"FIND HIM!" Luis almost screamed his order then slammed the phone down into its cradle. Two days had passed since Zander had disappeared. Luis had his best men on the hunt for the boy. All clues led to Jason Morgan, but the guy had covered his tracks well. But not well enough. Luis had discovered Morgan's *inside man*. Who was now dead and about to be delivered to Morgan as a warning. But none of that mattered to Luis at this time. All he cared about...all he was focused on...was getting Zander back.
* * * * *
Brenda heard Alcazar's shouts. She had watched him ranting and raving for the past two days. She was worried that he might discover her part in helping Zander escape, yet a part of her felt a calm acceptance. No matter what happened now. No matter if Luis did learn of her betrayal. Zander was safe and that was all that mattered to Brenda. Her brother was safe.
* * * * *
"Zander?" Elizabeth had entered his room and closed the door behind her. Now she approached the bed, her eyes on his pale face. She didn't miss the fact that he was in restraints. Something had happened in the past few hours. "Zander?" she repeated, reaching out to touch his face.
"He's been sedated."
Elizabeth jumped and turned to find Dr. Morales in the doorway. "What happened?"
Selena gestured for Elizabeth to step out of the room. "From what Jason Morgan told me, you know that Zander has been abused."
"I know that he was raped a while ago," Elizabeth replied.
"Oh." Selena was thoughtful for a moment. "Mr. Morgan didn't tell you what happened to Zander recently?"
Elizabeth shook her head. "No. I haven't spoken to Jason. Just to the guy he sent to get me. I can guess from your reaction that Zander was raped again."
Selena sighed. "Normally I wouldn't be telling you any of this, but Mr. Morgan seems to think that you can help me help Zander."
"I hope so."
"You care about him?"
Elizabeth nodded. "Yeah. Alot. Zander and I have been through some rough times together. He's always been there for me, even when things were kind of messed up. I want to be there for him now."
Selena led Elizabeth to her office and gestured for her to sit down on the couch. She joined her. "Okay. If you're going to help me then you need to know everything I know. And it's ugly. But Zander is going to need all the help he can get if he's going to heal."
"Go on. Tell me." Elizabeth braced herself for what she was about to hear.
"Zander was brutally raped, multiple times. From what Mr. Morgan told me, he was basically gang raped and otherwise used and abused in what was essentially an orgy, only Zander was the main event."
Elizabeth felt bile rise up in her throat. "Oh god..." She rose to her feet and went to the window. She didn't want to hear anymore, yet she needed to know everything. "Is he...is he going to be all right?"
Selena joined her at the window. "The physical damage will heal. The mental and emotional damage might be irreversible."
"Don't say that!" Elizabeth was horrified at the thought. Zander had to be okay. "Zander is tough. He's a survivor. You have no idea the stuff he's lived through."
"He'll have to be tough, Elizabeth." Selena put an arm around the young woman. "And so will you. Helping Zander won't be easy for either of us."
Elizabeth pulled away from Dr. Morales and wiped tears from her eyes. "Have you talked to Zander?"
Selena shook her head. "Not yet. He woke up from what I believe to be some nightmare and he freaked out. That's why he's in restraints and sedated."
"Okay...then you don't really know how he's going to react...right? I mean...you're just guessing." Elizabeth knew she was grasping at straws, but she wanted to cling to the hope that Zander would be okay. That he would find a way to deal with this. Dealing with her own rape had been horrific for Elizabeth and a part of her felt as if she would be reliving that moment in time all over again. She wasn't sure she was strong enough to do that.
"If you don't think you can help Zander, I need to know that...now."
Elizabeth buried her face in her hands. She took a moment to compose herself, then she lifted her face and locked eyes with Dr. Morales. "I'll do whatever it takes to help Zander."
Selena smiled and nodded. "Good. Why don't you start by getting some sleep. You'll need it."
"Goodnight then," Elizabeth said softly, before fleeing the office for her room. Once there, she cried herself to sleep.
* * * * *
Zander felt a soft touch against his face and he whimpered. Then he heard a soft voice, a familiar voice, and it shook him. "No...no..." he whispered, and his eyes snapped open. He saw a face hover over him. A blurred image. Zander blinked to bring it into focus. Elizabeth. "No...no!" He tried to reach out to push her away from him, he had to get her to leave before Alcazar saw them together. But Zander's arms wouldn't move. He looked down and saw straps around his wrists. "NO!"
Elizabeth turned pale. "Zander...it's okay. It's okay. It's me, Elizabeth. I'm here, Zander...and you're safe. You're safe now."
"NO! NO!" Zander yanked at the restraints. "You have to go! Please...please...go!" Desperation made his voice hoarse.
Zander wasn't listening. He saw another woman come running in. She looked familiar to him. She placed a hand on his arm and tried to calm him. Zander shook his head. "Make her go away!" He screamed. "He'll kill her!"
Selena shooed Elizabeth from the room then focused on Zander. "She's gone now. Take it easy. I sent her away."
"She can't come back...she can't. He'll kill her." Zander could feel himself shaking as the image of Alcazar formed in his mind. Alcazar in a pure rage, grabbing Elizabeth and shaking her like a rag doll. A broken rag doll. "Don't let him hurt her...please!" A tear slid down Zander's face.
"I won't let anyone hurt Elizabeth," Selena stated. She smoothed Zander's hair off his face. "I promise. But you need to calm down."
Zander drew in a shuddery breath and tried to do as she asked. He opened his eyes again and gazed about the room. "Where am I?"
Selena checked Zander's wrist before responding. She was afraid he might have torn the stitches from tugging against the restraints. But the injury looked intact. "You're in a safe place, Zander. Jason Morgan brought you here."
"Jason?" Zander frowned. "Why would he do that? Mr. Alcazar is going to be furious that Iím gone." Zander struggled with the restraints again. "I have to go back."
"Do you want to go back?" Selena gripped Zander's forearms to stop him.
Zander went still. "I have to go back."
Selena frowned. "Why? Alcazar hurt you, Zander. Why do you want to go back?"
"He wouldn't hurt me." Zander glared at the woman. "Who are you?"
"Selena Morales. I'm a psychiatrist."
Zander looked at the restraints. "Why did you do this to me?"
Selena rubbed a hand over her face and sighed. "Zander...what is the last thing you remember? Can you tell me?"
"I remember Mr. Alcazar saving my life." Zander felt weary and he let his head fall back against the pillows. "Jason Morgan was going to shoot me on the docks. Mr. Alcazar stopped him and he gave me a job." The details were fuzzy though and Zander shook his head. "I don't remember everything...it's kinda fuzzy. But I know Mr. Alcazar wouldn't hurt me. He helped me."
"Do you remember trying to kill yourself, Zander?"
Zander wished his hands were free so he could cover his ears. He didn't want to hear anymore of her lies. "I wouldn't do that."
Selena touched her fingertips to his bandaged wrist. "But you did."
"Why are you doing this?" Zander shouted at her.
He blinked back tears. He was scared and confused and angry. "Why are you lying to me? What do you want from me?"
Selena wiped away the tear that slid down Zander's face. "I want to help you. That's all. I just want to help you."
"Then let me go!" Zander pulled away from her touch and tugged at the restraints. "I have to go back."
"To protect Elizabeth?"
Zander opened his mouth to retort but snapped it shut. Suddenly nothing made sense anymore. He was afraid for Elizabeth, and he knew that Alcazar didn't want him to be with her, but Zander wasn't sure why anymore. He wasn't sure about anything but that he needed to go back home. "You can't keep me here!" He snapped.
Selena stood up and smiled sadly. "You need help, Zander."
"I need to go home!" He heard the desperation in his voice. "Please!"
"I'm sorry." Selena reached in her pocket and pulled out a syringe.
Zander tried to pull away as she reached for his arm. "No! NO!" His struggles were in vain. He felt a pinprick in his shoulder then darkness folded over him.
© Shelly 2004