There was still no sign of Patrick three months later. It was mid-September, and school had resumed, as well as Luke’s after-school karate class. It had finished earlier than usual, so Luke stood outside the gym and waited for his father.
Grey clouds gathered overhead, and when the first few drops of rain fell, Luke took shelter under the canopy of a nearby office tower. A throng of men and women hurried out of the entrance and pushed past Luke on their way home from work. But one lone figure remained on the steps.
“Patrick?” asked Luke, stunned. But his friend didn’t answer him. He reached over and grabbed his arm.
“Patrick, where have you been?”
“Luke?” Patrick asked, offering a weak smile.
“Patrick, what happened to you?”
“Luke?” Patrick repeated, frowning at him. Then suddenly his expression changed. “Who are you?” he demanded angrily.
There was a look of fear in Patrick’s eyes as he backed away from Luke toward the main entrance. “Get away from me!” he yelled.
The office tower doors suddenly swung open, and a large man with a shaved head hurried toward them. Right behind him was a tall thin man in a dark suit.
“Get the car, Merrick!” snapped Patrick, “And get this child out of my sight, Harriman!”
“At once, sir,” said the tall thin man.
He gave a quick nod to his partner, then pulled a small radio from his jacket pocket, which was embroidered with the word LennoxGen. The taller man spoke into the radio as the bald man grabbed Luke tightly by the arm.
“Hey!” Luke shouted. “Let me go!”
“Shut up!” the bald man said, roughly pulling Luke into the rain. “You say anything about this to anyone and you’re dead. Understand?”
The bald man didn’t relax his grip until he had dragged Luke back to the entrance of the gym. By that time, a limousine with blacked-out windows had pulled up sharply at the curb. The bald man shoved Luke inside the gym and hurriedly joined the tall man and Patrick as they got into the limousine. Then it pulled away and disappeared into the rush hour traffic.
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