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Justice
by Captain Webster
Captain Webster -- all rights reserved
 

He stared out through the bars as the world passed before him. Again he tried the strength of the imprisoning bars, and again found his strength lacking. His strength...it had all gone. Damn SCABS. Why him? Hadn't he been a decent sort of fellow? Hadn't he always tried to help others, to do what was right and honorable? He sat morosely in his prison. His body slumped in a posture of defeat. Why?


As Lee patrolled the dark streets he thought it a bit slow for a balmy evening in May. He had been on duty for almost an hour with nary a call.

"I hate slow nights." He growled to the Police Explorer riding with him. The 17 year old boy looked at him with worshipful eyes. All the Explorers wanted to ride with him. He was known to take the time to explain things, and to let them assist with paperwork, the radio, and other non dangerous aspects of the job. Things most of the cops would not let them do.

Lee himself always worshiped power. It was why he became a cop. They had power over the civilians. They carried the power of life or death on their hips every day. With his thick auburn hair, deep blue eyes, and amazing physique he gave any man pause who contemplated challenging him, and made real women swoon with delight. Oh there was the odd bird who was repulsed by a man 6'2" and 285 lbs. of solid muscle, but he figured they were probably closet lesbians anyway,

"Do you think we will see any action tonight Sarge?" The boy whined almost like an eager puppy. While Lee found his voice grating he appreciated the boys interest in "action".

"Hard to say, kid. I remember a night just like this about 2 years ago. I was working alone that night and got a call about trouble downtown near that freak bar, The Brine Fig."

"Uhmm... that's The Blind Pig, Sarge." The boy tremulously corrected him.

Lee smiled indulgently. "I know kid. It's just a little joke. Anyway it seems a gang of overheated redneck wanna be's had lain in wait for a patron of the place not too far from it. Some big horse-man combination. When we got there the gang members were all dead. It was obvious the horse guy didn't do it. He had neither the equipment, if you know what I mean, nor the inclination for such wet work. Anyway I secured the scene and called out the detectives. The horse guy was really shaken, but I think it may have been more from what had happened to the gang members than from any danger they represented to him. He seemed like a real decent sort. Sad that SCABS took him. Anyway I understand an arrest warrant was drawn up for some guy but the government stepped in and hushed the whole thing up."

"Wow! I wish I had been there." Josh Tremayne had never seen anything really exciting in his 17 years of life. He yearned to see some real blood and guts, like most teenage boys. But also like most he would probably find himself repulsed if confronted by the true horror inherent in such scenes.

"Sarge, when we get off shift tonight can I work out with you?"

Lee sighed largely. These kids. They always wanted to work out with him. He liked encouraging them, and it was a kick seeing the hero-worship in their eyes, but it was also a pain in the butt having to change the plates from a decent weight to something their little stick arms could handle. Most could not even bench 200 lbs., and you could forget the squat and deadlift.

Looking at the pleading look in the kids eyes he shook his head and said, "Sure Josh. You can work out with me."

Josh's profuse thanks were interrupted by a radio call. "Unit 7 respond to a Signal 22 at 1547 NE Baker Avenue. Respond 10-18. State Officer already on scene and calling 10-24."

Flipping on the blue lights and siren Lee thumbed the mike, "Unit 7 en route code 3 to 1547 NE Baker Avenue. E.T.A. 5 minutes."

Lee could see the questions in Josh's eyes. The kid was new to the Explorer's and had not learned the codes yet. "10-18 and Code 3 mean the same thing, lights and sirens are authorized to be used. A signal 22 is a fight. A State Officer is on scene and calling for assistance or 10-24."

Lee wove his car skillfully through the sparse early evening traffic. He was careful to not outrun his siren. It would do no good at all if no one heard it before he was on top of them. It did precious little good in any case as most people had their radios on, their windows up, and never used their rear view mirrors.

"Unit 7 we have a report of an officer down at 1547 NE Baker Avenue. An ambulance will be en route to the area awaiting your call that it is clear to enter the scene. Additional units responding to back you up. E.T.A. 10 minutes."

"Unit 7 10-4 I'm 10-97. I have a small group of mixed Hispanic and white males kicking a prone male figure on the ground." As Lee gave the information he was performing several tasks at once. Slamming the car into park he had already unbuckled his seatbelt and started opening the door. Leaping from the patrol car he shouted for Josh to keep the doors locked, keep his head down, and keep headquarters apprised if things went badly for him.

The group of youths were shouting so loudly at the figure they were pummeling on the asphalt of the parking lot that they had not heard him arrive.

"Tunnel hearing syndrome." Lee thought to himself. "So lost in adrenal overload that they are oblivious to the world around them."

Taking his PR24 XTS, expandable aluminum police baton from it's polycarbonite holder he snapped it open and shouted, "Police Officer, stand clear."

Several of the youths ignored him but a couple turned his way. The rage in their young eyes made him shiver inside. What could possibly make such young people, kids really, hate so much. Then he spotted the "man" on the ground. The State Officer, if indeed this was him, was one of the SCABS victims. He appeared to be some kind of human weasel..

"Shit!" Lee muttered to himself. It just wasn't going to be his night.


"I'm still somebody!" Lee raged in his mind as he shook the bars. "Why won't somebody listen to me? Why won't somebody realize I'm still a man in here?"

He couldn't even kill himself. He was helpless. As helpless as if he had been made a quadrapelegic. More so really. He couldn't talk yet. He could only communicate in the most basic of ways. The memories spun in his head like the pastel butterflies and ponies that circled above him.


By now the rest of the gang had turned toward him. He counted 6 altogether. Not an impossible number to handle, but not easy by any means. Two had knives in their fists. Big blades with built in metallic knuckles in the handles.

"The bigger the knife, the bigger the punk." Lee whispered to himself as he maneuvered to keep the closest members between himself and the rest of the gang. Stacking his opponents so they impeded each other was his best bet.. Especially with knives involved. Lee hated knives. He would rather face a gun any day. A scared kid with a gun would most likely miss, but you were just about always going to get cut by a knife.

One gang member swung a length of bicycle chain around and one had an axe handle with taped ends. The rest appeared to be unarmed.

A large Hispanic youth with a jagged scar on his right bicep stepped forward. "Jo mang. Dis ain nun of jur concern. So back off maricon or we gonna take you down too."

Lee figured this to be the leader. If he could back him off he could avoid bloodshed, preferably his own. "Yo pendaho. You made this my business when you started to fuck around on my streets. Now why don't you little pussy ass faggots trot your butts out of here before I have to give you a spanking." As Lee said this he flexed his arms. At 20 inches they were an impressive sight.

The kid was too angry to be impressed though. "Fuck you puta! Get him. Take the pig down!" The group of kids began to surge forward. Over his walkie talkie he heard Josh radio, "Officer needs assistance. Officer needs assistance!"

Behind him Lee heard the squad cars passenger side door open. "Sarge! Do you want me to get out the shotgun?"

"NO!" Lee shouted at the kid. Now get back inside the car and lock the doors like I told you!" The last thing he needed right now was to have to worry about the kid either getting hurt or possibly shooting him in the back in his eagerness to help.

Backing slowly, Lee told the advancing youths, "Think about what you're doing. I don't want to have to hurt anyone."

"Oh we thought about it piggy." The words came from an acne-scarred white youth to the leader's right side. "We gonna have us a pig roast."

Lee's radio crackled to life again, "Unit 5 to headquarters. I have been involved in a minor signal 4 at Third and Main. I can't get to unit 7 because my vehicle was disabled by the collision." "10-4 Unit 5, Units 9 and 14 are 10-51 to the scene, E.T.A. 15 minutes."

Things were going from bad to worse rapidly. The gang leader waved the kid with the bicycle chain forward. The strategy was obvious. Stun him or tie up one of his arms with the chain while the knife wielders closed in from either side. The State Officer moaned on the ground behind the rabid group of youths.

Lee waited until the chain-wielding kid was almost within range and then darted to his left. He moved surprisingly quickly for such a large man. The thin Hispanic kid on the left had no chance to bring his knife into play as Lee slammed the aluminum shaft of the baton down onto his forearm, stunning his hand. The kid dropped the knife and grabbed his forearm. Lee then inserted the PR between his arm and body, levering his arm behind him and using him as a human shield.

The Chain kid was rushing in too quickly to stop his momentum and swung his chain down onto his fellow gang members collar bone, snapping it. The kid howled in pain as Lee shoved him hard into Mr. Chains. The two punks' heads collided with a dull thunk and they both went down.

"Take him!" The gang leader screamed as spittle flew from his mouth.

"But Carlos," one of the other gang bangers, a sallow Hispanic kid said, "He took Chains and Rigaburto like they was nothin."

Carlos gave the boy a murderous glare and the kid moved slowly forward. The other knife wielder came in making a vicious swipe at Lee's abdomen. The kid was fast and almost succeeded in eviscerating the big cop. As it was he opened up his uniform blouse down to his kevlar vest. Lee's fist shot forward slamming the short portion of the baton into the kid face. He could feel the cheekbone crunch into pieces at the impact. The screaming kid staggered back bringing his empty hand to his face.

Lee saw the 220 lbs. bruiser with the axe handle move toward him. The hard piece of wood came down toward his head in a whistling arc. Moving into an upper block Lee shunted the club off to the side and down. This enabled him to avoid absorbing the kinetic energy in the blow into his arm. Stepping behind the kid he stomped on his Achilles tendon and brought the baton back in a rear jab to the kidneys. He heard the large boy collapse with a grunt. He would be pissing blood for a week.

That left only the gang leader and the reluctant kid. Lee glared at the scared kid and he turned and ran. "Pendaho!" Carlos screamed at his retreating hermano. "Tu madre es puta."

Spinning back toward Lee, the kid dropped into a martial arts stance. Not the phoney movie kind of stance, but a real one. Legs about shoulder width apart, hands held loosely at about mid chest, head held low, body centered over his hips. The kid had obviously had training.

Lee holstered his baton. Though he was allowed to use it even against unarmed opponents, he knew that juries would take one look at the 180 lbs. kid and one look at him and he would immediately be branded a coward and a bully if he used the PR.


The meager muscles of Lee's short limbs failed again. He sank under the tinkling of a lullaby floating over his prison. In his lack of coordination he teetered a little to one side, and scratched his eye on the bedding. At that, he whimpered in fruitless protest. "Why God? What did I ever do to deserve this living hell? Why?" With that final, unspoken thought he finally fell asleep.


The kid slid forward as Lee shuffled sideways. Carlos's right foot shot up toward Lee's head. A crescent kick. Impressive but a poor choice against someone as well trained as Lee was. Ducking his head down, he raised his shoulder to take the brunt of the kick as he pivoted in toward Carlos. As the boy's foot collided with his massive deltoids, he grabbed the leg at the knee and exerted pressure downwards. As he did this he swept the supporting foot with his opposite side foot, bringing Carlos crashing onto his back.

Lee rolled the kid onto his stomach before he had a chance to recover from the ground stun and secured his hands behind him with handcuffs. Looking around, he could see the rest of the gang were either lying on the ground moaning or had recovered enough to flee as he battled Carlos. He secured Carlos in the back of his squad car and used flex cuffs on wrists and ankles to secure the rest. Only then did he approach the man-animal bleeding on the ground. Lee felt the bile rise in his throat. He knew this was a victim of a disease, and fellow officer, but he still found the weird combination of man and animal repulsive in the extreme.

After the hours of paperwork that such a call entailed he changed in the locker room and headed over to the department gymnasium. He needed this workout. He felt sore and tired. He shouldn't be so fagged out from such a minor skirmish. He wondered if he was getting the flu.

After an abbreviated workout-- he just didn't have the energy for a good one-- Lee dropped Josh at home and then headed to his apartment. He had a long, hot bath and took some aspirin with orange juice before climbing into bed. His last coherent thought before falling asleep was, "I sure hope I'm not getting sick."

A month later he woke up in hell.

He was in a prison cell in a hospital. Confined behind bars. His muscles wasted and gone. His coordination shot. Heck, he could barely stand. Instinctively he started to cry out. The sound of his voice shocked him into silence.

A gigantic woman in white approached him. "Mr. Alexander. You're awake. Can you understand me?"

She was speaking in the gentle, soothing tones one used on infants and mental inferiors. Lee screamed in horror.

What happened next was the most humiliating thing he could ever remember. She reached down and picked him up. She held him to her shoulder and patted his back, mouthing soothing noises as she walked to the nurses station. "Get that specialist doctor and the staff pediatrician. Mr. Alexander is awake but I think he must have retreated into a mind set more in tune with his present body."

Over the next few days Lee was poked and prodded. He was talked to, no make that talked at, by a number of doctor's and nurses. When he tried to speak he found himself reduced to incoherent babbling. His motor coordination was so poor that he could not write that he was still a viable person. No one, not even the SCABS expert who came to see him seemed to understand. Why wouldn't anyone listen to him!? WHY!?

Since he had no living relatives Lee was given over to the care of the state and placed in a foster home. They fed him formulae and strained foods. That was all that his new digestive system could handle.

Lee had never before realized how ignored children really are. Oh, if they fuss and cry they are given attention, at least until they calm down again. Then they are relegated to the background. Feed them. Change them. Give them some insipid toy to play with and forget about them. Go on living while they sit there in their dull little grey hell. Being a woman, or, yes, even one of those animal men would have been better than this. At least then people would still listen to him. Respect him. Talk to him. Not at him or about him, as if he wasn't even there, but to him.


Nancy Jones opened the door of the nursery and peeked in. Little Donney-- that's what they had named their new foster baby-- was fast asleep. She knew he had been named Lee by someone, but she thought he looked more like a Donny than a Lee. Her husband David walked up behind her.

"Cute little guy isn't he?" He asked quietly. "What do you say Nan, do you want to adopt this one?"

"Oh David yes. I've fallen in love with him already. With those angelic blonde curls and those serious blue eyes. He is just the cutest baby in the world."

"You don't mind that the doctors said he has that SCABS stuff?"

"Don't be silly, David. Anyone can see that this baby is absolutely perfect. Those doctors were obviously wrong. He probably got the flu and they mistook it for this SCABS thing that everyone is so afraid of."

"Maybe you're right." David hugged his wife to him."You know, I could almost swear that he was trying to talk to me today."

"Oh David don't be silly. He's just a baby."

"Yeah. I guess you're right."

Quietly they closed the door. In his sleep, the baby dreamed of lifting weights and leaping in to save the day. He dreamed of being big and strong and important. In his sleep he whimpered, but there was no one there to hear him.


How things can change in a year. He stared into the triple scotch sitting on the bar in front of him and thought about how easily fortune could turn on a man.

He could work his whole life, be a good husband, a good father, and still find fortune's face turned away from him. It had all started with that damn SCAB baby.

Yes, it was all that baby's fault. If only they had never adopted that cursed child.

If only.


Lee sat morosely in his car seat. His weak, uncoordinated body could not even sit unsupported for very long. His neck tired easily. He couldn't even control his bowels and bladder. He had to endure sitting in his own excrement and urine until his "parents" deigned to notice him and change him. It was humiliating.

His only hope had been that he would grow and someday be a man again. Now, after the visit to the pediatrician today, even that hope was gone. Dashed like all of his dreams. Dissolving ashes in his mouth. If only he had never gotten the Martian Flu.

If only.


Nancy Jones was thrilled! The doctor had told her that little Donney was perfectly healthy. Of course there was his ridiculous assertion that Donney suffered from that horrible SCABS flu thing. He even tried to say that Donney would never grow up. That he would always be an infant! How ridiculous!

Nancy saw little changes in her precious Angel every day. So what if he couldn't walk yet. So what if he hadn't yet grown any or put on any weight. It had only been a year. Why, he was just a slow developer. She knew babies grew in spurts. Donney was fine.

Everything was fine.

Now if David could only see that.

If only.


"Gimmie 'nother." David mumbled to the odd-looking bartender.

This was the third bar he had hit since leaving his office for the last time. The patrons all looked rather odd. In his alcohol- warped mind, David figured he must have stumbled into some kind of costume party. Oh, there were a few normal looking people scattered about, babes mostly, but the majority were in some sort of animal costumes. A big bunny watched him with nervous eyes.

"Heh!" David thought, "Wonder if he has a large pocket watch with him. I'm late! I'm late!" He giggled to himself.

At a table near the back sat a group of wolfmen. A human mule played the piano, accompanied on guitar by a stunning looking woman. "Hey!" David shouted, pounding the bar with his fist. "I said gimmie 'nother drink!"


Nancy pulled into the driveway. Putting the car in park, she shut off the lights and engine. David would be home from work soon. It was almost full dark now. She had to get little Donney inside and get supper started. Donney was a bit fussy today. But then, Donney had been fussy a lot lately. "I hope Mommies's Little Angel is feeling alright," she cooed at the whimpering infant as she lifted him from the car seat.

Lee had been patient. He had endured the coddling, the bland food, the burping, the diapering. He had patiently sat as he was exposed to the eyes of admiring female friends of Nancy.

"Doesn't he have the cutest little pee-pee!" She would gush to her friends. The friends started coming around less and less as time passed and little Donney didn't grow.

The whispers started. "SCABS!"

The child was defective. Stay away, or you might become infected yourself. Slowly, Lee had seen Nancy and David's social circle shrink.

He didn't care.

It meant less humiliation for him.

It wasn't fair. "Why me?" he mentally screamed to the heavens, his frustration building into a crescendo of pain and humiliation. Then, his tiny body exhausted and unable to handle the rush of emotions, he began to express his unhappiness in the only way he could. He began to cry.


David had been overjoyed at first. He and Nancy finally had their life dreams fulfilled.

David was a senior systems analyst with a very prestigious firm. Nancy had the baby she always wanted, but that had been denied by nature. Nancy was sterile. The result of an assault by an older cousin when she was 10. It was never spoken of.

Yes, they were living the American dream. A fine home in the suburbs, an upscale job with a six figure salary, a beautiful wife, and a perfect baby boy.

Perfect except for one thing.

He didn't grow.

He didn't learn. He just whimpered and cried... All the time. And at home, David watched as his wife moved inexorably toward madness.


David was late! Where could he be? He worked so hard, put in such long hours, and lately things had not gone well at work. Nancy knew David did not like to bother her with his troubles at work. Office politics, he would say with a wry grin. He had been moving rapidly up through the company, up until a year ago. Of course there had been those who were jealous of his success. But everything would be fine. Nancy knew that.

Little Donney was still crying. Always crying, it seemed. She went to try and soothe him. Dinner, forgotten on the stove, began to burn.


Young David had elected to go to university his first year, on the scholarship his grades had earned. His parents, and his baby sister Estelle, had wanted him to go to a local Junior college for the first two years, but he had felt that University was the way to go right from the start. He had a scholarship, and after all, it was only a 5 hour drive away.

He missed his parents, and especially his baby sister. She was only 16 that year. A girl on the verge of womanhood. She worshiped the ground her older brother walked on, and he doted on her.

If only he had gone to the Junior College.

He might have been there to drive her home from choir practice. But he wasn't. He was 5 hours away at University.

He wasn't there the night she got a ride from a friend's older brother, an older brother who had been drinking.

He wasn't there the night she died.

Thirty years later, David began to cry into his scotch at the memory.


Nancy didn't know what was wrong with little Donney. He just wouldn't quit crying. She had tried to feed him, but he refused. She had bathed and changed him. She had walked him and patted his back for hours. Still he cried.

Dinner was a burnt blackened mass on the stove and in the oven. Forgotten. "Why won't little Donney stop crying? Don't you love Mommies Honey?" Nancy cooed. Donney just screamed louder than before.


They had been very understanding. David could not fault his bosses for that.

His work had become somewhat slipshod as the year since they had adopted Donney progressed. He had been worried over Nancy. She seemed unable to accept that Donney was diseased. That he never would never grow up. She had been to any number of pediatricians and specialists, and the reports were always the same.

Donney was a SCABS victim. He would be an infant for life. A millstone dragging down David's perfect life.

She was taking him to yet another doctor today.

David was having trouble focusing his thoughts. He had started to make mistakes. Little ones at first, but gradually getting larger. He wasn't getting enough sleep. Donney cried all the time. Nancy needed constant emotional buttressing.

The final straw, David supposed, was the Henderson account.

Acting on information supplied by David, the company had lost this most prestigious account. David had blown a 5 million dollar deal.

He couldn't blame them, really. The severance package they gave him today had been very generous, all things considered. Six months pay and a good recommendation.

Of course, his career was through. You couldn't blow a deal like the Henderson account and not expect word to get around. No, David was a pariah in the financial market now. He pulled a bundle of bills out of his pocket and tossed them on the bar. Time to go home.

He staggered toward the door, and his car waiting outside.


It was obvious to Nancy that Donney wasn't going to be quiet. She had tried everything. It was now 10pm and David still wasn't home. "He's never here when I need him!" She put the shrieking baby in his crib. "I have to deal with everything, just like always!"


As David fumbled with his keys, trying to unlock his car door, he heard a small sound behind him.

Turning quickly, David almost slipped on the dirty ice and snow that littered the sidewalk. Behind him stood the guy in the rabbit costume. He seemed quite startled by David's sudden movement, almost as if he were about to flee.

"Whadya want?" David asked.

The timid-seeming creature spoke. "Perhaps you shouldn't try to drive, Sir. You have had a bit too much to drink. I can call a cab for you if you like. Why don't you come back inside, out of the cold, and I'll get you a cab."

David had no idea how much courage this simple act of compassion required from the human rabbit before him, but it touched a chord deep inside of him. A drunk driver had been responsible for the death of his sister Estelle. Now here he was, drunk, and about to drive.

"Thank you." David mumbled to the diminutive person before him. "Mebbey I'll do that."


Nancy had taken a sedative and lay down to sleep. Dinner continued to turn to blackened ashes in the kitchen. Would the child never stop screaming! What must she do? She was a good Mother. Why didn't little Donney understand that? Why wouldn't he be quiet. Just for this one night. She needed sleep so badly.

Where was David?

The Cabby hated to pick up fares at this place. It was full of those SCABS freaks. But at least his fare tonight looked normal enough, even if he was almost blind drunk. "Fitting considering the place he's just leaving." the Cabby thought. The guy wanted to go to a nice neighborhood in the suburbs. That would be a good fare, especially since he could take the most circuitous route.

The drunk was already snoring in the back of the cab.


Nancy couldn't sleep. Donney would not be quiet.

She had to get him to be quiet.

Storming into the baby's room, she screamed into the crib: "Shut up! Shut up, damn you! Just shut up!!" This last was a shrill scream at the upper reaches of her vocal range. Her voice was rife with a crackling edge of mad hysteria.

Grabbing the baby, she began to bounce him in her arms, trying to soothe him.


Lee had finally lost it completely. He couldn't stop himself from crying. He had been having increasing trouble controlling his emotions, as his emotional stability settled into his apparent age. Now the dam had burst and he just could not stop. Suddenly the woman, Nancy, was standing over his crib. She was screaming at him.

This only terrified Lee all the more. He had never felt so helpless. He felt her grab him and lift him from the warm confines of the crib and scream right into his face. He was so hysterical that he couldn't even understand her. Why was Mommy screaming at him?

The wailing of mother and child continued into the night.


"Car 57 we have a report of screaming at 613 NW Hazel Street. Possible domestic signal 22. Respond code two."

"Car 57 10-4. 10-51 613 NW Hazel Street, code two." Officer Mark Bolhouse hung up the microphone and switched on his red and blue lights. Turning to the Explorer next to him, he said, "Looks like we may get a little action yet tonight, kid."

Josh Tremayne smiled at Officer Bolhouse. At 19, he was now one of the senior Explorers. He had learned that domestic fights often produced plenty of the kind of action he had become addicted to. Someday he would be an officer.

Just like his hero, Sgt. Lee Alexander, had been.

Mark Bolhouse drove to the scene, thinking as he did so that the address sounded familiar. He could not put his finger on why.

"Be quiet you little bastard!" Nancy screamed at the squalling infant in her arms. She shook him and for a moment he quieted down. He had a wide open, shocked eyed look.

Then he began to scream again. "Quiet! Be quiet!!" Nancy screamed, shaking the tiny form repeatedly.

Then, suddenly, he was.

"Car 57 to headquarters. 10-97 613 NW Hazel Street."

"10-4 Car 57. 2357 hours."

Mark and Josh approached the front door. All was quiet. Mark knocked and called out, "Police. Anybody home?"

Nancy sat in the rocker cooing and singing to Donney. Now he was her good baby. Sleeping so quietly.

Someone was at the door. "Who could that be?" She wondered, as she walked to the door to answer it.

The door opened. A thin, hollow-eyed woman stood before Mark. In her arms she held a tiny form bundled in a baby blanket. "Yes?" She said. "Can I help you?"

"Officer Bolhouse, Ma'am. We had a report of a disturbance. Can we come in?" Mark noticed that the womans' eyes didn't seem to focus. She appeared to be dazed, and the bundle she held was unnaturally still.

"Here ya go, Mac." The Cabby said as he shook David awake. "613 NW Hazel Street. Looks like something is going on."

Blearily David opened his eyes. He was having trouble focusing. It looked like there were some police cars in his driveway.

Gently Mark moved the woman to the couch and removed the tiny bundle from her arms. When he uncovered the face he saw the golden curls, grown long in the last year, the intense blue eyes, staring off into a distance he could neither see nor fathom. He knew Lee Alexander.

Lee had been Mark's Sergeant and his friend. Mark had been one of the few guys on the force who had kept track of Lee and what happened to him, after he became infected with that damn Martian Flu..

No wonder the address was so familiar.

"Call headquarters on the radio." Mark told Josh. "Tell them we need a forensic team and a Detective. Give them this phone number and have them call me and talk to me personally."

Josh couldn't understand Marks intensity. Looked as if the Mother had lost it when her baby had died. Shame, really. But he could swear he saw a tear in the corner of Mark's eye. He went out to the squad car to make the call.

"Whas goin on?" David demanded of the burly uniformed officer standing outside his front door.

"Who are you, sir?" The officer inquired.

"I'm David. David...David Jones. I live here. This is my house! Where is my wife? What's happened?"

"I'm very sorry, Mr. Jones." The Officer turned and called into the house, "Detective Cronin. Mr. Jones is home."

The rest was a blur for David.

They called it "shaken baby syndrome".

Nancy was declared non compos mentes. She would not have to face a trial for manslaughter.

David's wife sat, rocking, clutching a rag doll bundled up in the baby blanket she never would put down.

Cooing away to her baby.

Her perfect little boy, who never cried any more.

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