Meet Brett, One of my Characters

Brett took life during the Lives Trilogy. The prequel, Taking Lives, was his story, along with George. Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives chronicled Brett’s and others’ life in captivity, their survival, and their lives on the other side. For many, Brett is a favorite and I have to admit after I re-edited the Lives Trilogy and Prequel, I understand why.

Brett is intelligent, insightful, and introspective. Ask him a question and you will get a direct, honest answer with no hesitation. He calls it like it is. Honest to a fault, ready to defend anyone if his family, especially Bobby, Brian, and George are in danger. He is the leader without question. All look up to him. He, Brian and George are the quietest of the Evans family. The three of them are linked together throughout my books because they provide a richness to the stories, and give me an opportunity to explore life, love, and family through them.

He and his younger biological brother, Bobby, are eighteen months apart. They look alike and were told multiple times that they looked like Tom Brady without the cleft chin. Brett is like Brady: intense, driven, a leader. More than Brady, Brett is athletic, excelling at multiple sports, but in particular track, basketball and football.

It was his uncle that arranged for his captivity when Brett refused his demands and wants. The Lives Trilogy is a fictional series based upon my work with missing and exploited children. The series is a story of hope, of survival, of love. While there are multiple characters, the series is Brett’s and George’s story.

Here is a snippet from Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy. In it, he meets Brian for the first time, the morning after Brian’s twin dies tragically. Brian’s friend, Sean comes with him. Brett is trying to talk Brian through the pain he feels, while dealing with his own pain and loss. (I apologize that the cutting and pasting is not perfect):

            “So, what you’re saying is that my brother is dead, and something good is going to come from that?” Brian asked. “I can’t think of anything good that will come from that.”

            “I can’t either,” Brett said. He paused, stared at him and said, “At least right now. Because right now, it sucks that your brother was shot and killed for no reason at all. It sucks that Sean was shot, and all those other people were shot. It sucks and right now, there is so much pain and there’s too much hurt to feel anything else.”

            Brian nodded.

            “And you gotta believe, Brian, I would feel the same way if something like that would happen to Bobby.”

            Brian teared up, but he nodded again.

            “When we were in Chicago, the morning just before Stephen and Mike were kidnapped, there was this guy who was taken away. They found him in Northern Wisconsin somewhere.”

            Sean said, “It was on the news. He was a kid our age.”

            “Yeah,” Brett said, his hands beginning to shake just like they did the night before. “He was in a room close to mine. The perverts had to make room for someone new . . . Stephen. It came down to this kid or a guy named, Johnny.”

            Brett kind of lost it, but he regained his composure and said, “Tim and I thought they would take Johnny because he’d been sick awhile, but the perverts took this other kid.

            “The next morning, we were saved, but Johnny was really sick and he ended up dying anyway. Johnny and Tim saved me in that place. Especially, Johnny.

            “That first night . . . the day I was taken, I was so fucking scared. These . . .  , would come in and do stuff. I didn’t know why. I was so scared.”

            Both hands shook, and Bobby reached over and put his hand on Brett’s shoulder. Brett reached over, put an arm around Bobby’s shoulders, pulled him close and buried his face in Bobby’s hair. Before he let go, he kissed the side of his head.

            “My first night there, Johnny and Tim came to my room and explained stuff. Johnny said that I couldn’t give up no matter how bad it got, no matter how scared I got. He said that someday, we might all be saved. But shit, I was so fucking scared.”

            Brett covered his eyes with one of his shaking hands, wept a little, angrily wiped tears out of his eyes, and said, “Johnny died anyway. The other kid might have lived, but they took him away. It was shitty and it sucked, but Johnny was one of my friends, so at the time, I was happy Johnny was saved. But now . . . I think about it and I feel really bad for that other kid, and I feel bad that I was happy Johnny was saved.”

            “But that’s what I mean,” Brian said softly. “Life isn’t fair.”

            “It’s not fair, but it isn’t unfair, either. It. Just. Is.” Brett paused, took hold of Brian’s hand and said, “It just is.”

            “Huh?”

            “As bad as all of that was, there was some good, too. I didn’t . . . couldn’t, see it at the time, just like you can’t see it right now. It takes time. I’m not over it. Shit, I’ll never really get over it, just like Mikey and Stephen and Bobby won’t get over it, but you kinda live with it. You move on. You get up each fucking morning and you breathe. You put one fucking foot in front of the other and you move. You fucking move and you don’t stop, and the next morning, you do it all over again, because that’s the only choice you have. The only choice. It sucks. It hurts. It hurts so bad, Brian, I know that. But you keep breathing and you keep moving.”

            Brett could feel Brian’s grip get stronger and tighter.

            “And, you lean on your friends like I lean on mine….”

As Brett regains his footing and his confidence throughout my books, his potty mouth, for the most part, disappears. Remember, Brett was in captivity for over twenty-two months. He has quite a bit to overcome.

He cares, deeply, about his patchwork adopted family. His adoptive father, Jeremy, is important in his new life. They are similar in many respects. Brett leans on and learns from him, and grows because of him.

Catch Brett’s story, and the stories of George and Brian in my other work.


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