The story below is a work of fiction. It may contain erotic or sexually explicit behavior between males. If you find this offensive or are too young, please exit now.

The author reserves copyright privileges. This work my not be reproduced, except for personal use, without the permission of the author.

Dedication: I have often thanked Bill H my editor for his hard, fine work on this story, but it could never really express my gratitude. This one’s for you, Bill

If you’d like to write, I’d like to hear from you.  John Tucker


Chapter Ten

“Damn!” Tony shouted in frustration. “The fucking cell phone won’t work up here! Sterling, go find Pete and Cody. Find out who is the most experienced rider. Here, take the cell phone. Whoever is the best rider has to go for help. He should keep checking the phone as he goes down the mountain. As soon as he gets a signal, call the house. All he has to do is hit ‘send’; the number is ready to go. Tell ‘em what happened and come back here and wait for ‘em. I’ll send Darryl back as soon as he shows me the hole where Jason fell.”

Sterling took off running in the direction that Pete and Cody had taken. He was shouting their names as he trotted over the rough terrain. Tony turned to Darryl. “How far is the place where Jason fell?” he asked.

“Not too far. I think about a half mile,” was the answer. “I hope I can find it again.”

“I do too, my friend, Jason’s life may depend on it.”

A look of horror crossed Darryl’s face at the thought. “I’ll find it,” he said with a look of determination. “I gotta. Jason’s my best friend.”

“Let’s go then,’” Tony said. “We’ll look together. Let’s go slow when we get near to where you think it is. Then you’ll have time to look carefully.”

Tony went to the picnic bag and took out a plastic bottle of water. “We may need this,” he said. “Let’s go.”

Darryl began walking rapidly, leading the way up the mountain and into the trees toward his friend.

            *        *        *

“What’s that yelling?” Pete asked as he released Cody from his embrace.

They had found a spot in a clump of trees that earlier provided shade, but which now was superseded by the giant shadow of the mountain as the sun moved to the west. The isolation and the feeling of peace in the high mountain air was a perfect setting as they reclined on a bed of soft pine needles. At first only their hands touched, but within minutes they had rolled on their sides facing each other. Their arms drew their bodies together and they kissed.


The shout was heard and understood. They sat up, and getting to their feet, moved rapidly in the direction of the distressed call.

“HERE!” Pete shouted back.

They saw Sterling before he saw them. He was moving in their direction, but would have missed the clump of trees where they were hidden without further direction.

“HERE!” Pete shouted again, waving his arms.

The gap between the boys quickly closed and Sterling, out of breath, was at the point of exhaustion.

“What’s the matter?” Pete asked as they met.

Sterling sat down on a rock gasping. As soon as his breathing slowed a little he panted, “Ya gotta come quick! Jason fell down a hole. One of us has to go for help!”

“Where’s the cell phone?” Pete asked, taking charge.

“I’ve got it, but it won’t work up here. Tony and Darryl have gone back to the hole where Jason fell. Tony said to find out who of us is the best rider and he should ride down the mountain to get help. He said to watch the phone so that when it’s in range he could call.”

“Have either of you ridden much?” Pete asked, looking from one to the other.  Two heads shook sideways. “Well, I’ve only ridden a couple of times before, but I guess that means me. Let’s get going.”

They helped Sterling to his feet and moved swiftly in the direction from which he had come. Ten minutes later they arrived back at Table Rock and the tethered horses.

“Let me have the phone,” Pete commanded. “You guys wait here. Don’t go wandering off, ‘cause I have no idea the direction of the accident. I’ll bring help as soon as I can.”

Finding his horse and untying the reins from the tether rope he climbed into the saddle and turned the horse in the direction of the trail back down the mountain. Kicking the horse in the sides with his heels, horse and rider moved to the path and began the descent.

            *        *        *

“It’s around here someplace,” Darryl said, the panic showing in his eyes.

“Calm down,” Tony said. “We’ll find him. If you see something familiar let me know. We can circle around if we need to.”

“All these trees look alike,” Darryl replied. “I’m sure we’re close, ‘cause I recognized some things on the way, but I’m not really sure.”

At that moment Tony saw something shiny ahead. “What’s that?” he asked, pointing.

They rushed to the object that Tony had seen. It was a plastic sandwich bag.

“It’s just a sandwich bag,” Tony said dejectedly.

“Jason was finishing a sandwich right before he fell down the hole,” Darryl said as he remembered the earlier time. “We’ve gotta be very close!”

“Ok, let’s separate and circle around. Watch your step,” Tony cautioned.  “We don’t want to join Jason in the hole. If ya find the place, yell.”

The two youths split into parallel paths, walking around 30 feet apart. They had not traveled more than 50 feet when Tony heard Darryl call out.

“Here it is!” he said excitedly. “This is the place.”

Tony ran to Darryl’s side. Darryl was kneeling on the ground looking down into a hole that was partially surrounded by small brush and seedlings.

“JASON!” Darryl screamed. “JASON!”  

The silence was deafening. “JASON!” Darryl shouted again.

>From the hole a barely discernible groan was heard.

“He’s gotta be alive,” Tony said, then called out, “JASON, IT”S TONY! ARE YOU INJURED?”

“Yeah, I think my leg’s broke, and…. it hurts to breathe,” came the soft voice in pain from below.


“Yeah, I can see a little bit of sky. I’m in a big dark cave, but I’m on a ledge and I don’t know how far down it goes below me.”


“K,” the weak voice of Jason answered.

“Darryl,” Tony said. “Go back to Table Rock. Every so often, as you make your way there, leave a marker, like a small pile of rocks or a pile of branches; anything that stands out. If you can’t find anything, leave your shirt or underwear or a shoe. Make a trail back here that the rescuers can find. Make sure you can see the next marker from the last one. Then when you get there, get a horse and come back. Bring some more water and the tether rope. Tie the reins of the other horses to a tree or something. Check if there’s anything in the picnic basket that might be useful. Tell the guys there how to find us, then come back.”

“Ok Tony. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  

Darryl left, walking quickly away. Tony saw him stop before he got out of sight and pile up some dead tree branches like a tepee for a marker.

‘Good man,’ Tony thought.


“K,” came the faint reply.

            *        *        *

Pete had been gone for 20 minutes and was 1/3 of the way down the mountain when he pulled out the cellular phone from his jacket pocket.  He was looking at the words, “Out of service area, when the words disappeared and the normal screen appeared. He punched “send” and a phone number appeared on the screen as it dialed through.

“Turner residence,” Parker answered.

“Parker this is Pete, this is an emergency! I need to speak to Ron, Matt or Tyler.”

“Hold on Pete, I’ll find them,” Parker replied, as he rushed toward the family room.

The only one of the requested men in the room was Tyler.

 “Mr. Tyler, sir, Pete’s on the phone. He said it’s an emergency.” He handed the phone to Tyler. “I’ll find Ron and Matt.”

“They’re in their room, I think,” Tyler said as he took the portable device from Parker.

“Pete, this is Tyler, where are you, and what happened?”

“Tyler, I’m half-way down the mountain. I left the others to ride for help. We were at Table Rock and Jason and Darryl went on a hike.  Apparently Jason fell down a hole, and Darryl came back to get help. Tony went back with him, but we couldn’t get the cell phone to work, so I came down the mountain until I got within range.”

“Is Jason injured?” Tyler asked as Ron and Matt appeared in the room.

“I don’t know for sure, but I’d say the answer is ‘yes’.  

Ron overheard the conversation and immediately took off running for his office. Entering the room, he hurried to the desk and picked up the phone, punching a second line, and then a series of numbers. After three rings the phone was answered.

“Butch?  Ron Turner. We have an accident on Mt. Charleston and one of the boys is hurt. How fast can we get the chopper here? ……. Good! Sometimes we get lucky. Stop at the helipad at the house. Get moving.”

Ron pressed the cradle button, released it, and punched in an intercom number. “Gerry, saddle up Lightning and Trooper as fast as you can. Matt and I will be there in 5 minutes. Thanks.” Hanging up the phone he turned and went back to the family room.

“The chopper is on its way. A paramedic team is at the airport on a drill so there will only be room for one of us. Tyler, you’re the man. Get ready and meet the chopper at the pad. Matt and I will ride horseback. Matt, let’s throw on some levis and boots.” Turning to Parker who was standing in the kitchen, Ron added, “Parker get some flashlights and some warm clothing for the boys and give them to Tyler to take to the mountain in the helicopter.  If we don’t get back down before dark, it’s going to get cold.”

“Right away Ron,” Parker said as he joined Ron and Matt on the way to the bedrooms.

            *        *        *

Tyler, laden with a duffel bag full of clothing, lights and snacks, including two thermos jugs of hot chocolate and one of coffee, stood off the helipad as he saw the large aircraft descend in the late afternoon sun.  After setting down on the pad, the door slid open and a paramedic waved for Tyler to board. Two of the seats had been removed and a light metal stretcher had been put in their place. Tyler clambered around the stretcher and took an empty seat beside one of the medics, placing the duffel bag on the floor between his feet. The door slid closed, and the whine of the jet engines winding up mixed with the sound of the rotors slicing through the air. When the aircraft’s engines had reached take-off speed, Butch, the pilot, pulled up on the lever controlling the “bite” of the rotor blades and the chopper lifted from the pad, then tilted toward the mountain as it began its climb. As the craft moved swiftly upward, Tyler looked out the window and saw two riders on horses on the trail. It appeared that they were about halfway to Table Rock. Tyler estimated that they would arrive there only 30 minutes or so after the helicopter. The flight was not long, less than 15 minutes but it was a bit unnerving to Tyler, because even though the machine was climbing, they never seemed to get much higher above the rising terrain. Table rock was a large rock, projecting out from the mountain. Its flat upper surface made a perfect landing pad for the helicopter. Butch however, was wary as he looked at his landing spot.  A portion of the rock projected out over the hillside below. He wanted to land as close to the mountain as possible since the aircraft weighed more than an automobile and he wanted to take no chances of the rock crumbling.  As he approached the rock, Butch saw boys waving their arms at their approach, then move off the rock as the chopper prepared to land on the rock that was now completely in the shadow of the mountain.

            *        *         *

Tony had waited patiently beside the hole with Darryl. When the younger boy returned with a horse and the tether rope, Tony took off his jacket, wrapped the water bottle in it then tied the bundle onto the end of the rope. After calling to Jason and making sure he was aware of the plan, he carefully lowered the package through the opening in the ground. The first attempt failed as the bundle was just beyond the reach of the injured hiker, so Tony pulled it part way up and moved to the other side of the hole, lowering it again. After confirming that Jason had caught the package, Tony told Jason to cover himself with the jacket and drink some of the water, after tying the rope in a loop around his body under his arms. Tony then pulled the slack out of the rope and tied the upper end around a tree. Being unsure of the ledge on which Jason lay, he felt that it would give him protection in case the ledge was unstable and gave way.

Tony then asked Darryl to return to Table Rock. He asked that Pete be directed to the hole, but that Darryl who by now had made the trip three times, wait to lead the rescuers.
He told Darryl to leave the horse in case there was a need for the animal at the rescue site.

30 minutes later, Tony heard Pete calling out. Returning the hail, Tony was soon joined by Pete at the hole. It was none too soon. As Pete closed the last few feet of distance, Jason’s voice could be heard from below.

“TONY! PETE!” Jason screamed in panic, “THE LEDGE IS GIVING WAY!”




Pete grabbed the rope and dug his heels into the ground.  

“Get the horse and take him over to the end of the rope.” He ordered Tony  “When I tell you, untie the rope and tie it to the saddle horn. Then lead the horse away so there’s no slack. Don’t pull too much though, we don’t want to pull him off the ledge.”

Tony led the horse to the large tree and tied the reins around a small nearby sapling. He untied the knot, wrapping the rope around his hand, until he could get it tied to the saddle.

“IT’S GOING!” Jason screamed.

The rope suddenly jerked as the ledge gave way and Jason’s scream of fright and pain could be heard as he dangled from the rope, far above the cave floor.

Pete would have been swept into the hole from the shock of Jason’s body weight as the ledge gave way, but Tony was there and ready. In spite of the impact load, the rope had only slipped a few inches further into the hole.

“You got him?” Tony asked as he inched toward the horse.

“Yeah, but be ready in case I slip,” Pete said as he took the full load of Jason’s weight.

Tony moved swiftly, taking the now slack rope and wrapping it around the saddle horn. He then mounted the horse to make sure that the rope didn’t come off. Turning the mount away from the hole, he urged the horse forward until the full weight of the boy was transferred to the saddle by way of the rope.

Pete released his hold on the rope but stayed over it, moving closer to the hole.

“Ok Tony, pull him up. Slowly!”

The horse leaned into the load as Tony urged it forward with his heels, holding onto the reins in one hand and the rope, wrapped around the saddle horn, in the other. Slowly the rope began coming out of the hole. Pete looked down into the darkness, trying to spot their young friend as he approached the hole. At last Pete saw a pair of hands wrapped around the rope and the light reflecting off blond locks.

“Take it slow now,” he yelled to Tony, “He’s almost to the edge of the hole! “ Then into the hole he shouted, “Watch your hands, Jason. Don’t get ‘em caught under the rope as they get to the rim of the hole.”

The rope inched further upward and Jason slid his hands down the rope to the knot as his hands neared the hole. Pete hooked his foot around the base of a sturdy bush and reached down into the hole.  

“Grab my hand,” he ordered. Jason’s right hand released from the knot and his arm stretched upward. Pete looked at the knot and saw that Jason had tied a granny knot that was slipping and was near where the end of the rope would slip through. “Reach,” he ordered. Jason pulled with his left hand that was still around the rope and stretched his right arm until their fingers were touching.

“A little more!”  Pete shouted. Tony gave his mount another kick and the horse moved forward. The movement was enough that Pete was able to grasp Jason’s wrist and pulled the youth toward the fading daylight. As Jason’s hand reached the top of the hole, Pete wiggled back to more solid ground. Grabbing the knot of the rope, Pete clamped his hand around it to keep the knot from slipping further. With a heave, Pete pulled the dirt-covered torso of his young friend to flat ground. Jason’s left leg dangled at a strange angle and had to be the source of considerable pain.

Tony had reined in the horse, and once Jason was safely away from the hole, turned the horse and rode back toward his two friends. Dismounting he untied the rope from the saddle and began to coil it up as he stepped the remaining distance to where Jason lay.

“Thanks guys,” Jason said almost in tears from relief.  A moment later as he recovered from the ordeal, he admitted sadly, “I’m sorry, but I lost your jacket.”

“Not a problem, buddy, jackets can be replaced. Friends are irreplaceable,” Pete remarked smiling in reassurance. “ We could use it now though; it’s getting cold. It’s gonna be dark in 10 minutes or so.”

No sooner were those words out of his mouth than they heard Darryl’s shout, “ TONY! PETE”

Looking in the direction of the noise, Pete saw flashlight beams nearby. “OVER HERE,” he shouted.

Soon Tony saw Darryl, Tyler and the two paramedics headed their way. “THIS WAY,” he called, waving his arms.

Lights found the three boys and the paramedics went to work on Jason, checking his vital signs, then splinting his leg, placing a neck brace on him and rolling him onto a thin back board. They unfolded a stretcher while flashlights shined on their efforts.  Placing Jason on the stretcher, putting a blanket over him, then strapping him down, one said. “We’d better get started. The light is already bad, and will get worse soon. We’d better get as far as we can before it’s pitch black. Once we get to the chopper and talk to the Doc over the radio, we’ll be able to administer some pain killer.”  

Tyler picked up the paramedic bag and supplies, and began the trek down with Darryl leading the way. The paramedics grabbed the handles of the stretcher and walked after the pair in front. Pete and Tony followed the stretcher, with Tony leading the horse and Pete shining the flashlight in front of the paramedics so they could see where they were walking. 10 minutes later, Tyler and Pete switched places with the paramedics to give them a chance to rest. They were still carrying Jason as they crossed the last stretch of open ground above Table Rock. Ron waited there with Butch as the group approached.

“How’s Jason?” Ron asked as they got near.  

“He’ll be fine,” Tyler said huffing. “Just a broken leg and maybe some ribs. They’ll fly him to the hospital and give him a little repair work. Where are Matt and the other boys?”

“I sent Cody and Sterling back down the hill with Matt, while it was still light. They should be almost there by now. No point in all of us having to go down in the dark.”

The group had reached the helicopter, and quickly loaded their patient. Matt had agreed that once he got to the house, he would leave for the hospital to be with Jason when he arrived. Tyler was going to ride Jason’s horse, but since it was dark Ron insisted that they walk down, leading the horses. The campsite was cleaned up, the picnic and trash loaded onto the horses. There were sufficient flashlights and lanterns that light would not be a problem. At the same time they were ready to begin the trek, the chopper door slid closed and the whine of the starting engines pierced through the calm of the mountain. Ron began moving down the trail as the caravan of horses followed, led by their riders. They had not traveled a hundred yards when the helicopter lifted off of Table Rock and dipped its nose toward the city below, beginning its rapid descent.

Half way down the mountain, Ron paused so that the group could take a short rest. Pulling his cell phone from its holder he pressed the number to Matt’s phone.

“Hi Ron,” Matt answered. “Where are you?”

“We’re about half-way down the mountain. We’ve stopped to take a short break. We should be back at the house in about 45 minutes. The going is pretty slow.  Are you at the hospital yet?”

“Not quite. I’m just pulling into the parking lot. I see that the helicopter is still on the roof, so they couldn’t have been here long.”

“Yes, they probably arrived about 5 or 10 minutes ago, I’d guess. It takes them almost that long to get a patient to the emergency room. Once you hear of Jason’s condition, give me a call. If I get back to the house and haven’t heard from you, I’ll call you. I’ll join you, but it will probably be an hour and a half, minimum. I’m sure that Darryl will want to come too.”

“Ok, Babe.” Matt replied. “Be careful coming off the mountain. The last half mile of our descent was getting pretty dark and it was lucky we had a couple of flashlights.”

“We will. Talk to you in a while. Love ya.”

“Love you too, Cute Guy.  Bye.”

An hour and ten minutes later, Ron and Darryl climbed into Ron’s silver Mercedes, on their way to join Jason and Matt at the hospital.

        *        *        *

Tom Clark was busy in his garage. It had taken him the better part of two days to collect all the material spread out before him on his workbench. Long before, he had researched the making of a bomb on the Internet. When he had looked for the information, it was initially just to satisfy his curiosity. He was amazed at the amount of material that was free and easily available for anyone who cared to do the necessary searching.  Now he had a use for the information and had collected the needed material with a vengeance. He was building two bombs. A smaller bomb using high explosives that was easily transportable and easy to hide, and a much larger car bomb whose principle explosives were nitrates that were much bulkier, but easy to acquire. In less than a week he hoped to have his plans made and the explosives completed. The larger of the two bombs, was being constructed in an old delivery van that had been stolen in Los Angeles by some acquaintances that he used as fences for vehicles that he and an accomplice “acquired” without the knowledge or permission of their owners, then transported out of state.

Tom smiled at his work. He was satisfied that both bombs could be successfully completed. His visits with the doctor attending his brother had confirmed his worse fears; that Tracy would never walk again. Tracy also faced the charges of assault and attempted rape of the young queer kid, Pete. Tom was helpless to reverse the injury to his brother, but with a modest amount of luck, a lot of planning and the help of the two bombs, there would be no witnesses at Tracy’s trial.  Tom had told Tracy of his destructive intentions and his brother’s reaction was expressed in the only smile he had shown since being admitted to the hospital. ‘Just another few days,’ he thought to himself, picturing the bodies of Pete and Tyler disintegrating in the explosive blasts.

            *        *        *

FBI agent Gary Franklin looked at the report. It was the monthly summary of suspicious data collected by the agency relating to potential terrorist threats. Currently these are required to be shared with other law enforcement groups within the U.S. government, and to a lesser extent with local law enforcement agencies. The local guys got an abridged version of the information shared by the Feds because they were still considered by those agencies to be bit players in the war against terrorism. The reality was, that in spite of mandates to the contrary from ‘on high’, most of the rank and file of the agencies still held on to their traditional ‘territory’, resenting the intrusion of others into what they considered their ‘realm’.  Middle managers of the bureaucracies simply looked the other way when they discovered the policy violations.

Agent Franklin took his job seriously. His section had been expanded and used the new powers granted by congress to delve into suspicious activity with zeal, but also with care so as not to alarm the fickle public. In the report he noted purchases of materials that could be potentially used as explosives. The document also reported on the persons identified as the purchasers. All such individuals were investigated to ascertain whether or not the purchasers had a legitimate reason for the acquisition of the materials. Most names were individuals in companies that used explosives in their businesses, such as mining or land development. Those without those connections were more carefully scrutinized.

Another source of information was the Internet. The Homeland Security Department and its associated agencies were performing exhaustive searches of the Internet for sites that contained either inflammatory anti-government propaganda, or technical information on weapons or bomb making. While a few of the discoveries had resulted in raids and arrests, most sites were simply monitored to discover the names of people utilizing the sites. Every three months various databases were compared on a super computer housed in Langley Virginia against each other, to list persons utilizing more than one data stream. The names of these persons were sent to each of the appropriate offices for review and possible further investigation. The latest comparative analysis was due to arrive in the various offices on Monday.  

Agent Franklin set the monthly report aside. It was late and time for him to go home. He decided to take up the quest for terrorists again on Monday when the Federal report arrived in his office.

        *        *        *

It was after 11 P.M. when Ron, Matt and Darryl returned home. As they entered the kitchen from the garage, they found Pete, Cody, Tony and Sterling still up in the breakfast room, drinking cokes and playing cards.

“We decided to stay up until you got back,” Tony explained. “We want to know how Jason is.”

“He’s doing well,” Matt said smiling. “He fractured his leg and cracked three ribs. They ran a bunch of tests and x-rays, and the preliminary reports look good. They decided to keep him overnight for observation, but if the final reports are positive, he should be able to come home tomorrow. We can all go down for visiting hours at 10 in the morning, if you want.”

“That’s great!” Pete replied as the others nodded in agreement.

“Pete?” Ron said, getting his attention. “On the way down the hill, I got a chance to talk to Tony, and later with Darryl. I was able to piece together what had happened on the mountain today. I’d like to commend you for your action, as I did Tony. You’re heroes in my eyes. Your quick thinking and direction, I’m convinced, saved Jason’s life.”

“Thanks Ron,” Pete said looking embarrassed. “I only did what anybody would do.”

“I have to disagree with you there, my young friend, as I told Tony,” countered Ron. “Others might not have acted so intelligently, or taken charge, overcoming the fears that accompany a potential disaster like that.”

“I was plenty scared,” Pete answered.

“All the more reason for you to be proud of your actions. Many people have good intentions. Heroes are exposed when in a crisis, in the midst of turmoil and fear they take brave, decisive action, often at great personal risk. I don’t know how I’m going to reward you guys for saving Jason’s life, but I’ll think of something.”

“I didn’t do it for a reward,” Pete said quietly. “Jason and I were becoming friends. I protect my friends, just like my friends protect me. You don’t need to do anything. How come you didn’t reward Tyler when he rescued me from George and Tracy?”

“I did, in a way,” Ron answered. “I won’t mention it and I’m sure, neither will Tyler. Lets drop the subject for now. Just know that Matt, Tyler and I all thank you for what you did.”

“That’s more than enough for me.  Well, Cody and me had better get going’ it’s late. We’ll see you all at 10 in the morning at the hospital.”

“Ok,” Ron responded. “Oh, before you go, do you have time for a joke?”

Pete laughed. “Sure Ron.”

The guys at the table all turned toward Ron and listened attentively as they smiled in anticipation.

“A guy was gonna buy a chicken farm. He’d never owned one before so he asked the farmer he was buying it from to show him around. They walked around amongst all the chickens and the farmer was explaining the various things that had to be done to raise them properly. Pretty soon the farmer bent down and picked up a little black and white thing and rubbed it on his lips. The city guys thought it strange but didn’t say anything as they continued on. After a while the farmer bent down again and picked up another little black and white thing and spread it on his lips. “What’s that stuff you’re putting on your lips?” the city guy asked. “It’s chicken shit,” was the reply, “I have chapped lips.”  “Gosh, I didn’t know that chicken shit was good for chapped lips,” the city guy exclaimed. “It isn’t,” the farmer answered, “but it sure keeps you from licking ‘em.”

The boys and Matt roared. Ron just grinned.

“Good one Ron,” Cody said laughing.

“For sure,” Pete said in agreement. “ Come on Babe, let’s get out of here. He might have another one. ‘Night guys!” he said with a grin and a wave.

The guys remaining echoed their goodnights and smiles as Cody and Pete left the room.
        *    *    *    *    *

Hope you enjoyed the chapter. (Grin)  JET