Tuesday a man came looking for his son, hoping he was at the Home. The boy ran away from home because his father yelled at him for being gay.
Trevor, Roger and the twins left on Wednesday to go home. More boys joined the home.
Lenny King, his team of FBI agents, Nick Archer and several of his deputies met on Highway 20 about fourteen miles outside of Cody. Lenny looked at Nick, "With your sprained ankle, you stay outside."
"Yeah, I won't be much good inside, but I do appreciate you keeping me a part of this."
"Not a problem. I appreciate your deputies helping."
The FBI and deputies walked to an abandoned building about a tenth of a mile away. They breached the door and Nick heard three gunshots. Shortly after, deputies started coming out with men in cuffs. There were ten prisoners.
Nick hobbled in as Lenny King slid open a door. "OH BOY!!!" Lenny exclaimed. "Are you boys alright?" There were thirty naked boys in the room. Nick called for some of his deputies to bring in several blankets while he looked to see if Ethan was among the boys.
"Ethan isn't here, but at least we stopped a sex ring and rescued thirty boys," Lenny offered.
"Have you searched the whole house?"
"We have, but there is a box truck out back. I don't know that they would have any boys in there at this time, but we'll check."
Aunt Sallie walked into the Home with three boys, who looked extremely sad. The oldest boy looked to be around fourteen years of age. Aunt Sallie introduced them to Joe, "This is Peter Collins and his two brothers, Michael and Gabriel."
"Heavenly names," Joe commented. "Do you prefer Pete or Peter?"
"I like Peter," the oldest boy replied. Joe smirked at the thought going through his head from the answer.
The youngest boy piped in, "I go by Gabe."
"And how about you?" Joe asked the middle boy, "do you prefer Michael or Mike?"
"Either one, Mom always called me Mikey."
Joe looked at Aunt Sallie, "So, what's their story?"
"Their dad took off shortly after Gabe was born. Their mom, Angela, passed away yesterday with cancer."
"I'm sorry for your loss," Joe offered.
"We miss our mom, but we were ready for it to happen. As Grandpa said, at least she's not suffering anymore." Peter was trying to put on a brave face, but he broke out in tears. Joe put his arm around the boy.
Sallie continued, "We did contact the father and he claimed he never wanted any children. Their grandfather says that he's getting too old, and requested we bring the boys here. He also wants to donate the horses that he has to the Home; he has a hundred."
Peter added, "And he's selling his ranch, but he's including a stipulation that when I turn eighteen, I can buy it for whatever price he sells it for."
"How much is he selling it for?" Joe was curious.
"Grandpa wants to move down to Texas, so he said he'd settle for anything, but no less than a dollar."
"How big is the ranch?"
"You'd have to ask Grandpa," Peter informed him.
Aunt Sallie added, "He would also like to come visit the boys whenever it is convenient for all parties."
"He really loves these boys, but I can understand him feeling too old to properly take care of them. Can you give me his number?" Joe dialed the number Aunt Sallie gave him, "Hello, Mr. Collins, this is Joe at the Another Chance Boys' Home. I just had the pleasure of meeting your grandsons."
"I'm glad they are there. I know they will be safe. When can I start bringing the horses over?"
"Whenever suits you and thank you for the donation. The reason I am calling is, I am interested in buying your ranch; that way, I know Peter can get it when he turns eighteen. How big is the ranch?"
"It's actually too small for the number of horses I have. It's only five hundred acres."
"And where is it located?"
"It abuts the Rescue and the part of Another Chance Ranch where the cattle area runs beside it."
"I know where it is. I am definitely interested. What do you think is a fair price?"
"Since it's you and I trust you will turn it over to Peter, you take over the property tax and I will sign it over to the Home."
"What if you just signed it over to Peter with the Home being a trustee until his eighteenth birthday?"
"Bless you, young man. I can do that. I really feel happy to know you will be watching over my boys."
"And you are welcome to come visit whenever you can. Have a good day and just let us know when you can set up the transfer of the ranch." Joe finished the phone call.
Peter smiled, "I bet Grandpa is pleased that you are making sure I get the ranch."
"Too bad I didn't have it on speaker phone, so you could hear him. Yes, he was. Let's get you registered so the Home CAN be your Trustee. Our rooms normally only hold two boys, but we can put a third bed in a room for you boys to stay together. Besides, we are almost to the point of needing three boys to a room anyway."
"Can they be bunk beds?" Gabe asked.
"Most definitely," Joe replied with a smile.
"I get the top bunk!" Gabe called out.
"That's cool, I don't mind taking the bottom," Mikey responded.
Lenny King led his team to the box truck. They didn't know what they would find inside, but they were ready for almost anything. Even though he couldn't do much, Nick wanted to be there when it was opened.
Lenny swung the doors open and there staring at them were another thirty boys. As with the boys in the house, they were all naked and crying. One boy claimed, "I overheard them saying they were taking us to a private airport. They had a buyer in Canada."
"What's your name, son?" Lenny asked.
The boy looked like the oldest boy; he had a "#23" on the right side of his abs. "My name is Kevin, but they kept referring to me as number twenty-three, like I was property."
"To them, Kevin, that was all you were, something to sell. How old are you?"
"Seventeen, almost eighteen. They kidnapped me two years ago, but until recently, kept me for themselves. They said I was getting too old and they have a new boy now. I think his name is Ethan."
"He wasn't in the house," Lenny averred.
"No, not this house. They have a really nice house at the end of Spirit Mountain Road."
"I know that road, it's where I sprained my ankle," Nick advised. "We were doing a drug bust."
Lenny chatted with Kevin, getting the address and details about the home. After he was done, deputies took Kevin and the rest of the boys to the hospital to be checked out.
Joe felt a need to tell Jim, Zac and Chris about Peter, his brothers and the ranch. Peter wanted to tag along with him. "So, what are you going to do with the ranch for the next four years?" Zac asked.
Joe looked thoughtful, "To be honest, I really hadn't thought about it, but Peter and I can discuss it. I won't do anything without Peter being a part of the decision."
"I'm just a kid," Peter chimed in. "I'll probably do whatever you think is best."
Joe smiled. Jim suggested that they rent out the house to pay the property taxes. "That is an idea, but I want to consider all the possibilities, discuss them with Peter and help him make the best choice."
"Can we talk with Grandpa and see what he suggests?"
"Yes, Peter, that would be a good idea."
Nick rode with Agent King to the house Kevin told them about. FBI vehicles surrounded the house as best as they could. King looked at Nick, "Once we clear the house of any suspects, I'll let you know. Here's a radio so you can hear everything."
"Again, I appreciate you keeping me a part of this," Nick responded.
Two agents went to the back door, Lenny King and two other agents went to the front door. Nick heard Lenny say, "Breach in three," then counted down. Room after room, Nick heard them call, “Clear.”
Two agents went upstairs in the house. Nick heard, "Upstairs is clear," to which Lenny replied, "Downstairs is clear. We are going to check out the basement. Sheriff, if you want to come in…"
Nick made his way into the house. He had a gut feeling about the basement and proceeded down the stairs. "We haven't cleared the basement, yet," Lenny King scolded.
"I know, but I had a gut feeling. There is only one person in this house and he's through THAT door."
"We'll check out the other two doors just to be sure. Do you think it's Ethan or a perp?"
Nick advised, "I believe we have all the perps, this is definitely someone around Ethan's age."
"How do you know?" King questioned.
"I don't, it's just like a sixth sense or something. My deputies call it my spidey senses."
The other two rooms were cleared and King was about to open the door Nick said was hiding the only person in the house. The door was locked, so he forced it open. Cowering in a corner was a naked young man around the age of sixteen. His hair had been shaved but Nick still recognized him from the photo. "Ethan," he spoke softly, "we are here to take you home. Your dad has been so worried and he wants to apologize to you."
Agent King asked, "Have they done anything to you?"
"So far, just shaved my hair and body. The man who lives here said that when he returned, he was going to um…" Ethan started crying.
"I'm glad that we found you before he did what he planned. We'll get you cleaned up, clothed and checked out, then take you home. Would you like to call your father?" Nick offered his phone.
With a trembling hand, Ethan took the phone and pushed in the numbers… "Dad, it's Ethan. I'm sorry that I left like I did. The Sheriff says that I will be home soon, that is, if you want me to come home."
"Of course I do," the voice on the phone stated, "You are my son and I love you. Ethan, I am sorry for making you feel a need to leave. All I want to do is hug you and tell you how much I love you."
"I love you, too, Dad." Ethan handed the phone back to Nick and thanked him.
Lenny told two agents to "sit on the house," in case anyone returned to it. Then he and Nick took Ethan to the hospital.
Joe hooked up one of the horse trailers to his SUV. Then he gathered Peter, Mikey and Gabe and went to visit Grandpa Collins. Once they arrived at the ranch, Grandpa Collins came out. "I called my lawyer and he said he can have the documents ready to transfer the ranch on Monday."
"No rush, that's not why we are here. First, I didn't really want to thank you over the phone, I was waiting to do it in person. You don't know what the horses will mean to the boys in the Home. Second, my brother asked me what I plan to do with this ranch for the next four years. I told him that Peter and I would discuss it and Peter wanted to get advice from you."
"Peter is a good boy. I would suggest renting out the house, or something like that. If it isn't used, the dust will get thick, and the money from the rent will help pay the taxes."
"That's what Joe's brother said, well, about the taxes anyway," Peter chuckled.
"I'll leave the decision up to Peter, but advise him in what I think. Either way, take your time moving out, there's no rush."
"We could just keep the house for when you come to visit," Mikey suggested.
"No Mikey, this place is too big for one person. Besides, I figure I'll get up here about three, four times a year."
"We can arrange for the boys to come visit you during summers, or Christmas," Joe offered.
"I'd like that; the house I'm getting has two bedrooms."
The boys had a good visit with their grandpa, but it was time to head back to the Home. Grandpa looked at Joe, "I noticed the trailer, were you planning to take some of the horses?"
"I was thinking that while we were here, if it helps you…"
"That's good thinking. Let's get four of the horses," Grandpa suggested.
"When you are ready to start moving the rest, let me know and I can have a few trailers to help," Joe offered.
"How about Monday at noon? We can get the documents taken care of, then transfer the horses."
Joe nodded, "That sounds good, we'll see you then. And, thank you again for the horses."
As the boys entered the hospital, they were given disposable scrubs to wear.
One boy commented that the scrubs looked like they were made from big paper towels. When Ethan arrived, he was given a blue set of scrubs, but his were not disposable because the hospital ran out.
The hospital was a bit overwhelmed with sixty-one boys coming in, but they handled it like the pros they are. It took some time, but all the boys appeared to be healthy and in good shape. Meals were brought in to them.
While the boys were getting checked out and eating, Deputies and FBI agents were getting their names, home addresses and phone numbers. One boy came from as far away as Florida. They also took statements from each boy. For those that lived out of state, arrangements were made to get them home.
The boys who lived locally enough were taken to their home. Nick offered to escort Ethan.
"Did you hear?" Joe asked.
"Hear what?" Jim inquired.
Joe smiled, "Dad called me, and they found Ethan."
Jim sighed, "That's good, and I'm guessing that your smile means he's alright."
"Well, they were on the way to the hospital when he called," Joe replied. "I was getting in my SUV after loading four horses from Collin's ranch when he called."
"And we are getting a hundred donated to the Home?"
"Correct; I told Mr. Collins that we would help transport them on Monday."
"Seems only right, I mean, he's donating them, so he shouldn't have to pay to transport them. If we use your SUV, Zac's and my truck and one of the Ranch's SUVs, we could transfer the rest in eight trips using the three four-horse trailers we have."
"Jackson and Jacob offered to help, too. The Rescue has two six-horse trailers."
"Then we can do it all in four trips."
"Since he's donating a hundred horses to the Home, and since we planned for the Home to have a hundred boys, I would like to give each boy a horse to take care of and ride."
Jim nodded, "I think that would be very helpful to the boys."
The Sheriff's vehicle pulled up to Ethan's house. Nick got out on the passenger side and opened the back door. Ethan was just barely out of the car when his dad was wrapping himself around him. "I am so glad that you are home. You are my son and I love you very much."
"Last time you saw me, you made me feel like I wasn't your son because I am gay," Ethan voiced.
"I know, and I was wrong. I know you didn't choose to be gay; your momma had to explain it to me, but I know."
"As I said on the phone, I love you, Dad, and I forgive you for yelling at me. I just had to see your face before I could fully accept that you accept me being gay."
"Ethan, I am a traditional Japanese man who was taught that being gay was wrong. But if it's not a choice, how can it be wrong? Life won't be easy for you as being gay carries its own difficulties. I shouldn't make it any harder."
"Thank you for understanding this, Dad," Ethan wrapped his arms around his dad and cried.
Nick stated before getting back into the vehicle, "Ethan, we have your statement; if we need you to testify, we'll let you know."
The weekend went by quickly and Joe started hooking one of the trailers to his SUV. Xander walked up to him, "Can I help in any way?"
"Well, Jim offered his and Zac's truck, plus one of the Ranch's SUV's. If you want to start hooking up the trailer to one…"
Xander went to the Ranch office and asked Zac for keys. "Here is for the SUV and Jim's and my truck. Are you driving one of the vehicles?"
Xander smiled at the question, "I can, but either way, I would like to go and help with the horses."
"I can either drive one of the vehicles or I can ride with you," Zac offered. "Or Jim can go. One of us needs to stay here."
"I wouldn't know what to do if I stayed," Xander moaned.
"No, I meant Jim or me. You have a willingness to help with the horses, and I am proud of you for that. I would NEVER ask you to stay behind when you want to help."
"Yeah, I'm definitely different than when I first came here," Xander grinned wryly.
"Yeah, thankfully for the better. To be honest, I was wary about you coming here, but now, I am glad that you did,"
"If you remember, I was wary about coming here. I am so glad that I did, too." Xander added, "None of you treated me like I expected. You all have treated me with respect even before I was respectful. Helping you with Little Guy was just the nudge I needed to help me over the hump."
"I know, and that was partly why I wanted your help. I could have asked anyone, but I felt it would be beneficial for you."
"I'm glad you did," Xander started to choke up.
Zac had been walking to the truck with Xander. Once they were at Jim and Zac's truck, Xander unlocked the doors and drove over to the trailers. Zac guided him as he lined up with one of the trailers. Zac started hooking up the trailer and told Xander to go get the SUV. "The key you have is for the SUV with the license plate 'ACR-2112.' Go get it while I finish putting this trailer on."
Xander went to get the SUV. Zac was done with the trailer and waiting for Xander to return. When Xander did, Zac directed him again as he backed up to another trailer.
Joe gathered up Peter, Mikey and Gabe. Peter needed to be there when his grandfather signed the ranch over to him, but Joe thought all three boys would like to see their grandfather. And he was sure Grandpa Collins would like to see the three boys, as well. When they arrived at the Collins' ranch, Joe led the boys to the front door. Grandpa Collins let them in and led them to the kitchen table where the lawyer was already waiting. "Mr. Collins told me that it was you who suggested we put the ranch in Peter's name with the Home as the trustee. That's admirable in my book."
Joe looked down, "The way I see it, it's just making sure his wishes for this ranch are carried out. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind having the property for the Home, but that's not Mr. Collins' wishes, so…"
"I wouldn't mind if we gave the property to the Boys' Home," Peter offered.
Joe shook his head, "No Peter. When you turn eighteen, if you decide that you don't want to live here with your brothers, then you will be free to sign the ranch over. For now, I want you to be able to decide that after you turn eighteen."
"I'm feeling more and more comfortable with this action every time I talk with you, young man," Grandpa Collins chuckled. "So, do you have plans with all these horses?"
"You are giving the Home a hundred horses and we were planning to have a hundred boys at the Home, so I am thinking each boy will have a horse to take care of and ride. The only problem that I see is, it looks like we will have more than a hundred boys."
"Will I get one of the horses to take care of?" Peter asked.
"Me too?" Gabe inquired.
Joe answered, "You both are living at the Home."
Grandpa Collins groaned, "I wish I could donate more, but that was all that I had."
"Believe me, this donation for the boys is greatly appreciated and one of the reasons I want to be sure Peter can have this property when he turns eighteen. We figured up that we can transfer all the horses in four trips, and I thought you would like to visit with your grandsons while we do."
"Yes, I will like that. After you have the last of the horses transferred, if you want to get all the hay and feed as well, I won't need them anymore."
"Cool, then when I come to get them, that is when I will take the boys back to the Home, so you can have a nice visit with them."
After the horses, hay and feed were transferred to the Another Chance Ranch, Joe called another assembly for the Home. "Boys, or I should say, young men, I know the last assembly was quite serious, but today, I have good news. We had a hundred horses donated to the Home, and we have almost a hundred young men residing in the Home. That means each one of you will have the privilege of taking care of a horse as if it were your own. You will feed it, groom it and ride it."
"What if we don't know how?" one boy asked.
"Then you are in luck. Some of you do know how and can help others learn. AND, we are part of a horse ranch. The hired hands have already agreed to help those who don't."
"Does every boy HAVE to be a part of this?" another boy inquired. Then he added, "Don't get me wrong, I've never been around horses and I want to learn how, but what if some of the boys don't?"
Joe acknowledged, "That is a good question. Is there anyone who doesn't want a horse to take care of?" No one raised their hand. "Good, just so you know, if anyone doesn’t want to, you won’t have to participate."
Xander asked, "I already have Little Guy, will I still get a horse?"
"You won't be able to ride Little Guy for few years, so yes, you will get another horse to take care of and ride."
"Good, Zac already told me that I would be able to ride any of the Ranch's horses, but I don't mind taking care of both horses, so I'm glad I will have one, too."
"Since the Collins boys' grandfather gave us the horses, I would like for them to choose their horses first, then we will go in order of when you became a part of this family. It's not like whoever goes last will have a bad horse, all of them are great, so I hope everyone believes this is fair. As you look over each horse, look for one that reacts favorably to you, however, if a horse you pick reacts more favorably to another boy, I have no problem if you trade. The horses will be picking you as much as you are picking them."
"That sounds fair to me," Will claimed. Will was the last boy to join the Home, so his endorsement meant a lot to Joe.
Nick called to let Joe know they found the families of all the boys that were rescued. Tears of joy were released from everyone.
I hope you enjoy the story and that it draws you in, wanting more. If you have any suggestions or concerns, don’t hesitate to email me. Thoughts and suggestions are always welcomed and may or may not be implemented. Concerns will be considered and addressed as much as possible.
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