Copyright© 2013 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
“What’s happened to Danny?” I asked feeling quite ill.
“It might be better if you sit down, and you, sir.” We both sat down on the chairs he pulled out from under the kitchen table.
“Please, what about Danny?”
“According to the report we received from the French police, who are still investigating the incident, he and another boy went into a public toilet and they were both assaulted by two men.”
“What d’you mean by assaulted?” asked Simon echoing what I was thinking, my tummy felt queasy.
“I’m afraid they were sexually assaulted.”
At this point I made a dash for the kitchen sink and hurled up my dinner before collapsing into Simon’s arms. “You okay?” he asked.
It took me a moment, but after rinsing my mouth with a glass of water I was able to tell him I was. I was led back to the chair and trembling sat down. Simon by comparison, after looking shocked was now looking very angry.
“What sort of assault?”
“The details are a bit sketchy but it appears they might both have been penetrated and then beaten up.”
By now my eyes were blurred with tears. “How badly beaten?” I half said and half sobbed.
“Again the report is sketchy but we don’t think any bones were broken or any serious injury occurred. After that happened the boys were both thrown into a cubicle and the door was jammed shut. The men got clean away apparently and it was only when one of the teachers wondered why they were taking so long to come back to the coach that they were discovered.”
Even with my tearful eyes I could see Simon getting extremely angry. “The French police are a bit of a farce aren’t they, especially when it comes to attacks on non-nationals.”
“I don’t know, sir, I’m not involved in the investigation.”
“Can you please arrange for all available information to be sent to us first thing tomorrow?”
“I’ll speak to the officer in charge, sir.”
“Thank you—I shall be hiring my own investigators to assist the French police.”
“I’m not sure if they’ll appreciate that, sir.”
“Quite frankly, I don’t care what they think—I will have these two men tracked down and brought to justice.”
“Which hospital are the boys in?”
“One in Caen, ma’am.”
“Thank you for telling us.”
Within an hour, Simon had instructed James to get together a team to find and deal with these two men.
“I thought you said you were going to bring them to justice?” I challenged him.
“I am, Cameron justice.”
“But how can you be certain they’ll be the right two men?”
“I’ll make sure and I’ll also make sure they receive extreme prejudice.”
“Isn’t that what the US army say when they’re going to terminate someone.”
“Oh that’s where it comes from, is it?”
“Simon, you can’t do that.”
“You can’t, I won’t let you.”
“Cathy, you go and collect the victims and leave me to organise the retribution. If you can’t stand the sight of blood, close your eyes, because those two will shed quite a bit.”
“You’re going to have them executed—that’s murder.”
“No—it’s removing some disease.”
I was absolutely shocked and very tired. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do other than hold Danny and try to help him deal with this assault. Part of me wanted to meet these two men and ask them why they’d done this, and part of me wanted them dead as well. That was the part I was trying to deal with, to kill them makes us as bad as them, another part reasoned if they were dead they wouldn’t do it again.
“Get dressed, I’ve booked you on a flight to Caen in an hour and half’s time. Pack a bag and take something for Danny to wear. The plane will bring you both back and the other boy and his parents tomorrow. I’ve booked you in for two nights at the Hotel Cosmopolitan. Well go on, get ready.”
Two hours later I was being processed by French immigration cum customs officers, then a woman who introduced herself as Minette, took me to a car and then on to the hospital. She explained that James had asked her to help me. I was very glad because my schoolgirl French was hopeless to pathetic, plus tiredness and anxiety did little to help my brain function.
Amazingly, I was allowed to see Danny who was in a private room—well our travel insurance was paying for this. “Hello, darling, it’s Mummy, I’ve come to help you.”
He was heavily sedated and his eyes remained closed although once I took hold of his hand, his troubled expression relaxed and he slept. As he slept I called upon the blue light to help him recover both physically and mentally from this attack, and for the other boy to do the same.
I seemed to go off in a trance and found myself witnessing the assault. I felt sick, but I wanted a good look at the men who did it and I committed their faces to memory. Then I think I must have fallen asleep because I awoke with Minette telling me to come with her to the hotel. I instinctively knew the healing was taking place with both boys so I went off to rest.
I didn’t bother to undress, just lay on top of the bed after removing my shoes and in a short time I seemed to fall into a deep sleep. However, I kept seeing the assault and then I found myself walking down an alleyway and being left outside this large wooden door. I woke, the memory of the alleyway and door being fresh in my mind. I didn’t know what it meant—possibly nothing, or maybe even some sort of unconscious symbolism.
About ten o’clock I had a call from Si to say his team were in France and liaising with the local police. He also told me that the senior teacher was on his way to see me—the rest of the tour was naturally being cancelled.
Through room service I ordered a breakfast of croissants and coffee, and ten minutes later it arrived. I was half way through it when the teacher knocked on my door.
I let him in and he introduced himself as Paul Baird. “I’m so sorry this has happened, Mrs Cameron. The kids were given an hour to have their packed lunches and do a toilet stop. Your son and the other boy went off to get a drink and went to a different toilet to the other boys, so it was a while before we found them. The police were already at the scene, as a local man heard the groans from the cubicle and when he looked over the top of the partition saw the two boys. I identified them to the police and then they were rushed off to hospital.”
I sat and finished my breakfast while I listened to him, I didn’t care what he thought of that but I had a lot to do and it might be some time before I ate again. After he left, they had a return ferry booked at lunch time, Minette appeared and told me that the other parents were at the hospital. Quarter of an hour later we were shaking hands.
The other boy was Peter Grimshaw, the boy whose sister Danny was sweet on, and whom I’d met a couple of weeks previously. Together we spoke with the doctor looking after them and he recommended they stay in hospital for another day at least, as they had other tests to run—I suspected they were doing things like HIV checks. The doctor was surprised that the bruising and other soft tissue damage was healing quicker than he expected it to. I said nothing. The boys were doing okay, but still seemed to be sleepy, so after giving them a boost, I left with Minette promising Danny to call back after lunch.
“Is there an old quarter here, somewhere with narrow alleyways?”
“But of course, it’s France and they abound everywhere.”
“Can you take me to see some?”
“Of course, Lady Cameron, but to what purpose?”
“Let’s just say, I’ll know when I see it.”
She shrugged but she drove me to a few places with houses and courtyards which were accessed by very narrow alleys. It was getting very muggy and I admit I felt as if I was chasing wild geese and I asked the light to guide me. Then half way down one of the endless alleys I suddenly knew where to go and there in front of me was the door I’d seen in my dream.
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