Chapter Eight ~Travis~

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Jane Doe's real name is Danielle Clark. She marked the first official interrogation for Sanders and I, and it couldn't have gone any fucking worse. I enter the gym on base, grateful to find it empty. It's 3 a.m. and I can't sleep again. I make my way into the locker room and set my bag down on the floor. I reach inside my locker, grab the tape, and wrap my knuckles. I pull off my t-shirt, shove it inside, and slam the locker door shut. I make a beeline for the punching bag hanging in the center of the room. I need to beat the shit out of something. I'm still unable to push the events of Danielle's interrogation out of my mind.

I step up to the bag and begin my assault. My mind immediately turns to Danielle. She is 17 years old and had been on the run for the last year and a half, leaving behind her father and little brother. Like Maddie, she gave no indication that she planned to run, but unlike Maddie, she didn't run alone. Danielle ran with her best friend Amanda. The two girls made a pact early on that if one of them started their period, they would run together. Amanda began hers just days before they left their homes, which were located on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Shocking them both, Danielle started her period a few months later.

Life on the run was not easy, but Danielle said adjusting had been especially difficult for Amanda. In fact, she loathed it, and after only three months she wanted to return home and face the consequences together. Danielle said they fought for days as she tried desperately to change her best friend's mind. Feeling angry and betrayed, the last thing she said to Amanda was that she was a coward, and she would never understand or forgive her if she went back home. The following day Danielle woke to find Amanda gone. She had left without any goodbye.

Danielle said she was pissed off at Amanda for a long time, but eventually the anger faded and was replaced with regret for how things had ended between them. "We might fight like hell but at the end of the day she's my best friend. Nothing can change that. Even if I never see her again, I just need to know she's okay." Her words hit way too close to home. I thought of Maddie, and as the ache I've grown so accustomed to feeling began to rise within my chest, I had no other choice but to tell her that I would find out what I could about Amanda. I intended to keep my word.

Danielle may have the same physical attributes as Maddie, but that is where any commonality between the two ends. Danielle has a rough edge to her personality, while Maddie has always had a softness about her. I wondered if Danielle had always been a bit hard or if life on the run made her that way.

What will Maddie be like when I finally see her again? How much will what she's experienced change her? These thoughts prompted me to ask Danielle if she'd come across any other runaways while she was out there. She quickly said no, but the more time I spent with her, the clearer it became that she's the type of girl who would remain loyal to anyone who ran, whether she met them along her way or not.

"I'm part of a sisterhood," she said, "who believe that forcing pregnancies on young women is absolute bullshit. We run in protest, because what you're doing here," she waved her hands around the room, "violates our rights, not only as a women but as human beings, and you should be fucking ashamed of yourself for taking part in it." She was absolutely right, but I said nothing in response.

Completely shifting gears she then asked, "So are the rumors about Hunters true?"

"Rumors?" I replied as I leaned back in my chair.

"Yes it's quite sad actually. Even sadder for someone as good looking as you I suppose. A cruel joke really," she responded.

"By all means, please continue Miss Clark, enlighten me," I replied.

"Only if you promise to verify the rumor's accuracy, Lieutenant." She was baiting me.

I bit. "I'll see what I can do."

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