Not My Baby Part 9 by: Henny Daniels

A tall, caramel-colored man with broad shoulders and salt and pepper dreadlocks—that went by the name Eyegod—stood in front of a wall-length board decorated with pictures of young girls comprised of all sizes and ethnicities. There were 358 females total—most of them between the ages of 8 and 15; he could tell the difference between age groups based on the level of fear in the snapshot—snot residue and tears mixed with dirt smudges stained the youngest’s cheeks; they looked exhausted and confused—as if growing tired of wishing and praying for their parents to appear and save them.

The more mature of the bunch couldn’t have been older than thirty, but the stress lines on their faces made them look to be in their forties and fifties. Those girls weren’t crying in the pictures. Instead, they shared the same look of defeat and awareness of their own fate in a situation as this. Trickled in the mix were toddlers; unfortunately, they didn’t survive beyond the photoshoot.

Needless to say, the wall was depressing; even more heart-wrenching was having unadulterated hatred and disgust for the people who created it, and yet being required to pretend as though those feelings of disapproval were nonexistent.

Eyegod drearily stared at the captive collage while in the middle of the undercover mission of his life—knee deep in a sex-trafficking sting operation/rescue mission that was soon due to meet its end. The more girls that arrived, the more he wanted to cruelly and unusually punish the scumbags that were involved in the ring. His only comfort was knowing that every girl walking out the door since his arrival had been discreetly shipped to a safe location until the day of the bust—when they would be able to return to their grief-stricken families alive and in one piece. He had to keep picturing their broken frowns transformed to emotional grins upon reuniting with their loved ones in order to maintain his last bit of sanity.

Sobering screams and pictures of naked little girls were enough to keep him up late every night—feeling as though there was so much more he could be doing to help. No matter how many girls he got out of there, his team’s efforts failed to make up for the fact that many were never freed. Not only was this sick organization selling these victims wholesale for sex, but they were also shipping some out— already deceased—to have their organs excavated and sold on the black market. This was the aspect of the mission that had him ready to step down from his position and maybe even reconsider his career field; he simply could not stomach the level of violence involved. Only a few more days of this. C’mon! You can do it.  At the next exchange, Eyegod was finally going to meet the head of the operation and be able to arrest him and every member involved, shutting down the Jacksonville location (and hopefully the others) once and for all.

Downstairs Frank and Tony finished developing the photos of the latest batch. They joked about asking for a pay raise the next time one of the girls injured them.

“I don’t know about that, but I fully expect to get a go at the black one with the long braids.”

“You’d be better off trying on your own. This new boss, Eyegod, seems like a square or something. I saw him get all squeamish when I strangled one of the younger ones.” Ascending the stairs with a fresh pile of headshots, the two men lowered their voices as they moved closer to the strategy room.

“Stop lying!” Tony halted for a moment and pat Frank on the side with the back of his hand for emphasis, getting Frank to pause as well. “Just a choke out? You can’t be serious.”

“Yeah man, something’s up with that one. I don’t know why they insist on bringing in new people instead of advancing from within.” Frank continued his stroll after making eye-contact.

“I know right, how long does it take to get some recognition around here? We’ve been dealing with the little brats for years now. I’m ready to move up too!”

Their conversation faded once inside; they saw Eyegod standing at the victim board. “Got some more for you. The last one was a firecracker! Elbowed me right in the lip.” Tony approached Eyegod with the pictures extended in his hand, studying his movement and reaction.

Aware of the doubt that lingered between them, Eyegod took the stack and responded, “Oh yeah, which one? I’ll teach her a lesson right now.” He glanced down at the first picture and immediately dropped them all on the floor with a perplexed look on his face.

Reactively, Tony knelt down to retrieve the pictures as Frank stood close by, still quietly staring at the new boss.

“Uh, my bad man. Must have slipped.” Eyegod snapped out of his unexpected trance and headed toward the door. “Which cell is she in? I’ll handle that.”

“Number 3.” Tony collected the last of the pictures as Eyegod practically ran out of the door. He turned his attention to Frank and spoke softly, “I guess he’s gonna beat me to it then. Maybe he’s not a little goody two-shoes after all. They laughed and proceeded to add the pictures on the board.

“I don’t know man, something is off about him, and I’m gonna find out exactly what it is.”




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