This is long overdue. Below is the final installment (part 4) of my short story, “Disconnected.”
Sorry it’s so late!
In case you missed them, here is
Part 2, and…
He ripped drawers out of dressers, and clothes flew everywhere.
“How do they know?” he kept mumbling. “How do they know?”
He pulled back the rug, making his fingers bleed as he scratched and pulled furiously at the floorboards, trying to find any trace of surveillance. He jumped down the stairs a few at a time. He took one look at the refrigerator and pulled it onto the floor with a scream. The outlet sparked as the plug popped out, and it hit the ground with a huge crash. He charged the couch, pushed it across the room like a football lineman’s chute, and examined the floorboards underneath. He whipped his head over his shoulder at the staircase again and bound back up it, ran to the computer, and looked back at the article:
International adoption is a huge money maker with agencies raking in billions of dollars a year. The black market allows those desperate enough for a child to get one for half or even a quarter of the cost.
And for those willing to do anything, there’s no monetary price at all.
The U.S. government has been using the international adoption black market to hand over foreign babies for free to the hungriest of couples who are willing to submit the children to training as terrorists. With the promise of a proper cover-up and protection, they are made to pose as haters of all things American, committing heinous crimes in the U.S., which in turn evoke falsely antagonized acts of war by the United States against their country of origin.
Because the biggest business of all, of course, is war.
Manville was supposed to be one such victim, but his parents did not live up to their end of the bargain.
“Oh my God,” Tristan whispered. He turned from the computer and started breathing heavily. He looked at all the objects that laid around his bedroom, which started to spin a bit. He kept his head up and hair away from his face with both hands. He forced himself to sit back down at the computer and finish the article.
Manville, who’s changed his name to protect his identity, is studying journalism at a New York state college. He hopes to use his education to expose as many involved in the trade as possible and help work toward a day when no child is subjected to such a thing ever again.
But more than anything, he wants to find out what really happened to the two people who raised him.
His parents went missing shortly after his eighteenth birthday.
He was almost dizzy with sadness and fear after that. Just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse, he clicked back to the article listing. Directly under the article that he just read was the final headline on the site:
Buffalo Couple Missing for 3 Years Found Dead
“No, no, no, no, no,” he whispered, shaking his head violently back and forth as he pulled at his hair again with tears streaming down his face. Just before he was about to force himself to click on the link, he saw their final message to him at the very bottom of the web page, flashing in bold, red capitals:
WE NEED YOUR DEVOTION.
He pushed his chair back from the desk, barreled down the stairs, and flew out his back door that would have led him straight to where his car was parked.
The last thing he saw was the black of the bat being swung as it closed in on his face.
A couple of students looked up and glanced around the classroom. The professor shook his head as he mumbled, “That’s three weeks in a row now,” and then continued to take attendance.
Tyler frowned and shook his head too as he sat slumped over a desk in the back of the classroom.
He thought, That kid was strange.