Michelle Leslie has summarized Part One of "Keeping Secrets," which ran in the last issue, like this: "Dave McDermot was a clever man, or so he thought. He was a successful attorney, he had a loving wife and two beautiful children. Then someone killed him. That was how Detectives Briscoe and Logan first perceived this case. But when McDermot's eight year old son confessed to his murder, they new that everything wasn't as it appeared to be in the McDermot household. One after another, secrets began to unravel. Secrets involving illegal adoption, child prostitution and more murders. Secrets that became a little too personal for Detective Mike Logan. Even as Ben Stone proceeded to trial, there was something still hidden in the shadows. Something that no one wanted to believe, especially not Stone. A secret that, once revealed, would change all of their lives forever." The first part of "Keeping Secrets," is located here, if you want a little more review before delving into the conclusion!
Don Cragen sat in his office dwelling over the events of the day. For twenty-six years he dealt with the low-life scum of New York City. He had seen it all, murders, rapes, abuse -- none of it was new to him. In the last few years he felt himself becoming more unaffected by it all. Every day another murder. It was his job and nothing more. He could leave it all at the office now when he went home at night unlike when he first became a beat cop and tried to solve the problems of the world even from home. But today, for the first time in a long time, he didn't think he was going to be able to leave this one at the office. He had seen many cases involving child prostitution and abuse but none of those cases involved a child of a friend. He wasn't so much worried about the boy overcoming what had happened to him, but rather, he was more afraid of what Logan would do to those who abused his son. He thought he might have yet another murder on his hands. His thoughts were interrupted by Briscoe's knock on the door. He snapped back to the case at hand and waited for Briscoe to give his report on McGinty.
"McGinty's got seven counts of aggravated sexual abuse on a minor. He served twelve years in Ossining," Briscoe said. "Paroled in 1980, nothing since."
"Address?" Cragen asked.
"New Jersey," Briscoe replied. "Just like the kid said."
"Pick him up," Cragen ordered. "Take some back-up, I don't want this guy getting away."
Just as Briscoe was turning to leave the office Logan, Stone and Robinette walked in with Gage. Logan held up the computer disks that had been found in the boys backpack days earlier.
"You wanted proof, I think we got it," Logan said and tossed the disks onto Cragen's desk.
"What's this?" Cragen asked.
"Pictures," Logan answered. "Taken by those bastards."
"Where'd they come from?" Cragen asked.
"I stole them," Gage replied. "That's why they didn't kill me, they knew I had them and they wanted them back. So they killed Claudia instead."
Cragen could see that the boy had been crying. His eyes were red and swollen and his face was flushed. The boy looked at him for some sign that he believed his story and that he would finally help him to end the McDermot's reign of terror over him. "O.k., show me," he said finally and handed the disks to the boy. The men gathered around the computer as the boy inserted the disks and began depressing the keys. When the first image appeared on the screen they weren't quite sure what they were looking at. The photo was small then they finally realized that the image was that of a little girl performing oral sex on a man. The man's face, however, could not be seen in the photograph. The next image was much clearer and the men choked back their revulsion.
"What the hell is this?" Cragen asked, wanting an explanation from someone and he didn't care who.
"In addition to running a child prostitution ring, the McDermots were heavy into child pornography," Logan explained. "Since 1980."
"You mean to tell me these people have been doing this for almost twenty years and nobody had a clue?" Cragen asked. "That's freakin' amazing."
"Gage," Stone said softly, "do you know who all these people are?"
Gage pointed at the screen and rambled off some names. There was a man in a mask that he couldn't identify however. "He's like the boss," he said. "Everybody does what he says, but nobody knows his name, they just call him J.R. He's the one who killed Marie and Todd."
"You saw him?" Stone asked.
Gage nodded. "It was a warning. If anyone else thought about telling he'd kill us, too," Gage replied.
"Who took these pictures?" Robinette asked.
"Lauren," Gage answered.
Stone and Robinette were both impressed by the boy's level headedness, intelligence and the calm manner in which he spoke. He seemed like an ordinary eight year-old on the outside but inside there was an a soul that was wise beyond its years due in fact maybe to the adult world in which he was forced to live. He had experienced things that the average person never would, even in a whole lifetime. He was a 'man-child' Stone thought. Part of him was still a little boy, scared and confused, looking for someone to scare away the monsters. The other part was a man trying to undo some of the injustices that were part of his world. The images that they were seeing, however much it sickened them, was this boy's way of life. And that repulsed them even more.
The video became even more grotesque. The men watched in horror and abhorrence as a boy was tied up, beaten and gang raped on the screen. They recognized him immediately as the boy standing in front of them now; Gage McDermot.
"Turn it off," Logan said. "Turn it off, now!" He yanked the plug out of the wall and paced the office trying not to lose control. He thought he might vomit, but he had to keep control of his faculties. If he lost it now he didn't know what would happen and he had to have a clear head. He had to be there for his son.
"It's o.k." Stone said to the boy and put his hand on his shoulder. "It's over now." He tried to smile to reassure the boy that he was telling the truth but Stone knew that something that traumatic would take a long time to get over. "Arrest the sons of bitches," he said.
Briscoe, Logan and Cragen stormed into the interrogation room in which Maxwell and Lauren were impatiently waiting. Logan went right away for Maxwell and yanked him from his seat and slammed him against the wall, face first. Maxwell didn't know what hit him and he stammered "What's going on, here?"
"You're under arrest you sick son of a bitch," Logan said as he flung Maxwell around to face him and grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket. "I'm going to personally make sure you go to hell for what you did to my kid. And you're going to have a very long stay there." He turned Maxwell back toward the wall, took out his cuffs and placed them on Maxwell's wrists. Briscoe followed the same routine with Lauren. "Bob Maxwell, Lauren McDermot, you're under arrest for pornography, soliciting child prostitution and murder. You have the right to remain silent, if you give up that right anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand that?"
"That little bastard told," Lauren shouted. "I knew we should have killed him when we had the chance."
Logan couldn't control himself any longer. He was too enraged by Lauren's comment. He let go of Maxwell, grabbed her from Briscoe's hold, flung her around to face him and slugged her in the face, sending her to the floor in a heap.
"Mike!" Cragen yelled and quickly went to restrain Logan from striking her again. "Get them out of here!" he called to Briscoe and escorted Logan out. Once out of the room, he turned to Logan and said "good shot," and patted him on the arm.
March 23 - Five Months Later
Mike Logan walked into the courthouse holding his son by the hand. From the moment he found out he was a father he did everything to provide for his son. He filed for custody and got it. He got a bigger place and cut back on the number of dates he had in a week so that he could spend time with his boy; going to basketball games at the Garden and such. It wasn't easy but he was doing what he could to help his son heal from the emotional and physical wounds that afflicted him. He was a good father. He hadn't been there for his son in the past but he was doing everything in his power to insure that he was there for him now. That included getting him ready to testify against his abusers.
"Mike," Ben Stone called when he saw them come up the stairs. Logan saw him and waved in acknowledgement. "Where have you been? You were supposed to be here at eight. It's eight-thirty," Stone said as he approached the pair.
"Sorry," Logan said. "But we're having a little confidence problem."
"Oh, don't tell me," Stone said.
"I don't know if I can do it, Mr. Stone," Gage said.
"Gage, we've been over this a hundred times," Stone told his witness. "They can't hurt you. They can't even talk to you. You don't have anything to be afraid of anymore. You just go in there, tell the jury what you know, and you'll never have to see these people ever again."
"I'll try, Mr. Stone," Gage replied.
"Good," Stone smiled.
"How's it look in there?" Logan asked curious about how the jury was reacting to the testimony they had already heard from previous witnesses.
"I think we can definitely get a guilty verdict on the molest charges but other than Gage's testimony we don't have anything conclusive on the murders," Stone told him, "But even if the jury doesn't find them guilty of murder they'll be going away for a long time."
"That's not enough," Logan said. "These people should get the chair for what they did."
Stone nodded in part to acknowledge Logan's response and part in agreement with his comment. "He's going to be the first witness called this morning. Until we're ready you can wait in here," he said and he led them down the hall to a witness waiting room.
Logan and Gage waited in the room for Gage to be called to testify. Cragen knocked on the door and entered without waiting for a reply.
"Hey, Donnie," Logan said, standing to shake Cragen's hand. "Thanks for coming."
"How's it going?" Cragen asked quietly, trying to keep the conversation private.
"He's nervous, but he's o.k." Logan answered.
"Any word from the mother?" Cragen asked referring to Shannon O'Brien, Gage's real mother, who had refused to have anything to do with her son, or Logan for that matter.
"She's moving to Florida," Logan said, "and getting married."
"And how do you feel about that?" Cragen asked.
"I don't know, I mean, whatever," Logan replied, "I only wish she was there for him."
"Dad?" Gage said. "I don't feel so good. I think I'm going to throw up."
Logan knelt before his son in the middle of the men's room, wiping his face with a wet paper towel. "Feel better?" The boy nodded, chewing on a piece of gum.
"Are you going to be there?" Gage asked.
"Of course I'm going to be there," Logan answered and straightened the boy's hair and clothes. "Everything's going to be fine," he assured him.
"Dad," Gage said.
"Yeah?" Logan responded and waited for the boy to finish but Gage didn't say anything else. He didn't have to. Logan saw the look on his face. It was a look he had seen a lot over the past five months. It was a look that neither was able to express in words as yet. A look that said "I love you." Gage put his arms around Logan's neck and hugged him. In his father's arms he always felt safe and free of harm. Logan returned the favor wrapping his arms tightly around his son and giving him a squeeze. Even though Logan was supposed to be the adult, the protector and the one who made sure everything was all right, he needed this hug now and again too, to make himself feel loved and secure. It was one of the ways the two had found to communicate with each other when things were not easy to say.
"They're ready," Cragen said, sticking his head in and interrupting this father and son moment.
"Ready?" Logan asked the boy. He took a deep breath and nodded in reply. "O.k. Give me the gum," he said holding out his hand for the boy to spit the gum into it.
Because Gage was a minor and Stone wanted to protect his identity, keeping him anonymous was the ruling of the court. The court was closed to all but those who had a direct connection with the case. The defendants, Lauren McDermot, Bob Maxwell and Walter McGinty sat with their lawyers to the right of the courtroom. Logan sat directly behind Stone and Robinette where he could give moral support to his son. The other perpetrators in this case had all plead to lesser offenses and were either already serving time in prison or were on probation, depending on the degree of their offense. Only these three, along with their "Boss", J.R, who had never been identified, had yet to be charged with the most serious and heinous of the charges filed in the suit. The case had been in process for more than a month now and Stone hoped to wrap up his case with Gage's testimony today. He knew the boy was nervous and afraid to look toward the defendants table so he stood directly in front of him during questioning to keep his attention focused on him and not his abusers, whom he still feared.
"Gage," Stone began, "Did you ever know a little girl named Marie Olivera?"
"Yes," Gage answered.
"And how about Todd Banks?"
"Yes," Gage answered again.
"Ravina Price? Tommy McDermot?"
"Can you tell the jury what happened to these children?" Stone asked.
"They killed them," Gage said.
"Who killed them?"
"Dave and Bob and J.R.," Gage said.
"Your honor, I object to this line of questioning," the defendants attorney, Mitchell Blanchard, said. "There's been no proof brought in this case that these children were murdered. For all we know, they may have run away and are living in Southern California, soaking up the sun."
"Your Honor, the state intends to prove by this witness's testimony that these children are in fact dead and that they died at the hands of the defendants," Stone retorted.
"I'll allow it," Judge Raymond Hayward announced.
"Thank you, your honor," Stone said then turned his attention back to Gage who sat nervously in the witness box. "Gage, how did these children die?"
"They were going to tell about what they were doing to us. They found out and cut them, here," Gage answered and he drew his hand across his throat like a knife.
"And how do you know this?" Stone asked.
"I saw them."
"You saw all the children murdered?"
"No. Only Marie, Todd and Ravina."
"And who actually cut their throats?" Stone asked.
"And what did the others do?"
"They held them so they couldn't get away. They said if anybody else tried to tell they'd kill us, too."
"Thank you. No more questions," Stone said and smiled at Gage to assure him he did a good job. Then he turned and walked back to his table. Mitchell Blanchard stood, buttoned his suit jacket and proceeded to the witness box. He was a cocky and crude young attorney. He didn't know Gage or even care about what had happened to him or the other children. All he cared about was winning this case. He immediately began grilling the witness about his testimony.
"Gage, you said that you saw this J.R. person actually kill Marie, Todd and Ravina. Is that right?" Blanchard asked.
"And that my clients only 'helped' him, is that right?"
"Isn't it true that this so-called, "J.R" was never actually identified?"
"Well, what would you say if my clients said that there really was no J.R. and that you made him all up, along with these others kids?" Blanchard asked. Gage didn't know how to answer the question so he said nothing. "Well?"
"They're lying," Gage answered.
"Uh-huh. But, you're not lying, are you?"
"No, of course not. You'd never lie would you?" Blanchard said in jest. "Tell me, Gage, have you ever seen a psychiatrist?"
"Yes," Gage answered.
"Objection, the witnesses medical history is not relevant to what he saw," Stone interjected but was overruled.
"Gage tell the jury why you saw a psychiatrist a year ago," Blanchard continued. "Was it because of Tommy?" Gage didn't answer, he didn't want to talk about what happened to Tommy. "What happened to Tommy?"
"Lauren did it."
"But, didn't you tell Dr. Bently that you did it?" Blanchard questioned.
"Why did you do that?"
"They made me."
"So, you didn't really drown him, you just lied and said you did because someone told you to, am I right?" Blanchard theorized.
"So, you admit that you lied?"
"I...they made me say that."
"And you'd say just about anything that anyone told you to say, wouldn't you?" Blanchard grilled.
"Did someone tell you to lie and make up these horrible things about my clients?"
"Objection, he's badgering the witness," Stone interjected, but was again overruled.
"The witness will answer," Judge Hayward said.
"I didn't make it up," Gage said.
"How can we be sure? I mean, you lied in the past, how can we be sure you're not lying now?"
"I'm not a liar," Gage said in his defense. But, Blanchard had accomplished what he intended. He had taken the jury's focus off the murders and placed it on the fact that Gage had lied in the past about information in the case. "I didn't make it up," Gage insisted and became increasingly agitated as he looked at the defendants. He stood up, turned to judge and said "It's all true. You have to believe me."
Judge Hayward looked directly at the boy and sternly said "Sit down, young man." There was something in his voice that was familiar, but Gage couldn't place it at first. Then he realized whose voice it was. A look of shock and fear came over his face. Judge Hayward noticed it and Stone did, too.
"O.k." Gage said giving in to Blanchard. "I made it all up. None of it's true." The courtroom was all abuzz. The defendants all at once seemed to breathe a little easier, they were going to get off they thought. The Prosecution on the other hand was scrambling to hold on. Stone never anticipated that Gage would be so terrified that he would recant everything right there in the courtroom. He had to get control of this case again. He couldn't let the last thing that the jury heard be that Gage had made up this whole story.
"Redirect, your honor," Stone asked of the court and the court obliged. Stone walked toward Gage who sat visibly shaking in the witness box. "Gage, I want to remind you that you took an oath to tell the truth in this courtroom, do you remember that?"
Gage nodded and said "Yes."
"And you know what happens to people who don't tell the truth in court, don't you?"
"Don't make me tell, Mr. Stone," Gage pleaded, "please don't make me."
Stone didn't know what had happened. He knew Gage was scared about testifying and he knew that there was a possible threat to the boy's life if he did so. He knew all this and thought that in the past five months they had worked all of that out. But there was something different going on now. He didn't know what it was but he had to find out before he continued with his questioning. "Five minute recess, your honor?" Stone asked and was granted his request.
Stone led Gage by the arm into the witness waiting room, followed by Robinette, Logan and Cragen. "What the hell is going on?" Stone demanded to know of his witness. "What were you thinking by saying that you made everything up? Are you trying to blow this case?!"
"Hey, back off," Logan said. "He's just scared, ok.?"
"No, it's not ok." Stone insisted. "He just single handedly gave those bastards a walk on the murder charges. The jury will never convict now. They could be out in fifteen years, is that what you want?"
"Of course I don't want that," Logan protested.
"Hey, guys, chill," Robinette said to Stone and Logan when he realized that Gage had huddled himself, crying, into a corner and buried his head in his arms.
Logan went to his son and pulled him up and into his lap. Stone had to act fast. His case was crumbling before him. He had to convince Gage to go back into the courtroom and make the jury believe his story.
"Gage," Stone said comfortingly, kneeling in front of the boy as he sat on his father's lap. "We have to go back in there and try to convince the jury that you were telling the truth about McGinty and Maxwell. If you don't, the jury might not convict them in the murder of those other children. Do you understand? This is very important."
"It's him," Gage said, through his tears.
"Who?" Logan asked.
"J.R." Gage replied. "He's the judge."
"Gage, this is crazy," Stone said, aggravated again. "I know you're scared, but you can't get out of this by making up a story like that about Judge Hayward. I've known him for ten years. It's not possible that he's the man who hurt you and the others."
"It is him" Gage insisted. "I recognized his voice."
"You're mistaken" Stone urged. "You were upset by Blanchard and you let him intimidate you, that's what frightened you. It wasn't the judge," Stone insisted.
"It is him! You have to believe me," Gage insisted again. "I know it's him. I can't go back in there. I can't."
"This is just great," Stone said. "What the hell are we supposed to do now?" He looked for assistance from Robinette and Cragen. Neither one knew what to do in the situation. "Terrific." Stone paced the tiny room trying to think of a way to save his case, but he came up with nothing. He couldn't force the boy back on the stand not in the condition he was in. There was no telling what would happen if he did that. He had to proceed without confirmation of Gage's previous testimony against the defendants. "I'll tell the judge he's unable to finish his testimony," he said.
"What do you think he'll do?" Robinette asked.
"I don't know," Stone answered. "I wouldn't doubt it if he threw the whole thing out." Stone looked back at the boy, disappointed that he let himself rely too much on this testimony to prove his case against McGinty and Maxwell. He opened the door, walked out and slammed it behind him.
"Hey, Paul," Logan said as he stood, "tell Stone to blow it out his ass."
Robinette sighed and followed his boss back to the courtroom.
Logan and Cragen stood outside the courtroom waiting to here back from Stone or Robinette of the judge's ruling. Logan realized that Gage wasn't standing beside him any longer and looked around for him. He saw him just a few feet away, down the corridor at the water fountain. At the same time he saw a somewhat familiar man enter the corridor and begin to walk toward Gage. Logan kept his eye on the man. He couldn't place where he had seen him before or why he was suspicious of him. He just knew there was something about him he didn't trust. He began to walk down the corridor after the man. Cragen watched him as he did.
When the man was about five feet from where Gage was standing he took out a pistol from his jacket and pointed it in the boy's direction. He fired two rounds which sent Cragen running after him down the adjacent corridor. Logan, who felt like he himself was hit with a bullet, ran to his son and caught him just before he hit the ground. "Get an ambulance!" he shouted to bystanders who, when they heard the gunshots, huddled into corners or fell to the floor for protection.
"Daddy?" Gage moaned.
"Shhhh, don't try to talk," Logan said as he held the boy in his arms. "I'm right here." He looked at the small body lying in his arms. Blood had already begun to seep through the boys sweater turning the color from a cool blue to a deep, dark black. "Hang on, you're going to be o.k." Logan felt everything that was important to him slipping away. For eight years he never even knew this child existed. He spent the last five months trying to make up for all those years that he wasn't there. He crammed a lifetime into those five months. He felt it all fading away now as he look at his son dying in his arms.
Cragen returned to the corridor after apprehending the shooter and turning him over to the courthouse security guards. He wasn't aware that the boy had been shot until he saw Logan cradling him in his arms on the floor. He immediately went to his friend and knelt down on the floor across from him. He saw the blood that was now dripping from the boy's body onto the floor. He knew right away there wasn't much hope that this child was going to survive.
"Hang on, honey," Logan said, "help is coming." His words were part to comfort his son and part to convince himself that everything was going to be all right. He repeated himself several times for reassurance. He looked at his friend Don Cragen for that same assurance but it wasn't there.
The courtroom doors opened and the court was emptied by those inside who were curious to the commotion that was happening outside their walls. Among them were Stone and Robinette who were shocked at the sight. They forced their way through the security officers who were keeping onlookers at bay to see if they could help.
Gage's breathing was labored now. His breaths came in short, raspy wheezes. His focus was on his father. He listened to the gentle, loving way he spoke. He couldn't hear every word with his ears but he felt them with his heart. He struggled to obey his father's commands to hang on but he was growing weary with every breath.
Logan saw Gage's eyes begin to roll back in his head. "Gage!" he shouted at him, putting his hand to the boys face and shaking his head to keep him alert. He couldn't let him give up. "Stay with me," he pleaded. "Just hang on."
"Daddy," Gage tried to speak but he was weak. His lips moved but there wasn't any sound, only short gasps for air.
"I'm right here," Logan said, holding the boy tighter in his arms.
"I can't," Gage gasped.
"It's o.k. Shhh. You're doing fine," Logan said as tears began to swell in his eyes. He wiped them away quickly not wanting anyone to see, especially his son. He had to be strong. He couldn't let himself feel anything. He had to concentrate on pulling his son through this. He felt the boys body tighten and strain for each little breath. He couldn't hold back the tears and he cried out "God, don't do this to me. Please help me."
"Where the hell's that ambulance?!" Cragen shouted in desperation. What in reality was only a few minutes was an eternity for them. Every breath or gasp was an hour. Cragen knew from past experience that even if the ambulance were to arrive right now there was nothing the paramedics could do. Gage had lost too much blood. There was a giant puddle on the floor under where he lay. He guessed that the bullets had hit the boy on the chest and had blown a hole in his lungs which accounted for the extreme amount of blood loss and the boy's inability to breathe. He listened painfully to the little boy's wheezing. He knew it wouldn't be long now.
Tears streamed down Logan's face. He couldn't stop them and he didn't bother to try. His son was dying and there was nothing he could do to stop it from happening. He didn't care what anyone thought. What father wouldn't cry as he held his dying child? He watched his son struggling to breathe. He listened to him gasping for air.
Logan wasn't a praying man. He had rejected any form of organized religion, due to his negative relationship with anyone who was a 'true believer'. But now he felt the need to pray. The only problem was he didn't know whether he should pray for a miracle that his son would be cured, or whether he should pray for God to take him quick and not let him suffer anymore than he already had. He knew the possibility of a miracle happening was slim. He was left with only one choice, if he decided to make it.
Gage reached his hand up and wiped away a tear from Logan's eye. His breathing turned from short gasps to a gurgle as blood filled what was left of his lungs and trickled from the corner of his mouth. He slowly began to lower his hand then it dropped to the floor and went limp.
"Gage?" Logan whispered, looking intently at the boy's face and body for any signs of life. "Gage?" he said louder, thinking that maybe the boy just hadn't heard him. He shook the boy's head and gently patted his face, trying to stimulate a reaction, but there was none. His son was dead. "No," Logan cried, "Oh, God, No!" He pulled the boy's limp, lifeless body close to his chest and cradled him lovingly as he cried.
Logan sat alone in the dark, quiet apartment. It had been three weeks since his son was murdered and he still couldn't get the images of it out of his mind. His only consolation was that the man who had killed Gage was also murdered, shortly after his arrest. He confessed that he was hired by Judge Raymond Hayward to make sure that his secret wasn't exposed. Judge Hayward realized that Gage had recognized him in the courtroom during his testimony. The Judge couldn't let himself be exposed so he ordered the man to kill the boy. But Judge Hayward's secret identity, J.R., was revealed and he was arrested along with his cohorts. But the judge, unable to face a trial and term in prison, hung himself. One by one the persons responsible for Gage Logan's death were mysteriously eliminated. Lauren McDermot, who was out of jail on bond and because the court felt she posed no threat to society, was mugged and strangled while walking home from the market one evening. Bob Maxwell and Walter McGinty were both stabbed to death while in jail. The coincidences of these murders were too much for the New York Police Department to buy. So they began an investigation into the murders. Logan, naturally, since he was the grieving father and a detective with access to each of the perpetrators, was their first suspect. Fortunately, he had an airtight alibi for each one of the murders. So the investigators moved on. They questioned Briscoe and Cragen as well because of their close friendship and ties with Logan. They, too, were cleared as suspects. The investigators didn't have many leads and were getting no where with their case. Every lead was a dead end. They were beginning to think they would never know who, if anyone, was behind their deaths.
Logan faded back to the present. He found himself more and more fading in and out of reality trying to hold on to the few memories he had of him and his son together. Before Gage came along, he didn't ever envision himself as a father. He was happy with his life the way it was. No ties. Nothing to keep him home at night. After Gage came into his life all of that changed. It was hard at first, giving up all that freedom, but he had gotten used to it and rather enjoyed the notion that someone needed him. Logan missed his son terribly and there were times when he thought he almost heard him laughing or calling him. Sometimes if he turned quickly, he thought he could catch a glimpse of the boy sitting next to him at the table. But he knew it wasn't real. His son was gone and he was never going to see him again. He was never going to talk to him again or hear his voice. He wouldn't get to watch him grow up. All of that was taken away from him and no amount of time was going to heal him.
"I'm coming," he called and got up from his chair and walked to Gage's bedroom. He opened the door and peered in. The room was just as it had been the day Gage went to testify in court. Logan didn't have the heart to change anything. He wasn't ready. He figured that as long as he left the room the way it was part of Gage would always be there. He flashed back to reality. He knew Gage was never going to use this room again. He was never going to sleep in that bed or play with those toys, or wear those clothes. He should just give it all away. That's what he needed to do, he thought, get rid of everything that reminded him of his son. Maybe that was the only way to stop hearing him and seeing him everywhere he went. He closed the door. Tomorrow, he thought. Maybe tomorrow he'd be ready.