Castle Roland


by Joe Writer Man


Chapter 7

Posted: N/A


Copyright © 2012 - 2014 by Joe Writerman and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.

All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jordan's Viewpoint

Centennial LogoLawrence turned to us, "Come. We must hurry. We mustn't be caught." There was urgency in his voice; the look coming from his eyes was intense. He grabbed a few things from one of the shelves in the walk-in closet, reached down, grabbed a satchel, and left the room, leaving Luke and I alone for a moment. Immediately, even before he was all the way out of the room, Luke and I came together and held on like we'd never held on before, just savoring our presence, taking in every whiff of aroma that we could possibly get, and then our lips came together. I didn't want to let go; neither did he, yet we knew leaving now may very well be our only opportunity to do so, so we parted and made our way out of the closet and into the bedroom.

Lawrence, sitting on the bed, looked up when we entered, then lowered his eyes down to the floor. I looked at Luke. Together we walked to Lawrence, sat down on either side, and began rubbing our hands over his back, hoping that he'd relax, if only a little bit, if only for a little while.

Sadly, Lawrence, looking first to Luke then to me, said, "You must go. I must stay. If I am not with you, then you have a fighting chance of getting away. This is the way it must be."

Without delay, I replied, "No, we're in this together. We can sort things out later, but right now, you're right, we need to go, and we need to go now."

Luke offered, "Jordan's right. We can't leave you alone here… and we won't. We have to stick together… if they come after us, then we'll just split up. We'll come up with a Plan B. Right now, Plan A is to get the flock out of here."

On the way out of the house, I looked at the clock… it read 12:50am.

Stealthily, Lawrence exited his bedroom, his old part-time boudoir, now his former abode, and walked out into the hallway, urging us to stay where we were until he gave the all-clear, and give notice that we were to join him. My hands couldn't help touching Luke… I wanted him so bad… not necessarily to have sex, but to join our hearts and minds together, as one, as we were growing into one another, hopelessly and helplessly. "God, I love you so much." I whispered softly into his ear.

Luke tilted his head upward, toward the ceiling, then looked into my eyes. His were wet. Quickly he wiped them away as Lawrence walked back to us, "Come. We must go, now. This is our only opportunity."

Without delay, we made our way outside after snagging some food out of the refrigerator. Lawrence quickly stashed it in the satchel, zipping it up only after we're arrived at the tree-line. We entered the dense undergrowth by the light provided from a small flashlight he'd retrieved somewhere along the way. After a while, the light began flickering, and was barely hanging on.

Luke grabbed my elbow; I grabbed the back of Lawrence's shirt. We couldn't see each other, until Lawrence shone the light directly into his face… even then his facial features were barely recognizable. Luke said, "Katy's phone is on the kitchen table; I'm going back; you guys wait here."

Lawrence and I both reached for Luke to keep him from separating from us, but he was already gone and out of sight; the only sounds coming from his feet tearing through the grass and twigs, and whatever else was but only partially holding him back.

Rather than making a statement of fact, I was only trying to convince myself, "Luke will be right back… he was a Scout."

Lawrence pushed me to the ground and said, forcibly, "No, you stay here. Don't go anywhere."

With that, he was off. His departure was much quieter than was Luke's.

I couldn't bring myself to pray, yet I had grown to realize, even with their ranting, raving, preaching and pontificating, that something or someone had brought me and Luke together… "Whoever you are, whatever you are up to, no matter what you think of Luke and me… thank you. Please keep my Luke safe."

Luke's POV

I wasn't sure I was going in the right way. There was no light, not even moonlight. I was feeling my way, seemingly in the direction from where we'd come, but I still wasn't sure… I was only intent upon getting back to the house and snagging the phone that was still lying on the kitchen table… I saw it there… but I didn't pick it up… I was too scared that we'd be seen or heard… and Jordan and Lawrence were insistent that we get out of there… I agreed… I had to be with them, step by step, breath by breath.

I stopped for a moment, to listen for any noises; any noises at all. It was then, when my attention was fully in place, that I felt a hand go across my lips. A voice that I quickly recognized as belonging to Lawrence said, "It's just me. You can't do this alone. Don't say anything." I nodded. He continued, "I'll do this. Now, go back to Jordan. If I get caught, it's no big deal. Now that I know I can escape… I will… you two stay together… now, go. Do as I say."

He put his hands across my shoulders, gave me a gentle shove in the direction he wanted me to go. I turned around, reached my hands out to touch him, but he was already gone.

When I'd taken about a hundred laborious steps into the dense forest, I stopped to listen. Quietly, but not whispering, I said into the darkness, hoping Jordan would hear me, "Jordan, are you here?"

I waited, hoping he heard me. Then something touched my leg. Everything happened too fast to put any sense into any of it. I was about to shriek from terror, but whatever it was pulled me to the ground and quickly covered my mouth and then tore its tongue deep within its being. I relaxed as Jordan's aroma began wafting into my nostrils, taking me over utterly and completely. Now that the fright was dissipating, I joined in, and didn't fight back.

Jordan's body was shuddering and nearly convulsing as we joined as best as we possibly could, despite the circumstances and conditions. We'd part for a few seconds, only long enough to catch our breaths, and then our lips returned to their activities, sending shards of hope throughout my entire being, giving me the will to continue, to not be afraid, and to feel confident that we'd get away from the hell we'd suffered over the past few days. We didn't say anything. Nothing needed to be said. Unable to stop myself, though, "I love you, Jordan." My eyes filled with tears; my throat constricted; my breathing became labored, yet those shards of hope returned quickly when Jordan repeated my vow, "I love you. We're going to get out of this. It's not going to last forever and ever… I promise."

I knew those words were true, yet I was afraid. Then, as to subdue that fear, Jordan touched our lips together, hungrily, and then I felt a hand strategically placed. Not only did he place it, his hand clamped down, enveloping its circumference… sending me deep into a state of mind where I no longer cared about anything or anyone other than my Jordan. The moment quickly passed at hearing a branch give way to weight. The voice, breathing very heavily, offered, "Okay, all's good. I looked into the barn… it was obvious to me that they are preoccupied with Ritual. Eric is tonight's recipient."

We arrived at the creek not too long after Lawrence returned to us. The area was even darker. As we slowly made our way down the bank, we heard a critter making all sorts of little grunting noises as it scurried away. "That's probably a beaver." I offered, putting away into the deep recesses of my brain, the thought of what Katy had said about night creatures.

"We will stay here tonight, but we must go at first light… they will be looking for us. We will have to stay several steps ahead of them. Uhm, this is as far as I've come. They let us come down to the creek once in a while, after we'd been initiated, become Acolytes, and after we'd given into their every desire and order, following them to the T. You guys sleep; I'll keep watch."

I felt my way around on the ground, located a small stump to lean against, then quickly pulled Jordan down to sit in front of me. We were yawning, but that didn't stop me from placing my hands down on his lap, grasping hold of an interesting object beneath his pants. If mine were to be wet, then so were his… and they were.

First light of morning came too fast. It seemed like we'd only gone to sleep when Lawrence jostled us awake. At first, I was scared shitless, thinking we'd been caught, but Lawrence's calming voice, "Wake up. We must get going," kept me from going totally bonkers from fright.

While Jordan and I drained the cans into the creek, Lawrence was quickly selecting stuff from the satchel. When we returned, he handed us sandwiches from leftovers from the picnic supper, and told us to eat up quickly, that we needed to go off-trail just as fast as we possibly could.

A few hours later, we came to a Y in the creek; one way went left, the other one went slightly to the right, but mostly straight. We debated for a few minutes about which way to go. We saw, about a hundred yards straight ahead on the right fork, an old wooden bridge crossing the creek. It appeared to be dilapidated, and surely unused as some boards were hanging off the side of it, which led us to believe that maybe it was safe there, if only for a little while.

Carefully and stealthily, we walked through the water to get to the bridge, not wanting to leave any footprints through the moist sand and mud bank, arriving soon. We hunkered down behind scraggly, prickly thorn bushes and just waited to hear any sign of life. After a while, not hearing anything even remotely like any kind of life, we headed up the bank and were soon standing looking down into the creek and all around. There was no possible way that the bridge would carry any traffic since many boards were missing, leaving only the framework present most of the way. Also, the road was overgrown with grass and weeds that came to our knees.

My thoughts immediately turned to the phone Jordan was carrying in his right front pants pocket. I reached into his pants and retrieved it, and looked at the signal meter. We only had one bar, but it was worth a try. When I punched in 911, Lawrence jerked the phone from my hand, closed it and said, "The cops are in on it too…. in fact, a couple of them are buyers… they've come to the compound more than once… money was exchanged. Most of the time, Stan went with them. Sometimes they'd take Eric. He always came back all beat up… the townsfolk, I gather, are not all that welcoming to people of color… no, I take that back, they hate people of color."

We sat down, hung our legs over the edge of the bridge… as Lawrence continued to describe Stan and Eric's experiences, I just knew that Jordan and I were surely in deep shit trouble if we were to get caught.

Jordan took the phone, flipped it open, used his fingers to scroll up and down the display, stopping at one. I looked over at where he stopped. It was Dale's number. The clock on the phone read 12:20pm, which coincided with the sun's angle. With only the space of a second to contemplate, he went for broke, punched the pad, then when he hit the send button, put the phone between our ears. The crackling sounds coming from the receiver made me believe wholeheartedly that our voices would not, or could not, be heard.

Faintly, on about the third ring, a voice, Dale's voice, replied, "Hey Katy…" and then the line went dead before we could say anything that he would hear, but that didn't stop Jordan. Brokenly, with lost hope clearly in his voice, he began crying loudly, "Dale, please don't hang up…"

Hawaii, Dale's POV

I awakened with a foul taste in my mouth, nauseating in fact. My throat was constricted. My eyes were bleary when I ventured to open them. For a moment, I had no clue as to where I was, what had happened, or anything else for that matter. Nothing made sense, but then memories of fighting with Regina came back into my mind full front and center. Everything started coming back in vivid color. The hurtful words said, the gestures made, and the hurt and pain… all of it… came rushing back.

Tears threatened to spill from my eyes, but urgent needs took precedence. Quickly, I made my way into the restroom where I flopped down on my hands and knees, putting my head over the bowl, and then my stomach severely rebelled at being abused in no uncertain of terms. The upheavals were violent and unending, or so they seemed. I thought they'd never end, which did nothing helpful to a splitting headache. The harder I heaved, the more my head felt like it was going to explode… if it did explode, then maybe it would bring relief, blessed relief.

Loud knocks on the outer door brought me somewhat to my senses. They were insistent and incessant. I wanted nothing more than to be left alone. The realization that Regina and I was in trouble, our relationship was most likely gone, even after all of these years was dogging each and every breath I tried to take. Louder knocks, thundering knocks even, brought me to a place where I knew they would not stop, so I spat in the toilet one last time, then more or less crawled my way into the main suite, and headed for the door. At the last possible second, I slowly stood, leaned my head against the door jam, and slowly opened it, and looked up, only to see my oldest son watching me with worry clearly on his face. And to make matters worse, Carlin, my grandson, the beloved product from my beloved son looked into my eyes. His were so so very sad at seeing his Grandpa – in my condition. Never ever in a million years could I have ever expected my little one see me in this shape.

Jeremy, his deep voice, booming but gentle, said, "Can we come in, Dad?"

I unlocked the safety chain, opened the door, turned around, and made my way the table where I could sit down before I fell. I didn't even look up, knowing they'd know that their mother was correct in her assumptions that I was indeed a bad influence.

"Grandpa, what's the matter?" a very worried little voice, with every ounce of love and concern in it asked.

I made a great effort to raise my head to look into his eyes, but then he wailed, "It's all my fault. I shouldn't have…"

Jeremy knelt down, took Carlin's face in his hands and said sternly, "No, this is not your fault. Just get it out of your head right now. This is adult stuff. You are not responsible for adult matters, not yet; you're just a small boy."

I uttered, "Your dad is dead on correct, little one. I made a mistake last night. I'll be okay, though. Honey, this is just a rough spot. I have a feeling that life is about to make a change… actually, life has already changed… Jeremy, have you seen your mother… what time is it?"

"It's 7:20am. Dad, go take a shower… I'll get the coffee on. Carlin, son, I want you to go back to our room. Stay with your mom. We'll be over in a few minutes. Would you do this for me?"

"But Daddy, Grandpa is sick. He's taken care of me when I've been sick…"

"Carlin Wilson…" Jeremy's voice said parentally.

I said, "Carlin, go ahead. Do as your Dad says. I'm going to be okay, but thank you, little one. Give me a couple of hours, please."

"Okay. Daddy, you call me if Grandpa doesn't get better real quick." Carlin said, seriously.

"I will. Now, go on. Do as I tell you."

With his father's orders clearly in his little head, Carlin leaned in and kissed my cheek, and said, "I love you. Hurry up. We've got to get down to the beach… I have a new swimming suit. We can go surfing; you, Daddy and me."

"I'll try little one. It's going to take me some time, though… run along. I'll catch up."

After one more kiss, the little one was headed out the door. Before he passed through, he turned and looked at me. His eyes had sadness – and disappointment written all across them. He turned, left and closed the door behind him, leaving Jeremy standing in front of me.

"Dad, you've got to hold yourself together. We'll help you all we can, but…" He didn't need to finish the sentence… he knew it and I knew it. I nodded and took in a deep breath. I turned toward the table and put my head down to keep the world from spinning on its axis, or were we talking about that first vertebrae, the one that permits your head to swivel… it didn't matter… as another wave of nausea threatened to explode, I got up and hurried into the bathroom… and prayed over the throne – for mercy – and swearing that I'd never do THAT again so long as I lived…

Jordan's POV

Luke handed over the phone. I took it and looked at the signal meter. It had one bar, and it flickered. The battery gauge showed the phone was fully charged. I said, "We'll get out in an open area somewhere, and we'll try again… Lawrence, is there anybody else we can call?"

"I trust nobody. Look, I'm not even supposed to be here. I'm supposed to be some fresh faced kid who does what he's told, goes where he's shown, remains quiet, smiles and laughs when prompted, looks into the camera and puts on an assured demeanor… and all of that crap. And you just do it because it is expected… you learn to not even question anything." Lawrence said. He sat down and dangled his legs over the edge, looked down to the ground about twenty feet on beyond his shoes, giving him space to contemplate and put together his thoughts and feelings.

I reached into the bag, retrieved a sixteen ounce bottle of prepared water, opened the top, took down a slug, then handed it to Luke. He did the same, then passed it to Lawrence. He finished off the bottle and reached for another. He announced, "We have four more bottles of water. It was all that was in the refrigerator. There's enough food in here for another sandwich a piece… I suggest we hold off until tomorrow morning… they've got to last us…" He didn't finish his sentence, he didn't need to.

About thirty minutes later, Luke said, resolutely, "Come on, we need to get as far away as we possibly can. Like you said, they'll be after us. Guys, I'm not going back alive."

I looked into Luke's eyes. He meant what he said. There was not even one little trace of doubt. I leaned over, kissed his lips, and said, "Yeah, me too. Lawrence, are you in?"

"Of course. They'll hurt you two. They'll kill me. I'm of no use to them anymore. Kids disappear when they're no longer 'marketable'. Let's go."

He didn't elaborate, and I didn't ask any questions, though I wanted to find out more. Instead, I said, "Let's take this old road… it hasn't been used in at least a hundred years. Maybe when we get closer to a town, the signal will be stronger, and we can call for help…"

"There's nobody to ask for help, not around here. They're all in it. Like I said, they buy and sell… you know… our bodies… we're here to serve, nothing else."

With that pronouncement made, Lawrence stood, stretched out his arms and legs, put the water bottles back into the satchel, picked it up and started walking down the road, leaving Luke and I sitting there wondering, but only for a moment or two, before getting up and catching up with him.

Dale's POV

I felt almost human after taking a shower, one where I just let the water run over my aging body, making attempts to get relaxed, but everything in my mind and body was telling me to find Regina to try and make things work out, that we had promised to stay together no matter what, because those are the vows we made back when we were eighteen years old, when we were standing before God and our families, friends and acquaintances.

When I got out of the shower, I toweled dry, wrapped it around my midsection and went out into the main area, picked up some clothes that were scattered all over God's half acre. When I got enough together, I went into the bedroom and got dressed. Actually, I felt like I was returning to humanity.

Jeremy called out, "Dad, I ordered room service. You need to eat something light, and you need to drink plenty of water to keep from becoming dehydrated."

Food was the last thing on my mind… Yuck… but he was right… if nothing else, then I'd have something to toss up, other than my tonsils, or whatever that was liable to come up. I muttered my agreement, though I doubted it was loud enough to be heard.

I walked out into the living area. Jeremy was seated on the main sofa, with his legs up. He had an amused smile on his face… I couldn't think of one good goddamned thing to be smiling about… until he mentioned the fact that I'd nursed him back to health after his one and only 'nasty' drunk when he was sixteen years old. I didn't say anything. He did, though, "Thanks for taking care of me, Dad. I'll get you a cup of coffee… sit."

I sat. For once I was speechless; not knowing quite what to say; not knowing what to do; or even what to think.

Over coffee, which was actually making me feel somewhat better, if only physically, I told him about my latest trip, how I met the boys, what we did… I didn't even get into the deal about what didn't happen… Regina's allegations were absolutely untrue, and we both knew it. I muttered, "I guess I'd better get a lawyer… this could all get – nasty. Jeremy, I was married to your mother my entire adult life… I thought I knew her."

"Dad, I don't know what got into her. She's not now the Mother I know and love so much."

"It's that fucking church, Jeremy. Ever since they got into our lives, things have been topsyturvy… but never this bad. It's never been this bad."

"I've got a friend from college… he went to law school and became a lawyer. He does just about everything, except to defend people he knows are guiltier than sin itself. He doesn't take cases where he's apt to lose. I called him last night… he's going to take your case – pro bono. He wants to talk to you as soon as possible, Dad. He doesn't think there's anything to worry about."

"Oh, I don't know about that… I wish I felt so confident… truck driver, two adolescent boys riding shotgun, torn clothing… Needless to say I stopped and picked them up off the side of the road… which makes it Federal."

"That's my Dad. Dad, my friend from college is Seth. You know the kid that you came across… the same kid who lived with us for a couple of years… the guy who looked up to you like you were… a hero."

I choked back a sob. I'd not heard his name or him talked about in over ten years, not since he went off to school in another town. He worked his way through… he wanted to do it that way even though Regina and I had offered to send him to college… I wondered why he'd not kept in contact, but largely discounted his misgivings and replaced them with my own… you know… being out on the road so much…

Jeremy, seeing and feeling my change in attitude, was quick to respond, "Don't Dad… he made some choices of his own… they didn't include us. But he's a good guy. He still feels bad about not accepting your help. He really wants to make things up with you… you know… to mend that rift. Let him… let him feel like his efforts are okay… he really needs some good vibes coming his way."

"Oh, I'm not… I'm not going to hurt him. You're right… he made some choices, but that's what life is all about… making choices, living with them, all the while hoping they are the right ones."

Breakfast arrived. I was hungrier than I originally thought. Soon the eggs, hash browns and toast were gobbled up; not a morsel was left. Ah, one more step toward feeling human again.

We decided to go find out what Carlin was up to, but before we did that, I wanted to talk to Bradley. I went looking all over the place for my cell phone to call him, but couldn't find it. Surely, she wouldn't have taken that too, would she? I mean, why?

Yet, after everything that has happened since we set down on this beautiful island, I was coming to believe that nothing was impossible.

As we were walking out of the hotel room, I heard a distinctive chirping sound… the ring tone Regina had picked out… but where was the damn thing? I went looking all over the suite, thinking it was in the bedroom, the kitchen area, and then I found it in the bathroom on the vanity top. Caller ID showed the call was coming from Katy. "Hello. Hey what's up?" I replied happily.

But the connection was poor, almost non-existent. All I heard before it went dead was "Dale … up…"

Since the call disconnected I was about to put it in my pocket, but notification of a voice mail message popped onto the screen… Katy. I pushed in the pass code numbers, pressed the Go button and waited for the message to play back.

My heart stopped when the words, "Dale, this is Luke. We need help, please! Please hurry!" came through the speaker. My body involuntarily shuddered violently. His voice, distinct, clear and succinct, sounded so very, very afraid.

But why? Why had he called… asking for help… and why was he calling from Katy's phone?

He was in good hands… the best. I just knew they were.

Maybe Jordan got hurt. Maybe they got into an accident, or worse…

Jeremy reentered the room. He took one look at me… and walked over, "What's wrong?"

"I don't know. I don't know. Luke, one of the boys I picked up called and left a message saying they needed help; to hurry." I replied slowly, carefully, and still very much in shock and wondering.

I pressed save, then called Katy again. This time there was no answer, in fact the phone went immediately to voice mail.

Without hesitation, I called Katy's home number with high hopes that she would be able to tell me why the call. She didn't answer and the phone didn't go to voice mail. But just as I terminated the call, after hearing the ring twenty eight times, she called right back, "Hey, you old fucker. Whatcha up to?" Her voice sounded the same as usual… I sensed no alarm, worry, or hurry in it.

"Uhm, life has been better, that's for sure." But I didn't go into all the drama, "Uhm, I received a call from Luke saying something was…"

Katy's voice took on a serious ring, "The boys ran away, Dale. I couldn't stop them. I awakened this morning, and their stuff was gone, and they took my cell phone, too. They called you, but why? They left on their own accord."

"Apparently they got into some kind of trouble. Since your phone is missing… they called just a while ago from it… it had to have been them… do you know… did anything happen?"

"No, not really. I had some friends over, and well they seemed to all get along okay… your guess is as good as mine. I'm going to have my phone turned off. Since they made their decision to leave…"

"Katy, don't do that please. Do you have a way to track your phone? Does it have GPS capability?"

"They all do, Dale. Tell ya what, I'll get one of the tech savvy people on it. I'm sure they're okay, but we'll find out for sure, okay? I'll call you when we learn something."

In the background, I heard Katy call, "Charles…" and then she covered the phone, probably with her hand. Then she came back to our call, "There's a kid here who is pretty knowledgeable about these things… I'm sure the boys are okay."

"Okay. Thanks Katy. I look forward to hearing back from you. Please, call me anytime."

"I will. Talk to you later, Dale."


All of a sudden, I experienced a horrendous case of heartburn.

Bradley and Melissa were sitting in the main suite when we walked back to Jeremy's suite. My youngest son got up, walked to me, and then reached up to pull me into his arms. Since I'm much taller than him, I leaned down, and we hugged, deeply. He held on tight. I felt his body shudder, violently. But this was different… he wasn't shuddering at all… no, when I separated us a bit, I saw he was crying. He blurted out, "I'm sorry, Dad. I'm so sorry…" And then, whatever reservations he may have had, dissolved right there on the spot.

The boy was taking way too much of the crap on his shoulders, stuff that was definitely not his to take on. I pulled him into my arms and held him firmly. Melissa walked over, put one of her arms around Bradley's neck, and said to me, "He called his Mom's cell phone this morning. She basically tore him a new asshole for messing up our vacation, and for wrecking her life, and then she went off on me when I yanked the phone out of Bradley's hand. I was going to give her an ear full… but Rachel stopped me."

Rachel spoke up, while putting her arm around Bradley's waist, "Melissa, when Jeremy and I first got together… it was pretty tough for us, too. Right now I can't really talk about it…" I looked over toward the kitchenette table and saw Carlin sitting there, wondering what was going on, and valiantly holding back his tears, ones that were threatening to fall from his sad eyes.

I looked around. Everybody was looking to me… for answers… for me to say something that would make all of 'this' just go away, or for some wee words of wisdom to make things understandable. Truth be told, I had no more clue as to why this was happening than they did. Here I am, nursing off a hangover, which is my own fault, trying to figure things out… what to say or do that can, at least, get us over whatever caused this to happen.

Right then and there, the only thing I could think of and do was to say, "Group hug."

We do group hugs really well. We have done this more than once. Even though it does not usually change things very much, strength flows through and through us. Many times, different perspectives arise, along with a will to continue on. The last time we did a full-fledged group hug was when we received Regina's latest diagnosis, before the nasty treatments began working, which thankfully sent her into remission one more time.

Even though we were quiet, the strength coursing through our veins was palpable. I kissed the top of my youngest son's head, tightly pulled him in and gave my best hug because he really, really needed one. I needed to convince him that his choices did not cause his mother to turn her back on us, that she did it on her own, and that she would have to live with her decisions. His strength was returning. He took Melissa's hand and pulled her into our cocoon, so that she would feel the love and strength emanating from us into her. I resolved, right then and there, that she was a member of our family, be damned what Regina thought.

Fifteen or twenty minutes later, we parted with renewed resolve to see this thing through. Rachel called room service for some snacks and drinks (soft drinks). I stepped into their bedroom for a moment to myself. I looked at my phone. Something just didn't feel right. I couldn't put my finger on what exactly. One thing I came to believe about those boys was that they weren't drama queens. They were good kids who'd gotten a raw deal from life. I had no clue what I could do for them… but I have to do something. I could not get Luke's voice out of my head. I flipped open the phone and hit redial on Katy's cell phone number. It answered, but the transmission was poor to nil to non-existent. I don't know if they heard me say, "You boys hang in there. Don't forget your dream. May the good Lord look over you and keep your safe." I felt a small pair of arms go around my waist from the back. I looked down. Those arms, of course, belonged to Carlin. I took hold of his arm and turned us around to face one another. He looked up into my eyes with those brown orbs of his… the expression on his face told me that he needed some Grandpa time. He's never seen me struggling with anything like this in his life… I needed to show him how it is done. The truth is, though, I have not one ounce of knowledge about dealing with this, anymore than he does.

With his love penetrating my adult soul, and with those beautiful eyes boring holes into my being… I needed to do something. If those boys are gay, then they needed someone in their corner. As I looked into Carlin's soul, which he opened without encumbrance, I saw uncertainty, worry and concern, and love too… lots of it… yet way, way too much strife to have hanging on his young shoulders.

The young one stepped on my shoes, so like lumberjacks we headed into the main suite, then I bodily picked him up and tossed him on the soft sofa. Now, this elicited smiles from him. I felt myself smiling, too.

I asked Rachel, since she and Regina organized our trip, "When are we supposed to go to Maui?"

"This evening. The flight is at 6:34. We need to be there half an hour or so before departure. I figure if we leave here by 5:30, then we'll be all set."

"Okay. In the meantime, we're here to have fun, so we're going to have some fun. Do you hear me? All of you. We're going to have fun…" I think I was trying to convince myself, but… my statement broke the melancholy that had had its grip on us, its intended result.

Bradley and Melissa came to my room with me. They waited while I changed up into a pair those boardies that Regina had purchased before leaving the mainland. I put on a t-shirt, got my wallet and phone, and back to Jeremy, Rachel and Carlin's room we went. Bradley and Melissa went to their room, changed up, and then we all met in the lobby ready for adventures of our own making.

The first thing everyone wanted to do was to go up to the North Shore where the Dole plantation was located. So we took off, headed up the H1, and then got off at the exit we were supposed to take. On the way, the road narrowed into a two laner, and then we saw the pineapple place and turned in, parked and disembarked the rental vehicle, and went inside.

Gads, the store has all kinds of pineapple produces; this and that and everything. It truly is a sight to see. Jeremy pointed toward a food spot and got into line. Carlin took my hand as we made our way through the people milling about, excusing ourselves fairly frequently as we went. I ordered a pineapple float. Carlin ordered the same, as did Bradley, while Rachel, Melissa and Jeremy ordered pineapple snow cones. We sat down outside and enjoyed, savored each and every morsel of the delectable food before us. Not one mention was made of the stressors dogging this vacation, instead the mood was lighthearted and smooth, as if they didn't exist. I knew they existed, but pushed them far enough away so that they weren't strangulating.

Regina doesn't like pineapple.

We found ourselves taking the scenic way back to the hotel, off the freeway. There was a tourist pull off not too far from the plantation, so we stopped in to see what everybody was checking out. There was a whole slew full of turtles swimming about in a little alcove area. Some were sunning themselves. There were a few baby turtles, too. All in all it was a very enjoyable experience. We headed out, but spotted a beach that didn't look very crowded. When we drove around the corner of a sand dune… it wasn't too hard to figure out just why it wasn't bustling with tourists… a sign warned that all who visited the beach must comply with the dress code… which is non-clothing.

I said, "NO WAY!"

Plenty of giggles was heard coming from each seat in the car. I reiterated, "No. No… we… are… not… doing… this!"

"Ah Dad, where is your sense of adventure?" Jeremy quipped, grinning from ear to ear. Rachel was no help, not one little bit. Neither was Bradley. Since Bradley was in the front seat, between Jeremy and I… he skinnied out of his shorts and a thong like thing he was wearing underneath. I knew that he was deeply tanned… I wasn't aware that it was 'all over'. This perked my interest, "And just how did you get tanned like 'that'?"

Jeremy laughed. Rachel laughed too, as did Carlin. Bradley just folded his clothes… and ignored me. But the kid had a smirk on his face.

'What? Am I the only one around here who doesn't know the whole story… I mean, what is the real story?' I thought.

Meanwhile I heard laughing and carrying on in the back seat, so I turned around to see everyone undressed and waiting for my reaction… Jeremy broke the camel's back when he opened the car door, stood outside and removed his clothing, tossing it onto the passenger side floorboard – and then standing there looking at me like I was some type of dork. No, I'm not a dork. I am their father, father in law, almost father in law… but they weren't buying my stalling. I would not…

Two hours later we pulled out of the parking lot… sunburned in areas that are not meant to be sunburned, at least Carlin and I were, since we would not permit suntan lotion anywhere near 'that' area. It wasn't too bad, really. After about an hour of being fully exposed to the elements, beautiful elements at that, I finally relaxed and how does the saying go? 'Let the hair down.' Yeah, that's it.

As we took off and headed back to the hotel, Bradley was kind of enough to inform me that they all, and I mean all of them, had memberships to a nudist resort about sixty miles from home. Of course, he was also quick to point out that Mom didn't know of their proclivities…. ahhh, so this explains why the kid has no problem with skimpy or no clothing in and around the house.

I'd been 'had', and hadn't even realized it. He's good. He's really good.

His mother didn't teach him 'those' ways.

I smiled.

Quick showers were taken, and our belongings were all gathered up and stowed away, and then we took off for the next leg of our vacation – Maui. Little did I realize we would be staying at a nudist hotel.

They're all in it. Damn it.

Rachel pulled me aside… I guess because I wondered how in the hell Regina would have taken to this nudist bit… I knew she wouldn't go for it at all… she said, "Dad, when Mom left, I changed reservations… just go with it… it's not that bad, and for an old man you aren't sore on the eyes, so don't worry about how you appear; it's all in your head."

Then she walked off, without giving me even a second to challenge her reservation changes.

I thought she was on my side.

Jordan's POV

We walked for three or four hours. According to the sun's angle we were walking mostly north-north-west. We weren't talking about very much of anything. I found that Lawrence was really quiet and didn't have much to say. Every now and again he'd look at Luke and me as we went along holding hands and stealing occasional kisses. We tried to keep it at bay, but after all we've been through, Luke is my Rock of Gibraltar. Although Lawrence didn't come right out and say it, I could tell that he wasn't turned off by the male body; in fact he had been quite friendly. I just didn't want to overdo it with Luke in case Lawrence had issues… after where we'd been, you just never know.

Toward evening, we were hot, tired and hungry. I knew there was no way I could make it until morning before eating again. There's hungry, and there is HUNGRY… and I was HUNGRY. No doubt we were all hungry. Tummies were rumbling away from a lack of food. We kept on, though, mainly at Lawrence's insistence. When asked where we were going, he didn't know, he just wanted to get as far away from the hell hole as we could possibly get.

One, two, three miles later, we lost all track of how far we'd walked, the road opened into a gravel road not much wider than one car could get by. The wind blowing was causing dust to blow and get into our eyes, and the wind kept getting stronger and stronger as the evening passed into dusk. I knew we needed to stop for the day, but where? There was a tree line all along the way… as near as I could tell, and this isn't very much, there would be a creek close by those trees. When the road turned into kinda sorta asphalt, broken as it was, I grabbed Lawrence's hand and led us to the grove. I was right. There was a creek in their midst. It was wide and appeared to be deep.

The first order of business was to get into those sandwiches. Lawrence dropped the bag, then headed over to the creek and sent a wide arcing stream way up in the air and into the water. When one does it, then for some reason… it gets the bell ringing… and without delay, Luke and I joined him just as he was finishing. He turned away and went back to 'camp' just a few feet away. Luke smirked when Lawrence was out of sight, "Jordan, my man, I want you wrapped around this in the worst possible way." He stroked it a couple of times to make its presence definitely known.

I replied, "Yeah, I want you too… but we don't want to do too much with Lawrence with us… maybe we could jack off together… hopefully Lawrence would feel comfortable to do it with us… you know – solo style. He's a good guy. I just don't want to hurt him."

"Yeah, you're right. I'm sorry for even thinking of doing something in front of or even near him… it just wouldn't be right." Luke stated, shaking his thing more than three times in a row.

Lawrence was sitting on the ground with his head hung low, holding a sandwich in his hand. He looked up as we approached. Tears had stained his dust covered face, sending streaks down his cheeks, disappearing on his once-bright yellow shirt. "What's wrong?" I asked.

"The sandwiches are spoiled. We can't eat them or we'll get sick. The crackers should be okay, you guys go ahead and eat. It's all we have."

"We'll share them." I said while retrieving a whole box of saltine crackers. Luke grabbed a bottle of water, then we sat down next to Lawrence and offered the eats to him. Very cautiously, very meekly, he would take a cracker and put it to his lips, and then when he thought we weren't looking he'd cram it into his mouth and eat it up quickly.

With the water washing everything down, we stopped after eating one of the four packages in the box. I laid back and belched a good one. Luke let out a fart to be proud of.

Feeling free of the worries for a change, I giggled, then stood up, took off all of my clothes and tore out for the creek and dove in head first. Shit, the water was ice cold, but at the same time it felt good, although I had no plans on staying in all that long. Luke joined me. But Lawrence sat alone on the bank. He'd look away when we'd look at him. "Come on in. The water's great!" Luke said happily.

Persistence finally got Lawrence to stand up and take off his shirt, but he seriously slowed way down when it came to his pants. I said, "Lawrence, it's not like I've never seen you before… you're kewl, come on in." He stood there for a few more minutes, toying with the zipper on his pants. I got out and walked to him. "Lawrence, you're cool. We're the same in every way. Come on, man, it's fun."

"I can't. I must repent for my serpent is straining its ugly head."

"That stuff is bullshit, Lawrence. We're supposed to be hard. Here, feel this." I said, then brazenly took his hand and touched it to my fully engulfed male gland. He pulled away, looked into my eyes, and then very slowly, very meticulously, released the zipper and button, and allowed his pants to fall to the ground around his ankles. Luke walked up the bank, looked into Lawrence's eyes, then to mine, and then said, "Lawrence, we're cool… we're not going to hurt you… those days are past us now… and like I said, I won't go back there alive. That stuff about sin is all bullshit… I mean why would they have us fucking girls we weren't married to. So what if we get hard… I'm hard now. It's no big deal. My Dad says it is normal and natural for us guys to have them. Something about hormones…"

"Testosterone." Lawrence finished Luke's statement, "Testosterone is man's curse… it makes us do and say and think bad things, things against Patriarch's teachings." Something in the tone of his voice made me believe that he was really questioning what he'd been taught.

"Well, unless you're a Eunuch or some such thing, then we're going to walk around with tented out pants… it just comes with the territory… come on… let's go swimming before it gets too dark. Besides, we need to wash the dirt and crud off before we can go to sleep."

Lawrence smacked his lips, then stripped to his underwear. He hesitated for a brief moment before taking them down, kicking them aside and covering his penis with his hands.

As one, Luke took one of his hands while I took the other, and then gently pulled his hands away to show his rod in full bloom. "It's okay Lawrence… you're just like us in every way. We're not going to hurt you. We may jack off, but only if you want to, as well. Otherwise, I'd just imagine we'll fill our pants with gooey stuff."

"What? Now? But it will spill on the ground." Lawrence exclaimed, clearly puzzled, and even quite a bit worried.

"That's an old Biblical myth, Lawrence. I don't know what it means, really, but if it'll make you feel any better, then we can shoot into our hands, or out in the creek… although the water's frigid cold."

Lawrence clucked his tongue, smiled, and said as he ran toward the water, "COLD… that'll take care of it!" And then he dove in and came up across the creek, and stood on a ledge or something, waiting for us to join him.

We swam around until it was almost too dark to see anything. We about froze our asses off on our way back to our camp… the night air was chilly as all hell. A sleeping bag would sure come in handy. The next best thing was to cuddle in together and share body heat. Shaking with our teeth rattling, we anxiously waited for the water to drip off and dry, so that we weren't all wet and cold.

Soon after putting our clothes on, sleep completely overtook me. Vaguely I recall Luke spooning up behind me. I awakened sometime during the night, and realized that Jordan was definitely spooned into me, and that I was definitely spooned into Lawrence's back, and from the motions we were all making… sleep became even deeper, after a bit.

Dale's POV

The hotel was nice, very nice. "God, this place must cost a freaking fortune," I thought while walking through the lobby with the kids close by. I mean, hell, the floor, the walls… they looked like marble. And there were two chandeliers… from the looks of them, with their intricate detail, they definitely appeared real, not make believe. I figured I'd have to work the next forty years to pay for a few days in this place.

Those negative thoughts were replaced with a desire to have a really good time, to mitigate the rough stretch we've had since arriving on the islands. I started heading toward the check-in desk, but Jeremy stopped me by saying, "Come on Dad, let's deal with the details later."

"We've got to get card keys… don't we?" I was clearly flabbergasted over the richness of the place. At least I should know what I'm up against, right?"

Jeremy smiled.

I knew that smile. Without using words it outspokenly says, 'Don't argue with me.' I gave him that smile when he was born… he's used it on me too many times, and Regina had told me time after time that I had done exactly the same thing with the rest of the family. I felt my face scrunch up in a wicked sort of grin, and then followed him to where they seated with amused smiles on their faces, including Carlin.

Jeremy added, "We're having our luggage delivered from Oahu to here… our stuff should arrive before noon. Not that we are going to need it all that much…"

I turned to Melissa… surely she would feel like I did… all I received was a smirk, then she took Bradley's arm and led him to the elevator bank just around the corner from where we were standing. Even Carlin had this shit-eating grin on his face. He said, "Grandpa, we get to stay together so the grownups can have their rooms to themselves." He put his hand in mine, and off we went, following Bradley and Melissa, with Jeremy and Rachel on our heels.

How come everybody knew what I didn't know? It's a conspiracy I tell ya!

Our rooms were on the second floor, and they were adjoining, though there were no connecting doors … thank goodness. Upstairs, Jeremy gave me a card key to all three rooms. There was no room number on any of them. Jeremy explained, "The quality hotels do not write down room numbers for security sake… if the card gets lost or stolen, the thief would have to try each and every door. This hotel has two hundred eighteen rooms so they aren't going to go to the trouble…"

"Yes, I can see what you are saying. That's good." I said, then pulled Carlin into my side. He wrapped his arm around my waist, took the card key and entered the room.

Rachel offered, "It's getting late, how about we meet for dinner in say one hour." She giggled, "Don't worry about the tuxedo." Then she and Jeremy headed toward their room.

Bradley pulled me into a deep, deep hug, held on for a few extra moments, and then Melissa did the same. I felt loved. And I loved them so very much. 'Thank you for my family. I am truly grateful, I prayed as Carlin led me to the bar separating the main living area from the fully stocked and equipped kitchen at the far end of the suite. He hiked his short legs up the bar stool, sat down and looked to me to do the same thing. I joined him. We sat there just jibber jabbering about nothing in particular, from my perspective, but important to him… like school, his friends, and thanksgiving that his parents took him out of school for this trip so that we could spend lots of time together.

The hour passed very quickly. Dead seriously, I said to Carlin, "Well, we'd better get dressed. I'd just imagine you're hungry."

Carlin nodded while grinning from ear to ear. He jumped off the stool, grabbed my hand and led us to the bedrooms down the short hallway. There were two spacious abodes, one on each side of the passageway. I figured the one on the right was the master suite. I didn't know what to think as it was so large… I estimate the room was no less than forty feet by forty feet. It was fully furnished, too. Two dressers were along one wall. A doorway at the far end, close to the king size circular bed, surely led into the restroom, and other doorway that led into a walk-in closet. For a moment, I wondered why there would be a closet of that magnitude – since the hotel was naturist, but then figured perhaps some folk did not wish to parade around au naturale. I fit into the latter category, however I decided I'd just roll with the flow and not worry about those little details.

I led Carlin into 'his' room. Though smaller, the same exact amenities existed.

When we were in 'my' room, I'd wondered why floor length curtains were put into the room, but didn't check it out. Carlin immediately went to his set of curtains, pulled them apart, and then gasped from surprise. I walked to him and looked outside… we had a majestic view of the ocean in all its powerful splendor. We walked out onto the hanging deck and just watched the waves come in and leave… the sight was mesmerizing, and warmed my heart.

I felt myself tearing up, wishing that Regina was there to share it with me; yet not wanting her ranting and raving ways of doing and thinking things. I pushed those bad thoughts down deep inside me. I walked to the curtains, opened them. Seeing they hid a set of French doors, I opened them widely to catch the gentle breezes blowing in from the ocean.

Since Carlin assigned me the master suite, we got 'busy' dressing for the occasion, and then, sheepishly, I headed for the restaurant on the seventh floor with his bare buns leading the way. The food was way too expensive, but we enjoyed it anyway, despite the cost.

With all of the emotional upheavals and whatnot, plus nursing a hangover that lasted until late afternoon, we called it a night rather early. Since we shared the balcony, Carlin was in and out of my room several times until I just opened up the covers and invited him in. That stopped the traipsing back and forth, allowing me to fall into a deep, deep, cleansing and restful sleep.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jordan's Viewpoint

A persistent nagging sensation in my belly awakened me from a mostly dead-asleep night, broken only by the occasional need to roll over onto my other side. The terrain had its share of small rocks that seemed like boulders against the spine, hip bones, and my nose. More often than not, I sleep on my stomach, but the hard ground forbade such a position for any length of time, say anything more than five to ten minutes.

My next realization was that nobody was spooned into me, and I was not spooned into anyone else, especially my Luke. I popped open my eyes. When I didn't see Luke or Lawrence sleeping close by, I sat up and looked all around. They were nowhere in sight, which concerned me. I got up, shook off the little twigs and pieces of gravel, walked to the waters' edge, unzipped and released a pent up stream to be proud of. With my eyes now fully aware and with my brain functioning, somewhat, I looked up the creek and saw my Luke and Lawrence quietly talking while sitting on a large rock about thirty feet away, upstream.

Although the air was chilly, I stripped to the skin, ventured into the freezing cold water and made my way to the rock. Luke reached out his hand and helped me up. Without a qualm, I leaned over. Luke and I kissed good morning, then turned to Lawrence, "Good morning."

Lawrence nodded, "Good morning to you, too. Did you sleep well?"

"Like a log. You?"

"I didn't sleep very much. I've learned to sleep very shallow."

Luke offered, "Uhm, Jordan, Lawrence and I have been talking about… our experiences back at Katy's."

"That's right," Lawrence began, "I've been talking a little bit about what it was like to be awakened at all hours of the day and night to give favor to whomever wants me for whatever reason," Lawrence took a deep shuddering breath, then continuing, "mostly training drills, but not always. Whenever Patriarch was present in our compound… well, I shared everything I have with him to keep them from… from…"

"Being restrained," Luke finished, "much like what happened to us."

"That was terrible. I thought I was going to die. And… and… if… well if I had to do that all of the time, then I would figure out a way to… to… to… die."

After Lawrence calmed himself he continued, "Patriarch found favor with you, Jordan. He talked about you a lot. In fact, you were all he talked about. From the very moment he saw you… he had his plans."

"Like what?" I asked sincerely, while repositioning myself so that a small outcropping of rock was not digging into my tail bone.

"Imir. Imir is an Iraqi guy with lots of money and power. I went to visit him – in Iraq. Their culture is strange. I was bartered, bought and sold on the black market sixteen times in the five months I was there. Their idea of children and women is that they are nothing more than their means of receiving pleasure, at any cost. I learned to keep my mouth shut, to obey, and to give of myself whatever they required… I value my life… though I had no real hope of ever being released, much less sitting here sharing the details of my stay with them to you."

"So what happened… why are you here? I'm sorry, Lawrence… I didn't mean…" Luke backpedalled, sorrowful and embarrassed. I patted his shoulder, leaned in and kissed his cheek.

"That's okay, Luke. Don't worry. I got hurt. I was no longer available to them because I was in the hospital for one month. They tore me. The doctors told my Patriarch that I would die if I was not taken home to heal."

"What happened, if I may ask, sorry." I asked.

"Mateen, one of their higher ups tore me so badly, and I got so sick that they had to operate on my butt and fix the tear, which put me out of commission for three months. It was terrible." Up until now Lawrence shifted his gaze between me and Luke. He put his head down. He struggled to say, "My Patriarch never gave up hope. He said I would one day be able to serve as I always have… bringing pleasure to my fellows and Fathers is my calling here on earth."

"Patriarch said the same thing to me." I offered, not knowing the true ramifications of what he just said.

Lawrence looked up into my eyes, "My Patriarch found favor in you, Jordan. He told me so. His Holiness also told me that he would find somewhere to send me, and somebody to minister to. My services are no longer needed." Lawrence brushed away a tear, and then dove into the water, came up across the wide expansive creek and as smooth as a deer got out of the water, walked to our camp and sat down with his head between his legs. I couldn't tell if he was crying or not, but I was, and so was Luke.

"That's just sick." I said, then quickly brushed the tears out of my eyes, took Luke's hand and together, as one, drove in and went to Lawrence sitting on the bank sobbing his heart out. Luke and I gathered around Lawrence and held him in our arms as he cried out his pain of being rejected by his no good worthless piece of shit – Patriarch my ass.

He kept saying over and over again, "He loved me. He loved me… he promised… HE PROMISED! He promised me that I'd always be his, that he would never turn his back on me…" He lost it, wailing his inner pain out into the air, and into my heart and soul. His pain stabbed me. It broke my heart. To know that one human being can hurt so bad because of broken promises… sick promises!

Luke spoke up, "What the hell are we crying for? That son of a bitch hurt you, and he caused you to get hurt – for… for… why? He doesn't love you… he used you. If your Dad is so goddamned important, like he says he is, then why did he put you here? Lawrence, you are crying for all of the wrong reasons."

"No, you are wrong, Luke. My father… my father… he is a very difficult man, but he would never permit this… he wouldn't do this to his family."

Luke tossed a rock way out into the creek, stood up, turned to Lawrence, reached for his hand and pulled him to his feet. I looked at Luke and got up. I asked, "So… why are you here?"

Lawrence choked. Luke and I rubbed his back, knowing this was a pivotal moment for him. When he recovered, our arms went around his waist, and waited for him to speak. He was having a hard time formulating his words… the difficulties were clearly written all across his face.

"There was a terrible accident. My father permitted me to go on a family boating trip with my best friend. The whole day was a special occasion. We were going to spend the night out on the lake and go back to Washington the following day… but something happened… we were minding our own business, watching the people have fun, enjoying the beautiful weather, when suddenly everything changed… our boat was in danger. The Secret Service pulled Aaron and me down into the water to get away from the dangerous situation… it's no big deal because it has happened before… it's just a part of the territory of being a First Family… but, at the same time, the whole thing didn't seem right."

"What wasn't right?" Luke asked.

Lawrence took a deep breath. He looked into my eyes then into Luke's before speaking, "May I ask you a question?"

"Sure." Luke replied. I nodded.

"I am sorry… Jordan you told me that you and Luke are brothers, but then you said he and you are together… and when we walked here… from the compound… you two, uhm… were affectionate toward one another…" I looked to Luke, "Lawrence, we're gay. We came to realize this just a few days ago." Luke looked to me then spoke, "We're boyfriends. Jordan and I are together in every way. And, we're afraid to say these things to you…"

Lawrence responded, "I understand. I must now tell you something about me… is it okay if I share my deepest secret with you?" The expression on his face was filled with hope, and fear, too.

"We're listening." Luke offered while pulling Lawrence in for a deep hug. When he released him, I fiercely hugged Lawrence, knowing he needed to talk, and we needed to just listen.

"Yes, Aaron and I were boyfriends, even though we were saving our bodies for another time. My father had no idea, but a bodyguard on my detail found Aaron and I sitting side by side… I'm afraid he saw us kissing. We were in the kitchen, and well he wondered where we were… my father was made aware of the situation… you see, my father requires all staff and security to sign a written promise to notify him of any discrepancy or abnormal behavior. I don't know the details of it… all I know is that we had to be very, very careful. But we weren't careful enough… Aaron died… I know he did. I saw him dead."

"What happened?"

"He drowned. I only remember being brought up out of the water. I was coughing and was having trouble breathing… I was taken to sick bay. The doctor stung my back. I remember screaming, and that's it… I don't remember anything after that until I woke up in the compound. I had no idea what day it was, or anything else. All I remember is being tethered to a bed. They'd give me more sedatives. I'd wake up, then they'd hurt me and hurt me some more, until I broke. Then, one day Patriarch saved me. He pulled me into his arms, held me tightly, told me how much he loved me, and promised to take care of me for the rest of his life… he promised…" Lawrence lost his composure once again…

The muscles in my back and chest tensed, my throat constricted, my vision became acute and centered, and my mind was reeling at suddenly realizing that maybe Lawrence was here for a purpose – his dad's purpose.

Sobbing, Lawrence continued, "My father told me that gay people need to be tied up and slaughtered, that they have no place here on earth, and even the devil would reject us."

He could and would do this to his own son?

My body involuntarily shuddered violently as a chill ran up and down my spine, at realizing the lengths Lawrence's father would go to in order to defend his agenda.

Luke, equally upset, asked, "Do you know, for certain, that Aaron is dead?"

"I saw and heard the boats collide and explode in a blazing inferno. They blew up."

"But you said Aaron and you were pulled overboard… how could he have been on one of those boats that crashed and exploded?" I asked carefully. I didn't want to send Lawrence the message that I wasn't listening to him… I just heard a hole in his story…

Lawrence looked into my eyes. His eyes narrowed to slits. His mind was thinking rapidly, trying to make some sense out of what we were talking about, and no doubt the challenge I presented to him.

Luke challenged, "Maybe he's not dead at all."

"What?" Lawrence said, his eyes opening wide. His tongue lapped at his lower lip then stayed there.

I put my arm around Lawrence's shoulder, "If your father would do this to you, doesn't it make sense that he would do it to a person you loved? I'm sure your dad thinks that Aaron contributed to your depravity… why wouldn't he punish that person?"

Lawrence looked into my eyes with wonder emanating from them… was there a trace of hope just behind the tears freely flowing from them?

Luke said, "Lawrence, the truth has to come out. We're going to be with you every step of the way, aren't we Jordan?"

"Yup. We're going to find someone to talk to so that you can tell your story… it needs to come out, Lawrence. Who knows how many other people our age is going through this… we're with ya, Dude."

"I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what my father will do. I knew I was different a long time ago. I think he knew, too. He was hard on me with every step I took… the only times of any sense of peace was when he and mom took off for some foreign country. One of our staff kinda sorta took me under his wing. He showed me how to cook. And he was a good listener. Burt is his name."

"Did he know about you and Aaron?"

"Uhm, no, not directly. I mean we didn't just come out and say, 'Hey Burt this is my boyfriend Aaron. We're gay.' But I sensed that he was aware we were really, really good friends. Maybe he did know, now that I think about it… he always made sure that Aaron and I had time alone, not that we did anything because we didn't, we were too afraid of getting caught." Lawrence replied reminiscing moments of yesterday.

Two, maybe three hours later we came to another fork in the creek. Neither way was conducive to walking. To the right, the creek turned into the mouth of a river. To the left, the creek dried up, and there were thorns and thistle bushes all over the place. To go that way would be a death trap. We saw a bridge several hundred yards away, and there was a path leading up the steep incline, so we scaled it and ended up joining a dirt road. The question was: which way do we go?

Thinking that going left would lead us back to the compound, we turned right and headed down the road, taking great care to carefully listen and watch for any traffic or people. We came up with a Plan B in case we met either traffic or someone – and that was to tear out into the trees that lined the road on either side. When we got to the bottom, we decided we'd come up with a Plan C, then.

Three or four miles down the road, we hid behind some tall bushes after seeing a farm house on the right. It was sitting all alone. There were no other houses to be seen in either direction or down the road. And there were no cars in the driveway. We sat there for over an hour, waiting and watching for any sign of life forms. Luke stood, turned away and drained his can into the little barren wide spot between the bushes. Lawrence got up and walked away toward another set of bushes about fifteen feet away, then disappeared behind it. Luke sat back down, and then pulled me into his arms and seriously sucked my face and nose, but mostly my tongue. I still had my tonsils, so I gave them to him freely and without reservation.

A monumental turn of events occurred right then and there. For the very first time since we met him, Lawrence smiled. His face didn't shatter. He wasn't crying. The crease of skin on his forehead relaxed. He really is a beautiful person. Happily, he sat beside us, put his arms around our shoulders and said, "Thanks."

"For what?" Luke asked questioningly.

"For being my friends." Lawrence replied, just above a whisper. Very warily, he offered out his arms toward Luke. They embraced warmly. Their hug lasted for a few moments, then Lawrence turned to me. Readily, without any hesitation, we hugged deeply, and held it for a while. With my head past Lawrence's, Luke and I quickly kissed. I kissed the back of Lawrence's cheek, right in front of his ear as we parted.




We turned our attentions back to the house. We'd been there for about an hour. Curiosity was taking hold of my being. I said, "Stay here. I'm gonna go check it out."

Without giving them an opportunity to protest, I was up and stealthily running toward the back of the house. Without really paying attention to where I was going or what I was doing, I missed the step up to the driveway and splattered all over the concrete, landing on my elbow, immediately sending stinging sensations through my arm and leg as I skidded to a stop. Immediately I sat up, grabbed my arm in such a way so that I could see what damage had been done by my stupidity and clumsiness… my elbow looked like raw hamburger. Luke and Lawrence came running, went to the ground next to me. They checked the damage. Blood was dripping all over the place. Luke took off his shirt and was about to apply it, but stopped when Lawrence said, "Let it bleed. It's nature's way of irrigating the damaged tissue and washing out bad stuff." In fact, he began squeezing the skin around the wound, making it bleed even more. For about five minutes I had to sit there watching my life fluids pass through and out of the wound. Eventually, the bleeding slowed and after about fifteen minutes the blood glazed over and ceased to actively flow, though it continued to ooze.

Both of them then took my arm though the normal range of motions. We figured no bad damage had been done because I was able to move it naturally. My shoulder also had a large abrasion and was only slightly bleeding. They then turned their attention to the shredded jeans. Knowing that we were very vulnerable, and would be even more exposed if I were to allow them to pull down my pants, I got up to stand, but I was wobbly on my feet as a wave of dizziness threatened to take me back down. With their strength as support, we walked to a glider chair and sat down. It was then that I saw the knee of my pants turning red.

Luke's POV

Luckily we were holding onto Jordan as his eyes went back in his head and fell forward. We were there to break his fall, and he landed on me, just as I'd hoped he'd do. I felt his head all around to make sure he hadn't hit it during the fall. Thankfully, everything up there was just fine. After about thirty to forty five seconds he began thrashing a bit, and then opened his eyes and looked all around, surely wondering where he was. He relaxed when his vision cleared and found himself resting in my arms. Lawrence offered him water. He drank nearly the whole bottle, but he needed every bit of it.

"I guess I messed up, huh?"

Lawrence grabbed a yard hose and trickled water over the broken skin on Jordan's arm to rinse off any dirt and gravel particles, and then he took a healthy swig directly from the hose, then offered it to me. I partook. I didn't realize I was so thirsty until just then. Jordan took the hose from my hand and put it to his mouth. He drank and drank and drank, and then sprayed his face with the cold liquid.

I guess that water is what we needed, because we were more alive so to speak, 'invigorated' might be a better word to describe our relatively quick recoveries. The paleness on Jordan's face was also going away, bringing back his normal coloring. I was relieved. Lawrence stated, factually, "We're verging on dehydration… this is probably why you fainted. We really need to find a place to camp out, a place where we can get plenty of water into our systems. We also need to get you bandaged up, Jordan. That's a bad place to get an infection. Tell ya what… you guys stay here, I'm going to see if I can get into the house to find some medical supplies… hopefully they have them."

With that said, Lawrence walked up the steps to the porch, peered into the window, looked all around inside, and then reached for the door knob and turned it, opening the outer screen door. I wished him luck. I knew that he was right about Jordan needing to get some antibiotic cream and bandages on his sores. The area of blood on his jeans was slightly larger and very wet. Jordan saw it too. With minimal effort, he took down his jeans so that we could see how much damage had been done. The skin over his knee cap was jacked up, as was a very large area just above it on the lower outside of his thigh. I removed the right shoe and sock, and then washed it with running water. Jordan's thigh immediately broke out in a case of goose bumps, and he shivered. The wounds looked much less worse after getting the blood washed off, but still the area looked very, very sore and raw.

Lawrence's Viewpoint

The door was unlocked. I put my head inside and listened very, very carefully for any sign of life. A minute or so later, after not hearing anything, I went in. I did not see or hear anyone. Something told me that we really weren't breaking and entering, and besides we needed to get our friend help. His wounds look exceptionally painful, though if it had happened to me… I'd have just shrugged it off as no big deal – my Master taught me well.

Pushing that train of thought away, because I was not in the house for me, I called out, "Is anybody home? We need assistance, please. My friend is hurt."

There was no response. Stealthily, I walked to the back of the lower level of the house. Still no sign of life. I walked up the stairs, turned left toward another hallway. This led through the bedroom and bathroom areas of the people's home. Its inhabitants were definitely not home. Quickly, I rummaged through the bathroom cabinets to find needed supplies. Behind one of the lower cabinet doors was a huge supply of hydrogen peroxide, disinfectants and all sizes of various shaped bandages. Using the lower front of my shirt, I fashioned a basket and filled it with everything we'd need to treat Jordan's wounds.

Outside, Luke was rinsing a very large abrasion on Jordan's leg. I dropped the supplies to the ground, away from where the water was settling, and then took off back upstairs to get additional supplies we needed, chastising myself all the way up for being so stupid. I can't remember anything…

Pushing those thoughts aside, I got the medical supplies and headed back downstairs. I stopped at the door before going out. Jordan and Luke were… they were… kissing… I didn't want to interrupt them. I turned away. Two or three minutes later, I turned and looked toward them. They had parted and were looking toward the door, at me. I opened the door to go out, but they got up and headed up the stairs, with obvious distortions leading the way. I opened the door for them to enter, and to get my mind away from my own stirrings. My feelings and thoughts toward the male body are exactly what Patriarch tried to…

"Let's sit him down at the table. We'll have better access this way." Luke said, further interrupting my thoughts. He looked into my eyes… in them I saw only concern for his Jordan.

Luke's Viewpoint

As Lawrence and I sat Jordan down, Jordan's boner popped out of his underwear for all to see. I quickly reached down and maneuvered it back into its rightful place. Right then and there, I don't know how, I didn't want to embarrass Lawrence, but I vowed Jordan and I would make love before we slept. I had to have him. In me. I would give him everything I have.

Pushing aside my carnal emotions, Lawrence and I tended to Jordan's injuries, taking care not to hurt him. Every time he winced my heart leaped inside my chest, yet I knew the abrasions had to be disinfected and covered with bandages or else infection would set in, and we couldn't have this happen.

When I started putting on the bandages, Lawrence went looking for a pair of scissors to cut the gauze into strips. He found a pair in a utility drawer beside the sink. We agreed we needed to take the remaining supplies with us, so Lawrence took off to locate something to put them into while I finished dressing Jordan's wounds. Lawrence returned a few minutes later, carrying a pair of clean jeans. They looked to be Jordan's size, then he took off and returned a few minutes later with pairs of dry socks and underwear. Lawrence then said he needed to use the can. As soon as he was gone, I stripped off Jordan's underwear, and had a heyday with bringing temporary relief to the not so little issue Jordan was experiencing. He demanded that I stand before him, unzip and present my own, throbbing maleness. I'd just fastened the last snap when Lawrence walked in. He looked at us with a curious expression on his face, but didn't say anything. I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders. Jordan is still on the hook for a serious love making session, later, before we go to sleep.

Ever mindful of our position in a house that wasn't ours, Lawrence walked around the house, looking out of windows to see if anybody came driving into the driveway while I microwaved hotdogs for us to eat. Soon, we were chowing down on hot dogs, potato chips and applesauce, and drinking their orange juice directly from the carafe, not wanting to mess up their glasses.

Lawrence meticulously cleaned up while I got Jordan's clothes on. The jeans Lawrence had snatched fit Jordan perfectly. Since he had not been able to find anything useful to put the supplies in, I snagged two grocery store bags, dropped in the stuff we'd take with us. We all three took turns in the restroom, depositing that which needed deposited, and then we were out on the porch, getting ready to get out of there when a car drove up in the driveway.

The man was just as surprised as we were. His facial expression then turned to recognition. He jumped out of his car and arrived faster than we could exit. The thing is though that his facial expression didn't register anger… he was just surprised.

Taking command, I said, "Sir, my friend hurt himself. We borrowed some of your bandages…"

Just then four boys, anywhere from eight years old to about fifteen years old came walking up the sidewalk toward us. They regarded us carefully. The older one walked to his Dad. Together they stood there waiting for me to finish. I didn't know what else to say.

The man spoke, "I see. I don't know you, do I?"

"No, Sir. Uhm, we've been scavenging… and well, we hoped to get further but my friend fell and scraped himself up…"

The boys, all of them, bugged their eyes out. The man's face dropped. Quickly, I turned around. Lawrence was quickly taking off his clothes, and then in one fell swoop turned around, dropped to the ground, facing the woods, and began fingering his anus. My heart sank. Jordan's mouth dropped. And I stood there in shock.

The fifteen year old pushed past me, walked to Lawrence, pulled him up by the arm, and then forcibly, causing Lawrence to cower, pulled his pants up, snapped them then brought him to us. "We don't do that kind of shit around here. Now get the hell out of here."

The man, now taking control, admonished his son, "Jared, you will not talk to them like that. Look, I don't know what your names are, but Jared is right, we do not do sexual things like that – ever. Now, let's get something straight… you boys are not scavenge hunting. This is no game. If you were camping out, then where is your camping gear?"

"Uhm, we don't have any, Sir. We're living off the land. We're doing a project." I said. I looked at Jordan. He nodded sheepishly. His expression didn't even convince me, and he can convince me of most anything at any time.

Yet, we couldn't tell him what we were really doing for fear that we'd have to go back to that hell hole, a place I swore that I'd never go back to – alive. We'd made a pact, and there was no way we were going to break it. What troubled me even more was Lawrence's reaction. I wouldn't have believed he would do anything like that.

The man turned to Lawrence, "Son, I know you from somewhere. I just can't put my finger on where I've seen you, or how we've met. Now, what got into you for doing what you did? I need an answer."

I started to speak up, but the man turned to me and shook his head 'no', that I was to remain quiet. He turned back to Lawrence when I made no further effort to speak. Lawrence said, very quietly, very controlled, yet strongly, "Sir, we have no money. My friend needed medicine for his abrasions. We also partook of your food. We mean you no harm. Please, we will be on our way if I cannot pleasure you."

Jordan spoke up, "Sir, I'm a klutz. This is all my fault." Jordan's eyes then glazed over. He walked to the man, dropped to his knees, and was about to lean over to kiss the man's soled feet, but I took hold of his shirt, pulled him away, looked at the man, and said, "Sir, we drank your orange juice, too, hoping that the electrolytes and stuff would get these guys to their senses… we appreciate what we took from your house. This is all we've taken. Please look to make sure everything is kewl. And, yes, please let us continue our journey."

The man replied, "Son, that's just not normal. Tell you what… it's getting late. Michael, would you go through the house just to corroborate what these boys are telling us about not taking anything else… Stephen, you go with him. Jared, I expect you to be courteous. From what I've seen and heard, I do not believe these boys mean any harm or mischief."

The oldest of the boys, Jared, changed course very quickly, "Yes, Sir. Uhm, maybe you guys… Dad can they go ahead and stay the night… we could feed them in the morning, then they could take off… at least they'd have some food in their stomachs."

I looked to the man, not believing what his son was saying. The man said, "My name is John Finnegan. I'm a surgeon down at Breckenridge. These are my sons. This is Jared. Michael and Stephen are the two now in the house, and this is Matthew. Jared's right, you are certainly welcome to stay the night. We have a finished basement. It is a rec room, however there are two queen size beds down there that we use when the boys have sleepovers… there's a full bathroom down there, too. Whether or not you stay, is totally up to you. In turn, I want to know why you guys are out here in the wilderness… by the way, I don't buy the scavenger hunt story."

Doctor Finnegan picked up the youngest boy, sending him squealing up onto his shoulder. Jared dug his fingers into the younger boy's ribs… the boy screamed and begged for his brother to stop. The man turned around toward me, "The choice is yours." Then he walked up the stairs and into the house. Jared followed him in, but before he entered, he turned around, "Dad has all of us to contend with… he doesn't buy your lies. Give him a chance." With that he went inside and disappeared from sight, but left the door open.

Decision time.

The weight of the world felt like it was on my shoulders.

My Jordan was hurt.

Lawrence was crazy for doing what he did. So was Jordan.

We're all exhausted tired.

They offered their hospitality… despite our going through their house, stealing and eating their food, and taking their stuff.

Lawrence spoke, "I will pay our debt tonight. Every man has his needs and desires."

Jordan quickly stood up. "Don't do that shit, Lawrence. Normal people don't take kids and do what was done to us, to you especially. What you did could really get us into trouble, big trouble. We don't know these people. They don't know us, either. They seem nice, despite what we took from their home. Hell, we could have gotten into trouble for just being here."

Lawrence cowered, fell to his knees and began paying homage to Jordan by reaching for his feet. I walked over and pulled Lawrence up, stared into his eyes, and said, "We are not your masters. You are with us. We're doing this together, remember? Nobody is any better than anyone else… relax Lawrence. The hell is over. Now, we just need to decide if we are going to tell him our story… so that the truth gets out, so that nobody else has to go through that."

Jordan piped up, "Not yet, Luke. We're not far enough away. Look, why don't you try to call Dale again… maybe he'll know what we're supposed to do, maybe we can tell him the truth, since, in a way, he got us in the mess."

Angrily, I spat back, "Dale doesn't even know. I don't know him all that well, but he would never put us in a position to get hurt… I tell ya he didn't know! Listen to us… we're fighting." My anger dissipated really fast when Jordan lowered his head down onto his chest… and tears began flowing from his eyes… I took the few steps to him, pulled my Jordan into a hug and wasn't in any hurry to let go. "I'm sorry, Jordan. We're all tired. And you're hurt. And we don't know where the hell we are, and because we don't know where the hell we are we have no idea where the hell we're supposed to go from here. Let's just stay here, tonight. We'll get up early and be on our way. Hopefully they won't tell anyone we've been here." Jordan lifted his head and looked deeply into my eyes; he was searching for truth… I saw the questions emanating from his very, very tired soulful eyes. Lawrence was regarding us carefully. I lifted my arm up, signaling him to join our hug. Slowly, carefully, warily, he closed the gap between us, and then he had no choice but to join us when Jordan put his arm around his shoulders and pulled him into our cocoon. We stood there silently, taking in everything that we had to think over… were we going to take that leap of faith and trust them to not say anything, to not hurt us, and to thwart Lawrence' training to pay for… their hospitality?

A voice, a man's voice, a gentle voice, coming from behind us scared the holy loving hell out of us… as one we turned to see Doctor Finnegan regarding us carefully. He said, "I'm sorry to have scared you. Are you going to take us up on our offer? If so, there's ice cream and cake. Today is Matthew's birthday; he turned eight years old. It's a special occasion for our family, as are all of our birthdays… we try to make them extra special since my wife passed away a few years ago. There's plenty to go around… even though there are teenagers and preteens in this household."

I looked to Jordan and Lawrence.

Three hours later, with full bellies from mounds of chocolate cake with sickening sweet icing (yummy), showers, and feeling the comfortable beds beneath us, we silently took in all the events of the day, and tried to get them out of our minds enough to fall asleep. Lawrence, still dressed, sat in a chair staring at the stairway leading up into the house. He said that he would keep watch while we slept.

Doctor Finnegan had engaged us into family conversation, but didn't ask where we were from or where we were going, instead, he spent a lot of time just getting us to relax. I must admit that I was nervous about the whole situation, too. We didn't know them from Adam, but, well the vibrations were all good. Slowly, as the evening progressed, I was able to relax enough to the point where I felt like maybe I could sleep with both eyes and ears closed.

Lawrence even insisted on leaving the overhead lights on.

Jordan and I coaxed Lawrence to our bed, the very same one where I was intent on Jordan and I making love, but that would have to come later… but I had a secondary plan. I got up out of bed, went into the bathroom, took the roll of toilet paper from its hanger, brought it back, and then Jordan and I nearly had to lift Lawrence from his perch on the chair and bring him into our bed. We put him in the center. I was on the left side; Jordan was on the right side. "Lawrence, we're going to jack off, otherwise we won't sleep. I want you to do it. It helps to relax."

Lawrence shrugged, then very cautiously looked down to the front of his jeans. I snickered, hoping to lighten the tension. I took Lawrence's hand and placed it palm down on his tented out jeans.

Jordan piped up, "Lawrence, remember when we were back there, in the bathroom, when we relieved ourselves into the towel?"

"Yes, I remember. I am sorry for leading you into depravity… please forgive me."

"Are you hard?" Jordan asked softly.

I replied, chuckling, "YES!"

Jordan snickered, "You're always hard. I'm talking to Lawrence…"


Jordan snickered again, then turned back to Lawrence, "There's a night light on in the bathroom, but these ceiling lights have to go. Look, we're three guys. There's nothing wrong with releasing a little tension before going to sleep."

I got up, went up the stairs and flicked off the light switch, plunging the room into darkness, carefully walked down the stairs and into the bathroom, used the facilities, grabbed the roll of toilet paper, then returned to bed only to find that Jordan and Lawrence had traded places. My Jordan was now the center of attention. I took off the underwear I'd been given, tossed them to the floor. Jordan followed suit. After some coaxing, Lawrence removed his and put them under his pillow…

Twenty minutes later, a few gurgles, groans and pleasure filled grunts announced arrivals on those far away distant planets.. and then sleep… everlasting unto its own right overtook over my body and soul.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dale's POV

At 12:07am, I was awakened by brilliant, all encompassing, flashes of light immediately followed by crash bangs of thunder, sending me straight up into a sitting position in bed. The first had been immediately followed by a second, and a third. And then, thinking that was it and I could somewhat relax, a pair of arms tightly squeezed my lower chest and belly, and the sound of a young child fearfully whimpering his fright fully awakened me.

Then a fourth saber light completely illuminated the room. And surely the simultaneous crash bang led me to believe lightning had struck our hotel, perhaps even the balcony of this room.

A cold wind was blowing through the room, causing me to shiver.

My grandson was shaking. I do not think his shaking is from cold, though.

In one fell swoop, I picked the boy up, put him against my chest, held on tight, got out of bed, walked to the open French doors and closed them securely. The floor was wet. And we both got wet from the rain being pushed in by high winds of the electrical storm. I carried our wet chilled bodies into the bathroom, stood Carlin in front of the toilet, turned away and listened to him pee… which made my circumstance all the more urgent. He finished, took the few steps to the sink and began washing his hands while I unloaded my pent up liquids.

"I'm scared Grandpa." He said while quickly drying his hands. He looked into my eyes… I could see fear in them. I finished up, twice shook the appendage, and joined him at the sink. He grabbed onto my waist as I dried my hands.

To give Carlin's fears validity, I said, "I understand. I thought my heart was going to bump and beat out of my chest… thankfully it didn't stop. We're okay now, Carlin. We're safe and sound."

I looked all around to see if he had something to wear. I hadn't been all that keen with him sleeping nude in my bed with me. Not that we would ever do anything even remotely sexual… still, I wanted him wearing something.

No longer was I chilled to the bone. A thought crept into my brain. "Let's go back to bed." I said without making any mention of his state of arousal and the fact that he was as naked as the day he was born. I got him into bed and snuggled beneath the covers. I crawled in and made sure we had a sheet between us… I laid on top of the sheet while he was under it. The boy snuggled into my side, and soon his breathing was deep, rhythmical and regular, indicating he was sound asleep.

Sleep didn't come for me, though. My mind turned back to earlier troubling events. Bradley was first and foremost. I decided whether or not he approved or wanted, to put him back into therapy. He seems okay, but there remains a strong undercurrent telling me that he's not fully recovered from his ordeal from years ago. I have no problem believing 'that' is not something that is easily reconciled, and he's older now with a whole new set of attitudes and beliefs. Maybe the bullshit the idiot preacher fed into his head is resurfacing… obviously Regina didn't help her son one little bit. But why… why would she ever think that he would invite something like that to ever happen?

Simultaneously, or so it seems, I see those two boys, Luke and Jordan, hitchhiking their way to Las Vegas, or wherever they were headed since they each seemed to have different destinations in mind… and their call from Katy's phone asking for help… but they are with Katy… they were all leaving…

I don't know why… a sense of dread filled my being… something just wasn't right, outside of the upheavals my family was experiencing. I felt compelled to so 'something'. I would not go back to sleep unless I did. I just knew I wouldn't.

The storm was settling down. An occasional lightning flash would shear across the sky, followed by instant sounds of rolling thunder. Ordinarily, this weather is a perfect ingredient for deep sleep, but not this morning, not now.

After kissing the top Carlin's head and giving him a gentle squeeze, I got up and out of bed, walked out of the room and closed the door behind me. I went into the kitchenette area, flicked on a light switch that sent a bright light into my eyes, causing me to momentarily go nearly blind.

I grabbed a cold water bottle from the refrigerator, sat down, opened it, took a big swig, then reached for my phone, checked for messages, there were none, and then looked at the face for a moment or two before opening the lid. At 12:30am here, I figured central time to be either 4:20 or 5:20am there… I couldn't remember if they did or did not have daylight savings time this time of year… it didn't matter. I pushed speed dial #7 and hit the SEND button.

Six rings later…

Jordan's POV

I awakened, startled and filled with stark raving fear of what Patriarch was about to do to me. I was sweating; my breathing was shallow; my body was tight and tense; my hair wringing wet; and my heart is beating out of my chest. Something is strange, though.

Where am I? Why the soft bed? Why wasn't my body restrained to the point where the only muscle that could freely move was my heart? Why did my anus feel full despite nothing being in it? I had pooped before going to bed… so it couldn't be that. I reached between my legs to feel down there… and found the area to be dry and constricted. My male gland was about half hard. It felt normal.

My arm, remembering what had happened brought me back to where I was now… in a stranger's house, sleeping in their rec room bed. I touched the warm body lying up against me… despite the fears coursing through my veins, I somewhat relaxed knowing Luke was present and accounted for… but were we safe? The only real thing that matters is that we are together once again.

My arm and leg stung like they had been rubbed raw by sandpaper being applied to them. More memories came flooding back, specifically why we were in this strange bed in this strange place. I reached up, ran my hand across the bandages covering the scrapes and abrasions, remembering how they got there. I reached down and ran my hand across my knee… the bandage felt somewhat wet. Immediately I tensed up, wondering if and worrying about my blood staining the sheets on this bed.

I arose, got up and out of bed, walked toward the small light emanating from the bathroom, entered, closed the door, turned on the light to find my underwear scrunched up around the top of my calves, and then remembered, smiling, what my love did for me just before we fell off to sleep. My semi-hard appendage fully arose to the memory. "Well, at least that is okay." I walked to the toilet to drain that which needed draining, and then, when finished, pulled the pair of underwear up and over the essentials.

Both my arm and knee bandages were red tinged, but they weren't dripping wet. The good doctor left the bag of supplies in the bathroom right before he left, assuring us that we were safe, and that nobody would bother us during the night. I took several long deep breaths to force myself to relax. Somewhat relieved that we were okay, at least for the night, I gathered up the supplies, took them and placed them in front of the toilet. I sat down on the closed lid and reached for the scissors to remove the bandages, but before I could begin the removal process, the phone ringing on the vanity top very nearly scared the shit right out of me… I grabbed the receiver, looked at the caller ID… Dale's picture was evident.

The fear was back… in full force and effect… but what if… was it really him, or was it a ploy? Did it have GPS? Did they track us here? But it was Dale's picture. And this was Katy's phone. My body violently shuddered as the thoughts of being tracked down and the very real knowledge that we could be recaptured… on the sixth ring, I pushed the Open button displayed on the little screen, "Hello."

"Jordan, is that you?" Dale's voice came through loud and clear, sending a shock wave through my body, at realizing he would actually call.

"Yes, Sir. This is Jordan…" I said, valiantly trying to hold myself in check… I was both petrified with fear, and at the same time somewhat relieved that he'd actually call… but was he calling for us, or was he calling for Katy?

"What's up buddy? I received Luke's message that you guys needed help."

Suddenly, I realized he was calling us, not Katy. My eyes filled with tears, my throat constricted, and my chest felt like it was going to squeeze each and every little bit of air in it, out. I opened my mouth to say something, but when I pushed air against the vocal cords, all that came out was a squeak, and then a croak as my emotions were taking hold, sending me into a deep dark hole of despair, yet my mind was arguing, saying that I could talk to Dale… that he might understand… but would he really?

"Jordan, talk to me. Take your time, but talk to me… perhaps you could have me talk to Katy until you're able to…"

"No!" Then the decision to go for broke came into my head, "No Dale. We ran away… we had to." Then it left… the pent up emotions inside of me came flooding forward, tears were blinding me, I tried oh so hard to hold it together, to not let him know just how scared we were, I was, we were, but it was all to no avail. All the while, Dale was continuously and constantly, soothingly, telling me to just let it out, to not keep it inside, that we could talk when I was ready, that he would listen, and that he would help in any way possible. The mixed emotions, fear and hope, were pounding through my head and coursing through my veins… God, I'm such a fucking baby, babbling like some little kid who is scared from his own shadow… on the other side… I have to be strong… I just have to be, I just have to have it together… Luke has been in danger, and I failed him… he was hurting and scared too…

I needed to blow my nose. Booggers were draining, slipping and sliding down my lip, flowing their way beneath my chin and into my neck. With one last shuddering heave ho of my lungs, I said, "I'm sorry… I'll be right back." I laid down the phone, taking care to not disconnect, grabbed for the roll of toilet paper… it wasn't there. I then remembered it sitting on the night stand table… instead of going after it, I just grabbed a washcloth and took care of business. I grabbed another cloth and used it to wipe my face and eyes… the cold water felt good. I dared to look into the mirror hanging from a wall right in front of me. In the mirror I saw a very old man… it was him, Patriarch. Violently, I shook my head to clear that vision from my sight… was I actually still 'there', and just not realizing it? Quickly, I turned around to face the devil… but the beast wasn't there, and I didn't sense the swarthy, sweaty smell that emanated from him… instead I only saw a wall with a mural of farmland and a red barn set in the middle… I'd seen that same picture before… when Luke and I took our shower together… I relaxed, then looked back into the mirror… I saw someone that I hardly recognized. Those eyes were sad and filled with fear, they were bloodshot, and worry lines were both above and below those orbs. The skin was pale. The lips were dry and cracked. Then I saw bruises all along ribs that were clearly seen sticking out from the upper torso. The discolored skin didn't end until the white band from the underwear I was wearing covered them. I dared not look further down. But I did anyway, unable to stop myself. On the top of my thigh, in front, was a monster bruise, and then the remembrance of what had happened to cause it sent shivers and shudders throughout my entire body.

Quickly, I tossed down the washrag, grabbed the phone, and said, while I had a moment of composure, "Dale, we need help. I don't know where we are… somewhere around or close to Breckenridge Texas. We've been the run for a couple of days." Then my runaway emotions tore loose from their fragile moorings, but I was able to stave off another racking wave of sobs.

Dale took in a deep breath of air. During exhalation, he said, "Jordan, I have to know exactly where you are… Katy's phone does have GPS, she said so. Are you safe now? Are you in any immediate danger?"

"I think so; I think we're safe for right now. Dale, why… why did you… what made you think Katy would take care of us? It's a damn lie. YOU LIED TO US! I don't give a shit what happens to me, I'm a nobody, but Luke – why did you cause him to get hurt? !!!!"

Dale immediately growled back, "Jordan, I would never ever put you in harm's way! Now, you need to tell me what is going on… I cannot help if I don't know… how do you mean – hurt? Katy did something to you guys? Help me out here."

The tears started again… I was torn between believing and not believing what he was saying. I knew I was about to break down again. Before I did, I took in a deep breath and went for broke, "Dale, she belongs to a religious something… I don't know what it is… but they hurt us… they told us that we're all wrong in everything we do, think and say…" Then the memory of seeing my Luke violated broke me down, unable to speak as even more visions of Luke being abused clearly came passing, racing through my mind and soul.

Once again, Dale continuously and softly told me not to keep it inside, to let it out, that he was listening and would continue to wait until I was ready to speak again. But I couldn't speak, not then, and I seriously wondered if I'd ever be able to speak again…

Dale, though, allayed my fears by saying, after I'd regained a modicum of composure, "Jordan, I do not need the details right now, unless you want to tell me… right now, my first concern is your safety. Right now, this very second, where are you?"

"In the bathroom. I had to pee, and my bandages need changing."

"Bandages? What happened to you?" Dale asked pointedly.

"Uhm, I fell on the concrete driveway. My arm and leg are a mess. But Luke and Lawrence helped me cover them up with bandages."

"Lawrence? Is this another boy you are traveling with?"

"Yeah. He was my Master or something… anyway, he's with us; he escaped, too. He's okay. He didn't hurt us."

"Master? Jordan… talk to me. What do you mean?"

I walked to the door, placed my ear against it and heard nothing. I listened for any sound coming from anywhere in the house… I could not take the chance of anyone hearing what I had been ready to say… "Dale, Sir, we're safe for right now. I can't tell you. They might be listening to us."

"That's good… we'll talk about all of that later… the important thing is that you are safe, right now. We can work with that… okay, other than being in a bathroom in a stranger's house… do you know where this stranger lives, or what their names are?"

"Yeah, he told us. His name is Doctor Finnegan. He's a surgeon in Breckenridge."

"Okay, has he given you any reason to feel… scared of him?"

"No. No, he fed us. And, he's got four sons… and well, they all made us feel welcome to spend the night with them. We're in the basement and the door is locked from down here… he said nobody would bother us… so far they haven't… they even invited us to stay for breakfast."

"Okay, Jordan, here's what I'm going to do. The first thing is that I'm going to call law enforcement…"

"NO! NO, DON'T DO THAT! Don't. Please don't. They're a part of what Katy's bunch of people did to us… Dale, promise me you won't call them. If you do, then we have to go, right now. We've made a pact – we will not go back – alive. We're together. We'll make it."

Dale sighed heavily. "This puts me in a bind, Jordan. Right now, I'm in Hawaii. We're supposed to be on vacation having a good relaxing time… but that's not happening… we're having some difficulties… but this isn't for you to worry about… I don't even want to think about it right now. Do you know anything about who or what organization has been, uhm… hurting you?"

"Really, the only thing we know is that there is a Patriarch… I think his name is Phil… no, wait, it's Reverend Phillips. He's from some church in Kansas… wait… he's from Burroughs West Baptist Church. I don't know much else, other than he hurt us."

"Oh my God." Dale whispered. I barely heard him. His voice then got thick and heavy, "Jordan, I've heard of him. He's bad news."

"Yeah. He, uhm… Dale… he hurt Luke in a way that Luke shouldn't be hurt… I don't care what he did to me… I want to kill him… I hate him for doing it…" My resolve burst under the heavy burden once again… the memories of Luke's screams filled my head and heart… I saw exactly what the man did to Luke… in my pain and suffering at seeing and knowing what Patriarch did to Luke, I muttered, "Dale, he did sex things to us, mainly Luke… I don't care what happened to me… I promised I'd keep Luke safe – I failed. He hurt him."

Dale's voice, sounding stronger and more in control, said, "I'm sorry. I didn't know. I would never have put you in danger had I known the truth. I now understand why you are afraid, and you have every reason to be afraid of him… I'm afraid of him too… my family has had contact with him, in fact my wife is a part of that church. I am NOT a part of them in any way, shape or form… do you understand me? This is very, very important, Jordan."

"Yes, I hear you. We kind of thought you didn't know… but it's been hard… you know… we thought…"

Dale's voice, now strong and assured, cutting through the chase, said, "I'm going to call some people. I trust these people with my very life, and I trust them with Luke's and your lives, too. You are going to have to trust me… I know, from all you have been through, that this is going to very hard to do… but, please give me a chance… this is all I ask of you… just give me a chance."

"Deep down inside, Dale, I trust you. We wouldn't have called you if we didn't. We're going to have to take off again… we can't stay here. They're coming after us, I just know they are. And… Dale… we've got somebody very important with us… Lawrence is the President's son."


"Yeah, his last name is Ashwood. He looks just like his Dad. I recognized him. He told me his name and who his father is…"

Just then Luke opened the door, unannounced. He entered, took one look at me, came over, and pulled me into an embrace of all embraces. Nearly breaking down again, I said before I did, "I'm talking to Dale. He knows. I told him. He knows our truth. And I told him about Lawrence, too… you know: who he is and who his father is… I told him everything. I couldn't help myself."

Luke pulled me in and about crushed me to death. We then kissed passionately, like there would be no tomorrow… when we parted from the kiss, I saw that Luke's eyes were leaking. We turned toward the mirror. I reached out my finger and put it against the mirror, right on Luke's nose, "I love you." To Dale, knowing that he knew almost everything, I continued, "Dale, Luke and I are boyfriends. We love each other."

Dale quickly replied, with a lilt in his voice, "I know. I knew all along. It's kewl. I'm glad you have each other and that neither of you are alone. I do not know what being gay means… you know… down inside your hearts, but I have a good idea. It's okay… this doesn't change one single solitary thing. I'm going to rest a little bit easier knowing you two are, at least for now, right now, safe, and that you aren't alone. I've got some things to do, some phone calls to make. Give Lawrence assurance that he's included just as you two are… I'm going to go now… but I'll call you in a few hours, or you can call me at any time. I'll know more about how to help you guys. Right now, well, not right now, you don't want to wake up the family… but when everybody is up, try to charge up Katy's phone. And then I want you to turn off the phone so that it can't be tracked. Let's see… I'll call you in eight hours. I should know more, then. Can you do this?"

"Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. Is there anything else we need to do?"

"Just stay safe. If it is at all possible, please stay where you are. If it's not possible, then let me know. We'll go from there."

"No, we can't stay here. They'll be looking for us. I just know they will."

"Okay, you're probably right there…" Dale didn't finish the sentence… I understood. I knew they would be after Lawrence, and maybe me too. Patriarch found favor in me. His actions said so. Lawrence confirmed the fact.

"Jordan, let me talk to Luke."

I handed Luke the phone.


"Yes, it's me. I want to tell you the same thing I told Jordan. Stay safe. I'm going to make some phone calls, but not law enforcement… okay, do you understand that I will not call law enforcement?"

"Yes, Sir. Thanks. Lawrence told us that he was required to… uhm… they raped him, Dale. And he was bought and sold to some important people."

"Oh my God. If I ever get my hands on that… that…" Dale took a deep breath. Continuing, "Nevermind. Trust me, he'll not go unpunished. Meanwhile, here is the rest of what I said to Jordan…"

We terminated the call and turned off the phone.

I looked deep into Luke's eyes. He laid down the phone on the vanity top, then stepped into my arms. Simultaneously, our hands slowly descended into the back of our underwear…

Dale's POV

When we terminated the call, I put my head down onto the table… and wept bitterly. 'Why the fuck would she hurt those boys?' Then I jumped out of my skin when an arm went around my neck… I looked up and back… Carlin stood there with a shocked expression on his face. Then he said the words that drove me over the cliff, "What's wrong, Grandpa? You cursed."

I reached out for his arms… I so needed him right then and there… I needed him to tell me that this is all a bad dream so I could wake up and make it go away. But, he didn't do that. Instead, he removed his arm, padded off to the restroom and closed the door behind him. Soon I heard his stream. A minute later the toilet flushed, the sink turned on, and then about twenty seconds later he exited, walked to me, and said the words I so desperately needed to hear, "I love you, Grandpa." He then sat in my lap and locked into my clouded vision with his dark brown penetrating yes. Continuing, "What can I do, Grandpa?"

Even though my composure was barely hanging on by a thin strand, I worked hard to keep in check, but despite strong effort I felt it slipping away, my forehead got really hot; my head was banging with each and every heart beat, and my stomach did a flip flop. I replied, quickly and to the point, "Little One, go get your underwear and put them on. Then, I want you to go to your Mommy and Daddy's room and sleep the rest of the night there… I have business to take care of. Will you please do this for Grandpa?"

He hesitated. Without delay, I got up, took hold of his hand and led us to my suitcase. There I retrieved a large t-shirt and put it on his back and straightened it out so that he was covered adequately. I put on a pair of pants and a t-shirt, then we headed out of the room, and quickly covered the short distance to Jeremy and Rachel's room. Carlin knocked loudly. Jeremy answered the door. He took one look at us and told us to come in. I resisted, but the look in his eyes told me that I needed to come in and explain… At that point, I understood Jordan's resistance at talking, being unable to say anything of substance. Like me, my silence did not dissuade Jeremy from asking me, "What's wrong, Dad?"

"I really can't answer your question right now… it's because I don't really know what the answer is."

"Just a minute… Carlin… sweetie get into bed. You can sleep with Mommy." Jeremy said softly to his son.

Rachel, her voice clearly filled with sleep, asked, "What's wrong, Honey?"

"Dad and I need to talk. We're going to his room." Jeremy answered, walked back to his bedroom, put on a pair of pants, leaned down and kissed Rachel, and then walked to me, and took my arm in his. We walked out of the room. He made sure the door was securely locked.

In my room, I sat down at the table, put my face into my arms, and began weeping. I told Jeremy what I knew, which wasn't very much. There were more questions than answers. There was much more uncertainty than assurance. All of these unanswered questions and fears were making me angry. I wanted to rip the life out of Katy for putting those boys in danger, but that would do no good; it would not get them out of the situation they were in. I gathered my wits, grabbed a wad of Kleenex and got myself back together.

My first thought, a reaction, was to call Katy and ask her what was going on, but then I remembered the fear in Jordan and Luke's voices when they told me that she was involved. My second thought, a sane one, told me to not make that call. But still, I was torn.

As if my son was reading my mind, "Dad, don't call her. I think I remember you telling me something to the effect that the past is the past. The real question is: do you believe the boy in the phone conversation you just had? What is your gut telling you?"

I looked at my son sitting across the table. 'What is the next right thing to do?' I have asked myself this question a million times when I am in doubt about some situation or circumstance, what to do next, what not to do, what would a prudent man do… etc… ad infinitum.

I nodded.

I'm not one to turn people away just because it is a little inconvenient for me. I haven't been to church in years, but my Sunday school days of yesteryear taught me the Golden Rule. I stood, straightened up my aching back. Jeremy stood, too. I said, "Jeremy, I need to go back to the mainland and get this straightened out. I'm not sure what I can do… but I can't sit here and do nothing. I would be no good to anyone if I were to just sit around and mope and worry about something I could possibly do something about."

"Do you want me to come with you? Two heads are better than one."

"No, Son… you stay here and take care of your family. I have a couple of ideas that I need to work out. Would you mind getting online and booking me a flight to Dallas-Fort Worth, and a rental car… a SUV, a big one? What happens after that is anybody's guess."

Jeremy reached out his arms. We hugged deeply. I didn't want to, but broke the embrace. I plugged my cell phone into the charger.

A knock on the door interrupted my thought process. "I'll bet you a silver dollar that a one Grandson named Carlin is calling…"

"No doubt, Dad. That little boy adores the ground you walk on, did you know that?"

I smiled, "Well, the ground he walks on is sacred, too."

I walked to the door and opened it.

Two burly beefy police officers were at the door. "Dale Wilson, please."

"I am Dale Wilson." I responded, courteously.

"Mr. Wilson, please turn around and face away from us, please." The one officer said, and the other one walked to me.

Stunned into silence, I turned around as ordered. Jeremy was horrified. The clinking metallic sounds were ominous, and then, as if anything else could go wrong, they clamped around my wrists. "Mr. Wilson, you are under arrest for suspicion of child molestation in the first degree. You have the right to remain silent…"

Once the procedure was complete, I faced my oldest son, opened my mouth to say something, anything. He stopped me by saying, "Don't. I will get this taken care of. Officer, which precinct will my father be taken to… this is all a big mistake."

The officer lifted up an evidence bag. I recognized its contents – Jordan's torn underwear was the only thing in there. I thought, 'Why Regina? Why are you doing this to us?'

When the second officer cleared the door so we could leave, my heart broke again at seeing Carlin and his mother, Rachel, standing against the wall across from us. The boy had tears freely running down his cheeks. Once we got out in the hallway, Jeremy went to his son, picked him up and brought the boy to me. "Carlin, we'll get this straightened out… I promise. The judge will set bail and then I'll be back. Besides we have some surfing and scuba diving to do, right?"

"And a sailboat, too, right Grandpa?"

"And a sailboat."

Rachel said, "I'm sorry, Dad. We'll get this behind us. I know you would never do anything to hurt or harm a kid… your heart is too big." She then kissed my cheek.

I turned to Jeremy, "You need to call someone. His name is Louis Rogan. His number is in my cell phone. Call him right away."

Jeremy nodded, however the officer removed my phone from my pocket, and said, "I'm afraid that is not possible… this is evidence."

I offered back, but did not resist in any way, "Sir, just one phone call, please. Mr. Rogan will get the process rolling. Please. I will not argue with you… I'm just asking you man to man to let me begin the process of proving my innocence."

Both officers looked at each other, intently. The arresting officer looked at Jeremy. Jeremy, humbled, remained silent. The officer then looked to Carlin. My grandson reached out his hand. His eyes, still wet with his tears, had a soft yet determined look to them. The arresting officer then looked to Rachel.

Rachel and the rest of us were looking at Carlin. He urged Jeremy to let him down. He took the two steps to the officer, and said, "Please. My Grandpa didn't hurt anybody. I promise." The boy then reached out his hand toward the phone.

The officers looked at one another.

The second officer turned to me, and asked, "Mr. Wilson, does your phone have a passcode?"

"No, Sir."

"Mr. Wilson, we do not have a search warrant for this phone." His eyes left mine. He turned to Carlin, and said, "Son, while I watch, would you mind going through the pictures section while I watch?"

Carlin gave that 'Duh' look to the officer. Although the law enforcement man didn't smile, his starched face relaxed. Then the boy asked, "Do you mean that we have to look through ALL of them?" He reached for the phone, but the officer retracted.

"I mean there are hundreds of pictures… of us. Grandpa, you didn't take any pictures at the beach, did you?"

"No, Carlin. Officer, we went to the naturist beach today. As you know, no pictures can be taken there. I took no pictures. The rest of the pictures, they are of my family."

"Okay. George, we haven't taken inventory of this man's valuables." The arresting officer said as he handed Carlin the phone.

Carlin pulled up and showed 'George' about fifty pictures of our family. The officer thanked Carlin. He passed the phone to Jeremy. Jeremy put the phone in his pocket and shook the officer's hand. My son said to me, "Dad, we'll get this straightened out. I'll come down and bail you out… we'll just go from there.

The fifty odd feet walk from where I left my family to the elevator was the longest journey I've ever taken in my life. Just before going around the corner, I looked back at my family. They were standing in the same positions as when I was led away. Carlin lifted his arm and waved, and shouted, "I love you, Grandpa."


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