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Inthrallis – Chapter 18

January 1, 2015

Inthrallis – Chapter 18

And now he only eats guitars.

“Jesus Christ…”

Deanie Holburn was the wife of Nebraska Senator Dan Holburn.

The Senator had made his fortune as a corporate attorney. His investments in real estate in some backwater Texas town had raised a few eyebrows fifteen years ago when his partners all got arrested for a handful of illegal moves related, some tangentially, to the deals.

Then-Congressman Holburn himself had come out unscathed. There was a brief pillorying of him on C-SPAN. But he sat there, looking saintly, staring his inquisitors straight in the eye and telling what appeared to be the gospel truth, that he was unaware and uninvolved.

The inquiry was brief and settled behind closed doors. He paid some fines and got a slap on the wrist: Suspended from a subcommittee for the rest of the session. After that, it was business as usual.

Holburn had run for Senate, lost once, then won and had held the seat ever since. He was now on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee.

The two had met at Texas Christian. Deanie had been working on her nursing undergraduate degree and Holburn had been finishing up his PMBA. Both came from mostyly Baptist families and so it had been in the cards that they were destined to make more Baptists.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

It was difficult to pick up any details, watching in on Gordo’s laptop screen. He needed to her speaking bigger, louder.

‘Gordo’ had been at the latest event Moller went to, a protest. He had been scheduled to work, but not only had the work system broken down, but the A/C was on the fritz as well. On his walk home, he saw the protest in front of the Federal building and, like the proverbial cat, had walked over to find out what it was about.

Apparently people who had been protesting Cain’s company had been labeled terrorists or terrorist sympathizers. Anti-Medidyne messages had shown up on the website and messageboard of the terrorist-organization-of-the-month. FBI had raided several homes and threatened to charge them with aiding and abetting terrorists. The protest was against that.

Moller was looking at the chalk scribblings on the sidewalk when ‘Gordo’ had walked over. The young man, probably 24 or so, was nervous. This condition didn’t help at all when Moller, having had enough of the silly talking-around-what-he-wanted banter had instead turned to Moller’s private life. Gordo had said he had prevented Moller being doxxed–whatever the f— that was–and Moller should be glad of it.

Gordo said he had something to show him back at his place, a small upstairs apartment in a surprising nice part of Madison. He smelled of fear and gange. But having the day off and not wanting to run into some of the faces he recognized at the protest, Moller was glad to get out of there.

Gordo’s nervousness Moller chalked up at least partially up to the smoking. But then this was post-Snowden America; everyone had reason to worry.

Old lady, can’t hear a thing, Gordo had said as he let him in at the top of the wooden stairs. It was a nice enough house, though the roof could use replacing.

Moller was both surprised and relieved when he saw that what Gordo wanted to show him was not in fact related to UFOs and space aliens. He had gotten that specific paranoid vibe from the kid. No, this was something else.

“Can you put this on the big screen?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

Gordo spent some time hooking the laptop up to his flatscreen. Moller ignored the occasional curse, merely glancing over to see the screen stretched one way or another or simply that blue you get nowadays on smart TVs when there’s no signal at all.

He perused Gordo’s bookshelf while he waited. It was a mix of graphic novels, computer tech manuals, and revolutionary stuff, mostly from the 60s and 70s. The Anarchist’s Cookbook, a printed and bound PDF version were among some titles Moller hadn’t heard of before.

“…and so…we can only believe that this is a sign.”

Deanie Holburn sprang to life on the big TV. Moller walked over and got close enough to look the Senator’s wife in the eyes, but not so close that he couldn’t catch any other nonverbal cues. He tried to put himself in the room with her, live as it was happening.

“Turn it up, please.”

Gordo did that immediately. Moller needed to hear her voice, listen for tremors, hesitations, unfinished phrases and words.

“A sign?”

The interviewer was from a local Fox affiliate in the area. The logo was in the bottom right corner.

“Yes. We believe that… that the children have been taken by the Lord.”

“‘Taken?’ You mean they’re dead?”

“N-no. I mean assumed into Heaven. Alive.”

“I cannot believe what I am seeing,” Moller offered.

A hand covered the camera and a voice could be heard saying that’s enough just before the video ended. The screen went to a color test pattern. There was no accompanying annoying pitch, just silence.

“Well… what do you think?” Gordo chomped on a Kit Kat.

Munchies.

Moller stared at nothing for a moment. It was all there. Surely, with her three kids, all under the age of six missing, she was under a lot of stress. That could account for some of it. But it was there…

“I think,” Moller picked up an open bag of Doritos, looked inside, and set it back down, “that the Senator’s wife is not half the liar he is.”

It was a seven hour drive to Lincoln, and another forty-five to the Holburn’s home in the ‘burbs. Moller drove, checking news radio for any other information. According to Gordo, a least fifty families, all prominent, all inside the US as far as he knew, had had children go missing on the same night. Some were other elected officials in the government and then there were some CEOs, bankers. All seemed to be religious if Gordo’s information was correct.

And yet there wasn’t word one about it in the news. Gordo said he had gotten the video file from a fellow hacker via the same chatroom where he had talked his cohorts out of posting all of Moller’s personal information on the web.

The fact that someone wanted to do that didn’t sit right with him.

Why? Who?

Moller made Gordo show him the file. While he was shocked at the details, how much stuff they knew, he also found it strangely funny that there were things that weren’t in there. Some things just didn’t get out unless somebody powerful wanted them out.

It was more of a tease… a game. Maybe the Holburn story held the key.

When he arrived he drove around the next block first just to be sure he had seen things correctly at the previous street. He was even more mystified when he made the next corner.

A McMansion, behind the one directly across the street from the Holburn’s, had a couple of Sedans in the drive. That wasn’t the odd part, though. In the garage, he barely made out the lower portions of two white SUVs.

Chuckling to himself, he drove back to the street around the other side, which would have been the house directly behind the Holburns. He had seen correctly when he glanced earlier. Two black SUVs and a couple more cars including a Nebraska State Police cruiser.

The Holburn’s place had Secret Service on one side and FBI on the other.

Why, if there was nothing to see here, would the Holburns have this kind of company? National security, obviously. Prevent a panic by clamping down on the story. Don’t want every mover and shaker freaking out and pulling his kids from school.

Moller eyeballed the house behind. He could see a rope-off area in the side yard. Whoever had taken the kids must have gone out the back. He could also see that they had left an open space on the street: Checking for tire marks, anything else that could identify the kidnappers’ vehicle.

The only remaining question besides who took the kids and why: Why did Deanie Holburn lie and say God took the kids?

He drove back wondering who would want to fake the Rapture. The radio wasn’t much help.

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From → Inthrallis, Novels

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