Authors; Text & idea by Azzy . Images by Goodbye_sun .
Rating; M+ (VERY disturbing issues.)
warnings: kidnapping, child abuse, human trafficing
AN; This is a warped little spinoff from the Nano i tried to write, nothing wrong with the idea though. I don’t have the sims2 game anymore, so i talked GS into doing the snapshots for me, which if you ask me is really the hardest part. =) Thank you sweetness. Also no images are graphic, it should actually be perfectly worksafe. But the text is not!
This is made (in retrospect) for the January 2011 challenge ‘Hiding behind a mask’.
I’ll wait in this place where the sun never shines;
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves.
Troy had stood in the alley on the other side of the street, watching the kid at the bus stop, the bus had come two times, and he had not gotten on it. He closed his eyes and leaned up against the cold brick wall. He had done this before, he could do it again. He had to. His stomach protested and he let out a slow breath, centering himself before pushing off the wall, strolling over the street with a smile on his face, aiming at the bus stop.
He sat down and pretended to check what time the bus would come, he leaned over trying to look bored, but his hands trembled, and he eyed the clock down the street, Jack had said he would come look for him around noon. Last he had had to walk back to the rented house in the other end of town, Jack had not let him into the car because he hadn’t done what he was supposed to. He could have run, but to where? and to what? This was what he knew, and Jack did look after him, which was more than could be said about a lot of other kids. A voice in the back of his head said ‘he is looking after his investment, he doesn’t give a shit about you‘. But Troy chose not to listen to it. He bit his lip, and finally turned his head and smiled big, he had been told he had a pretty smile, pretty enough for a movie star. “Uhm.. can I ask you something? Promise you won’t laugh.”
“Sure.” The kid said.
“I know where that is.” The kid said, “This isn’t the right bus.”
“Oh.” Troy said, looking sad, “Shit!” He looked up into the sky and let out a shaky breath.
“Are you alright?” The kid asked.
“Yeah..” Troy sighed, “No..” He fingered a tear in his sleeve, “My dad is gonna be mad.”
“Oh.” The kid said.
“Don’t worry about it.” Troy said, scooting a little closer, “Maybe he will come looking for me.”
“He’s not gonna hurt you?” The kid asked.
Troy sucked in his breath, he didn’t really have to pretend his apathy, it was all him. “I don’t know.” He said in honesty.
They sat in silence for a while, Troy had met lots of kids like this one, and could tell that he really wanted to say something, but maybe didn’t know how. “So.” Troy said, “Why aren’t you at school?”
“My mom says i don’t have to.” The kid said with a little smile, wringing his hands.
Troy rose a brow, knowing the kid lied, he could tell from his body language, the guarded innocence. “Cool mom you got.” He said softly.
The kid just shook his head, “She’s just a mom.” He looked up at Troy with trusting brown eyes, “What’s your name?”
“Troy.” Troy said, his smile was genuinely awkward now, he hated knowing their names, and he knew what came next. And right enough the kid smiled and said “I’m Nick.”
A bus came and stopped, waiting for a moment, and then drove off, leaving the boys at the bus stop again. “So you hang out in bus sheds often?” Troy asked with a little grin, “Come on, I saw the bus leave as i came here, and another just left, and you didn’t get on it.”
Troy nodded, he couldn’t blow this! This kid was ripe for the taking, and a golden opportunity. “I bet they are worried sick, looking for you then.”
Nick shook his head, “I don’t think they even noticed.” He sighed, his shoulders sagging, “They’re too busy getting high.”
Troy could have said loads of things, but he discretely eyed the clock at the end of the street, he just had to work faster than this. His heart bled for this kid, it truly did, but it was a dog eat dog world, and it was a matter of self preservation. “I bet you’re hungry, right?” And Nick nodded. Troy smiled again, “We have food at my house, I’m sure my dad won’t mind.”
For the first time, suspicion stirred in those brown eyes, and Nick frowned. “I thought you didn’t know how to get there.”
“I don’t.” Troy shrugged, “We could just wait here till my dad comes.” When Nick just stared at him, Troy laughed bitterly, “My dad and me, we move around a lot, so he is used to me getting lost.”
“Why?” Nick asked.
Troy leaned forward and looked down the street, thinking he saw Jack’s car at the end of the street, “His work. It takes him all over the country.”
“That sounds cool.” Nick said with a little timid smile.
“Not really, no.” Troy admitted.
“Are you sure your dad won’t get mad?” Nick asked, “I don’t want you to get in trouble.”
Troy looked at Nick and smiled sweetly, “He’ll understand.” He cleared his throat as he saw Jack’s car pull up. “Don’t worry about it Nick, i promise you, you won’t get me in trouble.”
“But won’t he just take me back to my mom?” Nick asked worried, “I don’t want to go back there!”
“I can promise you that he won’t.” Troy said, holding out a hand to Nick, “You’ll get something to eat, and i’m sure he won’t mind you staying over till tomorrow, and you can catch a train out of here if you want to.”
“Really?” Nick asked.
“Really.” Promised Troy, inwardly cheering as Nick took his hand.
They turned around and looked at the car on the other side, where Jack had pulled over. A part of Troy just wanted to push this kid away, sceam at him to run, run and never look back. But he didn’t he tightened his grip on Nick’s shoulder and whispered. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” Jack didn’t get out of the car, he just sat and waited for Troy to cross the street.
“Is that your dad?” Nick asked his voice giving away how nervous he was.
“Yeah.” Troy said. “That’s Jack.”
“He looks young. Like your brother or something.” Nick said, and then chuckled, “Sorry, i just.. I mean.. ”
“I’m sure he’d be flattered.” Troy whispered.
“Come on,” Troy said with a smile, “Let’s get the hell away from this bus stop, huh?” He half pushed, half pulled Nick with him. They made it to the other side of the road, and Troy opened the backseat car door with clammy hands, watching Nick climb in. “I’m sorry i got lost again, dad.” He said, knowing that Jack would pick up on his lie, this was well rehearsed, well tested script. Under any other circumstances he would have just earned the back of Jack’s hand across his face, if he had called him dad. But as a part of the play, it was perfectly allowed.
“His name is Nick.” Troy said, “He can’t go home, and i sorta promised him that he could stay over till tomorrow.” He smiled a little encouraging smile to Nick in the back seat.
“Sure.” Jack said.
“Thank you Sir.” Nick said, visibly relieved that Jack wouldn’t just take him back home.
Troy looked down at his hands, feeling a sharp pang of guilt to his guts.
Jack had kicked him out of the house as soon as Nick had started to cry, and Troy had bursted out in ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry’. And he really was sorry, but he couldn’t do anything about it. He heard a car more drive up to the house, but he remained hidden out back. He wished he could get a moment with the kid, he would have told him the truth, and he would have told him that, if he just stopped crying and did as they said, everything would be easier. Maybe they wouldn’t hurt him as much, maybe he would in fact be okay. But Jack never let him have a moment.
Soon after he could hear that Nick had stopped crying, which just meant that Jack had silenced him somehow. Troy was just glad that the kid hadn’t cried for him, some of them did, thinking he’d come and help them. And as much as it made him want to throw up, he never helped any of them. Never. He wasn’t even sure what would happen if he tried, but it wasn’t good.
This was just as bad as the actual phishing, waiting for Jack to do his thing. A couple of times Jack had not been able to auction the kid off fast enough, and had just killed them, and maybe that was in fact the most merciful he could do. Troy wasn’t sure what the kids were shipped off to, but he had a pretty good idea, and most of them would at least survive. After all who would pay that much money for something, and then just snuff it? But maybe Nick had been a little too old? Jack had told him that it should be a boy, and preferably blond. But he was not some goddamn miracle worker, he couldn’t just find a blond kid that was unattended, it wasn’t like he had a fucking cute-kid radar. And Jack had told him to chat up those runaways, they weren’t likely to be missed. And the last thing they needed would be Amber alert, and hyper vigilant neighbors.
Some times Troy did wonder what would happen to him if Jack was caught. Would he go to prison too? Jack said he would. Which would really only be fair, because he was almost as horrible as Jack, if not worse. At least Jack was honest in his motives.
Troy tried to sleep, but couldn’t because it was too cold and hard on ground, and he was afraid he would only arouse Jack’s anger if he went inside for a blanket. He still hadn’t heard a peep out of Nick since this afternoon. What if he had… No, he knew Jack, and he was in this for the money, not for the kids. Jack profited on other’s misery, that was what he did, he had no real interest in these children himself. Jack liked women, women who were like him, that would do anything for money.
Jack had told him that he should be glad that he wasn’t cute or good looking. No one in their right mind would want to pay money for that ugly mug. And it was a good thing that he had proved himself useful, or he too would be dumped on the side of some highway, where the animals could pick his bones clean. Troy knew that Jack never joked, this was the truth. And all he had to do, to not end up as roadkill, was to keep being useful.
Troy blinked, and stretched. “Okay.” And then his stomach let out a deep, desperate rumble.
Jack shook his head, “You need to take better care of yourself, kid. Get up and come help with loading the car. You can get a burger when we get to Wilson.”
“Sure.” Troy said, slowly sitting.
“No.” Jack called back, “You can have some of mine, it’s on the kitchen desk.”
“Thanks.” Troy called back, stretching. For a moment his gaze lingered on the neat kept fence to the next door garden. For a second he entertained himself with how it would be to live on the other side of this fence. Maybe their kids went to school, maybe they had friends, surely they had a bed and had a warm meal every day.
“Don’t forget your bag.” Jack called from the car.
“I won’t.” Troy called back, finally getting to his feet.
“Sorry Sir.” Troy mumbled, inching through the flowers. “Jack? Can i ask you something?”
“Is he.. you know.” Troy whispered, not sure if the box held Nick alive or dead.
“He’s fine.” Jack said with a smile, “Look, i forgot to tell you this yesterday, but you did real good, kid.”
Troy beamed under the rare praise, “Thank you.”
“Maybe we can stop by a toy store when we’re done, and get you a new Nintendo.” Jack said with a slightly affectionate smile.
“Really? That would be great!” Troy said cheerfully.
“Why do you ask that?” Jack said, focused on turning the car around, looking out the sideview mirror.
“It just looks familiar somehow.” Troy said, easing back in the seat.
“A lot of these small dumps look the same.” Jack said, finally stepping on the speeder, starting the drive towards North Carolina.
“You’re right.” Troy said with a sigh. Not asking more questions, just resigning himself to the long trip a head.
Once Troy had asked where he was from, and Jack had said that he didn’t remember. But that he had bought him off his meth tweaked mom for fifty bucks. Troy wasn’t sure he believed that, but he couldn’t remember anything before this, it had just been like this aways, and their scam changing with his age. Sometimes he worried what would happen when he was too old, maybe he would just find another way for himself to be useful?
Useful was equal to alive, and Troy liked to be alive.