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Chapter 22

The slot at the bottom of the door snapped open on Mark's cell and a water bottle rolled in. He picked it up and then shouted at the door,

"What about something to eat?"

There was a pause and so Mark spoke again having not heard the tell tale footstep sounds of the `therapist' walking away. He had been listening and took note of their patterns, as it wasn't like he had anything else to do.

"I know you're still there" he called.

"You won't keep anything down anyway but if you keep quiet I'll get you out in time for dinner." The voice promised.

Mark recognized the man's voice as the one he nailed earlier, obviously the injury wasn't as bad as the boy had hoped. Mark reminded silent so the man walked away. Mark lay on the floor of the room as it helped with his dizziness. He wondered about Tyler, desperately hoping that he was all right. He imagined all sorts of horrible things they might be doing to him when he thankfully dozed off.

He was startled when the door lock clicked. Mark scrambled to his feet breathing rapidly. He hadn't heard the man approach and felt that he was getting sloppy he should have been listening. Mark didn't know how much time had passed but it had to be hours he figured. The door opened, but the man remained behind it, his head peering comically around it as the he protected his body from the boy,

"Ok you can go now," he announced.

Mark wasn't sure if this was a trick or if he was relatively free. He moved slowly for the door looking out into the hallway before leaving his little room. The man pointed down the hall and so Mark headed in that direction. He listened for footsteps following him until he arrived at what had to be the main door. The `therapist' was watching him from down the hall as Mark exited out into the afternoon sun.

Mark squinted in the bright sunlight as he came down the stairway where a mid teenager was waiting for him with a goofy smile.

"Hi, I'm Zeke your new `buddy'" The lanky dark haired teen announced.

"Where's Tyler?" Mark demanded.

"Oh he's fine don't worry but you won't be seeing him again" Zeke announced. "Come on, we'll moved your stuff into my cabin" He continued as he led the boy away.

"Why do I have to move cabins?" Mark asked.

"It'll be easier that way" Zeke responded without really answering.

As they trudged along the path Mark decided he'd just go ahead and ask his questions, there seemed little point in not being bold at this point.

"Are you gay too?" He blurted.

Zeke laughed, "No, I have other issues but I'm a lot better now"

"Zeke is a strange name" Mark commented

"It's short for Ezekiel, it means `God strengthens'" The teen advised.

"What does my name mean?" Mark wondered not realizing that names could have meanings

"I don't know but Saint Mark was the author of the second Gospel in the New Testament" Zeke offered.

After getting his camp issued clothes and toiletries from his old cabin, Mark moved into his new cabin with Zeke. The half dozen boys there seemed friendly enough but Mark was better able to read their expressions now, noting that everyone's goal was to just get out of here. At Dinner Mark wolfed down the bland slop as he scanned the hall for Tyler. He became rather depressed on not finding the only friend he really had, he was beginning to loose his confidence and understood just how alone he really was.

A few days later he saw a familiar face while at the communal washroom. Mark was brushing his teeth for bed when Tyler stood beside him doing the same.

"Tyler!" Mark beamed.

"Shhh, just keep brushing your teeth" Tyler ordered.

"You ok?" Mark asked in a hushed voice.

"No, I'm getting out of here, tonight" Tyler replied.

"You're running away? I'll come too," Mark insisted.

"I'm not coming back Mark, I won't let them catch me ... Alive" Tyler said somberly

"We can make it together," Mark offered with enthusiasm.

"I'm leaving right after head count tonight, I'll tell the staff I need to go to the bathroom" Tyler instructed.

"Bad plan dude, we should go at first light, everyone will be tired and we'll be able to see better" Mark instructed.

"But they'll miss us at the morning head count?" Tyler protested.

"Yeah but we'll either be long gone or caught by then" Mark reasoned.

"I'm not coming back here," Tyler repeated.

"Come by my cabin as soon as it starts to get light" Mark instructed as he saw Zeke enter the bathroom. Mark left without waiting for a reply.

Mark was already awake in the early morning when he heard Tyler tap lightly on the window. He was up and out before anyone could stir. Silently the two boys made their way into the forest. Mark was excited and yet fearful about their jailbreak, he wanted to be out of here but he didn't want anything bad to happen to Tyler either.

"Wait" He ordered as the forest came to an end, opening out onto an expanse of tall grass. Mark scanned the horizon for, security, a road, a house, anything. The only thing in sight was another clump of trees on a hill out in the distance. The morning dew hung on the damp grass as sunrise began to light the field. It was much brighter than the forest they had just walked through. The boys started out across the field, moving quickly. Mark had an eerie feeling that they were being watched but he couldn't see anyone. As the slope gradually increased they could see a dirt road ran across the high point of the field.

"Which way do we go?" Tyler wondered as they neared the road.

"We go across the field, this road could just take us back to camp," The younger teen reasoned. "When you ran away before, did you get this far?"

"I didn't go this way, seemed stupid to go the same way again," Tyler admitted.

Just as they crossed the road Tyler shouted, "Truck!"

Both boys dove into the grass for cover, hoping the machine would pass them by but it stopped. The pair bolted for the hill on the other side of the field. The green pickup came out onto the field and pulled around in front of them. Mark stopped but Tyler kept running in circles until the men jumped out and chased him down. Mark ran over to where Tyler was tackled and being roughed up. This time however the older teen really was resisting.

"Stop hurting him!" Mark ordered. When the three men finally grew tried of wrestling with Tyler they pulled him up, beaten and bloodied.

"Why you kids run I'll never understand, we always catch you," The cammo dude advised.

As they hauled the pair to their truck two camp staff appeared. Mark hadn't noticed them approaching as he was focused on Tyler's plight. The younger one with very short hair spoke first,

"There you two are, we can take them from here"

The other staff, gripped Mark's arm as he prepared to take control of the prisoner, "Yeah sorry, they kinda slipped away on us," a familiar voice said. Mark's heart thundered in his chest as he fought to stop himself from shouting, Jason.

"Who are you guys?" The lead cammo dude asked.

"I'm Jason, this is Jesse, and we're new here which makes this all the more embarrassing" Jason explained.

"Go back to camp, we'll take these two in. The director will let you know when you're getting them back," The man ordered as a second truck arrived with four more security men.

"Come on we can handle these two" Jason pleaded, "Don't get me in trouble in my first week."

The man turned away to use his radio as the other guards approached.

"You should have a brought a clip board like I told you, everyone knows you have to have a clip board to be in charge" Jesse said cheekily to Jason.

The head cammo dude turned back, "You two are coming with us as well, no one's heard of you back at camp."

"I don't think so" Jesse replied flippantly.

The seven cammo dudes surrounded them, some taking out their clubs.

"Come on now guys, this isn't a fair fight" Jason complained.

"No, you should call more guys, we'll wait" Jesse advised.

The leader stepped toward Jason, seeking to separate him from Mark. Jason moved to strike first and quickly had the man on his back. Tyler and Mark then stood back in awe as the seven to two battles began. Mark thought Jason could move fast but Jesse was even quicker, having incapacitated four cammo dudes while Jason was still working on his third. Jesse had disarmed the club men during his martial arts clinic and now swung a club in each hand as he approached Jason.

"Need some help?" He asked as Jason kicked the legs out from under his opponent.

"No I'm fine thanks" He replied as the boys looked around at the carnage.

"You guys are like special forces soldiers," Tyler said in awe.

"Some day I will be" Jesse advised, "These guys aren't soldiers just because they wear cammo and have ranks, they're just security goons. Not so tough now are ya" he sneered at the fallen cammo dudes as the flung his clubs towards the prone men.

"We should go" Jason said as he pulled out his phone. "But we're only here to rescue you Mark"

"We hafta take him Jason! They'll kill him after all this," The boy pleaded gesturing around at the injured men. Jason knew that Mark meant the other teen would be treated badly, not actually murdered as he pondered the situation.

"Conundrum, banana split and tangerine plus two for pickup" Snapping it shut he pointed towards the road. As the four of them stepped up onto the gravel road Mark could hear the whomp whomp of a helicopter as it flew in low. The green machine set down as the boys were guided safely toward it. As quickly as they were in the chopper was airborne again. It banked sharply and sped along at low altitude. Mark clung close to Jason crushing himself against his rescuer. He had so many questions but the noise of the machine precluded conversation. Jason broke the hug to put a pair of headphones on him to protect his hearing. Mark noticed Tyler looking forlorn and realized that he had been so focused on Jason that he forgot the other boy was even there. Mark moved to sit between them and put his arm around Tyler who seemed reluctant to show public affection.


"So should I take it that the answers to all my questions are going to be `you don't need to know that'?" Ted asked as he sat at home in his lounge chair, Mark in his lap appearing to be permanently attached to him.

"Yeah pretty much" Jason advised.

"I really appreciate what you've done to get Mark back but I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to do with Tyler" Ted wondered.

"Mark made us take him," Jason said passing the blame as he pointed to the strawberry blond boy.

"Bernie will know what to do" Emmett advised as he stroked Tyler's wispy blond hair.

"I've never been around so many gay guys" Tyler said somewhat embarrassed at all the open affection. He wondered if an orgy might break out like in those porn films.

"We're everywhere honey" Emmett advised.

"I don't think we'll be able to keep Tyler, so let's not be making any plans" Ted advised speaking mostly to Mark.

"Well I should get going it's late," Emmett advised.

"Yeah we'll see the lawyer in the morning" Ted advised as he gave Emmett a goodbye kiss, causing Tyler to blush.

That night Ted wanted to pound Jason's ass until he was completely satisfied, he had missed the young man so much but there was the issue of a young teen insistently sleeping between them on his first night back from his horrific ordeal. Mark was sandwiched between them his face buried in Ted's chest hair. Jason was right up against him on the other side, close enough to have his hand on Ted's hip. Ted wondered if the slumbering noises Mark was making was snoring or purring as he drifted off to sleep.