"Here. Take her, she's worn out," said the old man as he handed off his sleeping granddaughter.
"Ken? Where are the children?" asked his concerned wife as she tried to look around her husband.
"Dead!" Ken said grimly.
"Nooo!!!" wailed the old woman as her knees gave out.
The old man caught his wife as she fell. In one smooth motion he took Faine back, and eased the old woman to the floor.
Ken then pulled some Afghans and a pillow from the couch and spread them on the floor. After settling the sleeping little girl Ken turned to his assist his wife.
Once he had reassured himself that she was breathing, Ken sloshed some brandy in a glass and then used it to revive his wife.
"Is it really true? They're gone?" asked Hattie weakly.
"Yes. But we can't grieve, now. We must be strong for the little one, and I am depending on you woman! You need to care for her while I am gone," he said sternly.
The old woman, with tears streaming down, nodded and then grabbed her husband's arm tightly.
"What do you mean, 'While you are gone'?" In panic she asked, "Where are you going?"
A chill ran down Hattie's spine as she saw the look that transformed the face of her husband. Gone was the kind, and taciturn face of the man who had shared her life. In its place was a look of rage so black, that it terrified her.
"I have to deal with the cause of all this misery before he has a chance to run," he said with deep malice.
"Uncle! What brings you here?" the young man said nervously as he turned to finish his packing.
"Taking a trip, Donny?"
"More than that! I hit a big score, and I'm moving to Vegas. I'm finally gonna blow this burg," Donny said a bit too brightly.
The old man closed the door quietly. He turned and moved silently up behind the oblivious young man.
The struggle was short and sweet.
Donny woke to find himself naked, and bound to a cane chair. It had some of the caning removed, so that his manhood hung through the opening, totally exposed.
Donny didn't have a good feeling about this state of affairs, but he did have hope because his uncle Ken had always been nice. The thing was, though, that the man who sat in front of him looked nothing like his pleasant uncle.
The man sitting in front of him had the hardest face that had ever been Donnie's misfortune to see! And the eyes of the man were those of a lizard: so very dark, so very cold!
"Hey, Uncle Ken? Come on. What's this all about?" the boy whined. "I ain't never done nothing to you..."
Donnie hadn't noticed the car antenna that extended from Ken's hand too a place on the floor under the chair. Without a word Ken gave the metal rod a quick flick. The upward motion brought the antenna into sharp and sudden contact with the young man's hanging scrotum.
"Donnie, that was just a light tap to get your attention. Now, my boy, you and I are going to have a little discussion. Whenever you lie, or avoid the truth, I will repeat what I have just done... only harder! Do you understand?"
Too afraid to speak, the whimpering boy nodded vigorously.
"Good! Let's start with this big score of yours ... How much?"
The boy narrowed his eyes as he looked at the old man. The greedy nature of Donnie was rearing its ugly head once again.
"That's my business not yours," he said with a small note of defiance in his voice.
Ken said nothing. He just sat and stared at the boy.
The silence finally got to Donnie and he said, "What's it to you, anyway?"
"Here's the thing, Donnie. The rumor around the family is that you sold the location of Jake and Anna's house."
"What if I did? It's no secret in the family, anyway."
"Ah, there's the problem. It was no secret in the family, but no one in the family let the information out, did they?"
"So what? No one in this family ever did anything for me, so why shouldn't I sell the location? I mean it didn't hurt any one, and I get to leave here and with some folding green to boot," said the boy in a surly manner.
"Well that brings us back to the original question doesn't it? So I will ask you again... How much?"
"Look, Uncle, that's my business, and none of yours!" yelled the young man.
The antenna flew up and impacted Donnie's genitals with much more force this time! The increased pain literally took the breath and voice from the young man.
Ken sat passively watching as Donnie's head leaned back with all of the cords of his neck standing out like bridge cables. His mouth was open in a silent scream, and his eyes were almost popping out of his head. The lad writhed against his bindings in agony.
A full ten minutes later Donnie had his breath back.
"What the hell is it to you, anyway?"
"Do you even have a brain inside that skull of yours?" asked Ken as he applied another whack to the boy's balls.
Ken again sat, and passively watched the agony course through the body of the boy.
Once he could speak again Donnie whispered, "Twenty Grand. Why is it so important to you?"
"Where is it?"
"It's in my backpack behind the couch," said Donnie in a voice that was getting just a bit stronger.
Ken rose and retrieved the backpack. Sitting back in his chair, he opened the pack, and then dumped the cash on the floor.
Ken sat and looked at the money without speaking for a full hour as the boy became more vocal with the passage of time.
"You know," he finally said, "I really don't think that is anywhere near enough money to pay for the lives of my children," said Ken as he looked up into the eyes of the young man.
"What? What the hell are you talking about?"
"They're dead. MY CHILDREN ARE DEAD!"
Donnie was truly confused, "What the hell are you talking about? The General said he just wanted to give them a job. No! No! I had nothing to do with killing them! Noooooo!" wailed the boy, truly terrified of what his Uncle was going to do.
Ken stood and grasped Donnie's hands. Slowly he began to squeeze. The boy had not done a day's work in his entire life, and his hands were soft and weak. Ken had worked in the Maine woods all of his life, and his hands were like steel bands closing around Donnie's.
"Who is this General? What is his name? Tell me!"
"Ok! OK! I'll tell you!" screamed Donnie as the first of the bones in his hands began to break. "It's Vezza. General Vezza!"
Ken blinked in surprise as he released Donnie's hands.
"The guy that the Senate is investigating?"
"Yah, he started his own mercenary group. He figured that the Government was going to put him away, so he left the country and went private. He said that he wanted to hire Jake and Anna for intel work. What with their gifts, and all."
"You stupid shit! The kids would never have worked for him, and he knew it. He tried to kidnap them, and they were killed in the attempt."
"No! He promised me no one would get hurt!"
"You really are a waste of air. Now that they are dead, he will come after everyone in the family, just to see if they have the gift, too. You have killed us all," said Ken in absolute disgust.
"I'm willing to bet that you didn't tell the general that they were adopted orphans either, did you?"
Donnie shook his head as he whimpered. He was beginning to get the idea that he was about to die, as Ken removed a big Buck knife from his pocket.
The old man walked over to his bound nephew, and gagged him with his own under shorts. Then he made deep incisions in each of Donnie's thighs, cutting the femoral arteries.
Donnie died very quickly.
As Donnie was bleeding out Ken repacked the money, lit one of the boy's cigarettes. He placed it in the matchbook, and put it in the fireplace. Fire logs were in there, ready to be lit. Next he cut the boy loose, and placed him on the couch.
Ken returned the chair to the table in the kitchen, then opened the stove and blew out the pilot light. He turned all of the burners on full.
After Ken left, the cigarette burned down to the match heads. The resultant flair of the matches ignited a fire in the fireplace and that set off the gas that was filling house. The explosion and fire destroyed the house and everything in it.
By the time the volunteer Fire Department reached the out of the way old house there was nothing left but a cellar hole filled with smoldering rubble.
Ken and Hattie spent the whole next day sounding the warnings to the rest of the family. Most of them took the warnings seriously but some, to their own detriment, did not.
All had spent many hours at the summer gatherings discussing the possibility of such an event and most had made plans. It was sort of the family's own 'witness protection' plan.
As soon as the calls were completed, Ken, Hattie and Faine got aboard their Piper PA32-300, and flew away.
An hour later they landed at a small county airstrip. Ken had bought the airfield years before. It was just a grass runway with an old hanger.
Night was falling as the Piper was rolled into the hanger next to the Twin Otter DH-6 and the doors closed. They would be safe here, while the needed work was done for the start of their new lives.
It was not a large hanger, but it contained all that was needed. In the back corner was an old office that Ken had turned into a living space, with beds and a small kitchenette.
Tears filled Ken's eyes as he looked at two of the beds that would not be used. He had planned to save them all, but...
Gritting his teeth Ken dismantled the two beds and stowed them outside of the office so that there would be more room for Faine to play.
While Hattie and Ken set up the living quarters and prepared the evening meal, Faine sat in the left seat of the plane studying the instruments and pretending to fly.
"Ken? Would you get Faine washed for dinner please?"
"Sure. Where is she? I thought she was with you."
Hattie turned and looked at her husband with fear, "I thought she was with you!"
Both rushed out into the hanger proper, calling for their granddaughter.
"I'm here," the child called back. The acoustics of the space, however, were so bad that the direction of Faine's voice was impossible to pinpoint.
"Where child? Where?" called the adults, bordering on panic.
Ken ran into the back of his wife as she stopped dead in her tracks and pointed to a pile of boxes next to the Piper. The boxes were stacked to create a set of stairs up to the wing on the pilot's side (left side) of the aircraft.
Ken, having longer legs, beat Hattie to the plane. What he saw astounded him. There sat the small child sitting on some old telephone books in the pilot's seat. Faine had strapped herself in and put on the headset. She was manipulating the controls, the ones she could reach, and talking into the microphone.
Ken and Hattie relaxed and watch their granddaughter pretend to bring the plane in for a landing. The remarkable thing was, she was doing it correctly. Though only having flown with her gramps a few times she had the pilot/tower radio talk down pat.
Hattie leaned into the arms of her husband, and placed her head against his chest.
"Looks as if we have another pilot in the family," she said.
"Um hmm," grunted her taciturn husband.
The two waited for Faine to 'land' and then called her to dinner.
For the next few days they rested and got ready. There were new names to learn and new histories to remember. Both Ken and Hattie were amazed at how easily Faine was able to absorb her new identity.
Ken also stripped the paint and numbers from the Piper, then repainted the aircraft in different colors and applied a new set of registration numbers. It was now ready to sell.
Instead of playing with her toys, Faine followed her gramps around and asked questions about the planes and flying.
Once all of the work was completed and the Twin Otter loaded, Ken called his old partner, Jackie.
"Hi, girl! How are you?"
"Good, good. What about you, you old bear? How's Hattie? And why the hell has it been so long since we got together?"
"Whoa, girl! One question at a time! To answer you in a nutshell, the shit has hit the fan! The children are dead, and we are implementing the plan..."
"Oh no! Ken! I'm so sorry," Jackie interrupted.
"Yah, well ... Anyway, the field and the Piper are yours, now. The papers are all signed, and are in the locker as we agreed. This is the last you will be hearing from us. I left a letter explaining everything. Thanks for being a good friend, and have a good life. I will say this though, it was Vezza."
"Ya. So watch your 'six', girl."
"Gotcha. You take care."
"We will. Good-bye."
"Bye," said Jackie sadly.
Ken taxied down the runway and got them airborne, heading towards a new life.
Edited by TeNderLoin