Castle Roland

Who Is He

by Eric Aune


Chapter 17

Posted: N/A

When they got to school the next day it was evident that the word had gotten around the school about what Travis had done at practice the day before. They saw looks of disgust on some faces. People went silent as they walked by. From time to time, they heard someone say something derogatory, under their breath; the usual word being, "fag" or "faggot". But there were bright spots as well. They were greeted by their teammates and of course members of the GSA club. That wasn't all, there were a lot of people that they didn't really know who smiled at them or greeted them. After the first 'fag' comment, Travis reached down and took Chris' hand in his. He just looked at Chris.

"Screw 'em. No reason to hide it now," he said.

Chris smiled in answer, "No reason at all. I like this better. I'm tired of hiding it."

They walked into their first class like that. It, of course, did not go unnoticed, but they didn't care, and so it continued throughout the day. They were surprised when they found more acceptance then scorn. Since they had shown that they were a couple, there was no more need for the whispered conversations and speculations about whether they were or weren't gay and whether what they had done at baseball practice was true or not. It gave the two of them a feeling of liberation. They were now completely out, and except for a few people making remarks, they didn't have any trouble. They were enjoying lunch with their usual group when Wendy, once again, came up to join them. She sat across from Travis silently for a few moments.

"So, I guess this is why we never really clicked huh?" she said after a few silent minutes.

Travis nodded, "Yeah. I tried to keep it hidden, because I thought Chris wouldn't like me if he knew about me. I guess it was the same for him. I knew you wanted more than just hanging out, so I kind of kept you at a distance, because I didn't want you to think you and I were a couple. That's why I treated you more like a friend. I'm sorry. It was kind of crappy for me to do that. I should have been honest I guess, but it was kind of scary not knowing how Chris felt and I wasn't ready to come out then," Travis explained.

Wendy nodded as she accepted what he said. "I understand, considering what some people have been saying. Sucks, but we can still be friends, right?" she smiled.

Travis answered her with a smile of his own. "Of course, you can never have too many friends."

"Good," she said.

They were talking and enjoying lunch when, from behind Chris, there was a snort and a low voiced comment.

"Watch out, it's the faggot table, you don't want to catch something."

Chris slowly looked behind them and saw Jeannie walking by with her boyfriend Steve Banks. He was smirking at her comment, but her face was filled with disgust as usual. It started to seem to him like that was her permanent expression lately. Chris stood up and faced them.

"What's your problem Jeannie?" he challenged her.

"I don't want you to corrupt my boyfriend like you did Wendy's," she sneered at him.

"I didn't corrupt anyone."

She looked at him with disgust and pointed at Travis. "Then why is Travis all over you. He was normal until you got to him."

She looked at Wendy. "Why are you here Wendy, are you a fag hag now."

Chris came to her defense. "Wendy's a friend. Something you never were. I don't know what Cheryl or Wendy ever saw in someone like you as a friend; but that's their business not mine. They're my friends. And Travis is not all over me."

"That's not what I heard. You and him making out in front of the baseball team. How disgusting. I'm glad I wasn't there, I would've puked if I had seen it."

Chris looked her up and down, "It's a wonder I'm able to hold onto my lunch with such a narrow minded, bigoted, homophobic b…female."

Steve started to get angry and their voices got louder. "Watch it fag. You don't talk to her that way," he warned him.

Chris shot an angry look at Steve. "Then control her Banks. I don't say anything against her holding her boyfriend's hand and she shouldn't say anything about me holding my boyfriend's hand."

Steve started to clench his fist. "Fuck you Elkins."

Steve took a step forward in front of Jeannie.

Travis stood up, as did Bryce. Travis stepped between the two boys. "Settle down Chris and back off Steve. No one corrupted me. There is no corruption involved. This is who we are, whether you like it or not. Just go away."

They were interrupted by a voice behind them. "Is there a problem here?"

They all saw that a teacher had come towards them as they were starting to get a little louder.

"No sir, just a difference of opinions Mr. Whitcomb. We were discussing holding our boyfriend's hands." Travis said.

Travis caught a brief twitch of Mr. Whitcomb's mouth, but the teacher quickly controlled it before turning to Jeannie and Steve. "Ms. Morris, Mr. Banks, I think you should move along."

Steve and Jeannie gave them a sneer as they walked off. The teacher watched the two of them for a few moments until they had moved away before he returned to his post, but not before turning to wink at the two boys. The others sat back down.

"One less member of the fan club I guess," Travis remarked.

He got answering nods from the others as they agreed with him. They took up where they left off in their lunch conversation. After lunch, Chris started to get the feeling that he was being watched. He would look around when he felt it, but couldn't see anyone. He couldn't prove it, but he just felt that someone was watching him. Other than that feeling of being watched, the rest of the day wasn't bad at all. At practice there were no problems from anyone. The next day at the GSA meeting, there seemed to be a few new faces. Two of them were Jimmy and Gary, members of the baseball team, which surprised the three friends. They went over to talk to them.

"Hey," Chris said.

"Hi," Jimmy answered Chris.

"So what are you guys doing here?" Travis asked.

Gary shrugged, "Well Jimmy and I thought we'd come check the club out."

Chris was surprised and raised an eyebrow. "Oh, uh cool. So…" he started to say.

Gary suddenly started laughing. "No, no, no. You got it wrong. We're straight. We figured this club needed some people to be the 'S' in GSA."

Bryce smiled and rubbed his hands together. "Great, now I've got backup. I tell ya, it's been tough being one of the few in the club; hanging around with these two gets a little sickening after awhile."

Bryce started making puppy eyes and pitched his voice higher, "Oh Travis honey, I….ow."

Bryce rubbed his side where Cheryl had just pinched him.

"Lay off. I think it's sweet," she said.

Bryce held his hands up in surrender. "Okay, they know I was just kidding. I'm glad they're together, because they're my best friends and I only want them to be happy. No matter who they're with. It was getting to be the GA, not too many of us S's here to ally with."

Bryce suddenly jumped to the side when he noticed Cheryl's hand moving in to pinch him.

"C'mon Cheryl quit. Your fingernails are sharp," he whined.

"Yeah, well then quit teasing them," she warned.

"They know I love them both, but okay, I'll stop."

She looked at him for a few moments. "You better."

At that point Dave brought the meeting to order.

"Welcome everyone and especially to our new friends. Thank you for coming. With the year drawing to a close we have some important business to take care of in these last few weeks of the school year. The most important is electing new officers for the next school year. As some of you know, Loren and I will be graduating at the end of the first semester of our senior year next year. We think that it would be better that next year's president be someone who will be here the whole year, so we are going to need nominations for officers to lead the club for the next year. I want everyone to start thinking about it and we will have nominations and voting next week. Remember, anyone who is part of the club may be nominated for officer positions. Age, gender, or orientation does not matter. If you want to help this club to grow and support us in what we do, then you can be nominated. So think about it and next week we will have nominations. For now, enjoy the snacks and the friendship."

Dave worked the room, greeting the new people and doing his best to make them feel welcome. Jimmy and Gary were soon comfortable with the others in the club.

Many miles away, in the early evening, Zebulon Marks was sitting in his study in an antique leather armchair, looking out over the grounds behind his estate. He took a sip from his glass from time to time as he stared out on the grounds, deep in thought. Once he finished his drink, he walked over to his desk and sat down. He punched a button on the intercom on his desk.

"Yes sir?" Came the voice of Victor through the intercom.

"Victor, if Randall and Leo are on the grounds, have them join me in the study," he ordered.

"Yes sir, right away."

After he got off the intercom, he picked up the phone and dialed a number. It was answered after a couple of rings.

"Marius? Zebulon. I have a plan that I wish to put into action and I would appreciate your assistance on it at some time in the near future……Yes, very astute, he is the eventual target....Soon, but not right away. I have some arrangements to make first before I move against him…..Yes, you know who his ally is….It could cement your position in the area as well…..Of course my friend, we will split the spoils….I think that will be fine, why don't you and some of your closest friends join us for dinner this weekend….Excellent, I look forward to talking to you….Until then my friend."

Zebulon replaced the handset and went over to a cabinet with his wine glass in hand. He picked up a decanter and poured himself another drink. He returned to the desk to await Randy and Leo. He opened the laptop on the desk and started doing some research on the internet.

He was interrupted by Victor's voice coming from the intercom, "Mr. Marks?"

He pressed the button to answer, "Yes, Victor."

Victor continued. "Leo is here, but Randy is offsite."

Zebulon nodded absently, "Very well, send Leo to find him and have them both come to the study as soon as they return."

Victor acknowledged, "Yes, sir."

Zebulon took another sip of his drink and went back to his research. He finished what he was working on half an hour later. He returned to his former seat, where he went back to his thoughts as he looked out on the grounds.

An hour later, there was a knock on the door and it was opened by Randy as he and Leo entered the room. Zebulon did not acknowledge them. The two of them stood there, just inside the door, not sure what to do, or if they were in trouble or not. Finally, Randy looked at Leo and shrugged. He started forward with Leo following in his wake. They walked around until Zebulon could see them and waited. He kept them waiting for a few moments before he slowly looked up at them. He held their gaze until they both looked down. A small, barely perceptible smile appeared on his lips.

"Sit," he ordered.

The two young men sat down across from Zebulon and waited silently. He continued to look out the large window. Randy and Leo felt the need to fidget nervously, but they controlled it. Finally Zebulon set the glass down and turned his attention to the two of them.

"Where were you Randall?" he asked.

"I was, uh…"

Zebulon held his hand up to stop Randy, "Never mind, it's not important. I am putting some plans into motion and I will soon have a mission for you. You have been following my orders concerning the boy, yes?" He looked at them with a cocked eyebrow.

Randy nodded, "Yes, sir. We've kept an eye on him, at least the best that we can. That Furginson guy is around a lot of the time and he's warned us off, but we're doing our best on keeping an eye on the boy."

Zebulon considered Randy's explanation for a few moments, "Very well. Continue what you are doing, and pay particular attention to when he is alone outside of his home."

Randy nodded, "Yes, sir, but in truth, we never see him alone."

Zebulon looked at him, "Does this Furginson person stay that close to him?"

Randy shook his head, "No sir, it's not him. There's this friend of his, well we believe he is more than a friend. I'm not completely sure, but I believe that they are a couple. Anyway, I never see the kid outside the house without his boyfriend."

Zebulon nodded, "That could present a slight problem, but only a slight one." He looked away from them for a short time.

Zebulon went back to gazing out the window for a few moments, his lips pursed. His hands were held in front of his face, palms together, his index fingers resting against his lips. He dropped his hands to the arms of the chair and turned back to them

"As I said, a slight problem, but not insurmountable. Continue to watch the two of them. In a short time, I will give you the word and I want you to grab him. I would prefer if you can get just the boy; that would be the easiest for what I plan, but if that is not possible, then grab both of them. I will adjust my plans to take into account any fallout for it. Until then, do nothing else," he warned them.

"What about the Furginson guy?" Randy asked.

Zebulon looked at him as if he was an idiot, "Do a better job of not letting him see you than you have in the past. When I give the word, do as I order. If that means one of you needs to create a diversion to grab the attention of the Furginson, then that's what you will do. If you think that you need help, let me know and I will provide it, but know this," Zebulon paused and held up a finger in warning. "I would prefer that you do not kill this Furginson clan member, but if that is what you need to do, then do so. When I give you the order, I will expect nothing less than complete success. If you are not successful, you know the consequences. I don't think I need to spell them out for you. Success to me means that at least one of you will return with the boy. I would prefer that both of you return with both of the boys, but the one boy, Chris, is the one I want here. Do we have an understanding?" he asked pointedly.

They both nodded, "Yes sir. There won't be a problem," Randy answered for both of them.

Zebulon smiled, "Excellent. That is as it should be. You can go now."

They stood up, "Yes sir."

They quickly turned and left the room. Zebulon turned back to his thoughts as he went over his plans, looking for any holes. It had been long enough. It was time to act and get the revenge that was due him. It was time for Furginson to pay.

A couple of days later there was a message on the Hale's voice mail. It was from the DA's office saying that a preliminary hearing was scheduled for the following Wednesday afternoon and they needed Chris to be there to answer some questions. When Michael heard the message he immediately dialed the number and let them know that they would be there. Later, when Chris went over to Travis' home, he told him about the court date. Travis, of course, wanted to go with him. Chris asked his dad and after talking to Travis's parents he got permission to go. However, since it was an afternoon session, they would go to school for the morning session and leave early enough to grab some lunch before they had to be at the courthouse.

At school during the next week, nothing much had changed. They still got scowls from people like Brian and Steve Banks, and some of those that they hung out with, when they walked by. Those that were friends of Jerry and the others that had attacked Chris treated them the same way as well. Words were said, as long as a teacher wasn't near, but that was as bad as it got. They didn't walk around hanging all over each other and they rarely held hands as they walked through the halls at school, but it didn't matter to those types of people. Ignorant people couldn't be changed, so since they didn't matter, Chris and Travis didn't mind.

Wednesday finally arrived. Michael let the office know that he would be taking Chris and Travis out of school for the afternoon. He arranged for his assistant coach to take care of practice that afternoon for the varsity baseball team. Chris was nervous about going to court, even though he knew there was nothing for him to worry about. When they got out of their classes they both met up at the office and found Michael waiting for them. When they left the campus the first stop was at In and Out for lunch.

At the courthouse Michael found a place to park in the lot and they headed inside. Once they got through the metal detectors, Michael consulted a paper that he had with him and led them to the elevators and up to the 5th floor. Once there, they started walking down the hall until they found the courtroom that they were looking for. They saw that there were people hanging out in the hall waiting to be allowed into the courtroom after lunch. A little before one, a couple of attorneys came walking down the hall toward the court. One of them looked up as they neared the door. He turned to his colleague and whispered something and handed him the box he was carrying. The other nodded, went to the door and knocked. An officer opened the door, greeted him and let him in. The remaining attorney walked over to where Michael and the boys were standing.

He held out his hand as he neared them. "Mr. Hale?"

Michael nodded, "Yes." They shook hands.

The attorney introduced himself, "I'm Hank Jefferson from the DA's office. I'm the lead prosecutor on the case."

Michael nodded, "Nice to meet you Mr. Jefferson. This is Chris and his friend Travis."

The boys shook hands with him as well. "Good to see all of you. So, have any of you been in court before?" he asked.

Michael shook his head, "Except for jury service for me, none of us have."

"Okay, when you guys go in the courtroom, there are some seats behind the prosecution table that I have set aside for you. We are only holding one trial for the four of them, instead of separate trials. So all four of them will be at the defense table with their lawyers. This is a preliminary hearing. Its purpose is for the Judge to determine if there is enough evidence to hold a trial."

He looked down at his watch, "Well, I've got to go in and get ready. I'll see you in there."

He shook their hands again and he hurried over to the door and knocked. The officer let him in. At one pm, an officer opened the door to let everyone in. Michael and the boys joined the line to file in the room. Michael directed them to the seats that Hank had described. As they sat down they looked around the courtroom.

A door opened on the side of the courtroom and an officer escorted Chris' four attackers into the courtroom. Mark was pushing Jerry in a wheelchair, because of his broken arm and leg. When they entered the room, Jerry looked over and saw Chris and Travis, a scowl showed on his face for a few seconds before he looked away. Mark set him to the side of the table and sat down next to him. They greeted their families who were seated behind the defense table. Soon the court was called to order as the female judge entered the chamber.

"All stand, Judge Marion Holmes presiding," the bailiff announced.

Everyone at the Defense and Prosecution tables stood up until the judge sat down in her seat; which was the signal for everyone else to resume their seats. After talking to the court clerk for a few minutes she motioned to the Bailiff.

"Clerk, call the first case," she ordered.

The court clerk picked up a document and opened it before speaking, "The State versus Jerry Latham, Mark Howard, Terry Lopez, and John Neal. One count each for, assault and battery on the person of Christopher Elkins, a minor, with the enhancement charge that the assault was performed as part of a hate crime. One count each of vandalism. One count each of breaking and entering."

The judge nodded and accepted the file from the clerk. She looked through it for a few moments, "Who is here for the State?"

Hank Jefferson stood up, "Hank Jefferson, your honor."

She nodded, "Mr. Jefferson."

She looked at the defense table, "And for the defense?"

Each attorney stood as they stated their name and who each was representing.

"Lucas French, for Defendant Mark Howard, your honor."

"Robert Matthews, for Defendant Jerry Latham, your honor."

"Paul Wilson, for Defendant John Neal, your honor."

"Cecilia Garcia, for Defendant Terry Lopez, your honor."

She acknowledged them with nods, "Very Well. Let's proceed. Mr. Jefferson you're up."

Michael and the boys watched and listened as the evidence for the case was laid out before the judge.

Hank Jefferson proceeded to tell the judge how Jerry and his friends had lain in wait, grabbed and assaulted Chris as he was leaving the restroom, dragged him to the pool equipment room and proceeded to beat him, all the time using homophobic slurs against Christopher, and threatening him with sexual assault. He directed her attention to the police report of the incident, and the pictures taken by the police showing the injuries to Chris and the room where the assault had taken place.

She motioned him to sit down as she looked through the file before her on the case. When she was finished, she looked up.

"Mr. Jefferson, I see that the defendants also sustained injuries in the attack, but I don't see anything in the report about how they sustained such injuries. Were they inflicted by the victim in the course of the attack?" she asked.

"No, your honor, Christopher was unconscious from the beating he had sustained at the time that the injuries were inflicted on the defendants. In his statement, he describes his attempts to fight back, but at four to one odds, and the fact that the attackers were all older and bigger than him, rendered his defense ineffectual," he replied.

She looked at the defense table, "Is there any further information from the Defense as to the identification of this other assailant?"

Lucas French stood up at this moment and took some papers out of a folder.

"Your Honor, we have statements from the defendants, who state that they were attacked by another person, whom they believe was another student at the school."

She held out her hand, "Let me see them please?"

He brought them to the judge. She looked through them for a few minutes.

She looked at the defendants, "In these statements you state that you were attacked by another person, and were unable to see the face of the assailant, as he was dressed in a hooded sweatshirt with the hood covering his face, so that none of you could make a positive identification." She looked at them until they nodded.

She looked back through the papers, "Were the injuries on the defendant at the end of the table…Jerry Latham sustained in the attack by this unknown assailant?" she asked.

Mr. French nodded, "Yes, your honor. Further, on behalf of all four defendants, we move to dismiss the assault charges, as the assault on Mr. Elkins was the work of this unknown assailant, who aided Mr. Elkins in assaulting the defendants before escaping."

"What! That's a lie!"

The judge immediately banged her gavel and looked to where Chris was standing looking toward the defense table. Everyone there looked at Chris as he stood there with a look of disbelief on his face.

She pointed the gavel at him, "Order. Young man, sit down."

Michael pulled him back into his seat. Chris saw that Jerry was smirking at him.

"I will not tolerate outbursts in my courtroom. You will be removed if you do that again young man." She put the gavel back down and turned her attention back to the defense attorney. "Now, Mr. French what do you base this statement that the victim and the unknown assailant attacked the defendants. The police report is clear that the defendants are accused of attacking the young man and were stopped by this unknown person. No one else, other than the defendants, saw this other person according to the police report."

Mr. French held up his hands, "I only repeat what the defendants have reported to us."

She looked back toward the prosecutor. "Mr. Jefferson, do you have any information on this unknown person?"

He stood up, "No, your honor. The police have tried to find this person, but they have no leads." He looked down at the open file on his table and continued, "However, as you can see in the police report, they say there is no evidence to support the defense attorney's claim that Chris was in any way involved in causing any of the injuries that were sustained by the defendants."

He glanced down again and placed his finger on the paper in the file, "He states he was unconscious at the time of the assault on the defendants. He says other than stomping on the foot of one of his assailants and getting one hit on the jaw, of who he suspects was the leader of the group, Jerry Latham, he was unable to defend himself. The report reflects that other than the injuries inflicted by the defendants, there are no other injuries to support that Christopher, in any way, inflicted the type and number of injuries on the defendants. The person that the defense mentions not only stopped the assault on Christopher, but very likely kept him from sustaining worse injuries."

"Is there any progress on finding this person?" she asked.

Mr. Jefferson shook his head, "Not at this time, your honor. The description given by the defendants fits nearly every average male teenager of the defendant's age. There is nothing else to go on. At this time there are no leads."

She waved her hand, "Very well, let us continue. Mr. Jefferson you state that this is a hate crime as well."

"Yes, your honor. Christopher stated that they called him fag, threatened him with forcible oral sex and sodomy, because, and I quote." He turned a page a read for a moment, "All fags like it." He looked back up at the judge, "At the time of the assault, Christopher was not known to be gay. While giving his statement to the police he admitted to them that he was gay, hence the hate crime charge."

"Thank you. Defense motion is overruled. I find no evidence to support the assertion of the defense that the victim, and this unknown assailant, worked in concert to cause the injuries to the defendants. It appears to be the work of others, who inflicted the injuries on the defendants. There is sufficient evidence to hold the defendants over for trial, which will be two weeks from Monday at 9am. Bail?" she asked as she looked at the prosecution.

"Your honor, we request remand. If the defendants were released they could potentially cause further harm to the victim," he stated.

Robert Mathews stood up, "Your honor, we request release into the care of their parents. They have had no other problems with the police and their parents will ensure that they are available for trial. There is no reason for them to be held until the trial in a juvenile facility as they are not hardened criminals." He sat back down.

"Very well, the defendants will be released into the custody of their parents and a restraining order will be filed against the defendants to prevent their coming with 100 yards of Mr. Elkins at any time." The judge fixed the four at the defense table with a stern look before she continued speaking, "You four understand what that means?" The four nodded.

"Speak up! Nods are not good enough," she ordered.

All four of the boys answered her sullenly, "Yes, your honor."

She nodded, "Very well. Just to make it clear, if you are within 99 yards of Mr. Elkins, or any of his family or his friends, you will step at least one yard back so as to maintain the 100 yards distance required. If there are any reports from anyone, Mr. Elkins or his friends, a teacher or a stranger on the street, you will be arrested and put into a juvenile facility. Is that perfectly clear?"

The four boys once again answered her with "Yes Ma'am's."

Mr. Mathews stood up again and nodded, "Thank you, your honor."

"Court adjourned."

Everyone stood up. The defense attorneys talked to their clients and their parents. Hank turned around to talk to Michael and the boys.

"That went about as I expected it would. As a first offence, and no history of trouble with the police, I expected them to be released to their parents. With the restraining order in place, they can't come near you, any of you, so there should be no further problems. I will be contacting you Mr. Hale, to arrange time to prepare Chris for his testimony for the trial, but other than that, we're done for now. I'll be in touch."

"Thanks Mr. Jefferson, but what about school. Are those boys going to be allowed to go back to the same school?" Michael asked.

Jefferson shook his head, "No, their parents will have to make other arrangements, they will not be allowed on school grounds."

They nodded their thanks and shook hands. Michael ushered the boys out of the courtroom. Outside the room they saw the parents of the four boys gathered around one of the attorneys. They made their way downstairs and back to the car. They got home just as Heather and the two younger children got home. Michael brought her up to speed on where the court case was. She wasn't happy about the boys being released, but she was happy about the restraining order.

The next afternoon, Chris and Travis went over to Bryce's and the three of them went to the mall. They grabbed a snack at the food court, then went to the arcade for a little while before the headed back home. They rode with Bryce to his house and said goodbye, before they headed home to finish some homework.

Late in the afternoon of the next day, Jerry and Mark were at Jerry's house. Mark had come over to swim at Jerry's house and relax. Mark helped Jerry wrap both casts in plastic and tape them up, so that he could at least relax in the shallow end, while Mark swam around.

Afterwards, they both relaxed on a couple of lounge chairs and dozed off in the warm sun. They were jolted awake when they each felt a hand grip their throats and squeeze.

"Keep your eyes closed, don't move, and I'll stop squeezing. Don't worry; I don't plan on hurting you, unless it's necessary. We're just going to talk for a little while," the voice warned.

Both boys stopped moving. Jerry recognized the voice; it belonged to the guy who had taken him and his friends down when they had attacked Chris. Both boys had cloth bags put over their heads to blindfold them. They next felt other hands tying them to the chairs. When they started to struggle, the hand on their throats would tighten, cutting off their air.

"I said…don't….move. When I release my grip you will not move, nor will you say anything. If you yell, well, let's just say, you won't like the consequences," the voice warned them again.

They froze and allowed the hands to finish tying them to the chairs. They felt the hands leave their necks and then felt something cold and thin resting against their necks.


They nodded in understanding. A moment later they heard some low voices behind them talking. They tested the bonds to see if they could get loose, but the bonds held them tightly, without any give. They stopped testing the bonds when they heard someone walk back in their direction. They heard soft footfalls and then the sound of a chair being dragged closer to them.

"Well, isn't this cozy. It's nice when old acquaintances can get together and discuss old times. That's why I'm here today, to discuss old times. I want to have a little talk. Remember what I said about yelling, we're just going to talk," the voice said in a pleasant conversational tone.

Again they felt something cold and thin against their necks. The guy smiled as he put the nail file he was holding into the pocket of his jacket. Both boys shuddered when the 'knife' touched their necks.

"I'll start. So, why aren't you in jail right now?" the voice asked.

"We…we were released to our parent's custody," Jerry answered nervously.

There was a moment of silence, "I suppose that's good for you and…me I guess, since that gives us the chance to chat."

"What the fuck do you want?" Mark said with false bravado. Mark felt a pat on his shoulder.

"Why Mark, do you eat with that same mouth? We're just having a civil conversation, no need to get nasty and unpleasant."

"I don't know who you think you are, untie me and just you and me," Mark struggled a little against the bonds.

The voice laughed a little, "No, I don't think so. I just want to talk, no violence. I don't like it…unless it's necessary," he warned.

The guy took the nail file out of his pocket and Mark froze as he felt a point started to press down on his crotch.

"Now, I don't want to have to do anything violent, but if you insist."

Mark shivered and shook his head, "No, no. I'm cool."

The pressure was removed and Jason returned the nail file back to his pocket.

"Good, so am I. Well now. I have a little matter to discuss with you both, and it is of some importance to me. Jerry, remember our little talk the night you four guys attacked Chris Elkins?" he asked.

As an aside he included Mark, "You wouldn't know about the conversation Mark, you were kind of out of it at the time."

He turned back to Jerry, "Anyway, Jerry, remember what I said. I was not there."

Jerry shook his head, "I swear I didn't say anything about what you looked like, but the other guys had already told the police about you when they were asked. I swear I never said anything else. I just went along with what they said."

"Well, that's a start. Now both of you listen and listen very well. Jerry, if you ever say anything about what I look like…" the voice stopped.

A hand clamped down on Jerry's mouth and he suddenly felt pain as his balls were grabbed through the thin material of his swimsuit and squeezed tightly. He screamed against the hand over his mouth.

"Hey, what the fuck…" Mark protested.

Another hand clamped over Mark's mouth. After a few moments Jerry and Mark were both released. Jerry was whimpering a little.

"Now, now, I said no yelling. I will explain for your benefit Mark. What you are going to do, is talk to your respective parents tonight. That conversation will be something like this. You and Mark were talking this afternoon and the guilt of how you acted was eating you up. You want everything to be over and done. So you will tell your parents that you don't want there to be any trial. You will ask your lawyers to cut a deal. I would prefer that you go to jail, and find some real badass, like a murdering gang banger, to use your ass as his sperm dump. I can promise you that it is something that I will do my best to arrange if you don't do as I say and you get sent to jail."

"You can't do that you're just a ki…" Jerry started to say

The hand clamped down on Jerry's mouth.

"Hush, Jerry, that would be telling. Just trust me when I say, that I know people, and those people have the power to put you with one of those murdering gang bangers. I don't think either of you two boys would like that. Two pretty white boys would have your cherry popped the first night and the next night and the next, until you would begin to have a problem with fecal incontinence."

The bag was jerked off of Jerry's head and he found himself looking up into the face of the same guy from that night. This time the light was clear enough for him to see the guy with the hood of his sweatshirt covering his head. He saw, leaning over him, a guy who looked about his age, with black hair and blue eyes. Right now the eyes looked to Jerry almost like they were glowing. Then he saw the face of the kid change, as he let the anger he felt for Jerry show completely on his face. The kid lowered his voice and was nearly snarling as he brought his face very close to Jerry's.

"Remember this Jerry if you remember anything else. If you do not do as I have asked, you will be exceedingly sorry. I will do everything I can to make your short life a living hell. You will never know when or where I will strike, but strike I will, and I can assure you that the fate I have in store for you will not be to your liking. I will end you," the teen snarled.

The kid sat back up, smiled and his face transformed to a smiling teen; except his eyes held a warning. He put on his sunglasses on and pulled his hood up a little more as he stood.

"Well boys, this has been fun. Remember what we talked about. I hope we don't have to have anymore such conversations."

The kid leaned down and pulled the knot on one of Jerry's arms loose.

"Just relax there for a few short moments and you can get yourself free. Bye now, boys. I hope we never have to talk to each other again."

Jerry tried to look behind him to see the guy as he walked away. He finally got a glimpse of him and saw that there were two others with him. He couldn't see them very well before they were out of sight, but from what he could see, was that they looked to be dressed about the same, with their hoods up; same as the guy.

Once they were out of sight, Jerry got his other arm untied. He reached over and was barely able to reach the knot on the rope that held Mark's nearest arm and pulled it loose.

When Mark felt the tight rope go slack, he was able to pull his arm loose. Mark pulled the bag off his head and then quickly got himself loose before helping Jerry with his bonds. Once he was loose, Jerry lay back and brought his uninjured hand up to cover his eyes and he started shaking.

"What are we going to do Jerry? Do you think he can do what he said?" Mark said quietly.

Jerry said nothing.

"Dude, should we call the police?" Mark asked.

Jerry silently started to shake his head before wiping his hand across his eyes.

"No, I think we should do what he says," he said with resignation.

Mark stood up, "Are you fuckin' nuts," he yelled. "We'll go to jail. I don't want to go to jail."

Jerry looked up at him, "Mark, I think if we throw ourselves on the mercy of the court and ask for a deal, maybe we'll get community service, since it's a first offence and the fag wasn't too badly hurt. I mean look at me. In case you didn't realize, that was the guy that kicked all our asses that night by himself. And he did it easily. I think he can do what he says. I don't want to take that chance. If we get a plea deal, then maybe we can keep ourselves out of jail. I have a feeling that if it goes to trial, then we're really going to get fucked, legally and physically. I don't want to spend any time with some of those people that he talked about. There's something about that guy. I think he is very dangerous and he'll make it hard time for us. It's up to you, but I'm going to talk to my parents tonight and tell them. I don't want this guy to come after me."

Mark looked at his friend and he saw the fear in Jerry's eyes. He sighed, "I guess it's up to you, but I don't know. I'll have to think about it."

Jerry looked back up at Mark, "You do that, but I'm done with this. I want it to be over."

Jerry grabbed his crutch and Mark helped him stand up.

"See ya Mark. I'm going to go lay down. I'm a little tired."

Mark nodded, "Okay Jer. See you later. I'll go out the side gate." Mark watched as Jerry walked away. He could see by the slump of his shoulders that Jerry was resigned to his fate.

Jerry hobbled inside the house and into his room. He leaned the crutch by the side of the bed and dropped onto it. He rolled onto his back and looked up at the ceiling. Before long the tears and the shaking started. He eventually fell into an exhausted sleep. His dreams were haunted by the face of the guy that looked almost bestial in its anger.

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