Clayton and Gabe end up at the gang hangout and encounter Ramon, the leader. He admits that Claire is there and says that he simply took some pictures of her. Gabe tells him if she was violated, he will get even. Ramon doesn’t like the threat, but he does believe him.
Ramon snapped his fingers. “Bring the gringa,” he commanded. He pointed to one of the women. “Get her clothing.”
She nodded, scurrying after the men. Ten minutes later, a disheveled Claire stumbled into the room, shoved by the doorman and guard. Clayton ran up to her, taking her in his arms. Claire clung to him sobbing.
“Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”
“I don’t know! I just woke up.”
Gabe pointed at Ramon. “I promise, cabrón.” To Clayton, he murmured, “Let’s get the fuck out.”
Clayton picked up Claire and carried her, doing his best to keep up with Gabe. They got to the street safely, but couldn’t move very fast with their burden. Fortunately, Luis and his partner had the same thought about Claire’s whereabouts. The were just pulling up in Luis’ truck. They helped Clayton put her in the back, padded with an old mattress and some feedbags.
“Your dad is at the pool hall,” Luis said. “We were regrouping there to decide where to go next when I thought of here.”
“Thanks, man. Ramon’s not in a forgiving mood at the moment. But neither am I.”
“We’ll go by the pool hall on the way to the clinic,” Luis said.
“No, I’ll call from the clinic.”
Luis pressed the gas and the truck bounced down the dirt road. A large, old fashioned building loomed ahead. To Clayton, it looked like one of the old Spanish mission buildings. It was whitewashed. Even in the dark, it seemed to glitter and glow. Luis stopped at the front door. He banged on the heavy wooden doors while the others lifted Claire out of the back. He came to help as the door was answered by a priest. He looked to be in his sixties. His silver hair came to his shoulders. His beard was black, but shot with silver. It was thick and full, curly, like his hair. He was dressed in a long, black cassock and collar.
“Bring her in,” he said, not asking any questions. “I’ll get the doctor.” He ran to the house next door, tapping on the door.
A woman answered. She was probably about the same age as he, her gray hair long and thick, pulled back in a braid. She wore a nightdress and robe, but ducked back into the house and came out in jeans and a T-shirt.
Gabriel explained where they had found her and what Ramon had implied.
“You think she was raped?” the doctor asked.
“I dunno. He’s just as likely to say he did it, and not, as he is to actually do it.”
“Bring her in here and then out,” the doctor said.
They did as she told them. The priest let Gabriel use the phone to call his father. He arrived soon after, with Polly and Caroline. The women made such a fuss, the doctor allowed them in the examination room.
“Good news,” the doctor said as the door closed. “She wasn’t violated.”
Hearing that, Clayton spun in a tight circle, wanting to jump and shout. He didn’t like Claire much, he never had. She’d always been foul to him. But he wouldn’t wish that humiliation on anyone. A little bit of his dislike melted when he heard that.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes