Chapters 6 - 10
Copyright © 2009 by the author under the pseudonym Gee Whillickers. All rights reserved.
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This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any actual place, event, or person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This story is intended for adults and contains subject matter not suitable for children. Parental Advisory in effect.
** 6 **
Dennis sat on the light blue carpet of Ray's bedroom floor with Ray across from him, newspaper spread out between them. They had been working on the model of the Warrior for an hour. Ray had the fore and main masts half assembled while Dennis worked on the 68 and 110 pound guns on the gun deck. Dennis fiddled with a small gun and tried to figure out how the racer plates on the deck were supposed to connect to it when he looked up at Ray and set the pieces down beside him. "I need a break. I'm going cross-eyed here from staring at these small pieces. Besides," he sniffed the air towards Ray grandiosely, "you stink!" He grinned at his friend and waited for the inevitable response.
Ray grinned back at Dennis. "I stink?!? What do you think is making the plastic on these pieces curl up here Raunch Boy?" he said and launched himself at his friend.
"Ooof! Who're you calling Raunch Boy you slime bucket?!" Dennis asked as he fell backwards under Ray's weight onto the soft carpet. He dug his fingers into Ray's ribs as Ray was attempting to get his elbow locked around Dennis' head. The successful counter-attack caused Ray to remove his hands from Dennis' neck and use them to try and protect his sensitive ribs. Sensing the opening Dennis brought his knee up and jabbed it strategically towards Ray's jewels.
"Aaaah, no fair you perv!" yelled Ray as he crossed his leg to ward off Dennis' knee, smashing his foot rather loudly against the wall in the process and attempting to grab Dennis' nipples in a vicious twisting counter-attack.
"Who're you calling perv, you nipple molester!" answered Dennis, laughing as he twisted away and banged his shoulder loudly against the same wall.
"That's enough you two!! Stop before the roof caves in!!" came the yell from Ray's mom downstairs.
Giggling hard, the boys lay there sweatily. Dennis smirked. "What do you think she thinks we're doing up here?"
"Naw, c'mon," answered Ray, rolling his eyes. "Besides, we could probably do it on the kitchen counter beside her while she was making a beet salad for supper and she wouldn't care, as long as a man wasn't involved," snorted Ray.
Giggling madly at the picture that conjured up in Dennis' head all he could manage for an answer was, "Awww man, that's gross! Beet salad?!"
"Phew, now we both really need a shower. You wanna?" asked Ray with a grin.
Dennis grinned back nastily. "That depends. We gonna wash each other's boners again?"
They quickly shed their clothes and scampered off to the bathroom, their very, very hard three and half inch dicks pointing the way.
** 7 **
Ray came downstairs and into the kitchen to find his mom humming tunelessly to herself. His eyes half open, he yawned widely. "Morning Mom, morning Dad. Where's Kimmy." He poked his head around the door, looking into the kitchen and the den.
Ray's dad didn't even look up from his paper for some reason, just made half a wave in Ray's direction.
"Oh, she already caught the school bus," answered Ray's mom neutrally.
Ray tensed in alarm. "What? I missed the bus?! Why didn't you wake me up?" He began to quickly throw his school stuff together. "Now I gotta walk the whole way!"
"Oh don't worry dear," answered his mom in that overly sweet tone she'd been using for a few days, "We have almost an hour before your appointment. We'll be leaving in twenty minutes. Now have some cereal. I'll drop you at school when it's over."
"What appointment? I thought we didn't have to go in until Friday?" he asked, looking at his dad for support. Sudden worry and anxiety making his chest tight.
His dad just smiled at him sadly and turned back to his paper. No help there. Ray's mom answered for him, "No dear, not at the hospital. We have to meet someone to talk to you about everything that's going on." With that cryptic answer she bustled out of the kitchen and upstairs on some unknown errand.
"Sorry son. I tried to talk her out of it. Just play along."
* * *
They pulled into the parking lot of a large glass and steel building marked Southside Family Services written on a large colorful sign made to look like it was done in crayon in a child's handwriting. Ray was getting more worried and tense by the minute. He was royally pissed at his dad for not helping him out and for not letting him know exactly what was going on.
His mom got out of the car and impatiently told Ray to hurry up as she walked quickly towards the building.
Ray half jogged to catch up. "Mom, what's this about? I already talked to the social worker at the hospital about my diagnosis. I think I counseled her more than the other way around."
Karen didn't answer her son, and her face remained utterly expressionless. She just pulled open the glass door and waved Ray inside. She pushed the button for the elevator in the lobby and waited for it to arrive, her eyes wandering around the lobby aimlessly.
Ray was ready to burst. Why was his mom acting so odd? Why wouldn't anyone tell him anything? When he went to the hospital everyone gave him all the information he asked for once they realized he could understand it, and wouldn't freak out. How was this different?
The elevator arrived and they got in. Karen pressed the number four and they waited in silence for the doors to close and the elevator to ascend. Karen looking determined and Ray looking terrified.
They sat in the waiting room of an office that looked like any doctor's office, the usual end tables with ancient magazines on them. It was decorated with mauve pastel wallpaper and those cheesy motivational posters with the out of focus landscapes in a wide black border with some dumb, vaguely inspiring but completely non-specific slogan at the bottom. Didn't those go out of style ages ago? Two large fake palm plants were in the corners. A small kid's play area was in another corner with a few useless broken toys lying around. The lights were glaring white fluorescents. Ray looked around at the other people. Two teens, each by themselves, looking a bit rough around the edges. One dressed in goth style, the other in ripped jeans and a gray t-shirt. Ray was pretty sure the second one was stoned out of his mind on something other than marijuana. Two moms, one with a two year old who was rocking endlessly back and forth in her chair, it didn't look like she remembered how to blink, and the other with a couple of unruly pre-school age kids. Their mom was making no effort to control their behavior as they chased around noisily, bumping into people. Their clothes looked like nobody paid any attention at all to them. She smelled strongly of garlic.
He really didn't want to be here. The whole atmosphere just increased Ray's anxiety to dangerous levels. He began breathing very fast and he felt like he was going to throw up. He didn't feel well at all.
On some unseen signal, the receptionist looked up from behind her desk into the waiting area. "Raymond Huntley? This way please."
Ray got up and waited for his mom to join him. She just sat there and shook her head once. Ray shrugged and followed the receptionist into the offices. He was directed into a medium-sized office decorated like a small living room, complete with table lamps and overstuffed chairs. Obviously they weren't being thrifty with the tissue box budget, with one on every flat surface in the room. All of the furniture was about ten years out of fashion, with harsh contrasting colors. The room looked like someone had worked very hard to try and make people feel at ease, but had failed absolutely miserably and created the opposite effect without realizing it. The receptionist turned away and left the room, closing the door behind her and smiling politely before Ray could formulate any questions. Not that expected any answers at this point. He sat down to wait resignedly.
He noticed the curtains half covering a wall with a built in one-way mirror. Obviously someone could, or was, watching from behind it. Ray worked hard to completely ignore it, sitting so his back was to the mirror. Looking up, he realized that was no help at all. There was a video camera in the corner up near the ceiling on the far side of the room pointed right at him. He sighed and waited, feeling rather confused and defeated. The analytical part of his sharp mind couldn't help but wonder if that was the point.
Ten minutes he waited. Calculated, it seemed to Ray, to maximize his nervousness and minimize his ability to think clearly. A woman opened the door and walked in, closing the door behind her. She appeared quite young, maybe mid twenties. She wore purple nail polish and too much make-up. Her dark hair was tied back in a tight ponytail held with one purple band. She was showing entirely too much cleavage. She smiled at Ray and offered her hand for a handshake. "Hi Raymond. My name is Theresa Smith-Gossen. I'm a counselor here at the Center specializing in children's abuse and emotional health. Can we sit and talk for a few minutes?"
Ray shook her hand limply and without standing up. He didn't answer her. He didn't see the point. Usually he wasn't so slow. If it wasn't for his diagnosis taking up most of his attention he would had clued in ages ago. He knew why he was here now. He couldn't ever remember feeling such anger and spitefulness towards his mother. This was so completely unlike her.
He just sat and waited for what he knew was the inevitable inquisition.
"Raymond, the reason I wanted to talk to you was that some people are a bit concerned that someone may be hurting you in some way, or doing something wrong to you. Now, you should know that anything you tell me here is in complete confidence. We have rules of confidentiality, so I can't share what you tell me with anyone else except your parents, and my supervisor and team. Now, there are exceptions to this. If you tell me about anyone doing anything to you or touching you inappropriately I'm obligated by law to report that. But otherwise you can trust that this is private." She smiled sweetly.
Ray's frustration and anxiety boiled over. He had had enough. "So," Ray responded dryly with a tone much older than his eleven years, "basically the only ones who know what I say here are you, the unknown number of members of your team, the people in that room behind me, the videotape or digital video being taken by those cameras and microphones, my parents, any other counselors or shrinks you might think to refer me to, and if I so much as hint at anything 'inappropriate,' an unknown number of police members and detectives, and, by extension, an unknown number of judges, lawyers, and clerks. Got it. I feel perfectly safe talking to you."
Ray knew, absolutely knew beyond a shadow of a doubt as soon as he closed his mouth that his little sarcastic speech was a very huge mistake. He couldn't quite figure out what he had got himself into, but it was obvious there was more going on in this place than simply helping people. It felt like there was a much bigger hidden agenda hovering behind him.
He could just make out the word "uncooperative" being written down among Theresa's furious scribbling on her pad in front of her.
He tried to backpedal. "Look, I'm sorry," he said with a sigh. "It's been a real, real tough go here for a bit. I don't mean to be rude." He tried for a more "little boy" voice than his usual tone, somehow he sensed that might be the ticket with these people.
Theresa gave out another of her sweet smiles. "That's ok honey. I know you're going through a lot lately. I know about your diagnosis."
Ray bit his tongue and barely stopped a comment about how far the so-called confidentiality of his medical issues had gone. He just smiled thinly in response.
Theresa tried vainly to engage Ray in some small talk about his interests and hobbies before getting to the meat of the matter. Probably, thought Ray, to make him feel more "comfortable" and "safe."
"Now, be honest dear. Your mom has told me about your request to the Dreams Foundation. Kids your age usually don't make those kind of requests. Usually if they are talking about sex like that it's because some adult is doing something they shouldn't. I can make them stop honey. Tell me honestly. Is somebody touching your privates? Or making you touch theirs? Or is somebody touching you in any way that makes you feel icky?" Theresa looked at Ray earnestly.
Ray didn't know whether to giggle or scream. Her tone and questions were so ridiculous, this whole set-up so uncomfortable, that he felt like he was in some bizarre reality show set-up. He thought carefully. He was a smart boy. Almost too smart the teachers in the gifted program kept telling him. He knew that they would read whatever he said, or didn't say, into their own conclusions. Like Mr. Dorian, his debate and speech teacher, always said, "You must anticipate! What is the weak part of your argument? What is the part they are most likely to key in on? How do you sound? What are your opponents or audience reading from your eyes, your posture, your pacing?" Mr. Dorian would be impressed that Ray had learned something from him. Actually, Ray didn't mind learning from him at all. He had a great smile, and, Ray thought to himself with a suppressed grin, he was kinda hot.
Too bad Ray wasn't here to debate drug laws, or capital punishment. He would've nailed those. This topic, well, he didn't know the house rules, or the debating points. He would just have to wing it, and rely on his "opponent's" reactions. Good thing she didn't seem like she had ever had any practice at the non-verbal control stuff you learned in his debate and speech class.
Ray decided on the confused little boy approach. "What do you mean? My sister Kimmy touched my arm after she picked her nose yesterday. That was pretty icky. Is that what you mean?" Ray looked at Theresa with wide eyed innocence.
Theresa frowned. "Now young man. You know very well that's not what I mean. Don't play dumb, I've dealt with way too many kids your age to think you don't know what we're talking about here."
Whoops. Strike one. He was only eleven years old but even he could see the hypocrisy in that. Either he was ignorant and innocent about sex, or he wasn't. Why would they expect to have it both ways?
Ray tried again, watching Theresa closely to gauge her reaction. "No, nobody has been touching me, or making me touch them. Nobody at all."
Well, that was kind of half true. Nobody was making him touch them.
"I've never had any kind of sex..." he continued.
Well, not so true now, Ray thought, thinking of Dennis and suppressing a smile.
"...or really thought about it much."
Ok, now he was just flat out bullshitting, Ray thought.
"My Dream request, that was a bet I made with my friend Dennis."
Damn it, Ray thought to himself, why did I use a real name?
"I bet him I could make a request that had to do with sex and he bet me I wouldn't dare. I figured, why not? What do I have to lose anyway?" At this allowed some of his fears about his diagnosis to show on his face and tensed his arms hard to make his hands shake slightly.
The trouble was, Ray knew, he was a lousy liar. He always looked sheepish and turned red when he told lies. The stakes were never this high though. The last thing he wanted was to spend his last few weeks with some shrink prying open his brain, or some detective asking embarrassing question.
Theresa smiled sympathetically at him. Yes, thought Ray, a hit up the middle!
"There, there dear. I'm sure everything is going to be fine. I know you don't understand everything the doctors told you but they are going to give you a treatment that will fix you right up.
The ball was up and heading to the wall, thought Ray.
"However, I know there's something you're not telling me Raymond," Theresa continued with a more stern look. "I'm here to help you. We all want what's best for you. Based on what I know and this conversation today, I think I must proceed with an investigation.
Damn it. Caught at the wall. He was out and the inning was over. However, thought Ray, the game was definitely not over.
"Now, our time today is almost up," Theresa said. "Are you absolutely sure there's nothing you want to tell me before we're finished here?"
Ray tried again. He felt like a 5 year old T-ball player stuck at the plate in Yankee Stadium in a major league game. The pitcher was winding up for a fastball and he didn't even have a batting helmet on. He smiled his best smile, made eye contact and shifted forwards in his seat. "No, really, there's nothing. I feel stupid for wasting everybody's time here, over a dumb bet. It's kind of embarrassing really." He looked down, then up at Theresa's eyes again. "All I really want is for the treatment to start, and for it to work. I'm sorry for causing all of this mess." Ray frowned a self-deprecating frown before standing up. "Thanks again ma'am. I appreciate you looking out for me," he finished and held out his hand for a handshake.
Theresa hesitated a moment, looked like she was going to say something, but changed her mind. She stood up and shook Ray's hand. "That's ok Ray, that's why we're here. You and your family take care, and we'll see you again I'm sure."
With that, she opened the door and led him back out to the waiting room. Ray wasn't sure, but he thought he maybe salvaged something at the end. Now it was time to get to work on Mom and Dad.
Those house rules, Ray thought to himself, he knew.
Ray made sure Theresa was out of sight, and then he breezed past his mom without so much as a glance towards her and walked smartly out into the hall and towards the elevator.
Karen started and got up and followed her son. "How did it go dear? I'm glad you were able to have this chance to talk to someone."
Ray made a point of ignoring his mom. Instead of waiting for the elevator he pushed open the stairwell door and began taking the steps down to the lobby, two at a time.
Ray sat in the back seat on the ride to school, directly behind his mom. He avoided conversation, and answered direct questions with just enough of a monosyllabic grunt to avoid having his mom stop and give him a lecture on manners. Once the car stopped at the school Karen turned around to smile at Ray and wish him a good day, but he was already ten feet from the car and heading into the school building. Out of the corner of his eye he could just see his mom sigh in frustration and pull the car away from the curb and back into traffic.
Ray walked into the front doors of the school, fuming. His feet carried him through the school at a brisk pace. He saw no one in the hallway. He found himself pushing open the door at the back of the school with considerable force and walking out into the schoolyard. Ray had never skipped a day of school in his life. But he didn't see any point at all in going to class right now. What for? What were the chances he would need to know how long the Amazon River was before the next few weeks ended.
Before he ended.
** 8 **
Ray kept walking, thoughts swirling around in his head. He thought about dying. He thought about living. He thought about the appointment at the Center. He thought about sex. That led him to thinking about Dennis. Poor Dennis. Ray knew that Dennis couldn't figure out why he found adult guys hot. He thought back to their conversation after supper last weekend.
"Your mom might be pissed at you, but she's still a fine fine cook," Dennis told Ray as the re-entered his room after helping clear the dishes.
"Yeah, it was good. I'm glad you came over Dennis."
"Me too. It was fun." Dennis grinned. "All of it." He smirked at Ray. "Now you have to admit, that was way more fun than getting it on with some smelly old guy."
Ray looked up at Dennis, and tried to figure out what to say so as not to hurt his friend's feelings. "Of course it was fun you doofus. But I can't help it, I still like adult guys. I dunno why. I like how they sound, the ones with deep voices. I like how they walk and talk, confident and manly. I like how they smell..."
"Ewww, ewww enough! Total turn-off!" laughed Dennis in response, holding his nose theatrically. He became quiet and let his hands drop. "Hey, you know. I'll be a man one day..." He trailed off, looking directly at Ray.
"I know." He smiled. "In the meantime, that doesn't mean what we did wasn't fun."
Ray shook his head and remembered where he was. He had walked half a mile from his school and sat down at a large dark brown wood and concrete picnic table in a park. He watched a group of pre-school kids laughing and screaming on the brightly colored playground equipment on the other side of the park, their moms watching closely and enjoying a chat with each other. The sounds of them playing reached his ears from across the park and mingled with a distant lawn mower. Everywhere, everything seemed so alive.
"I'll bet you're supposed to be in school right now."
Ray jumped a bit and turned around. He looked up at the man standing on the other side of the picnic table. The man was wearing a red short sleeved shirt, gray track shorts, and runners with no socks. He was carrying a stick of some kind in one hand and some electronic device in the other, maybe a cell phone, but it didn't really look like one. Ray didn't know how old he was. Not twenties. Not fifties. He was watching Ray with a lopsided but not unfriendly smile on his face.
Ray shrugged. "No. I'm dying," is all he said.
The man raised his eyebrows and looked Ray up and down. "You don't look like you're dying."
"Well, I am."
"Well Dying Boy. If that's true then I'll bet you're definitely not supposed to be sitting here by yourself right now."
"True. But so what. I don't really care what my school thinks. Or what my mom thinks right now," Ray finished with a frown.
The man pursed his lips. "My mighty psychic powers are telling me..." he held out his hand in front of him, fingers splayed, in the general direction of Ray's head, "...yes, yes, that's it." He made a funny face. "You are having a fight with your mom." he said obviously trying to sound like a TV psychic. "You ditched school because you don't really care right now about school and because you want to make a point to your mom." The man put his arm down, raised his eyebrows and smiled expectantly.
Ray smiled back in spite of his dark mood. "Oh ya, tough call Mr. Psychic. What're you doing here anyway? Shouldn't you be at work or something?"
The man glanced at the gadget in his hand and at a clump of bushes a few dozen yards away before turning his attention back to Ray. "Treasure hunting. But here I seem to have found you instead," the man said with the ghost of a smile playing on his lips.
"Treasure hunting? There's no treasures hidden here in central boringtown nowheresville," answered Ray with a curious expression.
"Oh, there are treasures everywhere," said the man looking at Ray intensely, smiling slightly once again. "C'mon, I'll show you," the man said and began walking towards the bushes with one eye on the gadget.
Ray shrugged and followed, keeping a bit of distance. The guy looked harmless enough. He had very nice amber colored eyes. And he had a nice smile, one thing Ray seemed to always notice first. "My name's Ray," he said.
The man looked back. "Ah, good. Dying Boy could get old real fast. I'm Patrick. Patrick Duncan. Or just Mr. Psychic if you prefer." answered Patrick with the same half lopsided smile.
Ray half jogged a few steps to catch up so he could peer around Patrick's arm at the gadget he seemed to be so interested in. He could see an arrow and a large number counting down as they walked. They reached the clump of bushes and the number counted down to three. Patrick stopped and began looking into the bushes at ground level.
"Shouldn't that number be zero?" asked Ray, pointing at the gadget.
"Well, in theory. But it never is exactly. This is close enough." Patrick said. He took the metal stick in his other hand, twisted it and then pulled it apart to make it longer, then twisted it tight again. He began using the stick to push branches and brambles aside so he could see further into the brush.
Ray began peering into the brush too, wondering what they were looking for. He saw something slightly shiny to his left, under some branches. "What's that?" he asked.
"Ah, nicely done. You've found it," Patrick said as he pulled off the leaves and sticks and pulled out the object. It was just some plastic kitchen food container, covered with what looked like duct tape with a camouflage pattern on it. Patrick peeled off the lid and Ray could see a few cheap toys inside alongside a notebook and pencil.
Ray remembered something he had read on the internet a few months ago when he was looking up hiking destinations. "I know what you're doing out here," he said proudly. "You're geocaching! That's a geocache!" he said as he pointed at the container.
Patrick smiled. "Guilty as charged. And yes, that it is. You've heard of geocaching before?" he asked as he opened the notebook and wrote in a date and something else that Ray couldn't make out.
"I remember reading something about it while looking up hiking trails in the nature reserve. That's a handheld GPS receiver," Ray said, pointing at the gadget. "It doesn't look much like the one Dennis' dad has in his car."
"No, those ones are a bit different, though essentially the same thing," answered Patrick. "Here, pick a treasure."
Ray looked at the objects inside, picking out a small yo-yo. Patrick reached into a pocket and placed a toy car and a Coffee Planet free coupon into the container and resealed it and hid it back where it was before covering it with leaves.
Patrick stood up, brushing off his hands. His smile gone. "So you really are dying?" he asked pointedly.
"Yes. Well, maybe." answered Ray.
Patrick just stood silently, waiting for more.
"Well, a year ago it would've been for sure. But there's this new experimental treatment. I'm supposed to start Friday. I think I have a better than even chance, if I'm lucky."
"Well, I wish you the best. Now, if there's a better than even chance, that means there's a better than even chance you will need whatever you're supposed to be learning in school today at some point in the future. Maybe you should get there. Good luck Ray, it was very nice to meet you." That smile again.
"Thanks Patrick," was all he got in before the man was walking away with a wave. Ray watched him go for a moment thinking about his wonderful smile and those incredible eyes before turning with a sigh and making his way back to his school. At least he had Mr. Dorian this afternoon.
** 9 **
"...the British North America Act of 1867. Ray?"
Ray tore his attention off of the leaves of the tree outside the classroom window and looked at his teacher. He answered swiftly, concisely, and clearly, as any boy in a gifted class should.
"Huh?" he said.
The class broke into laughter. Ray blushed. It was Thursday afternoon. He was having trouble focusing on school. Friday morning couldn't come fast enough. Friday morning was coming much too fast.
His teacher opened her mouth to deliver a rebuke, but she was interrupted by the tone of the P.A. system. "Would Raymond Huntley please report to the main office immediately? Raymond Huntley." The P.A. clicked off.
Ray grabbed his books, stuffed them in his backpack and made his way to the doorway at his teacher's nod. He wondered what this was about.
Arriving at the office he entered and and began walking towards the counter. "Raymond?" From behind him.
He turned. His mom, dad, and Dr. Mills were seated in the row of chairs along the back wall talking with the school principal. They were talking in quiet whispered tones. His parents and Dr. Mills looked very tense. Ok, this was odd. He had never seen Dr. Mills out of the hospital before. It seemed out of context somehow. He wondered what possibly could get Dr. Mills to come to his school on what was essentially a house call. They bustled him into an empty conference room where they sat down, just his parents, Dr. Mills, and Ray himself present.
Ray's mom and dad looked worried, their faces ashen. Dr. Mills seemed to be collecting his thoughts. He spoke first. "Ray, something unusual has come up on one of your test results.
"We didn't catch it before because it's not anything terribly unusual with most people, and occurs in about four percent of the population. This normally shouldn't have any effect on what we're trying to accomplish with your treatment." Dr. Mills stopped and wiped his forehead with his sleeve. "However, one of the graduate students at the university was going through the data from the last few studies, looking for correlations.
"There have been a small number of patients, fortunately very small, in the other studies that have experienced an undue level of pain during the course of treatment. Uhh, a very high level of pain to be precise. They have all without fail carried the same genetic marker as our tests reveal you carry." Dr. Mills stopped again, and again wiped his forehead. "These have all been adults. They have all survived the treatment except for one. However, the pain was extreme. Very extreme. In some cases it lasted for the entire two weeks of the treatment course. As you know, the treatment regimen cannot be paired with most of our currently available pain medications. We can't give you any NSAIDs like aspirin because as you may know they relieve pain by reducing the production of prostaglandins. We can't afford that in this treatment. Acetaminophen is out because of your sensitivity to it. Opiods of any kind or even anti-depressants are absolutely out due to the interaction of your neuro-transmitters with the treatment regimen. Some headway has been made in places by the use of anti-convulsants for the relief of pain, but frankly I'm worried here too. Their possible interaction with your treatment is very worrying."
Dr. Mills stopped for a moment and caught his breath. "Sorry, I'm rambling here. Let me get to the bottom line." He looked at Ray, who was staring back at him silently, eyes wide and posture tense.
"Ray, in some cases, most actually, with those other patients, the exposure to that kind of pain for two weeks has changed them. Personality changes. They are not the same people anymore, and many are suffering from various symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other psychological problems. Ray, there is no way to sugar coat this. If you go through with this, you will suffer pain that you can't possibly imagine. If you don't.... Well, if you don't. You will die.
"Ray, I've already talked this over with your parents. I'll let them speak for themselves."
Ray turned as his mom spoke up first. She sounded like the mom he used to know, aside from the extreme anxiety in her voice. "Raymond I know you. You are smart and capable. You are one of the strongest kids I know. This, however, is beyond anything we've ever asked of you. Your dad and I talked it over. I already suspect how you're going to answer. But I want..., no, I need you to take some time to think this over. We support whatever decision you make. The choice is up to you Raymond. This choice has to be up to you."
Craig just reached for his son's hand across the table and held it firmly while looking into his eyes.
Dr. Mills spoke up again. He was sweating profusely now. It looked like he was trembling, his hands were unable to sit still on the table. "Ray, this is up to you. You've heard from your parents and I've talked it over with Dr. Strade and our legal department. We're putting off the beginning of your treatment for a few days, maybe a week. You and your family need some time here.
"Ray, what we're asking here is that you submit to two weeks of extreme torture. Do you consent?"
** 10 **
Ray was up in his room, sitting on the edge of his bed. He wasn't hungry. Kim was home from school and wanted him to play Crazy Eights with her but he shooed her away. She pouted miserably but he ignored her. It was two hours after the meeting at his school. His head was swimming. He could hear his parents conversing in hushed, urgent tones downstairs. He couldn't face them right now. He had never felt so scared and confused in his life.
He heard a car pull up and the engine shut off. Two car doors slammed. A moment later the doorbell rang. He heard his mom get up to answer it and Ray went to the top of the stairs to listen.
"Good evening Mrs. Huntley. I'm Detective Stimson from the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, and this is Officer Laird. We're with the Metro Police Department. We have some questions for your son Raymond Huntley."
Raymond quietly moved down a few steps further, his heart beating wildly. He saw his mom looking back and forth between them with her eyes wide.
"Uh, this is definitely not a good time Detective. We have just received some very difficult family news and we need to deal with it," Karen told the detective.
Detective Stimson set his jaw and replied. "It's never a convenient time Mrs. Huntley, believe me. This, however, is important. Most certainly more important than anything else happening this evening. Now, we need to talk to your son."
Craig Huntley stepped towards the door. "Mr. Stimson. You have no idea what we're dealing with here. My wife or myself will call you tomorrow. Good night." Craig made to close the door.
Detective Stimson pushed the door open and blocked the doorway. Obviously a man used to getting his way. "Mr. and Mrs. Huntley. I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We need to ask your son some questions about a potential sexual abuse situation. It is for his own protection. You will permit us to come in for fifteen minutes of your time, or..." he nodded towards the police cruiser, where Ray could just see Theresa Smith-Gossen waiting in the back seat, "...or Ms. Smith-Gossen of Family Services will apprehend your child..." he glanced towards Kimberley, how hiding in the kitchen with her head around the doorway, "your children, due to negligence and failure to protect and we will secure them to a safe facility where we can interview them and ensure their needs are being met to our satisfaction."
Craig and Karen Huntley exchanged looks. Defeated, they waved the Detective inside.
They sat in the living room, Craig having gone upstairs to tell Ray to come down. Detective Stimson waited until all were seated, then announced, "Thank you. I need to talk with Ray alone. Please excuse us."
Craig and Karen once again shared a look, and slowly got up again and moved out of the room.
"Now, Ray," Detective Stimson said, not wasting time, "we know you're having sex. We know it is with an adult, and we know who it is." Apparently Stimson didn't take the same 'small talk for comfort and safety' class that Theresa Smith-Gossen had attended, thought Ray. Stimson glared at Ray. "In fact, we have him down at the station now, writing his confession.
"This is just a formality. For your own protection. We can just get this over with and we'll get this pervert out of your lives for good. Simple. We just need to know, purely for our formal paperwork, we need to hear you tell us his name. Who is it Ray?"
Ray had no idea how to handle this one. Nothing he could think of to say seemed to be likely to gain him any advantage here. Besides, his mind wasn't exactly at his best tonight. "Umm, no sir. Really. There's nobody. This whole thing is a mistake."
"The name, Huntley. Give me his name. We can sit here all night, or we can have this conversation down at the station in an interrogation room. Give me a name, and we'll leave. Or don't, and you'll wish you had."
Ray thought hard. But his head was spinning. Should he make something up? Should he just try running? Maybe he should just throw out a random name, one of the doctors maybe, to get him off his back. No. Try one more time. "Umm Detective, Sir, I'm not sure what to tell you. Whoever you have is the wrong guy. Because there is no guy. Nobody is abusing me."
"Wrong answer Huntley," Stimson answered with a sneer. "If you're protecting him because he threatened you, well, he'll pay for it. If you're protecting him because you're," his face scrunched up, "because you're enjoying it," he spat this last comment out like vile poison, "well, we have some counseling you will attend that will get you back on track. Now. Spill it Huntley."
The front door opened with a bang. Kimberley ran like a rocket through the living room into the arms of the visitor. "Aunt Katie, Aunt Katie," she yelled, hugging her madly, venting her fears at the night's strange events towards her mom's sister.
Aunt Katie looked around the room, seemingly satisfied with something. "Just a minute honey, Aunt Katie needs a moment to roll some heads," she said sweetly to Kimberley. Then, "Detective Stimson. Good to see you again Lee," she said with a smirk.
"Kate, this interview doesn't concern you," answered Detective Stimson.
"Actually it does," answered Kate with her eyebrows raised. She pointedly looked around the room. "You are interviewing my client, my minor client, without his guardians present, without his lawyer present, until now, and apparently without his consent, and quite obviously under considerable duress. According to my information, at no time did you inform him of his rights and privileges under law prior to this interview. It is my understanding from my telephone conversation with his mother a few moments ago that you are not suspecting my client of any crime, and are not here to lay any charges. Furthermore, it is apparent there is a serious dearth of any hard evidence to lay any charges anywhere. You are harassing. I think it is time for you to leave."
Detective Stimson looked hard at her, then glared angrily at Ray, and at Karen and Craig who had re-entered the living room. He looked defeated. "Thank you for your time young man." he said gruffly. "Good evening Mr. Huntley, Mrs. Huntley." He looked towards Ray's Aunt Katie. "Kate," he said with a single upward nod of his head. With that he waved at Officer Laird and they left the premises.
Ray let out his breath noisily. His heart hammered insanely. He hadn't realized he'd been holding his breath so long. "Thanks Auntie," is all he managed before he fainted dead away.