Sean Preston jumped off the school bus and threw the football towards Richard Dicks who expertly headed it back.
'Nice job, knob head,' called Sean, a nickname Richard had earned by being the eldest of the three Dicks brothers.
'Easy when you throw like my Gran.'
Jenny Preston grinned as she sat in the Land-rover Discovery waiting for Sean to head over; even £5,000 a term couldn't stop boys being boys.
'Sean,' she called through the open window.
'Coming,' Sean glanced over at his mum and waved just as Richard kicked the ball at him. 'One minute,' he turned and chased after the ball.
'Come on mum we need to go,' moaned seven year old Christian from the back seat. He was impatient to get to the swimming gala as he expected to win the twenty five metre breaststroke event.
Jenny turned and smiled. 'Don't worry; we'll be on our way in two minutes just as soon as...'
Suddenly the screeching of brakes and a dull thud made her stop in her tracks. Without even looking she was out of the car and running.
'Stay there Chris, don't move.'
By the time she got to the roadside there was a crowd. Everyone had got off the school bus and as she pushed her way through everything went quiet.
'Sean, Sean. Oh my god Sean, talk to me.' As Jenny knelt down next to her son she vaguely noticed the man next to her.
'Try not to move him. His pulse is strong but he is unconscious and we mustn't do anything until the paramedics get here. The bus driver’s calling them now.'
Jenny grabbed her son's hand tight not really understanding what she had just been told. 'Sean, I'm here baby, don't worry mummy's here.'
'Is my husband there please, Stacey?' Stacey hated it when Mrs Foster rang to talk to her husband, she was always so demanding.
'I'm not sure I can disturb him at the moment Mrs Foster.' Stacey was one of those PA's that was hired to look good and not necessarily to use their initiative.
'Stacey, I want you to get my husband out of whatever meeting he is in a get him to this phone now,' her voice was starting to crack. 'It's Scott he's not come home from rugby practice and I'm worried.'
'Oh I sure he'll be fine Mrs Foster, you know what young boys are like.'
'My husband, NOW Stacey.'
Cathleen Foster had been married to Joel for twenty years and she was the perfect CEO's wife, always there for the charity galas and meals smoozing other CEO's and their wives. Scott was her pride and joy and at thirteen was as handsome as his mother was beautiful but had the cunning and charm of his father. As the CEO of Pharmacorp Joel often received threats from animal rights activists and the worry of Scott being used against him had always been a concern.
Cathleen usually collected Scott from rugby but today she had one of many committee meetings and Mrs Rattle the mother of Scott's best friend had said she would collect them both. When they had not returned by seven, Cathleen had rung and been told Scott had been taken to hospital with a suspected broken wrist and she had assumed the school would have rung her. She had then rung the school to be told one of the fathers had taken him to hospital. A call to the local accident and emergency department had not helped as they claimed no-one of that name had ever been admitted.
By the time Joel got home thirty minutes after the 'phone call from his wife the police were already there.
'Oh Joel, thank God your home.' Cathleen ran to her husband and began to cry, finally able to let go.
'Are you in charge?' Joel addressed a tall, slender but worn looking man who had just risen from the arm chair.
'Yes sir, Inspector Fisher.'
'So where are we?'
'I have just taken all the details from your wife, and my colleague is having a look at Scott's room. If you could let us have a recent photo I can start mobilising the troops.'
'Cath can you get a photo for the Inspector please?' As soon as his wife left the room Joel Foster turned to the Inspector with a look of foreboding on his face.
'You know this could be a kidnap. It was only last week that the damn tabloids plastered all over their front pages that I have just had a $3million pound bonus.'
'Yes I do understand sir. We are not ruling anything out at the moment. I'm going to bring in the tech guys to put a tap on your line and Sergeant Wilmore will stay here just in case there’s any contact. I'm going back to the school to see what we can find out from them.'
Cathleen entered the room with the photo.
'Thank you Inspector and please make sure you find our son and soon.'
'Well Mrs Preston physically Sean's been very lucky. Nothing's been broken and the tests have shown no swelling of the brain.'
'So why hasn't he woken up? Jenny couldn't believe the doctor could say Sean had been lucky. It had been nearly twenty four hours and he still hadn't woken up.
'Mrs Preston as I have explained these things don't follow a pattern. Keep talking to him and we will keep monitoring him but I am sure he will wake up soon.'
Sergeant Peter Swann had just had a very uneventful visit to A&E. No-one had seen Scott Foster and the school had no idea who the parent was who had offered to drive him here. The games teacher had only just joined the school and had just been grateful of the help. Peter hadn't been able to believe that parents were paying good money for their children to go to a school who let anyone walk off with one of its students. Peter was dreading taking all this information back to the Inspector when suddenly out of one of the side rooms a woman came hurtling into the corridor and very nearly sent him flying.
'Doctor, doctor, come quickly. He's awake but he's delirious, he's talking nonsense.' She called as she continued down the corridor at speed.
Peter picked himself up and just as he was about to continue back to the inspector he glanced into the room the woman had just come from. He glanced, shook his head glanced again and then took the photograph out of his pocket and studied it carefully. Lying on the bed was Scott Foster. This couldn't be possible. The hospital had checked its records and Scott Foster hadn't been admitted. He entered the room and picked up the notes only to see that the name on them was Sean Preston and not Scott Foster. Weirder and weirder!
'Is someone there?'The young boy looked straight at him but his eyes were glazed almost as if he were blind.
'Sean, it’s alright I'm back now.' The woman who had left in such a hurry was back with a very harassed looking doctor in tow.
'Why do you keep calling me Sean? I'm Scott.'
'See what I mean doctor. It’s alright sweetheart you've been in an accident the doctor will explain.'
'Excuse me miss but can I have a word please?' Sergeant Swann stepped forward and Jenny Preston saw him for the first time since she re-entered the room.
'Who are you?'
'I am Sergeant Swann and I need to talk to you about Scott here.'
'His name's not Scott its Sean and he's my son.'
'Mrs Preston I need to examine Sean so why don't you and the sergeant pop to the relatives room for a coffee and I will come and talk to you there when I have finished?'
Paul Swann and Jenny Preston settled down in the relatives’ room and the sergeant got them both a coffee. Jenny explained about Sean's accident and how when he had finally woken up he thought he was called Scott and not Sean.
Paul then showed her the picture of Scott Foster
'Oh my God, they could be twins. What is going on?' suddenly understanding why a policeman has been so hostile towards her.
'I don't know but I'm going to call my Inspector and see what he thinks about it all.'
An hour later the doctor had said that Sean was well enough to be questioned. Inspector Fisher, Joel Foster, Jenny Preston and Sergeant Swann were all sitting round the bed.
'Now Sean, my name is Inspector Fisher and I need to ask you a few questions.'
'Why do you keep calling me Sean? It's me Scott,' answered the boy obviously anxious and confused
'Scott, it’s your dad,' Joel Fisher jumped in, 'How are you?'
'Oh dad thank god your there. I can't talk long they might be back soon.'
'Okay son. Now we don't really understand how we can hear you or how long we've got, so we're going to try not to interrupt but you need to tell us everything you can about what happened. Do you know where you are?'
'I don't know where I am. When I hurt my wrist this guy said he would take me to the hospital. When we got to his car he grabbed me and shoved me under a blanket in the back. He got in with me and held me down. I think there was a woman driving 'cause I could smell perfume, a bit like the stuff mum has but not as nice.'
'How long were you in the car? Did you hear anything that can give us a clue as to where you are?' Inspector Fisher wanted to narrow the search area before they lost contact with Scott.
'Only ten minutes and it was all town roads, we never went really fast and stopped quite a few times for traffic lights. I heard the tram bell as we pulled up and I think there is a train passing nearby about once an hour.'
'Can you see anything?'
'No I've got some kind of sack on my head and they've strapped me to the chair.' Suddenly Scott's voice grew panicked. 'What do you mean who am I talking to? No one, just myself. No I haven't got anything. No not my wrist please it hurts.' Scott then squealed out in pain and Sean passed out.
The Inspector and Sergeant rushed out of the room and back to the station.
'Right let’s get the map.' called the Inspector to the gathered throng of the team put together to find Scott Foster. 'Okay so ten minutes at thirty miles an hour is five miles. Lets draw that around the school and see what we've got.'
'There Inspector.' The sergeant called out pointing at the map. ‘There are some old garages under the railway bridge right on the edge of the circle.'
'And look the tram line runs right passed there.' confirmed a constable standing near the front.
'Okay let's see what we can find out about those garages.' The Inspector called.
About fifteen minutes later the eager constable suddenly called out, 'got it sir.'
'What is it son.'
'One of those garages was rented less than a month ago by Stacey Sullivan. She's Joel Fisher's PA.'
'Good work lad. Get the SWAT team we're going to get that poor lad back.'
The Inspector had stayed back when the SWAT team had gone into the garage but in no time at all they had brought out a man and woman and the paramedics were allowed in to check of Scott Foster. His wrist was broken and it looked like the extra pressure the kidnappers had used would mean he'd need extensive surgery but apart for that he was fine and was soon reunited with his family.
The two kidnappers turned out to be Stacey Sullivan's sister and her husband. When Joel had spurned her advances she had decided to teach him a lesson and her sister and brother-in-law had been willing partners once a sizeable ransom had been mentioned. She had left the ransom note on Joel's desk and he had never seen it.
Once Sean awoke the second time it was as if nothing had happened and he had no memory. The next morning he was discharged and as they left the hospital there was a stretch limo waiting to collect them. At home there was a new football signed by the Liverpool team for Sean, a signed photo of Michael Phelps for Christian and a large cheque for Jenny all with a note, Thanks for helping get Scott back, we couldn't have done it without you, signed Joel and Cath Foster.