memory, he was dreaming of her at night. At school, he would stand in the shadows watching her; he saw her put the knee to that boy. He smiled to himself, he wished he could have taken that boy and break him into, how dare
anyone say such things to a vision of perfection? He and Sarge witnessed the two young boys going to the defense of their sister, he was also glad that he and Sarge hadn't tried to abduct them, they would have been more than Danny and Sarge could handle! Every time the younger boy hit the older one, Danny would smile, wishing it was him that was hitting the jerk.

Danny remembers going by the church and hearing the choir sing. He kept thinking about the one song that he heard a young voice singing; it brought back so many memories. He could faintly remember his Grandmother singing that song, it was a song that only a few people could do justice to, and the young voice had the song down perfectly. There were notes that required a certain pitch, the way that singer sung it so many years ‘What was her name?’ ago. Danny tries to recall the singers' name, he shakes his head----he's forgotten so much in the past three years! He hums the song to himself, he will definitely take another trip to the church.         

"Danny!!! Where have you been?"

Danny jumps up, trying to think of some excuse for being gone so long. "I was looking for another place for us to move to, Sarge----you know we have to be out of here by the first----they're tearing this place down!                

The old man glares at him, "Never mind----I think I have found us a place----somewhere out in the country---away from all these nosy people. We will check it out in the morning."       

"Where is this place, Sarge?"                         

Sarge starts motioning for the Danny to join him, "It's off of highway 199----near where you saw that  little whore that you are dreaming about.”

Danny swallows, he thought his dreams were safe----now he can't even depend on his dreams taking him to another world---a ‘normal world’."               

"I don't remember seeing any apartments out that way-----there's only ranches and farms out that way.”

"There are several ranches out that way, but there's one in particular that we will check into. The owner is old-----he won't give us any trouble----the name on the mailbox is Ferguson, Hank Ferguson."
                              
***********************************************************          

Alex has taken Walker's statement about screaming literally. He has taken her to one orgasm already and in the process of another, as he lowers himself between her thighs.

His tongue goes the full length of her mound, pulling her vaginal lips together tenderly and then letting go. He lets his beard rub softly across her mound, knowing that it's sheer ecstasy for her, and then he inserts his index finger into her vagina slowly. His tongue finds her lips again and in unison with his finger, he commences to dart his tongue in and out. Alex is arching her back as he pulls her into him even more, as he takes both buttocks and buries his face into her mound.                         

Alex is pushing him gently away and urging him to come up to her. He refuses to leave the hot, wet mound and squeezes her buttocks tighter as he takes her inside his lips.                          

"Walker-----please----" she pleads.

He still refuses to leave his 'prize' as he sucks harder, his tongue finding her clitoris, and then he inserts two fingers, twisting and probing, and then his lips find hers again. Alex is trying to pull away from him, coming completely off the floor, causing Walker to suck even deeper, feeling her juices starting to spew. The juice is dripping down the inside of her thighs, and soon is being tenderly licked. He can feel her hands reaching for him and he starts slowly up her stomach, licking and gently biting.

Alex is breathing deeply as she grabs him around the neck and starts kissing him deeply, her tongue going inside his mouth, tasting her fluids. He stops and looks at her for a second, feeling her whole body shivering at his touch. Her eyes are going back in her head as he puts his arms under her and pulls her up to him, rolling over, taking her with him.                       

She is now on top as the light from the fireplace surrounds her, giving her an even sexier look. She lowers herself onto him slowly, going deeper and deeper till she has him buried deep inside of her. Walker watches her every move as he takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, his hands going to both sides of her hips. His thumbs move inward, massaging her groin, as she begins to set a slow tempo. She sits upright, letting her hands go under her breasts, pushing them up, and then she teases him by slowly twisting the nipples till they are sticking out like the nipple
on a baby bottle!  She looks down at her husband and sighs seductively.              

Walker can barely talk above a whisper, "Damn it, Mrs. Walker----you get sexier each time you get pregnant, and with the twins-----you were insatiable!"

Alex lowers her head and kisses his chest She purrs, "A woman is only as sexy as her lover makes her, and you John Cordell Walker, have never lacked in that department."

He takes his hands from her hips and finds the back of her head and pulls her down for a long and sensuous kiss, his right hand going up and down her backside while he raises his body to meet her tempo. Alex groans as she takes him deeper, moving slowly from side to side to accommodate his size. His hands go back to her hips, pushing her up till he's almost out of her and then pulls her down. Each time he does, Alex's body wants to scream from ecstasy.

She massages his chest, "You're abnormal honey---I swear---you are abnormal." She takes her breath as he repeats his routine, "Other men shrink over the years----you just keep getting bigger!"                 

He smiles and kisses her breasts, taking the nipples one by one, "And you love every inch of me, right?"                       

"Yes----oh yes," she pants heavier as their tempo is getting faster, his hands kneading her buttocks harder. She sits back on top of him, raising herself up and down, her legs are starting to quiver, and it's getting so hot inside that cabin. She pushes the blanket further away from her as their bodies start to glisten from the sweat and body fluids.          

Walker is breathing heavier as he reaches up and rolls over with him still inside her. He raises back and looks at her tenderly, "Sort of like that first time-----when you thought you would never be able to take all of me----huh?

Alex sighs, "Yes----and I still have trouble accommodating you at times," she kisses him long and hard, "And, just like that first time----I have a feeling I'm going to be soooo sore afterwards."

He teases her, "Had enough? Wanna stop?"

She shakes her head slowly as she raises her left leg to go over his shoulder, he moves slightly so she can get the other one over his shoulder too,  "I'll tell you when I've had enough, Cowboy, now---continue---slow."

Walker lowers his head, taking her breasts again, and then to her lips, "Whatever you say, my love---for as long as you want-----or you wear me out----whichever comes first."
                          
****************************************************************

Angela has stepped from the shower, and her phone is ringing, she runs to answer it.

"Hi Angela-----how you doing?”

Angela hesitates before answering, because she's heard this voice before.

"Who is this?" She asks slowly.         

"This is Kiwi----I just had to hear your voice again, you have the voice of an angel, has anyone ever told you that?"

Angela sighs, "How did you get my number? I told Darcy to stop giving my phone number out----let me talk to her."

Kiwi hesitates, trying to remember who Darcy is, then remembers her to be the dark haired girl that he got ‘acquainted' with at that earlier party. He makes a face, "Uhhh, she's not here right now, stepped out to get us something to eat---now Angela---what do you say---we get together for a drink?"

"I don't drink! I'm underage and besides, I don't know you."         

Kiwi's expression changes, he knows that he can't rush things with this one. "I'm sorry Angela, I forgot-----you just sound so mature for your age----I forgot---how old are you,----16?"                 

Angela sheds the towel and reaches for her sleeping gown. "No------I'm only 15---I'll be 16 in May."

"Sweet 16----and never been kissed---I'll bet."

"I've been kissed," Angela almost shouts into the phone----"not that it's any of your business!"

"Oh yeah---I forgot----you were all hot and heavy for that school Romeo, what's his name, Dylan Reed? But, I also heard about the nasty remark he made to you and how you kicked him in the nuts---not once-----but twice."

"How do you know about that, do you go to Springtown High, I've never heard your name before until Darcy mentioned it. I thought you were older, college, maybe?"

"Does it matter where I go to school, Angela? SO? Was he the one?"

"The 'one' what?"

"Is he the one that shares your lips, and I must say----you have very sexy lips?"

Angela's intuition says to nip this conversation before it can go further. "That's not any of your business, that's personal. I'm hanging up now, and I don't want you calling here anymore, understand?"

"Angela, don't be so touchy----I didn't mean anything----I'm sorry. Now, what about that party on Saturday night----you are coming, aren't you? You haven't backed out?

Again, Angela hesitates about answering---"Yes---I'm coming----but like I told Darcy-----I'm not staying very long and you promise you will bring me home when I say----right?"

Kiwi smiles to himself, "You can count on me, Angela----just say the word, and I'll take you straight home."

Angela hangs up the phone and stares at it. A chill goes up her spine, but she shakes it off and goes to sit at her dressing table. She shakes her long hair loose, applying some cream that makes it easier to comb out. She takes long even strokes, getting all the tangles out as her memory goes back to one of the questions that Kiwi asked her. Was it Dylan Reed that shared her kisses? Angela smiles and reaches for the picture on her dresser of her and a young man that was taken at 6 Flags in front of the carousel. He has his arm around her waist, and she's looking up at him.
Just moments before that picture was taken he had kissed her but it wasn't the first time.

They had shared little kisses before, but the one in front of the carousel was special, they both felt it. She had heard other girls talk about their first 'real' kiss, and how they felt afterwards. Neither of them said much for the remainder of the ride home, he just kept holding her hand and looking at her. She loved looking into his eyes, they were a beautiful olive green and he had the longest eyelashes that she had ever seen on a boy.  She knew he was leaving, but she thought he would at least call and tell her goodbye----he left without saying anything to her. Her anger gets the best of her as she slams the picture face down.

"You couldn't be more wrong about who shares my thoughts----and it sure isn't Dylan Reed!

"What about Dylan Reed?"

Angela jumps as she turns and sees the twins standing in her doorway.  "Can we come in?" Asks Cooper.

She motions for them to enter, they look at her suspiciously. "Who was on the phone, Angela, you know you're not suppose to be on the phone, that's part of your restriction---what if Mom and Dad should call and find the line busy?"

Cordell nudges his brother, "Put a lid on it bro, don't start anything---okay? We don't want anything to interfere with tomorrow morning, alright?"

Cooper nods his head, "Yeah---you're right---is everything all set for tomorrow Angela?"

"Everything is fine on my end how about you two----got everything ready?"

Cordell smiles, "Everything is taken care of Sis, I guess we all better get to bed early so we can all get up in plenty of time to take care of our chores too."

Cooper makes a face, "You and I never have to worry about getting up on time, it's Sleeping Beauty here that we have to worry about."

Angela throws her comb at her brother, "I can't help it, I take after Mom about getting up early."

Cooper reaches down and picks up the comb and tosses it back to her, "Yeah, and Cordell and I take after Dad. We can survive with very little sleep."

Cordell nods, "Well, whichever----I'm turning in, goodnight Sis."

"Goodnight Cordell."

Cooper hesitates about leaving, "Are you okay, Angela, is there something wrong, is it that Reed punk?"                               

Angela looks at her brother, and sees the genuine concern in his face, she still hasn't learned of the confrontation between the twins and Dylan. She knows they have never like him, mainly because their Dad didn't care for him.

"I'm fine Coop----just a lot on my mind."

Cooper shrugs, "What mind? You got nothing but ‘girlie’ things running through that space that you call a brain."  

Angela lowers her head and looks up at him, "If you don't get out of here, I'm going to embarrass you by giving you a goodnight kiss."

Cooper starts backing up, "Not that!----I'm leaving----I'm gone!" and then he's out the door. Angela smiles and turns back to her mirror, she hears a noise running up behind her and then a quick kiss is felt on her cheek. She turns and sees Cooper backing up to the door, and he winks at her. "Night, Sis."
                               
*****************************************************

The lovers have reached an all time high as their bodies cling to each other, and body fluids are rushing from both of them. Walker takes one last thrusts and then his legs go to Jell-O and he collapses on top of his wife.  She holds him tight, rubbing his shoulders and back, never wanting him to leave her body. Their bodies are dripping with sweat, as the cold air from the cabin begins to encircle them. Walker reaches down for the blankets and pulls them back up as Alex starts to shiver

"This has got to be the quickest way to get pneumonia that I know of," she whispers, "our bodies are hot and wet----the cabin is freezing."

He rolls over on his side, keeping his arms around her, "I can warm you back up real quick, just give me a few minutes to catch my second wind.”

She laughs and snuggles up to him, "Second wind?----More like your fourth----or is it your fifth?”

"I lost count-----you do that to me," he kisses her forehead and pulls her closer.

Alex rises up and looks down at her husband, caressing his beard with her finger, "Walker----promise me---we'll come back here again, real soon, and I don't mean ---four years from now?"

He kisses her, "I promise----we'll come back as often as you like----as often as the kids will let us.---I'm surprised that we haven't got a phone call saying that one of them is hanging from the rafters."

"I'm not surprised----they need time away from us, too."

Walker sighs, "It's just that in the last couple of years they've started arguing so much, they can't seem to say one decent thing to each other without starting a argument."

"Honey---it's only natural that brothers and sisters fight and have arguments."

"How would you know, you've never had any siblings---- we were both 'only child’s’."

"Yes, and that's just exactly why we both agreed that we would have more than one, we didn't want Angela losing out the way we did on not having any brothers or sisters."

Walker laughs, "Well, to hear our daughter talk, she would be perfectly happy being an 'only child', even though she does tolerate Little Ray."
                            

"It's just a faze the kids are going through, all kids, even ours are going to argue and fight----it's in their blood! They have you for a Father, a true fighter in every sense of the word, and hot tempered, never backing down from a fight. And----I've been known to lose my temper a time or two----and my job as a lawyer is to argue and debate. Honey----it's the genes! Besides, I know, and you know that when the chips are down, the kids will "bond" together-----they know how important family is."

"I suppose you're right, and we do have to admit that besides the food fights, and such, we are very fortunate. They're not into drugs or alcohol, and that alone is something to be very thankful for. Maybe we have done the right thing about the way we've raised them, especially you."

"Me?---Honey, it's taken both of us to raise them. You've always been right there from the beginning, the nurturing, the examples you set. It takes both a Mother and Father for a child to be raised in these times. "

"But, you're the back-bone Alex, the taxi driver, counselor for all their arguments, nurse maid for when they get hurt, you've encouraged them in their religious beliefs, chief cook and bottle washer----the whole nine yards!"

"And, you're their strength, Walker. They all adore you, they worship the ground that you walk on"!

Walker shifts around to reach back and put another log on the fire. "I'm not so sure about that, especially with the twins when I have to discipline them, I don't think they adore me then, I don't think they even like me at that point."

"Oh honey---they understand discipline---they might not like it---but they understand why we do the things we do---It doesn't mean they stop liking us----if we didn't care about them and love them, we would be like so many other parents that don't take the time to show discipline---And that is one thing that we both agreed on was the discipline and how to distribute it. You take care of the boys and I take care of Angela's. We've both agreed on how they should be punished, we’ve both had a belt taken to us a time or two---and we turned out okay. When the talks don't
help, a quick trip to the woodshed or the barn is the next step. A lot of parents don't believe in spankings, and that's their choice, it's not ours. And, we both agree that the government should stay out of it when we discipline our kids. That's the problem now. Parents are afraid to discipline their kids."

The Seekers VIII

Walker and Alex continue talking about their kids, Alex yawns and reaches for her husband's wristwatch. "Three a.m.---I can't believe the time has passed so quickly! Honey, we better be getting back to the house, in just a few hours the kids will be getting up for breakfast."

He turns towards her, "They can get their own breakfast, they have cereal and oatmeal to put together."

"Cereal? Not on cold mornings like this---I want them to have a hot breakfast."

He continues to tease her, "They can put the cereal in the microwave---presto----hot breakfast."

She slaps him in the chest playfully, "Oh you----how would you like to have cereal on a cold day like today?"

Walker grimaces, "I don't like cereal on any kind of day----and, I feel my second wind coming back, I don't want to leave this nice warm sleeping bag---get my message?"

Alex smiles, rolling over to him, "I get your message---or rather I'm 'feeling' your message---loud and strong.----But, my love----my tailbone is sore----sooooo I will just 'take care of you'----if that's alright?"

Walker grins and lays back, "Whatever you say, sexy lady----just have your way with me---you wicked woman

Alex starts sliding down his lean hard body, "Honey----shut up and let me concentrate---okay?

"It takes concentration?"

Alex purrs, "Yes---I'm not sure where I want to start. Top, bottom, or in between---I may have to repeat myself cause you know how I am on perfection."

Walker is pondering her statement, as his brow goes up in a question mark. "I can't for the life of me picture in my mind how you could 'mess up' as you put it, or what the results would be, but I'll be praying that you do, just for the sake of you repeating yourself."

Alex is laughing and Walker's manhood is bobbing back and forth, "Would you please be quiet, and be still---so I can get hold of my 'joy toy?"

Walker grins and makes a gesture across his lip, "Not another word from me----proceed, my lady."
                           
****************************************************************

It's now morning as Walker and Alex have returned home, walking into the house, arms around each other. They stop and sniff the aroma coming from the kitchen.

"Does my nose deceive me, or do I smell bacon," asks Walker.

Alex whispers back, "I smell it, too," and they tip toe to the kitchen and look in. The kids are running around, trying to put breakfast together. Walker and Alex look at each other and then step backwards so they can't be seen.

"I got potatoes ready for the hash browns, what about the biscuits, are the biscuits ready, Cordell?"

Cordell runs to the oven and takes a quick glance, "Yeah, they're turning a golden brown----what about the gravy, Angela----is it ready yet?"

"Just about---what do you think---do I have enough of the lumps out?"   

"Looks good to me, Little Ray----get the jelly and the butter out of the refrigerator, then come back for Mom's orange juice."

The boy nods his head and runs to the refrigerator, his hat bouncing back and forth.

Cooper is running around with one of his mothers' aprons on, "Here I come with the potatoes, damn---those onions were sure fresh---my eyes are watering so bad I can't see."

Angela turns around, "Did you cut up the peppers? Daddy likes peppers in his hash browns?"

Cooper dumps the potatoes in the hot grease, "Yes Angela----I cut up the peppers----are you making the gravy now?”

Walker and Alex look at each other, "Honey---they're fixing us breakfast."

Walker sighs, remembering the last time they were supposed to be getting supper ready and a food fight broke out. He looks quickly around the kitchen, they have been cleaning up their mess as they go. Thank God for that, he knows how Alex is about her kitchen.

"Little Ray, have you got the table set," shouts Cordell.

Little Ray runs back into the kitchen for the silverware, "Yeath----me help too."

Cooper stops and runs to the coffee pot, "Dad's coffee is about ready, they should be here soon, are we ready to put the eggs on----remember Mom likes her scrambled."

Alex pulls on her husband's jacket, "We need to go out and come back in, and make some noise."

They go back to the front door, where Walker opens and slams the door----"Something sure smells good," he shouts.

Alex chimes in, "It sure does-----I'm hungry."

"They're here---they're here----put the eggs on Cordell."

"I've got Mom's cooking----don't break the yolk in Dad's eggs, you know he likes to sop up the gravy with his biscuits," he reminds Angela.

Walker and Alex step into the kitchen and pretend to be totally surprised. Alex's mouth drops open, "What is this----are you guys fixing us breakfast?

Cooper runs to the coffee pot and pours his dad a cup, "Sit down Dad, Mom---I will get you some juice.

"Me get it," replies Little Ray as he tries to lift the pitcher up. Alex grimaces and motions for Walker to help him.

"Let me help you, buckaroo, that pitcher is almost as big as you."

Walker and Alex are sipping their drinks as the kids start placing the food on the table. They look at each other and shake their heads, they can't believe the food the kids have prepared for
them. Walker looks around him and then winks at Alex. "Alright-----where is the caterer, where's he hiding?"
                                   

The kids stop and look at their Dad, "There's no caterer, Dad, we did all this ourselves."

Alex smiles, "He's just kidding you---we know that you kids prepared this yourselves----and we appreciate it---don't we, honey?"

Walker rubs his hands together and smacks his lips, "Yep----now let's eat----I'm starved."

The kids continue to wait on their parents and continually asking if the food is alright. Walker looks at Cooper and the apron that he's wearing. "That sure is a nice little addition to your jeans
and western shirt, are you starting a new trend, son?”

Angela laughs, "Yeah, brother dear----you sure look cute----in Mom's apron---what's the matter, I thought you said that cooking was a woman's job?"

Cooper shrugs and puts his hands on his hips and prisses. "Sister dear-----some of the best cooks in the world are men----right, Mom?"

Alex is on her second helping of gravy and potatoes, "You are so right----and sweetheart---these hash browns are delicious."                   

Walker nods his head and reaches for more. "These eggs are cooked just the way I like them, with the yolks running off my plate----and my bacon is running to catch up with them."

He looks to Little Ray and dabs his bacon, "There's one that almost got away." 

The boy giggles and grabs his bacon back, "Me hungry too, Daddy."

Walker reaches out and pinches his nose playfully, "You're always hungry."

"Mom, are your eggs okay?" asks Cordell. "Do you want some more?"

"Sweetheart, my eggs are delicious," she starts to decline Cordell's offer and then changes her mind, "You know what, I think I could eat one more----if it's not too much trouble?"

Cordell jumps from the table, "No problem, Mom, I got them ready---just in case."           

Everyone has finished their plates, except for Little Ray----he's still eating gravy and biscuits. Walker looks at him and shakes his head, "Where do you put all of that food?"

Little Ray pats his tummy, "Here, Daddy----in my tummy."

They all laugh, and the kids start to clear the table. Alex stops them, "Why don't you let me and your Dad do the cleanup----you kids need to get ready for school."

Cordell nods, "Okay, Mom----we got our chores done outside, come on Coop---let's finish getting ready."

Walker winks at Alex and then to Little Ray, "Speaking of chores----someone at this table hasn't been doing their chores."
                                

The twins sit back down, and everyone stares at Little Ray. He's got a big mouthful of gravy as he stops chewing and looks at his family, his blue eyes darting from one face to the next. He looks to his Daddy and sits back in his chair, shrugging his shoulders in a "Who? Me?"
look.

Walker continues to stare at him, trying hard not to laugh. "You know, everyone in this family has certain chores to do, and when the chores don't get done, then someone is not doing their share of the load."

Little Ray stares back at him and then looks at the twins and then to Angela.

"Little Ray," Walker says slowly, "I'm referring to you----for three days now, you haven't been doing your chores, well at least---not all of your chores. Two of your chores is to feed the
chickens and bring the eggs in from the henhouse, lately the twins have been doing that for you, now what am I going to do about this?"

The boy's eyes get bigger, as he looks to his Mother. Alex bites her bottom lip, to keep from smiling.

Walker pretends to think about the situation deeply, he rubs his beard. "When Angela doesn't do her chores, she gets put on restriction. When the twins don't do theirs----sometimes they get
sent to the barn-----now---which way do I go with you, Little Ray-----do you want restriction---or do you want to go the barn?"

The twins both speak up, "Say restriction, Little Ray----restriction.”

The boy looks to his sister, she smiles back and nods her head, "Restriction."

Little Ray sits up in his chair, "Iction," he says, trying to pronounce the word.

Walker looks back to his wife, "Iction? I don't know, Little Ray---failing to bring the eggs in so Mommy can fix my eggs in the morning----that's pretty serious."

The boy stares back at him, "Me no wanna go to the barn---me no want a spanking."

Alex sighs and nudges her husband, "Honey----stop teasing him."

Walker continues to think about it, "Well, okay---we'll go with the 'iction'-----now just how long of a 'iction'---do you think you should get?”

The boy puts his hand up and holds his thumb down, "Five."

Walker frowns, "Five what? Five days, five weeks, five months, or five years?"

The boy smiles, "Five 'ears."

Cordell reaches over and puts his hand down, "No, Little Ray, not five years-----five days".

Little Ray shakes his head---"Noooo, five 'ears."
                                

Walker starts laughing, "Five ears, huh?"

"Daddy----he thinks you're talking about his being five years old," pleads Angela.

Walker nods his head, "Yeah, I know----come here buckaroo."

The boy scrambles down out of his chair and Walker lifts him up into his lap, "Okay, Little Ray----why don't we go with---five hours?”

All the kids speak at the same time----"Yes------five hours."

"So, here's the deal, Little Ray, for the next five days , you are to spend one hour cleaning up the chicken coop, feeding the chickens, and bring the eggs in.  That means, checking all the shelves for the eggs, and making sure Mommy has plenty of eggs to cook for my breakfast-----deal?"

The boy shakes his head, "Boogyman-----bobcat!" Little Ray turns to his sister, "Thissy----bobcat!"         

"No, Little Ray---the bobcat isn't in the henhouse anymore I chased him away, remember?"                              

Everyone stops and stares at Angela. Cooper glares at her, "So---you're the one that started telling Little Ray about the bobcat again.                  

"Yeah, what's the idea, Angela? Dad thought it was me and Cooper---we got yelled at because of it."                               

Angela stammers, "Well, I couldn't tell him what I really believed it to be-----could I?" 

The twins look to each other and then to their Dad, "What did you think it was, Angela?"

Cooper looks at her suspiciously, " Cordell and I heard something too, what did you hear?" 

Angela answers, almost in a whisper---"I heard a scream."

Alex looks to her daughter and then to her husband and sons, they all have a strange look on their faces. "Will somebody please tell me what is going on here? A scream-----what are you talking about?"

Walker looks down at his baby son, the boy is shaking. He motions for Cordell to take him. "Guys, come get your brother and get him ready for school," he turns to Alex, "I'll explain everything later, but no more talking in front of Little Ray."

The boy scrambles down out of his Daddy's chair, Walker calls out to him, "Hey!  Get back over here."

Little Ray turns and looks at his Daddy, Walker puts his finger up to his left cheek and pokes it, "I haven't had my morning kiss and a hug yet---put it right here buckaroo.”

The boy giggles and runs to him, throwing his arms around his neck and kisses his bearded cheek. Walker takes him in a bear hug, "I'll see you when I get back from my trip----now go---scat and stay out of trouble."                      

Walker waits until the twins have Little Ray going up the stairs, and then he explains to Alex what the discussion was about a scream.

"Angela, why didn't you say something about this earlier," Alex asks.

"I'm sorry Mom, I just forgot all about it---that was the day we all got into trouble, and I was worried about Darcy and her problem-----it just slipped my mind."

"What kind of problem is Darcy having? Is it serious?"

Angela wants to blurt it all out, but she promised her friend that she would wait till Monday and then Darcy would tell Alex everything.

"It's kind of personal, Mom----I promised I wouldn't say anything----yet.”

"I don't like the sound of this, Angela----is Darcy in some kind of trouble?"

Angela stands up, "Mom please---I can't get into it---I got to get ready for school."

Angela runs to her Dad, putting her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek, "Bye, Daddy----have a safe trip---love ya."

"I love you too, baby----you be careful."

Walker and Alex just look at each other, Walker's face is rigid.. "Honey----am I missing something here-----why are you looking like you're going to snap at any minute?"

Walker reaches out and takes his wife's hand, "It's just that old Cherokee intuition kicking in---it's nothing.  Are you going into your office today?"

"Nope, I have no cases till next week, and it's a good thing----I'm so sore I can hardly sit down, much less walk," she smiles back at him.

He winks at her, "Well, it's your own fault----for being so damn irresistible."

They laugh and Alex says quietly, "I'm going to take it easy all day, soak in a nice hot tub, and then at 1pm, I have to take Little Ray to his speech class. After that, I'm taking him to buy new boots."

Walker sighs, "New boots? Do you have to do that today?”

"Well----no----but I thought I would get it out of the way----why?"

Walker shakes his head, "Well, take one of the twins with you---take Cooper. ----And, tell Cordell to go to Angela's bus stop and ride home with her, I don't want her coming home alone and to a empty house, and I don't want you and Little Ray to be alone either."
                                   

Alex can see the fear in her husband's eyes and hear it in his voice. "Honey, I can't take the twins out of school today----they have to go over to the high school and practice with the choir director for Sunday's services."                           

"Well, then tell them both to come home with Angela----and you can wait to buy Little Ray's boots till I get home."

Alex looks back at her husband, that uneasy feeling is making her feel a chill all over. It's not like Walker to be so rattled over a case, he's witnessed many crimes against kids, and he detests
them all, but this one against Bobby Jackson has both him and Trivette completely unnerved.

She knows not to pressure him at times like this, and she squeezes his hand. "Okay, honey----the boots can wait----does this mean that you're going to go with us to the mall to shop?”

Walker frowns, "Shopping mall, no way!!! I'll take him to Gus's boot shop and have his feet measured the proper way and get him some boots that fit! And, while I'm at it, I'll see if I can get Little Ray to part with that hat long enough for Gus to do some work on it, to get it to fit his head. Maybe Gus can put some stuffing into it-----or something."                

Alex smiles, "You are going to have your work cut out, trying to get that hat away from your son----have fun, dear----I'll be pulling for you."

Walker nods, "Yeah--right----I'm looking forward to it."
                          
*************************************************************           

The twins are staring at their sister and how she's dressed for school.

Cooper shakes his head, "Angela, have you completely flipped your lid? Here it is, one of the coldest days of the year, and you're wearing a dress."

Angela tries to hush her brother and nods for him get out the door before her Mom sees the way she is dressed and starts asking questions.

"I am wearing a dress today, because it's 'picture taking day'----okay?"

The twins just shrug and the four of them head for the bus stop.  Luckily the dress doesn't have a full shirt, it hugs her body snug, making her jeans flat against her body. She's got her sweater packed into her backpack, along with her makeup kit and her boots. The cold wind is whipping at her legs, the nylons and flats, doing very little to keep her legs warm.  She pulls her coat tighter around her, the scarf going around her neck. When she gets to school, she will change clothes and Darcy will take her dress and accessories to her house. When Angela sneaks out to meet her and Kiwi on Saturday night, Darcy will have her clothes in the car so Angela
can change back into her dress. She will tell the twins that she has "accidentally" left her clothes in her locker and will return home in her jeans. She takes a deep breath, everything is set, she and Darcy have everything all worked out. So, why is she so nervous?                         

Little Ray's bus/van comes first and Cooper walks him across the highway and waits till he gets on safely, then walks back to the opposite side of  highway 199.  Angela is bouncing around on one foot, trying to keep warm, wishing that darn bus would hurry up and get there.

Cordell is looking at her suspiciously, he could have swore that Springtown  High wasn't due to take school pictures until after Thanksgiving.  He says nothing as he keeps watching her. Finally, he walks up behind her and takes off his sheepskin jacket.

"Here, Angela, use my jacket."

"I'm not taking your jacket, you'll freeze to death."

He hands her the jacket, "I'll be fine, I’ve got a heavy sweater on."

"No," she pushes the jacket back at him----" but I will take a 'bear hug’."

Cordell takes the jacket back and puts it on, leaving it unbuttoned, "Okay, come here---you can have your bear hug."

Angela giggles and puts her arms through the jacket and around her brothers' waist, he pulls her closer, wrapping the jacket around them the best he can. Cooper watches them, sighs and asks
sarcastically, "Can I get in on the 'bear hug?”

Angela laughs, "Yes!!! Get over here."

Cooper unbuttons his jacket and wraps it around Angela, too. "This is so embarrassing-----giving my sister and brother a hug----sure hope no one sees us----I have a reputation to uphold, you know."

"We used to do this all the time when we were younger, we didn't think it was embarrassing then".

Cordell smiles, "Yeah, we used to do a lot of things together, before we started thinking we were too old to care about one another. Then, somewhere along the line, we started acting like we didn't like each other anymore.  I guess it's like an unwritten law that brothers and sisters are not suppose to like each other, maybe that's why we fight all the time now."

Angela sighs, "Do you guys remember when we would all climb into bed with Mom when Daddy was out of town on a case? We would have popcorn and hot chocolate, all night long and Mom would let us watch movies all night. Sometimes she would watch them with us, till she
would fall asleep. Sometimes, the three of us would fall asleep and when Daddy would come home, he would carry us all back to our beds, and the next morning he would pretend to be mad at us for getting popcorn all over his side of the bed."

Cooper smirks, "What makes you think he was pretending to be mad?

Angela reaches back and playfully ribs her brother, "Daddy never got mad----I could hear him and Mom laughing about it----because sometimes I just 'pretended' to be asleep, I just wanted Daddy to carry me and tuck me in. Those were the good times that I remember, what
about you guys?"
                           

Cooper has his back to the highway, he doesn't see the dark green sedan drive by, making a turn to the Ferguson ranch.  Cordell sees it, he watches as it passes by, with two figures inside.

"I guess what I remember the most about our earlier times together was the camping trips that Dad would take us on. Mom loved to camp just as much as we did, we always had so much fun, just laughing and being together.   Dad keeps saying that we're going to take another camping trip, but something always comes up. What do you remember the most, Cordell?"                  

Cordell is not answering, Angela raises her head and looks at him. He's looking down the highway with a blank look on his face.

"Cordell----what's wrong, what are you looking at?"

Cordell reaches out and slaps his brother on the shoulder, "Coop----there's that car again!"

Cooper turns around and looks in the direction his twin is pointing. "Yeah-----we've been seeing it a lot lately, especially around school."

Angela shivers as she leaves the warmth of her brothers' jacket, "What car, what are you two looking at?"

"That car that just went by, it's been hanging around the school a lot, what kind of car did you say it was, Cooper?"

"It's a '96' Chevrolet Impala SS."

Angela frowns, Cooper knows all about old cars, he's constantly scanning the internet, looking and pricing 'muscle' cars.

"And, it's a sure bet that it doesn't belong to a student," adds Cordell.

"You got that right, bro'----no student in his right mind would be seen driving something that color. That has to be the ugliest green, I've ever seen----why would anyone want to paint their car
that color----it's a disgrace to the machine!"

"Maybe, it came in that color."

Cooper turns and makes a face at his sister's lack of appreciation for cars. "Angela----the Impala SS only came in three colors that year. Black, maroon red, and another color that was almost
like a green at times, or pewter gray. It kind of changed colors at the way the light would hit it. Certainly not that color of green---that's puke---pure puke."

Cordell nods, "Yeah, really puke---and you can also bet that the owners don't appreciate the horse power under the hood, unless it's been taken out---it's got a Corvette engine in it."              

Cooper walks to the edge of the highway, "I wonder why it turned down old man Ferguson's road?"

"Probably lost," answers Angela.                                

Cooper scratches his chin, "There's a sign saying "Private Property", if they were lost , they would be turning around and coming back this way, don't you think, Cordell?"
                                

Cordell starts to answer and then he sees their bus coming, "Don't know-----come on guys, let's get on the bus and out of this cold."

As they get on the bus, Cooper heads to the back, knowing that by the time the bus gets to school, he'll be in the company of several girls. Cordell sits on the opposite side of the bus across from Angela, facing the road. Dana will be getting on the bus soon and she and Angela always sit together.  Cordell pulls out a book and starts to read, he glances up to see the green car coming towards the bus. He peers out the window and watches as it goes by, the driver looks back at the bus and Cordell sees him, very clearly.

Cordell mumbles to himself, "Weird----that dude is really weird looking, his eyes are almost white----really spooky looking."

The Seekers IX             

Sarge and Danny watch the school bus head down highway 199, towards the schools. They proceed in the opposite direction, and then Sarge makes a U-turn, following behind the bus, a good distance back.

Danny looks at the old man, "I thought we were going to check out that old man Ferguson's place? All we did was drive down the road, take a quick look at it, and now we're leaving, what gives, Sarge?"

The old man glares back at Danny, "Did you see those three kids at the bus stop?"

"Yeah, I saw them. That's where the longhaired girl lives, down that gravel road. We determined that the first time we saw her there."

Sarge smiles, "Oh yes------your little whore."

Danny stares back at Sarge, "Why do you call her that? She's not like that----she looks like she would be a very nice and sweet girl, why do you always refer to all females as being 'whores'?"

Sarge spits out the window, making a sour face at the young man----"Because they are!!!! All women are nothing but little whores----when will you learn that, Danny?"

Danny moves closer to the door, he was expecting Sarge to hit him. He says nothing as he thinks about the young girl with the beautiful long hair. He says to himself, "She's not like that, she's too sweet, too innocent."

"Did you see those two boys with your little whore, Danny, the way they were touching each other?"

"Sarge----those two boys are the same ones that were fighting those bigger boys at the football field----those are her brothers."

"Brothers?"

"Yes Sarge, they were defending their sister against what that tallest boy said to her. He was making rude remarks to her, and her brothers were defending her. You saw how they fought those bigger boys----they are not to messed with---they know that 'kung fu' stuff, we are
no match for them."

Sarge's anger is rising, and when he looked back at the bus, the one boy at the window saw him----very clearly. He looks to Danny, "They will have to be dealt with, one at a time."

Danny shakes his head, "That's almost impossible-----every time I've seen one, the other one is near by----they go everywhere together."

Sarge considers the thought further, there has got to be a way of separating them, together they are impossible to overtake.

"Sarge, what about that place, are we going to look at it or not----I have to get to my job, I'm going to be late."

"I told you to quit that job-----you don't need it."

"Sarge, what are we going to live on, there is no money coming in.? There are no more drugs to bargain with-----Kiwi has stopped your supplies. ----And, if we move out here into the country, we can't get old man Starnes to supply us with food anymore----We need that job, we need the little bit of money that I will be making."

They drive for the longest, stopping far enough back from the bus, each time it stops to pick up students. "We will come back tonight, and then we will make our move to take over the Ferguson place.  First we have to check everything out, make sure that he is totally alone and
how often he has visitors, and who is his closest neighbors."

Danny sighs, "That would be where the long haired girl and her brothers live. Up that gravel road, I guess it to be a good five miles from the old man's place."

Sarge turns and looks at Danny, "You're hoping that we take the old man's place, so you will be closer to your little whore, aren't you?"

Danny says nothing, he sees the girl every day at school. He never gets close enough for her to notice him, because he lowers his head every time she comes near. Sometimes, he can smell her, she smells so nice. He remembers how nice she was at the mall that day, her friends were very rude, but she was nice.

"Sarge, could we please get to the school---I got to get to work, and I think it would be a good idea if we get rid of this car. Some of the kids are noticing it, making fun of it. It stands out like a sore thumb!

"When did you start making the decisions, Danny?" He reaches out and hits the young man with the back of his hand. "Get out!!!! You can walk the rest of the way----to that stupid job you love so well, I have things to do."

Danny rubs his jaw, as he stares back at the old man. He's seen that 'look' all too many times; he's going to be looking for another innocent victim.
                           
***********************************************************

Walker and Trivette have been on the road to Dell City for almost 5 hours, Trivette has managed for them to meet with a journalist friend of his.

Walker has been saying very little, he's wishing now that they had flown down to El Paso and then taken a rental car to Dell City. He can't shake the weird feeling that he keeps getting about that scream that Angela and the twins heard.

"So, who is this friend of yours that we're meeting, how reliable is his information?"

"As reliable as it can get, Travis is very good at his work. When Travis Sentell gets a sniff of a good story, he's like a junkyard dog----when he says he has some news that will make the hair curl up on the back of our necks-------be prepared."

Walker sighs, "The hair on the back of my neck hasn't laid down since this whole case opened up. And, this thing with what the kids heard and all has my neck hairs waving at each other!"

"Hey man---you didn't have to come, I could have come down on my own----I told you that.”

"Trivette---we're partners----and partners work together. What kind of partner would I be if I let you carry the load alone? We've been partners for almost 20 years----we work together!"

Trivette sighs, "Twenty years, can you believe it? ----Did you ever think that we would last that long----you never had a partner for any length of time---and now 20 yrs later---we're still fighting
the bad guys."

Walker shakes his head and reflects back to the time when his dear friend, C.D. Parker introduced him to James Trivette. "Yeah, well----when I first saw you coming out of that swimming pool with nothing but "SPEEDO" swim trunks on, having you as a partner was the last thing on my mind, and I was ready to push both you and C.D. back into the pool!! When I
saw you drinking that slimy seaweed stuff, I was ready to take a dive, are you still drinking that stuff?"

"Sure, twice a day, it cleans my insides out, you should try it sometime, Walk-man."

"No thanks----I'll stick to X-lax when I feel my body needs to be cleaned out. ----Now, what about this Sentell guy, what kind of information does he have?"

"He said it was big, and very hush-hush. He was covering Ft. Hood at the time of Desert Storm and the deployment of the troops.  While the world was waiting news of another possible war, all hell was breaking loose in another story. But, this story was being swept under the rug. Apparently Desert Storm was more important than what was happening in own back yard. If this kind of story had been released to the media and our enemies of Iraq got a hold of it---our precious government would have been embarrassed----to say the least. Soo---it was overlooked and put on the back burner, but Travis never forgot about it."

"And, this ties in with what happened to little Bobby Jackson?"

Trivette stares back at his partner, "I'll bet my badge on it----we'll be there by supper time, and Travis will fill us in on it. But, I have a feeling that we shouldn't eat anything till after we get
the story." Trivette stops for a minute and takes a deep breath, "We may never feel like eating again---I know my appetite has never been the same since I saw that little boy's body."

Walker reaches for his coffee cup and takes a sip, he too thinks of that morning. The coffee doesn't want to go down easily. He throws the remainder of it out the window of the Ram.
                                    
***********************************************

It's now the end of the day and Angela, Dana, and Darcy are at their lockers:

"Okay----let's go over this one last time, I got your clothes, Angela, and I will take them home with me. Kiwi and I will meet you at the end of your gravel drive. ---No--better make that closer to the highway, near that mass of trees. We will be there at exactly 9:00----so be there---you got it?"

Dana looks to Angela and then back at Darcy, "Are you two sure about this?"

"Be quiet Dana----this doesn't concern you---butt out!"

Angela puts her hands up, "Hey----stop yelling at Dana---she's just concerned---Darcy, I'm not so sure about this either, I've never done anything like this before."

Darcy smirks as she looks at her two friends, she shakes her head, "I can't believe you two----you are so boring at times----it's about time that you two stopped letting your parents push you around, and start standing up to them."

"Speaking of parents, have you talked to your Mom yet about your problem, Darcy?"

"No, I haven't seen my Mom in 3 days, she's shacked up somewhere with that doctor friend of hers, who knows where she is."

"What about your Dad, can't you talk to him," asks Dana.

Darcy is getting impatient, "Look-----we are not talking about my parents----what about the plan for tomorrow night? Angela, Kiwi is wanting to meet you so bad, he's on 'pins and needles'
waiting."

Angela hesitates, "That's another thing about this Kiwi, why does he want to meet me?  He keeps saying these things over the phone about how much he's attracted to me and all---we've never
met----why is he so obsessed in meeting me?"

Darcy folds her arms across her chest and looks at Angela sarcastically, "Maybe he's seen your picture in the yearbook, and he hears all the guys talking about how pretty you are----quit 'fishing' for compliments Angela! How do I know why he wants to meet you?"

Darcy's voice has caused other students to stop and look in their direction, Angela asks Darcy to lower her voice.

"I can't stand here all day, playing twenty questions with you Angela, are you coming to the party or not?"
                              

"Yes," Angela replies, "but you just remember the deal we made and, I don't want to wait till Monday for you to tell my Mom about your problem-----I'm calling you as soon as the services are over, you're going to tell my Mom everything right then, agreed?”

"That wasn't the deal, Angela, we said we would do it Monday."

"We can't afford to wait any longer, Darcy. Look at you, you're as white as a sheet, you're getting deep circles around your eyes-----you need to see a Doctor!"

Dana nods her head, "Angela is right----Darcy----you look terrible."

Darcy starts to walk off, but comes back. "Okay, Miss 'know it all', we'll talk to your Mom, Sunday afternoon----now----are you happy?"

Darcy stomps off, dragging Angela's dress over her arm.

Angela and Dana just look at each other. "I don't like this, Dana-----Darcy is acting so weird."

"Well, she's not the only one that has been acting weird, remember Tina Edwards, the transfer from Dallas?"

The girls start walking down the hallway, "Yeah, what about her?"

"Have you seen the way she's been dressing lately, all the black clothes, and black makeup?"

"Dana----Tina has always dressed like that, that's one of the reasons her parents transferred her here to a smaller school, hoping that she would learn to dress like us 'country nerds'!"

Dana laughs, "Well, she's into it heavier now and what about Cindy Mathews?"

Angela stops at the water cooler and takes a drink, "What has Cindy done, she's afraid of her own shadow, and don’t tell me she's copying Tina with the black wardrobe and such?"

"Worse-----she's getting quite a rep with the football team, especially Dylan."

Angela sighs and shakes her head slowly, "Don't tell me----she's not going to bed with that creep, is she?”

Dana shrugs, "Who needs a bed? She was with him in the locker room, right before practice the other day. I heard some of his friends talking about it, and bragging how good she was with
her-------mouth."

"Cindy? But, she's always been so timid around boys----they've always made fun of her?”

"I told you that she was acting weird, they're behaving just like Darcy. They all have that 'ghostly' look."

The girls stand there for a few minutes; Angela can't believe what she's hearing. Dana nudges her, "Come on, our bus will be here soon."

Angela shakes her head, "I have to wait on the twins, they're coming over here to use the auditorium for their choir practice."

"Really? What's wrong with their auditorium at the Jr. High, why can't they practice there?”

"Beats me, something about ours having a better stereo system, and more musical equipment. Anyways, my Mom called and told me to come home with them, she didn't want me going home alone in case she and Little Ray don't get home from his speech class. She's been upset ever since this thing with Bobby Jackson."

"Yeah, that's really spooky."

"So----I think I will go to study hall and do some studying for that biology test coming up, then meet them in the auditorium when they're through, wanna join me?"

"In study hall, no way!!! I would rather watch your brothers, or rather----one of your brothers."

Angela smiles, she knows that her good friend has had a crush on Cordell for several years.  She started out having the crush on Cooper, but he had too many girls that were flirting with him. She
soon found Cordell's quiet manner more appealing, but so far Cordell hadn't noticed her or any other girl. He was more interested in his music and he was always reading.

"Well, suit yourself, I gotta go," and Angela walks off towards the study hall. Dana decides to go on to the bus stop. Neither of them noticed the young janitor that has been watching them from a distance. He watches Angela, puts his push broom down and follows behind her.
                                   
***********************************************

The twins are getting their music sheets ready and Cordell is again telling his brother about the dude with the white eyes.

"I'm telling you Coop----he was weird looking and those eyes were pukey looking."

Cooper is going over the songs he will sing at the services, just half listening to his older twin. "Maybe he was wearing contact lenses----did you ever think about that?"

"Why would anyone want to wear white contacts---that's stupid."

Cooper sighs and puts his music down, "You know Cordell, Halloween is Saturday night, maybe he was trying out his costume, ahead of time."

Cordell shakes his head, "If it had been at any other time and not in that suspicious looking car, I might agree with you, but not this time! That Cherokee intuition is kicking in, and you know
what Dad has always said about intuition and instincts?"

Cooper replies quietly, "Yeah, he says to go with them. That it's better to look into something and chance being wrong, than not to look into it and be sorry.”

The boys look at each other, and then Cooper sees Mr. Edwards, the choir director coming towards them. He and Cooper have been going round and round on the music that he will be singing at the services. Cooper turns to his brother.

"Look, why don't we go by old man Ferguson's place on the way home from school, and find out if that green car stopped there, and why. Right now, I got to argue with Mr. Edwards---he's bound and determined to change my mind about that one song."

"Life's Railway To Heaven? But, Coop----Mrs. Jackson personally requested for you to sing it."

Cooper sighs, "I know, but Mr. Edwards says it's not appropriate for----a funeral service."

Cordell slaps his brother on the shoulder, "Well, I gotta go over to the instrument department and check out that mandolin.  Are you sure you want me to accompany you on the mandolin, or do
you want me to check out the Autoharp?"

"Get both of them, and your guitar. We’ll try each one to see how they sound."

"Okay, bro'---in the meantime I got my money on you, Mr. Edwards has never been able to change your mind, where your music is concerned.”

"’OUR’ music Cordell, I wouldn't sound near as good if I didn't have you backing me up on your instruments----even though you can't sing worth a damn."

Cordell laughs and walks away to the instrument department, across the hall.

"Cooper Walker--- we have got to get this music settled, once and for all," Mr. Edwards is saying as he walks towards Cooper.

Cooper stands his ground, "It is settled Mr. Edwards! I'm doing the songs that I presented you with----now you can have the choir back us up or my brother and I will do them alone."

Mr. Edwards is a tall and skinny man, and he's pacing back and forth. "That song is not appropriate, can't you sing something else?"

"Like what. Mr. Edwards? What would you suggest?" Cooper's voice is getting angry.

"Anything, but that! How about ‘Amazing Grace’ or ‘The Old Rugged Cross’?”

"Those songs are very nice, Mr. Edwards-----but they weren't requested!" Cooper yells back.

The choir director throws his arms up in the air, "Why do I even argue with you, you are so stubborn----you always think you know it all."

"Mr. Edwards, I asked you to help me with these songs and to get the choir behind me on the chorus, If you don't want to help me, and to do it my way---then back off---my brother and I don't need your help----And, another thing-----where my stubbornness is concerned, I come it by naturally----I'm a WALKER---a ‘FIREWALKER’ to be exact!"

Cordell returns with the instruments, and lays his hand on his brother's shoulder, "Calm down, Coop."

Mr. Edwards looks at the twins, "Fine! Just do it your way---the choir will not join you, how does that grab you?"

Cordell sighs, "Apologize Coop---we need the choir."

"No, we don't", argues Cooper.

"Apologize anyways---or Mom will have your head for being disrespectful to an adult." Demands Cordell.

Cooper bites his bottom lip and walks over to the director and does as he is told. Mr. Edwards is not backing down, he still persists that Cooper change to another song. Cordell walks over to the
battling 'duo'. "Mr. Edwards, have you heard my brother sing that song?"

"No----it's not an appropriate song for a 10 year old boys' funeral service."

"Mr. Edwards----my brother sings that song with all the respect of any old standard gospel, maybe you should hear him sing it, before you start making judgment. And, besides that, Mrs. Jackson personally requested that song, for what reason we don't know. Maybe it meant something to her that neither you nor any of us could possibly understand. Just listen to him---then make judgment—okay?"

The director shakes his head, "Very well---let's hear it, you WILL  let me know when you want the choir to come in—right?"

Cooper stares back at him, and says low---"When the chorus comes up---that's when the choir comes in----not until---and yes---I will let you know when that is."

Cordell pulls gently on his brother’s sleeve, "Easy Coop---we have to work together."

Cordell starts tuning up the Autoharp, and the mandolin, going through the first few chords. Mr. Edwards is looking at them, and tapping his fingernails impatiently. "Are we ready yet?" He asks
sarcastically.

Cooper starts to reply and Cordell speaks up, "I'm ready! You ready, Coop?"

Cooper glares back at the director, "I was born ready."

The twins go through the song with the mandolin backing Cooper up and then the Autoharp. The music is being played through the p.a. system, and Angela is listening to it in study hall. She
closes her biology book and listens, softly singing along to the chorus.  Someone else has heard the music too.

Danny looks up towards the p.a. system, and he stops staring at Angela and listens too. He walks away from the study hall, making his way towards the auditorium. The music is also being heard in the boys' locker room. The boys all stop and look at Dylan. He makes a face and throws his shoulder pads at the speakers.

"What the crap? Now, we're having to listen to church music---I don't think so----come on guys---we're going to beat the crap out of whoever is singing that crap.”

Danny goes to the auditorium and stands near the back, singing quietly to himself.

Cooper turns to his brother, "I think it sounds better with the guitar, what do you think, Cordell?"

Cordell sighs and goes back to his guitar, "Whatever you say, little brother, it's your song." Again the music starts and Mr. Edwards is looking at the twins in disbelief. He starts singing along with the choir and Danny is easing himself closer to the front.

When the chorus starts, Danny sings out loud and clear. Cooper hears the young man and without missing a note, he nods his head at Cordell. Cordell smiles and urges Danny to keep singing. Cooper walks closer to the edge of the stage and hands one of the microphones to Danny, urging him to take it.

Cooper nods towards the director to repeat the chorus again, the volume is turned up on the p.a. system:
                         "Blessed savior, thou will guide us
                          till we reach that blissful shore
                         Where the angels wait to join us,
                         in God's grace----forever more."

After the song is finished, everyone just stares at Danny. He suddenly gets very embarrassed and hands the microphone back to Cooper.

"I'm sorry----I didn't mean to interrupt---I'm so sorry----"

Danny starts to walk away and Cooper calls him back, "Hey---don't be embarrassed---you sounded great."                    

Cordell nods his head and walks over to his brother and the young man, "Yeah---you sure did---we're just surprised that someone else our age even knew the words to that song.----It's not exactly what the kids are listening to these days."

Danny turns and looks at them, he blinks his eyes, he thinks he's seeing double. He looks at each of the twins, "You're twins----aren't you?"

Cooper smiles, "Yeah, guilty as charged," then he gives Cordell a shove, "But I'm the better looking.  I'm Cooper Walker---this here ugly dude is my brother, Cordell."

The twins extend their hands and Danny shakes hands with them. He looks back at them, these were the voices that he heard in the church that night, and these were the two boys that were fighting the older boys on the football field.  He says quietly to himself, "And, these
are the brothers of the long haired girl."

The choir director walks over to the boys and looks at Danny. "Don't you work here as a janitor?"

Danny nods his head and starts to leave, "Maybe I should get back to work," and he starts to walk off.

Cooper jumps down from the stage, "Wait a minute----what church do you go to, where did you learn that song?"

Danny stammers, "I remember that song because my grandmother used to sing it------a long, long, time ago when I was nor----- well, when things were different. ----I don't go to church----I'm new here."

Danny starts rubbing his arms nervously, and Cordell sees the scratches on his arm, and looks at Cooper.

Cooper smiles, "My brother is right, not too many kids, outside of church, know that song---or even like this kind of music. You got a great voice, what's your name?"                

Danny hesitates, "Danny---my name is Danny."

"Well, Danny---if you're not going to any particular church, why don't you come to ours and join the choir?"

Danny looks at Cooper and shakes his head, "Me?----You want me to sing in your church choir?"

Cooper reaches out and touches his shoulder, "Why not? Our church is non-denominal---you won't be stepping on any toes---how about it? Mr. Edwards-----you can use another choir member, can't you?"

The director nods his head and sighs, "Mr. Walker, after what you and your brother just pulled off here, I'm never going to argue with you again-----where your music is concerned--that is. And yes, the choir is always looking for a good baritone."

Danny smiles, "Wow----double wow---Sure---I would love to come to your church."

Cordell smiles faintly, "Our church is located on the East end of town, near the railroad tracks, it's called----“

"The Church of New Harvest," answers Danny---I know where it is---I've been there before."

A clapping is heard at the back of the auditorium and Dylan and his friends emerge, walking towards the front. "I should have known that it would be you two queers behind all this garbage----what's with the church music?"

Danny moves over to the side as the older boys approach, he doesn't move quick enough as Dylan pushes him.

"Out of my way---you crazy jerk---don't you have some bathrooms to be cleaning up?"

"Leave him alone Dylan," warns Cooper.

Dylan looks back at his friends, this time there are six of them, all line-backers, pushing 200 lbs and more.

Dylan shakes his finger at Cooper, "This time, there's not going to be any sucker punches, from you or that 'pansy' brother of yours," Dylan stares at Cordell, rubbing his jaw.

The director is yelling at Dylan and his friends to leave the premises. "Shuttup----fag face. Why are you allowing these punks in here, and why that crappy music?”

Cooper narrows his eyes as Cordell jumps down off the stage beside his brother. "Apparently, you didn't rattle his brain enough, Cordell, he's still talking out of the side of his butt!”

"I thought I smelled shit," adds Cordell.

Dylan charges at Cordell again and Cordell gives him a 'uppercut' sending him back into the seats. Two of the boys rush Cooper and he kicks them in the head. Another boy is near the stage
and he grabs Cooper from behind, and the choir director hits him in the head with
his baton. The boys turn on the director and Cooper gets him in a hammerlock, forcing him to the floor. Cordell answers with a kick to the boy's chest, and the sixth boy jumps on his back. Cordell has to strain to throw the boy over his shoulder as Danny reaches out and grabs the boy around his neck. Cordell turns and hits the boy with a flurry of punches, as Danny scrambles to get out of their way. Dylan is now going after Cooper, as Cooper smiles slowly and motions for him to come and get it. Dylan stops and remembers that Cooper took out 3 boys with one kick, He pushes one of his buddies into Cooper. Cooper sidesteps and kicks the boy in his stomach, and then another kick to the head. Dylan is just standing there, wanting to run, but now Cordell has come up behind him.

Cooper stares at him, grinning---"He's mine this time Cordell---I'm going to kick him into next week----I'm still not over what he said to Angela."

Cordell nods and backs off, the other boys have taken off towards the exit. Cooper starts circling Dylan, and Mr. Edwards has gone for security. Danny stands back and watches, secretly hoping that Cooper will come through with his threat.

Cooper taunts him, "What were you saying to my sister---I want to hear what you said to her---repeat it."

Dylan is shaking like a leaf, "I didn't say anything---it wasn't me, it was another guy."

"Nothing I hate more than a liar---huh, Coop?"

"Got that right bro', and another thing, I don't like being called a 'queer', do you like being called a 'pansy' Cordell?"

"Just hurry up and do what you're going to do Coop----so I can have him---if there's anything left of him.”
The Seekers 10-13            

Danny runs up to the twins, "Hey guys that director fellow is coming back with security!"

Cordell pulls on his brother's sleeve, "Come on Coop, let's get of here, we can't afford to get into anymore trouble."

Dylan is still shaking as Cooper gets up in his face, "This is not over Reed----and you better not ever say anything like what you said to Angela again, or so help me, I'm going to kick your teeth in----do you hear me?"

"Yeah, yeah----I hear you----I swear I-I won't say anything to her-----ever again. I'm not even going to look in her direction."

Cordell shoves Dylan backwards, "That would be to your best thinking, now get out of here, before I turn my brother loose on you."

Dylan swallows and runs to the nearest exit. The twins walk over to Danny, "You better get out of here too, we don't want you to lose your job over this, and thanks for your help."

Danny shakes his head up and down, "You are so welcome. I was hoping that you would kick his brains out for what he said to your sister!"

Cordell looks at Danny, "You know our sister, Angela?"

Danny repeats her name to himself, what a pretty name, it's becoming to her, she is like a angel---to him. "No," he answers slowly, "I just heard about what was said and all, ----I don't know your sister."

The boys hear the voices coming down the hallway,  "Go----get out of here, Danny----and don't forget----you're welcome to come to our church----anytime," shouts Cooper.

The twins go back to their music, rehearsing very quietly while the remainder of the choir hums softly to some music they are working on. The security comes running in, everything is quiet. They turn to Mr. Edwards.

"Well, where is this fight you were talking about, and what are the names of the boys involved?"

The director looks at the twins and then around the auditorium. He turns back to the security, "You know what----I'm getting a terrible, terrible, headache and my memory is blurry----I don't know who those boys were. Just trouble makers, that's all."

The security leaves and the twins give Mr. Edwards a "thumbs up". He smiles to himself and returns it to them.
                           
                      ******************************************************

It's almost 6pm as Walker and Trivette arrive in Dell City. They are to meet their informant at a place called The Cave. It's dark inside the bar as Walker and Trivette decide to take their badges off, before entering. Most of the patrons are bikers. Trivette squints his eyes, trying
to locate his friend, and then spots him in the far corner. They make their way over to his table.

"Jim! It's been a long time, how the hell are you?"

Trivette smiles and reaches out to shake the man's hand, "Hey Trav---it's good to see you-----this is my friend and partner, Cordell Walker."

Walker shakes the man's hand and they sit down. Travis is a tall man, medium built, slightly curly hair, and deep set dimples, his eyes are blue, but Walker can see a deep sadness in them. Travis calls the waitress over and orders a scotch, he turns to Trivette and Walker, "What's
your poison, guys?"

Walker nods the waitress away and Trivette does the same. Travis looks at them, "Hey guys----this is a bar---order something or you're going to stand out like last month's laundry."

The Rangers order beer, and Travis downs his drink quickly and orders another. Walker sighs and looks at Trivette, because Walker has very little patience when it comes to questioning an informant.

Trivette sees Walker's impatience, "Look, Trav----we don't have much time, what do you have for us? You said it was big."

Travis shakes his head, "Big? Jim, you said that case back in Dallas was one of the worst crimes you've ever investigated on kids----what I have to tell you is your worst nightmare----trust me."

Walker takes a sip of his beer, "We're listening," he says quietly.

"Hope you guys have strong stomachs, because before I finish this story----you're going to be reaching for the hard stuff."

Trivette takes a deep breath, "Start at the beginning, Trav----and don't leave anything out."

"I told you about the cover up at Ft. Hood, the troops were being deployed and I was there, covering the story like all the other journalists.  I ran into an old Army buddy, who had just retired about a month earlier, so he had nothing to be afraid of, his retirement was in the
bag. He started telling me things about some officers that were not as you say an "A Officer and A Gentleman" not by a long shot.  They were dealing in drugs and into kiddie porn, they had "swapping" parties, their own kids were involved."

"What? Are you serious Trav----how can something like that happen on a military base?"

Travis shakes his head, "You were never in the military Jim, you don't have any idea of what can happen on a military installation, especially with the big brass feeling like they are untouchable.  You---Walker---you're a military man, aren't you, Marines----right?"

Walker nods his head, "You've done your homework."

"What kind of newsman would I be, if I didn't check out the guys I'm giving information to? I know all about you, you were in special services, three stints in Nam, purple heart, and all those other cute little medals that the government hands out to G.I.'s that are so "duty bound" to serve their country. You were lucky you didn't come home in a body bag----or leave some of your body parts still over there."

Walker's temper is rising, "I'm not proud of what I've done, but that was a long time ago---and I lost a lot of good friends. I did my duty, and I came home in one piece, except for the memories
of my buddies being blown apart---right before my eyes. What's your excuse for not serving?"

Travis stares back at Walker, "I spent one year in Nam, came home on leave and never went back, I went to Canada till the war was over."

Trivette watches his friends stare at each other, "Come on guys----this is not why we're here---let's get back to the case."

Travis continues his story. "Yeah, right. My buddy told me about the things that were happening. Little boys were starting to come up missing, but it wasn't our concern, the boys that were missing were from across the border.  No big deal, let the Mexican authorities handle it, right? The missing boys went unreported for several months, and then bodies started popping up. And, yes Jim----they were similar to your case back in Dallas"!

"What about this Army buddy of yours, how much can you trust what he is telling you, did he name 'names'?"

Travis downs another drink, "He's dependable, Walker---because he was mixed up in it----what he told me was strictly off the record, in return I wouldn't go to the brass, and he would still get his retirement."

"Trav---what are you saying? You've held back information on someone that has committed murder?"

"He didn't have anything to do with killing those boys, Jim, he just had…"                                  

Walker slams his beer down and starts to stand up, "He just molested those boys, that's all---is that what you're saying?"

Trivette stands up and tries to get Walker to sit back down, "Walker---we're creating a scene, I don't feel like 'duking it out' with the local boys---sit down---let's hear him out."

Walker sits back down and looks at Travis, "Molesting those boys made him just as guilty as killing them, and for Christ's sake---he held back information too! Murder knows no statue of
limitations---just how long have you known about all of this?"

Travis orders another drink and Walker knocks it out of his hand, "I asked you a question, and you better damn well come up with the right answer!"

"Come on Trav---be straight with us, man---we don't have time for any cover ups."

"I'm telling you the truth about my friend not being involved in the murders, he molested a couple of boys. I know that is sick, but if he hadn't come forward with the information on those officers, we would never have gotten them tried, he was a secret witness, he gave information and evidence that got three of the officers sent to Leavenworth, another one committed suicide and the fifth one-------he got away."

"Who was the one that got away?"

"Oh, he was the main one I wanted to see rot in prison, or better yet----face a firing squad for what he did---and to his own son."

Trivette takes a deep breath and asks in a whisper, "His own son?"

Walker is still steaming at the thought that Travis's friend is going Scot free.  "Go on---tell us what happened."

"His name was Colonel Sargenski, Colonel Vince K. Sargenski, a real "sicko". He molested his son from the time the boy was barely 6wks old."

Trivette drinks his beer down and orders another, "Geez----how can someone do that---to just a baby?"

Walker takes a drink of his beer, "Where was the Mother while all of this was taking place?"

"Sometimes she would watch, other times, she would just leave and let the Colonel do his 'thing'. Most of the time she just stayed away till he got his fill. As the boy got older, she stayed away more often, sometimes weeks at a time.  She wouldn't go to the authorities because she didn't want to lose the government check that her husband would definitely lose, if this leaked out, or so she thought. The ex-wives of those officers that were sent to Leavenworth---they're still getting a portion of their husband's checks, and who knows how much of what was going on, did they really know about?"

"So, what about this Colonel, did they ever catch him?"

"Nope----he took off to parts unknown and hasn't been seen since, that was in the early part of "91". His wife and son just disappeared and ended up in San Francisco a few years later. The boy took off when he was about 12, got picked up for male prostitution, spent some time in juvenile hall, which was like a heaven to him----with all those other boys."

Walker sighs, "What about those boys that were killed in Mexico---how did they die?"

"That's the sickening part and before I get to it, can I please have something to drink?" Travis pleads, his hands shaking.

"I think I will switch to a scotch and soda----what about you Walker?"

"Another beer is just fine," he answers.

Travis orders whisky, with a beer chaser. He looks at Walker, "Don't worry Walker---I can handle my booze and you will get the whole story---every damn detail of how those boys died".

"You said that the little Jackson boy was mutilated, his rectum almost split and there were needle marks. The same as the Mexican boys! Some kind of needle and injection was used on them, but no one knows what this drug is called. It causes temporary paralysis till they can be subdued, and then the attacks start.  You've heard of crack and PCP, well this is more dangerous than that, the only thing different is that crack and PCP is a quicker acting drug, they can kill you after just a few doses. This drug that I will refer to as the SEEKER, works on you for a longer period of time, a lingering affect that can cause a lifetime of pain and hurt, until it's distributor gets tired of playing with his victims, then the----killing starts!"

Trivette swallows, "Why do you call it the Seeker?"

"Because of the way the killer goes looking for his victims, he seeks them out---the young ones, the ones that are so innocent----the ones that are so quick to probably want to help a stranger. They have no idea they are being sought, and they will never go home again."

Travis' voice trails off, as he wipes his eyes. "I got to go take a leak----I'll be back."

Walker and Trivette stare at each other, "You have one weird friend there, Trivette."

"Don't go there, Walker---you don't know the whole story about Travis."

"I'm not sure I can believe everything that he is telling us, I know that much, and this thing about his Army buddy going free for what he did to those boys, just puts a sour taste in my mouth."

"You don't think that it upsets me too?  Sometimes we have to give in order to take----and if Travis looked the other way for one small crime----"

"Small crime? Trivette, what if that had been J. W., that was one of those victims------would you want your friend to keep looking the other way?"

"NO---I would not! And, what about you Walker, what if that happened to one of your boys, and you had the chance to  put the molesters away, but you had to forsake one to get the others' justice?"

Walker looks into his partner's eyes, "No----I don't know what I would do if that was one of my boys. ----And, I pray I never have to find out."

"Well, that makes two of us Walker----because I feel the same way about your kids as you do for J. W.  If anything happened to any of our kids, we would be doing the same thing as Travis is doing."

"What do you mean, is this a personal thing for your friend?"

Before Trivette can answer, Travis is back and hears the question.

"I'll answer that question for you, ranger---yes---it's personal. My son was one of the victims. He was only 10 years old, he was abducted in Sacramento, it's been some 15 years now, my boy would be celebrating his 26th birthday---next week. But, Cody will never see that birthday---a part of his body was found in the lake near our home, the other half was found 100miles away---in pieces! Does that make it personal enough for you, Walker?"

"I'm sorry---I didn't know," Walker answers.

Travis shakes his head, "It's okay, you couldn't have known. Jim how is that boy of yours?"

"J.W. is fine, he lives with his Mother in Chicago----I'm hoping he'll be home by Thanksgiving."

Travis' eyes get misty, "Do you have a picture of him, Jim----what about you Walker----can I see a picture of your kids?"

Walker and Trivette reach into their wallets and hand the man their pictures.

Travis looks at them and tries to talk, "That J.W. is getting to be a big boy, he looks to be as tall as you are now---he's a good looking young man. And, your family Walker---3 boys and a girl----your daughter's a sure looker. Takes after your wife, I see. How long have you two known each other, you and Jim, I mean?"

"About 20 years, J.W. is my godson, and Trivette---Jim is godfather to all my kids."

Trivette grins, "Yep---and, I'll be godfather to the one that's on it's way too."

Travis hands their pictures back, "You got another one coming, congratulations."

"What about you Travis, did you and Liza have anymore kids?"

Travis reaches for his drink, "No---- after we lost Cody--we lost each other. Liza went back to Henderson, Ohio, last I heard she had gotten married again. Me-----I'm still 'batching'
it----no woman wants to put up with me----or my nightmares."

The three men order another round, Trivette orders more scotch, Walker stays with his beer, and Travis orders another boilermaker.

"Okay, where was I?"

Walker takes his pictures back, putting the family picture back in it's place, across from his ranger's badge. "What about this drug, what causes the paralysis?"                            

"The same thing that's in your PCP and crack, just not so much of it. They don't want to kill their victims right away they want them around for 'pleasure'. This is a long-term drug, rangers, therefore the crimes are spread out, and they don't have to go looking for victims as quick as they would if they were killing them right away. Some of these boys were missing for almost up to a year, that seems to be the time that these creeps get tired of their little 'toys', then bodies start popping up."

Trivette starts pulling on his tie, and wiping his brow. "And, the victims are all boys?"

"No---unfortunately there have been cases of young girls, it's just that with them, they don't know they are victims."

"What do you mean, Trav?"

"There have been several case of young girls coming up missing, but most of them have been found alive, and some of the stories they have to tell are very bizarre---to say the least."

The two rangers look at each other, "How so?" Asks Walker

Travis scratches his chin, "There was this case up near Denver, over a period of 6 months, three girls came up missing. They returned home like nothing had happened, they told their parents that they just had to "find themselves" as one girl put it. But, the girls were starting to have heavy bleeding----their menstrual cycles were out of kilter. Parents got suspicious and took them to see a Dr., and one of the girls started hemorrhaging, she bled to death. The other girl couldn't offer any explanations, the exam showed---no sexual abuse----the Drs couldn't offer any medical reason for the bleeding, but the girl ended up sterile."

Trivette is starting to sway back and forth in his seat, "What about the 3rd girl?"

Travis hesitates, "Are you sure you're up to hearing this, Jim----that black skin of yours is getting a little pale---so to speak?"

Trivette sits up in his chair, "I'm okay-----just don't go showing any pictures---I don't think my stomach can handle that part."

Travis sighs, "Okay, you asked for it! Apparently one of the 'seekers' or maybe several, who knows-----decided that they wanted to have sex with this one and-------"

"What do you mean, with this 'one',"-------interrupts Walker-----"the others weren't sexually attacked, why this one?"

"Who knows, Walker? Maybe they got tired of doing without----who knows what these 'sickos' are thinking.-----They raped the girl----repeatedly and not with just---their body parts---they used
other----things. Besides that, she was kept drugged---a lot longer than the other two girls----she became pregnant

Travis stops and reaches for his drink, his hands start to shake even more, Walker watches his eyes, "Go on-----what is it you're not wanting to tell us?"

"The girl gave birth to a little boy, or at least they think it was a little boy----it had the genitals of one----but the rest of it's body----they're not quite sure what it was."

Trivette groans, "No----no----what are you trying to say, Trav---that it was some kind of  mutant-----come on Trav----you can't be serious."

The waitress is coming with more drinks and Walker waves her away. Trivette sees her and yells at her---"Hey---where you going with our drinks?"

Trivette's words are starting to slur and Walker is trying to calm him down, "Come on, Trivette, let's call it a night---you need to get some coffee in you and some sleep."

Trivette pushes him away, "I am not wanting any coffee, just let me have my damn drink.-----you wanna another beer, Walk-man?"

"No, I don't want another beer----and you're not getting anything else to drink---come on----let's go."

Walker turns to Travis, "I'm going to get a couple of rooms and get him settled for the night---but you and I are going to finish this talk."

Trivette stands up and wobbles back and forth, "Walker?"

"Yeah?"

"I need to go to the little boys' room----point me in the general direction---I can find it."

Walker turns him around and points towards a sign that reads: Little Wieners----"Just make sure you don't go into the one marked: Little Buns."

Trivette continues to stand there, "Why can't they just say, boys and girls-----why do they have to make everything so complicated?" The Ranger takes a step and stops.

"Walker?"

"Yeah, Trivette?"

"I think I'm-----going-----to be sick." and with that, the ranger starts throwing up his insides. Walker and Travis scramble to get out of the way of the putrid projectile. The owner of the bar
is yelling at the three men to get out. Walker throws his partner over his shoulder and the three men start out in search of a motel.
                                       
                      ******************************************************

The twins have gone to the ranch of their dear friend, Hank Ferguson. He sees them riding up on horseback, and waves to them.

"Come in, come in-----it's been awhile since I've seen you boys," he walks hurriedly up to them.

"It's only been a couple of days since we were here. Mr. Ferguson, don't you remember?" Asks Cooper.

The old man stops and wipes his brow, "I'm sorry-----I guess I just forgot. Come in boys, sit with me for a spell and visit."

The boys follow the old man inside, "We can't stay too long Mr. Ferguson ---we have chores to do before it gets too dark," replies Cordell.

Cooper turns to his brother, "We can visit for a few minutes, Cordell-----How are you. Mr. Ferguson----do you need any help with feeding your livestock? What about your hogs---have they been fed?"

The old man smiles. "Oh yeah----my hogs have been fed, that's what I was doing when you boys rode up---they were sure hungry."

Cooper smiles, "They're always hungry----and mean! My grandpa Gordon says they must be related to the Arkansas razorback with the tempers they have."

"Yep----they are mean----had to separate some of them from their sows----getting just plain abusive towards the old girls."

The boys’ laugh, they like it when the old man jokes back with them. Lately, the old man hasn't had too much to smile about. The Alzheimer disease is pecking away at the old man's memory. Sometimes he can remember events from some 20 yrs back, at other times, he has trouble
remembering what happened just hours before. The boys’ look around the all familiar living room where they used to sit and listen to stories from the old man and his days as a wrangler, taking cattle drives up to Kansas. But, mostly the boys remembered those chocolate chip cookies and Martha.

"Mr. Ferguson, we need to ask you something, have you had any visitors come to see you in a dark green car, two men?"

The old man scratches his head, "No-----aside from you two, I haven't had any visitors----why?"

The boys look at each other and then back to the old man. "We were just wondering-----we just want to know that you're okay, and that you should be careful about inviting strangers in to see you," replies Cooper.

"Why----are you saying these men might want to----hurt me?"

Cordell clears his throat and hits his brother, "No----we're not trying to scare you----we're just saying----to please be careful."

The old man smiles, "I still can't tell you two apart, now which one are you?"

"I'm Cordell. Mr. Ferguson."

Cooper shoves his brother lightly and points to himself, "I'm Cooper---the cute one."

The old man shakes his head,   "I remember the day you two were born. I remember your Daddy bringing me, not one cigar----but two! I still remember how he was grinning from ear to ear saying ---‘I got me two boys, Hank’. We sat and smoked those cigars, but your Daddy was in a hurry to get back to the hospital and introduce the two of you----to your big sister. How is your
sister? She doesn't come around as often as you boys?"

"Angela stays pretty busy, with school work, helping Mom and taking care of our baby brother. Dad will be bringing you another cigar next spring---we have a new baby coming."

The old man laughs----"That's great---I have a daughter, you know?--" The old man gets a far away look in his eyes, "But, she doesn't get to come and visit---she's real busy and all.---I got some grandkids too----but, I never get to see them."

The twins exchange looks, "How long has it been since you got to see your grandkids, Mr. Ferguson?"

The old man just looks at them, "Who?"

"Your grandkids, Mr. Ferguson----how long since you've seen them?" Asks Cooper.

"I can't remember---I'll have to ask Martha---she keeps up with all of that."

The boys become quiet and finally Cordell asks, "Is there anything you need, Mr. Ferguson----anything that we can get you, before we have to leave?"

The old man's eyes get misty. "There is something you can get me---if it's not too much trouble?"

"Just name it. Mr. Ferguson," answers Cooper.

The old man looks around the room, and tears come into his eyes, he whispers, "Roses."

"Roses?" The boys repeat.

"Yes, Martha always had fresh roses in here----they made the house smell so good."

The twins look at each other, trying to recall if their Mother's rose bushes are still blooming this late. "We will get you roses. Mr. Ferguson----you can count on it."

The boys extend their hands to shake hands with the old man. "We have to go now---it's getting late."

The old man nods his head and wipes the tears from his eyes, "There is one other thing----"

"What is it, Mr. Ferguson?"

He waves them away, "No---I couldn't ask----I wouldn't embarrass you---you better get home, don't want your Mama worrying about you."

The boys’ walk out to their horses, the old man follows them out and stands on the porch as they start to mount up.

Cooper has one boot in the stirrup, then stops and looks back at the old man and then to his brother. Without saying a word, they walk back to the old man and each one gives him a hug.
The old man starts to cry, "Thank---you, I needed that. I never get to hug my grandkids---they live so far away---you know?"                              

The twins smile,  "We'll see you soon, Mr. Ferguson and we'll bring you those roses you've asked for," says Cooper.

The old man watches as the boys ride off. He looks up to the sky, "You're right, Martha----they are such good boys. And yes, Martha ---I will be bringing you their hugs---real soon."

The boys remain silent for the ride home, neither of them feeling the need to say anything.  In the distance they can smell their fireplace burning, and know what awaits them, the warmth and security of ----home.
                                        
                     ************************************************

Walker has gotten himself and Trivette a room for the night. As Travis keeps an eye on Trivette, Walker goes for coffee.

Trivette is still in the bathroom, throwing up as Walker comes back and tries to get him to drink the coffee.

"Is it decaf----you know I don't like that Texas mud that you call coffee."

"I didn't think about asking for decaf," Walker yells back at him, "Now here, drink this damn stuff before I have Travis sit on you and I end up forcing it down your throat."

Trivette takes a long swallow, then he's back over the commode again. Walker reaches into the shower and turns the water on. Both he and Travis pick Trivette up and shove him, clothes and all, into the shower. They leave the bathroom and Trivette is screaming that they
are trying to drown him.

Walker takes some coffee, but Travis refuses it.

"If I sober up----I start remembering too many sad things----this way---my mind is blurry and I can blame my memory loss on the booze, and I don't have to remember."

"When did you start drinking, when your son was killed"?

Travis shakes his head, "I've always had a little problem with the booze----but it got worse when Cody was murdered."

Trivette comes stumbling out of the bathroom, looking for some dry clothes. Walker throws him his duffel bag, "Feel like eating something now?"

"No way," the Ranger grumbles and heads back to the bathroom to get out of his wet clothes.
                                      
 The Seekers XI              

Walker shakes his head, "It's going to be awhile before Trivette is up to listening to anything else, while he's sobering up, I'm going to call home."

Travis nods, "Want me to leave, so you have some privacy?"

Walker starts to the door, "No, that's okay, I'll call from my truck-----would you keep an eye on Trivette? I knew I shouldn't have let him drink anything on an empty stomach."

Travis agrees to watch his friend and Walker calls home:

"Hi Daddy! You coming home----me miss you?"

"Hey buckaroo, what you doing?"

"Mommy give me a bath----wash my hair."

Walker smiles, picturing that scene; Little Ray hates to get his hair washed. Alex is probably soaking wet, trying to hold him down and wash his hair at the same time. He hears her in the background, yelling at him not to get on their bed before drying off.

"Let me talk to Mommy, Little Ray----you go get dried off and get your jammies on----and take those boots off."

Little Ray looks down at his feet, "Me don't got my boots on, Daddy---me all wet!"

"Good! Then get dried off."

"Hi honey----was wondering when you would get around to calling."

"I'm sorry, hon, but this informant has really laid some information on us----that we weren't quite expecting to hear."

"Walker, are you okay, you sound---different?"

Walker lets out a deep sigh, "I'm alright----Trivette is a little out of it---but after what we just
heard----it's understandable!"

Alex is still trying to dry their son off, "What----what did he tell you?

"I really don't want to get into it right now----I just wanted to call and make sure you and the kids are okay-----everyone in bed?"

"Just about----I can call them to the phone if you would like to talk to them?"

"No, hon---that's okay, how are you---are you feeling okay? Are you still sore?" He teases.

Alex smiles----"Yes, I am----but a certain cowboy can take care of that when he gets home----meaning---are you on your way?"

"No, we haven't gotten the whole story yet---I'm waiting on Trivette to sober up."

"Sober up? ----Walker, why was Jimmy drinking?"

"It's a long story hon, we had a few drinks and Trivette drank too much on a empty stomach---but he's fine now. Look, honey---I'll start home sometime tomorrow----in the meantime, would you tell the kids to be extra careful. Tell the twins to stay close---all of you---stay close."

"Walker----there's something you're not telling me----and it's scaring me."

"I don't want to scare you, Alex----just listen to me---patronize the old man---okay?"

"Is that Dad, can I talk to him?"

Walker hears one of the twins, "Alex, is that Cordell?"

Alex nods, "Yes----it's your Dad---he wants to talk to you."

"Hi Dad---how's the investigating going?"

"Everything is fine son, listen to me----I want you and your brothers and Angela to stay close to home---I don't want any of you going off tomorrow---stay away from the mall."

"Tomorrow is Saturday, Dad---we always go to the mall."

"Not tomorrow!!! Understand?"

"What's wrong, Dad? You sound upset?"

Walker is trying to get his voice under control. "Cordell, just do me this one favor without asking a lot of questions, okay, son?"

Cordell looks to his Mom, his brow going up in a question, Alex looks back at him, puzzled.

"Okay, Dad---if that's what you want. There's something I wanted to ask you, but you don't sound like you're in too good a mood----I'll wait till you get home."

"What? What do you want to ask me?"

Cordell sighs, "I was just wondering-----if we were going to be starting on the attic soon, my bedroom and all?"

"Cordell----I've got a million things on my mind right now----I can't be thinking about that damn attic."

Cordell takes the phone away from his ear and grimaces. Alex looks at him and tries to give him an assuring smile.

"Okay, Dad----I understand----it's okay."

Walker hits his dashboard----"Wait a minute---Cordell---son---I didn't mean to lose my temper with you-----we'll start on your bedroom in the attic as soon as this case is over---I promise."

Cordell sighs, "Okay, Dad----whenever-----"

"Cordell---there is something that you can be doing now. I wrote down all of the supplies that we would be needing, the paper is on my desk. Do you think you and your brother can start pulling
up the plywood?"

Alex watches as her son's face turns to joy, "Yeah, yeah Dad----we can do it----sure we can."

"Okay, then, start at one end of the attic and move forward, pull all that plywood up, Take that paper and call the lumber yard, get all of the supplies ordered and we'll pick them up on Monday. Be sure your order the thickest insulation they have, that floor has got to be soundproof. We don't want your Mother and the new baby getting headaches listening to yours and your brother’s music-----understand?"

Cordell is smiling, "I understand---yes---Coop and I will start tomorrow----since we won't be
going to the mall."

Walker shakes his head, "Okay, son----I'll see you tomorrow night----put your Mother back on."

Cordell hands the phone back to Alex, and Cordell starts hollering for his brother.

Alex smiles, "Well, you have made someone---very happy. Does this mean we'll be hearing hammers and drills soon?"

"Well----I thought they needed some kind of diversion, since I've told them to stay away from the mall, and that goes for Angela too! By the way, aren't they still on restriction---the mall was
already 'out'!"

"Honey-----I think you just got 'duped'."

Walker laughs, "I'm surprised I can even think straight after what this Travis Sentell has been telling us."

"It sounds ----really depressing. Are you sure you don't want to tell me what is going on?"

"I'll tell you when I get home, that will be soon enough to give you nightmares. Alex, I’ve got to get back in there, I want to get this information over with. I'll call you tomorrow, before I start home. Just make sure the kids are tucked in----and keep the doors locked."

Alex bites her lip, "Okay, honey----I will. I sure will be glad when this case is over with----I've never heard you so-----rattled."

Walker thinks about what Travis has already told him and Trivette, he knows the worse is yet to be heard. "I know, hon-----and once this case is over with----we are all going to take that camping trip that I keep postponing.----I love you----kiss the kids, I'll be home tomorrow."
                               
                 ***********************************************************

Danny has wanted to tell Sarge about what happened in the auditorium earlier that day, but he's being careful about what all he tells him. The old man is in a bad mood because of the attempt to take another victim has failed.

Danny watches as the old man takes out his little black case and fondles the hypodermic needles like he would caress a small animal. He keeps them cleaned and neatly arranged in the black case. The old man's eyes are watery as he keeps looking back at Danny.

"Those boys got into a fight with those big boys, Sarge, and just like before; they beat them silly! There were six of those boys this time, big guys that were on the football team----but it didn't matter to Cooper and Cordell----they knocked the crap out of them!"

"So, now you know them by their names-----huh, Danny?"

"Yeah, Sarge----and they are really nice. They just don't like to be 'bullied’, so they fight back."

As soon as Danny says the words, he regrets saying them. Sarge's eyes narrow as he walks towards the young man. "And, just how friendly did you get to be with those boys?"

Danny hesitates, he can't tell Sarge that he was drawn to the auditorium because of the boys' singing, Sarge would not understand. If there was one thing he despised more than 'whores'----it was the church and it's teachings.

"I just was cleaning up in the auditorium and they saw me and ----they said 'hello' and we said a few words to each other----that's all."

The old man glares back at Danny, his pale eyes taking on a piercing glare. "Are you sure that was all there was to it, Danny? Did you tell them your name?"

"No,---I didn't tell them my name----the choir director told them," Danny lies.

"Really? Now how would anyone at that school know your name if you didn't tell them----why are you lying to me, Danny?"

"Okay, okay---I told them----I didn't mention any last names, I swear."

"Did you say anything about me, Danny?"

"NO!----I didn't mention you in any way----I said I was new in town,---that's all----that's all I said!"

"I don't believe you, Danny!!! That's why I didn't want you working----because you talk too much," the man is walking closer to Danny, the young man is backing away from him. "You're mine, Danny----I will not share you. You almost got us into too much trouble down on the border with your talking----didn't you learn your lesson then, what do I have to do to keep you quiet-----cut your tongue out? Or should I give you a injection-----just about here?"

The old man grabs Danny by the neck and jabs his neck with his finger, "How about the jugular, Danny------you would be slobbering like a crazed animal."

Danny starts to cry and beg for mercy as the old man starts hitting him with his fist. The old man continues to hit Danny over and over, the cries going unheard in the condemned building. The
beating will continue to late in the night.
                                 
              ************************************************************

Walker looks at Trivette, most of his color has returned as Walker has convinced him to try and eat something.

Trivette forces the soup down, concentrating more on the saltines to try and calm his queasy stomach.

Walker looks to Travis, "As much I hate to say it----you can continue now. I'm sure the worse is yet to come."

"What happened to the girl that had the … baby," asks Trivette.

Travis is still drinking. "The girl committed suicide after she saw the baby. She was babbling that it was some kind of monster----and she was to blame for bringing it into the world."

"She was allowed to see it-----how could the Doctors allow that?"

"She saw it by accident, Walker! They had taken the----‘thing’ to the lab to be examined, the young girl was also in the lab, getting some tests made. There were some ignorant interns that were discussing the poor creature, the discussion reached the girl, and she saw them taking pictures of it!"

Trivette groans and pushes the soup away from him, he shakes his head back and forth, "Please don't tell me---there are pictures of this thing?"

Travis frowns and looks to Walker, "Yes---there are pictures----I can get them for you, if you want to see them."

Walker slowly nods his head, "Yes----I have to see for myself--------how did the girl----die?"

"She took a nose dive off the 12th floor of he hospital."

"How old---was she?"

"About 14----about the age of your daughter, Walker. She was real pretty, a real looker."

Both Walker and Trivette take a deep breath.

"Okay, now what do we have? This Sargenski guy hasn't been heard from since early 90's, he's got a wife and kid out there, the kid is around his early 20's; do we have some pictures of them? What about the wife, do you know where she is?"

Travis takes another drink, "She's dead----the boy killed her."

Trivette stares at Travis, "The boy killed his own Mother---why?"

"Because he blamed her for everything that his Father did to him. It's in all of his files at juvenile court----he never once said an unkind word about his father, but he totally despised and hated his Mother! Maybe he remembers her just watching and doing nothing to stop it----who knows? We spend so much time worrying about why these 'sickos' do things and spend so much money trying to psychoanalyze these perverts----it makes me sick."

"Anyways, the first time that he was released from juvenile court, he beat his Mother within an inch of her life----broke both of her arms, left her for dead."

"Sounds like the perfect poster child----so when did he follow through with killing her?"

"That's sort of strange---the way that came about. He evaded the police for several months, then when they did catch him, the Mother refused to press charges, said it was someone else that beat her. All the charges were dropped, and he lived with her for several months, even helping to get her back on her feet. Then just as quickly, he made a reverse turn and the beating started again, he pushed her off one of the piers at San Francisco bay, wheelchair and all!"

Trivette swears and shakes his head, "Were there any witnesses?"

"Yep, several----but no one would testify, the boy left the bay area, and like his father----hasn't been seen since. These are the only pictures of them that we have. Someone went through all the military records and erased everything on Colonel Sargenski, including pictures, fingerprints, everything!"

Walker and Trivette look at the pictures of Sargenski and his son. The picture on the older man is blurry, but something about the eyes gets Walker's attention.

"Is this the way his eyes normally look, or is this just a bad photograph?"                                  

Travis nods, "You're not imagining anything, everyone that we questioned about him said the same thing ----he had weird looking eyes. They were such a pale blue they looked almost white. His hair was turning gray and so were his brows, giving him that ghostly look."

"You would think that with this kind of description, that this man would be easier to locate---those eyes are definitely a give away."

"Yes, Jim, but I'm sure he's used contact lenses to disguise that part of him----or dark sunglasses."

Walker takes the picture of the boy and looks at him, "He's not a bad looking young man, and some women would think him to be very attractive----if he liked women--that is."

Travis looks at the boy's picture, "He's a 'fruit', but he has swung both ways---just like his father. He likes to treat the women rough, making them do unmentionable things."

Trivette takes a deep breath, "I know I'm going to regret asking this, but what "unmentionable" things?"

"Think back a few years, Jim---remember that rock group called SEX PISTOLS and the way they would vomit on their audiences?"

Walker looks at both of the men like they've gone crazy, "On purpose?" he asks.

Trivette shakes his head, "Yes, Walker----on purpose---that was their 'gimmick'."

Walker glares at Trivette and says softly, "Don't you ever knock my country and western music again."

Travis looks at them, "Are you two going to discuss music or do we get on with it?"

The Rangers motion for Travis to continue. "Yes, he liked to do disgusting things to the women, but the boys didn't fair much better. The drugs were used on them to keep them weak, and in control. I can't, for the life of me, understand how someone can use 'objects' to induce pain and it turns on these perverts. The little Jackson boy had objects used on him, didn't he?"

"Yes," answers Walker, "His rectum was almost split in half----but you said that these "sickos" liked to keep their victims alive----for further pleasure----why kill the Jackson boy?"

"Who knows? ----Maybe they injected too much fluid and the boy was dying----you said he lost a lot of blood."

"Trav, it was like they were trying to drain his blood out----what's that all about?"

"The hypodermic needles are sometimes too big, the blood starts flowing and it can't be stopped. Apparently, the killers of this little boy used too big a needle."

"Wait a minute----you're losing me, Trav------are we dealing with more than one lunatic? Do you think that this Colonel Sargenski is still alive, do you think he's behind all of this?"

"Yes, I do Jim---and I think his son is involved in it in some way. All of these killings are too similar, and in almost all of these cases---this drug has been used in some way or another. You said you found needle marks, and the fluid that was inside the boy can't be identified, except for similar ingredients to PCP and crack, angel dust---you name it. These 'sickos' know just how much to use and what the affects will be!"

Walker keeps looking at the pictures, sees the dead baby or what is left of it. He doesn't have to look at it for too long, the picture will stay in his mind forever. The young girl was very pretty, long dark hair, very petite. He then looks at the picture of Sargenski's wife; she too was a very attractive woman. She's got long dark hair, and a nice smile. Walker continues to stare at the woman's picture, and he looks at another picture of her, where the sun is hitting the woman's hair----giving off a auburn tint. A chill goes up the Rangers' spine. He recalls how Angela's hair always takes a blonder look when the sun hits her long, auburn hair. He slams the pictures down!

Trivette looks to his friend, "You okay, Walk-man?

Walker turns to Travis, "Get us everything you have on this Colonel and his son, what's the boys' name?"

"His birth name was Kyle----but he's got all kinds of a.k.a.'s----there's no telling what he's being called now."

"I want everything on these two----right down to the type of toothpaste they use. Let's get on it----we don't have any time to waste."

"You got it, I'll get my friend at Ft. Hood to start raking in favors, and notify the Mexican police---I guess you know---we're going to be up all night."

"It won't be the first time----will it Walker?"

The bearded Ranger doesn't answer; he's got visions of that young girl going through his mind. He close his eyes and tries to visualize what her last thoughts were, was she crying for her Daddy?

Then he can see Angela, running, her long auburn hair blowing in the wind, then he can hear her crying, "Daddy----help me."
                               
**************************************************************

Angela looks around at the dusty attic, she turns her nose up and starts fanning the air. She coughs, "This place is stifling---I can hardly breathe up here, how can you possibly want your bedroom up here, Cordell?"

"It's not going to be this way after we get it aired out, Sis. Coop, put that window up."

"Are you crazy----it's freezing outside!"

Cordell sighs and walks to the other side of the room, "Well, at least crack it open."

Cordell is all smiles as he begins to tell his sister and brother what all he plans to do to the place. Cooper is starting to feel his brothers' enthusiasm. "This is going to be so 'rad'---there will be all kinds of places to put up our stereo equipment."

Angela frowns, "Wait a minute, I thought the whole purpose of your getting the attic, Cordell----was to get away from Cooper?"

"Well, yeah---I do want my own room, but all the stereo equipment will be up here, and after Dad and I soundproof this place----we can turn up our music as loud as we want."

Cooper makes a face at his sister, "And, that means---no sisters!"

"Don't worry about me coming up here---I can't stand the smell---Cordell---you need to get some air fresheners up here."

"Oh for Pete's sake, Angela---we don't want it smelling like your bathroom," answers Cordell.

"Whatever." Angela frowns and walks towards the window. "Hey guys, I can see the bus stop from here."

"Whoopee Angela---why don't you tell us something we don't already know?" Cooper answers.

"Come on you two---stop arguing. Aside from it being stuffy up here---what do you really think of it Sis?"

Angela continues to stare at the bus stop, "It's nice Cordell, what do you want me to do to help? Did you call the lumber yard yet?"

"Yep, I called as soon as I got up this morning, of course I had to wait till they opened up---a good two hours."

Angela and Cooper laugh. Cooper starts taking his jacket off, "Okay, let's get started pulling up that plywood, but what do we do with it once it's pulled up?"

"Dad said we would have to break it up to get it out the windows, drop it down to the ground, and then later he would make sawdust out of it, and put around the trees."

Angela smirks, "And, just how are you two going to get the new plywood up here, if the sections are too big to get through the windows?"

The twins look at each other, and walk over to their sister, each putting a arm around her. "Sis, we know that your brain gets a little foggy from all that 'girlie' stuff like perfumes and such that you use all the time ----but we plan to bring the plywood up through the attic entrance."

"That hole is too small, you can't get the plywood up through that."

"No, it isn't!  The plywood is 4x6---that opening is a good four feet wide, and-------well---maybe we should measure it again, Coop."

Angela watches as they take out their measuring tape, she watches, as Cooper's face turns red. She smiles, "Now----whose brain is foggy? I can't believe that you two didn't measure
that before the plywood was ordered"?

"Dad measured everything, he wrote everything down," Cordell answers in defense.

"Well, apparently Dad doesn't intend to bring the plywood up the attic ladder---the opening is too small---I told you that."

The boys sigh, Cooper turns to his twin, "How does Dad intend to get it up here?"

Angela stands there with her arms folded, smirking. "Maybe he intends to let the luck of the Irish get it up here and be carried in by little leprechauns."

Cooper is getting angry, "It's not funny, Angela."

Angela starts laughing; "I think it's hilarious if you want my opinion."

"We don't want your opinion, Angela," comments Cordell.

"Look----obviously Dad forgot to tell you how he intends to get the plywood up here. Maybe, he's going to take that window out," Angela points towards the window.

"Well, that makes sense---he could fix a hoist to pull the new plywood up."

Angela walks back to the window, "Hey, guys----I think I just saw that car again."

The boys run to the window, "Where, I don't see it?"

"I could have sworn I saw it, just the tail end of it, it was going towards the Ferguson place cut off!"

Cooper slaps his brothers' back, "Come on Cordell---let's go check it out!"

As the boys are running to the attic ladder, Angela shouts to them, "Never mind, the car is coming back."

The boys run back to the window as they see the car drive off. "We're still going to check the place out, come on Cordell!"

The boys take off down the attic, and Angela sighs. "Great----now I'm left to push that attic ladder up all by myself, I better not break a nail, that's all I gotta say!"

Angela goes down the slanted ladder, turns and pushes it back up. The Indian blanket that covers the ladder's door smoothes out and covers any evidence that there is an entrance there. The three foot pole stands in the corner with a hook on it, it goes into the loop, to pull the ladder down. When this is not being used, a huge flowerpot with fern hangs from it. Other colorful tapestries don the ceiling.

Angela stands there and looks back at the attic, and then thinks of her brothers' and their failure to notice the attic's opening. She smiles and takes a deep breath, "Brothers!-----And, they talk about my brain being fuzzy---if they HAD a brain, they would take it out and play with
 it."                   

She has to start making plans for her deception; the night is almost upon her. She goes to her room and checks her windows. She will exit out the bathroom window, go down on the ledge and drop the five feet to the ground. She will then run down the gravel drive and up to the mass of trees and wait for Darcy and her friend, Kiwi.

"They better be on time---it's freezing out there. Maybe I should take a heavier coat down to the end of the drive before the twins get back."

Angela starts pacing back and forth in her room. "Why am I so nervous, Darcy says everything will work out, Mom will never know that I'm out of the house, ----I won't stay long at the party----just long enough to keep my part of the deal and Darcy will tell Mom everything about her problem---and then everything will be out in the open. Mom will see to it that Darcy sees a Doctor, even if she has to take Darcy there herself---if Mom has to ---she will use her influence as a lawyer to make sure Darcy gets medical help.----I know Mom---she won't listen to Darcy's excuses---Mom will make her see a doctor. Darcy won't be able to pull anything over on my Mom---not my Mom!" 

Angela heads to the kitchen, her Mom is sitting at the table, going over bills. "Mom---I'm going to cook supper tonight--is that okay?"

Alex looks up at her daughter, "You want to cook? What brought this on?"

"Daddy's coming home, I want to fix him his favorite, --turkey meat loaf and for dessert I want to fix pineapple-upside down cake----will that be okay?"

"Sure, honey, but I doubt that your Dad will be home in time for supper, he will be home later."

Angela smiles, and says to herself, "I'm counting on his getting home late---I sure can't sneak out---if he's home."

"Were you saying something, Angela---I didn't hear you."

"No, Mom----I got to get the turkey meat out of the freezer, anything else you want while I'm in the basement?"

Alex looks at her daughter and smiles, "No, honey---I'm going to the den and work on these bills, if you need any help with supper---call me."

Angela stops on her way down to the basement, she sighs.

"Listen to me-------I'm beginning to sound just like Darcy, all of this conniving to get on Mom's good side by volunteering to cook supper----I will be so glad when this night is over with."

Saturday night:

Supper has been over with for a good hour and Angela has cleaned up the kitchen. She walks slowly into the living room, the twins are getting out old movies to watch and Little Ray wants to watch something funny.

"No, Little Ray---tonight is Halloween---we want to watch spook movies," argues Cooper.

Alex is sitting in Walker's recliner; she starts rubbing her back. "Hey, guys, keep the noise down, I think I'll go lie down for awhile. I'm turning my phone off, but if your Dad calls----someone come and wake me."

"Okay, Mom---will do. Do you need anything, tea---or something for your backache," asks Cooper.

"No, sweetheart---just don't watch any of those 'slasher movies' while your baby brother is still awake---he's still having nightmares. "  

The Seekers XII           

The twins frown, "Well, there go the spook movies---till after Little Ray falls asleep."

Angela is watching them and glancing at her watch, and since it's almost 7:30, she has to start making her plans to get out of the house. She frowns; she's got to get them interested in a movie real soon.

"Okay, you guys---you got to decide on something that Little Ray can watch---there's got to be something in all of Mom and Dad's collection that we can all agree on."

"Like what, Angela----all of Dad's collection is on westerns and war movies--Mom's is mostly romances."

Angela sighs and walks to the collections of old movies, there has got to be over a hundred of them. She starts going through them, "Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, John Wayne, who are all these people?"

Cooper smirks, "Heroes of Dad's---he must have everyone of their movies, especially this Eastwood guy. I think Mom liked him, too---she's always saying ‘that other Cowboy’ to Dad."

Cordell goes through the other movies, " Hey----here are some comedies, remember we've watched this guy several times---he's pretty funny-----Chevy Chase?"

"What's the name of it," asks Angela.                       

"This one is called "Foul Play", the description says it's a comedy with a twist of intrigue and mystery---wanna try it?"

The three of them agree and all sit down to watch the movie, Little Ray crawling up on the sofa, as close to Angela that he can get. She looks at him and whispers to herself, "Please let him fall
asleep----quick."

Cooper watches the names go across the screen, and whispers, "Chevy Chase?----Now what kind of Mother would name her son after a car?"

Cordell answers, "Probably the same kind of Mother that would name you----COOPER."

"HEY!!! Dad named me!! I was named after one of his heroes, Cooper Hayes----and Uncle James."

"It wasn't Cooper Hayes---it was Hayes Cooper----get your names straight, bro'!"

"Whatever----Cord."

Cordell throws a pillow at his brother, "Don't call me that---the name's Cordell."

Angela groans, "Would you two please be quiet, so we can watch the movie?"

The movie is going for a good half hour, Little Ray's eyes are starting to get heavy, Angela makes an excuse to go to her bathroom.  She's going up the stairs, as her little brother is pulling
the Indian blanket over him, he'll be asleep soon.

Angela starts making up her bed to make it look like she's asleep, she will go back down and casually announce that she's going to bed and then she will start getting ready to make her exit.
She applies the little makeup and starts fixing her hair.

The twins are only half interested in the old movie, there have been some funny scenes, and then the villain is shown. The character is looking for microfilm and is in hot pursuit of the heroine,
played by Goldie Hawn. Cordell sees the villains' face and practically flies out of his Dad's recliner.

"THAT'S HIM----THAT'S HIM---that's the guy I saw!"

Little Ray jumps from the couch and Cooper is startled. "Who's him? What the heck are you screaming about, Cordell?"

Cordell reaches for the remote and puts it on ‘freeze’--- "This guy ---this is the guy that I saw in that green car---look at his eyes!"

"Calm down Cordell---this is a movie---this guy isn't real----he's just an actor."

Little Ray's eyes are darting back and forth between his brothers, he's starting to get scared by the tone of their voices.

"I don't care that it's a movie, Cooper---this is what that guy looked like---the gray hair, and
eyebrows-----and those spooky eyes---don't you remember me telling you about how scary his eyes were?"

Cooper looks at the TV screen, "He's pretty scary looking---and the eyes are spooky. Maybe this guy that you saw is a big fan of this actor's----and he's only imitating him."

"I'm not saying that this is the same guy----this movie is old----it was made back in the late '70's or '80's----but this is what he looks like. At least we know how to describe him now---and we need to tell Mr. Ferguson about him!"

Little Ray continues to listen, he keeps hearing the words to describe the 'spooky man' on TV----he whispers to himself, "Boogeyman?"                                

While the twins are discussing what to do, Little Ray runs up the stairs and to his sister’s room. He runs to her bed, crying---"Thissy---boogieman."

Angela has one foot out on the roof, when she hears her brother crying and calling for her. She steps back into the bathroom and tiptoes back to her room as Little Ray pulls the comforter back
and sees only blankets. His eyes bulge out and he starts crying harder, "Thissy-----boogieman----get Thissy!"

Angela runs to him and puts her hand across his mouth. "SSSHHHH, Little Ray---I'm right here---the boogieman didn't get me."

The boy cries harder as he grabs Angela around the neck, squeezing her. She gets up to shut her bedroom door, looking towards her Mom's bedroom; thank goodness her Mom didn't hear her baby brother's cries. She takes the boy back to her bed and tries to calm him; he's not letting go of her neck.

Angela's phone rings, she knows it must be Darcy wanting to know where she's at. As Angela goes to answer the phone, Little Ray runs after her and throws his arms around her waist, still talking about the "boogieman".

"Angela, where are you----we're waiting?"

"Something's gone wrong---I can't come---my baby brother is crying for me."

"Angela! Forget your brother, slip him a sleeping pill or something----make your brothers watch him."

"Oh sure----and what do I tell the twins, that I'm sneaking out and they will have to watch Little Ray till I get back----that's real smart Darcy---I know the twins will go for that."

"Angela---Kiwi is getting very angry with you---are you coming or not?"

"No---Darcy---I'm not coming!"

"What about our deal, Angela?"

Angela is still trying to calm her brother, "That was a stupid deal---I've never felt good about any of this----please don't be mad at me, Darcy----please talk to my Mom---please?"

"ANGELA-I'M GETTING VERY IMPATIENT WITH YOU!"                                       

Angela has a chill go up and down her spine, "Kiwi?"

The voice is low and angry. "You are making me very upset. Now----you get someone to watch your little brother---we are waiting. You don't want to get me angry, Angela----you wouldn't like that!"

Angela can feel her own anger rising, "I don't care that you are angry---I'm not leaving my house and that's final----now put Darcy back on!"

"Angela---please, just meet us as planned and Kiwi will forget all about being upset with you."

"I don't care that he's upset----I'm not----"

"ANGELA!   You listen to me and listen closely-----if you are not here in exactly 15 minutes----I'm coming to get you---do you hear me?"

"Excuse me? I don't think so! You don't order me around----I don't even know you!"

The voice on the phone is getting angrier, Angela hears Darcy's voice in the background, begging Kiwi to just leave and go to the party without Angela. Angela hears a slap.

"Darcy? Are you okay? Did he just hit you?"

"Angela----I'm coming for you----you better be ready!"

Angela throws the phone down and reaches for her brothers' hand, she starts running down the stairs, first to the front door to make sure it's locked. The twins look at her puzzled.

"Angela, what are you doing?" Asks Cordell.

Angela runs to the back door, screaming, "Make sure the doors are locked!"

Little Ray is crying harder as he chases after his sister as she goes running through the house. She stops and picks him up, "Be quiet little brother---we can't wake up Mom!"

Angela, what the heck is going on, why are you so scared," asks Cooper.

Angela blurts it all out about the deal to meet Darcy and that Kiwi is coming for her.

Cooper runs to the gun cabinet, and pulls out his .22---"Like hell he's coming after you----I'll show him where to go, let's see how he likes having this shoved up his butt!"

Cordell runs to his brother, "Now, calm down Cooper---we can't go shooting someone------when this jerk gets here---we'll let him know that in no uncertain terms he's not taking Angela
with him!"

Cooper starts loading his gun, "You can talk if you want to brother----I'll let my gun do my talking!"

Angela grabs Cordell's arm, "Cordell, this guy is crazy---I think he was hitting Darcy----there's no telling what he will do---get your gun too, please Cordell!"

Cooper reaches into the cabinet and throws a rifle to Cordell and then some shells. "Okay---you take the back door, Coop---I'll watch the front."

Angela looks up the stairs and remembers her bathroom window to be unlocked, "Maybe, we should wake Mom."

"No---Cooper and I can handle everything---no sense in worrying Mom."

Angela starts up the stairs, "I got to lock my bathroom window---------"

"No----you stay down here, watch the door and turn out the lights."

Little Ray is now crying for his Mom and trying to get Angela to go with him upstairs.  Angela is trying to keep him quiet. Cooper comes running from the back door.

"I can't see anything from the back door, just open field, where's Cordell"?

"He went upstairs to lock my bathroom window."

Cordell comes back down the stairs and Cooper runs past him, "The attic----I'm going to the attic, I can see the bus stop from there."

Cooper is running down the hallway, and knocks over a lamp. Alex hears the noise, and grabs her housecoat, walking to her bedroom door. Just as she opens her door Cooper flies past her, gun in hand.

"Cooper---what is going on, why do you have that gun?"

Cooper grabs the pole and hooks the ladder, pulling it down, "Got no time to explain, Mom---just stay back!

Alex stands there with her mouth open, "Cooper!"

Angela and Cordell come running up the stairs and Little Ray runs to his Mother, crying. Alex grabs Cordell, "What are you doing with your guns out---Cordell?"

Cordell turns to Angela, "Take Mom into the bedroom and try to explain to her about everything, and keep Little Ray quiet."

Alex again grabs her son's arm, he gently takes her hand away, "Mom---just get back out of the way----and let me and Cooper handle this."

Angela starts pulling her Mom back into her bedroom.

"Do you see anything, Coop?" yells Cordell.

"I can see some headlights-----they're coming this way!"

Cordell starts running back downstairs and positions himself in front of the door, releasing the safety on his rifle. Cooper runs down the stairs with Alex and Angela right behind him, Little Ray runs and hides in the closet!

Cooper backs up against his brother, watching the back door taking his stand, when they see flashing lights go across the living room window. Alex runs to the window and looks out.

"It's okay, it's the highway patrol!" Alex yells to them.

Cooper yells back, "It could be a trick----don't open the door, Mom."

Alex looks through the peephole and breathes a sigh of relief, "It's okay, its patrolman Norris."

The boys lower their guns and Angela runs to Cordell, he puts a protective arm around her, and puts the safety back on his rifle.

Alex smiles when she sees the young patrolman, "Mike-----come in---please."

"Are you okay, Mrs. Walker" he comes in with his gun drawn and another officer heads to the back door.

"Yes, Mike, we're okay, but we've had quite a scare---thank goodness you were patrolling nearby."

Patrolman Norris makes a quick scan of the room as Alex tells him of the call that was made to Angela. The other patrolman comes back, "I'm going out back, and make sure all is okay."

"We were just making our routine check down 199 and keeping an eye on the place for Ranger Walker----just like we always do when he's out of town. We saw the lights go out and then the light came on in the attic---figured we better check things out."

Cordell turns to his brother, "You turned the light on?"

"Of course" Cooper replies, "I had to see where I was going, didn't want to fall through the ceiling after pulling the plywood up."

A half hour later and the Walker ranch have been given the clear signal. Patrolman Norris turns to the twins and nods towards the guns.

"Now, I know that your Daddy has taught you boys all the precautions of handling guns, but I'm reminding you again----keep the safeties on, until you're ready to use them---right?"

The boys nod their heads, "Yes sir---we know."

"Okay, just make sure you know what you're shooting at---accidents can happen---know who is on the other side of that door before you shoot."

"If anyone tries to get through that door that doesn't live here---he's going to get his head ventilated," warns Cooper.

Alex turns to him, "Cooper----put the gun away---now!"

"Everything is okay, Mrs. Walker, I went over the whole grounds, including the barn," assures the second patrolman coming in.

"Thank you, Eric----would you boys like some coffee?"

"That's okay, Mrs. Walker----we got to get back on patrol, maybe you should try and get hold of your husband and let him know what has just went down. "

Alex nods and then she turns to look at the twins. They shift back and forth, looking at her. "I don't think so, Mike----I think the twins have everything under control."

The twins smile and look back at their Mom.

"Well, Eric and I will be going then, looks like you're in good hands. We'll still patrol this area, just in case---that jerk comes back. Goodnight."

Alex takes a deep breath and then she turns to her daughter, "Angela----you and I are going to have a long talk---upstairs---now!"

The twins look around the room, "Where's Little Ray?"

"Oh, my God," gasps Alex----"Where is he?"

They all start searching and calling out Little Ray's name. Finally one of the twins opens up their parents' closet door, and sees his baby brother all curled up, sound asleep.  He's picked up and taken to his parents' bed and tucked him in.

Angela and her Mother talk for a good 2 hours about everything. They try to get a hold of Darcy by calling Becky Blake's party and Darcy's home but no one has seen her. Alex calls dispatch and gets hold of patrolman Norris and asks him to keep watch out for her. They call the local hospital, hoping that Darcy will check herself in.

"It's late----and we all need to get some sleep---so let's call it a night---huh guys"?

The phone rings and Alex knows that it will be her husband. She tells the kids to all be quiet, she is not going to tell him anything to get him more worried than he already is.

The boys go to their room and Angela goes to hers.

Alex takes a deep breath, "Hi, honey-----yes, everything is fine. Where are you------okay, sweetheart, I'll see you in a couple of hours."

The kids come back into Alex's room, "Is it okay with you Mom---if we stay in here till Daddy gets home?" asks Angela.

Alex looks at the twins, they are trying so hard to put on a brave front, but deep down, she knows they were just as scared as she and Angela.

Alex throws back the covers and pulls Little Ray closer to her, "You know, I think I could use the company-----I was kind of spooked."

Angela goes over to her Dad's side of the bed and crawls in. Cooper lies across the end of the bed, and Cordell pulls up his Dad's chair as close to the bed as he can get it, reaching out and
taking his Mothers' hand. She hands him a pillow and a blanket, within minutes---the Walkers are all sound asleep.

A very tired and weary Ranger sees the sight in his bedroom. He smiles, and gently kisses his wife, and then he heads to the twins' room and falls asleep.
                           
                        **********************************************************

Walker is awakened by the smell of coffee, and he opens one eye and sees Alex sitting on the side of Cooper's bunk bed. She's smiling back at him, "I have a cup of coffee and a good morning kiss, which do you want first?"

Walker reaches out and takes the coffee, sitting it in the floor, then he looks back at his wife, crooking his finger, "Come here, woman."

Alex bends down and kisses her husband, he's starting to return her kiss, his hands going up inside her gown and then he jerks back and looks across the room. Alex laughs, "The boys are downstairs, getting ready for church----now do I get my kiss or not?"

"You can close the door and crawl inside this bunk with me and I'll give you more than just a kiss-----hey-----I don't think we've ever made love in a bunk bed before."

Alex smiles, "Well, not exactly a bunk bed, but we've made love in confinements----just as small. ----But, honey---not in the boy's room."

"Darn it---okay----guess I'll have to settle for just my coffee-----this time," he smiles back at her.

Walker takes a big sip of his coffee and then he nods towards their bedroom, "Wanna tell me what that was all about--------what happened----did the kids get scared watching spook movies
and decide to raid our bed?"

Alex takes a deep breath, "Honey---you better finish your coffee----because what I have to tell you is not from any spook movie-----it's the real thing."

Walker listens as Alex tells him of the events that unfolded and the call that was made to Angela. He jumps up from the bunk, "Is she okay?"

"She's fine, but we can't find Darcy!"

"Darcy? ----What's Darcy got to do with this?"

Alex starts telling her husband about Darcy's bleeding, Walker's face turns rigid as he grabs his pants and starts calling out Angela's name. He's running across the hallway and storms into
her room, "ANGELA!"

Alex runs after Walker, and they hear Angela in the bathroom, "I'm in the bathroom, Daddy."

"Get out here----NOW!"

Alex is trying to calm her husband down, "Honey----don't lose your temper-----she didn't go to the party-----"

Angela comes walking out with her robe around her, she looks at her Dad and answers faintly, "Hi---Daddy."

Walker just stares at her, his whole body starts to shake and he's finding it hard to speak, he walks towards her and grabs her, "Are you okay, baby----that son of a bitch didn't touch you---did he?"

Angela hugs him back and looks at her Mom. "I'm fine Daddy."

Walker holds her out at arms' length---"Are you sure you're okay----don't lie to me, Angela----please say he never laid a hand on you!"

"Daddy----I'm fine----I've never even seen this guy----no one has----touched me."

Walker takes a deep breath and rubs his face. He has to sit down as Alex and Angela walk up beside him. He reaches out and puts his arm around his daughters' waist, "I just got to know that my baby is okay-----I'll kill that son-of a bitch if he ever tries to touch you---or any member of this family!"

Alex reaches out and touches the back of her husband's head, "We are all fine, honey----the twins took control of everything, and then patrolman Norris and his partner came by to check on us,
before and afterwards."

They hear a light tap on the doorframe as Cooper pokes his head in, "Mom ----Grandpa is here----he's taking me and Cordell on to church-----will that be alright?"

"Yes sweetheart----we'll be there soon."

Cooper starts to leave and Walker calls out to him, "Ask your brother to come here a minute----I need to talk to you both-----about last night."

Alex turns to Angela, "You better get dressed----we'll talk more about this after church----and will you please help Little Ray get dressed?"

Walker picks up Angela's phone and calls Trivette, he keeps getting the answering machine. "Damn it---Trivette pick up----where could you be off to so early?" He stands there, going over what he has just heard; he's still shaking. Alex walks up to him slowly, "Honey? What is this all about----you look like you are about to snap, please tell me what is going on?"

"I've got every reason to believe that this punk that was threatening our daughter is the same one that has been mixed up in all those cases that Trivette and I were investigating down on the border. The thing about the excessive bleeding and all------I'm getting an all points bulletin' out on this s.o.b. and step up the search for Darcy---there's no time to waste, Alex----Darcy is in deep trouble."

Alex's face goes white as she thinks about what could have happened had Angela went on to that party.

"Did you want to talk to us, Dad?" asks Cordell.

Walker motions for both of them to come into Angela's room. They walk in slowly, looking to him and then their Mom. She smiles, "I think I will go help Angela with her hair," and she goes to Angela's bathroom.

Walker stares at his sons, suddenly they don't seem so small anymore. He looks at each of them, "Your Mother told me how you two handled things last night."

Cooper swallows, "Did we do something wrong?"

Walker reaches out and takes them both in a bear hug, "No, son---you and your brother did everything right---I couldn't have handled it any better. You two took responsibility and stood up
for your family-----I can't say it enough how proud I am-----of both of you!"

The boys’ look at each other and then to their Dad, "Thanks, Dad----we just did what you've pounded in our heads all these years, learning to take control" answers Cordell. ----"when you're not here!"

Walker kisses each of them on the top of their heads and slaps their faces lightly, "I knew you could both do it-----and now you've proved it---You accepted the call of 'manhood' and I am very, very proud of you. ----And, I know that if your great Uncle Ray, Grandpa C.D. and your "Shopaw" were alive to see this, they would all be so proud.---What am I saying----they're all three looking down on you two, just busting at the seams  and telling whoever that will listen, how proud they all are of you two,  and me---especially!"

The twins look at each other, they still have trouble understanding why their Dad still talks about these men, like they were still alive. As far back as they can remember, they have been told stories about these men that have been so influential in their Father's life.

Cooper nods his head, "That's good, Dad------but Cordell and I just want to know that it's you that we make proud."

Walker has tears in his eyes, "Coop---I've been proud of you boys since the day you were born.----I know sometimes I'm a little rough on you guys, but it's not because I don't love you,----I've just tried to make you strong. I guess at times, I put too much responsibility on you and other times, ----maybe I don't trust you enough to handle the responsibility,  I don't have all the answers---I just know that I don't tell you boys near enough how much I love you and ----how proud I am to call you, ‘my sons’!"

The boys hug their Father for the longest time, and Cordell whispers, "That's all we needed to hear----and we're proud to call you ‘our Dad’!"
                                       
                **********************************************************

The twins are backstage of the church, Cooper peeks out from behind the curtain.

"There sure are a lot of people out there----I've never seen the church so crowded."

Cordell nods as he's getting his guitar tuned up, he looks to his brother. "Are you nervous?"

"A little bit----what about you?"

Cordell puts his guitar down and goes to peek out, "I'm not the one that's going be doing the main singing----Coop---it's not too late to change songs---something a little easier to do."

Cooper shakes his head, "No---the Jacksons’ want this song---and I promised to do it."

Cordell rubs his brother's shoulder, "Well, for what it's worth---I’m pulling for you----you know you're not going to be able to do that song much longer---your voice is changing---some of those high notes are going to be difficult to hold."

"Yeah, I know" Cooper is still looking out at the congregation. "Mom said that other congregations from surrounding churches as far as Dallas were coming for the services. Even the mayor of Dallas has said he was attending."

"Yeah, a lot of law officers are here too, everyone is trying to do their part in finding Bobby Jackson's killer. ---The law officers will be studying the congregation----to see if there is anyone
suspicious among the mourners. Can you believe that Cooper---that the killer would have the gall to show up here?"

Cooper is looking around, "Stranger things have happened----Dad says that people like that have an inquisitive manner that draws them to the suffering of others----they get high on it----and that's when they make their mistakes and get caught."

Cordell nods his head, "I hope so------who you looking for Coop? Grandpa, Angela, and Little Ray are sitting about half way back, on the left hand side. Mom and Dad are talking to the Jacksons."

"I was looking for that kid----Danny---I thought he would be here. He sounded so interested in joining the choir, have you seen him anywhere?"

Cordell shakes his head and goes back to his guitar, "Nope-----haven't seen him."

Outside the church, more and more people are starting to gather. The choir director has set p.a. systems out on the front steps as there will not be enough room inside the church to accommodate everyone.

A slender figure in ragged looking clothes starts up the steps, trying to blend in. A hand goes to his shoulder and pulls him back. The figure pulls him around to the side of the church.  The dark haired young man in his fancy long coat and matching gloves hisses at the figure of the less fortunate.

"What are you doing here, Danny?"

Danny tries to look at the young man, finding it difficult to open his left eye. He tries to speak as his hand goes to his busted lip.

"Kiwi---------what are you doing here?"

"Keep your voice down, you miserable piece of crap----look at you---you look like you've been run over by a fright train---I see my Father has used you for a punching bag again."

Danny shivers, pulling the thin jacket around him. "Yes----he was very upset with me----for something I said."
                                     


The Seekers 13-15            

Kiwi looks at Danny and shakes his head, "You're pathetic, when are you going to do as I told you----get rid of him!"

Danny looks around to make sure no one can hear them, "I can't believe that you want your own Father killed!"

Kiwi starts brushing his $2,000 coat off, "Father? You are so stupid, Danny. ‘Father’ is just a word to describe someone that gives you life-----any person in the male form can fill that deed and the seed that comes from their loins produce the life----so therefore any bastard that my
Mother spread her legs for can fit that category."

Danny has a chill run through him; sometimes Kiwi scares him more than Sarge. At least most of the time he knew how Sarge would react to certain circumstances, with Kiwi---he never knew what the man was thinking or what he would do.

"I'm asking you again, Danny----what are you doing here? Don't you know this place will be crawling with cops?"

Danny looks at Kiwi in confusion, " Cops? Why?"

Kiwi shakes his head, "Don't you know what is going on here today? There are funeral services here---they are having funeral services for that little boy that you and Sarge killed."

Danny's legs start to buckle under him, "Funeral services?"

"Didn't you see the hearse pull up? For crying out loud, Danny---why did you come here?"

"I just came-----to hear the music."

"Music? How can you be so stupid? Look at you, and the way you are dressed, you look like you've been run over by a freight train, my Father has used your face for a punching bag again. Do you think that you can go in there and that no one will look at you suspiciously and not
start asking questions?"

Danny pulls his jacket around him tighter, the holes in the elbows showing his tattered shirt. "I was going to stay near the back------I just wanted to hear the choir."

"Oh, yes------Angela's brothers are singing in the choir, aren't they? ----Ahhhh, sweet little Angela---she's going to learn, never to disobey me again!"

"That's why you're here, Kiwi? You're not going to hurt her, are you?"

"Stop your slobbering, you're getting snot all over my coat. Angela will learn that I am ‘master’ and before I am through with her---she'll be like you-----a slobbering idiot."

Kiwi turns and starts towards the church's entrance, Danny starts to follow.

"And, where do you think you're going?"

"I'm going to try and get inside, out of this freezing cold."

Kiwi shakes his head and pushes Danny back, "No, you're not----you're not going in there. ---Now go home-----before Sarge wakes up and find you gone again."

"But, Kiwi----I want to hear the music," stammers Danny.

Kiwi's eyes burn into Danny's, "I told you to leave----you know what happens when someone doesn't listen to me!"

Kiwi turns away in a huff and starts to the door of the church, moving his way inside, saying someone is holding a seat for him.  Danny has tears in his eyes as he turns to walk away. He starts towards the side of the church and to the window where he heard the music for the first time. He looks around to make sure no one has seen him, he sits down on the ground and pulls his knees up to his chest, shivering.

Kiwi is moving slowly up the crowded aisle, looking from side to side, then he sees his prey about halfway up the aisle and to his right. There is no mistaking the long, beautiful hair. She's wearing a dark blue, velvet dress, her hair has a matching ribbon. He makes his way up to her pew, watching her and smiling to himself. She's sitting next to an older man, a little boy is sitting to her left. Kiwi looks around, wondering why Angela's parents aren't seated with them.  Kiwi starts moving down the pew behind them, just as he is starting to get directly behind Angela, a young man takes the seat. Kiwi continues to watch Angela, her hair is hanging over the back of the bench, he touches it quickly and then draws his hand back. He leans forward and reaches his hand out to her.

Angela feels the hand on her shoulder and she turns around quickly, her mouth drops open, "J.W.? When did you get back?"

Kiwi jerks his hand back just in time as the dark skinned young man touches Angela's shoulder, smiling at her.

"Hi Angela-----I just got here---my Dad just picked me up at the airport."

Angela looks back at the young man, her face is glowing as she looks into those olive eyes , then just as quickly she hisses back at him.

"Don't even talk to me, J.W.!"

J.W. stares back at her, "What did I do? I've only been back in Texas for less than an hour and you're already mad at me. What did I do?"

Angela stares back at him, her bottom lip quivering, "It's not what you did----it's what you didn't do, James Walker Trivette!"

Gordon Cahill looks at his granddaughter, "Young lady ----we are in church and I will not tell you again to lower your voice!"

"I'm sorry grandpa," whispers Angela.

Gordon turns around and puts his left hand out to J.W. and winks, "Welcome home, son----glad to have you back."

J.W. groans, "Thanks, Grandpa Gordon----up until just a few minutes ago, I was glad to be back, now I'm not so sure." J.W. leans back in his seat, his father sits down beside him. Alex and Walker are walking back to their seat and Alex sees J.W. She smiles and whispers, "Hi sweetheart----welcome home."

Walker looks at J.W, and nods his head; the services are to begin.

Kiwi has watched the exchange in greetings, the bearded man and the blonde must be Angela's parents, but who is the Negro man and his son, and what is the young man's relation to Angela? He can feel his temper rising as he stares at the back of Angela's head. He whispers to himself, "You will pay for this deception, Angela----big time."

The pastor has given his sermon, and the choir starts singing softly in the background to The Old Rugged Cross.

Walker and Trivette are casually looking around the crowded church. The highway patrol and some rangers are standing on the sides. The church becomes quiet as the Walker boys take center stage. Alex takes a deep breath and Walker takes her hand, squeezing gently. The Jackson’s are at the front of the church, a small blue coffin sits in front of them, covered with flowers. A picture of the Jackson boy with his little dog sits on top.

A single stool is brought out and Cordell sits down and strums his guitar quietly, Cooper starts to sing softly to "You Will Never Walk Alone'.  Everyone is dabbing at their eyes to wipe the tears away.

The church becomes quiet as Cooper begins his request:
                     Life is like a mountain railroad,
                     with a engineer that is brave.
                     We will make a run successful
                      from the cradle, to the grave.
                     Watch the curves, the hills, and tunnels
                      never falter, never fail.
                      Keep your hands upon the throttle,
                      and your eyes, upon the rail.
                      Blessed savior---thou will guide us
                       till we reach that blissful shore-
                      where the angels wait to join us
                       in God's grace---forever more.

Everyone is quiet, Mrs. Jackson stands and claps softly, the whole church follows suit. The choir director nods to the choir and the chorus is sung again, the whole church joins in, the music going out over the PA system. The people outside the church start to sing along.

The young man sitting on the ground sings quietly, his busted lip preventing him from singing any louder. When the song has ended, he whispers, "Way to go guys-----that was so pretty."

The crowd is starting to leave the church, and Danny decides it's time for him to leave. He turns and watches as the long, black hearse backs up to the church. He feels the tears falling down his cheek. "I'm sorry," he whispers----I'm so sorry."

Danny starts towards the railroad tracks, he keeps glancing over his shoulders at all the people getting into their cars and the procession begins coming in his direction. As they come nearer, he gets behind a tree and waits till they all pass.

When the last car has passed, he falls down on his knees, "Forgive me God."
                                  
******************************************************

Walker and Trivette stay away from the rest of the mourners as the graveside services are being said.

They are watching the crowd, Trivette says quietly. "I haven't seen anyone that is acting out of place or suspicious, all I'm seeing on these faces are grief, shock, and a lot of tears. A lot of tears, Walk-man."

The ranger nods, his thoughts going back to the earlier morning when he thought he was going to lose all control of his emotions when he thought Angela had been hurt. He was just so relieved that she was okay and that son of a bitch hadn't touched her, and scolding her for what she almost did had gone completely out of his thoughts.

"I know, Trivette and if we don't find Angela's little friend, Darcy ---real soon----I'm afraid there will be more funerals and ---more tears!"

Trivette sighs, "Okay, we're now pretty sure that the son of this Colonel Sargenski is this ‘Kiwi’, the picture fits, and we're almost positive that he's mixed up in these cases, including little Bobby Jackson's! So------do you think that he's working with his Father? The medical examiner said there had to be at least two people involved, right?"

Walker nods, "If not more. We've notified the media, they will be plastering that picture of Kyle Sargenski all over the newspapers and Alex has called her friend at channel 6, the 10 o’clock  news will start carrying it tonight. But, we've got to do more in order to find Darcy."

"What about that party that Angela said Darcy called her from, there had to be other kids at that party that has seen this guy?"

"Darcy called from her personal phone, so we can't find out the location from where it came, and Angela said there was mostly older kids there, maybe college age."

"So, what's our next move, Walker?"

"Well, the highway patrol has been notified and so have all the other law enforcements,  now we got to get the word out to these kids, we got to go to the schools."

"I think I can handle that part," Gordon Cahill walks up, commenting.

Trivette nods towards him, "Hey, Gordon ----how's it going?"

"I'm doing okay, Jimmy----it's sure good seeing your boy back home again---Walker, son----I want to help catch these bastards and I know how I can help."

"How, Gordon?"

"By going to the schools and addressing these kids---you know I have the 'gift for gab' and I've never been afraid to express it----in no uncertain terms. These kids need to have their eyes opened wide, and if I can put the fear in my speeches---I won't be 'sugar coating' the urgency."

Walker puts his arm around Gordon's shoulder, "We're going to need all the help we can get, thanks."

"No problem, son, and I know where we can get even more help. ---The lawyer's retirement club, they are just sitting over there, spinning yarns about the cases they've tried, and 'breaking wind. It's time they got off their lazy geesters and started doing something to help----how about it?"

Trivette smiles and Walker nods his approval. Gordon takes out his cell phone and starts dialing, "I'll start right now, we will cover the schools, the arcades, and even the malls-----Jonah----this is Cahill---get off your lazy butt and get the rest of those lazy bums together, I got something to say."

Gordon nods to the rangers and starts walking off, still shouting into his phone.

Trivette shakes his head, "That man never fails to amaze me------I know where Alex gets her spunk."

Walker goes to talk to some of the law officers, Trivette sees his son coming towards him, he smiles.

"Dad----Aunt Alex says she has a huge roast in the oven and that you and I are coming to dinner and she won't take ‘NO’, for an answer," J.W. replies.

Trivette reaches out and takes his son's head in a hammerlock, rubbing his head, "Does this mean that we're going to have to be forced to eat your Aunt Alex's cooking?"

J.W. laughs, "Yeah---like we're really being forced----my mouth is drooling for some of Aunt Alex's roast gravy and potatoes----real food and not that tofu stuff that you eat all the time!"

Trivette pretends to hit the boy in the face with fake jabs as they spin around in circles. "It is so good to have you back home again, J.W.----I have missed you so much."                                  

"I've missed you too, Dad----I was just hoping that when I got here, you wouldn't be involved in a case, are we going to be able to spend any time together?"

Trivette starts to answer when Walker comes back, "Hey J.W. welcome back."

J.W. puts his hand out, "Thanks, Uncle Walker."

Walker pushes the boys' hand away, "What's this hand shaking stuff, you think you're too big to give your godfather a hug?"

J.W. smiles and goes to Walker, hugging him. "I hope I never get too big to hug the people I love," he whispers.

Walker winks at him, "I hope so too, and just in case you ever do, I  still have that hickory  switch in the barn."

Trivette and J.W. laugh, and J.W. rubs his seat in a playful manner, "I remember that switch."
                                      
************************************************************

Walker ranch:

The Walkers and friends are all sitting down to eat dinner, with Angela being very quiet. She keeps stealing glances at J.W, and each time he looks back, she turns away. He groans, the twins keep looking at him and grinning.

"Hmmmm, this roast is delicious, Aunt Alex----isn't it, Dad," J.W. teases.

Trivette smiles and takes a small bite, "Yes, it is----very good."

Alex smiles back at Trivette, "You don't have to eat that, Jimmy, I will make you a salad, if you like."

"No, no-----I can stop being a vegetarian for as long as my boy is here----I have a feeling that we will be eating a lot of fast food, tacos, pizza, hamburgers, etc, etc."

Little Ray looks at his grandpa, "Pitha----papa, me like pitha."

Everyone laughs, and Gordon winks back at his grandson, "Well, Ray Gordon, let's hope we get through this fantastic meal that your Mother prepared without having another food fight, and ending up having to go get pizza."

"Dad, what about Mr. Ferguson----did you go check on him?"

"Yes, Cordell. He's fine and Mike and Eric will be checking on him, they'll patrol his place frequently."

Little Ray takes a big bite of potatoes, "Spooky man----on TV last night----he 'cary."

Walker looks to his baby son, "And, what were you doing watching spook movies, is that why you invaded my bed, you little varmint?"

"Man on TV---he got spooky eyes-----don't he 'ordell, you 'cared too."

Walker and Trivette exchange looks, Walker turns to Cordell, "What's he talking about, what about----spooky eyes?"

"He's talking about this movie we were watching last night Dad, Cordell got spooked when he saw the man with scary eyes," answers Cooper.

"Yeah," answers Cordell, "the guy looked just like the man that I saw from the bus---Friday morning. I looked straight at him---he had these eyes that looked almost white----really scary."

Trivette drops his fork, as he looks to Walker. Walker sits his coffee cup down slowly, "You saw this man, son? You're not mistaken ----about the eyes?"

Everyone stops and looks at Walker and then to Cordell, "Yes, Dad----I saw him-----there was no mistaking those eyes----I'll never forget those eyes."

Trivette turns to Alex, "Alex, I need to use your computer-----Cordell, come with me."

Walker reaches out and takes his wife's hand, "We need to see this."

Trivette sits down to Alex's machine and pulls up the files from his, pictures go across the screen and Cordell's mouth drops. "That's him, Uncle Jimmy---that's the guy I saw!"

"He's definitely here---right in our back yard." Trivette stares back at Walker.

Alex grabs her husband's arm, "This is the main suspect----the one you were trying to tell me about?"

"I'm afraid so----Trivette-------"

"Already on it, big guy-------what kind of car did you say this man was driving, Cordell?"

Cordell relays the information to Trivette, and soon the Walker ranch is covered with patrol cars. Walker sends more security over to the Ferguson place.
                                   
*****************************************************

The 10 o’clock news is showing Kiwi's face, and along beside it is a picture of Sarge. Kiwi is throwing things into his suitcase and hollering at his aides as they run to their car.

"Where we gonna go, boss----your picture is all over the news?"

"How the hell should I know, just drive----go East."

Kiwi is constantly looking out the back window, "Watch your speed---we don't want to be stopped for a traffic ticket, because so help me, if a cop stops us for any reason, I'll blow him away!"

The driver is nervous, "There's cops all over the place, highway 199 is crawling with them, and those rangers----especially the bearded one is taking this personally after how you threatened his daughter----what are we going to do?"

Kiwi smiles, "I'll take care of Angela's old man, I'll blow him away, too!"

"That's not going to be so easy----that Ranger Walker is not to be messed with---- and you've really 'pissed ' him off by threatening his daughter! I hear he's a one-man army-----he won't stop
until he's found us!"

"Enough!!! I don't want to hear anymore about that damn ranger, he's just one man--he's not superman!"

"Yeah? Why don't you ask the men that he's sent to Huntsville---they're the lucky ones. The others can't answer----they're six feet under! He knows all of that martial arts stuff----he's crazy---hell----he's fought Bruce Lee!"

Kiwi frowns, "Who the hell is Bruce Lee?"

The driver looks at the other aide, they both shake their heads in bewilderment, "Only the greatest kung fu fighter to ever live, that's who! Luckily, they were friends, so it never went down to the wire on who was the best."

"Fine," answers Kiwi, "the we just find this Bruce Lee, make him a offer he can't refuse and let him take care of this Walker."

"Bruce Lee is dead---but Walker is very much alive. The man is a crazed lunatic when his family is concerned!"

Kiwi continues to file his nails to a perfect point, "Really? A family man, huh? How nice----so I wonder how quick he would back off to protect the rest of his family if we had Angela?"

"Are you crazy, boss? It's too dangerous to try and take her now----the girl is going to be watched even more closely."

Kiwi grins, "What if we had someone on the inside----someone that was close to the Walker kids---someone like----Danny?"
                                    
************************************************

Danny has been to the drugstore, buying hair dye and sunglasses for Sarge. He's on his way back to the condemned building when he sees the old grocery man Mr. Starnes come huffing up.

"Where you been, did you get rid of the car?"

They walk inside and Sarge starts drilling the old man about getting rid of the car. "Did you put the acid on everything that would have fingerprints?"

"Yes----I took care of it---like you said and the car is at the bottom of Lake Worth-----now where is my payment?"

Danny watches Sarge as he turns around and walks towards an old suitcase, taking out the little black case of hypodermic needles. Sarge keeps his back to him as he fills the needles, "Sooo-----you're ready for another 'plaything', are you?"

The old man grins, the spittle running from his mouth. He wipes his mouth with the back of his coat sleeve, "Yeah------I like 'em young----real young."

Danny looks at him, "What happened to the other one, did you get tired of her?"

The old man laughs and spits on the floor, "She's dead----been dead for several days now-----they're not much fun when they're dead!"

Danny groans, he can feel his stomach turning upside down, "You're sick----you're a sick old man!"

The old man turns his back to Sarge and grins back at Danny, "You're a fine one to be talking---what about you and Sarge----that ain't sick?" He reaches out and touches Danny's cheek, "Maybe, I should give you a try---I might learn to like it---how about it----argggggg"

The old man falls to the floor, the hypodermic needles sticking from his neck, Sarge gets in his face, "Danny is mine---old man----and I don't share him----you got that?"

The blood is squirting from the needles and dripping down into the old man's mouth, he keeps trying to take the needles out, Sarge shoves them in further. "Here's your payment old man----PAID IN FULL!"

The old man is making gurgling noises as Sarge looks to Danny, "Did you get the stuff, Danny?"

Danny grimaces as he looks at the old man, squirming to try and stand up. "Yeah, I got the hair dye and the glasses."

Sarge steps over the squirming body, "Good, then let's get started----later we go in search for more transportation."

Danny begins to put the dye on Sarge's hair and brows, he listens to the sounds coming from the old man, "Can't you make him stop making that noise?"

Sarge glares back at him, "You do it, Danny----you know how to use the needles, just as good as I do."

Danny shakes his head, remembering the funeral service and the sad faces, "I can't -----I just can't."

"Fine----then stop complaining, Danny----he'll be dead soon!"
                             
*********************************************************

Walker ranch:

Angela and J.W. have had enough of the evening news, they walk outside and towards the barn.

J.W. looks around at all the patrol cars and the officers on foot going up and down the long gravel road and to the bus stop. More officers are going through the fields towards Mr. Ferguson's place.

"Wow----Uncle Walker has this place sealed tighter than the skins on my drum set!"

"And----it will stay this way till those creeps are caught," answers Angela.

J.W. looks down at Angela, he's almost a head taller than her, even though he's six months younger. "You're not afraid, are you Angela?"

"Of those creeps? No way!!!! I know my Daddy will do everything in his power to protect me, to protect all of us----they will regret the day they ever messed with my Daddy

J.W. nods and pulls his jacket in tighter, "That's for sure, and you know my Dad will be doing his part, too."

Angela smiles back, "I know that," she answers softly.

"And, there's always the twins!!!! That Dylan Reed will think twice about ever trying to say anything like that again to you, not if he doesn't want to get the crap beaten out of him."

Angela looks at J.W. puzzled, "What are you talking about?"

"You didn't know that the twins went after Reed, not once----but twice and Moose Johnson said they beat the crap out of Reed and his buddies."

Angela throws her arms up in the air, "I don't believe this----I'm suppose to fight my own battles, first my Mom goes to my defense and threatens to hang up the principal if he suspends me, then
the twins, who's next---Little Ray?"

"You should feel proud that your brothers take up for you, Angela----and that's another thing, when I see Dylan Reed, I'm going to punch him in the mouth for what he said to you."

Angela looks up into J.W.'s olive colored eyes and those long lashes that curl back. His skin is lighter than his Fathers', taking more after his Mother's side of light skinned Negro. His skin is smooth, his lips are wide set, revealing a row of perfect white teeth.

She teases, "You would do that for me, J.W.?"

He stammers, "Of course I would!!!! You're like a sister to me, I'd do the same for my own sister."

Angela frowns, "Sister? Is that how you think of me?"

J.W. is getting nervous, "Well-- sort of---we were raised together, Angela------when my parents went through their divorce----I practically lived here with you guys.---I've always been around----like family---you know?"

"I see" Angela sighs, "So, that's how you think of me, that's why you didn't bother to call and tell me goodbye when you went to live with your Mother?"

"I couldn't stand to say goodbye, it hurt too much."

"DUH-----and like it didn't hurt any less to just leave and not say anything?"

"Don't start on me, Angela----I called you several times and you always acted like you didn't care that I had gone back to Chicago to live."

Angela's bottom lip starts to quiver, "Life does go on----James Walker Trivette----and I had to find other ways to get on with mine without calling you long distance---all the time."

"What about E-mails, Angela? I E-mailed you all the time---you wouldn't answer half the time."

"I hate those things and you know it."

"Only because you hate to type-----you're so afraid of breaking a fingernail."

"You always typed too fast."

"There's always voice mail----I swear----you can come up with more excuses for hating computers."

Angela smirks, "My Daddy doesn't like them either."

J.W. is walking in circles, "Get real Angela----computers rule the world-----you and your Daddy still like to watch The Flintstones in reruns!!!!---And, you're still his little BAM-BAM---you're
still spoiled."

"Yes, I am spoiled!!!!-----I'm Daddy's little girl----so just live with it."

J.W.'s temper is rising, "I pity the man that ever marries you, Angela----he's going to have some mighty big shoes to fill."

Angela snaps back, "Not shoes----boots!---And, you don't have to worry J.W. Trivette---because it sure won't be YOU---that I marry!---I will probably never marry, because I won't be able to find someone like my Daddy----it's like Mom always says, "They broke the mold ---when they made my Daddy."

The conversation is being heard by everyone within ear range . Some of the officers smile and shake their heads, and one replies, "It's Walker vs. Trivette---again."

The two boys on the porch have heard the discussion. The one boy turns to the other and asks, "Trouble in paradise?"

"I don't know---come on Coop---let's go bail J.W. out---before Angela gives him a karate chop."

"ANGELA---Mom said it was time to come in---get ready for bed," shouts Cordell.

Angela looks back at J.W.----"Are you staying the night?"

Before J.W. can reply, Cooper smiles and slaps him on his back, "Of course, he is----got the bottom bunk all ready for you, J.W."

The Seekers XIV             

J.W. watches as Angela heads back to the house, he looks at the twins. Cordell is shaking his head and Cooper is giving J.W. that "look".

"What am I going to do with you, J.W.? Haven't you listened to anything I've been telling you on how to handle Angela?"

Cordell looks to his brother and mutters, "Oh no-----here we go again."

"What are you talking about, Cooper?"

Cooper groans, "I've told you----you are never going to get her to notice you as anymore than just a friend---if you keep drooling over her and acting like she's the only girl in Texas."

J.W. looks back to the house as Angela is tossing her long hair back over her jacket, and walking inside. He sighs, "That's pretty hard to do---not ‘drooling’ over her as you put it!----Look at her----she's beautiful! Any guy would give his right nut to be with her."

Cooper's face turns to anger----"Hey---watch it---that's my sister you're talking about."

"I didn't mean anything," J.W., apologizes as he looks to Cordell, seeing his face turn red too. "You know I didn't mean it like it sounded----I would never degrade Angela like that."

"Fine," answers Cordell, "You just watch what you're saying."

"Look, J.W., my man---we gotta talk---I've got to let you in on some ways that will make points with my sister."

J.W. frowns, "What do you possibly know about handling girls, you're only 13?"

"Apparently---more than you! Didn't you learn anything about  the girls when you were in the windy city?"

"I dated----I dated several girls while I was there! I know how to handle girls."

"We're not talking about--just any girl---we're talking about Angela! You have got to pretend that you're not interested in her, or she is going to continue treating you like you don't exist."

J.W. looks to Cordell and Cordell shakes his head, "Don't look at me---I don't know what the heck he's talking about."

"Just what would you suggest that I do, Mr. Know it all?"

"Simple----ignore her! Pretend to be interested in someone else."

"That will never work---Angela knows I have a crush on her."

"SO?----Doesn't matter----you can still ignore her. Listen to me, man---I know what I'm talking about. I watch all of these movies with the suave talking Romeos, and in all of the shows, the woman always falls for the man that is ignoring her. It's a woman thing----you know, like always wanting what someone else has. Angela is used to having guys fall all over her---she strives on it! Ignore her----don't become another statistic in her web of trapped spiders."                              

"Actually---I have been thinking about that, and I was trying to forget all about her when I was in Chicago. I dated several girls that were very pretty and very sexy."

Cooper's eyes light up, "Did you score?"

Cordell looks to J.W.----"Well? Did you?"

J.W. stammers, "Sort of."

"There is no "sort of" either you did or you didn't! Are you still a virgin?"

J.W. looks at the twins, they are both staring back at him. He hesitates, "You better not let this get back to Angela----I'm in enough hot water with her."

"Forget Angela!!!! Tell us---did you? What was it like," pleads Cooper.

"Well, we had this one date------and her parents were out of town and she was suppose to be staying with a friend, and we kind of went to the park and ----well---you know?"

Cordell smiles, "No, we don't know---we want details J.W.---everything----don't leave anything out."

"Forget the details for now----what did she look like-----was she really built----did she have big
breasts------what?"

J.W. smiles, "The best way I can describe her is saying that she was a miniature version of Miss
October---you've seen the latest centerfold-----haven't you?"

"Cooper moans, "No----Dad doesn't get to take Playboy anymore----not since Mom threatened to subscribe to Playgirl."

"That's not the reason Dad doesn't subscribe to Playboy anymore-----he got tired of finding his magazines in our room and Mom started yelling at him---That all started about 6 yrs ago when
Mom caught us in the closet looking at the centerfold of Miss Gemini."

Cooper grins, "Yeah----there was two of them---it was an omen---we were meant to see them--you know Gemini---the twins. We're twins, right? It I was meant to be."

J.W. looks back at them, "Do you want to hear the intimate details or not?"

Both the twins shout, "YES"!!!
                                  
***************************************************************

As Angela is walking into the house, Alex is hanging up the phone.

"Was that Daddy"?

Alex nods, "Yes, it was and I'm sorry honey---there is still no word on Darcy."

Angela sits down at the table, her face in her hands, "Where could she be, Mom?---Did Daddy locate her parents?"

Alex nods her head slowly, "Yes, they've been found and questioned----they don't know where she is. Angela, I want you to hear this from me, Darcy's parents will be brought up on charges of neglect, Darcy was a minor, left unsupervised."

"Her brother is over 18," answers Angela.

Alex takes her cup of tea and sits down next to her daughter, "Doesn't matter----he has no clue to where she has been going, who's she with, he has not been a responsible adult."

Angela throws her hair back and grits her teeth, "I'm not going to pretend that I feel sorry for her parents or her brother. Mom, they never cared anything about her, Darcy has always had her own freedom, coming and going whenever she pleased. ----I used to envy her for having that freedom, now I'm beginning to understand why you and Daddy keep such close tabs on all of us. It wasn't because you were being mean----it's because you've always cared about our safety."

Alex brushes her daughter's hair back ".Yes, honey----we've tried to tell you that, all of you. We worry about you kids, we've worried about each of you since the day you were born and we will go to our graves worrying about you, trying to keep you safe."

Angela brushes a tear from her eye, "I know, Mom and I'm sorry that I've been such a pain here lately, fighting with the twins and not being more supportive of you and the new baby."

Alex smiles, "Are you jealous of the new baby coming, or is it embarrassment that your parents are still making babies and you're all grown up as a teenager?"

Angela tries to smile, "Not anymore----Daddy and I had a talk about that, I feel really stupid for feeling the way I felt. While my friends' parents are going through divorces and they have to choose which parent they want to live with, I still have both of my parents to live with----and I know they love me."

"That's right, honey----we love all of you kids equally, and a new baby is not going to take any of that love away from any of you-----we will just have more love to share."

Angela nods her head, "I'm just sorry that it had to take the disappearance of one of my best friends to open my eyes----well, not anymore, I love you, Mom."

Angela and her Mom embrace as the twins and J.W. enter and go upstairs. Angela looks at her Mom and then to the stairs, "I think I need to talk to someone else right now too---goodnight, Mom."

The twins are standing by Cooper's double bunk; he's perched on the top one, swinging his feet back and forth. Cordell and J.W. are jabbering away, most of the conversation still centering around J.W.’s "date".

Cooper sees Angela coming up to the door, and he motions for silence.

"Can I come in, I want to talk to you two?"

J.W. nods, "This sounds personal, so I will hit the showers."

Angela approaches her brothers, "J.W. told me what you two did to Dylan---he said you went after Dylan for what he said to me?"

Cordell is standing by the bed, he nods slowly, "Yeah----it was no big deal---I mean it was no big deal that we went after him----you're our sister, Angela----we'll always protect you."

Cooper is saying nothing; he just keeps swinging his feet back and forth.

Angela smiles, "Yeah, it's been pounded into your heads about being the 'men of the house' and taking care of the women folk and all---you were doing your duty."

"It wasn't just 'duty', Angela----you're our sister and we love you. You would do the same thing for us, if the situation were in reverse. We take care of each other---that's the way it should be.
Nobody is going to say anything or do anything to hurt you---that's just the way it is."

Angela pushes her bottom lip out in a pout, "So----will you forgive me for being such a pain in the butt---I'm sorry and I want to say thanks for what you did."

Cordell smiles, "Apology accepted----now come here, and give me a bear hug."

"With pleasure," and Angela goes into her brothers' arms, squeezing him till he starts begging her to stop. "Maybe if Darcy's brother had cared for her  the way you guys care for me, maybe she wouldn't have turned to the likes of Kiwi----and maybe she would be home right now," she sobs.

"It's okay, Sis, Dad and Uncle Jimmy will find her----everything is going to be okay, you'll see."

Angela pulls away from Cordell and looks up to Cooper, he's still sitting there swinging his feet back and forth, just staring at her.

"Are you coming down here so I can give you a bear hug, or do I have to come up there?"

"You come up here," he dares her.

"Okay, you asked for it, here I come," she runs and leaps upon the top bunk, the bed gives way and starts falling to the floor. Cordell tries to break their fall and they all three hit the floor,
laughing.  J.W. comes out of the shower and the three tackle him and soon a friendly little game of 'king of the hill' is taking place. Their laughter is heard down the hallway as Alex is making her way to her bedroom. She steps inside the boys' room and sees the four of them wrestling, the bed in shambles.

"What is going on?"

The four stop and look back at her, with grins across their faces. Angela has an arm around each of the twins' shoulders; she kisses each of them and then takes her hand and slaps J.W. with a high five. She goes back to hugging her brothers and grinning.

"Nothing, Mom-----everything is fine----everything is just fine."
                                     
*************************************************************

It's now been two weeks since Darcy has disappeared, and Walker and Trivette have had no clues to her disappearance. Everything has been quiet.

The Rangers are tired and weary as they go to the call of finding a body by some construction workers near the condemned buildings at Hanover and Park street.  They watch as the medical
examiner examines the body, he motions for the gurney.

"What you got Max?"

"Body of a man, early 60's, looks like he's got some kind of acid poured on him and then his body was set on fire. The guys from the wrecking company pulled him up with a backhoe, looks like he's been dead for about 2 wks, I'll know more to tell you when we get him
downtown and to the lab."

The Rangers watch as the body is carried away. Trivette sighs, "Aside from this discovery----everything else has been quiet. Our suspects have disappeared off the face of the earth, still no one has come forward with any information about either of them--and we can't find
hide nor hair of the Darcy girl, what are we missing, Walker?"

Walker rubs his beard, "I don't know partner---we've come to a dead end."

"That car that the police found in Lake Worth was definitely the one that the twins saw, right?"

"Yep---they identified it.  Cooper has a thing about old cars, especially the "muscle" cars as they like to be referred to as. Lab went over it with a fine toothcomb, no prints. Just like the victim here, the car looked like it had been gone over with some kind of acid."

"Got the locals questioning everybody around here, maybe someone will come forward with some information we can use," answers Trivette.

"Is Gordon and his friends still hitting the schools, trying to get the word out about this Kiwi?"

"Yeah," answers Walker, "Now they've started hitting the bigger schools around the Dallas area, they go to the malls, everywhere they think they can be some help."

"It's a big help to us, sometimes these kids will come more to opening up to someone that is not a cop, and Gordon Cahill can sure make you sit up and listen.                                      

"Yeah---he's a pill alright----he can definitely get their attention----just like someone else---we used to know."

Trivette gets quiet, he knows who his partner is referring to. Trivette answers quietly. "Big dog-----God---I still miss that old man---it's been almost 16 yrs, and I can still hear him laugh---I miss the arguments that we would have----his teasing me about eating my health food---and how he was always trying to force that chili on me.--If I could just see him one more time---I would gladly eat his chili----and his armadillo soup."

Walker smiles, "Yeah, I miss him too. Alex and I talk about him often, we will never let his memory die. As Uncle Ray always said, "The rivers we will cross---but our souls will live forever in the hearts of those who care." That's why Alex and I talk about C.D. like he's still with us---because deep down-he is. I just regret that C.D. and Uncle Ray never lived long enough to see our kids."

"Yeah-----I tell J.W. about him and how much he influenced my life! Aside from you, Walker----no white man has ever meant so much to me.---Can you imagine how C.D. would have spoiled our kids, had he lived?"

Walker nods, "Yep----Grandpa C.D.----even though none of our kids ever met the man----Alex and I still refer to him as Grandpa"----I can almost hear him laughing every time we call him that."

"J.W. never met either of his grandpas, they both died within a year of each other, J.W. was just a baby. The only grandpa he knows is Gordon, and you can't know how proud I feel that Gordon wants him to call him grandpa. He's always treated J.W. just like he's his real grandson, the same way he treats your kids."               

"J.W. is family, Trivette-----why wouldn't Gordon want him to call him grandpa----after all, J.W. spends more time at the ranch than he does at home.  When you and Erika lived down the road from us, J.W. was always showing up on our doorstep and when you and Erika got divorced, he lived with us for almost a year till you could get your mind straightened out."

"Yeah, I know----and I really appreciate you and Alex taking him under your wing like that".

"He's our godson, Trivette, you would have done the same thing for one of my kids."

"You got that right."

"Trivette, getting back to this Kiwi------there is something that has been bothering me about him. Aside from having a psychiatrist to analyze this s.o.b.----what makes him tick?"

"You mean---why does he swing both ways in the sexual department, his brutality towards his Mother, but shows indifference to his father about the way he was raised. Which one, Walk-man?"

"How about all of the above-----but, mainly why the fixation with my daughter?"

"Well, no one said the creep was using good judgment---Angela is a beautiful young lady and I know you don't want to hear this--but Walker--she's like a walking sexual billboard----the girl oozes with sexual desire. You've seen the way the guys at the office drool over her, she's like a young Brooke Shields, Brittany Spears and Lana---all in one body."

Walker's eyes narrow, "I've heard of Brooke Shields and this Brittany, but who is Lana?"

"Lana----the latest model for Playboy----her picture has been plastered all over the magazines for months now."

Walker sighs, "I wouldn't know----I don't subscribe to Playboy anymore----and  why are you comparing my daughter to a Playboy bunny?"

"Walker, you asked why and I was just giving you my opinion, how can we explain what any of these creeps do and why."

"Well, there is something about his mother---she had long auburn hair, just like Angela's. Do you think he's attracted to my daughter---because she reminds him of his mother?"

Trivette nods, "Psychiatrists say that most of the freaks are attracted to women that remind them of their Mothers, whether it's love or hate."

"Angela is not a woman---she's still just a girl---not much more than a baby----how can this s.o.b be comparing her to his Mother?"

"Walker-----I'm not a psychiatrist--I don't know what the attraction is there with Angela. And, Angela is not a baby anymore------you see her as one, but the rest of the male population doesn't see her that way. One of these days, Walker---you're going to have to admit that Angela will no longer be your "baby" and you're going to have to let her grow up."

Walker's chest is heaving, "She'll always be a "baby" to me, and if that Kiwi creep, or any other son of a bitch tries to lay a hand on her---or any of my family----the man is going to know 'pain' like he's never known it----he will think I invented it!"

Walker stomps around to the drivers' side of the Ram, Trivette shakes his head, "It's going to be a long day," he says to himself.
                          
***************************************************

Kiwi has donned a disguise, and he's waiting for his aides to bring Danny to him, in the cheap little motel room, outside of Mesquite.

Danny comes into the room, but he almost doesn't recognize Kiwi with his shaved head. The slicked back hair is all gone, but Kiwi still has that "pretty" look, the nails are still being pampered.

"Danny----it's good to see you---I want to apologize for the way I talked to you the last time I saw you. I was a bit---upset. Can you forgive me?"

"Sure------I guess---but you did say some pretty mean things to me, and you called me stupid."

"Forget all of that, Danny----I want to make it up to you------and I think I know exactly how to do it."

Danny looks at Kiwi suspiciously, "What do you mean?"

"Well----I've been thinking and I was wrong in wanting Angela all to myself----I'm willing to let you have her----first."

Danny looks around the room, "What do you mean-----is she here?"

The aides laugh and Kiwi stares them down. He turns to Danny, "No, Danny----she's not here---I can't get near her because of all the cops that are guarding her home. She doesn't even take the bus to school anymore, one of her parents or that old man is taking her and her brothers back and forth to school. You know how frustrating this can be, Danny?"

"So, what do you want from me, I can't get near her."

"But, you are getting closer to those brothers of hers. I hear you're singing in the choir now."

Danny nods his head slowly, "Yeah, when I can sneak out when Sarge is asleep."

Kiwi smiles, "Well, don't you worry about having to get past Sarge again, I will have a little talk with him---I will get him straightened out. I want you to start getting even closer to the Walker boys."

"Why? I don't understand."

Kiwi takes a deep breath, "You don't have to understand it, Danny-----just do as I say! You got that?"

"What do you want me to do?"

"Start hanging around them more, make a point to be wherever they are, and act like you are a very lonely person, do you think you can do that?"

"I suppose----but how will that get me closer to Angela?"

"Must I explain everything? If you get close to the Walker boys, then you will be drawn  into their circle, the family circle."

Danny looks confused, "I don't know---I don't know about that!"

"Danny, listen to me and listen good. You've already defied me about getting rid of Sarge----don't defy me again. Now, this is what you're going to do. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, a time for family and friends to get together. You will warm your way into the Walker home----you understand now?"

Danny looks back at Kiwi, "I guess I can do that---but you have to be careful about what you say to Sarge, he gets very angry when Angela's name is even mentioned! He's not going to like me being around the Walker boys, because it will mean being close to her."

Kiwi sighs and puts a arm around Danny's shoulder, walking him to the door. "I told you I would handle my "Father"----you don't worry about it, is there anything you need Danny, do you need some money?"

"If I had money, Sarge would only take it away from me and buy more needles and that stuff he injects into them----I sure am hungry though---aside from what I get to eat at school, I don't eat much----I sure am hungry."

"Fine, Danny----Mickey will drop you off at the nearest Mc Donald's and buy you something to eat----won't you, Mick?"

Mickey smirks, "Yeah, sure----I'll buy the little queer a hamburger."

Danny steps back away from the big man, Kiwi reaches out and slaps Mickey-----"Stop talking about Danny that way---here Danny, here's a $20, eat to your hearts' content."

As Danny and Mickey head out the door, Kiwi starts laughing. "The idiot!-----He'll probably spend that whole $20 on food----guess it never occurs to him to bathe once in awhile and maybe change out of those clothes."

Kiwi's driver approaches him, "What now, boss?"

"We wait till Danny has crept inside the Walker circle, then we will casually wait till little miss Angela is completely at ease with him being around and then we "lure" her out."

"But, you promised Danny that he could have her first."

"Danny would not know how to handle someone like Angela, without giving him written instructions first and I doubt that he can even read------he will not get his filthy hands on her! She will be all mine----and by the time I have her under control---not only will she be a blubbering idiot----that Father of hers will be too. I will enjoy watching them both waste away before my eyes. But, first------Angela will know every ecstasy there is to being a woman, and there is not a damn thing that Ranger will be able to do about it------she will be mine, she will not be like the others----especially HER!"
                                  
*********************************************************

Alex is returning from the market, she and Little Ray have stopped at the little florist shop and bought those roses that the twins promised to take to Mr. Ferguson. She picks a beautiful
arrangement, sprinkled with baby breath and a beautiful red bow to set everything off. They head for the Ferguson ranch.

As they are pulling up to the house, Little Ray starts shouting, "Cookies-----me want cookies."

"Well, sweetheart---I doubt that Mr. Ferguson will have any----why don't we wait till we get home and I will ask Angela to bake you some, okay?"

Little Ray nods his head, Walker has had the hat fixed, and it’s not quite as big now on the boy's head. He's also sporting new boots, just like his Daddy wears.

They approach the house and call out the old man's name. Alex looks around at the grounds, the patrol cars are gone now, but patrolman Norris and his partner still come by every so often to
check on the old man. Alex calls out the man's name again, no answer.

"He not home, Mommy?"

"It looks that way, I wonder where he is. Let's try the door and see if its unlocked----yes------Hank, are you here?"

Alex and the boy step inside, Alex looks around at the mess that the front room is in. She shakes her head, it's not like Mr. Ferguson to have such a mess; he's always so neat. She straightens up the room and puts the floral arrangement in the center of the coffee table. She doesn't see Little Ray going back out the front door. Alex looks to the kitchen, saying to herself, "I wonder if he's eating alright, maybe I should bring him a casserole later."

The refrigerator is almost empty, Alex nods, "Yes----I will definitely bring him back something to eat."

She hears the noise and hears Little Ray screaming.

She runs to the door screaming his name, and she hears the piercing sound of the hogs squealing, and Little Ray is running for his life.!  One of the hogs is out and chasing him, Mr. Ferguson is running behind the hog with a stick, trying to stop him. Alex is running to Little Ray, he screams as she reaches out and grabs him. Alex then kicks out at the hog, catching him squarely in the snout. The old man has caught up to him and beating him back to his pen, cursing him!

He then runs up to Alex and her son, apologizing.

"I'm so sorry-----I left the pen open, I didn't know the boy was here-----I am so sorry!"

Alex is shaking so bad, she has to sit down, Little Ray will not let her go, she keeps saying comforting words to him.

Mr. Ferguson is still apologizing as he tries to talk to Little Ray. "I'm so sorry----the hogs scared you----they were just hungry and when they get hungry----they get mean----I'm so sorry."

Alex and the old man walk inside, Little Ray is still holding onto his Mother's legs.

"I guess we should have called first, Hank----I brought you the roses that you asked the twins for----do you like them, are they what you wanted?"

Hank goes over to the flowers and smells them, "Thank you so much for remembering-----they smell so good--Martha will love them----I know she will."

They talk for a few minutes and Alex tells Hank that she will bring him supper. "And don't forget---we want you to come for Thanksgiving dinner---I won't take "no" for an answer."

"I will be there, Alex----I promise."

As Alex and Little Ray are leaving, she has to pull down the driveway pass the hog pen to make her turn around. Little Ray is screaming and telling his Mother to "GO, go home."

Alex is trying to calm him as she watches the hogs fighting. The squealing is ear shattering; she's never liked the swine. Walker used to tease her saying he was going to start raising hogs, and she threatened to divorce him if he ever did! She watches them as they continue to fight each other, and they have something in their snout as two of them are pulling on it. Little Ray keeps pulling on his Mother's sweater, "Mommy------go home!"

Alex takes one last look, and swears it's a bone that the hogs are fighting over, now why would Hank be feeding them bones?

The Seekers XV

The SUV is being watched as Alex and her son leave the Ferguson ranch. A late model Lincoln has passed the ranch several times but on seeing the SUV, has continued on down the road. A single figure is poised behind the wheel, sitting very erect, his uniform bearing the dress of the US Army, the hash marks and the chevron bearing the rank of chief master sergeant. The figure watches in the rear mirror as the SUV pulls back out on 199, drives down to the exit and drives down the long gravel drive. The big car backs up and continues its trek to the Ferguson ranch.

As Alex pulls up to the house, she can see her husband and the twins up on the roof, taking plywood in through the south window. Walker had wanted to build the staircase first, but Cordell was in too much of a hurry to get started on his 'bedroom', that they had decided to take the plywood through the south entrance where the window used to be.

She honks the horn for the boys to come and get the groceries, and they scramble down the ladder, with Walker behind them. Little Ray runs to the ladder, jabbering about the "pig that tried to eat him."

The twins ignore him and start taking groceries into the house.

"Daddy----big pig twy to eat me," he babbles to his father.

Walker looks at him in confusion, "A big pig tried to eat you?"

Little Ray is all excited as he tries to show with his hands how big the pig was, and how mean his face was.

"Yeth, Daddy----him mean----Mommy kick him!"

Walker looks to his wife and teases her, knowing how much she hates pigs, "Honey----why are you kicking those poor little pigs?"

Alex stares back at him, "Little, my eye!----That hog was the size of a pony----and he was out to hurt  someone!----I swear if that nasty beast had hurt Little Ray----or caused me to hurt this baby----I would have gone back to my car, got my gun, and shot him----right between the eyes!"

Walker hands Little Ray a small bag of groceries, "Here----take this in for Mommy-----and I'll find out more from Mommy about the big pig that tried to eat you."

Walker walks to his wife and puts his hand on her stomach, "You okay, you didn't hurt yourself, did you?"

Alex brushes her hair back, still shaking from the ordeal. "I'm okay, I just wasn't thinking straight when I kicked out at that nasty thing, all I could see was our son running and screaming and that beast was right on his heels, snorting."

"Calm down hon, what was Little Ray doing, was he teasing him?"

"NO! He wasn't teasing him----Hank left the pen open and the hog got out and was chasing Little Ray."

"Okay, baby----come inside, and rest----the boys and I will get the groceries in."

The twins pass their Mother, and see the look on her face. "Wow," replies Cooper, "that hog doesn't realize how close he came to being a guest on our table for Thanksgiving."

Gordon is having his tea as he fixes some for his daughter, he turns to Angela who is putting the groceries away, "Pumpkin, get your Mother some honey for her tea."

Little Ray runs to his sister, "Thissy----me want cookies."

"O.k. Little Ray---after I get Mom's honey and get the groceries put away."

"No----me want cookies ----now."

Angela is trying to get around her little brother, "Not now----Little Ray---I'm busy."

Little Ray is still shouting for his cookies.                        

"Ray Gordon----get over here and sit down, and leave your sister alone-----she can fix you cookies later," warns Grandpa Gordon.

Little Ray then runs to his Grandpa and tells him about the pig.

Gordon looks to Alex, "What is he jabbering about, pumpkin?"

Alex explains about the incident at Hanks'.

Gordon sits down and sips his tea, "Oh yeah, the twins have told me about how mean those hogs can get----especially when they're being fed----they get down right mean, let me tell you!"
                                

Alex takes a deep breath as her husband walks up behind her and rubs her shoulders, "Were they being fed when Little Ray approached them?"                   

"I suppose-----but that doesn't make it right----Hank should have never left that pen open----that hog could have really hurt Little Ray---if I hadn't heard him screaming and came running---he might have got hurt bad-----"

"Mom, calm down----it's over now," Angela tries to console her.

Walker continues to tease his wife, "You see, if I had started raising hogs a long time ago, then Little Ray would know how to handle them when they charge him, or else walk around with a big stick in his hand."

Alex stares back at her husband, "If you were raising them nasty things----you would be divorced right now."

Walker laughs and kisses her cheek, "Well, honey, I made the right choice---I chose you instead of those pigs."

Alex hits him in the chest, "Don't you have something to do?"                                

"Yes, I’ve got to help the boys pull the rest of the plywood up."

"Then I would suggest that you get to it, before I lose my temper with you."                                 

Walker is still laughing as he goes to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, he watches as Angela is rolling out the frozen dough for Little Ray's cookies. Little Ray is standing on the step stool, watching her and sneaking bites of the dough. Walker grabs a small piece and kisses the back of his daughters' head, "Hey baby----as long as you're in a baking mood, wanna bake your old man a cake?"

"Sure, Daddy---what kind?"

"I woke up this morning thinking about-----devils' food-----can you bake me one of those?"

Angela looks back at him, "Are you having Mom's cravings again?"

"I must be------can't stop thinking about a devils' food cake."

"With peanut butter icing?

Walker frowns, "No----just the usual chocolate---not the dark kind, the milk chocolate kind, okay, baby?"

Angela agrees and Walker goes back to his chores.

"Angela----could you please bake it in the big baking pan, I want to take Hank some for supper tonight, and also I need to make a chicken casserole to take over."

Gordon smiles, "Old man Hank came close to getting a ham  casserole, didn't  he, pumpkin?"

"Is that normal for hogs to be so aggressive, Dad?"

"Oh, you better believe it, especially when they haven't eaten in awhile and they're hungry. And, when they get hungry enough, they've been known to go after their young. Hogs will eat anything and everything----they're not picky."

"Which only adds to the reason why I don't like pigs---they are so nasty."

"When you were young, you used to have some baby pigs---you didn't think they were nasty."

"I did after they got to be so big---then they weren't cute anymore."

Alex takes a sip of her tea, and reflects back on how the hogs were fighting over bones. "Dad, do hogs eat bones?"

"Yep, they will eat them---or rather gnaw on them."

Alex grimaces, "I think I will let the twins take Hank his supper tonight."
                                   
*******************************************************

Hank stares at the soldier in front of him, wearing dark sunglasses, he scratches his chin. "I'm sorry----but I just don't remember you----you say you were in my outfit, the '93''rd battalion,
company C----Special Forces?"                                 

The soldier smiles and walks past Hank, "I'm surprised that you don't remember me, or you don't want to remember me, after all being your drill sergeant, doesn't exactly make us --favorite
people to remember, right Corporal Ferguson?"

Hank looks at the man's name tag: B. SMITH.

Hank continues to shake his head, "I'm sorry----I don't mean to be rude---it's the Alzheimer’s----I don't do too good ---remembering some things."

"I understand Corporal-----I can call you Hank, can't I? ----I understand about the disease, ---only wish I could lay the blame for some of my memory loss on  it , as well. But, that's another story and you don't want to hear about my problems, do you?" Before Hank can reply, the man continues, "You do remember me saving your life----don't you?"

Hank shakes his head and scratches it, "No----I don't know----"

The man puts his hand on Hank's shoulder, "Hank-----you were pinned down, the "Charlies" were all around you, they would have killed you for sure if I  I hadn't rescued you, and I stopped you from stepping on that land mine----don't you remember? All you talked about was getting home to your Martha."

The tears start to swell in the old man's eyes, "My Martha------we had just gotten married----do you know that if my Martha were still alive----we would be married 50 years in June?"

The man adjusts his glasses, keeping them on. He looks at Hank and smiles, "I remember, Hank----you talked about her all the time----she even sent you--chocolate chip cookies---they were delicious."

Hanks smiles, "By doggies---I think I do remember you---I think I do, anyways."

"Hank, I'm here on official business----the government sent me here---to talk to you---we need your help."

"My help-----but, I'm just an old man---what could the government want with me?"

"Actually, it's the CIA that is requesting your help. Hank----I'm working undercover and I need a place to work from, can you help me?"

Hanks takes a deep breath, "The CIA? Oh man-- that's serious, isn't it?"

The man nods, "Yes----very serious and you know that the CIA doesn't ask just anyone to help them----I need a place to stay, Hank. I'm on the trail of some very serious and dangerous people----people that are threatening to blow up the world. You remember the Trade Towers back in 2001----these people are even more dangerous!!! Please say you will help me, Hank."

Hank nods his head up and down, "Yes! I won't let my government down, just tell me what to do!"

The man pretends to be relieved, "Corporal----I knew I could count on you! But, this is very, very secretive----you can't tell anyone that I am here! No one, Hank, if you tell anyone---that person will be considered a risk to this assignment and that person will have to be assassinated."

Hank swallows, "But, I have a neighbor that was in special services and he knows all about undercover work, he can help us, his name Is Cordell Walker and he-----"

"NO! You can't tell anyone---especially your neighbors---and not this Walker----do you want to
help your government or not, Hank-----I need an answer."

Hanks nods his head, "I'll help."

"I can't express the importance of this work. If you tell anyone about this, you will be disposed of too, Hank. The government can't take any chances of any of this leaking out to the enemy. If so, you will be eliminated and the person you tell and all of that person's family----do you understand?"

Hank thinks about what the man is saying, he looks at him suspiciously, "I don't think our government works that way---does it?"

"Things have changed since the bombing in New York----our government doesn't mess around anymore! ----Maybe, I was wrong in coming here, you're not the same Corporal Ferguson that I knew in Nam----you've become weak, are you a communist as well?"

"Don't you dare call me a damn commie---those are fighting words!"

"Then, will you help your government----or not?"

Hanks is snorting like his hogs at the thought of being called a communist----"You saw that American flag outside my door---I'm a true American----yes! I will help my government---you just tell me what to do, and I won't tell a living soul that you are here. You got my word on that."

The man smiles, "I will be back later with my associate, and we will go over all the rules. In the meantime I have some of my people watching this place, who comes and goes and all. If you tell anyone about this assignment, I will find out---nothing gets past me---do you understand?"

Hank agrees and the man starts back to his car, he hears the hogs squealing.

"You have some mighty big hogs there, Hank. They must take a lot of food----you are keeping them--well fed----aren't you?"

Hank looks towards the pen and back to the man, he answers quietly, "Yes ---they are being given-----lots of food."

The man gets into his car and drives off, pulling his sunglasses off, revealing his gray/ almost white eyes. He laughs as he touches the pocket on his tunic jacket, and pulls out a hypodermic
needle. "I didn't know if I would need you this time---or not, and thank goodness for the old Army surplus stores."
                             
***********************************************************

Supper has been served and Angela is trying to keep the twins and Little Ray from eating the rest of the devils' food cake.

"Mom, would you please tell them to stay out of Daddy's cake---there's only one piece left and I'm saving that for Daddy, so he can have it when he comes home tonight."

Alex is lecturing the boys as Angela comes running back, "Dana's Mom is here----I'm leaving now."

"Wait a minute, come back here----let's go over the rules again. You are not to go anywhere but to Dana's house----that means no movies, and no going to some other girls' house----are we clear on this?"

"Mom, I just got off restriction, I'm not going to do anything to risk getting back on it again.----I'm spending the night at Dana's, you can call and check on me?"

Alex sighs and gets up and walks towards her daughter, "I don't want to have to call and check on you, I want your word that you will not go anywhere else, do I have your word?"

Angela smiles, she knows that things have settled down some, but not enough that her Mom won't still be worrying about her. She puts her arm around her and kisses her cheek, "You have my word, Mom---I promise---got to run," and Angela starts running to the front door, "and make the twins stay out of that cake."

Alex turns back to Cordell, "How did Hank enjoy his supper tonight?"

Cordell looks back at her, "Fine----I guess-----he said he would eat it later."

Alex sees the puzzlement on her son's face, as he throws sandwiches and milk together to take up to the attic.

"What's wrong sweetheart?"

Cordell shakes his head, and reaches over and puts his finger into the icing of his Dad's cake. Alex slaps his hand, "Get out of that."

"Mr. Ferguson was acting strange, Mom."

"How so?"

"Well----usually he wants us to stay and visit with him, he always looks like he's going to cry when we do leave----but this evening---he acted like he couldn't get rid of us quick enough. He kept saying it was getting dark and he didn't want you worrying about us."

Gordon puts his newspaper down, "Maybe he's just feeling a little embarrassed about earlier this morning with you, Alexandra, and the hog incident and all."

"Well----he should be embarrassed," Alex comments.

Cordell gets his sandwiches and milk, "Is the music too loud, Mom?"

"No-----I can barely hear it. Have you got all of the insulation put down?"

"We have one small section left, Cooper, J.W., and me will finish it tonight. Dad said that next week he would try and start on the staircase. What about you, Grandpa----is the music too loud?"

Gordon says nothing as Alex taps his newspaper, Gordon reaches up to his hearing aid, "Did you say something, pumpkin?"

"Cordell is asking you if the music has been too loud?"

Gordon turns to his grandson, "The music is fine--- I'll just keep my hearing aid turned down."

Alex shakes her head, "Daddy-------- you're always turning that thing down or off when the boys start playing their music."

Gordon smiles---Yessss----that's the only good thing about having to wear this damn thing-----I can tune out what I don't want to hear-----and that's that damn rock and roll that they call music."

Alex takes a deep breath, "Well----some of their music is really earth shattering, but they try to be considerate of our feelings. They always play the kind of music that you want to hear, the soft ballads and such. Did you hear Cordell playing the piano earlier---I think he's got that one song down pretty solid now, what was it called?"

Gordon takes off his glasses and smiles gently," Gentle Maiden,"----that was one of your Mothers' favorite songs. Ahhhh, she loved all of those old Irish songs, especially that one. Cordell can sure play that, can't he? Can't decide if I like it better on the piano or the Autoharp---either way, it brings tears to the eyes of this old coot."

"Yes, both of the boys are so 'gifted'. Walker and I are totally blown away at how they can sing and play, neither one of us could ever carry a tune. Aside from your ability to play piano, we wonder where they get their talent, but----Uncle Ray always said that Aunt Ruth could hear a song one time, and sit down and play it. That's how Cordell is, he just needs to hear it one or two times, and he's got it down."

Gordon nods his head, "Yep, it took me awhile to find that song and let him hear it, but he's definitely got it conquered.----I love Thanksgiving, Alexandra, I love sitting around and
hearing the boys do those Irish tunes. It's good that they are anxious to learn about their Irish heritage as well as their Cherokee."

"Yes, Daddy----Walker and I have encouraged them to know all of their heritage, the Scotch and Norwegian on my side of the family as well as Walker's Irish and Cherokee."

"Does he still tease you about being related to Custer?"

Alex puts her tea down, "Yes----he does! I could have scalped you for telling him about that."

Gordon puts his paper down and stretches, "Pumpkin----you are so distantly related to that man, that the bloodline wouldn't even commence to fill a thimble."

"Then, why did you bother to tell him?"

Gordon laughs, "Just to keep a little 'tiff' going between you two----it keeps the marriage from getting bored."

Alex smirks and throws her head up, "Daddy---Walker and I have other ways to keep our marriage from being boring."

Gordon reaches down and touches his daughter's belly, "I know----I can see that----and sometimes---I hear it."

Alex's mouth drops open as she stares at her Dad, "You don't mean that----you're just teasing----right?"

Gordon kisses his daughter, "I'm going to bed----see you in the morning----pumpkin."
                                    
************************************************

Angela and Dana are giggling as they experiment with each other's hair. They try different make-up tricks, do each other nails, and talk-----about boys.

"Come on, Angela----be honest----are you still attracted to Dylan-----or has someone else got your attention?"

"I lost all interest in Dylan after what he said to me----I just see him in a completely different light now, and that light is very dim."

"But, you've been acting differently the last couple of weeks, you're kind of quiet when he's around."

"Dylan?"

"No-----you ninny----I'm talking about J.W."

Angela's eyes get a dreamy look, "So-----what if I do?"

"Oh, Angela---he is so cute now----he's put on a few pounds and got rid of those glasses!---I never knew he had such beautiful eyes and those eyelashes---oh God---what I wouldn't give to have those lashes and not have to use mascara and eye liner to get them."

"I've always known he had sexy eyes," answers Angela.

"Sexy? Did you say S e x y?"

"Yes, I did-----and he's got sexy lips, too."

Dana's eyes grow big, "Come on, Angela----tell me---how does he kiss?"

"I'm not going to tell you that----that's personal."

"ANGELA----I'm your best friend, we tell each other EVERYTHING----tell me---or I will scream!"

Angela laughs, "Okay, I will tell you---but this has got to stay just between us."

"Yes---yes----now tell me---please."

Angela lowers her head and tosses her hair back, and licks her lips, "He kisses nice----real nice----his lips are soooooo soft."          

Dana starts giggling louder, "What else? ----Have you and J.W. ever---you know----did more than kiss?"

"You sure are nosey, Dana Winchester!"

"I can't help it-----I like details---well? Have you?"

Angela smiles, "No---that's all we've done---but we did make a promise to each other-----"

"What kind of promise?"

"That when the time came---we would be the "first" with each other."

"Wow," Dana whispers--"you know a lot of girls our age and even younger have already lost their virginity, and the way the boys pant after you, I'm surprised that you haven’t-----"

Angela frowns, "Are you kidding---and give my Daddy a cardiac arrest----no way! Mom says that I will know when that certain ONE comes along. That I will feel all jittery inside and my knees will become weak----I've kissed other boys----including Dylan----I've never had those feelings with him that I have for J.W."

"Wow, Angela-----I wish I had someone to compare those feelings with----and I know just exactly who I would like to share those feelings with----Cordell!"

Angela smiles back at her friend, "Don't you think you're too old for my brother, he's only 13----you will be 16 in June."

"Cordell will be 14 in May, that's only two years' difference-----does he ever mention me---in any way?"

"Dana-----Cordell isn't interested in girls yet----he's too busy with his music and all that reading that he does. I've never heard Cordell mention ---any girl's name."

"He's not gay------is he?"

"Bite your tongue! No---my brother is not gay, he just has other interests right now. Cooper---now he's always talking about girls, and there are a lot of them out there that are interested in
him too, he thinks he's a ladies' man."

"But, Cordell is so cute----he's got such a quiet way about him, but strong.----And, that chipped tooth makes him so much cuter. He's got pretty eyes too, though I can't make out what color they are. Sometimes they look blue, other times, they look almost black."

Angela flops down on her sleeping bag, "Well, there's no mistaking what color of eyes J.W. has----they are a beautiful olive green."

Dana lays across her bed, "That's unusual isn't it, for a Negro to have those color of eyes?"

"I guess----it doesn't matter to me----they're gorgeous!"              

"And, it doesn't bother you that he's black?"

"No, why should it? My parents have taught me to never look at someone's skin color, everyone is created equal--we all have the same color of blood, do we not?----And, besides my Daddy had to go through a lot of prejudice when he was growing up because he was a half breed, and there are kids at school that call me "Squaw" and I don't like it----not one bit!"

"Yeah, I know---I've seen you flatten a couple of them for calling you that."

"I'm proud of my Indian heritage, I'm a quarter Cherokee and proud of it---and if J.W. and I ever had kids, they would have Negro blood running through their veins, right next to the Cherokee and all of my other ancestors' blood."

"Kids?-----You actually think about marrying J.W.?"

"I will tell you something Dana, that I have never admitted to anyone else----but yes----I plan to marry J.W.----and even he doesn't know it yet, he doesn't even have a clue."

Dana is speechless, "I can't believe you are talking this way, I've never even heard you mention marriage-----in any form."

"Well, it's not going to be any time soon----maybe sometime after we go to college."

Dana starts to reply when she hears her Mother call out, "Dana----Angela is wanted on the phone."

Angela has a puzzled look, "My Mom is calling?"

"Hi Angela----what you doing?"

Angela takes the phone away from her ear, "Speak of the devil, it's J.W.," she whispers.

They talk for a few minutes and Dana starts making kissy sounds. Angela throws a pillow at her. "Okay----I will talk to you tomorrow------don't let the bedbugs bite you."

"What's that suppose to mean, Angela?"                                         

"I don't know, Grandpa is always saying it."                                         

"Whatever, well the twins and I are through with the floor and we're going to do some 'jamming' now---bye."

Angela hangs up and the two girls start giggling, and bouncing up and down. The phone rings again. Angela picks it up.

"Okay, Angela---I won't let the bedbugs bite---whatever that means. I just wanted to say goodbye again, bye."

"Bye, J.W.----see you in church tomorrow."

"Angela, are you still mad at me?"

"Do I sound mad?"

"With you, I never know. Do you think that your parents will let you go riding with me once I get my car?"

Angela is smiling, "Maybe-----we'll just have to wait and see. When are you getting your new
car?"

"It's not going to be brand new----my Dad is looking at some in the police compound, he's got his eye on this Camaro---he says it’s really neat----but I've been wanting a truck, something like Uncle Walker drives."

"Sounds great, J.W.----I better get off the phone, talk to you tomorrow---bye."

Dana is squealing, "Oh Angela----he likes you a lot."

"Well he better---since I made that confession to you about marrying him some day."

The phone rings again, and Angela smiles, "Now, what does he want?----What did you forget this time J.W.?"

"Who is J.W., Angela?"

Angela's face goes pale as she whispers, "Kiwi?"

The voice becomes agitated, "I asked you a question, Angela---who the hell is J.W.? Are you sleeping with him, you little slut?" ----I'm coming for you, Angela, I know where you are,
#34 Oak Lane---trailer #7!"

Angela screams back into the phone, "Leave me alone!"                                     

"I can't leave you alone, Angela---you are mine----understand that? You are making me so mad, do you want to end up like your friend, Darcy?"

 


The Seekers XVI-XVIII

Angela is shaking so bad she can hardly stand.            

"Darcy? Where is Darcy, you didn't hurt her, please say you didn't hurt her," Angela is screaming into the phone.               

The voice yells back, "Darcy is beyond pain, why do you continue to talk about her? She disobeyed me, like you are doing."                

"Please----just leave me alone---I've never done anything to you----I don't even know you," sobs Angela."

"You're going to know me Angela---just like I'm going to know every inch of you----do you hear me, Angela----every inch! I will do things to you that you've never even dreamed of-----I will have you screaming from sheer ecstasy---you'll be begging me to stop, but at the same time---you'll be wanting more, you won't be able to contain yourself, you're body will be dripping from your fluids and---------"                    

"STOP IT----STOP IT----," she screams, and slams the phone down trying to break the connection. Dana's Mom comes running in.                      

"I'm going for help," she screams, but Angela pulls her back.                       

"NO!!! Don't go out there, he could be watching us! I'm calling dispatch to get a hold of my Dad!"                         

Angela gets through to dispatch, but they tell her that Ranger Walker has already signed out and left for home an hour ago. She screams at them to get a cruiser to the Winchester home. They tell her a car is on the way, Trivette has heard the call go out. He breaks into dispatch, "Angela!----What's wrong, honey?"                          

"UNCLE JIMMY! He's found me, Kiwi has found out I'm here at Dana's home------- please get hold of my Daddy---please----hurry!"                           

Trivette starts dialing Walker's home number as he speeds to the trailer court.
                                
*******************************************************                           

Walker stares at his son, Little Ray's eyes are watching every move the fork makes going back and forth to his Daddy's mouth. With every bite, Walker makes a smacking sound, and sighs.                      

"I'm telling you, Little Ray----this devils' food cake is sooooooo delicious----your sister is becoming quite a cook."                              

The boy continues to watch, he licks his lips.                             

Walker looks to Alex and winks. "Ummmmmm this icing just melts in my mouth-----and the cake is so light----look, Little Ray----look how moist it is----I don't even need my coffee to wash it down---it's so moist."                              

Little Ray nods his head, his arms are folded and resting on the table, his eyes go to the cake as his Daddy takes small bites, teasing him and groaning from sheer pleasure.                             

Alex frowns as she watches the look on her son's face, "Honey----stop teasing him."

"But, Little Ray doesn't like cake, he likes cookies. Did you eat all of those cookies that Angela baked for you?"                                

The boy nods his head slowly, "Yeath----me eat 'em all."                               

"Then you couldn't possibly have room for any cake---could you?"                                 

The boy licks his lips, "Me got room, Daddy."                                  

"Where?"                                  

Little Ray touches his stomach, "Wight here----me got woom."                                   

Walker takes another small bite, "I don't know----I sure hate to part with this cake---the icing is so creamy, so chocolaty," he frowns and looks at Alex, "is there such a word as chocolaty?"                                 

Alex laughs, "Only in Webster’s kiddie dictionary."                                  

Walker smiles, "Well----okay, I guess I will give you half of it---where's the knife, Mommy?"                                  

Walker slices the cake and hands the smallest piece to Little Ray---then he changes his mind and he takes the smallest piece. "I guess you know that after all of these desserts----you and I both are going to have to do some exercising to get the calories off."                                  

Little Ray's eyes grow big as he dives into the cake, "Me do 'izes too, Daddy."                                   

"Good---you can do 100 sit-ups."                                   

The cake is all over the boys' face, "You too, Daddy?"                                   

Walker grins and winks at his wife, his brow going up and down, "Noooo-----your Mommy has other ways to make me exercise, and to get the calories off."                                    

Alex's mouth drops open and she smiles back at him, "Make" you exercise----since when do I have to "make" you?"                                    

"Figure of speech, hon, and when do we start?"                                     

"We will start as soon as you and your son do your 'OTHER" exercises-----just don't let him do too much, I don't want him getting an upset stomach."                                     

"Okay, hurry up, buckaroo---I'll be down in the basement, you got to do  some 'warming' up first. Think you're ready to get on The Total Gym now?"                                   

Little Ray says nothing as the fork is going back and forth to his mouth, just nods his head.                                    

"O.k., I'm heading on down to the basement, you can join us too, Mommy---are you still keeping up with your exercises," he asks as he feels her bottom.                                    

"Yes----I am---just walking up and down those stairs a million times a day is my exercise."                                     

Walker smiles, "Well----it's sure keeping your butt nice and firm, "just the way I like it."                                      

Alex laughs and takes his mouth squeezing it together, "GO-----I'll be down when Little Ray is through," then she kisses him. She watches him walk away, then whistles at the sight of his
jeans accenting his firm buttocks, "I like your butt too, COWBOY."                                

Little Ray pushes the plate away from him, "Me thoo, Mommy," as he scrambles down and heads to the basement door, having to use both hands to turn the knob.                                 

"I'll be down in a minute as soon as I get the dish washer loaded," The phone rings and Alex turns back to answer it-----"and, as soon as I answer the phone-----hello."                                

"ALEX----get Walker over to the trailer park, Kiwi is stalking Angela!"                              

Alex drops the phone, "Oh my God----Walker!"                              

She runs to the basement door screaming his name, "WALKER----GET UP HERE!"                               

Walker starts taking the steps two and three at a time, "What? What's wrong?"                                

She grabs him and starts shoving him towards the front room, "Kiwi has found Angela--- hurry---get over there---HURRY."                                 

Walker runs through the front room, grabbing his jacket and gun, Alex is running behind him and into Gordon's room.                                  

"DADDY-GET UP, WATCH THE BOYS! ANGELA IS IN TROUBLE"!                                   

Walker and Alex run to the Ram and speed off. Cooper is looking out the attic window, and sees them. He shouts to the other boys and they run to the attic ladder. Gordon is trying to wipe the
sleep from his eyes and trying to console Little Ray.                           

"Grandpa, what's wrong----why did Mom and Dad leave like that?"                             

"Something about your sister ----being in trouble," Gordon stammers.                             

"I thought Angela was at Dana's," Cordell turns to J.W.                              

"She is, I just talked to her," J.W. starts dialing Dana's number. Dana's Mom picks it up screaming---"Leave us alone, you pervert----the police are on their way!"                              

J.W. starts screaming back for Angela, finally he hears her voice, "J.W. he's calling me, he says he's coming after me-----"                              

"Who, Angela? Who is coming after you"?                               

Cordell and Cooper don't need to hear anymore than that as they hit the door running, Gordon yells out at them not to leave the house.                                 

J.W. drops the phone and he too starts running up the gravel road. Gordon is yelling at them, "It's 10 miles---you can't possibly----oh damn----Little Ray----go get in Grandpa's car----hurry."                                  

The boys are almost to the bus stop as Gordon stops to pick them up. They yell at him, "Burn rubber, Grandpa!"                                   

The trailer park is crawling with police cars when Walker and Alex arrive. Angela sees them and starts running to them. Walker starts running to her and his daughter falls into his arms, sobbing. Alex reaches them and Angela goes to her.                              

Walker shouts, "Stay with your Mother" and he starts running towards Trivette who has a man in handcuffs and is questioning him. Walker grabs the man and spins him around, his fist doubled. Trivette screams at him to stop.                              

"WALKER---no that's not him---Walker----stop it!"                                

Trivette grabs Walker and starts pulling him back, as the man is pulled away by other officers.                                 

"Walker-----calm down man----that's not Kiwi---I know that man, that's Benny-the shark, he's just a five and dime----he lives here in the park---and he might have seen the man we're
looking for."                                   

Walker's chest is heaving as he walks towards the man, "You saw him?  --Start talking!"                                   

The man is under five feet and shaking like a leaf at the thought of almost being on the receiving end of Walker's fist. He's heard of Walker---what con man hasn't in the state of Texas?                                  

Trivette puts a calming hand on Benny's shoulder, "Just tell him what you told me, Benny----and stop shaking."                                  

Benny stares at Walker, the ranger's eyes are burning a hole through him. "I think I saw someone in that phone booth over there ----that might have something to do with the man you're looking
for."                                  

The phone booth is surrounded by the lab experts, and already dusting for prints.                                    

"What did you see? What did he look like?" Yells Walker.                                     

Benny looks to Trivette and turns sideways and shows Trivette the handcuffs, "I'm not saying anything till you take these damn things off of me."                                     

"Benny---you are in no position to make compromises ---I have three outstanding warrants on you for traffic violations, I can take you in ----right now."                                       

Walker looks to his partner and Trivette reads the signal. "Okay,. Benny----I'll take them off----but you better start talking---fast."                                        

The little man rubs his wrists, "I heard this man screaming into the phone over there-----at first I thought he was having a fight with his old lady, you know? But then he started getting really angry and was hitting the sides of the phone booth with the phone. He started screaming like a mad man, saying he "was going to get her".  I ducked down over here by this dumpster, and then this car came screeching up and he jumped in and they sped off."                                    

"Did you see the man, Benny, what did he look like?"                                     

"Not that good-----except he kept playing with his hair----except his hair looked all over his head----you know----like a wig?"                                     

"What else Benny, was he tall, heavy-set----what?"                                      

The little man thinks for a minute and looks at Trivette and shivers. "I sure could use a drink right now----it's so damn cold out here."                                      

Walker grabs the little man and shakes him, "Listen you little weasel, and listen good. Threats were made against my daughter, I don't have time for all this crap----now start talking!"                                    

"Okay, okay----he was a small man, about my height----and there were two men in the car." 

"Did you see the car, Benny, what kind was it?"                                     

"I don't know what kind it was----it was a light colored car----but-when it sped out of here----“   

Trivette is getting impatient, "When it sped out, what-----what, Benny?"                                     

The little man turns and points to another dumpster, "It sideswiped that dumpster over there." 

Trivette hollers for some men to go over to the dumpster and start looking for paint marks. He turns back to Benny, "Is there anything else you can tell us, Benny----anything at all?"

"No----I'm sorry----that's all I know."                                      

"Okay, you stay out of trouble---and thanks."                                     

Walker is walking in circles, his fists clenching and unclenching. He walks to the phone booth.   

"We're not getting anything here, Ranger Walker, more than likely your man was wearing gloves."                                      

Walker puts his hand through the telephone booth's glass. The glass shatters everywhere as the men scramble to get out of the way.

"Damn it!----This son of a bitch is pissing me off!"                                      

Trivette grabs Walker and pulls him back, "Walker, calm down!!! We're going to get this creep-----he's getting careless by getting this close to Angela. He's going to mess up and when he does, we'll get him and-----"                                    

Walker stares back at his partner, "And, when we do catch him----he's dead-----you hear me, Trivette----he's DEAD"                                   

Gordon and the boys have arrived on the scene as they try to get back past the police guards. Gordon shows them his ID and they let them pass. J.W. runs to Angela.                                     

"Angela, are you okay?"                                      

Alex nods to the boys and tell them to take Angela to their grandpa's car and stay with her. Gordon walks towards Walker and Trivette and Alex goes to talk to Dana and her Mom, assuring them that a police car will stay in the trailer park all night. While Alex talks to her Mom, Dana goes to check on Angela.                                 

"I'm so sorry, Angela."                                   

"It's not your fault, Dana, -----I just don't know how he knew I was here."                                    

"Simple," snaps Cordell, "the creep has probably been watching our place, and more than likely has been watching you at school again."

Little Ray has his arms wrapped around his sisters' neck so tightly that she has trouble talking, "Watching me at school-----" she sobs, "damn it, what does he want with me-----Dana---I think
he's hurt Darcy-----I think she's ----dead!"                                   

The girls embrace each other as they talk about their worst fears concerning their good friend. Dana steps back, "I got to go now, my Mom is a nervous wreck!"                                    

Angela sobs, "I'll see you in church tomorrow-----okay?"                                    

As Dana starts to walk back towards her Mom, Cordell walks up to her, "I'll walk you back, Dana."                                     

They've seen Walker and Trivette talking to the man in handcuffs and Dana asks, "Who is that man----is he a suspect?"                                      

Cordell shakes his head, "No---- he's still standing------if he was a suspect, my Dad would have pulverized him by now."                                      

Dana stops a few feet away from her Mom and Alex, "Thanks, Cordell."                                     

"Are you sure that you're okay?"                                      

Amid the excitement of all that is going on, Dana's heart is beating so loud she can almost hear it. But she knows it's not any of the excitement that is causing it to pound; Cordell has finally noticed her! In all the years that she has known him, she's never gotten more than a "hello" out of him. Now he's asking her if she's okay. She stares back at him, her knees are shaking.   

"I'm fine----thanks again".                                    

Dana goes to stand by her Mom, and Cordell does the same. Their eyes meet for just a second, and Cordell nudges his Mom for them to go. As they are walking off, he takes a quick glance
back, and sees that Dana is staring back too.
                                   
**********************************************
                             

The three men are arguing:                               

The tallest one with sunglasses is the angriest. "What has gotten into you-----you are not thinking
straight? Every since that little slut has come into the picture---you have made a complete turn around. You no longer focus on what is important here----what are you thinking?" 

Kiwi turns on the old man,  --------"You ----do not tell me how to think, old man!"

"Someone needs to----you are not making any sense, boss! What happened to our plan to take over these small towns, to bring the victims in slowly and "brainwash" them? Sarge is just saying what we are all thinking, what we're all afraid of asking, when are you going to get this "Angela" out of your system, so we can move on?"                               

Kiwi grabs the man and throws him up against the wall, for a small man, he has amazing strength. "I will tell you when its time to move on----I will not stop until she is mine-----you got that?"                                

The man goes to sit down and Sarge continues to stare at his son. "You are weak----just like your Mother----is this "Angela" worth it? We had a good thing going, you supply the drugs, and I
take care of the victims----that was the plan."                              

"You can't keep your hands off the victims, especially the little boys!---But, why should that come as a surprise---you molested me when I was just a baby------and you continued to molest me till that story was released to the media and then you and your friends were getting arrested, and you hightailed it to ---whoever the hell knows where!"                                 

Sarge is furious, "What did you want me to do, stay behind and end up in prison?" 

Kiwi smirks, "No----you wouldn't have like it in prison "Father"----'cause you know what they do to child molesters----but then on the other hand---you might have ended up getting some of your own medicine----you might have liked it----so don't preach to me---old man!" 

A fourth figure has been very quiet as he approaches the two men arguing. "You told me that you wouldn't hurt Angela,----so why did you go after her?"                                

Sarge reaches out and slams Danny up against the wall, "I told you---you belonged to me----why do you concern yourself with this Angela?"                                

Danny becomes quiet and goes to sit beside the other man.                                

"What do we do now, Kiwi? That girls' father is going to come after you, leave her alone and let's get back to our previous plan.----Let's leave here and go to another state." 

"If you wanted to leave, then why did you go to that old rancher's place and fill his head with a cock 'n bull story about the government wanting him for secret service-----that was  bull crap,
just what are you up to ‘Father’?"                                 

Sarge grins, "He swallowed it, hook, line, and sinker----just like I knew he would! He's from the old school, can't do enough for his Uncle Sam."                                

"I asked you, what are you up to? Do you plan to keep your little "toys" there, and what happens when the old man finds out you're lying, do you think he's going to just let it ride, because
you are telling him, that this is all secret service stuff? The man can't be that stupid!"

Sarge gets in Kiwi's face, "You let me worry about that---you just get in touch with our suppliers and get me some ‘juice’!"                                

Kiwi watches as Sarge starts undressing and putting his uniform back on. The old man primps in front of the mirror, and brushes his dyed hair back.                               

"I still look rather handsome in the uniform---don't I, Danny?"                                

Danny nods, and Sarge heads for the door. "Come----we have to go see our new "home"----I have to brief you on how to behave like my personal "aide"---and how to remind you to keep your mouth shut when the old rancher is around, come on---we don't have all night." 

Kiwi grabs Danny's arm, "Danny will be with you in a minute."                                

After Sarge is out of hearing range, Kiwi hisses, "You know what you have to do, Danny!" 

"I'm working on it, Kiwi----I'll get rid of him----I promise.---But, what about Angela-----you said that I could have her first?"                                

Kiwi puts his arm around Danny's shoulder and talks softly, "And, you will Danny----I promised you.----What about that other thing I asked you to do---are you getting closer to the Walker boys?                                

"I've gone over to the Jr. High and watch them as they run track, and I've played some basketball with them in the gym, I've been taking it slow."                                

"You can't work too slow, Danny----time is wasting. You have to get them to feel sorry for you----it's time you hinted around about being alone for the holidays. You will see them in church tomorrow -----make your move, Danny! You got to really lay it on thick. What about their Mother----work on her too, play the "poor, helpless, little orphan---do it, Danny."
                               
****************************************************

Alex is standing outside of Angela's bathroom; she has forbidden her Mom to close the door. 

"I'll be right here, honey----just let me close the outside door--I'll be right back." 

Angela is changing into her gown, still shaking. She looks at her Mom, "Darcy's dead----isn't she," she asks sobbing.                             

"I-----I don't know, Angela----I'm sorry---but it doesn't look good, it's going on 3 weeks and there's been nothing to report----I'm sorry."                             

"I can't believe that her parents are wanting a memorial service----it's like they're giving up." 

Alex takes her daughter's hand, "Come over here sweetheart, and sit down----do you want anything to drink, can I get you something?"                               

"No Mom, just don't leave me alone----I can still hear Kiwi's voice---and those nasty things he said to me----don't leave me alone—please?"                                

Alex holds her daughter close, "I'm not leaving you----I'm right here. Grandpa and the boys are downstairs and there is a patrol car out in the driveway----he will be here all night till your
Dad gets home."                                 

Angela sobs, "Where is Daddy? Why isn't he here?"                                

"They have some things to check out about that car that Kiwi was in, if they can get a match on the paint and match it to the make and model of the car, then they can find out who owns it----right now they are searching for every little clue they can come up with----he'll be home soon."   

They hear a tap on the door and hear Gordon's voice. "Can I come in?"                                  

"Come in, Grandpa."                                   

He walks over to the bed and Angela falls into his arms, "Oh Grandpa----I have never been so scared and he's killed Darcy----I just know he has!"                                    

"Pumpkin, you got nothing to be scared of---now, I want you and your Mom to come downstairs, I made some soup----it will help you to stop shaking."                                  

"Dad, before we go down---there is something I have to tell Angela."                                    

Angela wipes the tears away, "What, Mom-----what is it?"                                   

Alex hesitates, "I got word today that Darcy's parents are wanting that memorial service-----so that they can leave Springtown."                                    

"What?" Angela stares back at her Mom, "Then, they are just giving up----how can they do that----there's no body-----Mom----how can they just stop looking for her?"                                 

"I don't know------I know I couldn't----if it were one of you kids----your Dad and I would never----stop looking," Alex starts to cry, "I'm sorry, Angela----it's their choice."                                 

Angela and Alex agree to go downstairs, and the boys are taking them soup to the front room. Angela curls up on the couch, Little Ray is curled up against her, patting her arm.   

"That man won't hurt you, thissy, me won't let him--me 'tect you."                                  

Angela starts to cry as she kisses her baby brother's forehead, "I know you will protect me, little brother----I'm not scared---not with you beside me," she looks around the room, "and, I got
all of you to protect me, too."                                

Gordon is pacing the floor back and forth; he starts to say something, then stops. Then he blurts it out, "When Walker finds that son of a bitch that is trying to hurt you---I want first crack at
him!"                                 

J.W. sits down on the other side of Angela, he looks back at Gordon and replies, "You're going to have to stand in line, Grandpa."                                  

The twins nod in agreement, "You got that right-----not that there will be anything left of him, once Dad gets through with him."                                   

Little Ray shakes his head, "Daddy will 'hoot him, huh, Mommy?"                                  

Alex tries to smile, "Daddy will take care of the bad man, but right now----you’ve got to get ready for bed-----go get your jimmies."                                

The boy brings his jammies downstairs for his big sister to put them on him, once he's dressed, he curls up as close to her as possible. Everyone is starting to feel the tension of the day as the
twins continue to check locks. Gordon takes the leftover soup out to the patrolmen, as the temperature has dropped to below zero. J.W. puts more logs in the fireplace as they all find a place to wait out the night.                              

Gordon goes to the piano and begins to play quietly. Alex smiles as she watches the first snowflakes of the year start to come down. The night gets very quiet as soon she hears the soft rhythmically breathing of her baby son, soon followed by the twins and J.W. as they sit in the floor near the sofa. Angela lays her head against Little Ray's and soon she too, is fast asleep. 

Gordon stops playing and covers Alex with a blanket, kissing her forehead, "I guess my music bored them to sleep," he smiles.                               

Alex smiles, "Goodnight, Daddy."

*********************************************                         

The Seekers XVII

Walker looks back to his father-in-law, and shakes his head negatively.               

"No, nothing---we've been running matches on the paint that was found on that dumpster---of course it's a very popular beige or pewter----that only narrows it down to several million-----just in Texas---alone."                

"Hang in there, son---the creep is going to mess up---you'll catch him."                 

Walker rubs his eyes, "Where's Angela?"                  

"I think she and her Mother are going to skip church today----Angela didn't sleep too well last night-----we'll see you later."                   

Walker continues on down the gravel drive.                   

Angela is still asleep on the sofa as Walker walks over and pulls the blanket up around her, brushing her hair back with his finger. She opens one eye and mumbles, "Hi, Daddy."  

"Didn't mean to wake you, baby----go back to sleep."                      

She nods her head slowly and is soon back asleep. Alex is standing in the doorway, holding Walker's cup of coffee.                      

"Morning, cowboy." She hands the cup to him and kisses him softly, "Any news----on Darcy?" 

They walk towards the kitchen, "Nothing-----it's like she's just vanished---there's no trace of her. We've questioned everyone that was at Becky Blake’s party---over and over again. They all say the same thing, she left with Kiwi to pick Angela up----she never returned."                       

Alex shakes her head, "I'll get your breakfast started."                       

"What about Angela, Gordon said she didn't sleep well----is she okay, now?"                        

"She woke up around 4 am, with nightmares----I finally got her to take a mild sedative-----she finally gave into it, and she's been asleep ever since."                         

"This creep is another one that has just vanished----it's like he's found a hole and crawled into it---but that's what cowards do, isn't it?"                           

"Honey---you're tired and exhausted---you need some sleep."                            

"I don't have time to sleep, Alex------I wouldn't be able to anyways ----not until I find these sons-of-bitches that are responsible for Bobby Jackson's murder, Darcy's disappearance, and for
that scum bag that is stalking our daughter!"                            

Alex lets her hand glide across her husband's shoulder as she sits his breakfast down in front of him, "Honey----a couple of hour's rest would help you considerably----won't you please just lie down for awhile?"                            

"Maybe-----if I have some company," he teases her.                             

"Sorry, cowboy-----I don't want to leave Angela downstairs by herself, and I don't want to wake her----not with the night she's had."                               

"Okay, I'll just go to my chair and kick back for an hour or two."                              

"Well----if you're going to do that----do I have time to run to the market----I need some last minute things for Thanksgiving?"                                

"Sure-------I'll be here with Angela in case she wakes up."                                

"Anything special you want me to pick up?" asks Alex as she starts looking for her purse. 

Walker smiles back at her, "Nope----anything you decide to cook is just fine with me-----except ---just make sure you make plenty of dumplins this time, okay? I didn't get my fill last year."      

Alex smiles and puts her arms around his neck and nuzzles his bearded cheek, "When it comes to dumplins---you never get your fill."                                  

"Watch it, woman----you keep kissing me like that and you will never make it to the market, and don't forget my pecan pies."                                   

"Yes dear, I have the orders in at the bakery, also for cherry, apple, and plenty of pumpkin----I know how you like pumpkin pie," she teases him.                                    

Walker makes a face----"YUK-----you can forget the pumpkin pie all together as far as I'm concerned---Then he smiles back at her and whispers----"PUMPKIN."                                     

"I can't do that, Daddy has to have his pumpkin pie----though I think I will only get one this year----since he's the only that will eat it, one slice is about all I want."
                                  
**************************************************

Hank looks around his living room, and makes a face at the mess that his guest has made. Cigarette butts are in the half cups of cold coffee, and ashes all over the floor.  His "guest" is stretched out on the sofa, a empty bottle of whiskey is cradled under his left arm. Hank shakes his head in disgust.                            

"I'm glad you're not alive to see the mess that your living room is in, Martha----you would be so ashamed."                              

Hank walks to the kitchen, the mess is even worse as dirty dishes from the night before fill the sink. His "guest" had made coffee and spilled the coffee grounds onto the counter and into the
floor. Hank mutters to himself, "I'm not so sure that this was the right thing to do after all,----now what did he say about terrorists attacks---I can't remember all he said."                              

The old man stands there, looking at the mess and decides he better do some cleaning, and then go to the market to buy food. But first, he must put up the flags, always at the break of dawn---the flags go up, and at sunset, they come down. They are neatly folded and put on the table near the front door.                              

Hank watches as the flags go up, saluting the American flag and then the TEXAS flag goes up next. Hank smiles and walks to the garage and backs Martha's "94" Cadillac Seville out, and heads down highway 199 to the nearest market.
                                
*****************************************************        

The twins are standing around talking to some school friends as Danny walks slowly up to them. 

"Hi Danny," says Cooper, "are your ready for today's hymns?"                               

Danny smiles sheepishly and nods his head, "Yeah-----ready as I will ever be---what were you guys talking about?"                                

"Nothing in particular-------school----and girls" laughs one of the boys, "sports and girls----and girls."                                  

Another boy speaks up, "My family is going away for the holidays so I'll see all of you when I get back, happy Thanksgiving------and don't eat too much turkey."                                  

The boys all laugh and walk away, Danny looks to Cooper, "I don't care much for the holidays----they're always so lonely."                                 

"Why do you say that, Danny? Don't you have any friends or family that you go to their homes for the holidays?" asks Cordell.                                 

Danny shakes his head, "No, this year will be like all the other years, standing in the soup lines." 

"Well, not this year Danny----you're coming home with us for a nice, hot, family Thanksgiving---with all the trimmings.”                                

Danny smiles, getting an invitation to the Walker home for Thanksgiving was easier than he thought. He looks back at the twins, "Are you serious?"                                 

"Of course we are," confirms Cooper. "Can you be here at the church at 10am?" 

Danny is confused, "Here, at the church----but I thought you said ‘your home’?" 

Cordell watches the expression on the young man's face turn to disappointment as he tries to explain.                                  

"Well, you see Danny----we , I mean all of the church and the surrounding homes bring food to the church to be distributed first to families that are less fortunate. Everyone has a certain area that they go to, ours is in the Ft. Worth stockyards and the surrounding area. We meet here and then we all drive over, you can ride with us."                                   

"Oh, I see----okay----yeah---I'll be here."                                     

Cooper laughs, "Come hungry----there's always plenty of snacks to snack on before we go home to have our dinner."                                     

Danny smiles and licks his lips, "I'm always hungry----will there be any pumpkin pie, I love pumpkin pie."                                     

Cooper lays his hand on Danny's shoulder, "Yes, Danny---there will be pumpkin pie, turkey and dressing with all the trimmings and chicken and dumplins."                                      

"Dumplins?" Asks Danny.                                      

"That's right, our Mom makes the best dumplins in the whole state of Texas----they are so light, they will be dripping in chicken broth and butter, and Angela's biscuits will leave your mouth watering," exclaims Cooper.
                                    

Danny's is drooling as he thinks about the meal that awaits him. "What time do we eat?" he asks quietly.                                    

"Not until we have all the food served to the people that will be coming to C.D.'s-----and believe me, there will be hundreds of people that will be there----waiting for a hot meal."  

"Yeah, we probably won't be sitting down to our own meal till late, but that's the way it is---that's the way it will always be------taking care of the less fortunate first. We'll see you Thursday morning----10am-----don't be late."
                             
*****************************************************

Sarge has awaken and taken a tour of the Ferguson home. He doesn't like it that Danny has gone to church, but Kiwi has insisted that Danny try and get close to the Walker boys. Sarge reaches out and strikes the wall, "Damn you, Kiwi for upsetting everything that we had going---and now that little slut has turned your head! I thought you had learned your lesson with that whore that called herself your Mother."                        

He walks through the house and finds the master bedroom, where he sees a picture of Hank with a woman that he assumes is his deceased wife. He smirks and walks across the hall, where all of the rooms are immaculate. He walks over to the window and looks out, looking west, towards
a big open field, to the east lays the highway about 3 miles away. To the south is the barn and corral, some cows in the field beyond, some horses and then the hog pen. Sarge smiles as he watches them fight over food. To the north and closer to the house is the flagpole with two flags flapping in the breeze, he sneers. Then he sees the double garage, with one side open. He wonders where the old man went off to so early, he makes a mental note to put the Lincoln inside the garage and out of sight. He goes back downstairs and heads for the basement, and it too is kept amazingly clean.                           

Sarge looks around, there are canned preserves, a freezer, the  huge heater that has  ducts that carry the heat throughout the house. A washer and dryer sit in one corner, and then he sees the trapdoor that leads outside. He attempts to open it but it's locked. Sarge smiles to himself, "Perfect-----I couldn't have planned it any better."
                            
************************************************************

Alex looks up from her shopping cart to see Hank Ferguson going to the check out counter. She notices that his cart is filled up, mostly with coffee, cold cuts and bread. She walks slowly up to him and taps him on the shoulder.                         

"Hi Hank, I see I'm not the only one doing Sunday grocery shopping."                           

Hanks jumps back and then he follows Alex's eyes as they go to his cart.                           

"Yeah, it's been awhile since I've shopped and you know how men are about their shopping," he tries to explain.                            

Alex smiles, "Oh yes, getting Walker to shop is like a act of congress----my----are they having a sale on coffee---did I overlook it?"                           

Hank looks at his cart, and sees the half dozen 3lb cans of coffee, cream and sugar. "No----I just don't want to keep coming back----I hate shopping."                           

Alex smiles, "Most men do----well I got to get back to mine and get home before Angela awakes."                            

Hank's face turns to concern, "I saw on TV that picture of the two men----they are sure mean, aren't they? Is your daughter okay---that one didn't hurt her, did he?"                           

"She's just shaken up and scared----but Walker will find the men responsible---and when he does----I hope there's enough left of them to try in court. I got to get home, he's with Angela now, but he and Ranger Trivette have some more leads to follow up on.----Hank----you be
careful----that one creep has been spotted near our ranches and the other one can't be far away."

Hank nods, he wonders if his ‘guest and his associate’ are after the same ones. He looks to Alex and smiles, "I have a feeling that the government will be involved in this too-----especially the
CIA."                            

Alex looks at her neighbor, "CIA? No, Hank, the CIA isn't involved in this----this isn't  big enough for them to get involved----now the FBI has been called in----maybe that's what you meant."                           

Hank remembers what the sergeant warned him about talking about this assignment, and he starts moving his cart.                             

"I got to go, Alex----Martha will be wondering why I'm taking so long----she'll accuse me of flirting with a pretty young woman, and there will be hell to pay."                            

Alex laughs, "Okay, Hank----we'll see you Thursday for dinner."                            

"Dinner?"                             

"Yes, Hank----Thursday is Thanksgiving," she touches his shoulder, "and we're expecting you to join us."                              

Hank shakes his head, "I can't Alex----I don't think I can."                             

"But, you've joined us for the last six years Hank----what's wrong-----aren't you feeling well?"    

"I just don't think I can----not this time----you know it's this time of the year that I lost Martha----I just don't feel up to being around people -----you understand?"                               

Alex is confused, Hank has joined them every year since Martha's death, "Alright Hank----I understand-----I'll have the twins bring you some dinner."                              

"NO!!!!----You don't have to do that," Hank's voice cracks.                               

"It's no problem, Hank------the boys will be more than happy to bring your dinner to you---and I will include a extra big slice of cherry pie for you."                               

Alex walks off to finish her shopping. Hank has to do some tall explaining as why the neighbors'  sons are coming over, when he has said ‘NO VISITORS’!"                               

Hank worries about an explanation as he pulls into his driveway, he sees the garage door has been closed. He mumbles to himself as he walks into the house, carrying some of the groceries. His "guest" makes no move to help him bring in the rest.                                     

Sarge looks at him, "What time do we eat? I'm hungry?"                                 

Hanks looks back at him, "I could use some help in getting the food in."                                

"And, risk being seen----what's the matter with you old man----now hurry up and get me some coffee made----and something to eat."                                 

Hank's temper is starting to flare, "Now see here---this is my home----you don't go bossing me around---in my own home---secret service or not!"                                 

Sarge stands and walks over to Hank and stares him down, the contact lenses are starting to burn his sensitive eyes, and they are watery. "Look here, old man----I am in charge of this operation---I give the orders---you take them---understood?"                               

Hank looks at the big man and thinks twice about arguing more with him. "Okay," he answers softly "---just please---quit making such a mess, Martha will be so upset."                               

"YOUR WIFE IS DEAD----DEAD-OLD MAN, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET THAT THROUGH YOUR WARPED BRAIN?"                                

Hank backs up, he can feel the tears coming to his eyes, "I know my wife is dead---you don't have to shout at me like that."                                

Sarge shoves Hank towards the kitchen---"Get in there and fix me something to eat---I'm hungry."                                 

Hank stumbles into the kitchen, then he sees the wall phone and makes a dash for it. Sarge yanks the phone from him and wraps the cord around Hank's neck. Hank is sputtering to get his breath as the cord is tightened; he's starting to losing conscious.                               

"SARGE," A voice screams out and Danny runs towards the old man and pulls the phone cord from around his neck. Hank falls to his knees and Danny yells at Sarge again. 

"What are you trying to do----you can't kill him!"                                  

Danny's question is answered with a backhand to the mouth and Danny goes flying up against the wall.                                 

"Don't you dare try and tell me what to do---you little piece of crap----now the two of you----fix me something to eat-----NOW!"

Danny helps Hank up from the floor, and Hank is pointing towards the basement, "There's a phone down there----call for help."                                  

Danny starts shaking his head, "No----I can't----Sarge will kill us both."                                  

"We got to get out of here-----your friend is crazy."                                   

Sarge pops his head back into the kitchen----I told you two to fix some food!" 

Danny starts nodding his head, "Okay, okay, Sarge---we will----come on Hank----we got to do as he says."                                    

The two start putting sandwiches together as Danny keeps looking over his shoulder, "Hurry Hank----Sarge can get down right mean when he wants to."                                  

"Young man------you two are not really secret service, are you?" Hank pleads. 

Danny starts to answer when he hears Sarge coming back, he grabs the sandwiches and runs into the front room.                                     

Hanks looks back to the door that leads down into the basement, he makes a run for it and Sarge slams him up against the wall. Sarge picks him up with both hands and throws him across the
kitchen floor, Danny runs to Sarge and begs him to leave him be.                                  

"Sarge----please----you'll mess everything up if you kill him. What about the neighbors----the Walker boys come over regularly to check on him----if they see that he's been hurt----they're going to start asking questions----we don't want that Ranger Walker coming after us---please Sarge."                                    

Sarge glares at Hank as he's trying to get up, "Bring me my ‘little friends’-----I won't hurt him----I'll just get him under control."                                     

"Sarge----no----not the needles-------"                                     

Sarge steps over Hank's body and shoves Danny to the living room, "Get me my bag or so help me, Danny---you will be the one on the receiving end!"                                    

Danny does as he is told. Hank tries to scoot away from the needle coming towards him, Sarge rams it into Hank's right shoulder. The old man's eyes bulge out as he feels the liquid going into his blood stream. He grabs his shoulder, he starts feeling nauseated, then dizzy----he passes out on the kitchen floor.                                   

Sarge turns to Danny, "Get my coffee made---and then go to every room in this house and pull the phones out."                                   

Danny nods as he takes a quick glance towards the basement door. He does not tell Sarge that Hank has said, there's a phone in the basement!
                                    
****************************************************
                                

Alex is pulling up to the front door as Walker comes out to get the groceries.                                 

"Is Angela awake yet?"                                  

Walker takes the two sacks, "No----maybe you need to wake her up-----it's not a good thing that she's sleeping like this, is it?"                                   

Walker heads to the kitchen with the groceries while Alex nudges her daughter, "Come on, honey-----you need to get up and move around---I'll fix you some breakfast."  

Angela stirs, "I'm still soooo sleepy--five more minutes---please?"                                   

Alex nods and then she heads for the kitchen. Walker is trying to decide where to put the groceries.                                   

"Here sweetheart----I'll do that----I won't be able to find anything if you put them away," she teases him.                                    

"What about Angela----is she up yet?"                                     

"I'll give her a few more minutes, then I'll wake her again. -----I saw Hank at the market today----he said he wouldn't be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner----I think he's missing Martha too much---it's that time of the year---you know."                                    

Walker pours the last of his coffee, "Yeah, I know---it was just a few days past Thanksgiving when Martha died----hon----you did buy me more coffee?"                                     

Alex smiles and digs down to the bottom of the sack, "Yes-----I got your coffee, maybe I should buy it by the caseload---like Hank was doing."                                    

Walker takes a sip, "Hank doesn't drink much coffee----not like I do---anyways."                      

"Well, he was sure buying it today---but then Hank's mind plays tricks on him---he's not completely aware of what he is doing----or saying."                                      

Walker steps into the living room and sees that Angela is finally getting up, "What did you say hon----about Hank's mind?"                                       

Alex thinks about it and sighs---"Oh nothing honey----do you want me to fix you and Jimmy some sandwiches to take along---where did you say you were going?"                                   

"Mesquite-------a couple of locals spotted a old Pontiac that had the same type of paint that we're looking for-----a couple of sandwiches would be great----thanks."                                     

Angela starts stumbling to the kitchen, while rubbing her eyes, and almost plows right into Walker.                                     

"Hi, Daddy."                                      

"Hi sleepyhead-------it's 'hi' and 'bye'----Daddy has to go---see you tonight, baby."

He reaches down to kiss her cheek, "Bye----Daddy----be careful---I love you."  

Angela flops down at the table, "Now, I have a headache."                                     

"You'll feel better after you've had something to eat----what would you like?"   

"I'll just have some cold cereal, and some juice----where is everybody?"

                         
************************************************                  

It's been hours since Hank was injected by the needle, he still lies in the kitchen floor. Danny comes in to check on him.                     

"Hank------are you okay You got to get up and walk around, get your circulation going, if you lay here much longer, your joints will stiffen up."                       

Hank looks at Danny and then around the room, he sees blood on the floor. He starts scooting backwards away from it, then a pain shoots through his shoulder. The old man grimaces as he reaches back to rub the pain, the tears swell in his eyes . He looks up at Danny, "Who are
you? What do you want with me?"                      

Danny glances back to the living room, Sarge has fell asleep again. "Hank---you got to listen to me or he will kill you-----do you understand what I'm saying"?                      

Hanks is confused, "Who will kill me----where is Martha---is she okay?"                      

Danny helps Hank stand up and walks him over to the kitchen table. "Hank---your wife is dead---she's been dead for a long time-----Hank---please----you have got to listen to me---do everything that Sarge tells you to, and don't argue back with him---do you understand?"                      

Hank puts his head down into his hands, his shoulders heave back and forth, "I wish I had the nerve to put a gun to my head and join her, these past seven years have been pure hell for me," he sobs.                       

Danny goes to get the old man a cup of coffee, "Do you want to talk about her----how did she die, Hank?"                        

Hank takes the coffee and holds it in both hands. "She died---of a broken heart------we've never got to see our grandkids---our daughter refuses to bring them to Texas to visit us. All we ever got were pictures now and then. Martha cried almost every night, wanting to see them---but Beth refused to bring them. I would hold my beloved Martha for hours while she cried -----the only time she would ever laugh was when my neighbor would bring his kids over."                         

"Are you talking about the Walker boys?"                          

"Yes!!----Do you know them?"                          

Danny hesitates, and looks back to make sure Sarge isn't coming up behind him, "Yes-----I've met them---they seem nice."                          

Hank smiles, "Oh, those kids could put a smile on my Martha's face bigger than Texas----and she loved them so much----she would bake cookies for them!---Then, that year we had just left the Walker ranch after having Thanksgiving with them, we came home--everything was fine---at
least I thought everything was fine----Martha died in her sleep that night. ---When we left the Walker ranch, the kids all ran up to Martha and hugged her, she was talking about them all the way home, saying she wished she could hug our own grandkids. The next morning I turned over to wake her-----she was so cold----sort of like the way I feel right now."                         

"You'll be okay Hank, you just got to get your blood circulating right, ----you lost some blood."  

Hank looks back at the puddle, "That's my blood?"                          

Danny nods, "You will be okay as long as you do what Sarge tells you----and don't ask questions----when things get a little ’strange’ around here---can you do that, Hank?"   

Hank shakes his head, "I feel so confused right now---I need to talk to my friend---I trust Walker----I need to talk to my friend."                           

"You can't do that, Hank----Walker is the last person that you need to talk to----he'll tell you things that aren't true-----if he comes over here, Sarge will kill him---and then he will go
after the whole family--are you listening, Hank?"                           

"I don't want him to hurt the kids---not the kids----Martha would never forgive me, if I let those kids be hurt--just tell me what to do, and I will try to stay out of your friends' way."

Danny rubs his shoulders as he feels a chill go up his spine, "Hank----things are going to get really weird around here and things will start happening that you won't understand. ---You can't ask questions, no matter how frightening things get----remember Sarge will go after the Walker family if he so much as even guesses that we have been talking. Don't say anything, Hank-----or we're all dead!"                         

Hank shudders, "I understand---I won't say anything, I promise."                         

Danny nods and goes back to the living room, and Hank lowers his head and pretends to be lost in the pain of his shoulder. He raises his head and looks towards the basement door, he gets up slowly and walks towards it.
                             
******************************************************

Walker and Trivette are in Mesquite, checking out the lead on an old Pontiac with the same type of paint that was found on the old dumpster.                            

"The car is registered to a Michael Le Clair--------no prior record except a few traffic tickets, he's staying at a motel over on 34th & Tyler, a real fleabag, ready to talk to him, Walker?" 

Walker nods and they follow the patrol car over. The room is empty, and the motel owner says that LeClair checked out the night before.                                

"Was he here alone?" Asks Walker.                               

"No, there was another man that was with him, a real weird one----had his head shaved, but he had this 'pretty boy' look about him."                                

Trivette shows him the only known picture of Kyle Sargenski, "Is this him?"                                

The man scratches his chin, "It looks like him-----but he's got hair in that picture."               

Trivette shows him the picture of Kyle's Father, "What about this man, have you seen him around here?"                                  

The man shakes his head, "Nope----there was another man, a young man that came here, he was with the LeClair guy, this was a young man, maybe late teens, blond headed, sort of tall and
skinny, he acted like he was a little "slow"-----know what I mean?"                                 

"Why do you say that?"                                 

"Just the way he walked and kept pulling his jacket around him, he was in some raggedy looking clothes, he just struck me as being----almost retarded."                                   

Walker sighs, "If we took you to a sketch artist, do you think you could describe this young man?"                                   

"I don't think so, ranger----it was dark, I only saw him for just a minute when he walked into the motel room and the light hit him, they closed the door and I had other customers to look after."   

Trivette takes the picture back out on Kyle's Father, "Are you sure that this man hasn't been around here, silver gray hair, weird looking eyes?"                                    

The man shakes his head, "I'm sure ranger----with that kind of description----he should be easy to find."                                    

"Okay, this LeClair guy----what do you know about him?"

The Seekers XVIII

Walker and Trivette are on their way back to Dallas:               

"Another dead end, Walk-man----do you sometimes feel that we are just butting our heads together? This Le Clair guy is obviously the driver, we have warrants out on him, just to question him, if nothing else----and now he's disappeared!"               

"We'll find him, Trivette----we just have to look a little harder, what about your friends on the street-----have they come up with anything yet? And, this drug-----there haven't been any other cases reported of it's use outside of these cases that we're on?"                  

"Nope----it's like Kiwi and his Father have the complete hold over this drug and it's distribution.----I'm telling you Walker---once this case is over, I'm taking a vacation---I'm going to the Virgin Islands with this cute little nurse I've been trying to "make time" with."                  

"A nurse? I thought you were seeing Josie Hanks again."                    

Trivette frowns, "I was----but her x-husband keeps popping back into the picture---I don't have time to waste with x-husbands---besides Josie----is ---well---a little "too laid back" for me." 

"What do you mean?"                      

"I mean" Trivette raises his brow---"I mean that as long as Josie and I have known each other---you would think by now that we would have---shared the sheets---know what I mean?---Oh boy---you of all people should know what I mean, how long did you and Alex date before you
shared the sheets with her----4 years?"                       

Walker takes a long sip of his coffee, "Well---if you should know----Alex and I didn't start dating "seriously" until after we had know each other for 4 years.---And even then, we still took things slow because of our careers, and working in the same building and all."                       

"That's what I mean, Walker----Why did you and Alex keep your relationship so platonic with each other but both of you dated other people that you were obviously intimate with, like that Dalton Reed that Alex was seeing."                        

"If it's all the same with you, I'd rather not discuss Reed---I haven't had any supper yet!"            

Trivette frowns, "Well, I can't be that way with a woman---I have to have----have---you know-sex."                          

Walker laughs, "The great Romeo---you mean to say that Josie has not fell under your irresistible charms yet----what's the matter Trivette---losing your sex appeal?"                          

Trivette waves him off, "Now, Terri----the nurse---she is something else. She works fast, none of these tireless dates of acting like she's got to be in the mood first----we hop right to it---that is when I can get any time off"!                           

"Well, you're not the only one that would like a little time off."                          

"Doesn't seem to be bothering your sex life any---you got another kid on the way---so you got to be getting your fair share of sharing the sheets---you and Alex making up for all those years that
you weren't "getting it on?"                            

Walker looks at his friend and smiles, "Yep----and for all those cold showers I was having to take."                            

"You know, Walker---I know we've talked about this before, and we just sort of skim the surface---but we're not getting any younger----have you given anymore thought to buying that race horse---and the two of us start getting into another business? We can't be Texas Rangers---forever---we got to start think of retirement?"                            

Walker takes a deep sigh, "Yeah---I know---I was thinking about giving it another 5 years, I want to make sure that my retirement fund can take care of Alex and the kids, in case something should happen to me. --And, we got the new baby coming and all---that's expensive. Now, Cordell is wanting his bedroom in the attic, that will be extra expenses, but he wants his own bedroom and I can understand that.----Which means, insulation and new carpet going up there. Christmas is right around the corner, Little Ray might have to take more speech classes, I just can't think of buying that race horse yet."                            

"Well---know what I think, Walk-man---I think you need to take some time off---take a vacation."                              

"Now, don't you start in on me about a vacation---Alex and the kids have already been after me to take time off---I can't think of a vacation---not with all that is going on---and there's no
way I'm going anywhere until that s.o.b. Kiwi is caught!"                              

"Walker---this case is getting to both of us, and if we don't take some time off voluntarily, the Captain is going to make us take the time.-----And, right now---I need something else to think
about----and maybe then I can come back to this case with a clear head.-----So, after the first, I'm going to put in for some vacation time. Maybe spend a week in the islands with Terri and then take J.W. back to Baltimore for Christmas."                              

They drive for a little ways and then Walker asks, "What do you know about the Iditarod Dog sled races?"                               

"Which ones? The one in Alaska or in Canada?"                                 

"Either one----the boys have talked about wanting to see them---and I would like to see them too, actually---I want to drive one of the teams."                                 

Trivette smiles, "Check them out man----get on the internet and start browsing---better yet I'll do it for you---right now. Let me crank up this baby and I'll be surfing quicker than you can say---IDITAROD---here it is."

                                  
*****************************************************
                              

Hank has his hand on the doorknob, turning it slowly----he's got to get to that phone. He stops, remembering what Danny had said about his friend going after the whole Walker family, if anything got out about this "secret service" assignment. Hank stumbles back to the table.            

"I can't risk it, that psycho will go after the Walker kids, if I tell. But, if I could just talk to my friend, he wouldn't let that happen----I know Walker---he wouldn't let anyone hurt his
family."                               

The old man starts to cry, rubbing his shoulder, "Oh, God----what do I do?---If Martha was here, she would know what to do----I got to think of something before the twins bring Thanksgiving
dinner over----oh God----please don't let that maniac hurt them. I have to do what he says, to keep them safe."                                

Hank hears a truck drive up, he runs to the end of the hall and watches as two more men come inside his home. He watches as the younger man walks up to Danny and slaps him on the shoulder. The other man stands near the door, and keeps looking out. Hank goes inside the den and looks out at the truck; it has "WATER & POWER" decal on the side, but none of the usual equipment that dons those kind of trucks. Hank swears.                               

"Now, there are more of them, what do they want? Why are they trying to take over my place-----secret service men, crap----they're definitely up to no good."                                

He tries to edge down the hallway to hear what is being said, the younger man is keeping his back to Hank, so he can't see his face. They argue, and the young man starts pushing "Sarge" around, and saying filthy things to him. Sarge starts to push him back and then the big man at the door intervenes. More words are said, and the two men leave.                                 

Sarge is walking back and forth, swearing, and he starts throwing things around the room. He sees the flower arrangement, picks it up and throws it into the fireplace. Hank runs into the room and Danny grabs him.                                

"Don't Hank----don't say anything---please."                                

Sarge turns around then walks back to Hank, looking back at the roses that are now all over the floor, "You want to say something to me, old man?"                                 

"No" mumbles Hank, "no----nothing."                                  

"I didn't think so-------Danny---I'm going out, and you better explain some things to our landlord here----I might have a friend with me."                                  

Sarge storms out the door and Hanks turns to Danny, "What did he mean, he might have a friend coming back with him----he's not going to bring a woman in here----is he?----Martha wouldn't
like that."                                  

Danny rubs his arms, "No----it's a sure bet---it won't be a woman that he brings back----Hank---things are going to start getting strange around here---remember---you can't ask any questions-----or Sarge will increase the injections from the needles.----And, believe me---you don't want that."                                  

Hank starts to smile, "We can get out of here, now----we can go to the police and tell them about your friend----let's get out of here------"                                

Danny pulls Hank back, "Haven't you heard anything I've said to you----Sarge has this house watched, he knows everything we're doing."                                 

Hank starts to mention the phone again, and then something tells him to keep quiet about that phone, obviously Danny has forgotten about it. Hank sees the living room phone laying in the middle of the floor. Before he lost conscious he had heard Sarge tell Danny to yank all the phones out. He takes a deep breath, praying that phone in the basement doesn't ring.  

"Come on Hank, I'll help you clean up," Danny nudges him.                                   

Hank goes over to the front window and looks out, he sees the flags flapping in the breeze, Martha's Cadillac is still sitting out front. Never in all the years since Hank bought Martha that
car, did they ever leave it out of the garage. He looks back to Danny, the boy is trying to clean up. Hank scratches his chin and says softly.                                 

"Danny----you got to put my wife's car in the garage----if anyone came over here and saw it sitting out---that would be suspicious."                                  

Danny looks back at him and says quietly, "I can't drive too good."                                   

"That's okay, son----I'll put it in the garage----but I have to move my old truck out first---since Sarge has taken the other side, and now there's no room for both my autos to be inside."  

Danny looks at him suspiciously, "I'll go with you----just in case you get any ideas about trying to drive out of here."                                   

They go to the garage and back the old truck out, a vintage ‘33 Pickup, the kind that was popular in the days of Al Capone. It has been completely restored, Hank did all the work himself, every
inch of the body work had been sanded down by hand, the truck drove today as quiet as when it was rolled off the assembly line. The truck was Hank's pride and joy, he never let anyone drive it, not even his beloved Martha. Unlike the Cadillac, the truck was never out of the garage for any length of time---Hank would take it out about once a month, drive down 199, make a
U-turn and the truck would go back into the garage and covered.                                 

He watches as Danny looks at the truck, "This sure is an old truck."                                  

Hank smiles, the boy knows nothing about classics, "Yeah---a real piece of shit----not worth a plug nickel!"                                  

Danny watches as Hank then moves the Cadillac inside. Hank looks up into the rear mirror and watches as Danny is watching him.                                  

"My precious truck----I hope this works. Someone will see the truck out and get suspicious---everyone that knows me, knows I never leave it out-----for any reason."                                    

Danny then watches as Hank takes the flags down and folds them neatly. As with the truck, Hank will test Danny's knowledge of caring for the flags. He deliberately folds the American flag wrong, and then he rolls up the Texas flag and drops it on purpose. He offers no apologies for the dropping and Danny is none the wiser that the American flag has been folded wrong.. They walk back into the house and Hank places the flags on the table. Then he helps Danny to try and get the house straightened up.                                    

"I was wondering Hank---we're about the same size----could I borrow some of your clothes---I promise I won't get them dirty or anything?"                                    

Hank stares back at Danny, trying to read him. "How did you get mixed up with that maniac----where are your parents?"                                     

"I don't have any parents----they died when I was young and Sarge has been taking care of me ever since."                                     

"But, the man is so cruel to you---why don't you leave?"                                      

"I can't leave----now please---stop asking questions. What about the clothes, Hank?"                   

Hank nods, "Sure----help yourself---there might be some warm boots up there you can wear----and there's an old jacket in the closet----doesn't look like I'll be getting to use them anymore. I suspect---I'll be joining my Martha---real soon."                                      

Danny looks back at Hank and then walks up the stairs.                                          

Hank is awakened in the middle of the night, when he thinks he hears a small child crying. He gets up from his bed and crosses to his bedroom window, Sarge has returned and he's walking towards the trapdoor that leads to the basement, he stops and unlocks it. Hank curses, now the man is taking over the basement too. He whispers to himself.                                      

"OH, God---please don't let him find that phone."                                       

Hank watches as Sarge returns to his car, throws an old rolled up blanket over his shoulder and goes back to the basement, Hank can see the blanket moving and hearing Sarge cursing. Sarge
sits the blanket down on the ground and hits it, the blanket doesn't move anymore.
                                      
*****************************************************

Thanksgiving Day:
                                   

Danny walks up to The Church of New Harvest, the autos are pulling up and taking food inside. Everyone is laughing and shouting "Happy Thanksgiving." Danny can smell the food, and he is
so hungry, his stomach is growling. He looks around for his friends and sees a gray pickup pulling into the parking lot, and a bearded man gets out, a blonde headed lady and a little boy jump out. Soon, a white SUV pulls up and Danny sees the twins and Angela getting out. Cooper sees Danny and waves him over.                                    

"You got to work for your supper, Danny---we have all kinds of food to take into the church and divide it up."                                      

Angela looks up at Danny and smiles, "Hi Danny-----glad you could join us----happy Thanksgiving."                                     

Danny just stares back at her, god---she's so pretty. He mumbles, "Thank you and your family for inviting me."                                      

Cooper nudges Danny, "Come on Danny---the sooner we get the food distributed---the sooner we eat."                                      

Soon the SUV is loaded back up, and they head east towards Ft.Worth, with the gray truck following behind.  They pull into the stockyards and stop in front of an old building, the  initials
C.D.'s on the side. They all start taking the food inside, as Cooper predicted, there are hundreds standing in line, waiting.                                       

They walk inside the building and Danny looks around, it looks like an old saloon, with the long bar. On the ceiling are some hats, and there's an old refrigerator with Dallas Cowboy stickers all over it. A big white Stetson hangs above it, and a picture of an old man with silver hair and moustache. A small memento plaque is under the picture:

IN MEMORY OF C.D. PARKER:
                                

"The first time you walk through these doors, you might be a stranger, by the time you walk out---you'll be an old friend."                                  

Cooper walks up behind Danny and Danny turns around to him, "Who is that man?"                                 

"That's my grandpa---C.D. Parker---a retired Texas Ranger and a very dear friend of my parents. This used to be an old bar& grill, and people used to come in here to be with their friends, and have a few drinks. This is where my parents met and fell in love---and my grandpa was one of their biggest supporters. But, he died before any of us kids got to meet him."   

Danny looks around at all of the pictures on the wall, "Is that your parents dancing?"  

"Yep, Dad says that was taken right after he and Mom started dating, "Grandpa" was always trying to get pictures of them together, the one over the bar is the very first picture taken of the
four of them."                                  

Danny looks at the picture and stares at Trivette's face, "But----how can you call him your "uncle"---he's black!"                                  

"Well, there's no blood relation, but he and my Dad have been partners for over 20 yrs, and Dad always said that Trivette was like the brother that he never had. Not only are they partners, but also they're the best of friends, and Uncle Jimmy is godfather to all of us kids.  I was named after him, my middle name is James."                                

Cordell walks up and nudges his brother, "Your name is going to be mud, if you don't start helping to get this food put out---come on you two---I'm getting hungry."                                  

The food is laid out and Danny is helping to pass out the turkey. His mouth is drooling as Alex shows him how to place the turkey on first and allow for the trimmings. He has never seen so much food, and the people keep coming. After each person fills their plate, they raise it to C.D.'s picture, and say their own thanks.                                 

Danny watches as each of the Walker family does their part to feed the homeless, even down to the little boy. Little Ray has got a apron around his waist and he's cleaning off the tables. Trivette and J.W. have joined the Walkers and J.W. is separating the uneaten meat and putting it in a separate trashcan with a clean plastic bag. Danny looks at him, and turns to Alex.   

"What is he doing?"                                  

Alex smiles, "Well---even the four legged friends have to eat too, that leftover food is going to the animal shelters---so they too can have a happy Thanksgiving."                                   

Danny swallows, he looks back to Alex, "I'm sorry Mrs. Walker---but I am so hungry---could I please have something to snack on?"                                   

"Of course you can, Danny----go make you a sandwich, I can handle this."                                    

Walker is walking around to all the tables and making sure that everyone is getting plenty to eat. "If you want to take food with you----there are carry-out plates---help yourself.---There's plenty of food---no one goes hungry."                                   

Danny looks around at all the people, and then back to the Walker family. The old man that they call "Grandpa" is filling up all their glasses with tea, cola, etc. Each family member is doing their part, Angela is passing out dessert, and Cordell is helping an old couple take their plates back to the long table. He sees Cooper going to help his mother fill the plates, and everyone is smiling and laughing.                                  

Soon the last person has walked out of the old bar and grill. The whole Walker and Trivette family is shaking their hands and pleasantries are exchanged. Danny is unaware of the little old lady that has walked up behind him. He feels a tug on his shirt.                                

"Thank--you so much young man for helping me with my walking cane earlier---may God bless you."                                

Danny smiles shyly, "You're welcome."                                 

The old lady walks towards the door and then she sees Little Ray, "Can I give you a kiss, young man?"                                 

Little Ray looks to his parents and they nod. Little Ray holds his right chin upwards and the old lady kisses him and walks away. The boy looks to everyone that is staring back at him, he shrugs
his shoulders and  replies, "Me hungry."

                                   
******************************************************

Hank kept listening to the noise all night; a muffled sound and then he could hear Sarge yelling at someone. Hank had gotten up during the night and saw Danny go down to the basement with Sarge's little black case of hypodermic needles. A chill goes up Hank's spine, the noise will continue for the next three nights. Sarge leaves during the day, in the middle of the night he returns, sometimes he has another blanket rolled and slung over his shoulder.                       

On Thanksgiving morning, Sarge had left early, Danny is getting ready for church. He hasn't told Hank that he's having Thanksgiving dinner with the Walkers'. Hank assumes he's having dinner at the church. Hank carries the flags out to the flagpole and starts raising the American flag. When he gets to the Texas flag, he hesitates. He knows the Walker boys will be delivering his supper, he has to give them some kind of a sign. He looks to his truck and shakes his head, the highway patrol had cruised by the day before, they hadn't noticed anything different about the
truck being left out. The young patrolman had stopped long enough to ask if everything was alright and Hank said all was okay. This wasn't the same patrolman that had been cruising in the past weeks, what was his name---Morris ---no, Norris! Hank wondered where he was.  

He looks up at the flag, and he feels a light breeze. "I know, Martha---I have to take the chance---I got to give a warning to the twins--maybe---they will notice". He raises the flag slowly.
                               
**************************************************
                          

The dinner at the Walkers’ is everything Danny had hoped for, except for the dark skinned young man. Danny has watched him and Angela ever since they left the stockyards. The way they kept looking at each other and the way he would touch her hand when he thought no one was looking. She would look back at him and smile, at one time he thought the young man
was going to kiss her, but he turned away.                           

Danny has made up his mind, he doesn't like the young man they call J.W. Even at the dinner table, they couldn't take their eyes off of each other. Everyone else seemed to be wrapped up in their own conversation as Alex kept trying to bring Danny into their discussion.                          

"Danny---do you have enough to eat---would you like more turkey?"                           

Danny looks around, and Cooper is smiling back at him, urging him to take more food. "I told you my Mom was a great cook---if you go away hungry----it's your own fault."                            

Everyone laughs as Gordon reaches out and puts his arm around Danny's shoulder, "My daughter makes the best dumplings in the whole state of Texas----and my son-in-law will  attest to that----right son?"                            

Walker is shoving the chicken and dumplings into his mouth as everyone looks at him, "Don't bother me Gordon---I'm trying to eat."                             

Everyone laughs as Alex leans over and kisses his cheek, "Well, honey---did I make enough this time---are you getting your fill?"                            

Walker nods, "I'll let you know after I have another helping, what about you, Trivette---are you still pecking at the turkey---turkey is not considered red meat?"                            

Trivette has tried everything but the turkey and ham, "Then---what would you call it, if it's not red meat?"                             

Angela smiles, "Uncle Jimmy why are you so concerned about the meat, when all the other stuff you've eaten is high in cholesterol, and we haven't even gotten to dessert yet?"                              

"Meaning, young lady---that it's okay to pile up the cholesterol as long as I don't eat the red meat."                               

Walker frowns, "Turkey is not red meat---it's white and it's low in cholesterol, and I have even been told that some men find it to be high in metabolism---In other words, Trivette---remember---the nurse?"                               

Alex looks to her husband and raise her brow, everyone else is looking at Trivette who is smiling devilishly and reaching for a small slice of turkey. He grins back at Walker, "Never let it be said
that I didn't try turkey---at least once."                               

Danny is on his third piece of pumpkin pie, everyone else has had pretty much their fill, except for Little Ray. He's on his second slice of cherry pie, the ingredients very obvious on his little
face. Walker looks at his baby son and smiles.                              

"Well, buckaroo there is finally someone at this table that can eat more than you-----how's the pie, Danny"?                                

Danny swallows a mouthful and says, "Good----very good, Mr. Walker----everything is delicious---thank you again for inviting me."                                

Alex smiles, "You're so welcome Danny----we like for the kids to bring their friends home for meals----you're always welcome here."                                 

Gordon Cahill scoots back in his chair and sighs, patting his belly, "Well Pumpkin, you and little "pumpkin" here have outdone yourselves again---the meal was fantastic----but now I think I will
step outside and smoke my pipe----are you joining me, son?"                                

Walker finishes his coffee, "Right behind you, Gordon, coming Trivette?"                    

Cooper jumps up "I'll get your cigars, Dad."                                 

"What about you Danny---care to have a smoke with us?" asks Gordon.                                  

Danny shakes his head, "No----I don't smoke---thanks anyways."                                  

As Cooper comes running down the stairs and hands his Dad the cigars, Walker reaches out and grabs him, turning him around to expose the extra cigar in his back pocket.                                   

"Let me have that----before your Mother sees you with it.  Now I know where my cigars have been disappearing to."                                    

Cooper sighs, and his "grandpa" laughs at him, "Got to be quicker than that, Coop." 

As the three men stop to get their jackets Cooper smiles and reaches in to touch the other cigar he has hidden in his shirt.                                      

Alex is getting the food ready to take over to Mr. Ferguson's. Cooper turns to Danny and asks if he's ready to take the horseback ride over to deliver the food, Danny starts making excuses not
to go.                                    

"That's okay. Cooper, I'll ride over with Cordell to deliver the food---you have a guest---so stay here."                                     

Cooper nods "Okay, come on Danny----you can help me bring the equipment down and get it set up."                                     

"Equipment?"                                      

Cooper grabs his arm, "Yeah, the musical equipment---this evening is not over---not by a long shot---now the music starts."                                      

As Cooper takes his friend upstairs, J.W. looks at all the food that his aunt has prepared, he turns to her, "Aunt Alex---how are we going to carry all of this food on the backs of the horses?"  

Angela teases, "Get a wide horse."                                      

Cordell comes walking in, carrying the keys to the Ram, "How about---we take the Ram?"  

J.W.'s mouth drops open, "Are you serious---does your Dad know you got the keys?"     

"Of course, he gave them to me----he said to stay on the service road and not get out on the main highway, come on---let's go."                                         

"Let me drive, Cordell---you don't have a license."                                          

"Neither do you."                                           

"I do have a beginner's---you don't even have that."                                          

Cordell hands him the keys, "You can drive over---I'm driving back."                                           

The two boys grab all the food and are running to the door, Angela sighs. "I'll bet they take the long way around and end up eating all of Mr. Ferguson's food."                                        

Danny is looking at all the pictures that don the staircase of the native Americans. There are more pictures along the hallway, with all kinds of mementos and souvenirs. He sees the huge
headdress in the center of the hall and walks towards it.                                        

"Is this real?" he gasps. "Is this a genuine Indian headdress?"                                         

Cooper nods his head, "Yep---it's real---it's the sacred headdress of the tribal chief of the Cherokee---all of these lances, tomahawks, knives, all of this is genuine." 

Danny stares at him and then back to the pictures, some of the pictures are at least 100 yrs old, pictures of young braves on horseback, some are kneeling beside fallen buffalos. There are pictures of chiefs in all of their full dress, and there is one picture of a small boy about Cooper's age, standing between two Indians.                                     

"Who is that boy, Cooper?" 

"That's my Dad----the guy to his right is his Uncle Ray---the other guy is my "Shopaw"----that's White Eagle."                                      

Danny is puzzled, "Your 'what'----Shopaw---what does that mean?"                                       

"It's Cherokee for great, grandfather."                                      

"Your related to these people---your Dad is white---how can that be?"                                       

"My Dad is half Cherokee and half Irish----now isn't that a combination? His parents were killed when he was about my age, his Uncle Ray raised him, White Eagle was my Dad's spiritual
guide, and very good friend."                                         

Danny is speechless, "Wow----I didn't know you were part Indian?"                                        

"I'm a quarter Cherokee, the other 3/4's of me is Irish on both of my parent's side, some scotch and Norwegian on my Mother's side. I'm like a Heinz 57, you might say, what nationality are
you, Danny?"

The Seekers 19-21

By Sasquaw        

Danny looks at Cooper in confusion, "Nationality? What do you mean?"       

"It's okay, Danny---don't worry about it, come on, help me to carry the instruments downstairs, grab my brother's guitar."             

Danny picks up the guitar, "Your brother can sure play this thing---wish I knew how to play---who taught him?"             

"No one---he picked it up on his own. My brother can play just about any instrument there is, but he favors the guitar and piano."              

"Are you two going to be singing, can I join you?"

"Of course Danny---Thanksgiving is my grandpa's favorite holiday and every year as far back as I can remember, we've always sat around and played the old Irish tunes. I got to warn you, my grandpa gets carried away on the "jigs", by the time the evening is over with---everyone will be
dancing---even my Dad."                 

"Wow," Danny whispers, "it sounds like your family is really close, what about---your sister----does she sing?"                    

Cooper picks up the amplifier and balances it on his shoulder, "Yeah, sometimes, on the chorus she'll join in----you ready?"
                     
*************************************************************

The twins have taken the service road down to the Ferguson ranch, J.W. is eager to floor it, to see what the Ram will do.

"Oh ---wow---I can't believe your Dad is letting us drive his Ram---out of sight!"

Cordell keeps looking at the speedometer, "How fast are you going?”

"Would you relax, I'm only doing 50mph."                      

"Well, slow down-----you put this thing in a ditch and Dad will have both our hides."                  

J.W. stares back at him, "Come on Cordell, lets see what it can do on the highway."                     

"Are you crazy? No way! I told Dad we would stay on the service road."                        

"Cordell---we may never get this chance again---come on----just once."                          

Cordell grins, "You're right---okay, just down to the Ferguson ranch and that's it----be careful."  

J.W. floors it and the Ram takes off, burning rubber. The boys cheer and J.W. is wanting more.
                            

"No---that's it, J.W., what if trooper Mike should be patrolling this section---no---we can't take the chance."                            

J.W. moans---"Party pooper."                             

They pull up to the Ferguson ranch, still deep in conversation at what the Ram is capable of. They grab the food and start up to the front door, Hank meets them at the door.                            

"Hi, Mr. Ferguson---we brought you supper---want us to take it inside for you?"                           

Hank shakes his head quickly as he glances over his shoulder. Sarge is standing off the hall entrance and he has made it clear that the boys do not enter.                            

"NO!----That's good, I will take the food, just leave it here----my house is in a little mess and I was busy cleaning."                              

"It's no trouble Mr. Ferguson, we promise to not get in your way about cleaning."                        

"There is something you boys can do-----where's the other boy---where's your brother?"              

"Cooper has company---this is J.W., you remember him, don't you?"                                

Hank looks at the boy and scratches his chin, "No----oh yes----your Trivette's son."                      

J.W. extends his hand, "Good to see you again, Mr. Ferguson."                                  

Cordell looks around, he spots the old truck sitting out. "Wow! You got the "33" out----did you take it for a spin today, Mr. Ferguson?"                                   

Hank nods his head, "Yes--------I'll probably just leave it out---and take another spin tomorrow." 

J.W.'s eyes are popping out, "Can we look at it?"                                  

"Sure," Hanks smiles, "I'll get the keys and start her up for you". As he steps back to get the keys, Sarge makes a gesture across his neck with his forefinger, and  motions for him to get rid
of the boys.                                   

"On second thought----maybe some other time, boys----I'm a little tired----but if you want to look at it, go ahead, and would you do me a favor?"                                    

"Sure, Mr. Ferguson, what?"                                

The old man nods towards the flagpole, "The wind is getting too high----would you take the flags down for me?"                                    

The boys nod and start walking to the old truck. They're being very careful to not touch it. J.W. whispers, "How much does one of these babies cost?"                                      

Cordell shrugs, "You're asking the wrong person, Cooper could tell you---right down to the penny! He knows all about these classics. Mr. Ferguson even allowed him to help with the sanding one time. The strokes had to be even, Cooper said he was shaking like a leaf, afraid he would do something wrong. Mr. Ferguson has never let anyone else but Cooper help him."         

The boys shake their heads as they go from one end of the truck and back.

Cordell turns to J.W.---"Come on, let's get the flags down."                                       

Hank has walked back inside the house and watches as the boys go to the flagpole. The boys are in deep conversation, and they are not paying enough attention to the flags as they are bringing it down. Cordell sees the Texas flag and says quietly.

"The Alzheimer’s must be getting to Mr. Ferguson---to allow this to happen."                              

"What? What's wrong?"                                      

Cordell grabs the flag before it can touch the ground, "He's got the flag flying wrong---the red stripe always goes on the bottom---never the top."                                     

J.W. shrugs, "Sure---everyone knows that, at least in Texas----that's one of the first things we learn about the state flag. The old man is really losing it, isn't he?"                                     

Cordell starts to fold the flag, "I remember the first time that I put the flag up at home, I flew it upside down and Dad was ready to come unglued. He said to fly the flag wrong was admitting defeat----or surrender--something to do with the Alamo."                                     

"The old man just wasn't thinking---honest mistake---come on---let's get them down and get back to your Dad's Ram!"                                       

Hank continues to watch them, for a moment he thought the Walker boy would see the sign, but now ---he and the other boy are talking about something entirely different. He sighs as the boys
bring the flags to the door.                                     

"Was everything okay, boys---did you fold them the right way? Remember the red stripe always goes on the bottom?"                                      

Cordell smiles faintly, "Yes, Mr. Ferguson---the flags are folded right, is there anything else you need us to do?"                                       

"No----you boys better be going---I know your grandpa is looking forward to all the singing---you tell everyone hello for me, and thanks for bringing me dinner---Martha appreciates you
taking care of me."                                     

The boys start back to the Ram and Cordell runs to the drivers' side---"No way J.W.---I'm driving back."                                      

A feeling of disappointment goes over Hank, the boys did not see the sign, now what will he do to try and get the warning out?                                     

The Ram starts down the Ferguson drive towards the service road, highway 199 is just up the entrance ramp. The boys look at each other, and Cordell takes a deep breath. "Are we ready for this?"                                       

J.W. is grinning from ear to ear, "Put it in low and let it fly, Cordell."                                       

Cordell shifts the column over to low, gives it gas, takes his foot off the brake and then floors it. The boys give a rebel yell as the Ram speeds down to the turnoff, just a quarter of a mile. Cordell is biting his lip as he feels the power of the engine, they give another rebel yell and then they see the cruiser---the flashing lights come on, the cruiser is right behind them.                                     

Cordell's eyes bulge out as he hits the dashboard with his fist, "NO---no---this can't be---no---now we've done it."                                      

J.W. scoots over to the door, "Oh no, Uncle Walker is going to kill us dead."                                

Cordell can't stop shaking as he sees the trooper coming up to his window, it's not trooper Mike---someone younger.                                      

"Well, well, well, what do we have here---a couple of joy riders---okay, son---the drivers' license, proof of insurance, and title----you know the procedure!"                                   

Cordell swallows and hands him the insurance paper and title. He stammers, "I ----I don't have a license."                                    

Another cruiser pulls up and trooper Mike and his partner start towards the truck. He looks in at the boys, they are both shaking.                                    

"It's o.k. Smitty----we'll take care of this," answers the patrolman.                                      

"It's my collar---I'll take care of it----driving without a license, I was getting ready to cuff them and take them downtown."                                     

Patrolman Mike takes his sunglasses off and stares the young officer down, "Your shift is over Smitty---sign out!"                                     

The young officer swears and walks back to his cruiser. Trooper Mike looks at the boys and shakes his head, "Have you boys had anything to drink?"                                  

"NO SIR"! They both answer at once.                                   

Trooper Mike looks straight at Cordell, "Does your Dad know you're driving his truck?"              

"Yes sir-----but we were suppose to stay on the service road-------we just wanted to drive it to the end of the exit---and then we were going back to the service road----I swear!"                               

Mike shakes his head and then looks to his partner, "What do you think Eric---think we have a couple of speedsters here----should we throw the book at them?"                                 

Eric looks back, "They look pretty vicious to me----are you boys going straight home?"

"YES SIR!”                                  

Mike and Eric walk towards each other, pretending to discuss the matter, they walk back to the drivers' side.                                  

"Okay, we'll let you off with a warning---you boys take this truck home---right now---and you tell your Daddy what has just went down---got that?”

Cordell starts nodding his head, "Yes sir, yes sir----I will---I'm going straight home."                   

The troopers watch as Cordell is having difficulty in turning the truck around, it stalls and then he gives it too much gas. Finally the Ram is turned around and heading for the Walker cutoff.
The troopers laugh.

"You think we did the right thing, maybe we should have given the boy a ticket?"

Mike smiles, 'No-----he's a good kid---don't you remember the first time you went joy riding?”

"Yeah, I remember----my old man beat my butt till I couldn't sit down."                                    

Mike leans up against the cruiser, "Yeah----my old man would have beat me silly too, if he had found out. ---And---if it hadn't been for a certain DPS trooper----he would have."

"Who you talking about?"

"Ranger Walker---he was with the DPS when I got stopped---he could have really made things rough for me, I was doing 75 in a 30 mile zone, he chewed my butt out good---but he knew I was
wanting to be a law officer and it wouldn't look good on my records. He let me off with a warning----I never forgot it.”

The troopers talk for a few minutes, and Mike reaches for his phone, "Still----I think Ranger Walker needs to know----he and his son can hash it out."

After Mike makes his call, the two troopers head for the Ferguson ranch.
                                       
**************************************************                               

Walker is hanging up the phone as Cordell and J.W. walk into the house. Cordell walks up to his Dad and hands him the keys. Walker says nothing; he just looks at them and drinks his coffee. J.W. looks to his uncle and then to his Dad, nudges Cordell and says, "Come on Cordell, I got to get my drums set up."                             

The two rangers exchange glances and Alex looks at both of them and then to the phone. "What was that phone call all about, wasn't that patrolman Norris?"                             

Walker grins and kisses his wife's cheek and gently pulls her into the front room. "I'll tell you later, hon" Gordon is sitting at the piano, "Come on guys----let's get started---what do we sing
first?"                             

Angela smiles as she puts her arms around her grandpa's neck, "Oh grandpa----you ask that same question every year and we always start out with WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING."

Gordon is all smiles as he starts playing and everyone joins in, followed by WILD IRISH ROSE. By the time DEAR OLD DONEGAL is played the whole Walker household is dancing, Little Ray is doing his own 'jig'. Danny is clapping as he watches everyone dancing, Alex grabs him and puts her arm through his and takes him to the middle of the floor, and old time Irish square dance starts.

Trivette and Walker are standing and watching, as Angela and Little Ray grab them and then everyone is going in circles. As the evening wears down Gordon does his I'M A LEPRECHAUN song and everyone is singing. Danny is trying to sing along as Gordon does his best Irish drawl.
Everyone stops and looks at Walker.

"O.k. Daddy---it's your turn," urges Angela.

Everyone claps and Trivette slaps him on the shoulder---"Come on Walk-man---I'll even help you on this one---I think I know the words to this song.”

Alex is smiling, "Come on honey---you hesitate every year---everyone does a song---and Danny---you're next."                                 

Danny stammers, "Me? But, I don't know any of these songs."                                 

"We'll teach you," Walker reaches out and pulls him to the floor, "This song is The Wild Colonial Boy "----just join in on the chorus---if you can be heard over Trivette's voice."

"Heyyyyyy---what's wrong with my voice? I can sound Irish."

The three men deepen their voices as they dance through the song, and everyone is laughing at their antics. Little Ray decides to join in, and tries to sing along.

The evening becomes quiet as Alex and Angela do their version of DANNY BOY. Danny is moved to tears as everyone looks at him. Cordell finishes the evening on his mandolin, playing GENTLE MAIDEN. Gordon accompanies him on the piano, wiping the tears away as he thinks of his deceased wife.

Gordon smiles, "Ahhh----I think every year gets better---and it's always more fun when we have new voices to hear from.”

Danny watches as Cordell picks up his guitar and starts to strum slowly. He walks over to him. Out of the corner of his eye, he's watching Angela and J.W., they turn to each other and go to get
their coats, walking outside.

"You sure do play pretty, Cordell---do you think I could ever learn to play?"

"Of course Danny---here---let me show you a couple of simple chords." Cordell puts the guitar in Danny's hands. "Just put your fingers here and strum---go ahead and get the feel of it---I have to
talk to my Dad about something."
                                 
*****************************************************

Hank is edging himself closer to the basement door, as he heard the muffled noises again. He backs away from the door, shaking.

"I know Martha---I know----something horrible is going on down there---we have to get away from here. The Walker kids won't be coming back anytime soon, we have to leave now." Hank goes to the coat rack and retrieves his coat, "We'll go out the back and through the fields, it's
about 5 miles to the Walker ranch, can you keep up with me, Martha?"

As Hank is moving towards the back door, he hears an auto drive up. He stops and goes to the front door and looks out the window, "It's the highway patrol-----Martha---we're safe---we will tell them everything, we will-----------"

Hank does not hear the figure walking up behind him, the arm going around his neck and the needle going in. He's fighting with every ounce as he's being drug down into the basement. Hank is still squirming as Sarge backhands him and he falls to the floor. Sarge then runs to the small window and looks out, he can see the feet of one of the troopers walking towards the barn, the other one is going to the front door. Sarge puts the little black case under his arm and opens the trapdoor leading outside.

Trooper Eric has seen the truck and he's walking towards it. "This wasn't out the last time he and his partner came by. Why would anyone leave out such a classic, it should be in the garage and
covered." The trooper looks to the double garage and back to the "33" classic.

"Let's see what's on the other side of the garage that is more important than this baby," mumbles the trooper as he walks toward the garage.

Trooper Mike is still knocking on the front door as he calls out Hank's name. He walks off the porch and around the old ranch house. He can smell the fireplace, so he assumes that the old man is home and just couldn't hear him knocking. He goes back to the front door and bangs on it louder, he tries the doorknob and twists it. He pokes his head in.

"Mr. Ferguson---it's the highway patrol----just checking to see if you are okay," he shouts.

Trooper Mike looks around the room, it's a total mess! There are whiskey bottles laying around and cigarette buttes in the ashtray. The trooper starts reaching for his holster and unsnaps it, then
he sees something in the corner of his eye, he turns, and is knocked to the floor.

Sarge has one of his biggest needles and is going for the trooper's neck. The trooper kicks out and Sarge goes slamming into the wall, the trooper makes another attempt to get his gun out and Sarge hits him with a table lamp. Trooper Mike goes to the floor and Sarge is on his back with his knee pressing into the trooper's neck. The gun goes flying across the room and Sarge shoves the first needle into the trooper's neck. The young man can feel the liquid going into his bloodstream as he continues to try and get away from his attacker, another needle goes into the other side of his neck and the trooper passes out.

Sarge stands and looks down at the fallen trooper, he reaches out and kicks him and then walks to the front window. He's watching as the other trooper is trying to look into the garage. Sarge takes a deep breath, picking up his little black case and sneaks slowly out the front door, walking towards the garage. He puts the little case inside his jacket and calls out to the other trooper.

"May I help you, officer?"

Trooper Eric turns and watches the man walk towards him, "Where's Mr. Ferguson?"

Sarge smiles and nods back to the house, "Oh, he's not feeling too well---I think his neck is hurting him."

The trooper has an uneasy feeling about the big man walking towards him, he holds his hand up and puts his right hand on his gun.

"Just stop right there---who are you mister and what are you doing here?”

Sarge stops and glares at the trooper, "I'm a friend of Hank's----what's wrong, how can  I help you officer?"

The trooper looks at him suspiciously, something about the eyes, even though Sarge is wearing dark contacts. The eyes are watery.            

"I asked who are you, let's see some identification."

Sarge shakes his head slowly, "Of course, officer." He reaches into his back pocket and presents his wallet. The trooper keeps one eye on him as he reaches for it. Sarge touches his breast pocket
slightly, feeling the case. He watches as the trooper's eyes move from him to the contents of the wallet.

"Take your driver's license out and hand it to me----slowly."                   

Sarge nods, "Of course officer---I really don't know what the problem is----maybe you come inside and talk to Hank---he will vouch for who I am.”

"Never mind that---your license----now!"

Sarge starts to shake his hands deliberately, "You are making me so nervous, officer." Sarge drops the license.                                

The trooper looks at the license on the ground and then to Sarge, "Back up," and trooper Eric takes his gun out slowly and points it at Sarge. He reaches for the license and Sarge charges him. The gun goes off as the two men scuffle. Trooper Eric's small frame is no match for the Sarge as the big man hits him over and over again. He wrestles the gun from the trooper's hand and commences to hit him with it. The blood is streaming down his face as the young trooper scrambles to get away from him. He starts yelling into the radio that is on his left shoulder, no one is responding, the radio has been smashed.                                

The trooper is backing up, as Sarge is walking very slowly towards him, taking the little black case out and filling the needle from the syringe. Sarge is laughing.                    

"MIKE!!! MIKE," the trooper is screaming for his partner as he is half stumbling back towards the house.

"Your friend can't hear you---he's dead." Sarge replies softly.

The young trooper tries to run to his patrol car, Sarge runs after him and slams against the cruiser, "Say good night Gracie," and he slams the biggest needle into the trooper’s jugular vein.
The trooper slides down the side of the cruiser, the blood is squirting out of his neck.
                                 

Sarge puts his little case away and reaches down and pulls the trooper up and throws him over his shoulder, "You were so curious about what was in the other side of the garage----I'll just show you."                           

With the trooper still slung over his shoulder and still squirming, Sarge takes out his key and opens the garage.

He opens up the trunk and throws the trooper's body inside. He closes the door and walks back to the house, mumbling to himself.                                

"I wonder if my little  "guests" are ready to play with Daddy?"
                                  
**********************************************************

"Did you hear that, J.W.---it sounded like a gunshot," Asks Angela.

J.W. is staring at Angela, "No----I didn't hear anything----probably a hunter."

They walk towards the barn, and Angela asks him about his car.

J.W. shoves his hands down into his jacket, "After what happened earlier, my Dad probably won't let me have a car till I'm 30!"

The young man relays the story about his and Cordell's "joy ride" of all sixty seconds.

Angela's eyes get big and her mouth drops open, "You drove my Daddy's truck---on the main highway----and you're still alive!”

J.W. groans, "Only because your Dad and my Dad haven't confronted us yet---yeah--I'll be dead after they get through with us!"                               

"But, how are they going to know?"

"Because I'm sure that those troopers have called them by now, your Dad was looking at Cordell and me very suspiciously when we came in."

Angela smirks, "Serves you both right---you were told to stay on the service road."

"Yeah, yeah---don't rub it in, I just hope they get over their mad spell before next Saturday."

"Why? What's happening next Saturday?"

"Don't tell me you haven't heard---The Tendons are going to be performing in Dallas---only the hottest rock band in the world. I saw them in Chicago---they are 'rad'---!!"

"Oh yeah, I heard they were giving a concert, but I also heard that the tickets are hard to get---not to mention their price! I hear general admission is $100!"

"No problem, I'll just take the money that my Mom is sending for my Christmas present, and buy our tickets. You are going, aren't you, Angela?"

"That's a lot of money, J.W.----and I don't know if my parents will let me go---their concerts get a little wild!"

"That's what makes them so popular------Cooper is wanting to go--the three of us can go together?"        

"Cordell doesn't want to go?"                    

"Nay---he's not into the hard rock---he says he's saving up his money to buy that new guitar that he's wanting.”

Angela smiles, "Yeah---he's been saving up for almost a year---grandpa has already said that he would buy it for him, but my parents say that Cordell has to come up with at least half---but then
again you and Cordell might be on restriction after Daddy gets through with you."             

The two stand and look at each other, Angela has her jacket undone and the blue sweater that she's wearing is very tight, and all though the afternoon, it seemed to have a mind of it's own. J.W. has not been able to keep his eyes off of her---or the sweater. But, he's also noticed that someone else has been watching her--Danny.

"What's wrong, J.W., why are you looking at me like that?"                             

"Like what?"

"Don't play coy with me."                

J.W. hesitates, "Well----maybe-----you should button up your coat---aren't you cold?”

Angela smiles as she looks down at her sweater, "I'm not cold at all---my sweater is very warm." 

Suddenly J.W. is getting very uncomfortable, as he starts moving around. Thank goodness his coat is long enough to cover the bulge that is becoming very painful.

"Yeah---well--maybe you should cover up anyways----"

"Cover what up, J.W.?"         

"You know what I'm talking about, Angela----I'm surprised that your Daddy is letting you wear something like that!”  

Angela continues to tease him, "This old jacket---my Daddy has seen this old jacket a lot of times------"    

"QUIT TEASING, ANGELA!"                    

Angela smiles, "What's wrong, J.W., didn't the girls in Chicago ever wear tight sweaters----it's certainly cold enough for them."

J.W. swallows as he looks back at her, "Yeah---they wore tight sweaters----but they don't fill them out---like you do."

"So? You did notice the other girls?"

"Yeah---of course I noticed---I'm not blind!"               

Angela can feel her anger, "What else did you notice, J.W.?"

"I don't know what you mean----I'm not suppose to look at other girls---what about all those boys that go 'ga-ga' every time you walk past them---I'll bet they're having wet dreams!”

Angela bites her bottom lip as she moves closer to J.W., he backs up, "What about you J.W.---do you have wet dreams?"

J.W. keeps backing up and Angela keeps getting closer, "All the time", he manages to answer, his voice changing.  

"Then do something about it J.W.," she leans into him and kisses him softly, her arms going around his neck         

Her kiss deepens and J.W. groans, he reaches out and puts his arms around her waist, pulling her in closer. He opens his mouth and returns her kiss, letting his tongue go deep inside.

Angela pulls back, "It's cold out here, J.W.---let's go inside the barn where it's warmer."

J.W.'s mind is racing, his heart is pounding so loud he can hardly talk and his "condition" is making it very difficult to walk, he pulls back.

"No----we can't go in there," he whispers.

"Why?"

"You know why, Angela----you know damn well why----we can't go in there.                             

"We're just kissing, J.W.---what's wrong with that?"

"Quit playing so innocent, Angela---you know it will lead to something else---it always does----"

Angela looks back at J.W., "What do you mean---it always does?”

"It's just natural, Angela---two people get all hot and bothered----and then they---"

"And, then they what, J.W.---you make it sound like you've-----you've done this before----have you?----Have you been with someone else?"

"NO---I haven't been with anyone else----remember that promise that we made to each other?"
                              
The Seekers XX          

Angela is staring back at J.W., "Yes---I remember the promise we made to each other about being the "first" with each other---how could I forget that?"

J.W. is stammering, "Then----how---why would you think that I had been with someone else?"

"I don't know----just by the way you reacted---why you just naturally assumed what would happen---if we went into the barn."

J.W. breathes a sigh of relief, "It's just common sense, Angela---you know as well as I do what was going to happen."

"You sure sound pretty sure of yourself---James Walker Trivette!”

"Yeah---like you had no intentions of following through with your flirting and your teasing?"

Angela's bottom lip is quivering, "Well, I got news for you, J.W.---I don't intend to be a virgin for the rest of my life----and there are plenty of boys who wouldn't have backed down from me---the way you just did!"

"What's that suppose to mean, Angela---are you testing someone else too----like Dylan Reed?"

"That creep---I wouldn't give him the time of day after what he said to me---and NO---I'm not "teasing' any boy and you take that back what you just said."

They stand there not saying anything and J.W. mumbles a quiet apology. Angela kicks the ground.                    

"I'm sorry too---maybe it did seem like I was teasing you---I'm sorry.---But, J.W. ---WHEN is the time going to be right for us?"         

He pulls his coat closer around him, "When we're about a thousand miles away from your Daddy---that's when!”

"J.W., we're almost 16 yrs old, most of my friends have already experienced sex----don't you get teased---boys get teased more because it's suppose to be "manly' for them to have sex?"

J.W. swallows, as he remembers the girl back in Chicago that he lost his virginity to. He can't ever admit to Angela that he's already lost his virginity, not after the promise they made to each
other.

"Well----yeah---I get teased, but I also have to think about what would happen if your Daddy ever found out---and not only him---but your brothers as well! They've already made it clear that I better not----ever----hurt you."                

"Why were you talking to the twins about---us?"

"It just came up, Angela---don't make such a big deal of it---guys talk---just like you girls do. Don't tell me that you and your girlfriends don't talk---about us?"

Angela smiles, "We have more important things to talk about---like our hair, our nails----YES----of course we talk about you guys!"

J.W. starts to answer then he sees Danny walking out to get in the car with Gordon. J.W. nods towards them, "Angela----that Danny has been staring at you all day---he's kind of creepy."

Angela turns around and waves to them, "He's just a lonely person, he works as a janitor at Springtown-------he's just quiet. Cooper seems to like him."

J.W. frowns, "Well----I don't like the way he keeps glaring at you."

"Are you jealous, J.W.?"

"You damn right I am, and I don't mind admitting it."

Angela continues to smile at him, "I guess I'd better be getting in---help Mom get Little Ray ready for bed."

J.W. nods, "Yeah----I guess I'd better go face your Dad and mine---about that little 'joy ride'."  He reaches out and takes her hand, they walk up to the house. Alex is watching from the front
window as she sees the two take each other's hands. She looks back over her shoulder at her husband, Trivette, and Cordell. She says to herself, "Walker----you and I and our daughter are going to have to sit down and have that nice----long----talk."
                                   
**************************************************** 

Danny is trying to hide his anger at seeing Angela and J.W. together. He kept watching them from the window while everyone else was in the kitchen, listening to Cordell explain something
about being stopped by the highway patrol. He saw them kissing, he can hardly contain his anger as he keeps moving around on the seat, containers of food sitting next to him.

Gordon keeps watching him, "Are you okay, son?"

Danny nods, "Yeah----yeah I'm fine," he lies.

"Okay, you'll have to tell me again where you live---I thought the city tore those apartments down over on that side of town."

Danny tries to smile, "Actually, you can let me out down near the tracks, and I can walk from there!"

"I will do no such thing! I promised to give you a ride home, you can't possibly carry all that food that my daughter packed for you----and it's freezing out there!"                      

Danny nods, "I'm staying with some friends on 34th----you can let me out there."

He looks back at Gordon and then to all of the food. After Gordon lets him out at 34th, Danny will have to turn around and walk all the way back to the Ferguson ranch. But, Alex insisted on
packing him some food to take home and Danny wasn't going to turn that down. He ate till he thought he was going to bust.

He's never seen so much food as everyone kept shoving it in his direction. The "Grandpa" kept insisting that he eat the oyster dressing, while the twins kept pushing the cornbread dressing to him. The giblet gravy was delicious as he covered his potatoes in it and the biscuits that Angela made were just like Cooper said---delicious!!!!! The dumplings were going fast as he kept trying to get them down to his end of the table, Walker was keeping them close to him.

He kept watching Angela as she would put her hand under the table to hold the hand of that dark skinned young man. Danny watched their every move, and he would watch as Angela ate. She ate like a bird, and very dainty. He looked to Alex, she too ate very daintily, as she was always asking everyone if they had plenty. He watched as she doted on her husband, always smiling at him.  Her husband would give her that "look" and smile back at her. The "Grandpa" was constantly jabbering, and he and the older Negro man were laughing, the twins were laughing too. The only one that wasn't saying anything was the little boy.

Danny watched as the boy was trying to devour a turkey leg, and having a difficult time getting his mouth around it. Cordell was trying to help him by trying to tell the boy to scrape the meat off with his fork. The boy refused to listen as the turkey leg kept going back and forth to his mouth in one hand, and the other hand was scooping up the potatoes and gravy. His Dad was constantly reaching over and wiping his mouth. This seemed to be such a happy family, and they had all made him feel like "family", he liked all of them---except J.W.! He couldn't imagine why
Angela was attracted to him---he was black!

After the singing was over Gordon Cahill offered to give Danny a ride home, saying that he had been away from his condo in Dallas long enough and he had to get back to it. Danny had tried refusing the ride but Gordon insisted and Alex starting packing some of the leftover food for him to take home. Walker warned her not to give the rest of his dumplings away---he would eat them later---with cheese melted on top.

Gordon pulls up to the old building and Danny starts grabbing the food. Gordon keeps looking at the old building.

"Are you sure that this is where your friends live? This place looks like it's ready to be condemned too?"    

Danny looks back at Gordon and smiles faintly, "Everything is okay, Mr. Cahill---I can get everything inside ---thanks again---and thank your daughter and her family."   

Gordon nods, "Just call me Gordon---and you are perfectly welcome---come back anytime."

Danny starts up the stairs slowly until he sees Gordon's car go around the corner. He then hustles back down the stairs and runs towards the railroad tracks, trying to carry all of the food. About
half way back to the Ferguson ranch, he sits down and eats the rest of the food, and then continues on, eating the last slice of pumpkin pie.
                                  
*****************************************************

Hank is barely conscious as he sees Sarge pulling the body of trooper Mike down into the basement. Hank closes his eyes as Sarge pulls the body over next to Hank and throws it down beside him. Sarge then goes back upstairs to retrieve his whiskey. Hank can hear muffled
sounds coming from the other end of the basement, he raises up slowly and tries to look in that direction, he sees nothing. He hears the trooper groaning and the blood coming out of his neck.

Hank makes a gesture with his fingers for the young man to be quiet. The needle that was sticking out of Hank's neck did not go down very far and Hank yanked it out. He's lying there looking at the trooper, the man's eyes are wide eyed and staring back at him in fear.

"Can you hear me-----Mike---is it?"

Mike nods his head, and puts his hands up to his neck and touches the objects protruding from his neck. He draws his bloody hand back; his face is turning pale.                               

"Mike-----I have to take the needles out----especially the big one---if I don't---you will bleed to death."          

Mike is trying to talk and Hank silences him with a gentle hand to his shoulder. He pulls the biggest needle out, the blood is still squirting out. Hank reaches down for Mike's hand and tells him to hold his finger against his neck. The other needle has gone deep and Hank makes the decision to leave it in, the needle itself is helping to stop the outward flow. He looks at the young patrolman and they both know, that if help is not soon, Trooper Mike will not make it.                 

Hank looks around to see if he can find something to help Mike stop the flow---he hears the basement door open and Sarge is coming back. He rolls Mike over on his side so that he can still
hold his finger over the hole without Sarge seeing him. He whispers to Mike to please be quiet and then he lays up against him, pretending to be out cold.

Hank and Mike listen as Sarge seems to stop a few feet away from them, they hear the whiskey bottle being broken and Sarge walks towards the other end of the basement. They soon hear the cries, and then a slapping noise.  Mike keeps trying to raise up and Hank forces him back down.

"My God-----what----is---he doing? Do------I hear----little kids crying?"

Hank whispers back, "Please be still---he thinks you're dead-----please ---just don't say anything."

The two men lay huddled and the cries get louder from the other end. Soon Hank can feel his own tears and feels the shoulders of the young trooper shaking. They are less than 50 ft from the
kids, and the trooper knows there is nothing he can do to help them, as the blood continues to seep through his fingers. Ten years as a highway patrolman, he's been taught to protect and serve and now he can do nothing but listen to the whimpers and the crying of the kids, trooper Mike starts to cry softly.
                                  
****************************************************

Alex is sitting in front of her dressing table, absent-mindedly brushing her hair. She looks back over her shoulder at her husband and baby son. They had started out reading Little Ray's speech book and his Daddy was helping him to pronounce his "R's and "S's", soon they both
fall asleep from too much turkey and all the trimmings. Walker is lying on his back and their son has fallen asleep laying across his chest, with one little arm wrapped his Daddy's neck. Alex smiles. All of the kids would fall asleep at one time or another, laying across their Daddy's chest, she was guilty of it too---it just always seemed like the safest place to be.

She sighs as she gets up and walks to Angela's room. Her daughter is sitting at her dresser, doing her nails.

"Hi Mom----can't sleep? Is the baby kicking?"           

Alex rubs her swelled stomach of almost 3 months----"NO---the baby is fine, every once in awhile I can feel something---but it's still a little too soon."

Angela puts her hand out and touches her Mom's stomach, "It's hard to believe that a little life is growing in there---that it is in there where life begins--isn't life strange, Mom?"

Alex sits down on her daughters' bed and looks at her long auburn hair. "Yes---life is strange---I still remember the day I told your Daddy that I was pregnant with you, we were both elated! Even though we wanted to start our family as soon as possible, the news still surprised us. We had both been so involved with that case that I was forgetting to take my pregnancy tests in the morning, and I didn't even realize my cycle was out of kilter. I was almost 8wks along----your daddy and I were so happy.”

Angela smiles back at her Mom, "Was Daddy disappointed that I wasn't a boy? Most men want boys first."

Alex shakes her head, "The main thing that your Father was concerned about was you being healthy and me having an easy delivery---the delivery had it's complications----we almost lost you."           

"Yeah, I know---I'm sorry I was such a worry, but I've heard you and Daddy say that when the twins were born---they just popped right out---and the same with Little Ray."                      

"Well---Cordell was a little painful because he was the first twin out---Cooper slid out so fast, he almost hit the floor."

Angela laughs,  "Are you sure he didn't hit the floor, maybe that explains why he's so hard headed, what about Little Ray?"

Alex smiles, "That little guy was so anxious to get out of me, he came almost 2 weeks early----and he was so hungry and he hasn't stopped being hungry since."

Angela laughs, "Yep--he still eats like there is no tomorrow."

Alex reaches out for daughters' hand, "Honey---we need to talk about something."

"What, Mom---what do you want to talk about?"

Alex takes a deep breath, "About life---and you----and-----J.W."

Angela becomes quiet, "What about me and J.W.?"

"I've been watching you with him, and I know there is an attraction between you two----Angela---you are at a very fragile part of your life--and your body is going to start making strange demands on you."

"Oh, Mom, is this another talk on sex and having babies?"          

"Yes it is----and it's not to be taken lightly. Angela----are you and J.W.----you know----experimenting?”

"All we've done is kiss--that's all, Mom."                                  

"But sometimes the kissing can lead to other things, like ---like you know----feeling each other, and then other things start to happen."

"Mom----I'll soon be 16---most of my friends have already had sex, some of them even have babies, I haven't even been allowed to date yet."

Alex stands up and walks around, "I always knew that someday we would be having this conversation and I always thought I would know what to say, and how to say it----but it's not
easy---talking about this."

Angela frowns, "Mom----you can rest easy---J.W. and I are not having sex---but we did make a promise that we would be each others' first---when and if that time ever comes up.”

"What? You two made a promise----Angela---you're just 15---when did you make this promise?"

"Right before he left to go to Chicago----when we were at 6 Flags."

Alex is speechless, "I hope you two don't intend to carry this out anytime soon---you aren't---are you?"

"Mom---you said yourself that when the time comes ---I'll know by the way I feel inside----that "special" feeling?"                              

"Yes----I said that---but I meant that after you start dating and after you have several feelings to compare that feeling with---oh me---listen to me---I'm babbling---I don't know what I'm saying." Alex is walking in circles and mumbling.         

Angela pulls her over to the bed and makes her sit down, "Mom----you told me about your "first" time and how special it was.”

"Angela, I was a lot older than you that first time----I was----I was almost 17."

"And, I will be 16 in May----there's not that much difference".

"All I know is, that as far as your Daddy is concerned he would like it just fine if you waited till you were ----30!"

"Daddy would prefer if ----I never!"             

Walker comes stumbling into his daughter's bedroom on the tail end of the conversation, he rubs his eyes and looks at them, "I would prefer---if you never did what?"

Angela and Alex look to each other and Alex tries to explain, "Uhhhh---we were talking about ---uh---we were talking about her hair and getting it cut."

Walker stares back at them "Over my dead body will you cut your hair, young lady!"

Alex starts to say something when Angela's phone rings, "That's probably Dana----she said she would call."

Angela goes to answer her phone, she turns around quickly---"Daddy! It's him!"

Alex gasps as Walker grabs the phone from his daughter, "Listen to me---you son of a bitch----you ever come near my daughter and you're dead---you hear me?"

The voice at the other end is giggling, "Ranger Walker---I presume---Daddy???----Are you upset with me, Daddy dearest?"

"I'm not upset, Kiwi-----you've never seen me upset---but if you come near my daughter ---you will see just how upset I can get----that's a promise----I will tear you limb to limb!"

The voice continues to taunt and then Kiwi replies very slowly, "Ranger Walker----I want your daughter and I will have her----back off old man or something just might happen to that pretty
little wife of yours and your unborn child----do you understand what I am saying?"

The veins are popping out on Walker's forehead, he's gripping the phone so hard, it's starting to crack. "Why don't you face me ---like a man-----I know how you like to swing both ways and you probably have trouble figuring out which end of your butt has the "pee hole"----I'll be more than glad to show you----after I kick the hell out of you! Don't you dare come near any of my family-----or you're going to be wishing that Father of yours was sterile---do I make myself clear?"

Kiwi's voice is getting angry, "Let me talk to Angela, old man.”               

"Go to hell!" Walker slams the phone down and it shatters!

Angela runs to Walker, "Daddy----how did he get my new number?"

Walker is still steaming as he tries to comfort his daughter, "I don't know, baby----but don't you worry---he's not coming near you or anyone in this family."

Alex can see the anger as Walker gives his wife a reassuring look. "Angela, go take your shower-----everything will be okay----your Dad and I will be right here when you get out."

Alex waits till her daughter closes the shower door, "Walker----what did that creep say to you?”

Walker takes his wife into his arms, "He made a threat against you and the baby----he seems to think that by threatening another family member that I will back down and let him have Angela."

"Oh my God-----why is he doing this? Why is he possessed with our daughter---she's never even seen the guy?"

"I don't know hon----check the ID caller---maybe the son of a bitch has messed up and we can find out where he's calling from----I'm calling Trivette----we'll get the phone company to try and get a reading on where that call came from."       

Alex hurries downstairs to the ID caller----UNLISTED!
                               
***********************************************************

Danny has finally made it back to the Ferguson ranch and sees a light on in the barn and walks towards it. He hears a buzzing sound, when he opens the door----he sees Sarge standing over
something with a chainsaw. The stench is reaching Danny's nose as he sees the blood all over the barn floor. He covers his nose and walks towards Sarge.

"Oh no----you killed Hank?"

Sarge just looks at him and throws something in his direction, a small object in the shape of the Texas star, it reads Texas Highway Patrol. Danny's mouth drops open.

"You killed a cop? Sarge----are you crazy?"

Sarge goes back to his project, where he picks up a limb and throws it into an old garbage can. "Make yourself useful, Danny and feed the hogs."

Danny stares back at the trashcan, he feels himself ready to vomit, he runs outside and his meal upchucks.  Sarge comes up behind him and grabs him by the head and lowers him over the trash can, "Take a good luck, Danny---this what happens when people make me mad. There's another one inside----drag him out here--he's in the basement."

Danny stumbles back to the house, where he keeps having to stop and throw up his insides.

Hank is crawling towards his worktable, looking for the phone. He too, is growing weak. He finds the phone and crawls back to the young trooper.

"I found it, Mike---I will get you help."

Hank is getting weaker, his voice comes and goes, and he feels like he's going to pass out from loss of blood. He dials Walker's home phone.

Alex picks up the phone and answers slowly, "Yes? Hello."

Hank can hear the familiar voice at the other end, but he's too weak to say anything, he makes a moaning sound.

Alex screams into the phone, "Can you just leave us alone----stop calling us!" She slams the phone down and looks at the ID caller---another UNLISTED!      

Hank is sputtering to get the words out, "Al----help."

Trooper Mike is growing weaker as he gasps, "Call---911---they can trace----call."

Hank starts to dial when he hears the basement door opening, he puts the phone underneath him.

Danny comes down the stairs and sees Hank and the other trooper. "Oh my God----I'm so sorry Hank---Sarge is going crazy."

"Get help---please---" begs Hank.

Danny starts shaking, "I can't----he'll kill me," he looks to the other trooper and sees all the blood, he backs up. "He's still alive----oh God---now what do I do?"

Mike is trying to talk to the boy----"Please--------get help----we can't last ---much longer."

Danny starts scratching his head and walking in circles, mumbling. "I can't----he’ll cut me up---just like he's doing to your friend---and he's feeding the remains to the hogs!"

Mike groans---"My gun-----get my gun---upstairs----so I can end our ----lives---please?"

Danny starts to cry as he goes to sit in the corner, shaking his head back and forth. Both Mike and Hank pass out.
                                       
*****************************************************

The twins are in their basement going through their exercises and are enjoying a friendly little boxing match. Cooper goes for an uppercut, taking his brother off guard. Cordell hits the mat, shaking his head.

"What's the matter bro----didn't you see that coming," Cooper teases him.

Cordell stand s up slowly, "I guess not---had my mind elsewhere.”

Cooper is bouncing up and down and kicking out at the air, standing on one foot. His right foot goes to each side of his brothers' head, within inches. Cooper stops and looks at his twin, "What's wrong with you, Cordell? Dad must have really come down on you hard about taking the Ram for a joy ride!"

Cordell stops and taps his brothers' gloves, he steps back and starts taking his off.

"No---Dad hardly even raised his voice---he just said he didn't condone what J.W. and I did---but he understood the temptation."

Cordell sits down on the edge of the ring, his brother sits down beside him. "Well----then what's the problem? Damn---I wish I could have been with you guys----how fast were you going?"

"I'm not sure---I guess about 60---it was only to the end of the entrance ramp---hardly enough time to get it revved up.”

"That's for sure----I know the Ram is more than capable of going faster than that---not with that turbo engine that Dad has under the hood---heck---I've seen him go from 0-60 in less than 30
seconds!!! Why didn't you just floor it?"

"Cooper---the cruiser saw us---almost immediately----luckily Trooper Mike and his partner came by ----or I would probably be in jail!"

Cooper slaps his brother on the shoulder, "Still---I wish I'd been there----but what else is bothering you----you seem distant. In the ring you acted like you were a million miles away----I would never have been able to catch you with a uppercut like that--if your mind was on what you were doing----so what gives?"

Cordell tells his brother about the "33" truck being left out and the incident with the flags.
                                

"Cordell, the old man has Alzheimer’s---he just probably forgot---though in all the years we've known him, I would never dream that he would leave that truck out---it always goes back into the garage and covered."

"I know that Coop----and what about the flags? J.W. and I thought it was a natural mistake that he flew the Texas flag upside down, because of the Alzheimer’s and all----but when we handed the flags to him---he asked if the flag was folded right---the red stripe always goes on the bottom----never the top. How could he say that after he made the mistake?"

"Maybe he didn't realize he had made the mistake---you know how picky he is with those flags?"

Cordell jumps down from the ring and goes to the punching bag and slaps it back and forth. He stops the bag from moving and looks to his brother, "I just can't shake this feeling that something is wrong, Coop."

"What do you want to do bro'---want to go over there and check on him?"       

Cordell looks at the clock, "No way would Mom and Dad let us ride over there this late----how about first thing in the morning---will you go over with me?”

Cooper slams the punishing bag, "Sure---come on---let's hit the showers----I'm tired."

***************************************************

Sarge has dumped the last of the garbage remains into the hog pen. The swine is making quick work of the remains as they fight over their "supper". He walks over to his whiskey bottle and downs the remainder and then looks back at the cruiser that is covered with tarp and hay is strewn over it. In the morning he will have to decide how to dispose of it. Now he's ready for another bottle as he walks back to the house. He turns and looks at the hogs, their noise is deafening, the squeals get louder.

Sarge takes his bottle and heads for the basement, Danny motions for Hank and Mike to stay quiet. Sarge looks at Danny sitting in the corner, reaches out and kicks him.

"I told you to bring that other 'pig' out to the barn!"

Danny sniffles, "I couldn't----he's too heavy to get up the stairs."

Sarge swears as he kicks Danny again and then walks towards the back of the basement.  Danny watches as the old man sits down on the floor and passes out.  Danny lays his head down on his knees, Sarge wakes up and calls for him. Danny gets up slowly and goes to the old man and lies down beside him.
                                 
***********************************************************

"Did I hear the phone ring again, Alex---was it him?"

"I don't know---there wasn't anyone on the other end---at least they weren't saying anything."
                                  

Walker is pacing, "Trivette is getting in contact with a friend at the phone company-----they'll tap into our line for a trace---in case he calls back---I hope the hell he does------I want to find that son-of a-bitch and break him into!"

"Break who into, Dad," Asks Cooper.

Alex reaches out for her son, "Kiwi has found out Angela's new number----he's called again.”

Cordell looks to Angela's bathroom, "Is she alright---does she know that he called again?"

"Yes---she answered the phone----she's okay."

The Seekers XXI

Angela comes out of the bathroom, "Yes---I know he called---the creep---why can't he leave us alone---has he called again?"

"Our phone rang, but there was no one on the other end," Alex replies as she walks towards her daughter.

"Everything is going to be okay, baby----I've got a patrol car coming over and your Uncle has the phone company putting a tracer on our line, we're still hoping the creep will mess up---and he will."  

"I will be so glad when you catch this creep, Dad----Cordell and I want a piece of him, too!"   

"There won't be anything left of him when I get through with him," growls Walker. Walker then turns and stomps out of his daughter's bedroom. Alex pushes her daughter's hair back.

"I'll be back in a few minutes----get ready for bed----Cordell, Cooper-----you too."                      

The twins look to Angela, "Who can sleep?" Asks Cordell.

Angela starts picking up things and throwing them. "I hate this! I hate being made a prisoner----and that's just what we are---prisoners in our own home!"

Cordell has to duck to avoid being hit with what is left of the phone. "Calm down, Sis----Dad is doing everything he can to catch this guy."    

Angela is still throwing things as she starts in on her bed, taking all the bedclothes and dumping them into the floor, and then kicking at them. The twins stand back until she's through. Angela falls down on her bed crying, the twins walk towards her slowly, one going to each side.

"It's okay, Angela---get it all out-----throw anything you want to---if it'll make you feel better," says Cooper as he very cautiously puts his arm around her.

She's still crying as she leans into her brother, "I'm just so tired of all of this-----he hurt Darcy---she's probably dead----and now he's making threats against Mom."

Cordell sits down on his sister's bed, "Against Mom----what are you talking about?"
                          

Angela rises up, "He threatened Daddy---saying he would go after Mom and the baby----if Daddy didn't let Kiwi have me."

Cooper's temper is getting the best of him, "Fat chance in hell of that ever happening------the guy is crazy to think Dad would make such a decision!"
                           

Cordell puts his arm around his sisters' shoulder, "The only decision that Dad will have to make is whether to kick the bastard to death----or beat him to death with his bare hands!"

Cooper nods, "You got that right bro'---and I just hope that we're able to see it happen-----I want to see this creep suffer."

Angela stops crying and looks at her brothers, "That's it!"

"That's what?"

Angela jumps up and starts pacing her room, and pulling her long hair back. "This creep has showed his hand-----he's not going to come after me----he doesn't have the nerve!"       

"No----he just likes to threaten----to keep his victims prisoners of their own fear," replies Cordell.

Angela looks to her brothers, "You know what is going to happen, we will be "taxied" back and forth to school again---we won't be able to be with our friends, we won't be able to go anywhere
without a police escort----do you want that again?"                   

Cooper narrows his eyes, "No----of course not----but Dad is trying to protect us."

"Don't you think it's time that we protected ourselves-----let's stop being the hunted ----and be the hunter for a change!"

Cordell shakes his head, "You mean----to lure Kiwi out----to make him come after you---no way----Dad would never agree to that!"

"No----she's right Cordell---we have to stand up to this guy----make him come after us, we have to make our lives as normal as before----show this creep that we're not scared, and we won't be
prisoners in our own home anymore."

Angela is smiling and nodding her head, "Yes------set a trap for him------and then when he comes after me----Dad and Uncle Jimmy can nab him!"
                                      
***************************************************

Hank is slowly waking up, he touches the trooper's shoulder, "Mike----are you still with me, son?"

Mike answers very quietly, "I'm-------still ---here."                      

Hank looks around to see where Danny and Sarge are, he nudges Mike---"Can you stand up, Mike----can you get to the stairs?"

Mike starts shaking his head, "I---will---try."

Hank starts to stand and then he remembers the phone, "I will ---try again---to call for help," he starts to dial 9------, the phone is knocked from his hands.

"Are you crazy, Hank---," Danny picks up the phone and smashes it.

"Danny---please---you can get us ----out of here."

Danny looks back to Sarge, the old man is waking up again. "Pretend to be asleep-----I got to ----have time to think.”

"DANNY? Who are you talking to?"                              

"No one, Sarge----just myself."

Sarge goes stumbling back to the stairs-------"Come with me---we got to get rid of that damn police car."

Danny looks back at Hank and the trooper, Hank again pleads with him to get help. Danny runs up the stairs after Sarge----Hank and Mike hear the key going into the lock.                  

Mike groans, "Now----there's no way out." The trooper looks around the basement---he spots the window about five feet up, he keeps his finger over the hole in his neck and nudges Hank.

"Do you think -------you----can crawl----up to that ---window?"

"I'm sorry----I just don't -----have the strength----I'm so weak---I'm so sorry."
                                      

Mike is fighting hard to keep from passing out again, he looks back to the other end of the basement. "What----about the kids----maybe one of them can ----crawl out?"
                                     

Hank starts crawling towards the kids, he reaches out to touch one, the little boy screams. Hank grabs him and puts his hand over his mouth, begging him to be quiet. The boy is about 9 or 10, and the other boy is younger. The boy is shaking as Hank tries to calm him and tell him about the window. He half crawls and half walks up to the bottom of the window. He points at the window.
                                   

"Can you -----reach it---if I hold you up?"
                                    

The boy starts to cry and Hank holds him---"Please----stop crying-----can you crawl out ---the window--if I hold you ----up to it?"
                                     

The boy finally nods and Hank is trying to pull over his work desk to stand on. Mike starts crawling over, they both hold the boy up to the latch on the window,
                                      

"What's ----your name----son?"
                                      

"Je-----Jeff," the boy sniffles.
                                       

"Jeff----listen to me-----I'm a highway patrol---officer-----here----take----my name badge-----you have to very careful ---no one can see you----run----as fast as you can-----to the
main highway-----can you-----do that?"
                                         

The boy nods and Hank pins the name badge to the boy's torn shirt---"Go."
                                        

The boy stops and looks back at the other little boy, Hank sees the concern----"He will be ----okay---we won't----let anything happen to him----what's his name?"
                                       

"I don't know," Jeff answers.
                                         

The two men hold the boy up to the latch, where he undoes it and crawls out. He turns back to the window----"I'm scared."
                                          

Mike smiles at him, "You'll be just fine, Jeff------and when-----we get out of here -----we will ----all sit down to -----a big ice cream sundae------how's that?"
                                         

Jeff smiles and then he takes off running.
                                         

Mike and hank pull the table back away, and they crawl back to their places. Hank can see that Mike only has a few minutes left, he's starting to shake, his eyes are trying to go back into his head. Hank sits down next to his friend and lays the trooper's head on his shoulder. He sees the notepad sticking out of Mike's chest pocket. Hank takes it out and starts writing.
                                       

"What------are you writing?"
                                        

"Is there anyone-----you want to say-----goodbye to, Mike?"                     
                                          

"Yes----my wife----her name is Stephanie-----would you tell her-------I love her?------And to Eric's wife-----and two little----girls----that his last thoughts were-----of them."
                                        

Hank continues to write as fast as he can, he whispers, "No, Martha-----I won't forget them. Mike------can you sign -----this for me----is this legal? Will it -----stand up in court?"
                                       

Mike looks at the paper, "You're making ------out a will?"
                                       

Hanks nods, "This will ----overpower any------previous will------right Mike?----It's dated-----all you got to do----is be my witness----will you----sign it for me?"
                                       

Mike reads the paper, taking his hand away from his neck and scribbles his name. His blood drips on the notepad, a perfect fingerprint shows up in the crimson red  liquid.
                                       

"It will stand up---in court, Hank-----it's signed in blood----read it to me------please Hank."
                                        

Hank reads the note back to the trooper, Mike smiles as the words of love are written to his wife, and to Eric's family. The old man continues reading:
                                

"I, Hank Ferguson on this date signed and witnessed by patrolman Michael Norris----I leave all of my worldly possessions, the ranch, and everything that I own to: The Walker twins, Cordell and Cooper Walker. I leave my 1933 Ford Pickup to Cooper Walker. I leave nothing to my
daughter, Charlene----who saw no reason to visit her Mother or me, for whatever reason she has."
                                

Hank signs the note and puts it in his shirt pocket. He looks to Mike and extends his hand. The trooper looks back at him and says softly, "I'm going to sleep now, Hank-----it's been a ----honor
to-----know you."
                                

"I won't be far behind---you ---son. I'll be with you-----and Martha------real soon."
                                

Hank holds the trooper till he draws his last breath. Hank lets out a string of curse words,  "Damn you Lord-----why do you leave me alone again? Why can't you just -----take me ----now? ----Let
me be with my Martha----let me ------have peace."
                                 

Hank will continue to let trooper Mike's body lean against him, he wants to cry-----but there are no tears left.
                                     
*******************************************************
                                

Walker stares back at his three kids, "Absolutely not!"
                                 

"But---Dad-----"
                                  

"I said, NO, Cooper----and I mean it! I will not let you kids be guinea pigs to try and lure this  piece of crap into showing himself----NO WAY!"
                                   

Trivette has walked in on the end of the conversation, "Your Dad is right, we know what this scumbag is capable of-----it's too dangerous!"
                                    

Alex walks to her husband, grabbing his arm lightly, "Walker-----as dangerous as all of this sounds----maybe the kids have a good idea."
                                  

Walker stares back at her, "Alex----?"
                                   

"Honey----not the kids themselves----why not a  trap with undercover police officers -----some policewoman to pretend to be Angela----you've used decoys before-----why not now?"
                                   

The kids look to their parents and then to their Uncle, "Why not, Daddy----nothing else seems to be working----this creep is always one step ahead of you----what can it hurt?"
                                   

Trivette and Walker exchange looks, "What do you think, Trivette----do you have anyone in mind that could look and dress enough like Angela?"
                                    

Trivette nods, "Yeah, I do---Terri."
                                    

"The nurse?"
                                     

Trivette starts dialing Terri's number----"Yep---the nurse---she's small framed and she's had some martial arts training-----she's perfect."
                                     

"Trivette----I was referring to a police woman----we can't use a civilian for this kind of work."
                                      

"Walker----honey---who are you talking about---a nurse?"
                                       

Walker takes a deep breath, "Trivette's lady friend."
                                        

Trivette continues talking into his cell phone, a smile goes across his face, "Thanks sweetheart-----I owe you----big time.  I'll give you directions on how to get to the Walker ranch----okay---see you soon."
                                       

The ranger turns to his friend, "She's on her way----I told you---she never turns down a
challenge-----especially when it's wild and a little ‘hairy’."
                                       

Walker sighs as he puts his arm around Alex's waist, "I hope she knows what she's letting herself in for."
                                       
*********************************************************
                                   

It's been a couple of hours since the patrolman died. Hank lays him down on the floor and closes his eyes, as he hears the key in the lock. Hank is getting weaker.
                                   

Danny comes down the stairs slowly and looks at the patrolman's body, "He's dead?"
                                  

Hank sneers, "Yeah, Danny----he bled to death----thanks to you----you could have gotten him help----you're no better than-----that bastard up there!"
                                   

"I'm sorry-----"
                                  

"Sorry?  Sorry-----doesn't get it, Danny! How do you ----think it feels-----to have your blood draining from your body-----and know-----there's not a damn thing------you can do----to stop it?"
                                   

Danny starts to cry, "I said I was sorry, Hank."
                                   

Hank kicks out at Danny as hard as he can, "I don't----want to hear-----you're sorry. Get away from me-------you sniffling little coward---GET AWAY FROM ME!"
                                    

"You best not talk to me like that----I'm the only thing standing between you and Sarge---I'm the one that's keeping him from killing you----and chopping you up like he did that other trooper------and what he intends to do with this one! ----Don't talk to me like that!"
                                   

Hank shakes his head and spits at Danny's feet------"I will welcome death-----in any form----to get out of this hell hole that you and your friend have put me in!"
                                   

"Keep talking like that old man, and you may get your wish!"
                                    

Hank looks up to see Sarge staring back at him, he's taken the dark contacts out, Hank can see the eyes that the Walker boys had warned him about. The eyes burn into Hank's but Hank doesn't
look away.
                                  

"I'm not-----afraid of you anymore, Sarge------I've made my peace with the "the man upstairs"----I'm ready to go." Hank closes his eyes and says softly:
                               

"Yea, tho' I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil---for thou art with me."
                                 

"SHUT UP OLD MAN," screams Sarge.
                                  

"Thy rod and thou staff will comfort me-----"
                                   

"SHUT UP----there is no God----he can't help you now-----," Sarge continues to scream----I will show you that your God can't help you----Danny bring him upstairs-----his pets are still hungry!"
                                  
****************************************************   
                              

Kiwi is pacing the floor and cursing Walker.
                              

"Damn that ranger----he's pushed me too far----I'm not waiting any longer----tonight-----I'm taking Angela----if I have to kill the whole Walker family in order to take her-----Mickey----get
the car ready----we're moving out".
                               

The driver jumps up and runs out to the old Pontiac and starts it up. "It's about time---I was getting sick and tired of staying bottled up in this crummy motel room." Mickey starts throwing luggage into the back of the car, Sam---the other aide starts to help him.
                               

"I don't like the look on Kiwi's face-----he's talking crazy----now he wants to kill the whole family. This is crazy, Mickey-----let's just leave while we can!"
                                 

"I'm not leaving----you know what will happen if we try to leave. Once Kiwi gets the girl, then we're out of here---that's what we've been waiting for!"
                                 

"It will never be over---after Kiwi gets his fill of this girl---there will be another, and another---what is his obsession with this girl? She's a real looker and all----but why her?"
                                 

Mickey throws some luggage to his partner----"You know what happens when too many questions are being asked----now just get in the damn car."
                                  

A few minutes later the trio is heading west. Mickey turns to his boss, "What now, boss?"
                                  

"We have to have some more muscle----call Luther and tell him to meet us at the usual place----we first have to go see my Father----see what kind of mess he's gotten himself into."
                                   

"Boss----it's too dangerous to be going down highway 199---that highway is always crawling with cops----now they're looking for a missing patrol car with two highway patrol officers."
                                   

Kiwi looks back at his driver and groans, "Oh no----this has all the smell of something that my dear old "Father" could be mixed up in--just drive----if we're stopped---some more cops will turn up missing."
                                    
*****************************************************
                                 

Angela stares at Terri, she's the same height and about the same weight as she, but that's where the similarities end. Terri has at least a 44 in bust. The twins are staring at Terri's "endowment".
                                 

Alex's mouth drops open and Walker just stares, then he grabs Trivette and heads to the kitchen.
                                  

"There is no way that woman can pass for Angela-------my God Trivette---the woman's bosom will arrive long before the rest of her body can catch up."
                                   

Trivette smiles, "Yeahhhh---nice---aren't they----I mean … she's nice."
                                    

Walker lets a out a curse word and heads for his coffee pot, "This isn't going to work, Trivette."
                                     

"Give her a chance, Walk-man---she's here----and she's agreed to help us."
                                      

Walker grabs his coffee, "Have you explained how dangerous this can be?"
                                      

"Well----actually there's something else I need to tell you about Terri."
                                      

"I'm afraid to ask----WHAT?"
                                       

Trivette starts hesitating, "Well, Terri has always wanted to get into law enforcement--but she failed the physical---actually she didn't fail it----she just couldn't fit the uniform.----Actually-----she couldn't see her weapon----because of the----"Trivette points to his chest--"the ----you know whats."
                                      

Walker stares back at his partner, "Why do I get the feeling there is something else you're not telling me?"
                                       

Trivette grimaces----"She's done some dancing------," Trivette clears his throat, "she's a nude  dancer—too."
                                       

Cooper has come into the kitchen for a cold drink, he hears Trivette's confession. His eyes grow wide, "A stripper?"
                                       

Walker grabs his son and turns him towards the stairs, "Bedtime-----and take your brother with you."
                                        

Cooper is still ginning as he runs to Cordell and pulls him away and whispers in his ear. They both stop and look back at Terri, their mouths are wide open.
                                        

Alex clears her throat and nudges the boys upstairs. They go about half way and then lean over the banister. From where they're standing, the view is very ‘revealing’."
                                        

Walker sees them leaning over the banister, "Do I have to show you boys the way to your bedroom?"
                                        

The boys scramble up the stairs, laughing and whispering.
                                         

Alex turns to Terri, "Excuse our boys------they get a little---nosy."
                                        

Terri laughs, "I'm used to it----when they stop staring is when I'll start worrying."
                                         

Trivette clears his throat----"Terri---we all need to talk."
                                        

Terri smiles at Angela, "Yeah, I know. Hey 'sweetie' I'm going to need some of your clothes, and I'm definitely going to have to get a wig-----I hope I can find one that will do justice to your beautiful mane----you have gorgeous hair."
                                        

Angela smiles back at her, "Thank you----my Mom shows me how to care for it---I'll go get some of my clothes."
                                        

Alex says to Terri----"Would you like some tea or coffee?"
                                         

Terri makes a face, "You got anything stronger than that?"
                                          

"I'm sorry---we have wine----would that be okay?"
                                           

Walker sighs and makes a quick trip to the basement as Alex pours Terri a glass of wine. She looks at the three of them, "Am I drinking alone?"
                                          

Trivette answers quietly, "I'm afraid so, I'm still on duty, Walker prefers his coffee and Alex can't drink because of her ‘condition’."
                                           

Terri stares at Alex, "You got another kid in the oven----that makes you four?"
                                          

Alex smiles as Walker brings her tea, "No---this will be our fifth-----we have another boy
upstairs----asleep."
                                          
**************************************************
                                    

Kiwi and his goons have arrived at the Ferguson place, Kiwi is furious as the story unfolds about the missing troopers. He starts pacing the floor and swearing at his "Father".
                                  

"You idiot!!!!---That's just what we need to bring the heat down on us even more----okay, what did you do with the evidence?"
                                   

Sarge smiles, "The cruiser is at that old landfill, getting ready to be flattened and later made into other little "autos"-----the troopers will never be found----until someone slits the bellies of those hogs out there."
                                   

Mickey and Sam stare at each other, and Danny has to run back to the bathroom again. Kiwi stares back at Sarge----"What about the old man that lived here---is he in their bellies, too?"
                                   

"Not yet----but he soon will be," Sarge grins.
                                     

Kiwi takes a deep breath,-----"If you have messed up my chances at taking the Walker girl----I will kill you myself, old man!"
                                    

Sarge continues to play with his needles, "Be careful who you are threatening my son----I wouldn't think twice about shoving one of these beauties up your rectum!"
                                  

Mickey and Sam swallow, as they follow the conversation back and forth----there is definitely no love lost between this Father and son.
                                 

Kiwi stares back at the old man, "I've got help on the way----we make the plans now."
                                  

Sarge grins, "What about the Walker boys----can I have them now?"
                                   

"I don't care what you do, old man----as long as you don't mess up my plans to take Angela!"
                                   

Sarge spits on the floor, "You can have your little whore--------excuse me---I have "guests" to take care of." Sarge starts back to the basement, he hasn't learned yet that one of his little
"guests" has escaped.
                                    

Kiwi motions for his aides to join him, Danny comes from back from the bathroom and joins them.
                                    

"Danny-----I have a job for you."
                                     

"What kind of job, Kiwi?"
                                      

"Just sit down and shut up----and I will explain--how we're getting to Angela."
                                       

"Don't forget, Kiwi---you promised her to me, first."
                                        

Kiwi puts his arm around Danny-----"I haven't forgotten, Danny-----but I'm disappointed in you for letting that nigger hang all over your girl, touching her like that."
                                        

Danny swallows, "How do you know about that----did you see them together?"
                                         

"Nothing escapes me, Danny----I have 'eyes' all over the place----I know when that damn ranger is getting new evidence on us , I know his every move, I know when that wife of his has Dr appointments for that little bastard she's carrying in her stomach, I know what days the little boy----what's his name , "LITTLE RAY" has classes to help him with his speech, I know when the Walker boys have made plans, and furthermore I know Angela's every move, and I have seen her with that NIGGER BOY!"
                                    

"I don't like him either, Kiwi---he hangs around a lot, and Angela seems to like him."
                                    

"That's because she's innocent, she's never known what it's like to be with a real man----and that's where you come in Danny. You want her, don't you?"
                                    

Danny smiles and brushes his blond hair back, "Of course I do----you said I could have her."
                                     

"And, you will Danny----I promise-----by this time next week----she will be all yours--now pay
attention."
                                      

Kiwi starts going over his plans as he hears Sarge yelling from the basement. Kiwi nods to Mickey and Sam to see what it's all about. They come running back to their boss---"The man is going berserk--------he's throwing that old man Ferguson around like he's a rag doll----shouting something about letting someone escape?"
                                   

Kiwi slams his fist down and starts to the basement, the others follow. Kiwi fans the air and coughs as he walks down into the musky smelling place, he sees his "Father" kicking and hitting
Hank---he motions for his 'aides' to get the big man off of the old rancher. The two men charge Sarge and knock him to the floor; the man is not much of a fighter ----without his "little friends' to back him up. Kiwi stares at the old rancher, Hank is smiling and reciting:
                              

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me always----and I will dwell in the house of the Lord."
                                

Kiwi smirks at Hank, "You sure put a lot of faith in this man---you call GOD----why isn't he helping you now, old man?"
                                 

Hank groans as he feels his broken ribs, "He -----is helping me----in ways---that you wouldn't understand-----a nonbeliever can't understand."
                                

"I understand that this GOD has stood by and watched you take beatings from my "Father" and he did nothing to help those troopers, and he's doing nothing to help you now----as your blood is draining away----how long will you keep your trust in this false idol?"
                                   

Hank continues to smile, "Until he comes for me-------we've talked-----he says----my work here----on earth is not through----I have a purpose---and -----he will show me the sign------then there will be a ----bright light---and I will go and be with my Martha."
                                

Kiwi laughs, "You just keep believing that, old man----as this God turns his back on you-----and you rot in hell."
                                 

Kiwi turns to Sarge, "Leave the old rancher alone, he's already got one foot in the grave----now what about someone escaping?"
                                 

Sarge tells Kiwi about the two little boys; Kiwi stomps around, cursing Sarge. He looks to his aides, "Don't just stand there gawking-----get out and start looking for this kid----and you know what to do----when you find him!"
                                  
****************************************************
                             

Walker ranch:
                              

The rangers have been briefing Terri on what her job will be, Walker is impressed, Terri seems to be very serious about her job.
                               

Walker nods slowly, "Okay---it's too risky to try anything now, this piece of crap knows that we will be extra cautious---we won't put the "decoy", I mean---we won't chance using you, Terri, until school starts back up on Monday."
                                

"Right," agrees Trivette----"in the meantime, the kids go about their usual business ----here around the ranch. On Monday, the twins and you Terri will walk back and forth to the bus
stop. Angela----you will make arrangements to get your school work sent over the computer----Alex----you have to put a block on someone trying to "hack"
in."
                                 

"I can do that-----where will you and Walker be?"


The Seekers 22-24

by Sasquaw         

Walker and Trivette exchange glances, "That's a good question, hon----we have to be very careful to stay out of sight, but yet close enough to nab this creep."

"So-----everything else goes as usual, we try to have a normal routine----in case----Kiwi is watching us?"

Walker reaches over and takes his wife's hand and squeezes it lightly, "Right-----and you can be for sure that the creep is watching---he always seems to know what we're up to----before we know it."

Terri looks to Angela, "I will have to watch your movements---to see how you carry yourself, the little personal traits that you have----like the way you always take both hands to the forehead and back, lifting your hair, and shaking your head."

Trivette smiles as he looks to Walker, the ranger nods, "See---I told you---Terri's good---didn't I tell you?"

Walker smiles and looks to Terri, "I was wrong about judging you----I'm sorry."

Terri nods, "A lot of people misjudge me, Ranger Walker---they see the package and don't bother to care about the contents inside."

"Okay, so here's where we are, I will give these home videos to Terri, she can study Angela's moves, she has some of her clothes, and we will look for a long wig and try to get it to Angela's color. On Monday we start the "set up". At first we will use Terri at the bus stop, but for the first couple of days, Angela is going to have to make an appearance at school. She'll be safe in class, but the real danger is in between. I will talk to the principal about what is going down, get her studies sent to your pc, Alex, after that----it's a waiting game."

Walker looks to his daughter, "What do you think, baby----do you agree with all of this? It's not too late to back down."

Angela sets her mouth, her bottom lip starts to quiver, "No Daddy----I'm not backing down---I want this creep off the streets, I want him to pay for what he's done to Darcy."

The phone rings and Walker gets up to answer it, he first checks the caller ID----it's the DPS. He talks for a few minutes and then hangs up.

"That was Capt. Yancey with DPS-----patrolman Norris and his partner haven't reported in since shift change---they can't get any response from the cruiser."                        

Trivette thinks a minute, "You just talked to the trooper around 5:30, that would have put him up on highway 199 about that time----."

Walker sighs, "But no one has heard anything from him since his shift change at 3pm. They have troopers looking for them."

"Oh God," gasps Alex--"I hope they're okay."
                           

Trivette and Terri get ready to leave, "Well, I'll be out on stakeout till 5am, I'll keep an eye out for them too---we'll see you later."

"Maybe, I should go with you Trivette----"

Trivette scoffs, "Are you kidding? I said I would take care of this evening, so you can spend the whole Thanksgiving day with your family----you covered for me last year---I'm returning the
favor----besides Alex is giving me that "look" that if I try to take you off---she will kill me!"

Alex nods her head as she stands and puts her arm around her husband's waist, "You got that right, Jimmy-----Walker is not going anywhere---not tonight."

Trivette grins and gives out a "Oooh, la-la See you tomorrow----Walk-man."

Angela yawns, "I'm going to bed----suddenly----I'm very tired---now if I can just sleep."

Alex hugs her daughter, and Walker kisses her cheek. "Night baby---see you in the morning."

As Angela is passing the twins' room, they call to her. She pokes her head into their room as Cooper jumps off the top bunk and runs to her. "Wow----that Terri is something else----huh, Cordell?"

"Yeah----are they for real, Angela?"

Angela stares back at them, "If you two don't pull your tongues back in your mouth---you're going to be tripping over them."

The twins start laughing and hitting each other, Cooper smirks, "I know she took some of your clothes, but, she can forget about wearing any of your blouses----she won't be able to get even
'one' inside----your blouses are going to be busting at the seams."

Cordell grins and gives his brother a high "five"----"Got that right bro'."

"You guys are pathetic----drooling over someone like that---she's almost old enough to be your Mother."

The twins continue to grin, "Her breasts are bigger than the latest model's in Playboy's centerfold ----they are humungous!"

"Yep," agrees Cordell -----"Uncle Jimmy can sure pick'em."

Angela rolls her eyes up into her head, and walks on. Cordell turns to his twin, "Maybe we should wake up Little Ray."

Cooper laughs, "What------and give him nightmares about there being TWO "boogiemen?"

The twins continue laughing as they head back to their beds. When Cordell stops laughing, he says very quietly---"Don't forget bro'----I want to go over and check on Mr. Ferguson
tomorrow morning."

Cooper yawns, "I haven't forgotten, wake me when you get up---goodnight."
                                    
***********************************************

Kiwi is trying to find a clean place in which to sit down. He makes a face at all the whiskey bottles and cigarette butts laying everywhere. He fans the air.

"Aren't there any air fresheners in this place? ----Mickey---- open a window----get this damn place aired out! Danny---get off your lazy butt and start cleaning this place up----it looks like a pig sty!"

Danny starts running around, trying to straighten things up----"Are you going to stay here tonight, Kiwi?"

Kiwi grimaces as he looks around, "I'm not sure -----does the rest of the house look as bad as this room?"

"The bedrooms upstairs aren't so bad-----Sarge took over Hank's bedroom----got it messed up pretty good. Usually, he just passes out in the basement----after-----you know?"

"Sam----go check out me a bedroom----and make sure I have clean sheets."

Sarge comes back up the basement, zipping up his pants. He throws his head back and finishes off the last of his bottle and throws it into the fireplace. Kiwi just stares at him and shakes his head, muttering---"You pig---you would be right at home in that hog pen."

"I take it that my other little 'guest" has evaded your goons?"

Kiwi sneers, "They couldn't find him, you'll just have to do with the 'one'----what's the matter-----getting tired of him, already?"

Sarge sneers back at him, "Yeah, he's getting worn out-----reminds me of how you were at that age----crying all the time---wanting your 'titty Mama'----but she could have cared less about you and she proved it, didn't she, Kyle?"

Kiwi's anger is showing as he stares back his "Father"----he replies softly, "Yeah----she proved it----while you were molesting me----she was sleeping with your buddies----right in plain view. And, she wasn't the least bit concerned about what you were doing to me."

Danny stops sweeping up the broken whiskey bottle and looks at Kiwi, he's never seen Kiwi look so sad, he has a far away look in his eyes. Kiwi sits down on the couch and plays with the scarf on his $2,000 coat, running his fingers back and forth. He smiles.

"But, she was sure pretty----that is, when she wasn't walking around covered in bruises from you, old man! She had beautiful long hair, and when the sun would hit it there was an auburn tint to it, it would shine so pretty. I would watch her sit and brush it----over and over again---to make it shine-----like-----like------Angela's hair."

Sarge laughs, "You mean that little whore that you and Danny are so hung up on? She's making a fool of both of you----she's got a little nigger boy that she's spreading her legs for."

Kiwi jumps off the couch and charges Sarge----"Shut your face, old man------or I will shut it for you! I will take care of that "BOY" that is hanging around her-----she's mine-------all mine!"

Danny stares at Kiwi, "What about me, Kiwi----you promised her to me?"

Kiwi shakes his head and walks over to Danny. "Danny, have you ever "had" a girl---have you ever had sex with a girl?"

Danny blushes, "No------I kissed a girl once----does that count?"

"No, Danny----that doesn't count. You see, a girl like Angela has to have someone that is 'experienced' in that department, because she's so innocent-----she has to have someone that knows all about sex."

"Why, Kiwi?"

Sarge starts laughing and Mickey joins in. Kiwi just frowns and tries to explain.

"Danny----if you had the chance to be with Angela and you two started to get down to business, she would laugh at you----because you wouldn't know how to please her."

Danny looks over at Sarge and turns his head back quickly as the old man is leering at him.

Kiwi sees the look, "It's different being with a girl, Danny---it's not like what you have experienced with that dirty old man-----believe me! A girl smells nice, and they are so soft, their
bodies are different and the pleasures from a woman are so different-----they leave you feeling "full"----but yet----you're wanting more."

Sam has come downstairs and listening to the explanation, "Yeah----they can make you feel like a wet noodle---and they have pleasure zones----you can't get enough of."

All of the men laugh, even Sarge.

"But, Kiwi-----I don't have to do those things you're talking about------I just want to hold her----you’re right----she smells so pretty. Every time she walks past me in school, I can smell her-----and earlier tonight at the Walker place----I was so close to her, that----that-----I was starting to feel funny, I was having trouble walking."

All the men break out in laughter, Sarge is starting to get angry. Mickey slaps his own leg and yells back at Danny, "You were having a 'hard' on'----you ignorant moron."

Danny looks to Kiwi, "I just know I felt funny----I almost wet my pants."

Kiwi is trying not to laugh, "Danny----you see what I'm trying to say, you didn't know what you were experiencing, someone with experience would have known that. If Angela had saw what was happening, she would have probably laughed, but she wouldn't laugh with someone that knew what they were doing. In simple words, Danny-----Angela needs someone to show her first, to----break her in---you might say."

Sarge sneers, "Like you-----Kyle? What do you know about pleasing a woman----you like the little boys too."

"I've been with many women, "FATHER"----and I know how to treat them---and I know how to make them follow orders! If you despise women so much, why did you ever sleep with my
Mother-----and why bother to have a child?"

Sarge's eyes bore into his sons'. Sam and Mickey back up, each wanting to know the explanation to this question.

"Because the military frowns on lovers of the same sex----it was necessary to take a wife-----to be the perfect officer. You don't know how hard it was to disguise my feelings for that slut when we had to make all the fancy dinners and award ceremonies. I cringed every time I had to touch her, the liquor helped, and "YOU" were the result of the only time I did touch her! I resented you then-----and I still resent you----every time I look at you, I'm reminded of her! We made arrangements, she wouldn't interfere with my business and I would make sure that she was well taken care of----she agreed to it-----all too eagerly!"

"And then, those journalists found out about your little club and all the pornography, and blew it right out of the water, huh, ‘FATHER’?"

"It was time to move on-----they did me a favor-----I've never regretted getting booted from the Army------I was tired of taking orders. Now, I can go where I please-----and do as I please."

"You are not FREE to do as you please, Sarge------if you don't stop taking those little kids-----you're going to mess up and the law will get you, and why here----at this place? You are less than 5 miles from that rangers' place?"

"Haven't you heard the old saying, "Hide it in plain sight----it can't be found?"

"You're dreaming, Sarge----your luck is going to run out-----you're not taking me down with you! Changes are going to be made around here."

"Changes for you? So you can grab the Walker girl-----then what?"

"Then we leave this stinking state and go somewhere else-----maybe another country."

Sam shakes his head, "You could go to another planet, boss---and that still won't be far away from that Ranger Walker!!! If you take his daughter----he'll never stop looking for you----he'll track you down----he won't give up!"

Kiwi stares back at Sam, "I don't recall asking for your opinion."

"He's right boss----we've been trying to tell you about this ranger----he's like a dog with a bone, he won't let it go. I've heard stories on this man----where his family is concerned----he's a madman! You haven't been in Texas long enough to hear the stories, but I can tell you plenty and so can the newspapers.  People like LaRue, Caleb, ---they all went after Walker's wife, he put them six feet under! But not before he beat the hell out of them first!"

"These people were ignorant-----they didn't use a diversion----with someone like this Walker----you have to toss him another bone---and when he goes after it----you close in, for the kill!"

They all stare back at Kiwi. "What are you up to, Kyle?"

Kiwi takes out his fingernail file, and answers quietly, "I have a plan-----and when Luther and the rest of the boys get here---we will see just how tough this Ranger Walker is! Now, do you think I can get something to eat around here?"

Danny speaks up, "I think I can put you a sandwich together----be right back," as he scurries to the kitchen, Sarge is walking behind him.

Sarge stands and watches Danny hustle around to make the sandwich, he keeps staring and then he reaches out and touches Danny's cheek.

"You've been spending a lot of time over at the Walker place, why don't you invite one of the boys over?"

"Are you crazy, Sarge-----they don't know that I'm staying here----they think I live downtown."

"Then----invite one of them to your so---called home----downtown."

"I can't do that Sarge----not after that phone call that Kiwi tried to make to Angela----the whole family will be on alert again."

Sarge thinks a minute then he calmly asks, "Danny-----isn't there another Walker kid----about 4 or 5 yrs old?"

Danny stops putting the sandwich together and looks back at the old man----"Yeah----they call him Little Ray---he's about 4, I think!"

"That's a nice age, Danny" smiles Sarge.

Danny shakes his head----"Kiwi said for you to lay low----to stop taking those little kids----you're going to get caught, aren't you listening?"

Sarge throws Danny up against the counter, "You and my "son" don't tell me what to do----you got that?" Sarge grabs the sandwich and takes a big bite out of it," and furthermore, Danny----you make sure that I am taken care of before you start waiting on that little "fruit" of a man that calls himself my son."

Sarge heads back to the basement and Danny tries to find enough food to make another sandwich for Kiwi.
                                          
*************************************************

Walker ranch, 5am---the phone rings.

Alex mumbles a "hello"------"Yes---just a moment."

She looks over her shoulder as Walker takes his right arm from around her waist and reaches for the phone. "Okay, I'll be right there-----notify the parents."

Walker hands the phone back to his wife and he leans back in bed, shaking his head slowly.

"Honey------what is it?"

Walker starts getting out of bed, he answers, "They found a body----a young girl about Darcy's age, they're pretty sure it's her---she fits the description."

Alex rises up in bed and she thinks of Angela, "Should I tell her what you suspect?"

"Not yet-------I'll call you when I find out for sure."

The twins are having cold cereal when Walker comes down to the kitchen, he looks at them and notices they are already warmly dressed. He heads for his coffee pot.

"Why are you two up so early?"

"We always get up early, Dad---want me to fix you some breakfast?"

"No thanks, Cordell---I got to run----I want you two to stay close to the house today."

"We will, but first----we're going to ride over to Ferguson's place and make sure he's okay."

Walker shakes his head, "Not today! I want you to stay home."

The twins look at each other, "We heard your phone ring---what's wrong, Dad?"

"The police think they've found Darcy---that's where I'm going now-----to help identify her."

Cooper sighs, "Geez-----it's been almost a month------her parents are going to be crushed--if this turns out to be her"!

"What about Angela----how do you think this is going to affect her? ---They've been friends since the first grade."

"Which is why---I want you two to stay close----I will give you a call when I know for sure----and if it's her---your sister is going to need all of you near her. So----will you please stay home this day, and tomorrow you can check on Hank----deal?"

"Sure, Dad----we'll find something to do here."

After Walker leaves, Cordell goes to the phone and dials Hank's number, he gets a busy signal.

"I'll call again later."

Cordell sneezes and goes to get Kleenex to wipe his nose. "Darn allergies----I thought I was over this darn cold. Hey Coop----since we have to stay close to home, wanna wire the speakers up in the attic?"

"Sure, why not-----when did Mom say she would order the carpet?"

Little Ray comes stumbling into the kitchen, his boots clomping on the tile floor, he's still in his jammies and has his hat pulled down tight.

"Me hungry 'ordell."

Cordell sneezes again, "Okay, little brother----I'll get some cereal. When you get through with the bowl, put it in the sink, rinse it first-----and don't get milk and sugar all over the
kitchen."

Cordell gets his little brother settled at the table and he and Cooper head to the attic. The boy is munching away at his cereal; he does not notice the shadow go past the kitchen window. From where he's sitting, he can be seen from the door leading out into the laundry room. The shadow is gently trying to turn the doorknob, but it's locked. The figure silently observes the little boy as he finishes a second bowl of cereal, the figure pulls his elbow back and starts to break the glass.

"Hi sweetheart," a voice calls out.

The figure backs away from the door as he sees a blond headed lady walking into the kitchen. She stops and takes the boy's hat off and then kisses the top of his head.

"Did you get enough to eat, sweetheart---want some more?"

"No, Mommy----me full," the little boy takes his bowl to the sink and then pulls the step ladder up to the sink, climbs up and runs warm water over the bowl. He then pushes the ladder back out of the way, and runs to his Mother.

She grabs him and pulls him up into her lap, "Thank you, sweetheart-----you are such a big help, helping Mommy like this."

The boy gently touches his Mother's tummy, "Baby hungry, too?"

Alex smiles and holds him tighter, "Yes----sometimes the baby gets hungry, but Mommy will take care of the baby when she eats."

Little Ray looks up at her and then back to her stomach and pats it, "Mommy----how baby get in there?"

Alex laughs, "I have a good idea----when Daddy gets home---ask him."

"Will Daddy know?"

"Oooooh yes----Daddy will know----and he just loves trying ----to answer your questions, okay----now go get out of your jammies and get dressed----see if Sissy is up."

Little Ray reaches for his hat and runs back to the stairs. The figure continues to watch for a moment, then leaves.
                                   
********************************************

Hank has tried to move around as much as possible to keep his muscles from stiffening up. Danny has brought him some soup, and he forces it down. He watched Danny as Danny took food to the other little boy, the boy just cried and Danny walked away. Hank crawled over to the boy and tried to comfort him, the boy cried louder-----seeing only another man that was trying to touch him. Hank spoke softly to the boy, the boy refused to look at him.  Hank crawled back to his usual spot.

Kiwi sees the flags lying on the table by the front door, he turns to Danny and tells him to raise them on the flagpole and then Kiwi spots the "33" sitting out.

"Sam, what do you know about old cars and trucks?"

"Enough to know that's a classic and shouldn't be sitting out in all kinds of weather."

He yells to Danny, "Who left that truck out, Danny?"

Danny is trying to get the flags straight, the wind is not helping, "Hank drove it out----said there was not enough room for both his autos to go in the garage----and if his wife's car was left out---it would cause suspicion."

Kiwi grins, "Is that so? You think you're pretty smart, don't you, Hank.-----Sam, put that truck back in and lock the garage up tight."

"What about Sarge's car"?

"Drive it into the barn, next to Mickey's and cover them  up ---- speaking of my dear "Father", where is he?"

Sam shakes his head, "Don't know, he was gone when I got up----must have took off walking somewhere."

Kiwi curse, "The idiot! His brain is fried from all of those injections he gives himself-----if he's looking for another victim, I swear----------"

The back door closes and Sam turns around to Kiwi, "I think that's your long lost "Father" now."

Kiwi stares back at Sarge, "Did you lock the door behind you, FATHER DEAREST?"

Sarge lets out a curse word, goes back to the door, opens it and slams it shut, turning the dead bolt. "Happy?"

"Where have you been?"

"None of your damn business----where's my whiskey?"

"You stupid idiot, the old rancher has made a fool of you, and you didn't even notice."

"What are you talking about?"

"Has the old man had any visitors in the last 48 hrs?"

Sarge narrows his eyes, "Just those two boys that brought over the old man's Thanksgiving dinner to him."

Kiwi curses, "What two boys?

"One was one of the Walker boys, the other was that nigger boy that is always hanging around----they were only here for a few minutes-----they never came inside. I listened to everything that was said------they know nothing.

"Did they notice the old truck sitting out?"

Sarge glares back at Kiwi, "Why all the questions?"

"Just answer me, old man----did they see the truck?"

"Yes! They saw the truck----but they didn't think anything of it----they took down the flags and then left. They were arguing about who was going to drive the truck back that they came over in."

"And, just how soon after the boys leave ---did those troopers show up?"

Sarge finds his bottle and takes a long drink, "How the hell should I know? About half an hour or so----why?"

Kiwi shakes his head and looks at Sam, "Why did they come here, old man? What kind of questions did they ask?"

"They didn't have time to ask a lot of questions---I heard one of them shout to Hank that he was just checking to make sure he was okay, after that----the troopers got terrible pains in their necks."

Sarge starts laughing hysterically, and Kiwi and Sam just stare at him.

Sam sighs, "It sure didn't take the highway patrol long to start looking for them."

"Yeah, and it won't be long till they come around here, asking questions."

Sarge continues to laugh, "Let'em ask questions-----I'll be more than glad to answer them."

Kiwi is pacing the floor. "Sam----go down to the basement and bring Hank up here-----we have to keep him alive in case the cops come snooping around----and they will---because of you, old man! Why did you have to kill them"?

Sarge sneers, "Because I wanted to-----the hogs were hungry!"

Kiwi turns his back to his "Father" and whispers, "I will take care of you------the same way I took care of "HER", and you will die just as slow."                                

Sarge is finishing his bottle and thinking of the little Walker boy, he was so close to grabbing him----if it hadn't been for her! He curses, all of his life, women have fouled him up, in some way. 
He thinks back to the woman that bore him a son, he curses her. He thinks of the blond headed woman that messed up his plans for grabbing the Walker boy.

"You will pay for this, slut!"
                                  
************************************************

Angela stares back at her Mother and asks softly, "Is Daddy sure that it’s Darcy?"

Alex nods her head, "Yes, sweetheart----her parents-----identified------her ----remains."

Angela says nothing as she walks out of the kitchen, Cordell starts to go after her, but Alex pulls him back.

"She needs time alone-----she knows we're here----if she needs us."

Angela goes to her room and very slowly pulls out an old photo album, she looks at the pictures and runs her fingers across the picture of her, Dana, and Darcy----the very first picture taken of
them together----at Angela's 6th birthday party. She sits for the longest, just looking at the picture and then she starts to cry----"You can rest in peace now, Darcy. My Daddy will find Kiwi for you and he will make him pay---I promise you that."
                              
*************************************************

The Seekers XXIII

The twins do not get to keep their promise about checking on Hank, all of the Walker boys are down with the flu. Alex and Angela are doing double time trying to tend all of them, Walker and Trivette are at the Greenwood wrecking yard, a cruiser has been found.

"We got the lab boys going over what is left of it, they'll let us know if they find anything," answers Trivette.

"It's not looking good, partner----no one has seen or heard from the troopers since Thanksgiving Day."

Trivette nods, "The last ones to see them were J.W. and Cordell---around 5:30."

Walker sighs, "Yep, ---and I've questioned Cordell over and over again, to see if there was anything he forgot to mentioned, about if they said where they were going next---Nothing!"

"This trooper Smith said he was on 199 the last two days, because trooper Norris and his partner were looking for the those two little boys that disappeared up around Wichita Falls. Then on Thanksgiving day, the two troopers were re-assigned to the stretch of 199, all the way down to Lake Worth and past Trinity Park and back. Their shift had just started when they came upon Trooper Smith getting ready to throw the book at our sons for their little "joy" ride. Trooper Smith said that Trooper Norris had insisted on taking over the citation, and told Smith to sign off."

Walker nods, "Yeah, it's a good thing that Trooper Mike did take over, or our sons would have been spending some time in jail."

Trivette looks to his partner, "Aside from talking to you, there was no other radio contact from the troopers on where they were going next. Weren't they patrolling that stretch of highway near the Ferguson ranch?"

"Yeah, before they were put on the missing boys---what about Smith, what was his last report on that?"

Trivette reaches for his memo pad, "Trooper Smith made a stop at the Ferguson ranch, the day before Thanksgiving, said he talked to Hank Ferguson, all was okay."

Walker scratches his chin, "The boys took dinner over to Hank about 5:00, does your report say anything about trooper Smith being there on that day?"

"Nope----Smith says he drove by the ranch house a couple of times, but didn't stop."

"This trooper Smith is quite young, and not as through as Trooper Norris would be. I believe that if Norris and his partner hadn't checked on Hank in several days, that they would definitely be checking on him when their usual assignment came back to them. ----Let's go check on Hank, see if he can tell us anything."

The rangers are walking back to the Ram when a call is being dispatched to them, a young boy has been found---and he's wearing trooper Mike's nametag!
                      
*********************************************************

Hank has been allowed to stay upstairs, where his strength is slowly coming back to him. Danny has been ordered to take care of him, giving him fresh fruits and vegetables. Each time the young man comes near him, Hank spits at him.

The men laugh as Danny gets all flustered and kicks back at the old rancher.

"You best be nice to me, old man----I'm keeping you alive."

Hank glares back at Danny, "You call this "living"----you worthless piece of crap-----" Hank looks around at the other men, "all of you are going to rot in hell!"

Kiwi is primping in front of the hall mirror, adjusting his wig and running his fingers across his brows. He looks towards Hank and sneers, "Careful, Hank----you're starting to get on my nerves---I might just decide to kill you and get it over with."

Hank sneers back at him, "You're not going to kill me----you need me to keep talking to those police officers that keep coming by. Your luck is not going to last forever---you're going to slip up and they will blow all of you away."

Sarge lunges at Hank and knocks him to the floor, the old rancher just laughs at him. "You're such a big man, aren't you---picking on an old man that already has one foot in the grave and still weak from those damn needles----if I were ten years younger, I would give you a fight you would remember."

Sarge kicks him, "I don't have to kill you---but if you don't stop shooting off your mouth---I will start feeding you to your hogs----one limb at a time----got that, old man?"

Hank laughs, "You talk big----but there is someone you're deathly afraid of, or you cowards would have already made your move----whatever that is."

Kiwi stops his primping and walks in front of Hank, staring at him. "Tell me, old man----just who do you think we are afraid of?"

Hank spits at Kiwi's fee, "CORDELL WALKER, TEXAS RANGER----that's who!"

All of the men stop and stare at Kiwi, Sam and Mickey nod their heads. "He's right, boss----why can't we just move on and forget about the Walker girl?"

Hank's eyes grow big as he stares at Kiwi, "Angela?-----That's why you're hanging around----you're wanting my friends' daughter----why?"

Sarge smiles, "My "son" thinks he's a ladies' man----and he wants to show this little slut---the error of her ways----to pluck her from the innocence of her cocoon, to give her wings-----a bunch of crap----if you ask me!"

Danny is standing silently by Kiwi, he asks softly, "Kiwi----you're not going to hurt her---are you----you said I could have her."

Hank looks at Danny, "You piece of crap----you're in on this plan to take Angela?"

Danny turns to Hank and backhands him, surprised at his own strength, "I told you to stop talking to me that way---you got no right."

Hanks grabs the side of his face and charges at Danny, the two start fighting and Hank is more than holding his own with the young man, who is a good 40 yrs younger and in better shape. Kiwi nods to his goons to break it up.

The old rancher is still swinging at Danny, "I will kill you if you hurt that girl---or any of those kids---do you hear me---you worthless piece of dog meat!"

"ENOUGH-----OLD MAN----or you will get another injection," shouts Kiwi.

Kiwi turns to Sarge, "Do you think you can keep things under control till we get back? That means "totally under control" and not being down in the basement with your little ‘toy’."

"Do what you have to do," snaps Sarge, "I won't kill anyone unless I tell you first---happy?"
                           

Kiwi and his two goons go to meet with Luther, and Danny starts straightening things up again. Hank continues to glare at him.
                                 
*************************************************

Angela is staring at the twins, Cooper is having a difficult time in keeping his soup down, he keeps running to their bathroom and throwing up. Angela makes a face and then goes to sit down on Cordell's bed, beside him.

"What about you, want some more soup?"

Cordell shakes his head, "No thanks, Sis---it would only come up again----how is Little Ray doing?"

Angela sighs, "He's okay, as long as Mom is holding him----his temperature is down and Mom is keeping cool rags on him. But, he's running her ragged, wanting her to hold him all the time."

"Poor little guy---------it seems we always get sick right after Thanksgiving or right before Christmas---and I always seem to be the one that gets it started with all of my allergies, then the sniffles start, Cooper catches it from me---and then Little Ray gets it."

Cooper comes out of the bathroom, all doubled over--"Maybe after you move to the attic---I won't be catching your colds."

Angela frowns, "Mom says that's how you two got it this year by spending too much time in the attic, there's no heat up there yet."

Cordell tries to take a bite of soup, "How come you never get sick, Angela?"

Angela gives her brother that ‘look’, "Because I'm sweet----that's why."

Cooper groans, "Oh gawd---give us a break Angela, our stomachs are already churning like washing machines."

"Well----it does prove one thing---that women are stronger than men----if Mom and I got sick, this whole house would fall apart---because you guys can't take care of yourselves---it's a proven fact. And, when Daddy gets sick---he's worse than all of you put together."

Cordell groans, "Dad hardly ever gets sick, I can't remember the last time he was sick."

"That's because he won't admit when he's sick---Mom has to threaten him to make him admit it and then, only then will he take it to bed."

Cooper looks at his sister and frowns, "How does Mom threaten Dad?"

Angela puts her hands on her hips and stares back at Cooper, "Mom has her ways, and you , Mr. Ladies Man should know what I'm referring to!"

Cordell shakes his head, "Do you think you two could stop arguing for a few minutes-----Angela, will you call Mr. Ferguson's number again?"

"I just called a couple of hours ago---the line is still busy."

"Something isn't right, who could he be talking to all this time? Maybe his phone is out of order?"

Angela nods her head and tosses her long hair back, "Okay, I'll call one more time, if I get another busy signal, I will ride over there and check on him, alright?-----I sure will be glad when I get my drivers' license."

Cooper laughs, "You got to pass the written test first."

"I passed the written test."

"Just barely."

"The fact is, I passed it----and when J.W. gets his car---he can give me driving lessons."

Cooper smirks, "I can see it now---it will be like the blind teaching the blind----because you two can't keep your eyes off each other, much less your hands, and you will both end up in for countless traffic citations."

Cordell nods, "Yeah, Angela----you and J.W. better put some ice on this flirting----before Dad nails you both to the barn door."

Cooper grimaces, "Yuk----nailed flesh---that's gross," and he runs back to the bathroom, and is soon throwing up his insides again.

Angela shakes her head, "That brother of yours is so weird----maybe he did land on his head and Mom and Dad have just been denying it all these years."

"Angela-----what are you talking about?"

"Nothing---forget it. I'm going to make that call now---anything you want me to get you?"

"No, Sis----I'm okay---just check on Mr. Ferguson."

Angela goes downstairs and into the kitchen, her Mom is still holding her baby brother, and wiping his forehead with a washrag.

"Did the twins eat anything, sweetheart?"

"Cordell ate a little soup, Cooper couldn't keep his down."

"What about their temps?"

Angela smiles, "They're both normal--- at least temperature wise---that is! Little Ray---are you still making Mom hold you? You're too big to be held like this all of the time."

The boy shakes his head and snuggles closer to his Mother, Alex kisses the top of his forehead, "He's not too big to be cuddled, Angela----I remember when you were older than him and still wanted to be cuddled when you were sick. But, mostly---you wanted your Daddy to cuddle you.  As soon as he came in that door, you wanted him to hold you, and he was only too obliging. You were in his arms constantly."

Angela smiles, "Yeah, I guess I was a spoiled brat."

Alex smiles, "WAS a spoiled brat? Sweetheart---you are still spoiled----and you will be a spoiled brat for the rest of your life, as long as your Daddy has anything to say about it."

"Are you feeling, okay, Mom---it can't be too comfortable with Little Ray up in your lap all the time, aren't you afraid he'll hurt the baby?"

"The baby is fine, Angela-----I guess you could see this as a  "bonding" time for the baby and your little brother. But mostly, I want to tell you how much I appreciate you taking care of the twins while I take care of these two little varmints."

"No problem, Mom. Are you and Daddy going to have a ultra sound to find out the baby's sex?"

"We'll have the ultra sound to make sure the baby is healthy---but I don't want to know the sex, I like the suspense."

"But, you knew the sex of the twins before they were born?"

Yes, but that's only because I was having some problems and when they showed up on the monitor, it was VERY obvious that at least one was a boy. Then your Daddy insisted on knowing the sex of the other and he pestered me till I gave in. When the other showed up being a boy too, I thought your Daddy was never going to land. -----And the very first person that he told was YOU---he was grinning from ear to ear and telling you over and over again, that you were going to have TWO little brothers."

Angela frowns, "Did I cry when he told me?"

"No---honey---you didn't cry----you must have thought he was playing a game with you, because you kept slapping his cheek and laughing."

"Mom, I was probably trying to slap some sense into him and telling him I was leaving home, I wasn't laughing, I was delirious."

Alex can see her daughter trying to hide the smile, "Oh Angela----the way you carry on about the twins sometimes, a stranger would think that you hated them!"

"I don't hate them, Mom----I think I'm getting used to them being around---besides we've kept them past the "trial period" and it's too late to send them back!"

Angela gets up to make her phone call, and Alex just shakes her head and whispers to Little Ray, "You got one heck of a big sister there, she tries to sound so tough, but she loves all of you guys---you know that, don't you?"

Little Ray nods his head and snuggles closer, "Me love, Thissy, too."

Angela sighs as she hangs the phone back up, "Guess there's no other choice----I promised I would go over there."

Alex looks to her daughter, "Go where, sweetheart?"

"Over to the Ferguson ranch---I promised the twins if I couldn't get a hold of him this time that I would ride over there----guess I'd better get Sadie saddled."

"You'll do no such thing, Angela! You are not riding over there in this cold, that's all I need is for you to get sick on me---I have to go to the market anyway and get more soup for the twins----I will drive you over."

Little Ray squirms around, "Me go too, Mommy."

"Yes, you can go too, but you and I will stay in the truck while Sissy checks on Hank-----go get you a heavy jacket----scoot."
                                  
*****************************************************

Walker and Trivette have arrived at Trinity hospital, going to the young boys' room. The parents have been notified and several police officers are in the room and standing guard outside.

The rangers introduce themselves to the boys' parents. The boy is refusing to answer any questions, and his Mother is holding him as Walker and Trivette walk into the room.
                             

Walker goes to the little boy and kneels down in front of him so that the boy can see his badge. The boy starts screaming and pushing him away.

Trivette nods to Walker, "I just talked to the officers that found him, they picked him up near the park, walking around in a daze, half frozen, one of his shoes is missing. He refuses to talk and was scared to death of the officers. They tried asking him about that nametag that is pinned to his shirt, but he just shakes and screams for them to leave him alone! I talked to the Doctor that examined him, he said it would be best to wait until morning to ask him anything else."

Walker shakes his head, "Poor kid---there's no telling what he's been through."

Trivette bites his bottom lip, "He was---assaulted----several times----over a period of several days."

"Okay, let's get out to the site where he was found, maybe we will find something there, --we'll check back on the boy."
                               
**************************************************

Danny sees the SUV pulling into Hank's driveway and coming towards to the ranch house. He jumps up from the sofa and yells to Sarge.

Hank is sitting near the fireplace as he rises and starts towards the window. Danny pushes him back.

"Stay back Hank----and don't try anything."

Sarge pulls the curtain back a little, "Who is it?"

Danny remembers the SUV that they rode over to the stockyards in on Thanksgiving day.

"It's Mrs. Walker's," answers Danny.

Hank takes a deep breath, and Sarge shoves him against the wall, and puts a needle up in his face. "If you so much as even 'hint' that there is anything wrong--I will not only shove this needle so far into your jugular, but I will kill everyone that is in that truck, do you understand me?"

Hank sneers, "I understand----I won't do anything to hurt innocent people----please----just don't hurt them----I will get rid of them."

Sarge steps behind the door and nods to Danny to watch the old rancher and stay of sight. Sarge watches as the SUV stops and a girl with long beautiful hair steps out and starts up the stairs. Sarge smiles to himself as he watches Danny. Sarge whispers to himself, "How ironic that my "son" is not here----the prey has come to the spider, and the spider is not in his web."

The Seekers XXIV

Hank opens the door slowly and smiles as the young lady walks up the steps. She's all smiles as she reaches out to take his hand.

"Hi, Mr. Ferguson---it's good to see you again. The twins have been worried about you, I said I would come over to make sure you're okay."

Danny is watching from the far window, as Sarge is grinning to himself and playing with the syringes. Danny looks out to the SUV and he sees Alex looking back at the house. He sees a small figure bouncing around inside the truck, Sarge has noticed the figure too. He straightens up, as the smile on his face turns into elation.

Alex is trying to settle Little Ray down as the boy has heard the hogs again. His little face turns to horror as he reaches for the safety of his Mother.

"Mommy----go home----pig will eat me."

"We will go as soon as Angela gets through checking on Hank----honey everything is okay, the pigs can't get into the truck-----I have the doors locked."

"Make Thissy come back to truck---me 'thared."

The boy scrambles to his Mothers' lap, putting both his legs around her and burying his face into her neck, and squeezing her. Alex can barely breathe.

"You are safe Little Ray---the pigs can't get out of their pens and if they do----I will get my gun out and shoot them.

Sarge is pulling away from the window, and walking towards the backdoor. Danny tries to call out to him softly without Angela hearing them. He groans, knowing that Sarge is after the Walker boy. He can't move from his location or Angela will see him. He finally gets Hank's attention, and motions for him to get rid of Angela.

Hank can see that Sarge is no longer at the window, and the hair is standing up on his neck as he sees the fear in Danny's eyes.

Hank tells Angela again that he's okay and he will call the twins soon.

Angela nods and starts to back away, "What about your phone, are you having trouble with it?"

Hank shakes his head, and nudges Angela down the stairs. "I was having some trouble---but all is okay----I even talked to my daughter----she's coming to see me----real soon."

Angela watches the old man's eyes, as they keep going from her, and back to the side of the house.

Hank looks at Angela, and contemplates how fast could they get to Alex's truck. The truck has been left running because of the cold. He wants to tell her to run, to run as fast as she can back to her Mother. He sees Sarge coming around the side of the house. He can feel, Danny's eyes burning into him, he can't take the chance.

"You best be getting on home----I'll call the twins tomorrow---you tell them that---now go!"

Angela smiles faintly and goes back to the truck. Alex waves at Hank and they start to pull out, going down the driveway towards the pigpen to turn around. Sarge curses as he looks back at the old man standing in the doorway. Hank looks back at him, sneers, then he flips Sarge "the bird."

As the truck nears the pigpen, Little Ray starts screaming, going from his Mother and back to his big sister. They both try to console him, the boy is screaming at his Mother to go faster, to get past them.

Angela fans the air, "I know why you find them so disgusting, Mom---they stink.

Alex nods her head, "I thought it was just me thinking the smell was even more putrid today."

Angela makes a face, "It's a good thing that Daddy came too his senses about raising pigs---I would definitely be going to live with Grandpa if he hadn't! Right, little brother?"
                          "Mommy----go home----go faster!"
                          
******************************************************

The rangers have gone over the site where the little boy was found, no new evidence has been found.

"I just got off the phone with the boy's doctor----the boy is still refusing to talk----they had to clear out the officers---the boy is scared to death to have any man around him----including his Father!"

Walker shakes his head, "That son of a bitch has done a real number on him---that boy will never be able to trust anyone in his life again. What about a child specialist?"

Trivette nods, "They're bringing one in tomorrow---meanwhile I've got security ‘beefed' up---outside his room, and a policewoman is inside---pretending to be a nurse."

Walker stares back at him, "And---we have your girlfriend who IS a nurse----"PRETENDING" to be a policewoman."

"Yep----and as soon as the twins are ready and Angela---we'll start the decoy with Terri, School starts back up on Monday-----think the boys will be over the flu by then?"

"I hope so----in the meantime---let's take one more trip back to the hospital. I know we've missed something, Trivette---it's right before us----and we can't see it."
                            
*******************************************************

Sarge is furious as he starts hitting Hank repeatedly. Danny is trying to pull them apart, the old rancher is laughing at them.

"I probably did you a favor, you piece of slime. I know Alex Walker, and I know she can be a little spitfire---especially where her kids are concerned. She would mop up the floor with you-------and this piece of crap that stands beside you."

"Your time is numbered, old man----I will dismember you while you are alive----and you can watch as I feed your remains to the hogs. I think I will start with your tongue."

Hank continues to laugh, "I'm ready to meet my maker------Martha is waiting for me---we will join hands with those that have passed before us---those young troopers that you killed, and all of those---innocent little kids. We will walk beside "HIM", when he passes judgment on your souls---he will send you to the fires of hell----he will show no mercy!"
                                   
*******************************************************

Walker ranch: Late evening

"What are you trying to do, Dad----kill us?"

The bearded man replies, "No---I'm trying to make you feel better----now drink this."

The twins look at the green liquid inside the Mason jar, and then to their Dad.

Cordell grimaces, "Dad----didn't you try to get us to drink of that stuff the last two times we were sick?"

"Yeah----and it still smells just as bad," Cooper adds.

Walker takes a small sip, "It doesn't taste all that bad--- don't pay any attention to the smell---just throw your heads back and swallow."

Cordell takes the liquid and looks at it. "What's in this stuff anyways?"

"I don't know for sure," replies Walker, "All I know is that it's from a secret recipe that White Eagle conjured up, many moons ago. It's tribal medicine, and it has all kinds of herbs and spices in it."

Cooper swallows and taps the glass, "What are those little things crawling around inside?"

"They're centipedes, they keep the medicine from losing it's potency, they are very high in protein."

The boys groan, they've been on many camping trips where Walker has forced them to eat off the land, not even allowing them to carry water canteens, drinking the moisture from stones to survive. They've eaten every kind of insect and bug imaginable, seeing slimy insects crawling around in their food or water is not totally unheard of.

Cooper sighs and takes the jar from his brother, "I remember Mom and Uncle Jimmy having to drink this stuff---they're still alive---so it can't be all bad."

The boy puts his head back and takes a long swallow, then his eyes grow big as the liquid burns at his stomach. He starts trying to clear his throat; his face is turning red---then a pale green. He shoves the jar back to his brother and runs to their bathroom. Soon his brother and his Father hear him throwing up his insides. Cordell looks to his Father.

"I think I'll pass on the miracle drug----my head is already pounding and all of that vomiting sure isn't going to help."

Walker nods and tightens the lid back down, "Okay, son---- I'll make you a hot toddy later."

Cooper emerges from the bathroom to get fresh clothes and he goes stumbling to his side of the room, tripping over his boots. Walker goes to the boys' bed and starts putting clean sheets on it, Cordell helps him. Cooper heads back to the showers."                                

"What about that little boy---has he told the police anything yet?"

"No----he's scared to death---especially of male figures."

"But--he had trooper Mike's badge---he won't say how he got it?"

Walker watches as Cordell tucks the sheet in, smoothing out every wrinkle, he does the same with the bedspread. The corners are snug, as Cordell continues to smooth the wrinkles , making the bedspread, military tight--the way Walker taught them when they were very small. Obviously the only one to remember this training is Cordell!!

"No----nothing. A child specialist is coming in tomorrow, they may have to sedate him, or even hypnotize him. That's up to the parents to approve it."

Cooper comes out of the bath and falls down on his perfectly made bed, throwing the bedspread back and crawling in. He tosses around till the sheets are all messed up, then he calmly falls
asleep. Walker looks at Cordell, and shrugs his shoulders.

"I don't know how anyone can sleep that way---he's not content unless everything around him is in complete shambles," mutters Cordell.

Walker sighs, "Well---as long as he's happy-----I'll have Angela bring up the hot toddy for you, it'll help get rid of your cough---goodnight, son."

"Goodnight, Dad."

Walker goes to the kitchen and makes the drink for his son, and Angela takes it up to him. Alex and Little Ray are sitting in Walker's recliner with the boy is all snuggled up to her.

Walker sits down on the hassock in front of the chair. He picks Alex's feet up and starts to massage them gently.

He nods towards his son, "And, how was your day, buckaroo?"

"Big pig----he stink."

Alex tells her husband about their visit to Hank. Walker is very surprised to hear that Hank's daughter will be coming for a visit.

Little Ray looks to his Daddy and then back to his Mother’s tummy. He touches it softly.

"Daddy-----how baby get in Mommy's tummy?"

Alex smiles as she watches her husband's brows arch. "Yes---honey---how 'did' the baby get in my tummy?"

Walker squeezes her toes, causing her to yelp. "You're not going to make me answer that---are you?"

"Inquisitive mind wants to know dear----and you got the floor."

Walker looks to Little Ray, his big blue eyes stare back at him. Walker stammers, "How did we explain to Angela and the twins?"

Alex laughs, "I seem to recall you telling Angela that the hospital had a two for one sale, as for the twins---by the time I was expecting Little Ray---they already had a pretty
good idea where babies come from."

Angela comes back downstairs and goes to sit on the couch, listening to her Father try to explain the birds and the bees. The more he tries to explain, the harder Alex laughs at him and Little
Ray is staring back at him in total confusion, saying he doesn't want another baby in the house, he wants to be the baby.

Finally, Angela stands up and goes over to the chair and kneels down in the floor beside the recliner.

She reaches over and takes his hand, "Hey, little brother-----you want to know where babies come from---I'll tell you."

Walker and Alex exchange glances, "Uhhh … sweetheart----be careful what you're saying---he's a little young to know the specifics."

"Relax, Mom---I'll handle this. You and Daddy have always said to be honest about things, right?"

"Well---yes---but explaining how a baby is---"conceived" to a 4 and a half year old --has to be handled with---- caution. He won't understand what you're saying."

Angela frowns and looks back to her Father, "Oh, yes, he will, about as much as I was to understand that the hospital was having a two for one sale---and all of a sudden---I got two
squalling baby brothers keeping me from getting my beauty sleep."

Walker laughs, "Well, baby------you sure didn't lose any precious sleep----you were beautiful from the day you were born----and you get even more beautiful as each day passes," Walker looks to his wife, "and, you got your Mother to thank for your beauty------you're beautiful just like her."

Alex smiles and reaches out and touches her husband's cheek, "Thank you, sweetheart."

Angela groans, "Are you two lovebirds through 'cooing' at each other? Can we please get back to the burning question?"

Both Walker and Alex slowly nod their heads for Angela to continue..

"Okay, little brother---this is the true facts---all in a nutshell. Now listen closely, cause I don't think Mommy and Daddy could go through a second explanation----are you listening?"

Little Ray nods his head, "Me listen, Thissy---okay."

Angela squeezes her brothers' hand gently, "When a man and a woman fall in love ---like Mommy and Daddy---they have this these feelings between them---very special feelings that make them feel all good inside.----And, these feelings get to be so big that they want to share those feelings with a special person, and that special person is a baby. So, they ask God to help them bring that 'special person' to them, and he does, he sends down special little seeds of life. You do know that all living things come from seeds, right, little brother?"

Little Ray just looks at his sister and then to his parents. Alex is staring back with her mouth open and Walker is about ready to fall off the footstool. The boy looks back to his sister, and
nods his head slowly.

"Like fowers?"

"Yeah----that's it, little brother---like flowers. Okay, so now, God gives Daddy a very "special' seed----and he gives it to Mommy, and Mommy puts it in her tummy----so it can grow. All children grow from these "special seeds", you too, Little Ray----you grew inside Mommy's tummy---just like this little baby is doing."

"You too, Thissy?"

Angela nods her head, "Yes, me too."

Little Ray looks towards the stairs, "and 'ordell and 'ooper too?"

Angela frowns, "Well----they're debatable---but, yeah---them too."

Little Ray looks to his Mommy's tummy again and pats it gently, "But---me big----baby is little---will it come out of Mommy's tummy ---big like me?"

"It's still growing, Little Ray. When the baby comes out, it will be this big," Angela stretches her hands out so far, "and then, when the baby gets out, the baby will grow bigger---just like you
did."

The boy shakes his head, "Me no wanna a baby, baby stay in Mommy's tummy---okay?"

Walker gives out a sigh as he looks to his wife, they both stare back at Angela, wondering how she will handle that question.

Angela smiles, "No. Little Ray----the baby wants to come out---cause you know why?"

Little Ray's eye grows big, "Why?"                                    

Angela reaches over and takes her brothers' hand and rests it on her Mothers' stomach, "Because---this baby is going to be able to say something that no other baby in the world can say----and that is----LITTLE RAY IS MY BIG BROTHER!"

The boy stares back his sister, "Weally?"

Angela nods, "Yes, Little Ray----you are going to have a baby brother or sister, and you will finally be a big brother instead of a baby brother, and guess what? You will be able to protect your little brother or sister, teach him or her all kinds of important things, and the baby will be so proud of you, the baby will brag about you all the time saying what a great 'big brother' you are---won't that be great?"

"Can me play with the baby?"

Alex smiles and kisses Little Ray's head, "Of course you can honey, when the baby gets older."

Little Ray says nothing as he stares back at his parents and sister, "Will the baby eat all my cookies?"

They all laugh as Angela hugs her baby brother, "I will bake you an extra batch and we will hide them from the baby, how's that? Now do you understand where babies come from, they come from 'love seeds' that are shared between Mommies and Daddies---understand?"

"Yeath----and baby will grow big and come out of Mommy's tummy---like me did."

Angela gives her brother a 'high five'----"You got it, little brother!----Now, are you happy that there will be another baby in the house?"

Little Ray starts nodding his head and patting his Mother's tummy, "Yeath, ----hurry and come out, little baby---me 'tect you."

Alex and Walker both breathe a sigh of relief and Angela is all smiles.

"Come on, little brother---let's get ready for bed----give Mommy and Daddy a kiss goodnight."

He reaches up to kiss his Mother and Walker leans into him so he can kiss his Daddy's cheek, he starts to climb out of the recliner, then he stops, leans down and kisses Alex's stomach.

"Goodnight baby."

The boy, jumps into Angela's arms and they start towards the stairs. Angela turns around and smiles, "If you two need anymore help about explaining the birds and bees---I'm going to
start charging a fee---this is hard on my brain, you understand?"

Walker and Alex stare at each other. Walker sits up straight and rubs his hands together, "Well----I think I handled that situation rather well, don't you agree?"

Alex laughs, "You sure did, Cowboy----come here."

Walker eases himself down into the recliner and kisses his wife, she giggles. Angela is halfway up the stairs with her brother, she stops and looks back at her parents and whispers to herself, "I hope I have that kind of a marriage ----and I know I will----with J.W."

Walker and Alex are still wrapped up in each other when he suddenly draws back.

"Honey----what's wrong? You got a strange look on your face?"

Walker stares back at her, "Alex-----why not get Angela to talk to that little Yancey boy?"

Alex just looks at him, "Honey---that's a great idea! Maybe he will open up to someone more his own age----and Angela certainly just proved that she's capable of handling such a situation."

Walker nods his head, "I agree---it can't hurt, and I would rather try having Angela talk to him than a child psychiatrist----I'll go talk to her and then we will get a hold of the parents."
                                       
***********************************************************

Kiwi is unusually calm as he hears the story relayed to him about Angela being at the Ferguson ranch, just hours earlier. Sarge is watching his 'son' suspiciously.

"It doesn't matter," Kiwi replies, "my plan is set, we take the Walker girl, I'm tired of messing with that Daddy of hers----Luther and his boys will take care of the Walker family, this Ranger
Walker won't even know what hit him. His whole family will be wiped out----he'll be a blubbering idiot."

Hank is listening from the hallway, and he starts to tremble. "I know, Martha-----we don't have much time. We got to get word to the Walker family.
                                  
*************************************************

Walker and Angela are standing outside the hospital room of young Jeff Yancey. The Dr. finally gives them the 'go ahead' sign.

Walker turns to his daughter, "Okay, baby---this is it. Just try and get his confidence first, and then we will try to ask him questions later---to see if he can remember anything that has
happened in the last week."

Angela looks towards the boy, "Daddy----he looks so scared."                                

Walker pushes his daughter's long auburn hair back out of her eyes, "I know, baby----are you up to this?"

Angela nods, "I'm up to it------maybe you and the doctors better wait out of sight?"

Walker and the Dr. walk over to the Yancey parents and Angela walks slowly into the boys' room.

The boy looks back at her, his eyes are filled with tears, and he's shaking.

Angela smiles, "Hi Jeff----can I come in?"

Jeff, says nothing as Angela walks up beside his bed, he stares back at her.

"My name is Angela, Angela Walker---can we talk?"

Jeff reaches up and brushes the tears from his eyes, "Are you a nurse?"

"No----I'm not a nurse-----I just want to talk to you----to be your friend----will that be okay

"I guess" Jeff replies.

Angela nods her head and pulls a chair up to the boy's bed. "How old are you, Jeff?"

"Almost----10------how old are you?"

Angela throws her long hair back over her shoulders, Jeff watches her. "I'm almost 16-----do you have any brothers-----or sisters, Jeff?"

Jeff is staring at Angela's long hair, "I got a little sister----she's almost 8 years old."

"Oh---what's her name?"

"Her name is Angelica-----almost like your name!"

Angela smiles, "Yeah----you're right!---Now don't tell me----she was named after the princess Angelica of England?"

Jeff shakes his head, "No----my parents named her after a cartoon----the Rugrats-----or something like that."

"Oh yes----I remember that show---it's still in reruns----I watched that show when I was a little girl."

Jeff tries to laugh, and then he's reminded of his pain, from the beatings and what that spooky man had done to him. He starts to cry and Angela takes his hand, "Don't cry, Jeff----let's talk about something cheerful. What do you like to do, do you play sports?"

Jeff wipes the tears away, "I play baseball and football."                                     

"That's great, Jeff---my brothers play those sports."

"How many brothers you got?"

Angela makes a face, "I got three brothers---two of them are twins-----sometimes they can be a pain in the you know what."

Jeff smiles, "Yeah----my sister too. Angela, do you know why I'm here?"

Angela nods her head, "Yes, Jeff----I know. I know what that man did to you----he hurt my friend -----he killed her."

The pain goes across the young boy's face, "He hurt me, he done bad things to me."

Angela continues to hold the boy's hand, "I know-----do you want to talk about it?"

The boy shakes his head, "No------I'm so scared---that he will find me and----hurt me again."

"That won't happen, Jeff---there are police officers all over the place and my Daddy is doing everything to find this man that hurt you, no one can get in here."

"Is your Daddy a cop?"

"My Daddy is a Texas Ranger, and he's the best in the whole state of Texas----he's put many bad guys away---they're all afraid of my Daddy---my Daddy kicks butt----literally."

"What do you mean?"

"My Daddy is in the martial arts, you know----kung fu----karate, and all that cool fighting."

"You mean like CHUCK NORRIS and all of those cool guys?"

Angela smiles, "Yeah, like Chuck Norris---but my Daddy could probably whip his butt all over Texas----he fought Bruce Lee----do you remember him?"

"Sure! Everyone has heard of Bruce Lee---and your Daddy fought him-----who won?"

"Neither-----they were good friends-----they knew each other in Korea and later on in Hong Kong, ----in fact my Daddy was asked to play a small part in one of his movies, but he refused, saying he wasn't no actor-----so, they got Chuck Norris to play the part."

"Does your Daddy know Chuck Norris?"

"Oh yeah, he almost punched him out for kissing my Mom."

"What happened?"

"Well------a lot of people say that my Daddy looks like Norris, personally---I think my Daddy is better looking. Anyways, Norris was doing a movie in the Ft. Worth stockyards, he went into my Grandpa CD's bar and grill, my Mom was there and she thought he was my Daddy and so she kissed him. Norris thought it was funny so he tried to kiss her back, my Daddy saw it and almost hit him. My Uncle Jimmy and Grandpa C.D. had some tall explaining to do. Anyways, they shook hands and when Norris is in town doing a movie, sometimes he comes out to the ranch to visit. He's even 'sparred' with the twins----they're all friends now."

"Wow," whispers Jeff----"do you think Chuck Norris would come and visit me?"

"I'm sure he would----but I think he and his family are out of the country now, I can ask my Daddy about that, if you like?"

Jeff smiles, "Wow=======I wish I could fight like those guys, maybe then I could have protected myself against that evil man."

"Well, Jeff----it's not too late to start getting into the arts. In fact, My Daddy teaches the arts and he has several schools all over the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area, all of my brothers are in the arts and so am I----would you like to join one of the schools?"

"SURE----I'd be glad too----when?"

"As soon as you get out of here, and Jeff----the sooner you start trying to remember what happened, the sooner you will get out of here."

Jeff shakes his head, I get scared when I remember."

"Would you talk to my Daddy?"

"NO----NO WAY---I don't want another man around me-----ever! I don't trust any of them----they are all bad!"

Angela shakes her head, "No, Jeff----all men are not bad----what about that nametag that you're wearing? Did trooper Mike give that to you-----or did you find it?"

Jeff rubs his eyes, "I remember a cop, he said----he was a ----highway patrolman-----he and the other man ------helped me to----climb out a window. He said ----we would have ice cream---later, and he gave me the nametag----the other man pinned it on my shirt."

"The other man, Jeff---was he a highway patrolman too?"

Jeff starts shaking his head, "I don't think so----he didn't have a uniform on---and he didn't have needles sticking out of his neck----but he had blood------all over him."                                     

Angela bites her bottom lip, as she says to herself, "If the other man wasn't trooper Mike's partner---then who was he?" She looks back to Jeff, "What did this other man look like?"

Jeff shakes his head, "My head is starting to hurt, could you ask someone to help me?"                                     

"Sure Jeff---I'll go get a nurse---I'll be right back."           


The Seekers 25-27

By Sasquaw

Angela goes in search for a nurse to give Jeff something for his headache, then she relays Jeff's story to her Father and Trivette.

Trivette looks to Walker, "Another man was helping trooper Mike get the boy out the window, Angela-----can Jeff describe this other man?"

"I don't know, Uncle Jimmy---I will ask him----I got to get back in there, he's trying to open up to me."

Walker nods to his daughter and she goes back to Jeff's room.

"We got to get that nametag away from the boy---if this other man was pinning it on his shirt----there's got to be fingerprints."

Trivette nods, "We still don't know what has happened to the other trooper."

Angela stays with Jeff for another hour, they talk about small stuff, finally Angela asks.

"Hey Jeff, I'm getting really hungry---wanna share a cheeseburger with me?"

The boy's eyes light up, "With chili on top and lots of french fries?"

Angela looks to the nurse, "He can have anything he wants, he's not on any special diet----I'll call down to the cafeteria and have them send------"

"NO WAY!" Replies Angela. "We don't want hospital food----do we Jeff?"

"UGH-----no way!!! I want a Big Tex from What a Burger, with gobs of french fries and lots of chili on my burger-----well done!"

Angela nods in approval, "Right!-----And chocolate milkshakes-----my brother Cooper says the milkshakes from Big Tex are the best-----and believe me----he knows."

The food order is relayed to the rangers, and Trivette calls it in. He frowns as he watches his partner pace back and forth. "All of that cholesterol going into the arteries----clogging them up-----don't these kids know how to eat healthy?"

"Trivette! That boy has been through hell, you think he's worried about a little cholesterol?"

Trivette nods his head, "Sorry------just wasn't thinking."

Jeff has devoured his burger and fries, he looks to Angela, she's hardly touched hers. "Aren't you going to eat that?"

"I guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach-----here you can have it."

"You don't eat much----you eat like a bird."

"Yeah, I guess I do. But, I like to cook---I just have to be careful about sampling my cooking as I go along---that can put the pounds on----real quick."

Jeff smiles as he sips on the milkshake, while he continues to look at Angela and her long hair. "How do you ever get your hair washed and dried-----it's so long?"

"Sometimes, that can be a real problem----the washing part is not so bad, it's putting the special crème on it, getting it all worked through, so it will be easier to brush and puts a shine to it. Sometimes, my Mom helps me, other times I get one of my brothers to hold it out at arms' length till I can put the crème in. They gripe about doing it, saying it's embarrassing to them. -----Coop wouldn't know the meaning of the word, "embarrassing".

Jeff laughs, "There's no way I would hold my sisters' hair like that, but hers is not near as long as yours-----she can do her own hair."

The boy stops smiling and his face turns to pain. His bottom lip starts to quiver and his eyes mist up, Angela reaches for his hand.

"What is it, Jeff----what are you thinking about?"

The boy starts to cry, "Will I-----ever be normal again?"

"Of course, you will, Jeff---you have nothing to feel ashamed about---it's that evil man and his associates that aren't normal----they love to hurt little kids. ---------They killed one of my best friends."

Jeff stares back at her, "I'm so sorry------Angela----that man hurt me bad-----he made me do nasty things----to him----and he would do things to me-----and to the other little boy."

"What about the other little boy, Jeff-----is he still alive?"

Jeff sobs and wipes the tears away with the back of his hand, "He was-----when they were putting me----out the window. The trooper and the other man said they wouldn't let that evil man hurt him again. ----They said we would have ice cream later-----they told me to run for help and I ran, and ran------and ran."

Jeff stops and looks at Angela, his  body shaking, " I ran ----right past it."

"Past what, Jeff?"

"An old truck------as I ran past it-----I remember thinking how nice it was, and pretty-----but it was getting dirty."

Angela looks at the boy, she shakes her head slowly, "I ----don't understand, Jeff-----lots of old trucks stay out in the weather and get dirty----what was so special about this one?"

Jeff just looks at her, "You don't know anything about old cars and trucks, do you? This old truck was a classic----I'm not quite sure of the make and model----al I know is----it was
a classic. My Dad is a car salesman, I learned from him."

"My brother, Cooper is an expert on all of the classics-------he would know what kind of truck it was. Was it close to where you were being kept prisoner?"

Jeff nods his head, "Yeah------it was."

"Can you describe it-----maybe someone else has seen the truck and knows where to find it?-----Better yet-----do you think you could find it on the internet?"

"I think so-------I only saw it for a second----then I started running again."

Angela smiles, "Look, Jeff----you need to talk to my brother, describe the truck to him-----if anyone can put a picture to it----it will be Cooper."

"Okay------when can I see him?"

Angela frowns, "Well, right now he's got the flu---all of my brothers have the 'bug', and when I last saw him this morning, he was still puking his guts out!-----But, when I get home, I can ask him to call you-----will that be okay?"

Jeff agrees and Angela starts to leave. Jeff pulls back on her hand. "Angela?"

"Yes, Jeff?"

"Do-----you have a boyfriend?"

Angela starts to say that she does, and then she decides against it. "No----I don't have a boyfriend-----do you have a girlfriend?"

"ME"? What girl would want me for a boyfriend after what that man did to me------girls will only make fun of me now. and say I'm weird."

"I don't think you're "weird", Jeff-----I think you're very brave for how you got away-----but, Jeff-----you need to talk to the police and tell them what you just told me ------they will find this creep-----and punish him."

"NO!!!!----I don't want people making fun of me----if I tell the police-----it will go to the papers and they will print all kinds of things that man did to me----NO----I'm not saying anything
more."

"Okay, Jeff-----I got to go now-----can I still come and visit you"?

Jeff agrees and Angela goes to tell her father the rest of the story.

Walker listens as his daughter tells him about the truck. "Yeah----I think it's a good idea that Cooper be told about it--- if he's feeling up to it, he can call Jeff tonight and try to get some information and description on it since Jeff won't open up to any adults. Angela, did he say anything about this other man that was helping him to escape?"

"No----he says it hurts too much to remember----he starts thinking about what that man did to him----and he starts to cry."

"Walker----we got to get that nametag and start trying to lift some prints off of it."

Walker nods, "Maybe after he goes to sleep---we can get the policewoman to take it from his gown?"

"No----Daddy----that's unfair."

"Angela-----it's not unfair----if we can find out who the other man was that was helping him to escape, then maybe we can put a location to where he was being held."

Angela shakes her head, "Let me try tomorrow----I will try to talk Jeff into letting you have the nametag----one more day----okay, Daddy?"

Walker sighs, he reaches out and puts his arm around his daughter, pulling her close to him. He kisses her forehead, "Okay, baby----we've waited this long-----another day is not going
to hurt."
                                 
                       *********************************************************

Hank is straining to try and hear what Kiwi's plans are. Three more men have come to his ranch, arriving in the early hours and taking their auto to the barn and closing the door. Kiwi has been like a caged animal, muttering to himself, "This is it----I'm not waiting any longer," over and over.

Hank tries to get closer to the living room, the men have some kind of map stretched out on the coffee table, and they are all staring at it and Kiwi hits the table with his fist. "Monday morning-----it all comes down---we will hit them all at once-----they will all die."

"Oh, my God," whispers Hank, "did you hear that, Martha---they're going to hit the Walker family on Monday -----I know, I know----I have to warn them----no matter what the cost". Hank starts backing up to the back door, he looks to see where Danny and Sarge are. Danny is leaning over the table, looking at the map, Sarge is probably down in the basement with his "toy". Hank continues towards the door, turns the knob and runs as fast as he can towards the open field that leads to the Walker ranch. A figure watches him, and sneers, then the figure runs after him.

Hank can hear the footsteps running behind him, and he tries to look back over his shoulder, he stumbles. The old rancher gets up and runs again, he can feel his heart pounding, he's gasping for breath as the cold December air cuts into his lungs. "Please Lord----" he begs----"just let me get to my friends' ranch."

The figure is upon him, grabbing him by his collar and throwing him to the ground. Hank hears the all too familiar laugh, he starts kicking out with his feet and trying to scurry away. The figure taunts him, by laughing and stepping on his ankles. Hank cries out in pain as the figure leans down beside him.

"Helllllooooo Hank----where you running to, Hank? You trying to warn your friends, Hank? You're going to die, old man, and I'm going to enjoy shoving these needles into your body-----one by one."

Hank's eyes grow big as he watches Sarge take out his little black case, and fills the needles, tapping them gently till the fluid quirts out. Hank snarls, "Go ahead and kill me-----I'm past feeling any pain----I welcome death."

Sarge laughs louder, "The only regret I have is not having you near the hog pen, but I refuse to drag your old body back there. I wanted you to watch as I dismember you slowly, I wanted you to hear your little 'pets' squealing and fighting over your body parts, but------this will be just as much fun, watching the needles go in and your blood pumping out."

Hank starts reciting The Lord's Prayer, Sarge laughs louder, "Oh----you will be walking in the shadow of death---real soon, old man" and Sarge shoves one of the needles into Hank's neck. Hank tries to scream as another one is shoved in from the opposite side, the liquid is going deep into the bloodstream. Sarge is laughing louder, "Where is your God now, old man?"

Sarge sits down beside Hank's withering body, and puts the remaining needles back into the little black case. The wind is picking up and the air is getting colder as he pulls his coat around him and continues to watch the blood trickle from around the holes that the needles have made. He stands up and kicks out at Hank's body, "I'll come back for your parts later, old man," and he walks away, singing softly:
                            "Do you really want to hurt me,
                              Do you really want to see me cry?"

Hank starts crawling on his stomach, inch by inch towards the Walker ranch.
                             
**********************************************************

Angela is furious as she stares back at J.W.

"What do you mean, you took Tara Woods to the concert?"

"Well, you couldn't go, Angela------and I already had the tickets bought----$200---those tickets cost me! What was I suppose to do, I couldn't get a refund on them?"

Angela's bottom lip is quivering as she stares back at her friend, and she stomps her foot. "I couldn't go to that dumb old concert because I had a little threat against my life----remember?"

J.W. is trying hard to get Angela's sympathy, " I know that, Angela---but I couldn't just let $200 be thrown down the drain, could I?----That was my Christmas money from my Mom. ---I took Tara---no big deal."

Angela is walking around in circles, "No big deal, J.W.? Would you think it was no big deal if I decide to ask Dylan Reed to be my escort to my Sweet 16 party in May?"

J.W. hits the corral fence, "You wouldn't do that, would you? I'm supposed to be your escort."

Angela stops and stares at him, "I'm not so sure about that, I haven't 'officially' asked you to be my escort."

"But, Angela-----I just assumed that I would be?"

Angela kicks out at the ground, "Well, I just assumed that if I wasn't able to go to that dumb old concert with you, that you wouldn't go---that you would rather stay home."

"Be reasonable, Angela----those tickets cost $200! So, I took Tara, I didn't enjoy being with her as much as I would have, if it had been you--I didn't even kiss her goodnight!"

"Is that supposed to make me feel better---did you want to kiss her goodnight? She saved you from "throwing" $200 away----maybe you should have kissed her goodnight."

J.W. lowers his head, "Come on, Angela---I said I was sorry----I wanted you to go with me, but after Kiwi threatened you again, I knew there was no way in hell your parents would let you go to that concert."

Angela's voice softens, "Yeah----you got that right------what color of dress was she wearing?"

J.W. looks confused, "Color of what dress, Tara wasn't wearing a dress."

"Then------what was she wearing," Angela asks coyly.

"I don't know----I don't remember, she was wearing jeans----just like all of the kids were wearing."

Angela edges up to J.W., "What color of top was she wearing, J.W.?"

J.W. swallows as Angela gets closer, he shakes his head, "I don't know," he replies softly and then his mind goes back to the night before and he remembers very well what Tara Woods was wearing. She wasn't wearing jeans, she was wearing a black leather outfit and the top was leaving very little to the imagination. He remembers thinking how cold she must be as he kept staring at her breasts that were doing double time trying to pop out of that little leather vest.  He didn't enjoy the concert as much as he said he didn't but it was because he was too busy looking at Tara's twin peaks. The ride home in their friend's car was more enjoyable than that dumb old concert, Tara was more than willing to let J.W. puts his hands anywhere he desired and he did just that.

Angela pouts, "I'm still upset with you, J.W.," she answers softly.

J.W. reaches for hand and starts pulling her into the barn, "Let's go inside the barn----the wind is really kicking up---and it's freezing out here."

Angela tilts her head and says teasingly, "Careful J.W.---you remember what you said about "things' can happen---when a couple are alone?"

J.W. can feel himself becoming aroused, "Well----maybe we can 'discuss' that----in the barn---where it's warm?"

Angela allows herself to be drawn into the barn, and J.W. closes the door. Angela walks over to Old Ranger and starts petting his nose. J.W. walks up behind her and kisses her quickly on the back of the neck, Angela giggles and turns around.

The young couple just stares at each other and Angela moves closer into him. J.W. reaches out slowly and puts his left hand around Angela's waist and pulls her in closer----his right hand going to the back of her head and tilting her face up to him. He kisses her slow, and then she starts to respond, letting her tongue dance with his. Their kiss deepens, and she can feel him becoming hard against her, their hearts are pounding. Slowly J.W. drops his right hand and starts caressing the front of Angela's sweater, just as he cups her right breast, she pulls back. She
whispers softly.

"Is that how Tara's breasts felt to you?"

J.W.'s hand drops and he pulls away gasping, "What?----What are you talking about?"

Angela pushes him away, "I know what happened last night J.W.----I know all about it----how you and Tara were making out in the back seat of Ken and Sheree's car, didn't you know that Sheree would tell me?"

"No----Angela----it didn't happen that way----I swear----she was coming on to me---what was I suppose to do?"

Angela's eyes start to mist, "I don't know J.W.-----I just don't know anymore----I do know that I can't trust you, not now-----not ever!"

Angela starts running to the door and J.W. runs after her, and grabs her, "Angela--------nothing happened----I swear."

"I don't believe you, J.W.----you lied when you said you didn't even kiss her goodnight---you just forgot to mention that you did "feel' her up, that your hands were all over her----but I guess that
doesn't count.----You've made a fool of me---once, you'll never get the chance to make a fool of me---twice!"

Angela pulls away from J.W. and reaches to open the barn door, it's pulled back from the other side and Angela almost stumbles into the arms of her Father.

"Daddy?"

Walker stands there staring at Angela and then to J.W. No one is saying anything as Angela watches her Father's face do a slow burn, the veins popping out on his forehead. She looks to J.W. he's completely unraveled, like he's looking for a hole to climb into. Walker stares at the boy and then calmly says to his daughter.

"If you're going back to the hospital with Cooper and me----then I would suggest young lady that you go get in the truck----NOW!"

"Daddy-----nothing happened------J.W. and I were-----"

Walker turns to Angela, "In the truck---now!"

Angela runs to the truck, Cooper sees her coming and he steps out of the truck so she can climb in. He shakes his head, "You're in big trouble now, Sis-----when Dad saw that barn door close and you and J.W. going in-----I thought he was going take out the porch railings----he was steaming!"

"Nothing happened, Coop----we were just discussing something."

"And, you couldn't do that outside in plain view----you had to go sneaking into the barn?" Asks Cooper as he's trying not to cough.

Walker is staring at J.W.---"What's going on, J.W.---between you and Angela?"

J.W. swallows, "Nothing was going on, Uncle Walker----we were just talking."

"About what?"

"Things-----you know-----just things!"

Walker walks towards the boy, he backs up. "Stay away from Angela----I'm not going to tell you again."

Walker turns to walk away and J.W. shouts back at him, "I'm not going to stay away from her----and you can't stop me."

Walker's temper is rising, he gets up in J.W.'s face, "You just try and get near her again, and you'll find out how I will stop you!"

"NO!" Yells J.W.----"Angela will soon be 16 and she can start dating----you can't tell her who she can go out with!"

"The hell I can't---she's my daughter and you J.W.-----you're like 'family'----you and Angela are almost like brother and sister."

"But, we're not Uncle Walker----we are not related in any way----and if Angela and I want to start seeing each other----to date----then we will, with or without your permission."

Walker starts to reply, but turns and storms out of the barn. Angela and Cooper observe the stomping gesture and Cooper shakes his head. "It's going to be a long day----and you sister dear----might just be taking a trip back to the barn----for a completely different reason."

Walker climbs up in the cab of the Ram, he says nothing as he throws the gear down into low and peels out of the driveway.

J.W. takes a deep breath, "I can't believe that I stood up to Uncle Walker that way, now if I can just find the nerve to stand up to Angela----and to tell her the whole truth. ----I have a feeling that facing Angela and that temper of hers is going to take ten years off my life!-----Hell----more like twenty!"

The young man turns and starts up to the ranch house, he's hungry. He'll think about facing Angela---another day and on a full stomach.
                      
*****************************************************

The figure has crawled through the field all night. He has managed to pull one of the needles out of his neck, and taking the manure droppings and caking it tightly in and around the hole.  The other needle is in too deep, he knows to remove it would be immediate death. He figures he has crawled almost half the distance to the Walker ranch, he will rest for only a few minutes and then he will continue----inch by inch.                

The Seekers XXVI             

The ride to the hospital is in silence as neither Angela nor Cooper want to chance their Father's temper to flare. Cooper insisted on seeing Jeff and to learn about the truck, he's got his laptop with him and together they will surf the net to see if they can locate the truck. Angela stands timidly by as her brother starts conversing with Jeff. She keeps looking at her Father, he stares back at her, tapping his Stetson against his leg and pacing. Trivette has observed the scene, as he approaches his partner.

"Walker----what's wrong, man?"

"NOTHING!" Walker snaps back at him.

Trivette looks to Angela, she's avoiding his look. Trivette walks over to her and asks quietly, "Angela, honey----what's wrong? Why is Walker----so uptight, has something happened?"

Angela looks to her Father, he's still steaming. "You better ask him, Uncle Jimmy."

Trivette turns and looks at Walker and then back to his goddaughter, he has never seen so much tension between these two. Angela is the light in her Daddy's eyes, and Angela worships the very ground her Daddy walks on. Something has definitely happened to have caused such a distance between them.

Trivette walks slowly back to his partner, "Walk-man---want to talk about it?"

Walker's silent stare is enough for Trivette to drop the questioning. He shrugs, "Okay, but if you change your mind, you know I'm here to listen-----to whatever the problem is."

Walker grits his teeth, "The problem-----is your son!"

"J.W.----what did he do?"

Angela hurries over to Walker, "Daddy----don't start in on J.W.----we told you ---nothing happened!"

Trivette's brow arches, "What's going on, what 'didn't' happen----what are you two talking about?"

Walker lowers his voice as he walks up to Trivette, "We will discuss this later---right now I have to concentrate on what is happening in that hospital room with that young boy."

Trivette looks to Angela, she's very nervous as she keeps folding and unfolding her arms, and biting her bottom lip. Trivette nods his head, "I think I know what is going on------you're upset because of this 'attraction' between your daughter and my son, right?"

"I said----we'll talk about it later!" snaps Walker.

"Fine----we'll do just that Walker----I was wondering how long it would be before you started in on this subject---in the meantime I'm going back to headquarters and try to work from that end. I don't think it would be a good idea for me to hang around the hospital and risk getting into a shouting match with you----bye Angela."

Angela's voice is low as she whispers, "Bye, Uncle Jimmy."

Walker turns and looks at her, he takes a deep breath and walks to the coffee shop. Angela goes to Jeff's room.

Cooper and Jeff have hit it off real well, the boy is very much into the old classics. Cooper brings up the local sites that he's used to checking, "What year do you want to start with, Jeff----do you want to go back as far as the 50's, was the truck a classic '57'----they were sharp--weren't they?"

"The truck was older than that----- much older, probably the late 20's."

"Wow, " whispers Cooper, "that is an old one---okay, let's start back at the beginning---as far back as this site will go."


***************************************************

Kiwi stares back at Sarge, "You finally did it, didn't you old man, you killed Hank?"

Sarge grins as he cleans his needles and places them in his little black case. "The old goat had outlived himself long enough, I just put him out of his misery."

"You better not have messed up my plans."

"And, what plan is that? You've been saying you had plans to take the Walker girl for weeks now, and nothing has happened."

"The plan starts tonight, we create a diversion to get the rangers to the other side of town, especially that ranger Walker, and then one by one the Walker family will die.
                              
*******************************************************

Cooper and Jeff have been going over the site for several hours.

"I'm sorry, Cooper---I thought I would be able to spot it---but my mind is playing tricks on me."

"It's okay, Jeff----I tell you what----I'm going to leave my laptop here with you-----Angela and I have to go to church. If you think you've come up with anything---you got our home number, call me----anytime----okay?"

Jeff nods and then he looks to Angela who has said very little since their arrival. Cooper shakes hands with Jeff and then steps outside. Angela walks over to Jeff.

"I like your brother," replies Jeff, "he's real nice and----smart."

Angela nods, "He likes you too, -----maybe after all of this is over with----you can come out to our ranch for a visit and meet the rest of our family?"

Jeff studies Angela's face, "I'd like that-----Angela-----are you okay-----have you been crying?"

Angela shakes her head, "Just some things on my mind----I got to go----you call us, even if you just want to talk----call us?"

Walker takes his kids on to church, Alex is still at home with Cordell and Little Ray, their Grandpa Gordon will drive the kids home. Walker heads to ranger headquarters.

Trivette looks up from his desk and watches as Walker heads straight for the coffee pot, and then sits down at his desk. Trivette takes a deep breath.

"Were Cooper and the Yancy boy able to find the truck?"

"No"----answers Walker quickly.

There are only a handful of rangers in the office for a Sunday, Trivette rises and goes to his partners' desk.

"Okay, Walker----what is going on? Why are you coming down on my son?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

Trivette's anger is showing, 'Well-----I do!----Let's get it out in the open Walker, you're upset because of this attraction between my son and your daughter, aren't you?"

The veins are starting to pop out on Walker's forehead, "I just think that it would be a good idea if J.W. stays away from the ranch for awhile!"

"Away from the ranch----or away from Angela?"

Walker slams his fist down on the table, "BOTH!-----Angela is too young to be under this "enticement" that J.W. is trying to force on her!"

"Enticement?" yells Trivette. Trivette is walking in circles and staring back at his partner, "Enticement----that's what you're calling this----and like Angela is not doing her own share of enticement?"

"And, just what are you implying, Trivette, that Angela is the one that is doing all of this enticing? J.W. is more advanced in the ways of saying and doing all of these things that turn a young girl’s head, I want him to stay away from my daughter!"

The rest of the office is staring at the two rangers, Trivette's anger is getting the best of him.

He points his finger at Walker, "Let's get this straight----you don't want any boy to come around your daughter----or is it just J.W.? What's the matter----you don't think my son is good enough for your precious Angela----or is it because----he's black?"

Walker comes from around his desk and gets up in Trivette's face, "How can you think that this a racial thing, you know how I feel about prejudice-----J.W. is my godson----for Christ's sake!"

"Because it sure sounds like you are making a racial issue of this," shouts Trivette.

"Nothing could be further from the truth----I wouldn't care what race that J.W. is----I want him to stay away from Angela----you got that?"

Everyone is staring at the rangers, never in the 20 years that they have known each other, has anyone ever seen Walker and Trivette go to blows.

Trivette nods his head and steps back, "Fine----I will try to explain to my son why he is no longer welcome at your home.-----You know Walker----you got a huge awakening coming to you, you can't control your daughter's life, one of these days you're going to realize that YOU are no longer the main man in her life and you're going to crash-----big time!"

Trivette turns and storms out of the office, Walker looks around at all of the people staring back at him.

"What the hell are you all staring at?" He yells at them.
                                      
***************************************************

Walker ranch, late evening:

Alex is staring at her husband, "You told Jimmy----WHAT?"

Walker is getting ready to take his shower, "You heard me, Alex----I told him to keep J.W. away from our daughter!"

Alex's mouth is wide open as she stares back at her husband in disbelief, "I can't believe you are behaving this way-----J.W. is our godson---how can you say he's not welcome here anymore?"

Walker is now looking for clean underwear to take into the shower, "You heard me, Alex----J.W. was trying to have his way with her----they were in the barn!" Alex's bottom lip is starting to quiver, the way it always does, when she gets riled. " Angela said that nothing happened----they were just talking."

"Talking? For Christ's sake, Alex----did they have to go into the barn, closing the doors----just to talk?---You know as well as I do what can happen under those circumstances---being alone like that. Haven't you talked to her about such things?"

Alex's eyes start to narrow, "YES!-----Angela is very aware of what can happen----they were just
talking!"                                   

Walker stomps up to her, "And, what happens when they stop talking, Alex---what then?"

"Don't you dare raise your voice to me, John Cordell--- now, our daughter said that nothing was going on----and I believe her!"

Walker lets out a curse word, throwing his briefs down on the floor and then kicking out at them. He turns and heads for their bedroom door.

"Walker-----where are you going?"

"OUT," he yells back.

Angela is listening to her parents argue, she can't remember them ever being so angry with one another.  The twins and Little Ray come into her room.

"Wow," whispers Cordell-----"I can't remember the last time that Dad yelled at Mom like that----in fact---I don't think he ever has."

Cooper stares at his sister, "We warned you, Angela---we told you to cool things down with J.W."

Angela starts to cry and Little Ray goes to her, patting her arms. "Don't wry, Thissy."

Cooper sighs and puts his arm around his sister, "It's okay, Angela----Dad will get over his mad spell."

"Yeah," agrees Cordell, "You know he never stays mad at Mom for very long."

"But, what am I to do, I know J.W. was unfaithful to me, but I still care for him?"

The twins stare at each other, "What do you mean----he was unfaithful?"

Angela tells them about the concert the night before and how Sheree Jackson couldn't wait to tell her about the make out in the back of her boyfriends' car.

Cooper whistles, "Tara Woods---the one with the big-----knockers?"

Cordell hits his brother, "Watch it, Coop-----Angela is feeling bad enough!"

"Yes----the one with the big knockers-----are you happy?----J.W. had his hands all over her----but he thought that was perfectly alright because he didn't kiss her goodnight, so that didn't count!"

Cordell sighs as he pulls his sister down on her bed beside him, "Look Sis-----what J.W. did was wrong----sort of----but----that Tara----she's a real flirt---and I've seen the way she throws herself at all the guys---and she likes to show off her---breasts!"

Cooper's eyes grow big, "Yeah----between her and Uncle Jimmy's girlfriend, Terri, a guy could
suffocate between those mountains!"
                                     
Cordell stands up and pushes his twin backwards, "I said cut it out, Coop----Angela doesn't want to hear you 'panting' over that slut!"

Cooper lunges at his twin and Cordell lands a right to his jaw, and Cooper goes flying backwards.  Angela jumps up between them.

"STOP IT----this is the last thing I want is to have you two fighting----now stop it-----please!"

The twins stare each other down, as Little Ray crawls up on his sisters' bed. Cooper nods his head, "I'm sorry, Angela----I wasn't saying it to hurt you---I was just making an observation-----sort of."

Cordell's eyes narrow, "Observation? Geez----sometimes Cooper---I can't figure you out!"

"What were you saying, Cordell----about the situation last night?"

"I was just trying to tell you that ---J.W. can't be held all to blame for what happened. Tara Woods has always been jealous of you, and she's always had a 'thing' for J.W.----or any guy in pants---for that matter."

"So, is that suppose to make what he did right? Just because she was exploiting herself to him, that as a guy---he was so macho that he had to touch her?"

"No, Sis----that's not what I'm saying------"

Cooper shakes his head and motions for Little Ray to move away from Angela, he sits down beside her and puts his arm around her.

"Look-----what my inexperienced big brother is trying to say is, that any 'red blooded male' would have done what J.W. did----if he hadn't----he would be QUEER-----is that clear enough for you?"

"Cooper----," yells Cordell.

"It's true bro' and you know it-----would you have passed up the opportunity if it was presented to you?"

Both Angela and Cooper stare at Cordell, the boy stammers, "I guess not," he mumbles.

Cooper nods, "And, neither would I----case closed."          

Angela continues to stare at Cordell, he's always been so close mouthed when it came to discussing the anatomy of the opposite sex. She then recalls how both he and Cooper were practically tripping over their own tongues with Terri.

"What it all boils down to is this, Angela-------he said nothing happened---don't you believe him?"

"I don't know what to believe anymore, Cooper-----he wasn't the least bit upset that I couldn't go the concert with him----he just takes someone else in my place."

Cordell nods, "Everyone makes mistakes, Angela---just give him another chance---I'm pretty sure he didn't mean to hurt you."

Angela wipes the tears from her eyes, "Okay, I'll think about it----I'm not promising anything."

The twins say their goodnights and Little Ray wants another bedtime story. As the twins walk out into the hallway, Cooper looks to his brother, Cordell whispers, "He better have a good explanation for what he did last night -----'red blooded male' or not---he better not let it happen again!"

"Got that right, bro'----I pity him if Angela ever finds out that he was unfaithful to her with that girl in Chicago."

Cordell nods his head, "Texas won't be big enough for J.W. to hide in if Angela does find out, she'll castrate him."

Cooper stops and looks to his brother, "Hey, bro----were you really serious about not passing up the opportunity with Tara?"

"What do you think?"

Cooper gives him the high five, "I think----we're both going to have wet dreams tonight."

"Dreams, hell----I've already  'creamed' my pants just thinking about her and then you mentioned
Terri---damn---I got to take a cold shower and quick."

Cooper starts running, "Dibs on the shower first!"
                                      
****************************************************

Alex looks up from bed to see her husband walking in slowly. She pulls herself up in bed and props the pillows behind her. She lowers her eyes and looks up at him as he starts towards their bed, and slowly sits down.

He turns to her, "I behaved like a real fool----didn't I?"

Alex smiles and reaches out for his left hand, putting it up to her mouth, she kisses his wedding band. "You behaved---like an overly protective Father of your only daughter, that you have spoiled rotten since the day she was placed in your arms, nearly 16 years ago."

Walker manages a smile, "That bad, huh?"

Alex twists the ring gently around and around, "Honey----we both knew that this day was coming----Angela is no longer a little girl----she's growing up----and you're going to have to accept that!"

Walker takes a deep breath, his eyes are misty, "I didn't know it would be this hard----I used to laugh at my friends that had daughters and I couldn't understand ----how they could be so---silly---- when it came to dating, I thought they were just ----over acting."

"And, now?"

"It's still hard to-----admit to myself---that I will no longer be first in her life-----that another young man will be taking my place----does that sound selfish?"

"Walker----every Father goes through what you are facing now---my Daddy felt the same way when I started dating---there were many young men that passed through my life---but my Daddy never left me ---or my heart. Angela is not going to push you aside----not for any young man, she loves you---you know that."

"You tried to warn me, that I was spoiling her, and I wouldn't listen. I kept saying to myself that I could handle it-----and that when the other kids came along that I would-----ease up on spoiling her----but each year---watching her grow----I just spoiled her more. Being the only girl was just my excuse for spoiling her more-----I never could say 'no' to her. Every time she would look at me with those big blue eyes, and that smile----that she inherited from you----just made it twice as hard to deny her anything."

"Walker----no one is blaming you for spoiling your daughter, that's just a natural behavior.-----But you got to accept that soon there will be young men coming to call on her, and she'll be dating. You can't tell her who she can and can't date. Angela has a good head on her shoulder, we have to trust her judgment, she's never let us down."

Walker nods, "You're right----it's going to take awhile for me to totally accept this new hurdle----and if I get out of hand and threaten to behave like a complete fool again---you'll reel me down to earth again, right?"

Alex smiles and pulls him towards her, "You got it, Cowboy----come here."

Walker leans into his wife for a long and sensuous kiss, then he pulls back and eyes her suspiciously, "And, just how many young men DID pass through your life?"

Alex giggles, "Oh lots-------but they were mere stepping stones till you came into my life-----that day in the courtroom-----and I haven't been the same since."

She lets out a yelp as Walker bites her left breast playfully, "Yeah, I remember that day----you put not only my testimony, but my whole body through the ringer. --Wicked, wicked, woman---you were only after my body----even then."

"And, I got it too----took me awhile---but I got it," she smiles back at him.

"And, you'll be getting it again---real soon ---as soon as I hit the showers."

Walker jumps up and heads for the bathroom, Alex watches him as he starts humming a song to himself, she recognizes it instantly as the song that was played at their wedding.  "I'LL HANG THE MOON FOR YOU."

Alex smiles to herself, "One hurdle at a time, Cowboy-----I shudder to think how you will accept this pact that Angela and J.W. have made----to be the first with each other?"
                                     
                             ***************************************************

The body lays still, he can smell the fireplace in the distance, the cold December air is whipping right through him, he ignores it. He knows he has a purpose, he will rest, and then he will inch forward. His past rushes through his mind in a blur, the future is moving like it's in slow motion. Faces come before him, and he hears children laughing, he sees two little boys with rustic colored hair, freckles across their noses, running and laughing, cookies in one hand, a glass of milk in the other. The boys are about 5 or 6, an older girl is chasing them, she has long beautiful hair flowing in the wind, her eyes are a beautiful blue, a lone dimple at the side of her mouth, her smile and her laugh is infectious. The three of them are running towards a bearded man, he leans down and picks up the girl, spinning her around. The two little boys jump up on his back and the four of them fall to the ground, laughing. A blond headed woman is watching them, she too is laughing as she turns to the older woman. The old woman's face becomes very clear, and she's looking back at him, she starts to walk away, gesturing for him to join her.

The old man starts to feel the tears, he hears beautiful music--off in the distance.       

"I'm coming Martha, God has given me one-----last request----I will not forsake his bidding------and then we will be together."

The Seekers XXVII

FINAL CHAPTERS: THE COUNTDOWN
THE JUGGERNAUT/ WHO WILL SURVIVE/WHO WILL DIE?
                  
***************************************************************

The men are preparing for the showdown; the arsenal is being loaded into the vehicles. Sarge has packed the heaviest supply of hypodermic needles into several black cases. Kiwi is pleased, they have gone over the plan repeatedly, each man knows exactly what to do and at what precise time.
There will be no room for mistakes; he has observed the Walkers very closely in the last few days. He knows where each Walker will be at any given time, now he has to prepare the diversion---to get Rangers Walker and Trivette away from the intended victims.
                     
                             *************************************************************

Walker ranch: 5 am

Alex wakes up screaming.

"Alex-----what's wrong?" Walker asks grabbing his wife.

Alex can't stop shaking, "Walker!"

"What honey? What's wrong------is it the baby?"

Alex falls into her husband's arms, crying-----"I was having a nightmare-----a terrible nightmare!"

Walker tries to laugh, "Is that all, hon? You're awake now-----it was just a dream."

Alex continues to cry, "Walker------I was having a dream that you had been shot-----that you were dead."

Walker holds her tighter, "Honey----all is okay, it was just a dream, I'm right here, I'm just fine----see?"

"Just hold me-----I can't stop shaking-----I see you----laying on the ground----bleeding-----and that man is leaning over you---with something in his hand!"

"Ssssh, come on hon, go back to sleep-----it's only a dream."

As Walker and Alex lay back in bed, the phone rings:

Trivette's voice is on the other end, "Walker-----Kiwi has been spotted in Burleson."

"Alright------I'll meet you outside headquarters-----20 minutes."

Alex has started shaking again as she watches her husband get dressed. "Walker-----I have a scary feeling about this----let someone else take the call-----please don't go!"

Walker sits down at the side of the bed, "Alex------this could be the break that we've been looking for-----I have got to be the one to bring Kiwi in----- don't you want to see all of this finally coming to an end?"

"Walker----please don't go!"

"Alex----I will be fine------that was just a dream you were having-----try to go back to sleep----I love you----I'll call you as soon as I find out something."

Walker kisses his wife, and she whispers to him, "Please-----be careful."

Walker walks out of their bedroom slowly, looking back at his wife; she's never looked more beautiful to him than at that exact moment. He winks at her, "I love you Alexandra."

Walker moves down the hallway, the room directly across from his and Alex's bedroom is Little Ray's. He walks in and over to his baby son's bed, the boy is sleeping sideways, with his feet completely out from under the covers, his boots sitting on the nightstand, his cowboy hat over the bedpost. Walker smiles as he reaches down and tucks his son back under the covers. He kisses the top of his head, "Sleep tight------buckaroo----Daddy loves you."

Next to Little Ray's room is the twins' bedroom. He walks over to Cooper's side of the room, the boy’s boots are laying in the center of the floor. Walker sighs, picks them up and places them next to Cooper's bed. Cooper too, is sleeping halfway across his bed, so Walker pulls his feet up and turns him around in his bed, and covers him up. He brushes his hand through Cooper's hair, and walks over to Cordell's side. Walker stops and looks back to Cooper's side of the room and then to Cordell's, it's like an invisible line of demarcation.

Everything on Cordell's side of the room is neatly put away. His boots are lined up evenly at the foot of his bed, and his socks and underwear lay just as neatly on his night stand. Looking at his son, Walker wonders how he ever gets into bed without messing the sheets up, his blankets are evenly pulled up around him, and just like him, Cordell always sleeps with one hand balled up, next to his chin. Walker reaches out and brushes his hair back too, he can almost swear that Cordell must brush his hair every time he has to get up to use the bathroom, it's always so neatly
brushed back.

Angela's room is next as Walker stands in the middle of the doorway and just looks at his daughter sleeping. He looks slowly around her room, the different shades of lavender and pink, blending together. Her room is filled with stuffed animals, the most notable being a stuffed horse, a pinto.

Walker walks to her bed and sits down slowly, her long hair is fanned out over the pillows, even in her sleep, she's got a faint smile across her lips. He reaches out and touches her cheek with the back of his hand, "Angela----it's Daddy---wake up please."

Angela groans and moves her head back and forth, trying to open her eyes, "Daddy------what's wrong?"

He waits until she pulls herself up in bed, she keeps rubbing her eyes and looking towards her bedroom window, it's still dark outside.

"Nothing is wrong, baby---I just wanted to talk to you before I leave."

"Leave? Where you going, Daddy?"

"We've got information that Kiwi has been spotted in Burleson, I'm meeting your Uncle Jimmy there----but I wanted to talk to you first."

Angela is still trying to wake up, "What about? Are you still upset with me?"

Walker looks back at his daughter, just like Alex, she is so beautiful, his heart melts every time he looks at them.

He reaches out and takes her hand, "No, baby---I'm not upset----I want to apologize for the way I behaved-----for not believing you."

She smiles back at him, "It's okay, Daddy."

Walker shakes his head, "No----it's not okay, your Mother and I had a long talk----and I behaved very foolish, I'm sorry----and when I see J.W.----I'll apologize to him too."

Angela looks at her Daddy's face, he looks so tired. She nods her head, "Things are starting to change, huh, Daddy?"

Walker is choking up, "Yep----and my little girl is now a young lady----I'm not handling that too well----I still see you as that little girl that was always running to me when there was a thunderstorm, how that little girl always wanted me to hold her when she was sick, the scraped knees, the first time she had to wear those braces on her teeth----that first day of school. I can still remember that little dress your Mother dressed you in. It was lavender, with a Victorian collar, and your hair was pulled back with a purple bow, remember?"

Angela smiles, "Yes, Daddy---I remember it--it's in my hope chest. Mom always said you liked me to wear lavender, so it was only fitting that I wear that special color for my first day of school. I also remember you cried."

Walker tries to clear his throat, "Guilty as charged."

They look into each other's eyes for the longest, "Daddy-----are you worried about something---you look sad?"

"I just want this case to be over with, I want to see Kiwi and his Father brought to justice----but more important than that----I want us to start being a "family" again-----to do things together. I know I have put off camping trips and such because my work has always taken priority-----but when this case is over with---We are all taking a vacation together. That is----unless you think that taking a vacation with your family is not ---what is it that you kids are saying now----"RAD?"

"Oh Daddy-----the word "rad' is old timer---we say 'far out' and 'cool'."

Walker is confused, "But, that was being said----back in the '50's----now that's back in again?"

Angela laughs, "And, we still say "rad' just to keep the adults confused."

"And, that means----good or bad?"

"Whichever----it can mean both."

Walker takes a deep breath, "Okay ---whichever----I got to go----you think about where you and your brothers would like to go for a vacation, and we'll discuss it when I get home----okay, baby?"

Walker reaches over and kisses his daughter's cheek, "I love you, baby-----and I don't care how many young men I have to share you with----you will always be MY little girl."

"Bye, Daddy------Daddy"

"Yes?"

"Please be careful."

Walker looks back at his daughter and he sees Alex's face and she's saying the same thing. He nods his head and winks at Angela----"Have a good day at school."

"Is Terri still going through with the plan to be a decoy for me?"

"That plan has been put on hold, Cordell is still not feeling up to going to school, your Mother wants him to stay home an extra day."

Angela yawns, "Okay ---goodnight Daddy---I love you."

"I love you too, baby."

As Walker is walking to his Ram, he can hear Old Ranger moving around inside his stall. He decides to check on him. The horse is very nervous, but he calms down the minute he hears his master's voice.

"What's wrong, old boy? Why are you so nervous------do you hear something that I can't?  I know, I know ----the wind makes you nervous, but you're okay, you're all nice and warm and I got a great big, juicy, carrot for you."

Walker can feel the uneasiness in the air, the winds of change. He feels a knotted feeling in his gut, the same way he felt so many times crouching in the rice patties in Viet Nam, death was all around him, he could feel it now too. The neck hairs began to stand up, he looks around the barn cautiously. Nothing is out of order, Old Ranger is starting to calm even more.

Walker pets his horse one last time and starts towards his truck. He stops and looks around; he could have sworn he heard a voice calling his name. He reaches inside the cab of the Ram and turns on the searchlight; scanning it back and forth over his property, he sees nothing. A shiver goes up his spine as he pulls his jacket around him, he climbs inside the truck and drives down the long gravel driveway.

The voice is just a whisper, Hank tried to raise his arms when Walker had the searchlight going in his direction, but his limbs are starting to become stiff. He lays his head down, "So close---yet
so far," he whispers.
                                
*****************************************************

Alex has been awake for the rest of the morning, not being able to go back to sleep after having that dream. She still has the shakes as she goes downstairs to fix some coffee and toast. As she passes the twins' room, she can see Cordell up and straightening up his side of the room. He sees her.

"Morning, Mom."

She whispers back, "Morning----how do you feel?"

Still a little nauseated----but I think I can go to school today."

"Why don't you give it one more day----just to be on the safe side?"

The boy nods his head, "I'll be down in a minute to have breakfast with you."

Cordell walks over to his brother’s bed and hits him with a pillow, "Are you going to sleep all day-----it's almost 6am---we got chores to do."

Alex is starting on her 3rd cup of coffee, she can't remember ever having so much coffee for breakfast, except for the times that she and Walker would go on camping trips and he would have her up before the sun had even risen! She smiles remembering that the coffee wasn't the only reason he was waking her up. The mornings would be so cold as he would crawl back into the sleeping bag with a cup of hot coffee for them to share, they would never finish the cup as each of them would succumb to their bodies' desire for each other. Anytime was always the perfect time for their love, but they both had to admit, there was something extra special about the early mornings. Walker would say it was the perfect way to start the day.

She still can't stop shaking, as the dream was so real. She starts to cry, "Oh God-----I can't keep thinking about that dream----I'm getting upset----it's not good for the baby----I got to think of something else!"

The twins have come in from doing their chores, they're unusually quiet as each of them sits down at the table and start to eat the bacon and eggs that Alex has prepared for them.

She looks at them and pours orange juice into their glasses, "What's the matter, guys? Why so glum?"

Cooper sighs, "Old Ranger is getting worse----he was a nervous wreck while we were in the barn----didn't want us touching him."

"Yeah," agrees Cordell, "Dad will have to make a decision soon on putting him down."

Alex sits down, "Oh no-----I didn't realize that the he was that bad-----your Father hasn't said anything."

"Probably just didn't want to worry you, Mom----but he's starting to favor those hind legs again----it's just a matter of time."

"What time? What are you guys talking about"? Asks Angela as she sits down next to her Mom, still half asleep.

"Is your brother up?"

Angela nods, "Yes, Mom, he's putting on his boots."

Alex starts shaking again as she tries to drink her coffee

"Mom, maybe you should just stay home today----ask for a postponement on this trial."

"No, sweetheart----I'm fine---I've waited too long to put the Murphy boys away-----I'll be fine."

The doorbell rings and Cooper goes to see who it is. His eyes bulge out; it's Terri!!

Alex sees Terri and motions for her to come into the kitchen for some coffee. "Hi Terri-----didn't Walker and Jimmy tell you that the "decoy" was pushed back a couple of days?"

Terri nods as she watches the twins stare back at her, she smiles at Angela, "How you doing, sweetie?"

Cooper repeats the word "sweetie" to himself, he reaches over and nudges his brother, "She can call me, 'sweetie'-----anytime."

Angela reaches over and slaps the back of her brothers' head, "Watch your manners."

Alex stares back at her son, "I'll second that motion, young man."                                  

Terri just laughs as Little Ray comes running into the kitchen, "Me hungry."

Alex starts his breakfast, and hands Angela her grapefruit.

"Actually Alex, I heard that all of the boys had been sick and that Cordell's cough was still lingering, I thought I would check him out----and see how you're feeling while I'm at it."

Alex smiles, "Oh now, I get it, Walker asked you to come out----didn't he?"

Terri nods, "Yeah----both he and Jimmy were worried----I said I'd be glad to----okay can I take some vitals?"

"Terri----I'm just fine."

"Well, since I'm here----what will it hurt---come on, let me take your bp---are you eating okay?"

Terri gives Alex a quick exam and then she turns to Cordell. "O.k. handsome----stick out your tongue, I want to look at your throat."

Terri gets right up in Cordell's face as he stammers a replay, "I'm okay---my throat is much better," she's so close that he can almost feel the 'mountains' against his chest.

Cooper is all grins, "Stick out your tongue, Cordell----let her examine you."

Alex and Angela give Cooper a stern look, Angela groans, "I don't believe this," she mutters.

Terri steps back, "O.k., handsome----just a little redness---what are you taking for your allergies?"

Cordell stutters, "Just the usual stuff---Benadryl."

Cooper grins as he puts his hand up to his mouth and fakes a cough, "What---about me, Terri----I have a cough, too."

Alex glares at her son, Terri reaches over and pulls his ear---"You---are something else."

Cooper grins, "That's what they tell me".

Terri leaves and the kids start getting for school.

Alex is dressed, but the shakes are still with her, she keeps looking at the phone on the wall.

"Mom-----Dad will call," Cordell says as he starts cleaning off the table, "he hasn't had time to find out anything yet."

Alex nods, "I know----I know. Remember sweetheart, your brothers' school gets out at noon all this week---please don't forget to be at the bus stop waiting for him?"

Cordell starts loading up the dishwasher and grabbing the broom, "Mom----you've told me that at least 3 times this morning----I'm not going to forget. I'll try to ride Old Ranger up there, maybe he's settled down by now----something was sure spooking him."

"Okay----your grandpa said he would come and pick you guys up and take you back to Dallas with him for the day. I will pick up Angela and Cooper and we will all meet for supper, hopefully-----your Father will have called by then."                               

Cordell breathes a sigh of relief as his Mother and his siblings are out the door.

"Finally---now as soon as I get the kitchen cleaned up and all the laundry brought downstairs----I can finally lay back and enjoy that book I've been wanting to read---peace and quiet, finally."
                               
*********************************************************

Kiwi stares at his Father, as the old man is caressing the needles like he saw him caressing his little "toy" earlier.

By the way ----"Father"----What are you going to do with your little 'toy' downstairs, providing he's even still alive?"

Sarge grins, "I plan to take him with us-----there's never too much of a good thing."

Kiwi groans, "Is everything set at this end?"

"I'm all set----Luther, Danny and I will be starting out for the Ranger's place within the hour. What about you, do you know where your precious Angela will be at noon?"

"I know exactly where she will be, she has a chemistry test, actually it's a 'make up' test and she and the professor will be in the lab----alone."

"What about the Mother and the other boy?"

"Angela's Mother will be in court, the other boy will be going about his routine as usual----he should be finishing up track at about that time and then to lunch."

Sarge sneers, "And, the rangers are on their way to a wild goose chase, some 200 miles away."

Kiwi smiles as he files his fingernails, and gently brushes his false hair back. "Angela will soon be mine----and she will know the fruit of her labors-----set your watches-----it's almost time
to move out."
                                
*************************************************

Trivette has said very little since Walker picked him up in front of headquarters.

"Trivette----I said I was sorry---what more do you want?"

The black ranger looks back at him, "I'm not so sure I should believe you----and yeah----I'm still ticked off at what you said about J.W. not being welcome at your home anymore."

"I didn't mean any of that, and you know it, Trivette. I was just angry at seeing the two of them-----going into the barn---I was imagining all sorts of things---going on---in there. I said I was sorry----do you want it in blood?"

"I want you to apologize to my son, that's what I want."

"I will Trivette----hell----dial your number---I'll apologize to him---right now if that will make you feel better?"

"He's in school, Walker."

"Fine! I will apologize to him----I promise."

They continue driving and Walker is rubbing his hand across his chin and shaking his head, "Something just isn't right, Trivette, I've got such a weird feeling."

Trivette smirks, "Cherokee intuition kicking in again?"

"I don't know what it is, first Alex's dream, and then the way Old Ranger was behaving, and I told you about-----thinking I heard my name in the wind?"

"I think it's your guilty conscience with all that's been going on, that's what I think it is."

"I'm serious, Trivette----and what the hell have I got to feel guilty about? Any Father would have behaved in the same manner that I did, if they saw their daughter going into the barn with a young man -----and closing the doors."

"Don't start on that again, Walk-man."

Walker's temper is starting to rise again, "What about this report on Kiwi being spotted, is it from a reliable source----do you know this person?"

"Walker, I got the report from a Lt. Patterson of the Burleson PD----he said one of his officers had spotted Kiwi at a local  ATM, when the officer approached him, he got into a car that was the exact description of that Michael Le Clair's . He gave chase---they lost him."

"They're sure it was Kiwi?"

"YES WALKER----the description fit."

"Don't you think that's a little strange, Trivette? Kiwi has stayed completely out of sight for the last few weeks, especially since the night he called Angela and threatened her---then he gets very brave and shows himself at a ATM machine?"

"Walker-----the man is a lunatic, who knows what he's thinking? He's probably low on cash----and you said so yourself that when creeps like Kiwi start to mess up-------they do it big.  He's making mistakes----we're on to him."

Walker continues to shake his head, as he looks at his watch, its 11:45. "There's a coffee place down the road about three miles, I got to take a leak and I want to call Alex, see how she's feeling."

Trivette nods his head, "Fine with me, maybe they'll have some decaf coffee that I can drink----instead of that road tar that you call coffee. How can you drink that stuff, it's strong enough to float a horseshoe-----I thought Alex had you on decaf too?"

"What she doesn't know won't hurt her----as long as you don't go blabbering to her."

Trivette starts to reply when the dispatcher's voice comes over the radio, "Rangers Walker and
Trivette----urgent message from a John Swinney, lab technician."

Trivette flips the speaker on, "Yeah Swinney----what's up?"

"Hey Trivette, that Yancey boy released the nametag, I was able to pull up some prints.----Walker----you there?"

Walker and Trivette look at each other, "Yeah, Swinney----I'm here, -----what you got?"
                                    
*********************************************

Cordell and Little Ray have returned from the bus stop, and Old Ranger is being put away.

"Me---hungry, 'ordell."

"Okay, little brother, come on in the house, I'll fix you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich-----grandpa will be here soon to take us to his place."

They start up the steps of the ranch house and Cordell stops and looks back to the barn and then around the yard. He listens----Little Ray pulls on his jacket.

"ordell----what's wong?"

Cordell shakes his head, "I could have swore I heard someone call out "Walker."

The men are approaching from behind the barn, when they see the Walker boys stop and look in their direction; they stoop down. Soon, the boys move inside the house. Once inside, Little Ray throws his jacket down in the floor and runs to the kitchen hollering he wants hot chocolate too. Cordell hangs his jacket up and then picks up his brothers' and hangs them on the 'tree'. He walks back over to the window and looks out, he sees nothing. He hears his brother shouting to him.

"Okay, okay, I'm coming----I'll get the hot water started for your hot chocolate."

The boy scrambles up to his place at the table, while Cordell starts putting him a sandwich together. "This will have to hold you till Grandpa gets here----Mom says we're all going out to eat later-----'

The back door is kicked open and two men enter, at the same time, Cordell can hear the front door being kicked open too. Little Ray sees the men, he screams and runs to his big brother.

"What do you want---who are you?" Cordell screams at them, and then he recognizes Danny.

"Danny------what's going on----who is this man?"

Danny says nothing as he turns to see Sarge standing there with his little black case.

Cordell is keeping his brother behind him, "Get out of my house!"

Sarge grins as he looks at Cordell and then tries to see Little Ray peering out from behind Cordell. The boy starts to cry.

Cordell stares back at all of them, as he backs up and goes into his fighting stance, doubling up his fists, Sarge laughs.

"You don't stand a chance against my "little friends" here------so why don't both of you come along quietly?"

Little Ray is crying harder and wanting his Mommy, "Just stay behind me, little brother, I'm not going to let them hurt you."

Sarge is drooling as he looks at Cordell and then to Little Ray, he wipes the spittle from around his mouth, "We are going to have so much fun----you're both young----just the way I like my little ‘toys’."

Cordell's mouth sets defiantly, his eyes study the other man, he's edging in closer, Danny is just standing there.

"You son of a bitch----if you hurt my little brother-----my Dad will kill you!"

Both Sarge and the man called Luther laugh, "Your Daddy and that black ranger are over 200 miles away---boy-----on a wild goose chase---thanks to Kiwi."

Luther moves in close enough and Cordell jumps up in the air and kicks him, the man stumbles back.

"I told you-----watch out for his feet----and he's good with those fists too," warns Sarge. "Danny----get the little one and bring him to me."

Danny starts towards Little Ray, and Cordell hits him with a right. As he's going down, Cordell kicks him in the chin, jumping back into his stance, and getting ready for Luther to charge
him.

"Get him, "shouts Sarge.

Luther takes out a knife and lunges for Cordell, Little Ray is screaming louder. Cordell kicks out and the knife goes flying, both Sarge and Luther charge Cordell, knocking him to the floor.
Danny grabs Little Ray and starts pulling him out of the kitchen, the boy is screaming for him to let him go.  Little Ray kicks out with his right foot and hits Danny in the knee cap, and Danny releases his grip.

The two men have Cordell on the floor and Sarge is trying to get his little black case open, Cordell is shouting for Little Ray to run for help.  The boy sees the needles coming out of the case, his eyes get big as he runs and jumps up on Sarge's back, biting his ear! Sarge screams and reaches back for Little Ray, grabbing him by the collar and throwing him sliding across the kitchen floor. Cordell gets a hand loose and slams his fist into Sarge's face.

Sarge backhands Cordell, as Cordell continues to shout to his brother to run. Little Ray starts to run past Sarge when he hears the teakettle whistling. The boy shoves the stepladder up to the stove, grabs it and pours it all over Sarge's head. The old man stands up screaming, grabbing for his eyes, he yells to Danny.

"Get that little piece of crap--------and bring him to me!"

"Run, little brother----run!"                                


The Seekers, THE FINAL CHAPTERS

By Sasquaw
              

Little Ray is running to the front door, Danny is right behind him. Danny grabs the boy's shirt collar and pulls him down onto the floor. Little Ray is kicking out wildly and screaming for his brother. He scrambles away from Danny towards the fireplace and grabs the poker. As Danny comes towards him, Little Ray swings the poker as hard as his little body will allow him, the poker makes contact----into Danny's groin. Danny screams and curses as he falls to he floor.

Cordell is still struggling to get out of Luther's grip, Sarge heads for the living room, "I said bring that piece of crap to me, I'll show him who is boss!"

Cordell shouts again for his brother to run, Luther is having a hard time holding Cordell. Every inch of Cordell's body is fighting the man as he hears his father's words, "Never stop moving---when all else fails--go for the eyes."

Cordell is throwing his hands back over his shoulders, stretching to make contact with the man's face. Luther is moving backwards to get away from the hands and in doing so he leaves his groin wide open. Cordell brings his elbow down hard and the man screams in pain, releasing him. Cordell jumps up, and kicks out with his right boot, hitting the man under his chin. Cordell can hear his brother screaming and as he turns and tries to run to him, Luther grabs his foot.

Cordell is hopping, trying to get loose from Luther, he hears a yell and then a bloody figure falls on top of Luther. Cordell's eyes grow big, as the bloody figure is striking out at Luther, he's taken off his boot and hitting Luther in the face with it, over and over.

"Mr. Ferguson-----" Cordell swallows as he sees all the blood.

"Go-----help your brother," Hank manages to speak.

Cordell is running to the front room as Sarge has grabbed Little Ray with his arm back, ready to strike him. Cordell takes a flying leap and lands on Sarge's back, knocking him to the floor. Danny is still holding his groin as he watches the two rolling on the floor. Cordell grabs a table lamp and hits Sarge over the head. He shouts to his brother, "Get my gun!"

Little Ray runs to the gun cabinet, and tries to grab the first rifle that he can lift. Danny runs to the boy and tries to take it away from him, Little Ray is screaming.

Cordell gets away from Sarge and hits Danny at the back of his neck, he goes to the floor crying. As Cordell is trying to get the gun up, Sarge hits him from behind. Cordell can feel a sharp pain going into his back, just below his shoulder blade.  Cordell drops the gun and staggers around to see Sarge coming after him with another needle, he grabs Little Ray to him. Sarge throws his arm back and laughs, the needle is going straight for Cordell's neck. Another yell and Hank Ferguson has jumped up on Sarge's back, trying to get the needle away from him. The old rancher is very weak, and his battle with Sarge is fruitless as the man jabs the needle into Hank's
chest. Cordell is starting to feel weak, as he grabs the table lamp again and starts hitting Sarge. Danny pulls Cordell back and pushes him down. He grabs Sarge.

"Come on, Sarge----we got to get out of here!"

Sarge and Danny are scrambling to get out the front door. Luther comes stumbling into the front room and Cordell hits him as hard as he can with his fist, the man goes down, and Hank crawls over to him and starts hitting him with his boot again! Cordell's face is twisted with pain, and the tears are falling down his face as he reaches back for his gun, he shoves the lever back and injects a shell into the chamber. He yells for Hank to get away from him, Cordell slams his left boot down hard into Luther’s chest, and puts the gun up to his mouth.

"EAT THIS----YOU SON OF A BITCH"!!!

Hank is pulling on Cordell's pant leg, "No------no----don't do it, son-----he's------not worth it."  

Cordell’s bottom lip is quivering and his eyes are starting to water, he keeps wiping his eyes and shouting, "He deserves to die----you're going to die, you worthless piece of crap!"

Hank is begging Cordell to put the gun down. "No----don't come down-----to his level, son-----he's not worth it-----please!"

Cordell is shaking, as he takes the gun from Luther's mouth and hits Luther with the stock, right into his face, twice. The man is out cold. Cordell turns to Little Ray, "Call----911----hurry."

Cordell goes down on the floor beside Hank; he's never seen so much blood. Hank is urging Cordell to turn around, so he can pull the needle out. Cordell is getting weaker as he fights to stay awake. Little Ray comes running back.

"Phone--boke--it don't work!"

Hank is grabbing Cordell and slapping his jaws, "Don't-----fall asleep, boy----you got----to move around."

"Never mind me, Mr. Ferguson-----we got to get you ----to a Dr, there is so much blood, and I think some of it is-----coming from -----me!"

"Listen to me----" Hank smiles, "I still can't-----tell you boys apart-----which one-----are you?"

Cordell takes the old man's head into his lap, "I'm Cordell."

"Listen to me-----Cordell-----there are more of them-----and they will be coming for you and your brother------you have to get out of here.----Sarge killed those troopers and fed them to my hogs----Find a place to hide!"

"I'm not leaving you-------you got to go with us-----."

"There's no time, son------," Hank reaches into his pocket and takes out the crumpled piece of notepad paper bearing the hand written will, "here--------take this---keep it safe."

Hank shoves the paper into Cordell's jeans.

"You got to find someplace -----to hide----there's no time ----to waste, go!"

Cordell shakes his head, "No----not without you, Little Ray come help me-------Mr. Ferguson-----how did Danny get messed up-----in this?"

Hank motions for Cordell to lean closer, "He did nothing to help me or those troopers-----he could have gotten help----Mike bled to death because of Danny's cowardice, -----I'm dying, Cordell-----I'm already dead. I see the bright light---and I see my Martha beckoning to me----can you see her----she's standing in the light----don't she look beautiful?"

Cordell looks to where the old rancher is pointing, he sees nothing. The tears start falling down Cordell's face, "Yes----I see her----she looks so----beautiful."

"Martha says to tell you----and your family that she appreciates you're looking after me till I could be with her. But, now it's time for me to be with my Martha-----goodbye Cordell-----and to your family."

The old man takes one final breath and then his head falls against Cooper's chest. Cordell is stunned, the room is starting to spin, he wants to scream, and then he looks into his baby brother's face. The boy is staring back at him and then to Hank's body.
                                 
" 'ordell-----me thared!"

Cordell gets up from the floor slowly, "You don't have to be afraid, little brother----I'll protect you----we have to get out of here----we have to get help."

Cordell is shaking his head back and forth, "I don't have the energy to run for help-----we have to have a place ---to hide."

Little Ray comes running back from the window, "Me see more men----bad men, 'ordell!"

"Okay, we got to hide------the attic------get upstairs Little Ray, hurry, I'll create a diversion."

The boy starts running to the stairs and Cordell runs unsteadily towards the back door, deliberately running through the blood. He gets out onto the lawn, pulls his boots off and runs back to the staircase, carrying them.

Little Ray is trying to hook the attic door with the long pole; Cordell takes it from him and pulls the ladder down. He shouts to Little Ray to climb up and then he hands him his gun.

"Careful----little brother---it's cocked and ready to fire----keep your fingers away from the trigger."

The boy nods as he takes the gun and lays it down softly on the attic floor. Cordell throws his boots up and then he climbs up. He will keep the pole inside the attic as he pulls the stairs up and the attic door closes, pulling the Indian blankets taut across the ceiling. Cordell takes his brother to the far side of the room, and then he crouches in front of him, with the gun pointing at the attic entrance.
                                    
*************************************************"

"Talk to us, Smitty---what ya' got, who belongs to that other fingerprint?"

"We got only one good print, other than trooper Norris' and the boy-----the print belongs to a Hank Ferguson."

Both Walker and Trivette stare at each other in disbelief. "Walker----your friend was the one that was helping to get the boy out?"

Walker slams on the brakes, making a U-turn-----"And, he's also the owner of a 1933 classic truck, the one Cooper and the Yancy boy was trying to find. Get some cruisers out to the Ferguson place and mine too-----also both schools and warn Alex!"

Trivette is yelling back to the dispatcher to send units.

"Trivette----call my home, warn Cordell!"

"I'm on it, Walk-man---I'm dialing as fast I can------there's no answer at your place----the line is dead!"

Walker is gripping the steering wheel so tight his knuckles are turning white-----"Get a chopper here-----they can land in any of these fields----hurry Trivette!"
                            
*************************************************************     

Angela is on her way to the lab, Dana is walking with her, and they hear J.W. yell out to them.

Angela looks at him shyly, and Dana whispers, "I'll see you later for lunch----hope you do good on that chem test."

J.W. smiles at Dana,  "Thanks Dana---Angela, I got word you wanted to see me?"

Angela tells J.W. about the conversation with her father earlier that morning. J.W. nods his head and smirks, "So-----I guess my standing up to Uncle Walker did the trick?"

"What are you talking about?"

J.W. is all smiles as he relays his and Walker's conversation after Angela left the barn. "I told your Daddy just how it was going to be, I stood up to him----and I'll do it again!"

Angela folds her arms across her chest and looks back at J.W.------  "You were lucky once, J.W.----don't push it!"

J.W. smiles, "Does this mean, that I'm off the hook for the other night?"

"Don't push that either, J.W.!!!----I haven't forgotten----I'm just 'thinking' about it-----and if I ever hear of you doing things like that again, behind my back, I'll kick your butt all over Texas----you got that?"

J.W. stammers, Yeah----I got it----I promise---I won't ever do anything like that----again!"

Angela looks at her watch, "I got to go,----I have to make up that darn chemistry test----Professor Mays said that if I didn't bring that grade up to at least a 'C'----I'll have to repeat this class next year."

"Don't worry, Angela---you'll do fine."

Angela smiles back at him, she loves looking into those olive eyes, "Easy for you to say----you 'ace' all of your subjects---I don't recall you ever getting anything less than a ‘A'."

J.W. shrugs, "Guess studying just comes natural for me."

Angela stares back at him, "But----I never see you crack a book-----you could take your final exams and go right to college----you're so smart."

J.W. starts to reply, a friend of Angela's walks over to her, "Professor Mays said to tell you that if you're not in the lab, in exactly 5 minutes-----you will get a failing grade."                                   

Angela starts running to the lab, she turns and shouts back to J.W.-----"I'll meet you for lunch-------12:30."

J.W. watches Angela hurrying down the hall, half running, her long mane swaying back and forth. He also notices her buttocks, and he smiles to himself. He does not notice Dylan Reed and another boy walking up to him.

"Hey Trivette----you deserve the award for best believable piece of garbage."

J. W. stares back at him, "What do you want, Reed? Another busted lip?"

Dylan looks in Angela's direction, and sneers, "I heard about the little make out in the back of Ken Dawson's car, and I also heard how Angela almost cracked your nuts for that little lie you was trying to tell her."

"That's none of your business, Reed----so butt out."

Both Dylan and the other boy laugh and Dylan grins, "I wonder what little Miss Angela would say if she knew about that girl in Chicago---what was her name----Latisha?"

J.W.'s mouth drops open, "How do you know about that----what are you trying to pull, Reed?"

Dylan nudges his friend, "What do you say, Gil-man-----let's go relay this little 'secret' to Angela?"

"I say----that Miss Angela would be oh, so grateful for this little part of info."

J.W. grabs Dylan, "You better not say anything to Angela about that----you do----and I'll beat the crap out of you!"

Dylan laughs, "What are you going to do, Trivette when it's all over school, beat up the whole school? Well, I got news for you---punk---you can start with the Walker twins---they're the ones with the big mouths."

Dylan and Gil laugh hysterically as they head down the hall. J.W. is stunned.

"I don't believe it----Cordell and Cooper would never reveal my secret----never!"

J.W. is furious as he throws his books down the hall. "Ohhh, they are going to pay for this----they promised they would never tell."

J.W. heads for the side entrance and out the door, he takes off running to the Jr. High.  He pays no attention to the three men coming up to the back entrance, leading to the chemistry lab.

The three men are dressed like employees of the Springfield Oil and Gas co. They look around slowly and then head to the lab. They pass the gym, Dylan Reed and his friends are enjoying a friendly game of basketball. The ball gets away from Reed and rolls out into the hall, one of the men kicks it.

"Hey-----you clown---what did you do that for?"

The man walks up to Reed, getting in his face, "Because I felt like it----wanna make something of it?"

The smaller man pulls the man away and shoves him gently in front of him---they move on towards the lab.

Dylan stands there, looking at the three men, "Now, why would those three clowns be heading for the lab?"

Dylan motions for Gil to join him, they follow the three men.
                                         
****************************************************

Cooper is running track when all of a sudden he feels a sharp pain in his back, just below his shoulder blade. He stops quickly and tries to grab his shoulder, his coach sees him and walks over to him.

"What's the matter Walker, are you having cramps?"

Cooper is all doubled over as he looks up at the coach, "No----I just felt a sharp pain---I feel funny."

The coach blows his whistle, "Well, get over it! Ten more laps, Walker!"

J.W. has reached the Jr. High and he sees Cooper running track. He runs to catch up with him, and then he shoves Cooper to the ground.

"Heeyyyyy---what's the big idea, J.W.----are you crazy?"

J.W. stands there looking down at Cooper, "I thought I could trust you two----you said you wouldn't never reveal my secret!"

Cooper stands up and shoves J.W., "I don't know what your problem is, but----keep your hands to yourself."

The bell rings and the rest of the track team head inside, J.W. is stammering, "Why did you tell, Coop?"

Cooper stares back at him, "Earth to J.W.----what the hell are you talking about?"

"As if you didn't know----you told Dylan Reed about that that incident in Chicago-----with Latisha."

Cooper's eyes narrow, "I don't understand what you're talking about---I've never told anyone about that."

"Then----your brother blabbed it."

Cooper grabs J.W. by the collar----"Cordell would never tell----think about what you're implying J.W. My brother and I could care less about YOUR reputation---but we would never let that garbage get back to our sister---and humiliate her like that----so you better find someone else to blame for your deception."

The boys stand there staring at each other, when another boy walks up to them.  "I think I know who told Reed about what went down."

"Moose? Do you know something about this, do you know how Reed found out?"

The boy stammers around, "Yeah-----I told him-----I couldn't help it, you know how Reed is always picking on me-----I thought if I told him this, that he would leave me alone!"

Cooper stares at Moose, "But, how did you find out----no one else was suppose to know?"

"Actually----you were the one that let it slip, Coop---I heard you and Cordell talking about it in the locker room----you didn't think anyone else was around, but I was on the other side of the lockers and I heard you."

"You s.o.b," J.W. shouts as he lunges towards Moose, and Cooper steps in between them.

"Wait a minute-----okay, so Moose told----that doesn't give Reed the right to broadcast it all over the school!"

J.W. stares back at Cooper, "Oh, just wait till school is out----I'm going to beat the holy shit out of Reed."

Cooper's anger is rising, "Why wait?----Let's go do it now!"

The boys start running back to the high school, they get almost there when the fire alarms start going off. Cooper again feels the pain in his back, as he stops and looks at J.W.

"Oh great------just what we need a fire alarm drill," groans J.W., looking at Cooper. "What's wrong, man?"

Cooper shakes his head, "I don't know---I just feel like I need to talk to my brother----damn it----my cell phone is in my locker."

J.W. pulls his out, "Here, use mine."

Cooper keeps dialing his home, "No answer----the line is dead."

"Come on, Coop---you can try again later."

They head for the side entrance, all the students are coming out in single file, the teachers are yelling at J.W. and Cooper to turn around and go the same direction, they refuse, heading for the gym.

"Are you sure he's in the gym?" asks Cooper.

"Yeah, I'm sure---he and his friends had basketballs, they were taking practice drills."

The boys poke their heads in the gym, but everyone has been evacuated. The boys walk out into the hallway and looks towards the lab, where the door is closed.

"Aren't all the doors suppose to be left open during fire drills?"

J.W. starts to reply when they see Dylan Reed stumbling towards them, holding his stomach. The boys start walking towards him, when they see the blood.

"What the-------," replies Cooper as he runs towards Dylan.

"Reed----what's wrong-----what happened?"

Dylan falls to the floor, "They----killed Gil-----Cooper----they got Angela-----she's in the lab."

"Who has Angela, what are you talking about, "J.W. shakes Dylan.

Dylan is gasping for breath, "I hit the alarms-------it's that creep that has been-----stalking Angela----he's got her!"

Cooper starts running to the lab, "Call the police-----call my Dad!"

Cooper hits the lab door as hard as he can, shouting out his sister's name. The door stands tough, as Cooper jumps up and tries to peer through the glass. He sees Angela being drug out the other exit door. Cooper yells to J. W. and then he grabs the fire extinguisher and starts hitting the door and the glass.
                                   
*********************************************************

The chopper is trying to land at the Ferguson ranch. As soon as it descends, Walker and Trivette are running towards the house. They step sideways as a young police officer comes running out with the little boy.

"He's alive----but just barely!" Shouts the officer.

"Get him to the chopper----hurry," Walker shoves the young officer.

Another officer comes running up to the rangers, "There's activity at your place, Ranger Walker------two men are trying to escape on foot----gunfire is reported."

Walker and Trivette grab a cruiser and go speeding to Walker's ranch. They can hear the gunfire as officers are giving chase through the open field. The Rangers draw their guns and rush inside, the sight before them makes them stop and stare. There's blood all over the living room, a body lays covered in the middle of the floor. Another man is being handcuffed.

Walker stares at the body, his body starts to shake as he moves towards it. Trivette grabs him, "I'll look, partner---hang back."

Trivette looks at the body and looks back at Walker, letting out a sigh, "It's not either of the boys----it's Hank Ferguson!"

Walker is still shaking, "Hank? Oh my God----where are my boys?"

Walker stares down at the blood and sees the boot prints, he starts following them to the back door and out into the yard and then he just stops, going in circles. "Trivette----they go no where----they just stop!"

Trivette hollers to the officers to spread out and he again warns them not to destroy evidence. Walker keeps looking back at the tracks and how they come out the back door and onto the grass, the ground is soft, there should be some kind of a print. He stops and looks back to the hallway, leading back through the laundry room, he runs back in.

"Trivette! They're still inside the house somewhere."

"Walker, are you sure?"

Walker points to a solid half print,

"There-------my boy has created a diversion by running outside and taking off his boots, coming back in his socks----that's a sock print."

Trivette again hollers to the officers to start searching. Walker looks to the stairs and whispers, "The attic----Trivette----they're hiding in the attic."

The rangers take the steps two and three at a time, Walker is screaming out his kids' names.

Cordell thinks he's hearing things as he continues to keep his little brother pinned behind him, the gun is still pointing at the attic entrance.

Ray is pushing on his brother, "ordell-----get off me----me hear something."

"No. Little Ray ---stay put---it's a trick."

The boy finally gets out from under his brother and runs to the window, he sees patrol cars all over the place. He runs back to Cordell, who has a glassy look in his eyes. He pulls on his brother and points to the window, "ordell----p'lice cars-----Daddy!"

Little Ray pulls away from his brother and starts running to the attic entrance, Cordell is stumbling after him, "NO-------don't open the door----it's a trick, they're waiting for us to come out."

Little Ray is trying to pull the trapdoor up, and screaming for his Daddy, Walker can barely hear his baby son's voice through all the soundproofing, he shouts back.

The trapdoor is being pushed back and Little Ray sees his father's face come into view, "Daddy!!!----Daddy!!!"

Cordell scrambles back over to the far side of the room and picks his gun up and points it at the figure that is picking up his baby brother, he screams, "Leave my brother alone----I'll kill you!"

Walker stares back at his son, putting Little Ray down gently, he puts his hands out in front of him. "Easy------Cordell---it's me son----it's Dad"!

Cordell's eyes are watering, and his face is going white. "NO------get away from my little brother----I'll shoot you----I'll kill you!"

Walker's hands are shaking, as he tries to inch forward. Little Ray steps in front of him, and walks towards Cordell.

"Ordell----put gun down-----Daddy won't hurt us."

The boy takes his brothers' hand away from the gun, Cordell starts to cry, "Dad----where are you?"

Walker runs to the boy and pulls him up on his feet, and starts slapping his cheeks, "I'm right here, son----you got to stay awake-----you can't fall asleep----stay with me, Cordell."

Cordell is stumbling as Walker tries to get him to the attic entrance---"Trivette----get a chopper here----NOW."

Trivette shouts back that one has already landed, and he reaches up to catch Little Ray. Cordell is crying as he reaches up and touches his Fathers' face, feeling the beard.

"Dad--------Daddy----everything is turning dark---what's happening?"

"Stay awake son----you can't go to sleep----talk to me."

Walker pulls his son up on his shoulder and starts down the stairs and to the gurney. Cordell keeps reaching for his hand.

"Daddy? Are we going fishing?"

Little Ray runs to his brother and tries to climb up on the gurney, but Walker pulls him away. They all rush outside to the waiting chopper.

"Call Alex, have her meet us at Trinity Hospital---hurry Trivette!"

Trivette is nodding his head, "Got it---go partner."

As the chopper is taking off, Gordon Cahill comes driving up, his eyes are wide as he runs up to Trivette, "What's wrong, who was in that chopper?"

Trivette relays the news back to Gordon, and then he sees the suspect in handcuffs being brought out. He runs to him and shoves the suspect down, "Okay, you S.O.B.----start talking----is there an antidote for what is in the those needles?"

The man laughs, "Wouldn't you like to know, ranger?"

"You sorry bastard," Cahill lunges after the man, "I'll kill you with my bare hands!"

The officers are pulling Gordon and Trivette off the man, as Trivette's cell phone starts to ring.

He lets out a string of curse words at the man on the ground, then shouts into his phone----"YEAH? TRIVETTE, WHAT'S UP?"

A voice shouts back, "Dad? It's me----get over to the high school-----all hell has broken loose-----Kiwi has Angela, a student has been killed!!! Where's Uncle Walker?"

Trivette shouts to some of the officers to follow him to the high school, he shouts to Gordon to go to the hospital to be with Alex. The cruisers take off, and Trivette starts calling the chopper to relay the news to Walker.

As Walker is getting the news about Angela being taken, Cordell starts going into convulsions. The medics start holding the boy down, one of the young Doctors starts yelling for a code blue.

Little Ray starts to cry and throws his arms around his Daddy's neck, "'ordell sick-----man hurt him"!
                        
The Seeker XXIX

Walker is holding his baby son and trying to reach out for Cordell's hand. The medic keeps pushing his hand away.

"Let us do our job, ranger----is he on any kind of medication?"

Walker is stuttering, thinking about his daughter being attacked by Kiwi and the sight of his son going into convulsions. The medic gets up in his face.

"IS HE ON ANY KIND OF MEDICATION?"

"I can't----remember----what he was ----taking when he was sick----he takes medication for allergies," Walker stammers.

"Prescribed-----or over the counter----think man---WHAT IS HE TAKING?"

Walker's head is spinning, he knows that Alex would know immediately what he's taking----"I can't remember----Beatine----B-----B-----it starts with a ‘B’!"

"Benadryl------in green capsules?"

Walker shouts back, "YES----that's it! What's happening to my son, is he going to be okay?"

The medic has known Walker for over a year and he has seen the ranger in many situations---he's always been strong----he has never seen Ranger Walker in this state of confusion.

He puts his hand on Walkers', "Look----Walker-----your son is having a reaction----probably from whatever is in that needle and the allergy medicine---we are doing everything we can to keep him stable-----and to keep this chopper from going down. You have to calm down----we'll be on the ground soon."

Walker's eyes are big as he stares at his son on the gurney and then pulls his baby son closer to him. He thinks of Angela, and lets out a curse word and hits the door of the chopper. The medic sees a tear forming in the ranger's eye, and looks away.
                              
**********************************************************

J.W. and Cooper are still trying to get through the lab door, suddenly Cooper breaks away and starts running for the exit.

 "Come on J.W., we can get through the other side----through the boy's bathroom!"

As the boys are running to the boys' bathroom, Kiwi and his goons are dragging Angela through the back entrance and outside. They see the police cars coming and one of the men returns gunfire with them. Kiwi and the other man are pulling Angela back into the lab.

"Mickey----can you get to the car?"

"Are you crazy? There must be a dozen squad cars surrounding this place!"

Kiwi throws Angela up against the wall, "At least your old man isn't here-----he's on the other side of town-----chasing his tail!"

"You better be glad that my Daddy isn't here----he'll kill you for touching me!"

Mickey is getting nervous, "I got to try and get to the car----I'm going out the way we came in."

Kiwi yells at him to stay put, but Mickey hits the door running. Cooper and J.W. are coming from the boys' room and they give chase.  Just as Mickey gets to the door, Cooper takes a flying leap and lands on his back. J.W. yanks another fire extinguisher off the wall and hits Mickey over the back of the head. Cooper picks up his gun, and J.W. yells at him to put it down.

"Put the gun away, Coop-----if some young rookie sees you with a gun----they'll shoot first and ask questions later."

Cooper is debating to put it down as he keeps looking back at the lab, "Angela needs help----there's no telling what that bastard will do to her."

"COOPER-PUT THE GUN DOWN---we don't need it to handle a wimp like him."

As Cooper and J.W. run back towards the lab, Trivette and other officers come running down the hallway, Trivette yells to his son and J.W. stops. Cooper hesitates, and then keeps running.

Kiwi is trying to peer through the glass opening, he sees the officers coming, he turns to face Angela and she surprises him with a kick to the head.  Kiwi stumbles back, "You little bitch."

Angela comes at him again with another kick to the head and Kiwi hits the floor. She runs at him and kicks out at him, but he catches her foot and shoves her backwards. He runs at her and Angela jumps straight up, coming down on his back with her foot. Again he grabs her other foot and pulls her down to the floor with him. Angela is striking out at him with both fists, he backhands her!

Kiwi is pulling her up to him and trying to throw her over his shoulder, she keeps squirming, until he curses at her and hits her with his fist. She falls backward, he stands over her, yelling and cursing her.

"You're mine, Angela----why do you fight it?"

Angela kicks straight up and into Kiwi's crotch, he doubles over. Angela jumps to her feet and knees him under the chin.

"You piece of slime----no one owns me!"

Kiwi stumbles back, "I'm not done with you yet, Angela----you won't get out of here alive!"

Kiwi starts towards Angela again, when he hears the front door being hit by the police and Trivette's voice is yelling for Kiwi to let Angela go. Cooper is at the back entrance now, and he can see Kiwi grabbing his sister again.

"Get away from here----all of you pigs----or I’ll put a bullet in her head!"

Cooper groans, as he starts running towards them, Kiwi spins around to fire at Cooper, Angela knocks the gun from his hand. Cooper is now grabbing Kiwi and hitting him as hard as he can, Kiwi is small, but he's strong. He throws Cooper across the room and then Kiwi breaks a glass container and is going for Cooper's face. Angela jumps up on Kiwi's back, and he spins and runs backward, slamming her against the wall. She falls to the floor, shaking her head. Kiwi is going after Cooper again, picking up his gun and slamming it into Cooper's head. The boy blacks out.

Angela is running to the door, trying to get it unlocked, Kiwi has her around the neck and pulling her backwards. She's trying to get his hands away from her neck, gasping for air. She stomps down on his foot, making him release her for just a second. She takes her right elbow and goes back into his rib cage, and then spins around and hits him with her fist. She doesn't stop as she continues to kick him, standing on one foot and kicking from one side of his head to the other. Kiwi goes down. Angela screams for her brother and runs to him.

Kiwi comes up behind her and grabs her again, and Angela goes down on the floor, doing a sweep with her left foot, taking Kiwi's feet out from under him. She again starts kicking him and hitting him with everything she can get her hands on.

He comes at her again, "I'm going to kill you, Angela."

Angela just stands and faces him, "I'm not afraid of you anymore-----bring it on!"   As she stands behind a desk, taunting him.

Kiwi starts climbing over the desk and Angela takes both hands and pops his ears as hard she can, he screams and holds his ears. Angela jumps up on the desk and kicks out with her right foot, catching him squarely in the face. Kiwi starts backing up and Angela is walking slowly towards him.

"You're not so big now, are you?"

She keeps backing him up, and then he charges her, taking her backwards over the lab desks, glass is breaking everywhere. He's over her now, hitting her with his fists, while she keeps feeling on the floor for something to strike back at him with, she feels it----a broken test tube. Her right hand closes around it and then she hits him in the left cheek, dragging it across his face. He jumps up, screaming and grabbing his face, the blood is going everywhere. Angela gets to her feet slowly and just stands and looks at the little man that is screaming and trying to hold his face together. A look of hate comes over the young girls' face.

Kiwi is blubbering and begging Angela to help him. She puts the test tube in her other hand and walks up to Kiwi, "I'll help you-----this is for Darcy-----," and Angela takes the test tube and rams it into Kiwi's face again, and pulling it forward across his face, from ear to ear!

The door is knocked down and the police come running in. Trivette and J.W. stand there, looking at Angela as she stands over Kiwi.

Trivette inches forward to her while J.W. runs to Cooper. "Angela-----it's me, it's Uncle Jimmy ---- sweetheart ----drop the weapon----it's over."

Angela starts to cry and Trivette grabs her. She looks back to Cooper as J.W. is helping him to his feet; she pulls away from Trivette and runs to him. They fall into each other's arms, crying.
                                 
********************************************************

Alex is at the emergency room, as she sees the chopper landing and other medics run out to retrieve the patient. They run past her, pushing the gurney and she can see Cordell thrashing about. She looks back to see Walker running towards her, carrying Little Ray.

Alex runs to them, grabbing Little Ray. Alex is shouting questions to her husband, but he just shakes his head and runs after the gurney. She sees her father running up to the entrance as fast as the old man can move, then they hurry towards the direction Walker took.

Walker is pacing back and forth as the medics are working on his son, he has his phone up to his ear and hollering for information on Angela. Alex looks to her father, "Angela? Where is Angela, what's wrong?"

Alex runs to Walker and is trying to ask about their daughter as she keeps looking back at Cordell.  More Doctors are shouting instructions and an oxygen mask goes over Cordell's face, and IV's are being inserted. Alex is crying and Gordon is trying to keep her on her feet. Finally Walker runs to her and takes her into his arms.

"I got through to Trivette---Angela and Cooper are being brought to the hospital, they'll be here soon!"

Little Ray is crying for his Mother to pick him up, she sits down in a chair and he crawls up in her lap. Walker is shouting to Gordon to take him, but the boy won't let go of his Mother.

One of the Doctors comes running out, "Is Benadryl the only medication he's taking"?

Walker looks to Alex and she nods her head, "Yes-----yes----but he's been off the medication for a good-----24 hours or so!"

The Doctor looks to Walker, shaking his head, "It would help if we knew what we were dealing with----the liquid from the needle has gone deep into his bloodstream, his muscles are trying to stiffen."

"Oh my God," whispers Walker, "paralysis?"

"We have started transfusions, and we will give him a muscle relaxer-----we have taken samples and sent to the lab-----hopefully---we will come up with an antidote----soon enough."

Gordon is shaking his head as he paces the floor, Walker is standing and looking back at his wife, his face is pale. Alex is crying and Little Ray is trying to console her.

Walker gets back on his phone and talks to Trivette, "Are any of those bastards alive to talk-----there's got to be an antidote-----do whatever you have to do to make them talk-----hurry Trivette ----please hurry----there's not much time."

Trivette shouts back, "They're not talking, Walker----they're afraid of that Sarge and what he will do to them if they do."

Walker swears, "Damn that man," and he throws his cell phone down in the floor and then kicks it.

Minutes later and Trivette arrives at the hospital, the kids take off running towards their parents. Walker grabs Angela and squeezes her, "Are you okay, baby?"

Angela is crying as he pushes her hair back, "I'm alright Daddy----how is Cordell?"

Cooper runs to his Mother and grabs her, then looks past her into the room where the Drs. are working on his twin. He feels the pain in his back as again he grimaces, now he knows why he's having the pain.

Trivette and J.W. walk towards the Walker family, they all embrace. Walker nudges for Trivette to walk away from the others. "Can you get any of those creeps to talk about the antidote?"

"They are being bargained with----I've copped all kinds of plea bargaining---no one is talking.  As long as Sarge is still on the loose, no one will talk. ------But-----there's something else you should know."

Cooper is standing only a few feet away from his father and uncle, he looks back at them as his uncle's face gets a weird expression.

Walker stares at his partner, "Danny? That same kid that was at our house for Thanksgiving -----are you sure?"

At the mention of Danny's name, Cooper listens more intently. Trivette is nodding his head, "Yep---the same----his fingerprints were all over your living room, and in the kitchen----along with Sarge's and another goon, called Luther Franks."

The two rangers continue talking, and Cooper is stunned. "Danny?" He whispers the name to himself.

Trivette heads back to headquarters, Walker is beside himself, wanting to go and question the suspects himself and wanting to stay with his son.

Almost an hour has passed, and Walker is still pacing. Alex watches him and tries to get him to sit down, then she motions for Angela to go to him.

"Daddy----Daddy---please sit down," she pulls on his arm gently.

"I can't sit down!" He looks back at Angela and sees the bruises on her face, "did that bastard do this to you -----I'm so sorry baby---I'm so sorry I wasn't there for you!"

"Daddy-----I'm fine----you couldn't be in both places at once----you had to be with Cordell!"

"I NEEDED TO BE WITH BOTH OF YOU---TO PROTECT YOU!  THAT'S WHAT A MAN DOES----HE PROTECTS ALL OF HIS FAMILY----AT ANY COST!"

Angela again pulls on his arm, she nods for J.W. to get him some coffee, as he sits down Angela puts her arms around him. "Daddy---you are not Superman---you can't be in two places at once and Cordell needed you more!"

Walker stares back at his daughter, "What? Are you saying that ----you don't need me anymore?"

"No, Daddy----that's not what I meant--------"

Walker stands up quickly----"GREAT-----my family doesn't need me anymore------Trivette told me how you handled that son of a bitch----so maybe you are right----you don't need your old man around to protect you and your brothers anymore! All of you have done just fine, ---without me!"

Walker stomps off, passing J.W. as he's coming back with coffee. Alex is handing Little Ray to Angela and she goes after her husband.

J.W. sits down beside Angela and holds her hand, Gordon is still pacing. Cooper has walked off to stand alone; his bottom lip quivering, his fists fold and unfold. He curses.

Another hour has passed. Walker has come back into the waiting room, Alex is holding his hand tightly, and makes him sit down.

One of the Doctors comes out, he nods, "He's stable--------he's holding his own."

Gordon Cahill mumbles, "Thank you, Lord----thank you for looking out for my grandson."

Alex and Walker look at the Doctor, "Can we see him now?"

The Dr. smiles, "Only for a minute---two at a time---keep him quiet----don't let him talk----he needs all of his energy."

Walker and Alex go in first, followed by Gordon and Angela.  J.W. is holding Little Ray as the boy soon falls asleep. Cooper walks slowly into the room, sees all the tubes, his brother looks very pale. He walks up to the side of the bed and takes his brothers' hand.

Cooper can hardly speak, he's so choked up, the tears are falling down his cheek. Cooper swallows, and leans down to his brother, "Hey bro'-----I need to ask you something------squeeze my hand-----if the answer is "YES"----do you understand?"

Cooper feels his hand being squeezed. "I need to know----I need to hear it from you-----is Danny mixed up in this?"

Cooper watches his brother’s face as he grimaces in pain, his hand is squeezed tightly. A tear comes down Cordell's face and Cooper wipes it away. "He'll pay for this, bro'-----he'll pay for trying to hurt my family----he's going to pay!"

Cooper starts to walk away, Cordell is not letting go of his hand, Cooper gently takes his hand away and squeezes his brothers' hand with both of his. He leans down and kisses his brother's cheek. Then he walks out quickly, not saying anything to anyone.
                                          
*********************************************************

Trivette comes back to the hospital and nods for Walker to join him. The two rangers walk off a few feet, and are deep in conversation. Cooper watches them, and then he sees his Mother and Angela looking at him. He turns back to the window, looking out.

Angela walks over to her brother, touching his arm lightly." Coop----are you okay? ----You've hardly said a word since we got to the hospital?"

"I'm fine, just leave me alone."

"Are you sure you're okay, is your head hurting, did a Doctor check you out, are you---"

"Would you leave me alone, please? ------I told you I AM FINE---now just leave me be!"

Walker and Trivette hear the words being exchanged between Angela and her brother. Trivette looks to Walker, "Sounds like someone else is having guilty feelings."

Walker sighs, "Yeah-----I know just how he feels, poor kid. He's feeling manipulated, Danny came into our home under the pretense of being Cooper's friend---now Cooper is blaming himself. Did you take care of those things I asked you to?"

"Everything is taken care of, the little boy is being flown to Houston to see a specialist----his parents agreed to your plan not to release any information to the media, they wasn't too anxious to see their son's picture and story plastered all over the media.  No word of his being found has been released, and all of the surveillance has been taken away from the Ferguson ranch.---It's like a deserted place out there!"

Walker nods, "Good, and the rest of the plans?"                                      

Trivette nods, "Walker---are you sure that Sarge will go back to the Ferguson ranch-----looking for the Clarence kid?"

"Clarence----is that his name?"

His name is Aaron, Aaron Clarence----ironic isn't it? The boy is finally found on this day---his 5th birthday?"

Walker shakes his head. "I just hope I'm right, partner------Sarge is not going to chance going after another little victim, and as far as he knows----we didn't find the boy----he was pretty well hidden----and wasn't able to make any sounds when the police started looking. Luckily, a young officer stumbled over the hiding place by sheer accident or the boy would still be there."

Trivette nods, "And, plan three? Does Alex know?"

"Yeah, everything is set. Gordon is taking the kids back to Dallas with him, and he will tell them. So, I guess this is it!"

A few minutes after Gordon has left with the kids, Walker is again pacing the floor and blaming himself for not being with his kids when they needed him. Alex is trying to get him to calm down.

"Walker-----would you please sit down----you are making me a nervous wreck!"

Walker starts ranting and raving; pulling away from Alex and refusing to listen to anything she has to say.  He starts to walk away from her, when suddenly he grabs his left arm, and doubles over in pain.

"Walker? Walker----what's wrong?"

Walker grabs his chest, "I can't------breathe-----help me------I can't breathe!"

"Oh my God, honey-----help us please!"

Some medics run over to Walker, and one shouts back, "He's having a cardiac arrest----get him to emergency ----NOW!"

A gurney is brought and the medics lift Walker up onto it as they rush him towards the emergency room. One of the medics is attempting CPR---he yells back, "He's not responding!"

Trivette comes running back from the coffee machine and Alex tells him of Walker's attack, they both start running behind the medics, and into a room. The door is closed as one of the medics, calls for "CODE BLUE, CODE BLUE!"

The room becomes silent and everyone is looking at the body laying on the gurney. Trivette walks over to the door and opens it slightly, then turns back to everyone. "All clear."

Walker sits up on the gurney and Alex lets out a long sigh, then she starts crying. He reaches out for her, and everyone just steps back.

"Oh, Walker----- I know it was suppose to look convincing----but I was so scared----you had me believing ---you really were having a heart attack?"

Walker holds his wife, "I know hon, I had to make it look good----I'm sorry I scared you like that."

Walker looks to Trivette, "Is your friend here from the newspaper?"

"Yep----you will make tomorrow's headlines and you will also be on the 10o'clock news!"

Alex pulls back from her husband, "Now what?"

Walker sighs, "Now----I go undercover--and a decoy will be here in the hospital, pretending to be me. ---This is where you and the kids come in, Alex----are you up to this?"

Before Alex can answer, Trivette nods to the medics and they all step outside.

Alex looks to her husband, "Undercover? Where are you going?"

Walker starts changing into the Doctor's clothing; he lays his Stetson down on the night stand. He puts his handgun into his pocket.

"Back to Hanks' place-----Sarge will be coming back for his 'toy' and I plan to be there when he does."

"Walker----please be careful----I'm still not over that dream I had."

"I promise-----and when I get back--we are seriously going to start planning a vacation."

He kisses her long and tender, and then pulls the surgical mask up over his face. He pulls it back down, "Hey----this could get pretty 'kinky'---maybe we could rake up a nurse's uniform for you."

Alex tries to laugh as she throws her arms around his neck. "Please----be careful----I love you."
                                        
*********************************************************

The Walker kids watch silently as their father's face is flashed across the TV screen. Little Ray looks up to his grandpa, "Daddy---okay?"

"Yes, Ray Gordon---your Daddy was only pretending to be sick----it was just an act----to bring the bad man out----so your Daddy can catch him, do you understand?"

The boy nods his head, "Daddy will catch bad man----bad man hurt 'ordell----and me."

Angela pulls her little brother to her, "That's right, Daddy will catch the bad man----and put him in jail for-----a long---long, time!"

Cooper swears and both Angela and Gordon look to him. "Jail is too good for those bastards----Danny included!"

"You watch your mouth, young man----I know you're angry----but swearing isn't going to help!"

Cooper stares back, "You've done your share of the curse words today, Grandpa!"

"COOPER," shouts Angela.

Gordon starts to say something and then he nods to Angela to take Little Ray out of the room, "Get him ready for bed, honey----you and your Mother can take the other bedroom, I'll open up the couch for Coop."

"You don't have to bother, Grandpa---I'm not staying here-----I'm going home!"

"HOME? ------You can't go home, the police are still inspecting your home for evidence."

Cooper stomps off to the kitchen, Gordon just sighs.

It is now the next morning as Alex comes walking in.

"Mom----are you okay?"

"I thought it would look more convincing that I stay at the hospital-----Terri made sure that I had a comfortable bed."

"What about Cordell, how is he doing, pumpkin?"

"Cordell is doing just fine, I had breakfast with him and told him about the "heart attack" and his Dad going undercover-----I sure didn't want him hearing it from someone else."

Cooper is still staying to himself, Alex sees him and walks over to him.

"Coop----sweetheart----can we talk?"

"There's nothing to talk about, Mom-----I made a big mistake that almost got my brothers killed-----what is there to talk about?-----If I hadn't invited Danny into our home----none of this would be happening."

"Sweetheart---you are wrong! These things were happening before Danny came into our home----you cannot blame yourself for any of this!"

Cooper stares back at his Mother, "Now, I know how Dad has felt----not being able to help his family----he has felt useless-----that's the way I feel right now------USELESS."

Alex sighs, as she starts to go after her son, Gordon pulls her back. "Let him cool off, pumpkin----he's been battling his conscience every since he got here."

Alex nods, "Dad----there's something I want to show you," she reaches into her purse and brings out the crumpled piece of notepad paper----"the nurse was going through Cordell's jeans before disposing of them----she found this."

Gordon Cahill reads the paper, "It's a will-----Hank Ferguson has made the twins beneficiaries to his estate and-----and to that old classic truck?"

Alex looks towards the kitchen, "I don't think we should say anything about this to the boys----until everything has calmed down. But Dad-----he says nothing has been left to his daughter, Charlene-----I'm confused----I thought his daughters' name was----Beth?"

"That could create a problem----if this daughter attests this will---whatever her name is?"

"If I know my boys---they won't accept this----they loved that old man---but they won't take Ferguson's place away from the immediate family----especially those grandkids."

Gordon puts the note inside of his desk for safe keeping and turns to his daughter. "Right now----you need to rest-----and take care of that little grandson or granddaughter that you got inside that tummy----now go take a nice warm bubbly---and lie down for a couple of hours".

"But----the kids----"

"I am going to take Angela by her school to pick up her homework for the rest of the week, and she will pick up the twins' homework----I've already cleared things with Ray Gordon's pre school. ----No one is expecting them in school after what has happened to the family and now to Walker."

Alex rubs her neck, placing her purse down on the hall table. "You're right---I am exhausted---I'll sleep for a couple of hours and then head back to the hospital."

Gordon leaves with Angela and Little Ray. Cooper is standing in the kitchen watching his Mother, he watches as she puts the keys to the SUV in her purse. She rubs her back, heading for the spare bedroom.

The rest of the day is spent with the Walker family going back and forth from Cordell's room to ICU. They finally head back to Dallas and everyone is getting ready for bed.
                                  
The Seekers XXX

It is now morning, almost 48 hrs since Walker has gone undercover. Alex and the kids have tried to keep everything normal as she and her Dad keep switching back and forth and going from Cordell's room, to ICU. Trivette and J.W. have made their appearances too.

Alex has decided to go to her office for a couple of hours, she says goodbye to her Dad and goes to get her purse. She's still looking through her purse when Little Ray comes out and stares at her.

"What ya' doing, Mommy?"

"Mommy is looking for her keys----have you seen Mommy's keys to the truck, sweetheart?"

The boy nods, "Yeah----'ooper take them."

"Cooper has my car keys----are you sure? What would he want with my keys?"

"Have you found them yet, Mom?"

No---- go wake up your brother and ask him for my keys."

Angela walks to the couch and pulls back the covers, but Cooper is not there. Angela turns and looks at her Mother and then to her grandpa.

"I don't believe this," mumbles Gordon as he walks to the phone and calls down to the garage, "would you please check and see if my daughter's white SUV is in the visitors' parking area?" The call comes back negative.
                                      
******************************************************

Ferguson ranch   5am:                    

Walker was ready to land a right fist into the figure that was coming down the steps of Hank's basement. He pulled his arm back and stopped in mid air as a voice yelled out, "DAD-----It's me!"

Walker reaches out and yanks his son down the stairs, "Coop-----what are you doing here?"

The boy shudders as he thinks about his Father's fist going into his face, knowing his Father's strength, there wouldn't have been anything left of it!

"I came -----to be ---with you---- I came to help."

Walker lets out a string of curse words, "Well----you get your butt back up those stairs and get the heck out of here-----how did you get here, anyways?"

Cooper whispers, "I took Mom's SUV."

"What? You drove your Mothers' vehicle-----all the way from Dallas?"

Cooper nods, "Yes----sir----I parked it down by those mesquite trees-----out of sight----and then I walked over here, or rather ran."

"I can't believe this! What are you trying to do, kill yourself,----you don't even have a beginner's license----what could you be thinking?"

"I just wanted to be here----with you----to help catch those creeps

"Your Mother has got to be worried sick----did you ever think about that? Don't you think she's had enough to worry about in the last few months-----without you pulling a stupid trick like this?"

Cooper stares back at his Father, "I'm not going back, Dad-----and you can't make me!"

"Don't you dare take that tone of attitude with me---- it was stupid----you're coming here. I've got to get you out of here----come on!" Walker grabs his son's jacket and Cooper pulls away.

"I'm not going-----if you take me back----I'll just find another way to come back again----I want to stay-----I want to help you."

Walker is going in circles, "This is no game, son------these bastards mean business!"

Cooper's bottom lips is quivering and his eyes get misty, "I think I'm very aware that this isn't a game, Dad--------I'm responsible for part of this----by bringing Danny into our home!"

"You are not to blame for any of this, Coop-----these people were doing their damage and hurting innocent people before you ever met Danny."

"But-----I was the one that invited him into our home----made him feel like he was family-----and then he repays my friendship by trying to hurt my brothers. He was also helping that Kiwi----to stalk Angela----I feel to blame----I want to help by getting even with Danny."

Walker pushes his hair back, "Coop------I know how you feel about feeling -----"

"Useless, ----Dad?"

"Yeah-----I've felt the same way-----because I wasn't there when those creeps came into our own home and attacked Cordell and Little Ray-----then Kiwi went after your sister-----and I wasn't there either----to protect her."

Cooper pulls off his backpack and throws it down in the corner, and leans up against it. He looks up to his Dad, "I'm staying, Dad-------you're going to have to handcuff me and carry me out of here-----because I ain't going----without a fight!"

Walker looks at the determination in his son's eyes, he knows how stubborn Cooper can be---that defiance and hard headedness was what sent him to the barn----more times than his twin. He thinks to himself, "Maybe Angela was right----he did fall on his head?"

Walker sighs and sits down beside his son, they sit for the longest without saying anything. Walker looks at his son, and studies his face----the cowboy hat tipped lightly over his son's forehead. When his sons have that 'look' on their faces, he can see their resemblance to him----all too clear. They have the same facial structure as his, that set look in the eyes, and the way they set their mouths.

Cooper feels his Dad looking at him, and he reaches for his backpack and takes out sandwiches.  "I got you something to eat----Dad."

Walker sighs, "Great-----I'm starving----what have you got?"

"Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches."

Walker groans, "Peanut butter-----and jelly-----"

"I'm sorry, Dad----I forgot you don't like PBJ sandwiches------I got a candy bar."

Walker shakes his head and reaches for his coffee----"No thanks----I'll just stick with my coffee------did you bring anything to drink?"

Cooper groans, "No-----I was in too big a hurry to get out of there ---before Mom caught me."

"All I got is coffee----want a sip to break the cold air?"

"Yeah---sure," Cooper takes a small drink and smacks his lips, ----"Uncle Jimmy was right----your coffee does taste like road kill!"

Walker frowns, "Your Uncle Jimmy would complain if he was being hung with a new rope."

Cooper looks to his Father in confusion thinking about the comment.

Walker looks to his son, "I still can't believe that you took your Mom's SUV and drove through that Dallas/Ft. Worth traffic-----what on earth were you thinking----or were you even thinking at all?"

"Calm down, Dad----Cordell and I know how to drive---we've been driving the ranch truck for years and the tractors, etc----besides I stayed within the speed limit."

"That's not the point, son----you could have gotten yourself killed----or you could hurt or killed someone else! Driving the vehicles around the ranch is hardly the same as driving on the interstate."

Cooper is silent, then he murmurs, "Oh, by the way Mom's truck shimmies a little bit at 75----I think it needs a good front end alignment."

"75? The speed limit is---65!"

Cooper looks back at Walker, "Oops."

Walker shakes his head, "What am I going to do with you-----you never think things out ahead of time---you just jump right in there----that's what gets you in so much trouble."

"Mom says I come by it naturally----I'm stubborn and bull headed----just like you and grandpa."

Walker pours more coffee, "I think I'll take one of those sandwiches now."

They eat in silence. Cooper leans up against the wall, in deep thought. Walker watches him; he knows the boy is having deep regrets about being manipulated by Danny.  He reaches out and touches his son's upper lip, "What's that?"

Cooper grabs his lip, "What's what?"

Walker narrows his eyes and looks at his son closer, "Is that what I think it is----a whisker?"

Cooper's eyes light up, as he grabs his lip and looks to his Father again, "Really? Is it really a whisker, Dad?"

Walker smiles, "Sure looks like the makings of one---but---it could be just peach fuzz---let me look again."

Walker nods, "Yep----it's a whisker alright, hardly noticeable as light colored as it is."

Cooper keeps feeling for the whisker, "Yeah----I can feel it now----I really can."

Walker sighs, and says to himself, "Power of suggestion."

"Wow----just wait till I tell Cordell----he' going to be blown away----I'll be shaving soon-----think I c