PERILOUS JOURNEY - 1
Copyright 2012 by Carl Mason
All rights reserved. Other than downloading one copy for strictly personal enjoyment, no part of this story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except for reviews, without the written permission of the author. However based on real events and places, “Perilous Journey” is strictly fictional. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. As in real life, however, the sexual themes unfold gradually. Comments on the story are appreciated and may be addressed to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
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This story contains descriptions of sexual contact between males, both adults and teenagers. As such, it is homoerotic fiction designed for the personal enjoyment of legal, mature, adults. If you are not of legal age to read such material, if those in power and/or those whom you trust treat it as illegal, or if it would create unresolvable moral dilemmas in your life, please leave. Finally, please respect yourself and those around you by practicing safe sex.
(The Great Nor'easter)
Lowering his head and shoulders, the muscular teen plowed into the teeth of the torrential rain and wind. Placing foot in front of foot, mile after mile, however, he had completely lost track of how far he had come in the darkness. He only knew that the storm had already hurled him to his knees twice since he left home some hours ago and that he was fast expending the remnants of his youthful energy.
A closed service station that suddenly loomed before him promised a short respite from the elements. On the lee side of the building, he gratefully dropped his small backpack onto the pavement and crouched in a protected nook. Dear God he was tired... Without thinking, he pulled his varsity football jacket tighter around him, but it was as wet and cold as every other piece of clothing on his body. As his hand passed over the Dean's Honors and the All-League medallions pinned onto the River High School "Block-R", a sob escaped his throat. Why? Why, oh why? How could this happen? He had been a good son. Since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, he had worked long hours on the family farm that lay some four miles outside town. Even though he had longed to run, wrestle and, later, simply hang with his friends, he spent most of his Sundays at the little wooden church on the hill where Mother could supervise his activities. During the football and wrestling seasons, he dutifully left for home the minute practices were dismissed. He didn't even stick around to shower or to compare notes with teammates and the younger team members who idolized him. Farmwork and homework occupied most of his hours remaining before bedtime. His school counselor had told him his 4.40 grade point average (on a 5-point scale) on top of an outstanding sports record should lead to scholarship offers. Strangely, his dad would never discuss that possibility.
Last night had turned out to be the very worst night of his life. When the dinner plates had been cleared, his father asked his mother and Evan, at 16 the next oldest of his three brothers, to remain at the table on which the family bible now lay prominently. Rob was terrified from the moment that the summons was issued. It was as if he were appearing before his father for a crime that he had evidently committed - though, for the life of him, he couldn't figure out what it was. Inasmuch as the power company had caught up with them...again, they sat at the rough-hewn table in the flickering light from the fireplace.
In due course, the patriarch cleared his throat and began speaking. "From the time that you kissed your little guest when you were eight, we have watched you carefully. As reports of sexual trysts mounted, especially since you entered high school, we have controlled your movements as best we could. After all, until you are eighteen, the law of the land holds that you are our responsibility. Further, as long as there was a chance we might turn you away from the path of evil, we could not conscionably turn you loose on a people besieged by crime and wickedness. From your earliest days, you have been taught that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God. As such, it is a path leading directly to contempt in the eyes of your fellows...and hell. Regrettably, all efforts to lead you to turn from your ways to ours, the Church's, and those of the community about you have failed.
"At midnight tonight, Robert, you enter upon your eighteenth year. Voters have now made it possible for states adequately to punish adult misbehavior. Today, citizens are more sensitive to the dangers of sexual predators than ever before. On our part, we have fulfilled our moral and legal duties. In this case, the church teaches that we can do no more - without, that is, sharing in your sin by supporting it and thereby bringing God's wrath down upon our heads. Hence, in a little more than four hours, you cease to be a member of this family. You will be dead to us, and we to you. Although we pray that God's mercies will follow you, we must say, 'Leave this house before the light of day returns and never let our paths cross again'!"
The great nor'easter had been pounding the time and kid-worn shack since Robbie's father had called the family to supper. Undoubtedly, a short reprieve would be his for the asking, but that was not his way. For instance, the storm was supposed to blow itself out during the night. Surely, his father's point would still have been made had he left before the family was about in the day' first light. In the young man's eyes, however, such a request would have implicitly given his assent to the exile. No way! No matter how you cut it, it was wrong...morally wrong. Thus, as the house's inhabitants slept soundly, the muscular youth quietly opened the heavy door and threw himself against the howling wind and torrential rain. A black, foreboding shadow silently slid into the dwelling before the door could be closed.
(For Want of a Bus)
Wearily picking himself up from the service station's concrete platform and donning his knapsack, Rob again felt the full power of the storm. Remembering pictures of astronauts' faces as they experienced strong g-forces during takeoff, he imagined how he must look as he forced his way back into the wind-driven torrents. Another half hour of this and he would be ready for more than a service station! As his rural road was intersected by another, only slightly wider and just as dark, habit led him to look carefully in both directions before crossing. Good thing he did... A darkened sport car - probably a Porsche - roared up from the south and, tires squealing, turned left (west) onto his road as it continued. (As it was, it came within a hair of clipping him.) Suddenly, without apparent reason, the awesome vehicle came to an abrupt halt and stood rumbling at the side of the road. With silent thanks for whatever had led the driver to check him out, Robbie picked himself up and jogged towards the cool vehicle as fast as his sodden, frozen limbs allowed.
The visibility had been down to nearly zero since Scott Thayer had left Petersboro some forty-five minutes earlier. Fortunately, the heaviest wind and rain seemed to be coming from the east and, thus, across his car rather than directly into his windshield. Inasmuch as the savage coastal storm had knocked out his lights before he had driven ten miles, however, he was making his way home with atypical care and speed and on deserted country roads. This was probably the only reason that had spotted a youth in a varsity letter jacket just beginning to cross the highway. A little slow in zeroing in on where he had to turn and catching the youngster only out the corner of his eye, he came close enough that the kid jumped a couple of feet into the air and then skidded into a large puddle. Though young, his jacket, build, and fluid motion suggested that he was an athlete.
A little nervous as he approached the darkened vehicle, Robbie was reassured when the window rolled down and a concerned adult voice asked if he were ok and if he'd like a ride. Whipping his cap off and slapping it sharply against his jeans, the young athlete vigorously shook out his auburn locks, grinned, and placed his knapsack behind the seat. "Wow!" he breathed in a youthful whisper as he eased his big frame into the leather seat. "Never thought I'd get a chance to ride in a Porsche!" "Scott Thayer," the driver said with a quiet smile, extending his hand. "Oh, yeah. Thanks, sir. I'm Rob Lewis," the youth responded, shaking the man's hand." "Where are you headed, Rob?" Thayer responded. (Pause.) "Most anywhere, sir," the young man responded hesitatingly. At first responding cautiously, Thayer simply smiled reassuringly. Then, in a strong voice, he said, "Good, Robbie! That way I get to enjoy your company for a little while longer!"
Pushing the heat control, the driver quickly examined the well set-up teen who was making maximal (albeit markedly unsuccessful) efforts to control his shivering in the seat next to him. Other than his jacket, he was dressed in old, nearly threadbare clothing. Several holes in his jeans suggested that he wasn't wearing underwear, nor did it appear that there were any socks underneath a pair of ancient, heavily worn clodhoppers. "I'm on my way home from giving an invited talk at the old chautauqua in Petersboro," he continued. [Author's Note: From the late 19th well into the earlier 20th century, the chautauquas were a major force in spreading adult education and cultural opportunities for generations of new and overwhelmingly rural Americans. Concerts, lectures, recreation, and historical preservation appeared on varied programs. A few continue to this very day] It's quite a drive from my home in Mt. Baxter, but when something is really worthwhile, time seems to melt away."
"Know what you mean," the youngster offered. "I've always liked history, and I'm always reading some book. Some guys I know like math, but I avoid it as much as I can. Or take sports. I love football - even the practices...even the extra physical development. Basketball? Baseball? Well, I can play in a game without embarrassing myself, but they don't do too much for me - and the practices are just plain boring! Sorry, sir. I'm babbling. I just graduated from River Unified High School over in Kingston." His voice trailed off, increasingly submerged in the sound of chattering teeth.
"You're not boring me, Robert," Thayer picked up the conversation. "Far from it. I teach history. Love it... When my boy was in middle school, I even coached a little football! I think I enjoyed it as much as they did! When he took off for college, I made it up north for three games - one against Syracuse, another against Notre Dame. So you're not boring me. I'm aware, however, that you are wet and cold. That surely doesn't help much when you're on the road." His fingers moved the heat dial a little further as he continued. "Behind my seat, sir, you will find a couple of blankets in plastic wrappers. Emergency stuff... Do as you wish, but I suggest you get out of some of those wet clothes and wrap a blanket around you. You have my word that we'll get your wet clothing dried before you've had some food, rest, and are ready to head out again." The way in which the eighteen year old grabbed a blanket and began getting out of his clothing said everything necessary about his physical discomfort - and his instinctive liking for (and trust in) Scott Thayer.
Rob had just about finished wrapping himself in the heavy Hudson's Bay blanket and settling back into the comfortable seat when Scott took a corner of the blanket, told the lad to duck his head, and vigorously dried his disheveled auburn curls. The youngster grinned boyishly, grunted his thanks, sank back into the luxurious leather and, within less than a minute, was fast asleep.
Nearly an hour had passed, when Thayer shook the lad's shoulder, "Hey, Robbie," he yawned, "There's an all-night diner up ahead at the intersection. When I come over this way, I often stop and get a little something to eat and drink before reaching my village. Like to join me?" Sleepily, the young athlete allowed that that sounded good and began stretching. ("If the rest of him looks anything like his calves," Larry thought, "this youngster is built like an Abrams battle tank!") Only ten minutes or so had passed before he had parked, gone into the diner, and returned with burgers and coffee. Rob shrugged the blanket off his upper torso, accepted his food gratefully, and dug in. His benefactor had everything he could do to avoid swallowing noisily and letting out a collegiate "Wow!" With his auburn hair, the lad hadn't developed a heavy tan. Rather, his face, thick neck, arms, shoulders, and pecs had been bronzed to a reddish glow by the sun. And, dear God, what an upper body he had! Beyond being one handsome young man seemingly unspoiled by the kind of luxury that saps the vinegar out of so many people today. The theme for the rest of him appeared to be "heavily muscled and tautly defined."
As they got underway again - grinning at each other, Robbie murmuring a satisfied "Oh yeah, that was great!" - Larry asked the young god what he was doing two good-sized counties west of Kingston. Hesitating just a bit and glancing at the clock on the dashboard, the lad mumbled that his dad had been a farmer. River High was a unified school that served half a county. More confidently, he added that he would be eighteen in about forty-five minutes and that he was on his way west to make a better life. He had heard that the bus and train connections over here were a lot better than those along the river. Thayer caught several echoes and subthemes in his words, but wisely said nothing. After having taught at a university for nearly ten years, he knew in working with this age group that this was not the time to press. Rather, he continued as if additional thoughts had not crossed his mind. "We're about a half-hour from my place, Muscles." (Robbie grinned.) "This storm's not going to let up tonight - and tomorrow's a national holiday. I can offer you a bedroom with a comfortable bed and a shower, a washer and dryer and, if you get up early enough on Monday, a super breakfast and a ride into the town where there are excellent bus connections are available. It's also where I teach. (Pause.) You'll even find an afternoon train. Interested?" The professor caught a quick glance at Rob's face out of the corner of his eye. His expression was profoundly shocked; the lad's eyes were heavy with tears though he didn't make a sound. (Young males only a few minutes away from being eighteen don't cry easily - anymore than they did on the beaches at Tarawa or in the Christmas snows of the Ardennes in 1944.) Gruffly, he finally answered. "Some people are too quick to trust others." Bitterly, he added that he'd been told recently (by someone who should know) that he wasn't worth a damn!
Without the slightest hint of a smile, Thayer pulled over to the side of the road, looked the youth straight in the eye and, saying nothing, placed his right hand on the distraught youth's heavy shoulder. Encountering no resistance, he allowed it to snake around his neck. As his hand and forearm drew the youngster tightly into his shoulder, he vigorously tousled his reddish brown mop, saying, "If you don't mind, Mr. Lewis, I and I alone shall decide whom to trust. And I and I alone shall decide with whom I choose to share a few moments on my life's journey." Snarling lightly he added, "Is that perfectly clear, sir?" A thoroughly abashed youth nearly choked before he was able to spit out, "Yes, SIR!" (Pause.) The professor grinned...and received a somewhat uncertain grin in return.
In a matter of minutes, they drove through a crossroads area that included a few houses, a square stone building with a sign reading "Mt. Baxter," a restaurant in a small strip mall, and service facilities. Not a light was to be seen...not that you could see much through the heavy rain that was being driven almost horizontally by the wind. "I don't like living on top of people," Thayer drawled. "Take the boy out of the country, but you'll never take the country out of the boy!" Robbie grinned slightly, drawling, "I guess. Better than any city for good livin'...if you can get rid of the varmints."
"Rob!" the man said sharply. "It's time. I can let you out here. Tomorrow is Sunday, but there will be people around who can point you towards transportation. In any case, it will take you a while to reach the bus stops, or the train station in Timothy. Or...Big Guy...you can accept my invitation." A certain yearning came into his voice as he added, "I'd be truly delighted to have your company." Silence reigned for just a moment. Then a heavily muscled arm worked its way out of the youth's blanket to be laid across the driver's shoulders. A young voice said quietly, "Thank you, sir. Invitation accepted. Much obliged."
(To Be Continued)