The Case of the Missing Irregular
by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)
Tennyson lay with his back to the opening in the walls of boxes
around him. He wanted so desperately to go to sleep, but the hard floor
was so uncomfortable. Every time he did manage to nod off, he was almost
immediately awakened by a bad dream, so he wasn't having much luck.
He rolled over and stared at the ceiling a while, trying to twist
the kinks out of his neck.
Oh, how I miss Aunty, he thought, --and mother, and
Deidre, and Wiggins, and Watson, and--he sighed heavily--Mister
He felt a twinge in his chest at the thought of the man who was the
closest thing to a father figure he'd ever had. What was he doing at the
He must be doing his best to find me! the boy thought.
Please, Lord, let him find me. I just want to go home...
Before Tennyson knew it, he was sobbing. Of course, there was no
sound, but the tears flowed as fast as the Thames and his whole body seemed
There were footsteps somewhere in the building, but Tennyson ignored
them. Soon the steps came to the "doorway" in the boxes.
"Oh, no....little 'un, don't cry."
By now, Tennyson knew Jake's voice without looking at the man. With
the ear that still had its hearing aid, the boy heard him come closer.
Opening his eyes, he saw that the man was kneeling beside him. He was
frowning deeply, and his eyes were full of concern.
"Little 'un, please don' cry, now." the man repeated, picking
Tennyson up and placing him in his lap. He cradled the boy like a baby.
"Please, this'll all be over soon, I promise you."
Jake rocked Tennyson a bit, and oddly enough, the boy felt a bit
"Please don't cry, lad. Please don't cry," the man said repeatedly.
Just then, Tennyson heard other footsteps. They were not soft and
shuffling, as he had gotten used to Jake's being, but hard and clomping.
Suddenly, any small amount of peacefulness there might have been in the
moment was shattered.
"Jake! What in the bloody name of God d' you think yer doin' ?!?"
Tennyson felt Jake's arms tighten around him.
"M-Mickey--I--th' li'l 'un was cryin'--I jus'....."
"You jus' what?" the older brother slurred, stomping over
and smacking his brother on the head. "Y-yer no' th' li'l brat's nurse!"
He wrenched Tennyson out of Jake's arms and clumsily flung him
aside. The boy landed on his back on the concrete floor just a couple of
Turning back to his brother, Mickey grabbed a lock of Jake's hair
"Ow -- Mickey, please -- yer 'urtin' me!" Jake whimpered, gritting
"Y' kn-know, I oughta kill you along wi' th' kid." Mickey said,
stumbling even where he stood. "You've been not'in but trouble t' me fr'm
"Please, Mickey, y' don' mean that."
From where he lay on the floor, Tennyson watched the whole scene.
Mickey had a firm hold on his brother's hair, and Jake made no move to
defend himself. He was sitting with his legs straight out, occasionally
kicking his feet a bit--Tennyson assumed from the pain of his brother's
Mickey held on to his brother's hair a moment longer, then let go
and turned to Tennyson.
"Sh-tinkin' li'l f-f-filthy rich brat." the man grumbled, stumbling
over and spitting a bit as he spoke.
He reached down and grabbed the boy under the arms, lifting him up
so that they were almost eye to eye. Tennyson cringed at the strong smell
of liquor on the man's breath.
After a few moments of looking his captive in the eye, Mickey
dropped his arms and let the boy fall to the floor. Tennyson was stunned
as his head hit the floor.
Mickey drew his foot back and kicked Tennyson in the side, knocking
the wind out of the boy and making his face screw up with pain. Before he
could fully recover, he recieved another kick in the shoulder.
Faintly, he heard Jake's voice. "Mickey, stop it."
"Ah, hush up." Mickey answered with a glare down at his brother.
"Y'know what I found out t'day, Jake? This l'il--"
He kicked Tennyson again, this time in the leg, so the boy didn't
"This li'l kid's mum is th' bloody daughter a th' m-man what
killed our pa on that rich man's job!!"
Tennyson couldn't believe what he was hearing. His grandfather?
What in the world --
"....me pop worked fer... some big computer... 'n' li'l gizmo
Pop died. 'E 'ad an accident workin. on a machine.... They were
supposed t' pay Mum some money.... They never did, though...." It made
Mickey real mad...."
The words from Jake's story came flooding back to Tennyson's mind.
Could the father of these men have worked for Akien Systems, the company
that was now Fayre Technologies? Could this be what his kidnapping was
No, Mickey said he just found it out today. Oh, my, what a
He was torn from his thoughts when the drunk man picked him up
"I shoulda asked fer mo-more money, I sh-shoulda." Mickey said,
holding Tennyson up. The boy was nearly knocked out by the smell of the
alcohol. "Yer mum's gonna pay dear t' get you back, brat--she is."
The man gave him a rotten-toothed grin. "Wha's left a ya, that is."
Still stumbling, he swung the boy around and let him go. Tennyson
slammed into the wall of boxes, and he felt it give behind his back. As
he slumped to the floor, he caught a movement from above out of the corner
of his eye.
Tennyson barely moved his head aside in time to avoid being hit by
the box that fell from the stacks above. As it hit the floor it was
crushed, loosening the tape over the top and spilling its contents -- two
or three old books, some ornate silverware held together with an elastic
band, a couple of portable vid phones, and a cherrywood jewelry box, out
of which spilled a pearl necklace, earrings that sparkled even in the dim
light, a thick gold bracelet and three rings that sparkled just as much as
the earrings if not more.
The boy couldn't believe what he was seeing. Before he could
digest it all, Mickey stumbled over and pushed him onto his back.
Straddling the boy's chest, Mickey glared down at him and grabbed his
He had hands like cold sandpaper. Tennyson tried to get loose, but
he could feel the man's thumbs pressing harder into the sides of his neck.
A red haze began to swim before his eyes.
Desperately, Tennyson opened his mouth and tried to suck air in,
but his throat was closed.
"Oh, Lord, please forgive me for any way I've displeased
That was the last he remembered thinking.
On to Part 15!
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