A Day to be Thankful For: Episode VI

What do you mean it’s a game?” Geni spat the words out as she tried to keep most of her anger in check, but it was getting harder every time Tracy Hansen opened her mouth to explain what happened.

Tracy leapt from the sofa, “Don’t use that tone with me!  We did nothing wrong!” she looked from one unhappy face to the next till her gaze landed on Luke’s mom, “Sarah, I swear, I never meant for Luke to get taken.”

“No,” Sarah said, “Just your own son. How could you, Tracy?”

Tracy clutched her hair in two fists, “I’ve told you five times that it was a family decision.”

Her husband put his arm around her and pulled her close, “We’ve told you the truth.  And what we did was not illegal.  The Ultimate Experience is a legit company who is willing to stage a kidnapping and ransom to bring excitement to the life of their patrons.  As a family, we chose to participate and Kyle volunteered to be kidnapped.  We gave The Ultimate Experience details of Kyle’s bike, age, and physical description.”

“We didn’t mean for them to take Luke instead,” Tracy said through her tears,  “They must have mistaken Luke for Kyle when they saw him on the bike.  I’m so sorry Sarah.”

“Where is my son?”

Tracy shook her head, “I don’t know.  The arrangement was that we’d pay $30,000 for the full experience; $15,00 up front the the rest as the ransom.  Once the ransom was made, they’d tell us where Kyle was and we’d go rescue him.  The Ultimate Experience.”

Geni felt sick.  Brad and Tracy may be saying it was a “family decision”, but Kyle was a ten-year-old boy, what did he know about being kidnapped--the excitement would soon turn to intense fear and he’d be wanting his mom and dad to save him very quickly.  What parent would ever, willingly, let that happen to their child?  She wanted to run out of that house and all the way home to hold her kiddos in her arms and never let them go.  

She hadn’t realized tears were rolling down her cheeks till Detective Wolfe handed her a box of tissues with a half smile.  Twice in one night.  Ugh, why does she keep crying around Wolfe?  Embarrassed, she took a tissue and turned away to wipe her eyes.

Wolfe asked, “Mr. and Mrs. Hansen, do you have a contact at The Ultimate Experience we could speak with?”

“Yes!” Tracy rushed to the end table by the lazy boy, picked up a gold shoulder bag and rummaged through it till she pulled out a folded piece of paper which she handed to the nearest officer, “That’s just the number for customer services and I don’t know if they’d know where Luke is.”

“This is a start, thank you,” Detective Newman said and took the paper, dialing the number on his cell while he left the room.

“Why don’t we all sit down?  Detective Newman will return with news about Luke, and we’ll be able to bring him home.”  Wolfe said, and gestured to the seats in the living room.

It was interesting to see Sarah and her husband settle themselves as far away from Tracy and Brad.  Geni figured it would be a long time before forgiveness would be given.  She didn’t have any sisters, just Lex, and she couldn’t imagine being so angry with her that she wouldn’t be able to forgive her.

“We have a location,” Newman walked back into the room, “The Ultimate Experience can’t get a hold of the agents who took Luke, but we have an address.”

Wolfe grabbed his jacket, “Let’s go.”

Geni stood to follow him, but he put his hand on her shoulder, “We don’t know what we’re walking into Geni.  You’ll need to remain here.”

“Danny, I need to see this through.  Please.”

She could tell by the look in his eyes that he understood her need to see this through, to see Luke Hansen return home.  He was seeing his daughter in Luke just as she saw her kids in him.  They both need Luke to be safe.

Slowly he nodded, “Okay, but you stay in the car.”

“With the doors locked,” She agreed.

They sped through the city, lights flashing, sirens blaring and with Geni clinging to the door while Wolfe drove.  She vowed then and there that she was never going to drive with him again.  The address took them to a run down dance studio that Geni recognized from when she and Lex took jazz classes in fourth grade.  That was the worst year of her life, dancing was not her forte.  The cars screeched to a stop, and the officers climbed from the cars gathering together around Detective Newman.

Wolfe turned to Geni, “Stay here.  No matter what happens, you do not leave this car.”

She nodded.

“Here is a one way earpiece so that you can hear us.  Stay low and quiet, okay Gen.”

“Alright.  Thanks Danny.”

She hooked the earpiece in her ear and watched Danny join the group.  With the piece in her ear, she could hear them speaking together.

Newman: Johnson, take Clarke go around back.  Wolfe and Chase are with me through the front.  Signal if you spot the boy and only shoot if necessary.

Officers: Yes sir.

The officers scattered and a few entered the front door while a group went around to the back.

Chase: Clear

Wolfe: Clear.

Johnson: Clear

Clarke: Clear

Newman: Wolfe, Chase move upstairs.  Johnson, Clarke search for a basement or cellar.

Geni bit the inside of her cheek.  All she could hear was deep breathing from the officers as they moved through the studio--it reminded her of her worst nightmare or a horror movie.

Chase: Two bodies upstairs, first room on the right.

She held her breath.  Please don’t let one of them be Luke.  

Chase: Not Luke.  Males, late thirties, breathing, but unconscious.

Thank goodness.

Newman: Spread out men, find Luke.

Wolfe: Signs of drugs in upstairs room with the unconscious men.

Oh, please let Luke be alive.

Chase: Upstairs clear.  No sign of Luke Hansen.

Newman: Clarke, Johnson, report about a basement or cellar.

Johnson: Basement is clear.  No cellar.

Geni banged her head against the dashboard.  Where are you Luke?

Wolfe: I found an attic door in the hallway ceiling.

Newman: Check it.

Her heart stopped.  This was it, the last place he could possibly be hidden in the studio.  Geni heard the creak of the attic door and the thump as the ladder hit the floor.

Wolfe: Luke?  Luke Hansen?

A whisper of a voice came through the earpiece, “I’m here.”

Wolfe: We have him.  I repeat, we found Luke Hansen.

The breath left her body and she broke down in tears, again.  Relief flooded her and she wrapped her arms around herself and sobbed.  Luke was okay.  Her kiddos were okay.  Danny’s Olivia was okay.

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