Home (Myron Bolitar, #11) by Harlan Coben Read Online (FREE)
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The boy who has been missing for ten years steps into the light.
I am not one for hysterics or even feeling much of what might be labeled astonishment. I have seen much in my forty-plus years. I have nearly been killed—and I have killed. I have seen depravity that most would find difficult, if not downright inconceivable, to comprehend—and some would argue that I have administered the same. I have learned over the years to control my emotions and, more important, my reactions during stressful, volatile situations. I may strike quickly and violently, but I do nothing without a certain level of deliberation and purpose.
These qualities, if you will, have saved me and those who matter to me time and time again.
Yet I confess that when I first see the boy—well, he is a teenager now, isn’t he?—I can feel my pulse race. A thrumming sound echoes in my ears. Without conscious thought, my hands form two fists.
Ten years—and now fifty yards, no more, separate me from the missing boy.
Patrick Moore—that is the boy’s name—leans against the graffiti-littered concrete support of the underpass. His shoulders are hunched. His eyes dart about before settling on the cracked pavement in front of him. His hair is closely cropped, what we used to call a crew cut. Two other teenage boys also mill about the underpass. One smokes a cigarette with so much gusto I fear the cigarette has offended him. The other wears a studded dog collar and mesh shirt, proclaiming his current profession in the most obvious of uniforms.
Above, the cars roar past, oblivious to what is below them. We are in King’s Cross, most of which has been “rejuvenated” over the past two decades with museums and libraries and the Eurostar and even a plaque for Platform 9¾, where Harry Potter boarded the train for Hogwarts. Much of the so-called undesirable element have fled these dangerous in-person transactions for the relative safety of online commerce—much less need for the risky drive-by sex trade, yet another positive by-product of the Internet—but if you go to the other side of the literal and figurative tracks, away from those shiny new towers, there are still places where the sleaze element survives in a concentrated form.
That is where I found the missing boy.
Part of me—the rash part I keep at bay—wants to sprint across the street and grab the boy. He would now be, if this is indeed Patrick and not a look-alike or mistake on my part, sixteen years old. From this distance, that looks about right to me. Ten years ago—you can do the math and calculate how young he’d been—in the über-affluent community of Alpine, Patrick had been on what they insist on calling a “playdate” with my cousin’s son Rhys.
That, of course, is my dilemma.
If I grab Patrick now, just run across the street and snatch him, what will become of Rhys? I have one of the missing boys in sight, but I have come to rescue both. So that means taking care. No sudden moves. I must be patient. Whatever happened ten years ago, whatever cruel twist of mankind (I don’t believe so much in fate being cruel when the culprit is usually our fellow human beings) took this boy from the opulence of his stone mansion to this filthy toilet of an underpass, I worry now that if I make the wrong move, one or both boys might disappear again, this time forever.