This story has sexual content, if this offends you,stop reading now. Sex is not the major topic of this story. If erotic stories are banned where you live, leave this site immediately before you are arrested (you were warned), or if you are deemed to be underage by your government and too young to read this then you should leave now (in either case go look up the names of these people and be sure to vote against them when you are old enough).

This story is fiction. That means I made it up. As the author I may make real life problems disappear with a sentence or two. If you think you recognize yourself or anyone you know it is pure chance, go by a lottery ticket this could be your lucky day.

Copyright 2007: str8mayb –– that means the story is copyrighted by me in 2007. Do not re-post without my written permission.

There is also sexual child abuse in this story. It is not described in detail. It is in no way meant as a turn on but as an explanation and motivation, to the characters. The author is appalled by this type of behavior and in absolutely no way condones it. Where possible the guilty do suffer, one of the perks of fiction, the bad guys lose. Although this is posted in Adult – Youth do not expect hot sex.

I hope you enjoy. E-mail to str8mayb@yahoo.com

Keep reading and enjoy.



Chapter 12

Author's Note:

The pressure is on; the Cliff Hanger Police are closing in... I think I just heard a knock at my door. Excuse me; I'm going to head to the basement. Lucky I have this laptop to write on while I am holed up in the basement. No one will be able to find me down here. Don't tell them where I am, please?

People seem to think that I am an evil monster of some sort and that I would actually kill off some or all of my main characters in a fire, of all things. Plleeeaaaassssseeeeee! I can't understand why anyone would think such a thing. After all I'm such a sweet lovable guy. Just ask anyone, they'll tell you. What in the everlovin' world would give you an idea like that? Give me a break. I will state here for the record, once and for all, that I love them even more than any of you do; after all, they live in my brain (a lot of empty space available there). So let's go back to Saturday morning, the day they were to leave for the trip. Maybe now would be the right time to continue. I'll now let you have, 'The Rest Of The Story.' But first a very important flash back which will give you the vital information that you need to be able to understand just what has happened to everyone that we are so very worried about. Well at least I am worried about them. So sit back and begin reading...

Linda was sitting on the other cot and she watched the men rush to help Nick as he lay motionless. She glanced up momentarily, looking towards the ruins of Lee's house. Her mind went back to a crucial and very important event that would change her life forever. It happened so many years ago...

* * * Flashback * * *

Adorable little nine year old Linda Feeney and her best friend and constant companion, Lee Harris were playing a game of hide-n-seek, in the basement of Lee's grandparents' house. The basement was a kid's paradise. It was huge. Sometimes, it seemed that the basement was bigger than the house that sat above it. Well, actually, in fact, it was. It actually had been dug into the bedrock and stretched over a hundred feet into a natural cave that had been there long before Lee's grandfather had built the house. He saw no use wasting the room that the cave afforded, and over the years he had filled it with an enormous amount of interesting things. There were shelves and boxes everywhere, and old games and clothes and just about everything a kid would want to play with. Lee's grandfather was a real pack rat. Everyone in the family knew that if there was something that they weren't using, but really hated the idea of throwing it away you could always send it over to Grandpa's and he would find a place to store it for you. The really cool thing was that he always knew just where it was, and if you ever found that you needed it back, he could find it and get it for you in only a few minutes.

Oh yeah, Hide-n-Seek, that's right. Linda was 'it', and Lee, of course, was hiding. He went into his absolute favorite place, his grandfather's huge bomb shelter. It took up a lot of the space in that cave that ran way back into the woods behind the house. There was a second entrance that opened into a hill that had been camouflaged with bushes and was almost impossible to find. Many years ago, that had been closed off because the small animals kept sneaking into the shelter and had died because they couldn't find their way back out. Squirrels were the worst. They would dig their way in and then get lost before they could get back out. Lee's Grandpa had found several of them in there. The smell was awful.

Lee loved to go into the shelter, and look at the treasures that were stored in it. Where the main basement was used to store things for family members, 'until they needed it', the bomb shelter was just for granddad. Lee's favorite treasure in there was an old Lionel O27 train set. Lee used to look at it and once or twice Granddad had helped Lee put it all together and hook it up. It was huge. Granddad, said that he and his brother had gotten it for Christmas one year. He remembered that Santa was there, and showed him and his brother how to use it. He said it was the best Christmas he could ever remember. {See the short story 'Shorty's Christmas' at www.paddedroom.us}

After searching everywhere without success, Linda became worried; She had never seen the shelter, and in fact, didn't even know it was there. After another ten minutes, she became frantic and ran upstairs. Lee's Grandmother was in the kitchen just taking a cherry pie out of the oven. It smelled heavenly. As soon as she set it down on the trivet to cool, Linda ran to her.

"I can't find him. There is no where left to look, and I am worried that something happened to him. I know he's there somewhere, I can just feel it, but I can't find him anywhere." Linda was sobbing and huge tears were running down her cheeks. She was very worried, and scared.

"Oh Sweetie, He probably went into Granddad's fallout shelter down there. He loves to hide out in there. You'd be amazed at all the stuff that Granddad has in there. If you don't know exactly where to look for it, though, you would never be able to find it. Granddad did that on purpose, so no one could break in if there was a bomb blast. I think he thought the neighbors would try to break the door down to get in and be safe. I can't imagine, that anyone would do that. Come on I'll show you." Gram Harris led the way. Lee was pounding on the shelter door, which had somehow jammed closed, when they got there...

Okay, okay, enough of that, even I am not that cruel. And there is a shotgun loaded with rock salt aimed at my...And TSL is tightening the thumb screws, so...

* * * Another Flashback * * *

Seventeen year old Linda Feeney was at the roller-rink. She was so mad at her friend Lee. He was too busy doing something or other for his grandparents. He always seemed to be doing things to help them out. He just didn't have time for her anymore. Well she had had enough of his goody-goody ways.

She was so angry she lost her balance and went down on her bottom. Then there he was, Eldrich Thompson, 'the boy' every girl wanted be noticed by. He stopped and helped her up. "Linda, right?"

"You know my name?" she asked.

"Of course, I've wanted to meet you, but that Harris guy is always hanging around like he owns you." He told her.

Just as he hoped, she saw red, and he had taken control of her life for the next six years.

What? Oh, what Cliff Hanger? Chapter 10, oh that... Okay so let's go back a day or so...

Lee's alarm clock sounded its annoying beep. It was three o'clock in the morning. That is not the time for anyone to be getting up. He got up, shaved, showered and dressed. He walked through the house, roused the boys and knocked on Martha's door. Lee managed to get everyone loaded into the van. He checked the tie ropes on the beautiful tree, climbed in, and started the engine. The twins and the dogs were back asleep before he managed to get out of the driveway.

In the woods, across the road from Lee's house, Special Agent Dukman sat in his vehicle sipping his coffee, and carefully watching through his field glasses, as the Harris family left, to spend the Christmas holidays, with Martha's family. Dukman had been watching the house all night, and now he had his chance. He carefully left his hiding place, crossed the road and approached the house. He lifted the living room window which he had unlocked the day before, when he was left alone, momentarily. He almost got stuck as he climbed through the window. He entered the den and turned on the computer. While it was booting up, he went out to check the vehicle Lee had moved carefully from the barn into the garage. On the windshield was a note which read, "Andy's wheels, Merry Christmas, love, Dad and Aunt Martha." It was an old 1994 van, but it had been well cared for and the body was still in good condition.

Dukman looked at it and went back into the den where he started trying to download files from the computer to a flashdrive. It was weird, though, how the files seemed to move as soon as he tried to copy them. He was so involved with his treachery that he didn't even hear the window crash in Martha's room. All of a sudden, the window behind him crashed too, and a Molotov cocktail smashed into pieces right next to him. The glass bottle had burst and extremely hot burning jet fuel was splashed all over the FBI agent, thoroughly soaking his pants and the front of his shirt in the volatile liquid. He did a drop and roll to try to put the flames out, but they were way too volatile to be snuffed out like that. He finally made his way back towards the living room, still trying unsuccessfully to get away from the super hot flames that by now were covering his body. His thinking was quite clouded by the pain of his charring blistering flesh. He struggled ineffectively, to open the front door; it was, however, blocked quite thoroughly, and wouldn't open. Why he didn't try to go out the same window through which he had entered, no one will ever know. He drew his gun to shoot the lock for all the good that did, but the smoke and pain soon overcame him and he lost consciousness, which, if you think about it, was probably a blessing for him. Then, shortly thereafter, he lost his life.

About seven o'clock in the morning, Lee pulled off the interstate for some much needed coffee, breakfast, gas, and of course, the restroom. The boys woke up and everyone had a nice meal. After they finished eating, they all climbed back into the van and they were back on the road again and headed down the highway by eight o'clock. Martha was driving now and Lee had joined the boys in the back and they were playing a cutthroat game of 'Uno.' After the first hand, the twins were separated, which worked well for Andy but they ganged up on Lee and he got every draw 2 and draw 4 they could possibly give him.

They were stopping at each rest stop to use the restroom and change drivers. Just when they were contemplating lunch, Mitch said, "Dad, I hear a phone ringing."

Lee patted his on his belt, "Well, it's not mine."

"Oh, dear," Martha said, "It must be that thing Nick gave me. I packed it in my suitcase." They all laughed. "Poor Nicky, just can't stand for us to be apart." The twins made gagging sounds at that and they all laughed some more.

They stopped at the ever popular Golden Arches for lunch and found a nice restaurant; Lenny's, for dinner. {Not Denny's, Fritz, it was a very nice Italian restaurant.} It was close to midnight when they finally arrived. Martha's daughter, Susan and her husband Martin Adkins were still up, waiting for them. Soon the essentials were unloaded and the boys were bedded down comfortably. Lee took out his cell to call Linda to let her know they had arrived safely, but he soon discovered that the battery was dead. 'Damn!' he thought, 'I'm going to have to get the battery replaced on this damned thing. I thought charging it all day yesterday would have been long enough.' He realized that he would have to recharge it tonight, if he had any hope of being able to use it to call Linda. He hoped he would be able to try again tomorrow. He would have called her on the Adkins' phone but he wasn't sure of the order of all the digits. 'Gee, I miss the days of my little black book.' he thought, as scenes from 'Donald in Mathmagic Land' sped through his mind.

The adults visited for about half an hour before it became apparent that it was time to be off to bed, and hopefully a good night's sleep. Tom was awakened at about six by excited squeals for 'Mom.' Lee put on a robe did his morning business and was dressed enjoying a cup of coffee when Martha came in with her three grandkids affectionately hugging her and being towed and dragged for dear life, into the kitchen. "Lee, I'd like to introduce you to Chet, he's eight, Nancy, she's six, and Edwin, he's three."

Lee barely got his coffee cup set down before all three of the youngsters were happily climbing into his lap, giggling and hugging him tightly. Chet asked, "Can we call you Uncle Lee."

"I would be honored." Lee responded.

"Is that Yes or No?" Nancy asked, looking up at Lee with those oh so cute puppy dog eyes of hers.

Martha laughed and Lee kissed the little cutie on the nose, "It was a real big yes, sweetheart."

Andy came in at that point and was introduced to the trio. He fixed himself a cup of coffee, and as soon as he sat down, little Edwin climbed out of Lee's lap and happily jumped into Andy's. Susan and Martin were the next to arrive. Susan started to fix breakfast and Martha helped. Max and Ginger appeared as soon as the bacon started to sizzle. Edwin looked at the dogs and climbed down from Andy's lap. Max came over to him. Edwin patted Max on the head. Max wagged his tail and licked Edwin's hand, and then Edwin turned and held his hands up to Andy to be lifted back up.

Martha let the dogs out into the back yard. Then she saw the van and said "Oh, my!"

"What's wrong, Mom?" Susan asked.

"I must go get that phone out and call Nicky," Martha went and got her coat and was back out to the van in record time, to retrieve the suitcase. They all watched as she opened the suitcase while it was still in the back of the van and retrieved the phone.

Suddenly she rushed back inside. "Lee! I hit the button like Nick said, he answered on the third ring, I said hello, then I heard a groan then the thing went blank."

"Thanks for reminding me, Martha, mine was dead last night but it should be charged by now." Lee set the two kids down, went and retrieved his cell phone. He hit the speed dial button as he returned to the kitchen. "Hello, Beautiful."

"Linda? LINDA! Hello? HELLO?"

* * * Meanwhile at the FIRE scene * * *

Tom and Dr. Turnman were checking on Nick and Lt. Brown was helping Linda.

Neal picks up the phone, "Hello?"

"Who is this?"

"It's me, Neal."

"Neal? Neal who?"

"Neal Richards."

"Oh, Neal, why are you at Linda's at this hour?"

"I'm not. I'm here."

Neal turned to the boys who were still poking around in the ruins. "Hey guys! I found Mr. Harris!"

"Jesus H. Christ, Neal, give me the phone." Tom said.

"Here you go, Dad."

"Lee, are you okay?"

"Tom? Where is Linda?"

"Ah, she's, ah, well, she passed out."

"Passed out?"

"Lee, is everybody with you?"

"Of course. Tom! What the hell is going on?!"

"Lee, are you sitting down?"

"No I'm pacing the kitchen floor, Damn it! Enough with the cliff hanger bit, ALEADY! WHAT IS GOING ON?"

"Dr. Dummesel set fire to your house, trying to kill Mitch and Travis. We thought you were all inside, because there were some remains, and Andy's foot."

"My house? Oh My God, remains? What kind of remains?"

"Lt. Brown thinks they are human. They were found near the gun."

"Oh man, So Dukman got the doctor."

"No, actually Dukman's missing."

"Could it be his gun? He was creeping around the house, putting his nose everywhere it didn't belong for the past couple of days."

"Would explain things. Look, Lee, when you guys come back, plan on staying at haven with us, please. I have lots of room, and you guys mean a lot to us, all of us."

"Thanks Tom, I'll take you up on that. I need to rest for a day, though, before driving back."

"That sounds like a plan."

Linda was recovering. She reached out and snatched her phone back. "Leeland Augustus Harris, you have some explaining to do."

"Me? I haven't done anything..."

"You did not answer your phone when I called, and you did not call me when you arrived last night. I have been worried sick! You'd better thank God I didn't believe you were dead or I would KILL you!!!" Linda screamed into her phone.

Neal and the other boys started laughing at that, until Linda glared at them.

Now, Nick was coming around. "What?"

Doc Leo said, "It's okay, Nick. Martha, Lee and the boys are all fine."

"Oh, thank God. Where's my phone?" Nick asked.

"Linda, my battery was dead, and I had to recharge it...No I called before checking, I'm sorry, sweetheart. We'll head back tomorrow, directly to Haven." Lee said.

"I'll be waiting. Drive safely, love." Linda said.

"We will. I love you, Bye."

Nick and Martha had a replay of Lee and Linda's conversation. When he hung up he said, "She packed the phone in her suitcase!"

Linda added, "His battery was dead."

Tom, Doc, Lt. Brown, the firemen and the boys all said, "Aww, Jeeeezzzzzz!"

Nick then looked at Lt. Brown, "Well, John, it seems our victim is Special Agent Dukman. My mystery source told me last night that he was toast."

"Nick, were you withholding evidence? What source?" John asked.

"You're not going to believe this, but, well, ah, my computer." Nick said.

Tom said, "So, 'Philip' has been talking to you?"

"Not until last night. And who in the Hell is 'Philip'! And how does he make his voice do that?" Nick asked, dangerously close to panic.

"Who is your ISP (Internet Service Provider)?" Tom asked.

Nick thought for a moment, "HOL (Haven On Line), It has the best spam filters I've ever seen."

"That's 'Philip' for you. 'Philip' is our IT manager and runs our super computer that runs Haven Enterprises, and all Haven affiliate companies. He runs security too, so he has access to more information than you would believe." Tom explained, without revealing that he was AI (Artificial Intelligence). Lt. Brown didn't need to know everything. "I'm sure 'Philip' will answer any questions you might have."

"That's kind of what I'm afraid of." Nick grimaced.

Tom looked around and said to Lt. Brown, "Well John, I guess we're done here, at least till Lee and the family get back. I think I'll take my brood home and hose them down."

"Dddaaaaaaaddddddddd!!!!!" the boys chorused.

"Looking like you do, 'Philip' won't let you in." Tom answered.


Tom and the boys loaded into the van and left. The firemen and Lt. Brown soon followed. Nick and Linda remained just looking at the ruins that had been the home of their respective loves.

"Come on, this isn't getting us anywhere. Follow me home and I'll fix us some breakfast."

When they arrived at Nick's apartment, he found her a terrycloth robe and showed her the guest bath. He then went to his, showered, shaved and then dressed. He carried his soot covered clothes to the laundry. He was pulling all nature of things from his refrigerator when Linda returned; wrapped in the robe that was at least three sizes too big for her.

"Would you please take those things and throw them into the washer and turn it on, the soap and all is already in it." Nick said, without turning around.

Linda did as she was asked and then sat at the kitchen table. Nick soon had a big mug of coffee fixed just the way she liked it, sitting in front of her. "Strawberry, cherry or apricots?" He asked her.

"Huh, What?"

"Filling for the crepes?" He said.

"Crepes? For breakfast?" She wondered.

"Okay, right, cherry it is." Nick worked for a few short minutes. He then placed a plate that would do a five star hotel proud, in front of her.

"Oh Nick, this looks delicious." She took a bite and rolled her eyes up into her head, "Wonderful, Where did you learn to cook like this?"

"The CIA of course." he replied, straight faced.

"The CIA!!??"

"Yes, Culinary Institute of America, silly 'Goos'."{Str8mayb tosses quarter to TSL for royalties.}[TSL says Thank You]

"Does Martha know?" Linda asked.

"No, I haven't had the heart to tell her." he admitted.

"Since you can cook like this, how did you end up being a private eye?" she asked.

"Well, I was a private eye first. I had a case where the suspect was a chef instructor and I went under cover as a student. When the case broke, I was having such a good time and the client had paid for the course already, so I just stayed and completed it. I did well in everything... except pastry."

When they finished eating, they retired to the den and Nick turned on the morning news show. It wasn't long till they both fell asleep.

* * * Back to Maryland * * *

The man plugged his laptop into his phone line and pressed the connect button, as it did the day before, the connection was made. The child's face that appeared was out of the man's past, brought tears to his eyes. He put on the headset and said hello. Just like the other day, it was hours later that he disconnected and went to lunch.

At the Adkins', Lee and Martha filled in the details for the rest. Andy realized that the twins were still in bed. He gathered the other three kids and they went in to wake the sleeping brothers. Soon there were screams and giggles coming from the twins' room. Andy came back first carrying little Edwin. "You walk funny, Anly."

"That's cause I just learned how again." Andy told him.

"You're silly, Anly." Edwin told him. "Pooh! read, Pooh Bear, please!"

The twins appeared, Travis with Chet and Mitch with Nancy. Soon all of them were seated around the large kitchen table. After breakfast, the kids went into the basement and played. Tom and Martin went out and unloaded the van, and then brought in the Christmas Tree. Once they had it in the stand, they set it up in the living room. "Thanks Lee that is really a beautiful tree." Martin said, admiring the fabulous fine figured fragrant fir. He flitted furtively and found four or five full boxes of festive ornaments.

After lunch Susan, Martha and the kids set about trimming the tree. Martin and Lee sat and watched.

Martin said to Lee, "I'm sorry about the fire. Is there anything we can do to help?"

"I'll let you know, but I think things will be pretty well covered. I had lots of insurance to cover the house and contents. We have been offered rooms at the biggest mansion you can imagine. So that isn't a problem. We may come back, after we get all this sorted out. It will take some time to get a new house built." Lee's mind was working on all the details he would have to work out.

"If it would be easier, Mom and the boys could stay here until things are settled." Martin offered.

"That's a great idea." Lee said as he stood and approached the tree decorating crew.

"Martha, Andy, Mitch and Travis, How would you all like to stay here while I go back and straighten things out?" Lee asked.

Mitch was the first to answer, with a deep scowl, "Nnoooo Daaaddddd, I want to be with you, always." Mitch had tears in his eyes as he ran to Lee and hugged him.

"Me too," Travis said as he joined Mitch in squeezing Lee.

Andy nodded, "Me three."

Martha said, "Well, I'm not being left behind by my boys."

Susan said, "Mom, you could stay, and we would bring you back after Christmas."

"No Suzie, you need to be here for the babies. There will be a lot to do back there and Lee just can't do any lifting." Martha said.

Lee was about to protest when Martha gave him 'the look' and he kept his mouth shut.

A little while later, after the tree was done, Martha went to visit her Grandfather. She was amazed that a man of his years could still be living independently. She had a nice visit with him, and got him all caught up on her news. Even about the fire and having to return tomorrow. He regretted not being able to meet her 'boys' but he made her promise to bring them by the next time she visited.

When Martha got back to her daughter's house Lee had eaten an early dinner and had gone to sleep, so he would be well rested and they could start back about bed time so Martha and the boys could sleep. Everyone was very quiet and sad that they couldn't stay. At nine o'clock, Lee got up and organized the crew. They were on the road by nine thirty.

Lee made very good time, since there was no traffic at this late hour on Sunday night, and the weather had cooperated, so the roads were in good condition. Martha woke up at a little after four AM, and insisted they stop for a restroom break, a cup of coffee and a driver change. The boys never even woke up and the van was back on the interstate with very little time lost. Lee napped until about seven thirty when the boys woke up and, surprise, surprise, they were very hungry.

The next exit just had a Denny's and they passed it by and were rewarded with a Waffle House at the following exit. After each boy had consumed what looked to be his weight in food, they washed as much of the syrup as they could, off and were back on the road. They managed to only stop at every other rest stop. When they stopped for dinner, they were only about two hours from Haven.

Lee called Linda, "Hi Babe."

Cat calls from the boys.

"Yeah, they heard...We stopped for dinner. I think we should arrive at Haven in about two hours...Okay, thanks...I've missed you too. Bye."

As they began the final leg of the return trip, Mitch asked, "Just where are we going, Dad?"

"You know Mr. Richards, from Scouts?"

Travis added, "Brian and Neal's Dad."

Mitch started to laugh, "Neal's the one who ate the 'fish & chip cookie,' I wonder if he can still taste it? Yeah, I remember them."

"Well, we're going to stay with them. They live in a really big place called Haven Manor. Mr. Richards says they have lots of room for us."

Andy said, "Wow, that place is HUGE! We really staying there? That is so kewl."

"I'm sure that there is central heat." Lee replied, trying to keep a straight face.

Martha groaned, "Lee, that was certainly Corny."

"Hey, some people have an ear for that kind of humor." Lee popped back.

"Any more puns like that and I'll stalk out of ear." Martha replied huskily.

"There is a kernel of humor in that." Lee added.

"Awe, shucks," Martha replied.

"Jeez, what a flake," Andy threw in.

"I'm outstanding in my field." Lee bragged.

"Ah, Corn, now we can make Tortillas." Lee said with a bad Mexican accent.

"I just invented Tacos!" Mitch replied. [Firesign Theater, 'Temporarily Humboldt County', from the album "Waiting For The Electrician Or Someone Like Him."]

Martha ended the round by saying, "Well now, will guys just can it? We've certainly mashed the corn jokes into meal. So we should stop frittering away our time like this."

Everyone was booing and hissing.

By the time they were close, everyone was on edge. Martha was driving when they came to their old house. Lee was very grateful she was driving. There was nothing left of the house. The barn was untouched. Martha did not stop, but kept driving.

When they recovered from the shock, Mitch just said, "Wow."

Travis said, "Sure am glad we weren't there."

Andy said, "I don't understand why."

"Neither do I, son," Lee said into the silence.

They drove on in silence; each lost in their own thoughts. Lee finally got out his cell phone and called Linda.

"Hi, beautiful."

"What do you mean 'who is this?'? How many men call you and say that?"

"That many?"

"We're almost there."

"Actually we left last night. I slept in the afternoon and Martha and the boys slept while I drove."

"Oh, thanks, the gate is opening."

"You didn't? Weird."

"Okay I'll see ya in a minute. Bye."

They drove up the road. The size of the place was simply awesome. You didn't really appreciate it from the road, because it was so far away. The twins were ooooing and aaahhhing as Martha pulled up in front of the steps. They got out of the van and stretched.

The front door opened, and a flood of kids came pouring down the steps followed by Linda, Tom and Dr. Turnman. There was much hand shaking, back slapping, hugging, crying and barking.

Finally Tom spoke up, "How about everybody grab something and let's get back inside where there is central heating."

The travelers all laughed at that, and almost everyone grabbed something to carry inside. The exception to that was Travis, who had been grabbed by a sobbing Brian, and was being held in a death grip of a hug.

Brian kissed Travis and sobbed, "Oh Travis, I was afraid I had lost you again. I don't think I could take losing you twice. Thank God you are alright. Oh yeah, everyone else too, but I love you so much. I couldn't believe I had lost you right after I found you again."

Dr. Leo came over to them after everyone else had started in. "Brian, how about you showing Travis around inside."

"You really like him, huh?" The poor twin in Brian's squeezing arms managed to get out.

"Hey Brian! Let go of Mitch and come in where it's warm" The other twin called from the top of the stairs.

"Hold it." Brian pointed to the twin at the top of the stairs, "You're Mitch, Travis calls me Bri."

The real Travis said, "Busted."

"I knew it was you. Well, I was pretty sure. Do that to me again and you're going into the pool, both of you."

Dr. Leo said, "Remember, boys, there are those of us the identical twin thing just won't work on."

Mitch yelled again, "Come on. Travis this place is like HUGE!"

Once they were all inside, the boys were led off and just the adults were left. Tom took them into the den and offered them a drink. "What took so long, Leo?"

"Mitch and Travis had to try the twin game on Brian. Only fooled him for a second. I told them that some of us wouldn't be fooled." Leo answered as he took a seat next to Tom on the couch and put his arm around him.

Martha said, "They know it doesn't work on me. They switched sides of the bed the other morning and they were sure surprised that I still called them by name."

Lee said, "I've never had a bit of trouble either, neither have Max and Ginger."

"Brian's problem was they took him by surprise, and in the dark. But he knew who he was hugging."

Lee offered, "If you ever have any doubt, Max, the big dog, is always next to Travis, if he isn't with Andy, Ginger stays glued to Mitch."

They heard the front door open and voices, and then Nick walked in. "Hi everyone, 'Philip' let me in."

Martha got up and rushed to Nick and they hugged as the other two couples watched. When they came up for air Tom handed Nick a drink and they all sat again. Tom then said, "I think that if you are staying here, you need to know that Dr. Turnman and I are a couple."

Linda grinned, "I know, but officially, I didn't hear that."

Lee said, "I hate that we have to play a double standard on so many things. Like being Gay or Bi means you can't love."

"It really doesn't bother me, as long as you aren't forcing it on anyone. Kids need parents that care about them, and from what I've seen, no one could care more than you two do."

Martha reached over and patted Lee on the knee, "You run a close second."

Lee blushed. "Thank's Martha." Lee looked at Nick, "So, we drove by the house, what happened?"

Nick covered the events of Saturday night and Sunday morning, up to the time Martha called.

Lee and Martha listened closely and so did Tom and Leo. When he was done Lee said, "So, this Dr. DumbAss is behind the attempts on the boys' lives?"

"Yes, we knew he was behind Mitch's family's deaths and that he did Travis's captors' murders and the idiot left his fingerprints all over the bottles he used for his fire bombs. No doubt about it." Nick said. "If we could only get a motive."

Lee thought for a moment, "Mitch's stepfather had pictures, and was going to expose him. Although he had been tampering with evidence, so I'm not sure how that was supposed to work."

"Well, in any case, his ass is grass; the new prosecutor has rebuilt the case with added charges of tampering with evidence. And now, we have six counts of first degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder and three counts of arson. Sheriff Henry called today and told me his lawyer asked for him to be released on personal recognizance. Judge Kelper actually laughed at him in court. Bail was denied." Nick was very pleased.

Lee was concerned about the boys, "Will Mitch and Travis have to testify?"

"If the fool wants a trial, yes they may. But he had detailed instructions on setting the fire at Mitch's house in his computer with Daddy, Mommy and Little boy with an X by each. 'Philip' also furnished a nice picture of Dukman sitting at your computer, as a Molotov cocktail smashed through the window and Dummesel can be seen quite clearly, outside.

"Who is Philip? How did he get a picture like that?" Lee asked.

The large plasma screen came to life and 'Philip' appeared. 'I am 'Philip'. Since you asked, directly, I can tell you. I am a self aware AI, built with Watkin's Industry 'James' technology.'

Tom laughed at the expressions on Nick, Lee, Linda and Martha's faces. Suddenly Lee snapped his fingers, "'Philip', You have been working with Mitch on his school work."

'Yes, but now, that terminal is out of service.' 'Philip' remarked.

Nick added, "Yes, it suffered a meltdown."

Lee rolled his eyes, "My home burns down and I loose all my worldly possessions and you joke about it?"

Nick started to blush and was about to apologize when Lee began laughing.

'Philip' said, 'I shall have to re-evaluate whether three such fine young men as Mitch, Travis and Andy should remain with a caretaker with such a warped sense of humor.'

Lee said, "I should be ashamed of my self, but, of course, I'm not."

Everyone laughed. The conversation then turned to how the living arrangements would work while Lee and his family were staying there.

* * County Jail * *

After his Lawyer left, Dr. Wirklih Scheisse Dummesel, founder of Dummesel Fertility Clinic, whose mail-order PhD in fertility research wasn't worth the paper it was printed on, sat on the metal bed, contemplating his options. His lawyer was very clear; he could plead guilty, and get life with hope for parole in about three hundred years, or go for a jury trial, and get death. He might have had some chance, if that stupid FBI agent hadn't broken into the house and died when he burned it down.

To add to his misery, he was going to lose his right hand. His fingers were charred to a cinder clear to the bone. The pain was absolutely incredible, That fat bitch he had thought was his lover, had put that muscle cream that gets hot, wherever you apply it, on the burns, He also knew how he would be treated in prison. He certainly wasn't a queer, yeah he liked doing it to kids and adults, for that matter, because it was so humiliating to them, and he got to prove his superiority that way. It wasn't about the sex, of course, even if he did get his rocks off with it; it was the power, and now others would have that power over him. What the hell was he going to do?

Slowly and carefully, and of course painfully, he began unwrapping the bandage on his right hand. He was the only one in the holding cell. He then pulled the metal cot over, under the ceiling light fixture. He managed to twist the bandage into a short length of rope, and put a slip knot around his neck. He tried tying the end of it to the fixture, a very difficult job, with one hand, The second time he tried, his left hand hit the hot bulb; it not only burned his hand, but it shattered in a million pieces, cutting his hand badly and getting glass shards in his eye, the pain caused him to wet himself badly. Finally he was ready, and stepped off the bed. Of course the fixture pulled loose, after the noose had tightened enough to close off 90% of his airway. His weight pulled the fixture enough that he was now barefoot in his urine on the concrete floor. The damp bandage made contact with the electrical wires, sending current through the length of his entire body, enough to be painful, but not to kill. Sparks from the shorting fixture set the old wire insulation on fire, since the sprinklers were a retro-fit; they were hung below the now spreading fire. Smoke filled the holding cell, the bandage finally burned through, and the obese, arsonist fell, striking his head on the corner of the metal bed frame. As he lay there, slowly choking in the smoke filled room he saw the form of a white horse, and a large wolf-like creature with very strange eyes, watching him through the smoke. His last thought, before he passed out never to awaken, was that these creatures were somehow disappointed that he did not suffer enough.

By the time the fire alarm sounded, the old jail was pretty well consumed so the fire fighters concentrated their efforts on saving the building closest to it. When Sheriff Henry arrived, he told the fire chief that there was one prisoner inside, and when any remains were recovered to notify Dr. Turnman to pronounce him dead, and provide the death certificate. Lt. Brown showed up and asked some questions of Sheriff Henry as background on an arson investigation.

All things considered, Sheriff Henry was fairly happy, since the taxpayers were saving the cost of a trial and housing a prisoner for the next thirty years or so, not to mention of course, when the insurance came through, he would get a new state of the art jail out of it, so maybe the guy actually did something good in some perverted way.

To Be Continued...

Authors Note:

So, now you know just how it all worked. See, the boys, dogs and adults were perfectly safe, well, everyone except Special Agent Dukman, of course. So anyway, there is no need for any long drawn out legal battles, this time. I know how much everyone loves those, so to those of you that do, I'm sorry. I do wonder what Dr. Turnman will put in as the cause of death; hanging, strangulation, electrocution, blunt force trauma, smoke inhalation, or drowning. Wonder if he ate one of Helga's cookies? No, that's too cruel, even for him.

Wait to see what the boys thought were 'must pack' items for their trip. The sleeping arrangements are interesting too. So tune in next time.

Do you think the Dr. paid enough, or are you with Max and Ginger, and think he should have suffered more? Let me know what you think. str8mayb@yahoo.com

Editor's Note:

I am not sure there is any comment that I could possibly make that would top the author's notes.

We warned you that this chapter could start out with a flashback or two.

I refuse to admit that I had anything to do with there being flashbacks included in this chapter. I can't believe what happened to Doctor Dumb Ass.

He was not a very nice man, was he?

That was a real heart warming scene with Brian and Travis. They love each other and it really showed. Now, I could continue writing in this thing for a while, but since we have already passed the seven thousand word point, I think I will just say," Thanks Str8mayb for a great chapter. I can hardly wait for the next chapter.


AKA The Radio Rancher

Fort Chief Editor's Notes:

I for one don't know whether to thank Str8mayb or shoot him; the jury is still out on that one. It seems we got rid of one bad guy but brought in another one; whether we see him again remains to be seen. I am glad though that everything 'seems' to be getting back to normal or at least as normal as these stories get.

TSL AKA The Story Lover.