Private Felser was not surprised when Major Beck’s humvee screeched to a halt down the block from where they had found Heather. He was surprised, however, that Beck wasn’t wearing either armor or helmet. They had not secured the area yet; to walk around like that was asking for trouble. To make matters worse, he focus was…off. He was clearly a man on a mission, but he was disregarding all protocol.
And that’s when he saw a man creep out from behind a corner to attack the major. Felser opened his mouth to call out a warning, but Beck took down the assailant with brutal efficiency and just kept walking. Well, that’s one less prisoner to feed.
Beck walked into the building where they had found her. She was in the back room of an old computer repair shop. He was intercepted by a female private, who tried to divert him, to no avail. He stormed in the doorway…and then stopped dead in his tracks. He felt himself retching at the obscenity in front of him. He looked for a trash bin, only to have it snatched away from him by another female private whom he had completely failed to notice.
He puked on the floor instead, regretting the alcohol. When he was able, he turned a glare to the private.
“What the - ?”
“Evidence, sir.” She told him, holding the wastebasket away from him
She held it up to him so he could see the used condoms, then quickly snatched it back as he heaved again until there was nothing left. When he was done, the private mercifully gave him a towel to clean up. Steeling himself, he turned back to Heather, noting the lime green duct tape.
He had used her own duct tape to blindfold her. That was the first coherent thought that went through his head, and he was shocked at the banality of it. That that was what he thought of when she was curled up in a ball, naked, bruised, and chained to the bed. He shook himself, and started to move towards her again.
“Sir – Don’t.”
Heather suddenly tensed, raising one leg into a striking position, like a coiled snake
“She’ll kick you, sir. Hard. Knocked me over.”
He noticed a faint footprint on her chest to verify her claim.
“Heather.” He used his most cajoling voice. “Heather, it’s me. It’s – ” he choked up, unable to continue. He noticed her leg waver from its vigilance, and he stepped closer. It snapped back into position. “Heather, please.” He had to get through to her. She couldn’t see him, so she had no reason to believe it was him – she probably thought she was hallucinating his voice.
“Eddy?” she croaked.
“Si, mi amor.”
He went to her; she threw herself into his embrace, finally allowing the tears to fall.
Private Morales was shocked by the scene before her. Not by the abuse endured; she’d seen that before, far too often. She and Sergeant Henke, as the only females in their squad, were the ones who dealt with these situations when they arose. No, she’d seen this kind of abuse before. Which only made the scene before her more stunning.
Heather had held up through nearly a week of hell. Not just physically – mentally. She still had fight in her. And now, she was buried in the arms of a man. The fact that she allowed him to so much as touch her was amazing; many victims flinched from the slightest touch after being violated like that, even if the other person was a woman, or a close friend.
But then there was one more piece of data to factor in.
Private Morales spoke Spanish.
That little snippet of information – that simple exchange – would help explain the scene before her. How they had managed to keep a relationship this serious – with this level of devotion – quiet was beyond her, and yet they had.
A sob – or a moan, it was hard to tell which – cut through her thoughts, and she re-focused on the pair, hit afresh by the intensity. The quiet tears coming from the major’s eyes were enough to break her heart. The tortured sobs that wracked Heather’s body tore at her very soul. She suddenly felt like an intruder, invading an intensely private moment, so she turned on her heel and left to stand guard on the door, ignoring the blurriness in her vision.
Later – she wasn’t sure how much later – she heard the major call out quietly.
“Sir?” she poked her head in. He gestured for her to come in. She found a shivering Heather wrapped in the major’s jacket. Her tears had stopped falling, but only because she was exhausted, nearly passed out. There would be plenty more later.
“Is there a blanket? And some water?”
“I’ll check.”“Also – a medic. And we’re going to need a bolt cutter.” He added, looking behind Heather at the chains around her wrists.