In early 2004, the FBI took on the case of a supposed syndicate organization that was kidnapping young children, abusing and then killing them, and bringing terror and destruction anywhere they deemed so worthy.

Many children were found dead, and a few discovered living died shortly after. Scant few survived.

Late December that year, one last child was abducted, and never found. After a month and a half, the Bureau declared him officially deceased; a closed family funeral was held for the child.

His name was Connor Logan Schooner.

He endured.


March 14th, 2005. 11:00 PM

In the way of a fugitive from his own past afflictions, a lone boy can be seen running; no older than six, he soon crumples to the ground sobbing. Just inside the doorframe of a grungy dwelling, he is hardly protected from the shower of rain falling from the sky. His sobs break and crack in silence interrupted conjointly with a pair of leisurely footsteps.

The steps draw nearer, pause, then, after a moments' deliberation speed up to accommodate for the remaining distance.

"Hey, kid, are you alright?" The marginally alarmed feminine voice breaks through the small boy's tears. He gasps in a breath and hugs his legs tighter, ducking his head.

The girl places a tentative hand on the boy's shoulder; he flinches but does not recoil from the touch. The shirt is wet from more than rain.

"Where's your home, kid? Do you have a home?" Taking in his ragged and beaten state, her eyes open wide and she leans to look the boy in the face. Meeting her gaze, he stares for a moment before lurching forward to cling to her.

As she accepts the embrace, the teen considers her options. The boy, abused as he appears to be, gives no indication of having a proper home; without further adieu, she cradles him into her arms and hefts the small bag of groceries amassed for late night snacking.

Hurrying home, she finds on his shivering person a diary of his actions for the past three months. Words messy but legible, the girl reads of a small boy and his captors, and the unspeakable things they forced him to do.

She slides into the seat of her computer chair and begins a search. Connor Schooner: Into the search engine she types the name he's given her, and opens the first article that appears.

A young boy of only six years old, Connor Logan Schooner is the most recent child to have been reported missing by locals. Officials assume it is the same perpetrator that has been at large the past twelve months. A search team has been called upon to….

The sudden clamor of a trash bin outside the window alerts her senses; it's a cat, but she doesn't relax. The article, written in late December of 2004 isn't recent; following a tag, she comes to an article dating a month and a half later. The boy is assumed dead after searches turned up fruitless, with no further actions from the kidnapper.

They'll be coming for him, she thinks. Eyes trained to the article on her desktop, she knows she's entitled to a serious decision…

By the time morning rolls around, the apartment is abandoned. The window gapes open to let the curtains sway in a light breeze. Clearly deserted, the small apartment will be later ravaged in pursuit of a tormented little boy.

Over the next year, several instances are unofficially noted of a young boy and older girl visiting various locations. Every time their visit would shortly precede the place being desecrated and put to shambles by unknown felons. Across the country, over 27 cases are reported.

When they suddenly stop, the FBI waits a year until dismissing the case in June of 2006.

There are quiet murmurs during that time of the same boy to be seen from place to place, interrogating and asking bountiful, desperate questions regarding the girl he was with previously. It's said something must have happened to her, and the negativity of the responses tears at the boy in a way that is incongruous for one his age.

He goes on searching.


October 23rd. 2007. 10:00 AM

Two figures face off in the October chill. The stare down is impressive when considering the age difference; one appears at most eight, the other in his early twenties. They're swathed with thick coats and huddled in scarves, and the man's accosting exposé seems to dance with the swirling leaves in the air…

"I know who you are."

The boy stands, hands shoved stiffly in his coat's pockets, his face a cold mask of betrayal and ferocity beyond his years. His riposte strikes:

"And you're not exactly what you pretend to be, are you? I know you; you're running away from something too."

The man stiffens, his very posture belying one caught red-handed. Gaze locked with the boy's, he gropes for excuse.

The boy turns to leave, and, belatedly he calls, "I'm not averse to keeping a secret. If it changes anything, yours is safe with me."

The boy halts his progress, head bowed without a sound.

The man goes on. Scarcely audible words graze the air:

"I think I know where to find Rebecca, Connor. Let me help you."

The boy swivels to face the man in an instant, eyes childishly wide. Slowly they close; he adjusts his wool-knit hat with one hand and cracks an eye half open, meeting the man's inexorable gaze. Without a sound, he walks sedately forward, and grasps his hand to shake.

It's for Rebecca, he thinks. But he can't kid himself. He's been lonely a long time.


Later

Lucas:

My fingers seem to whir on the keys as I type, configuring and triangulating. I'm not paying attention to what I'm doing; my mind is on other things. Specifically, these are Connor Logan, and what he's doing. What I'm doing. Usually I try not to play an active role in the cases I take interest in, but there's something to Connor that begs of more attention than my typical speculative blog.

These serial attacks that've been occurring as of late seem imperceptibly connected to the attacks in 2004. If I can find the connection and prove it, it's likely the organization behind it all won't be too happy. They'll begin to strike out more and come out of hiding; it's probable wherever their root is, Rebecca won't be too far behind.

Yeah, it's not going to be easy, but that's not exactly an issue. If what Connor says is correct, innumerable people's lives, as well as Rebecca's, are endangered by this organization. It's decidedly a long shot, but then, I haven't had a real challenge in a long time.

Connor and Lucas are a team in action that no adversary could have possibly seen coming. In a matter of months they gain the support of the media and police force, garner trust in each other, determine the syndicate's home base and methodically annul their each and every plan of action.

On the first of May they plan an invasion of the main structure, and begin carefully to carry it out. Rebecca's presence is confirmed at last when forensics examine what appears to be a prison cell; recent but absent, they follow the trail of a taunting note to a warehouse downtown.

Just as they arrive, several explosions shake the area: the building Rebecca was told to be in takes to flames.


May 1st, 2008. 3:00 PM

Connor

The confrontation's finally taking place…

The scene's been arduously set…

And I'm about to miss all of it.

Lucas has me by the arms; I'm wrenching and pulling, kicking and screaming. I'm beyond rational thought, doing all I can do to pull forward, advance to where I know she is. We've come this far.. It can't be for nothing!

"Let me go!" The cry rips from my throat, indistinguishable in the cataclysm we've created. "We can still save her! There's still a chance!"

My eyes are squinted against tears and the glare of fire truck lights; I've trained my eyes only to the vicious flames overwhelming the building,—the building, she's in there, we've got to save her, got to get her back!—I've grown accustomed to the constant uproar that's nowhere and everywhere and every place between (we can't; it's all ashes now: she's good as dead.)

Lucas tries to pacify my aggression, saying exactly the words my logical side is screaming at me. "Connor, calm down; there's nothing we can do! She's dead! Do you hear me? Dead! There's no way, so stop it!"

His dogged grip on my upper arms may not have relented, but his words give me further resolve to break free. His exclamations falling on deaf ears, I writhe and strain all the more violently.

Lucas' yelling becomes mere white noise to me. As time seems to slow, I tear away from his grasp in one mighty heave and lurch away. I see him leaping to his feet behind me almost dilatorily; it's no matter to me as I push and shove my way through the dwindling crowd in a mindless frenzy.

I don't see the scope lining up, or the thumb sliding back to cock the gun. I completely miss the finger edging ever closer to the trigger. My feet slap against the ground; my heart is pounding in my ears; my top priority is getting inside the building in time to find Rebecca alive.

Running, my eyes focus solely on the thriving embryo of licking flames inside the building's doors. She's in there, I know.

I'm not a step over the threshold, smoke billowing around me, before a sharp pain below my left shoulder causes me to falter and fall.

A shot rings through the air; policemen and bystanders alike turn to see the boy's legs fail him. The boy tumbles to the ground, red spreading across his shirt.

A swell of ash arcs from the ceiling, coating his back and powdering his hair. He coughs severely, gasping for breath. Painful wheezes are laced with swearwords; he weakly clutches his shirt at the bullet wound.

The last moments of Connor's see Lucas' feet scrambling nearer, his shouts muted, and her face: it's all he sees now. Through the blur of smoke and unveiled tears, he sees only her eyes, her hair, her dependable smile…

His eyes close for the last time.


An inconspicuous silhouette turns away from the scene below as fierce winds whip his hair and clothes wildly. Shouldering the rifle he carries, the figure clambers into the helicopter, unconcerned by his deed.

On the ground, Lucas Cavali watches the copter wing away, and swears on the definite promise of reconciliation;

He'd not allow this chaos to carry on any longer.