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MERCY AMONG THE CHILDREN, 1/3

posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Mercy Among The Children, Part 1
Author: marinw
Rating: R for Violence
Characters: Africa!Jack/Michael (OC)
Summary: Pre-Redemption. Jack makes a new friend. Sort of.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Etc.
A/N: Title taken from the novel by David Adams Richard. Seemed like a good title for a Redemption-era fic. Minor Spoiler warnings, doesn’t include anything from those clips I wish I hadn’t seen. Unbeta’d, so snicker accordingly.

“Son, it’s going to be all right.”

'Son'.That was his default name for every little boy he came across. Girls were addressed as ‘sweetheart’.

There were so many children here. And so few had their parents.

The child remained unconvinced. His hold on the pathetic, small handgun wavered, but his weapon didn’t lower.

“You’re a white man.”

“My name is Jack. I won’t hurt you. I promise. Just put down the gun. Please.”

The boy squeezed the trigger. Jack wasn’t more than three feet away from him.

The gun didn't fire. It didn't fire because the gun had no bullets.

Jesus Christ.

Jack leaned over and put his hand on his knees and let out several gasps.

The boy was still looking at him. If he was surprised at the empty gun, he showed no surprise.

He would have killed me.

Behind them there was the sound of fresh gunfire. To Jack’s trained ears it sounded like it came from a semi-automatic weapon.

“I can take you somewhere safe. But we need to leave now.

He scooped up the boy, who was still clutching his useless weapon. He screamed and squirmed in his arms.

Balancing the small weight of the boy in front of him, Jack ran. Not being able to pump his arms was slowing him down. He switched his little prisoner to under one arm. At the same time he managed to pry his gun away and tuck it in the waistband of his cargo pants.

He was soon running again. He couldn’t shoot back because he didn’t have a gun with bullets.

Jack hadn’t killed anyone in over three years. That was a record.

He could here the sound of squealing tires. His pursuers were now in a Jeep.

Jack ran through the jungle. He ran in a seemingly random zigzag pattern. His khaki pants, brown jacket and sandy blond hair offered some camouflage against the trees and scrubby bush. A few leaves and bristles caught themselves in his clothing. He could hear the engine of the Jeep stop. The soldiers would now be on foot.

When Jack reached his destination he finally put the boy down. “I need you to stay very, very quiet,” he whispered.

The boy was too terrified not to obey. Jack was scaring the shit out of him, but at this very moment that was useful. He sat with his back to a tree trunk, hugging his knees.

To any one just passing by, the mound next to Jack looked like a tall pile of fallen branches. Jack removed the branches and the net they were attacked to, revealing a very old, single-engine Cessna Skyhawk.

In his mind, Jack could see his old, beloved flight instructor waging his finger, chastising him for not doing a complete preflight-check. Jack only checked the fuel gauge and some of the other instruments. He started the engine, which prompted the propellers into action. The plane was noisier than he would have liked.

“Let’s go.” He grabbed the boy and strapped him into the co-pilot’s seat. His skinny limbs were now stiff with terror.

“Son, I don’t want you to be afraid.”

Jack was going to have to earn his trust.

The small field Jack taxied into was too short. He didn’t have enough room to reach the correct speed before taking off. The rough surface of the field wasn’t helping. A helicopter would have been much better suited to this terrain. But choppers were impossible to buy, even on the black market Jack wasn’t above participating in.

“Would you like to tell your name, son?” Jack asked as he attempted to coax the old engine into gathering momentum.

“Michael.”

“Michael, I…”

The sound of fresh gunfire interupted their conversation. Juma’s men were persistent. Michael was only one boy. He was expendable. There were plenty of others. Jack hoped that the shear numbers of available recruits would label Michael as expendable. Obviously not.

Jack knew how it worked: Boys were drafted to be trained as soldiers. Little girls….Jack tried not to think about that.

Juma’s men still wanted Michael enough to expend time and ammunition. They may have stopped caring about whether or not they took him alive. If Juma couldn’t have him, neither could an American.

Jack pulled back the throttle, and the Cessna left the ground, but not before a bullet shot through the tire of a wheel. The ear-popping bang of thick rubber imploding rocked the fuselage and reverberated throughout the small cockpit.

“Dammit!”

Landing was going to be a problem.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
cybertoothtiger
Nov. 8th, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
Luvs. Just luvs.
marinw
Nov. 8th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you for spreading the luv.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )