Just An Old-Fashioned Long Song Part 7

Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song

by Peg Keeley


Part 7

Danny had returned to his apartment after leaving Chancy in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning. He had wanted to sleep, his body begged for rest, but it would not come.

What is wrong with me? How can I be scared out of my socks by a simple tattoo and some childish nightmares? I need to get a grip; I need to answer this riddle. I need to do a better job. Childish nightmares?

…Danny, you are too old for this…you should be ashamed of yourself…
…Yes ma'am…

What is that? What was that? What disappointed Aunt Clara so?

…You should be ashamed of yourself…

I should be ashamed of letting Kono get shot! I was careless, stupid…this is going nowhere. He paced the apartment, tormented by voices, fleeting images that he could now even see while awake. Blood covered grinning skulls grabbed at him.

I need to rest. I need to pull my thoughts together. Am I going crazy? I need a drink. He poured bourbon in a glass and drank it down in one swallow, but it offered no relief. His hands shook as he lit a smoke, furious with himself that he was smoking. I promised to stop and I am too weak to do that either!

…You should be ashamed of yourself.
…Yes, ma'am.

What happened? How old was I? What had I done? What had I done? The railing - I was gripping the railing of the steps up to the cottage. I was so frightened. Why?

He scooped up the car keys and left, headed for the cottage in Wailupe. The top was down on the car and the cool salty breeze was invigorating as he sped down the desolate highway south out of Honolulu. The streets were empty as the early dawn was just beginning to paint the sky to the east. He felt alone in the world.

He turned down the crushed shell road that led to the cottage. As a child I love this place. As an adult I have no attachments to it. I wish Clara would sell it, but she keeps it locked up waiting for who knows what. She doesn't live here anymore, doesn't rent it. She just pays someone to keep it in shape. Why does she do that? He got out of the car and crossed to the steps that led to the porch.

The white iron railing is gone now. It was replaced by this wooden one. When? When was that? I painted the wooden one -- no I helped construct it. Why did we replace the railing? His mind hurt from his probing. "Why?" he whispered audibly. He touched the railing, remembering vividly the feel of the iron one as he experienced Aunt Clara's consternation.

…You should be ashamed of yourself.

His small child fingernails bit into the white paint of the railing; he could feel the hard brown iron beneath. The paint was under his nails. I had to get the paint out. I stood in the bath and got the paint out.

He unlocked the door and walked slowly into the small house. The ghostly white sheet covered chairs and couch seemed to come at him; he blinked attempting to orient himself. Early sunlight was peeking through the branches of the trees and casting a pattern across the wood floor. He walked into the bath, fear rising in his throat as he approached.

Fear? Why am I afraid? There was paint under my nails. I had to get the paint out. No, not just paint - blood. There was blood under my nails. My blood? I had to take a shower. I took off my clothes…

Without warning, Danny was overwhelmingly sick at his stomach. Falling to the floor before the commode, he vomited repeatedly, clinging to the bowl as though to life itself. Bathed in sweat and shivering, he gasped for breath, struggling with the horror of reality and recollection of violation. My god, this isn't happening, this isn't real…

…You should be ashamed of yourself.
…Yes, ma'am.

The railing, fingernails of embedded blood, soiled clothing -- the shower hurt, too. Oh my God. He wept uncontrollably, trying to make sense of the fragments of memories long dead -- long buried.

Hours later, he managed to get himself out of the bath, exhausted emotionally and physically. He made it as far as the living room where he sprawled across the floor on his back and lay permitting his memory to run over the pain, the horror, time and again until it became part of him. Aunt Clara never knew. I could not tell her. I knew I had to be ashamed and not make her angry at me. It was my fault. But it wasn't my fault…it wasn't my fault…what happened? Who did this? I can't remember. I don't remember. Why now? Something in Kono's case made this come back. What is it? Why is this happening now? Why did it happen then? What exactly happened? Maybe it didn't happen.

The daylight was fading when he finally left the cottage. The burning desire to understand had gradually eaten away at the horror and fear. I have to have the answer. I have to know. What else is there to remember? Chancy told me that we have most of our answers within us. What is this answer?

He stood by the steps recalling the feel of shame, of failure -- Aunt Clara was disappointed in me -- she did not know -- she did not understand. But turning off the voice was impossible.

…You should be ashamed of yourself.

What else is there to remember? Something. Something. I wore black canvas high-top sneakers. Were they black? No, they were white, but were dirty, covered in black dirt. Black dirt. Where is there black dirt? Lew and I used to throw black mud clogs at each other. It was black dirt. Lew -- does he know about this? The black dirt and hills near Puu Konahuanui. We used to play there. We'd ride bikes up there and play all day till dark, carrying sandwiches for lunch. Black dirt. Lew.

Danny got into the Mustang and pulled away from the cottage. The burning fear did not lessen, although he had hoped it would. He could almost see the laughing, red-eyed skull even with his eyes open. It is coming for me. How can that be? It is a tattoo, a drawing. Be sensible.

Two miles back down the highway was a gas station with a pay phone. He dropped in his dime and heard it cling in a friendly way. What will I tell Lew? What will I ask him? Numbly he dialed the Morgans' number.

"Hello." It was Lew's voice.

"Lew, this is Danny."

"Hey, bro! You coming for the game tonight? Drysdale is pitching. You see Osteen last night! Wow what a job for the young guy." Lew's comments finally ran down. When Danny did not chime in with his jubilation Lew asked. "Danny? You there?"

"Yeah, Lew. You remember when we were kids we used to have those mud clog fights out towards Puu Konahuanui?"

Lew, mildly surprised at the serious tone and Danny's avoidance of discussing baseball said more cautiously, "Sure, Danny. Why?"

"Did -- did anything ever -- you know -- happen out there?"

"Happen? What do you mean?"

Danny gripped the receiver, knuckles white. "Hum, you remember anything -- wrong?"


He now wavered. Lew doesn't know anything. "What do you remember?"

Lew gave a small chuckle, trying to comprehend his friend. "What's to remember? We went out there and were kids. It was great times. I guess the only reason we stopped going was you made All-star City league in baseball and never had time to go anymore. Danny, what's going on?"

"I just -- I'm not sure."

"You okay?" Lew's voice was filled with concern.

"Fine, Lew. It's okay. Bye."

"You comin-" but the line buzzed in Lew's ear. He slowly hung up.

Danny returned to the car. It was getting dark. What do I do? When was that All-star season? Fifth grade? Sixth grade? What year was it? It was after Aunt Clara and I almost returned to New York. When did Andy and I build the new railing? I was almost eleven. When was the All-star season? The summer before I turned ten. 1947.

1947. The revelation caught his breath away. He sat in the car by the phone booth seeing nothing, staring through the windshield into the past as shadows darkened around him. I need to go to Puu Konahuanui. A shiver ran through him. Do I want to go there at night? I need to wait for daylight. He got back out of the car and walked into the small store attached to the gas station, bought a six-pack of Miller and a bag of pretzels.

Returning to the car, he drove back towards the cottage. By the time he turned onto the narrow dirt road that let eastward towards the inner part of the island, his headlights were illumining the way. Within another mile, the narrow dirt road became nothing more than an overgrown path and the car could go no farther. He put it into park and sat, headlights shining up the pathway, uncertain of action. He opened a beer and drank the whole contents in seconds. As the brew hit his empty stomach, he issued a loud belch that seemed to echo around him before silence closed back in again. The picture of the marine group and the tattoo were on the seat beside him. He picked them up and examined them by the light of the car lights. Why aren't any of these familiar? Why can't I remember? The tattoo - it was all too familiar now as the haunting skull that stalked him.

He drank the second beer and a few handfuls of pretzels. His stomach was uneasy, but he decided to walk up the path a short ways. He made it less than fifteen feet before fear consumed him. It is just the dark; there is nothing out here. The breeze ruffled leaves, but otherwise all was quiet.

He returned to the car and paced in thought. I must remember. Remember. White shoes that turned black. Fingernails filled with blood. The pain. There was a rock - a large rock with sharp edges that dug into his chest. Can I find the rock? How can I find one rock in the entire preserve? There are multiple trails and two three thousand foot peaks. Where did we play? His hands shook as he grabbed the flashlight from the glove box. Wait till morning. Sleep here in the car. I need to rest.

He sat back down in the car, realizing that the alcohol was calming him, relaxing him. He drank the third beer. Maybe it will help me sleep for just a little while.

…He climbed through the undergrowth in search of the frog that had escaped him. It was an unusually brightly colored frog. The sun was hot even though it was getting towards dinnertime. Must get home soon. Time for dinner.

There was a suddenly thrashing in the brush -- something big was coming this way! Moments later a young woman broke out of the brush. There was dirt on her clothing, her hair was wild. She saw him and her almond eyes widened with alarm. "Run! We must run!" she called in alarm, pausing the grab his hand.

He pulled back. "What?"

She dragged him a long with her. "Run! He coming!"

"Who!" he panted in sudden alarm.

"Run!" She repeated. It seemed she did not know how to express the danger any other way. She suddenly screamed, falling to the ground kicking.

Someone or something grabbed him in a vicious squeeze, lifting him off the ground. He screamed, too.

She screamed again…

…The skull laughed, yawning widely open and exclaimed: "I will come again. You will never be free. I will be watching you. Watching you. Watching your family. This will be you. Blood oozed out of the cranium of the skull, running over the glowing eyes and into the cavernous mouth. "I will come for you."…

…He screamed in terror, awakening himself out of the dazed sleep. Where am I? Why am I here? The girl. There was a girl. What was she? Was she real? Where did she come from? What happened? His clothing was drenched in perspiration, but not because of the temperature. If I don't come to the conclusion of this I will go mad.

It was still dark, but his watch told him it was past four-thirty. Daylight would be arriving soon. Taking the flashlight, he got out of the car and again ventured onto the path before the headlights that still illumined the way. He looked back once, then, turning on the light, began to follow the trail. Darkness and eighteen years had altered the grounds he and Lew had spent carefree childhood exploring. Dread and fear grew with each step and he was rapidly becoming convinced the tragic day had been the last time he was to this place. And the horrid memory that had forced itself upon him was not all the story.

As dawn broke, he occasionally thought he recognized a place or a tree only to have the memory slip away from him. As the sun rose, he was thirsty and hungry. But he gave no thought of returning to the car. He stopped before a grove of trees that grew near the creek.
The frog was here. I chased him that way. He stepped through the stream, trying to reconstruct the thread of memory.

Steve left the office and drove towards Wailupe, Chin's words still burning in his mind. Is Chin right? Danny isn't a wimp; he's a tough cop - one of the toughest. He is levelheaded, gets the job done, does what it takes. I don't understand what has come over him. And this attraction for Kono's girl is a disaster going some place to happen. It's none of my concern, but it could interfere with the flow of the office. We are a team and anything that upsets that rhythm must be dealt with. So do I tell him to drop the girl? I doubt that will work. Do I tell him to lay it out to Kono? Is this all about a girl? His heart told him it was not.

He pulled in to the small road that led down to the cottage and parked a short distance back from the cottage. If he has been here, he is not now. He exited the black Ford, examining the ground. The telltale tire marks were there. A car had been in the drive recently. He walked to the door and peered inside. It was locked, but the dust had been stirred about on the floor. Danny was here and not too long ago.

He called Chin on the radio.

"Nothing, Steve. I'm on my way to see Kono. May called. The report from Washington is on your desk as classified."

Steve was surprised that he'd allowed himself to be deterred from the important business of Thornton. "I'm on my way back, Chin."

"Do you want the missing person report filed?" Chin asked.

McGarrett hesitated. Do I? "Let's give it the full 48 hours. Tomorrow morning." I hope I don't regret this. But he could suddenly turn up sitting in my office. There will be no "crying wolf" in this department.

"Okay, Steve," Chin replied, but Steve was pretty sure okay was not the way Chin felt.

Steve blew past May, headed for the file on his desk, barely acknowledging her questions about Danny. It did not bother her -- much -- she was used to McGarrett's official air of business, especially when trouble was brewing. She picked up the short stack of files she had collected from Danny's office for Steve. On top were the collection of identification drawings he had attempted and literally scores of the skull drawings. It did not take an expert to feel the intensity that had gone into the artwork. It frightened her just a little. She followed Steve into the office and placed the collection on his desk.

"Thank you, May." He paused, letter-opener in his right hand, the large classified folder in the other.

"Can I do anything else?" she asked.

"Pray," he replied.

The instruction seemed very out of character for her boss, but without question, May turned back to her office. A devote Catholic, her praying had already commenced.

Steve opened the file and pulled out a copy of the photo with a single sheet attached. The names of the men in the photo and a brief statement about each was included. There were seven men. Thornton was listed as retired, living in Honolulu. That was accurate at least. Two of the men were deceased. One of them had a last address in Hawaii. His name was Archibald Fellows and had died in 1964. Steve jotted down the name and death date to check against coroner's reports. The other dead man had expired in Japan in 1947. Of the four remaining men, three had addresses on the mainland. The fourth, the man Kono had fingered, was listed as Alan Dexton, whereabouts unknown. Unknown? How does a man disappear from the registers of the FBI? An invisible man needs help of some kind. He needs a front somewhere. Who is providing that?

Steve called Bergman's office and in minutes had confirmation. Archibald "Beebee" Fellows was the man killed whose tattoo Gus had in his photo collection. Cause of death -- penetration of sharp object through the right eye orbit into the brain resulting in massive hemorrhage and brain death on February 4, 1964. Obviously not natural or self-inflicted. Steve looked at Dexton's image again. How many people have you killed for to protect what?

Chin was relieved that Kono's appearance was improved even from last evening. "You're looking good," he commented.

"Feeling better all the time," Kono remarked. "Ready to get out of here." He adjusted himself in the bed and winced as his wounds reminded him to limit his actions. "Well, maybe almost. Letting me in real food - sort of."

Chin gave a wry look at the lunch tray. Moving up from jell-o to oatmeal did hot seem like much of an improvement. "I told Steve I'd check in and see what you could remember today."

Kono's countenance seemed to slip a little. "Nothing new. Sure wish I could. I remember the Corvette, that damned Beretta."

"Steve is getting back the info on the photo today. He's looking at it now," Chin offered. "Has, um, Danny been by?" He attempted to sound casual. Chin was a master of hiding his feelings, but not before Kono.

"No. Not since Saturday." Kono frowned. "What's wrong, Chin?"

"It's all right, Kono," Chin assured him.

"You're not giving me this straight, bruddah," Kono accused. "Where's Danno?"

Chin wanted to make it sound casual, but failed. I have known Danny too long for this not to matter to me. "We don't know, Kono. I'm sure he'll turn up with a good explanation. He's been pretty eaten up by this shooting thing. He's following a lead but hasn't checked in."

Kono was openly alarmed. "Come on, Chin. Tell me this. When?"

"Last time he was seen was by Chancy. He dropped her off at her place around 2:30AM on Sunday."

"Chancy? He was with her?"

Chin nodded.

"I don't understand. Was he just helping her see the town…" Kono's voice trailed off. He knew his friend well enough to know that 2:30AM with a girl was not visiting the library.

Chin regretted having told Kono as much as he had. "I don't know. She said he was very anxious, nervous. She was helping him try to remember what happened in the shooting somehow."

"Oh, she was just helping…" He wasn't totally sure how that would have been, but was willing to accept that Chancy was sincere. "I need to get out of here. I need to help find Danny."

"The best way you can help is if you remember him saying or doing anything that last time he was here."

"He showed me the photo. I wanted him to order fruit for Chancy for me. He was pretty upset that he couldn't recall the shooter. He finally told me he had never seen the guy. That he'd screwed up. I kept tellin' him that this kind of thing happens, but he didn't seem to hear it. He was pretty determined he was going to do something to make this up."

"How determined you think?"

Kono sighed. "He'd probably get outside the lines on it. I told him to take care of himself."

Chin tried to sound encouraging. "Don't worry, man. We'll find him. You will let me know if he shows up here?"

"You know it man. An' I'll sit on him till you get here." But Kono was desperately wishing he could do more than lie and wait.

Shortly before sunset, the sky darkened and a tropical shower rained down upon the slopes and countryside of Puu Konahuanui, swelling the creeks with rushing fresh water that fed the lush greenery. Danny paused to stand in the downpour, allowing the clean water to saturate his clothing, wash his face and refresh him. He knew he had wandered back and forth over the same area repeatedly without success in locating anything that would provide a clue or an answer. His mind echoed with the screams and pleas of the woman he had met. Who was she? Even his childhood recollection recognized that the Asian girl was young, probably in her late teens, her English limited by either education or fear or both. He wanted to remember more about her, but could not. I don't remember getting back home that day. I don't remember anything beyond the grinding surface of the large black, sharp, imposing rock until I was standing before Aunt Clara, dark and imposing in her own way.

…Danny, you are too old for this. You should be ashamed of yourself…

As the rain lessened, he began to walk again, water squishing in his shoes. There was mud in my shoes. They were black from mud, not dirt. My shoes were wet. I must have been close to a stream -- or fallen into a stream. Why were they wet? Was it more blood? Would Aunt Clara have noticed shoes filled with blood?

He was tired. Shadows were deepening. How long has it been? What day is this? Sunday? Monday? Have I been missed? Does it matter? I have to solve this. I have to. Fatigue was driving him on blindly. Somehow I know I must stay to the stream.

He stopped abruptly, looking ahead. Time seemed to stop. This isn't it, it cannot be it, it doesn't look the same.

The jagged lava rock sat before him, still glistening with rainwater, looking very black by the later afternoon light. This is it. He very slowly approached the boulder that stood about three and a half feet high, put his hands very gingerly on the surface, felt the still sharp edges. This is it. It was bigger then. I was smaller then - much much smaller. His breath caught in his throat. If there had been any hope that the horrors that were engulfing him were some macabre imaginings, that was now gone. He crouched by the rock, staring, trying to breathe, trying to piece this together one more time. It was no dream, no nightmare, no fantasy. This really happened. Dear God, why? Why would anyone…

The fiendish vision of the skull was hissing before him. "I will watch you. I will always watch you."

He was tempted to run. Run where? Did I run as a child? Screams of the girl were rising inside of his mind to a maddening level. Where is she? Where was she?

She had a pink ribbon. Like a lighthouse in the fog the thought struck him in the midst of confusion. She had a pink ribbon in her hair. I remember touching it. When would I have touched her hair? When would I have touched the ribbon?

Nearly zombie-like, he allowed his mind to direct him across the shallow stream up in the direction of the mountain. He crossed a small open area about fifty yards wide and stopped under a collection of small trees. These trees have grown up since then.

The sun was little more than final rays illuming the last of the rain clouds as Danny sank down near the trees unable to continue, unable to go back.

There would be no rest in Five-0 tonight. In just a few hours Steve would be filing an official missing persons report and with it would come all the media attention a missing member of a group was prestigious, as Five-0 would bring. He wished he had any clue about what was going on. None of Danny's notes had been helpful. The many sketches of the tattoo were almost maniacal in nature. Chin's remark from earlier that Steve sounded like Marten Camp was irritating. Did I ignore something? Was I pushing too hard? He recalled the look of overwhelming incapacity on Danny's face in the rest room of the hospital that had transformed into indignation upon seeing Steve. He doesn't trust me. I never asked to be his scout master, I just wanted to good job and the knowledge that to whole team has unfailing faith in one another. Do I have faith in him? He gazed at the collection of material in front of him. I have to. Yes, I have to. And it doesn't matter if he has faith in me or not. I need to find him and bring him back.

Chin arrived, escorting Everett Thornton whom he motioned to a white chair. Chin sat on the edge of Steve's desk.

"It's late." Thornton declared.

"Yes," Steve replied, glancing at the clock. 10:48PM.

"Why am I here?"

"I think you can help me."

Thornton shook his head. "I have told you all I know."

"For some reason, I doubt that," Steve snapped back. He picked up the photo. "Tell me about Archibald Fellows." He tapped the face.

"Served with me in Japan. The 196."

"He had that tattoo," Steve remarked and tossed a few of Danny's sketches across the desk, then topped them with the Gus's photo. "He's dead."

Thornton remained unmoved. "I am sorry to hear that."

He knows how to play poker. "Shouldn't be a big surprise. You already knew," Steve remarked. "How many of your squad took part in the rescue missions to bring Japanese families to America?"


"That seems a bit unlikely if not impossible," Steve replied. "How did you manage all that?"

Thornton cracked a smile. "I guess you will have to wait for the book to come out."

"If you are still alive," Steve remarked. "I can't hold you past tomorrow without filing charges. What will happen when I put you on the street?" He circled the desk. "You have three children depending on you. Do you plan to abandon them? Do they even know who you are?"

"To them I am simply a family friend."

"Then who is the man Clem says would come and threaten his mother?"

"Man? I do not know," Thornton responded. "I brought money to their mother every week under the guise of buying flowers. They did not know."

"Is that what you were doing on the ninth? Giving Mamiko money?"

He managed a nod.

"Who else knew?"

"No one."

"Someone knew, Thornton. Someone who used it as an opportunity to try and kill you for telling your story to Bill Hannah. That someone will try again when you get to the street -- and maybe kill Mamiko's children along with you. Who are you trying to protect? Yourself? INS already is filing for illegal immigration, but they won't move fast enough to save you." He pointed to Alan Dexton's image. "Is this the man?"

"There is no man," Thornton insisted, but sweat was collecting on his brow, a red streak running up his neck.

I have him. "Alan Dexton tried to run you down to keep you from talking to Bill Hannah. He was nearly caught and shot Kono Kalahuana. Because you went into hiding, he went after those you love -- he killed Mamiko. Who will be next, Thornton? Clem, the girls?"

Thornton squeezed his eyes shut.

There was a distracting rap at the door Steve angrily looked up to see two uniformed officers. One was Duke Lukela, the other he only barely recognized as Lew Morgan. The expression of Luke's face betrayed this could not wait. Steve glanced at Chin, then crossed the room and stepped out into the outer office.

"This had better be good," he uttered.

"The news," Duke started. "They somehow got word that we're missing an officer…"

"…I heard it, I didn't know," Lew supplied. "I talked to Danny yesterday afternoon. He was really out of it. Talking about Puu Konahuanui."

"Puu Konahuanui?"

"We played up that way as kids. He kept asking me if I recalled something being wrong up there."

"Where did he call you from?"

"I don't know."

"Can you show me the area he referred to?"

Lew squinted. "I think so. Things change up there a lot."

"Duke, get choppers in the air. Puu Konahuanui area. Look for anything. The car is white it should be easy to spot. Morgan, I want you in the lead chopper." Steve glanced back at his office. "I'll be right there." He re-entered the office and noticed the look that Chin usually portrayed with he was masking his feeling.

Thornton was sobbing.

"He got something to tell you, Boss," Chin said through tight lips.

Steve crossed his arms before Thornton. "Let's have it, Thornton, I haven't got time here."

"Dexton, Fellows and Mayfield joined with me bringing the Asian women here. It wasn't families, it was girls. I did not want them to remain to be victimized. I knew what their lot would be. We transported fifty-two from 1945 to 1947. Mamiko was one of the first."

"What happened to them?"

"They assimilated into culture. We were able to falsify their records, get them good jobs. Most of them relocated to California or Washington State. Then I found out that my men were not what I thought. Dexton, Fellows and Mayfield were taking some of them for their own uses."

"What does that mean?"

"Mayfield raped two of the women. I arranged a fatal accident for him in Japan. I knew it would never be seriously investigated there. And if I allowed him back here I could not stop him. I did not know then that Dexton was like him." His voice was dark. "Dexton was evil, but I could not touch him. His connections ran deep. He cannot be touched."

"What kind of connections?"

"No one will prosecute him. I am getting old; I need to clear my conscience. I hoped that Bill Hannah could somehow bring public awareness-" he shook his head.

"Tell me about Dexton and the girls you brought here."

"Several of them disappeared. One of the last was a friend of Mamiko. She was afraid. I learned that Dexton had been tormenting her."


"Insisting that she -- have relations with him. Fellows and he -" He shook his head. "Fellows came to me a year ago, no longer able to live with what Dexton and he had done. He told me that they took the girls to the wilderness and killed them, buried them. Fellows wanted help and I was afraid to do anything. Dexton must have killed him. It was after that Mamiko began to receiving threats from Dexton. I wanted to take her and the children and leave, but she was too afraid of Dexton."

"Do you know where Dexton buried the bodies?"

"Fellows never told me."

"Where is Dexton now?"

Thornton shook his head. "I do not know. But he will find me."

Steve picked up his phone. "Dispatch, I want a two officer patrol at the foster home where the Sye children are. Highest level." He hung up. "Chin, get Thornton back make sure he is in protective isolation. Meet me out at Puu Konahuanui. We need to put together search teams."

Part 8R
Contains extreme content that may not be suitable for some readers.

Part 8PG

  Back to list

Contact author