By Mark Peters
is a fictional story which contains scenes depicting sexual acts between
males of different ages.
all those who are reading this story on Nifty I encourage you to visit
their home page ( www.nifty.org ) and make
~ Chapter Twenty-Two ~
I need to remind you, Cooper, of just where you are, and
who you're talking to?' Mr Cunningham quickly
responded, trying his best to assert his authority.
`That type of language is simply not acceptable here,
as I am sure you are fully aware!'
me, sir. Perhaps I did forget myself there for a moment
. . .' I replied in as steady a voice as I could
possibly muster, which itself was something I was
finding extremely difficult to control. `But perhaps I
could remind you of something?' I added, while leaning
slightly forward in my seat, hoping to intimidate him
just a little.
seemed to work, as he leaned back in his chair, as if
trying to get away from me.
student of this school was murdered, in an extremely
violent manner, and quite possibly on these grounds . .
.' I continued.
was never any proof . . .' he began to say, but I
quickly cut him off by holding up a hand and demanding
to be let finish.
hearing of Corcoran's actions visions of my nightmare
had come flooding back to me once more . . . seeing
Martin there, bound and helpless, while the rapist had
his way with him. Was this actually what happened to
him? Was my dream more than just a figment of my
was beginning to appear so!
less than a year later,' I continued, `one of your
staff members is caught in a storeroom with a male
student, gagged, his pants down, and in the process of
having his hands and feet bound to a desk,' I seethed,
`and you do NOTHING!!! What would have happened if
that event hadn't been discovered? Had you ever given
that any consideration? Just how far would that sick
bastard have gone, do you think? Was he just having some
fun . . . or maybe it could have ended in another
what seemed like an eternity we studied each other in
silence across the desk. The school principal and former
student, each now seeing the other in a different light.
. . . I had no choice,' he finally stammered.
what the fuck is that supposed to mean?' I demanded,
not caring at all about where I was or in whose company.
was acting on the instructions of the school board . . .
it was important that the school, and the diocese, avoid
any hint of scandal . . . at all cost. Daniel Corcoran
was dismissed immediately and a settlement was
subsequently reached with the victim and his family . .
you didn't think for one minute to report it to the
police . . . especially when you knew a gay student from
this school disappeared from here and had been brutally
murdered, and less than a year before?'
. . . I simply couldn't . . .' he replied, as he
slumped back in his seat, looking and sounding both sad
and defeated. `My hands were tied.'
had once had the utmost respect for this man, but now I
had seen and heard more than enough, and so I stood up.
I suddenly needed to get out of this place and get as
far away from here as possible.
up the damning file which contained the indiscretions of
Daniel Corcoran, former art teacher, I started for the
door, before stopping and turning to face him once more.
Cunningham,' I began. `You always treated us well,
both Martin and me, and you made sure that the years we
spent here were largely trouble free. For that I will
always be extremely grateful, but now . . . now it
appears that I will only ever be able to remember you as
the person whose inaction caused the deaths of two more
innocent people. And that is only that we know of.'
What do you mean?' he choked, his ashen face looking
up at me, aghast.
today, Mr Corcoran was just one of the suspects we had
begun looking into regarding Martin's death,' I
coldly replied. `But right now I'd be willing to bet
money on the fact that it was actually him. Two other
murders have also taken place in Sydney in this past
week, and for both of them the facts are identical to
Martin's death. Should all three deaths actually be
attributed to Corcoran, your not informing the police of
what happened here four years ago could very well have
contributed to the deaths of those two young men!'
. . . I had no idea,' he whispered.
isn't the end of it, and I hope you realise that, Mr
Cunningham? What do you think your precious school board
will think of that, I wonder?' I asked, before opening
the door and leaving him.
sound of the door being closed forcefully seemed to echo
along the hallway, as I headed for where I knew Rosie
would be seated. Curious heads turned my way as I passed
offices, but I paid no attention to them.
everything all right?' Rosie asked when I presented
myself to her desk.
will be, thank you,' I replied. `I was wondering if
you could get me the files for a couple of ex-students
course, Rick. We've been instructed to provide
whatever is needed. Whose records do you need?
Harrison and Joshua Bell,' I replied, thinking that I
would still need to follow up on Joshua, even if nothing
more than to satisfy my own curiosity.
give me a few moments and I'll pull them from the
archives,' she replied.
I stepped out into the afternoon sunlight once more,
just a few minutes later, I carried with me the
requested files. I was trying to recall what Cory looked
like, as after all he had been in the year below me at
school, but no doubt I would be able to find him in the
yearbooks. Perhaps then I would be able to put a face to
I knew that I needed to talk to him about what had happened, but even before meeting him I had a feeling that both Cory and Martin would have had quite a lot in common. I felt sure that there had to be a common denominator connecting the two . . . some reason why Corcoran would target them both. Did they look alike? Were they both in Corcoran's art class? There just had to be some connection between them.
realising it I had stopped in front of the building as
soon as I had stepped outside and it was only when I
heard a car horn a few moments later that I discovered I
was standing in front of that large white cross and
staring up at it. It seemed like no matter what I did in
life, I just couldn't escape that damned thing!
I stood there contemplating my next move my phone
started ringing, and upon checking the number I saw that
it was Adam.
babe,' I said, as I checked my watch and noticed it
was already nearing four. `Have you left yet?'
been held up a bit and I'm just getting in my car
now,' he replied. `How is everything going up
just swimmingly,' I answered, but I knew that the tone
of my voice would have been a dead giveaway as to just
how things were really going.
then. How about you tell me all about it over dinner?
Did you find a place to stay?'
. . . yeah. How do you like the idea of waking up to
water views . . . the sound of the ocean close by and
waves almost lapping at your doorstep?' I asked him,
without totally giving away my game plan.
yeah, and what's this going to set me back?' he
a thing. It's on me. You just get your arse in that
car and hit the road, then ring me when you get to
and I'll talk you through the last couple
of miles if you like.'
right then. I'll see you in a few hours.'
he had disconnected I stood there for a few moments just
grinning at my phone, with the excitement starting to
build in me, knowing that soon not only would I be
seeing him again, but I would also be introducing him to
Martin's parents. I knew that it had the potential to
be awkward, but I also knew that Tom and Beth would be
true to their word and would welcome him with open arms.
I actually felt like I finally had something that was
worth smiling about.
out of my reverie I suddenly remembered the folders I
was holding and the fact that there was information
which I still needed, and so I headed for Beth's car.
Once I was in the driver's seat I took another look at
Cory's file and checked his address, which I knew was
relatively close to the school. I had no idea if he or
his parents still lived there, but seeing as I was
already so close I figured that paying them a visit was
at least worth a shot.
the car I backed it out of the parking space, then sped
off in the direction of the exit and then out onto the
street, eager to get as far away from Cunningham and the
school as I possibly could.
a short drive and a couple of wrong turns . . . after
all it had been a while since I had visited these haunts
. . . I pulled up in front of a small weatherboard
cottage. The area wasn't the best part of town, and
the houses showed that, but that wasn't particularly
of concern to me. I had other things to worry about.
a few moments I simply sat there, going over things in
my mind once more. I seemed to be doing a lot of that
lately. Everyone who I had met and dealt with this past
week, from my new work colleagues to those who were no
longer with us, seemed to be there in my thoughts. But
despite all of that, there was someone else who seemed
to be taking front and centre, especially now that I had
finally admitted my feelings for him . . . and that was
spite of everything I couldn't wait to see him again
this afternoon, and just that thought was making all of
didn't know what was going to happen once I stepped
out of the car and knocked on that front door. All I was
hoping for was for somehow to be able to get in contact
with Cory. Perhaps his family was still living here, or
if not, then hopefully whoever was living here now could
give me a forwarding address.
out of the car I headed for the gate, which stood open
in the centre of a rickety paling fence, then up a
cracked cement path and toward the front verandah.
Before I could even reach the first step, however, the
front door opened and a young man, perhaps just a year
or two younger than me, stepped outside to greet me.
a few moments we stood there looking each other up and
down, and while I did think he looked somewhat familiar
to me, I didn't think I knew him. He had a solid build
and tanned skin, with short blonde hair, and was wearing
faded pink Billabong board shorts and a once white
singlet that appeared to be stained by splatters of
Cooper,' he finally said. 'It's been a long time
since I've seen you around here.'
. . . hi,' I replied, my thoughts having been thrown
off centre for a few moments as I scrambled back through
my memory banks. `I'm sorry, but do we know each
didn't look pissed off or angry. In fact he kind of
looked like he was pleased to see me, but that still
didn't help me put a name to the face.
not surprised you don't remember me, but yeah, me and
my boyfriend were in the year below you at Waratah
High,' he said.
that's that other half. I'm Robbie Richards,' he
said, as he stepped forward and stretched out his hand
for me, which I duly shook.
hang on, you were one of that pair of kids Martin and I
stopped from getting beat up in the toilets that
time?' I asked. `You used to have long shaggy hair,
am I right? And so Cory must have been the other one.
So, he's still around here then?'
And yeah, we live here together. His folks retired and
set off on one of those round Australia holidays, so
it's just the two of us . . . and their dog, of
course. He should be home from school fairly soon . .
he's a primary school teacher across the river. This
is his first year out of university.'
. . . now I'm with you. I've been trying to come up
with an image of him for the last hour or so, but I know
now. He's a tall and skinny black haired guy, and
always looked a bit shaggy too? And didn't he play in
a band or something?'
that was him. Geez, you're on a roll now!' Robbie
he's a teacher now? Good for him.'
could remember them both, always together, but I
didn't ever think that they were actually a couple.
With his mop of blonde hair, I guess Robbie and I
weren't that dissimilar in looks, while Cory had been
a good looking guy himself.
always wondered if you'd ever come around to see
him,' Robbie stated, as he pointed to a chair on the
verandah. We both sat down.
what?' I asked, knowing full well what his answer
old art teacher . . . Corcoran . . . that's why
you're here isn't it?' he replied, to which I
could only nod. `So, you know about what happened
between Cory and that scumbag?'
just,' I answered, before adding, `I'm a cop now
and as there have been some new developments relating to
Martin Oliver's murder, so I've been at the school
talking to Cunningham. I've only just found out about
what happened between Cory and Corcoran.'
the bastards at the school made certain that it was kept
quiet,' Robbie remarked.
certainly not wrong about that.'
what about Corcoran? Do you think he had something to do
with what happened to Martin?'
he was already a suspect in Martin's death, but after
finding out about Cory today, I think the odds of his
being involved have just shortened.'
nodded, but didn't say anything for the time being, so
I simply let the silence stretch out between us.
were so sorry about Martin, you know. He was one of the
good guys . . . you both were, actually. We all looked
up to you. For younger gay kids at that school, knowing
that there were others just like them who were leading
the way, it made it . . . I guess, easier for us all.'
you. I really had no idea at the time that there were
others . . . although it stands to reason that there
after, well . . . what happened . . . Cory and I always
had this feeling that Corcoran also had something to do
with what happened to Martin. But that fucking school
made Cory and his family sign agreements though, so they
wouldn't ever spill the beans, in exchange for the
cash,' he said, with just a hint of bitterness in his
voice. `They were more worried about their precious
reputation than they were about the welfare of their
explains a lot,' I remarked.
. . . he still has nightmares about the whole thing, you
know,' he added.
do I, mate. And all too often, let me tell you,' I
replied. `And what about you? If Cory is a teacher,
what do you do with yourself?'
I'm just a struggling artist. Can't you tell?' he
chuckled, while pointing at his paint splattered
clothes. `We get by with what Cory earns, and the bit
of money I get from selling paintings we're putting
aside so that one day we can buy our own place. Our
dream is for a nice place up the coast somewhere, with
some acres, ocean views and plenty of room. I'll have
to sell a lot of fucking paintings to make that a
the mention of the word artist my interest was piqued.
artist, huh? So you were in Corcoran's class?'
. . . the sleazy fuck. It was like he was always coming
on to me, trying to touch me and stuff.'
I remember that too.'
you in his class too, then?'
but Marty was. That didn't stop him from trying though
. . . every time I was anywhere near him. What did you
do? How did you handle it?'
told him to back the hell off, otherwise I would go to
did that work?'
how long after that was it before he tried it on with
Cory?' I asked, as my brain started churning through
the data, trying to come up with possible scenarios.
a matter of weeks, really.'
I contemplated what he was saying my phone started
ringing once again. It was Helen, and so I excused
myself for the moment and said I needed to take the
call, then stepped down off the verandah.
How did it go?' I said to her after pressing the
button and connecting.
damn good. I expected them to be all hard-arsed, but
they treated the kid well and in the end they got
everything they needed. Megan talked one of the partners
into taking the kid on, so he got looked after. Casey
never missed a beat, even when they tried tricking him
up, and with Jimmy and Shane's statements to back up
what Casey was saying it was almost like they could
smell the blood in the water.'
great. So, what do they do next? Are they likely to make
arrests, or at least haul them in for questioning, this
don't know. They said they'll need to review
everything and talk to their superiors, so I'll let
you know what happens just as soon as I know it. So, how
are things up there? Are you getting anywhere?'
Corcoran, the art teacher. I'm sure of it,' I
replied. `I'm still not sure about my Sydney
stalker, but Corcoran got the sack the year after Martin
was killed . . . he was found with a boy in a storeroom.
The school and the local diocese swept it under the
carpet, not wanting to attract any negative publicity,
even paid the victim and his family some hush money.'
And have you got a statement yet?'
I'm just waiting for the victim, Cory Harrison, to
come home so I can talk to him. The school principal
gave me the teacher's file . . . that's how I found
out . . . and I've just been talking to Cory's
boyfriend, who also went to school there.'
idea of a motive yet?'
still working on that, but there are certainly some
similarities between Martin and Cory, so I have some
ideas. In the meantime, can you start the ball rolling
with trying to find out what you can about Corcoran?'
I asked, as I started for the car. `Just give me a sec
and I'll give you his details from the file. Somehow
we need to try and find where he's been for the past
four years, in particular for the past couple of
walked back out onto the street and retrieved the folder
from the passenger seat of the car and opened it, then
read out Corcoran's personal details to her. I knew
that it wouldn't be easy tracking him down, especially
after four years, but at least it was a start.
Hopefully, if he's continued to behave in the same
manner, there might be some record of him in the system.
got it!' Helen said once she had finished taking down
the details. `I'll see what we can do.'
I walked back toward the house I heard a car slowing
down, and when I looked that way I noticed a small
silver car turned into the driveway. The driver appeared
to be staring at me all the while as he pulled to a
stop, then after switching off the ignition and getting
out of the vehicle he continued to hold me in his gaze.
was obvious he knew who I was, so I started walking
toward him, but then he looked away, as if he was unsure
about whether or not he wanted to meet me. Robbie got to
his feet and came over to where I was standing, placing
a hand on my shoulder and saying quietly, `Just give
him a minute. He still finds it difficult to talk about
it all,' before continuing over to where Cory stood
and taking one of his hands in his.
got some news,' I heard Robbie say, at which point
Cory's head snapped back toward me.
the bastard dead yet?' Cory asked.
no,' I replied. `But I'd really like to talk with
you if I could,' I added, before pulling back my
jacket to expose my police badge once more. `I'm a
cop now. I'm sure you remember my boyfriend, Martin?
There have been some developments in his murder case, so
that's why I'm here.'
saw his eyes widen at the site of the badge, then he
looked back up at my face.
it Corcoran?' he asked, his voice barely more than a
beginning to think so,' I answered.
Harrison, who was no longer the skinny rock and roller I
had remembered, was now a well-dressed, well presented,
and gorgeous young man. It would be almost two hours
later before I finally left their house, my head filled
with information about Corcoran and what he did, after
finally being able to coax a statement out of his
took a little prompting, but Cory finally opened up, and
once he had begun describing what happened to him it was
almost as if he was describing the dream I'd had last
night, sending shivers down my spine as he did so.
was all the same. The dark hallways. The locked doors.
The sense of a skewed reality which he described. It
made me think that perhaps he was drugging the boys in
some way, so they would put up less of a fight.
you remember him giving you anything?' I asked Cory.
`A drink, or a smoke of something? Or did he prick you
with a needle?'
. . . no . . . I can't remember . . .' Cory
he eventually managed to tie you to a desk or a table of
I do remember that,' he said, as I jotted down his
did you put up a fight?'
don't know,' he snapped.
looked across at Robbie and noticed him shake his head
at me slightly. I nodded, realising that I had probably
pushed that little bit too far, so I decided I needed to
change tack. He was obviously right when he said that
Cory still found it difficult to talk about it all.
Robbie, you said you were an artist. Is that one of
yours?' I asked, getting to my feet and walking over
toward a painting on the wall. It was a stunning picture
of two surfers standing on a beach with their boards,
silhouetted against an incredible, fiery sunrise.
it is,' he answered as he joined me. `I took some
photos of Cory one morning when we were at the beach
early. Both of those figures in the painting are
brilliant,' I said. `I'd love to see some more of
your works, if I may?'
course. My studio is just out the back. I'll take you
through,' he said, before turning to Cory and saying,
`Do you want to come out too, babe?`
looked up at him, and then at me. I could see he was
having difficulty handling the fact that the whole sorry
saga had been dragged back up again, but I wasn't sure
what I could do to help. I figured if we gave him some
time to gather his thoughts that might help, as I really
needed to try and get him to open up some more about
what had happened. I still didn't know a whole lot
about Corcoran and his methods.
started to follow Robbie out of the room, but then I
stopped and walked back over to Cory, then knelt down in
front of him on one knee. Perhaps if I levelled with
him, I thought, and told him exactly what was going on,
he might come around?
I looked him in the eye he looked scared shitless, but
he held my gaze and remained sitting there.
I'm really sorry that this has all been dredged back
up again, but there's actually more at stake here than
just what Corcoran did to you. We're almost certain he
was involved in Martin's death, and now there have
been two more murders of young guys in Sydney who I had
recently met. The methods all matched what happened to
Martin . . . right down to the last detail . . . and now
that I know in part what he did to you, it matches your
case too. I don't want to pressure you . . . I know
enough about what you've gone through . . . but I need
to stop this bastard before he hurts someone else, and I
could really use your help here.'
I finished his eyes were wide, as he took in what I had
said, but I simply got back to my feet and gave him a
gentle rub on the shoulder, then followed Robbie out of
the room, leaving Cory to think about what I had said. I
had no idea if he would come on board and help me out,
but I was truly hoping he would recognise that he was
quite possibly our best hope of being able to finally
put Corcoran away.
I said earlier . . . he still struggles a bit with what
happened,' Robbie said to me as we walked through the
I can see that. Please believe me when I say that the
last thing I want is to hurt him.'
know,' he replied.
studio proved to be located outside, at the back of the
house, taking up a considerable part of a large shed in
the garden. We walked down a well shaded path lined on
either side by large ferns and shrubs, with everything
smelling earthy and damp, before I was shown into a
light and airy space, filled with vibrant colours and
the heady smell of oil paints, linseed oil and
I was struck by a sea of colour, coming from the many
paintings scattered around the room – some propped
against walls, while others were sitting on benches or
easels, all in varying stages of completion. Turning my
head from side to side, as I tried to take it all in, my
gaze settled on a work that appeared to be not quite
completed. It was a magnificent nude portrait of Cory,
sitting on sand, amongst the windswept grasses growing
on the dunes, one leg stretched out, while the other was
drawn up, covering his privates, and with his hands and
chin resting upon his knee.
what I could see of it, the detail was amazing. It
reminded me of some of those artists whose web sites
I've seen, with their paintings of gay themed subjects
. . . only this was better.
I glanced back at Robbie with raised eyebrows he grinned
at me. `What can I say? He's my favourite subject.
It's not quite finished yet, but I'm hoping to enter
it into a portrait competition in a few months time.
They said that nudes were okay, there just couldn't be
any hint of arousal . . . so that's why his leg is
covering him up,' he cheekily explained.
absolutely stunning,' I said to him, `You're very
`Thank you. I appreciate that,' he replied. `Unfortunately, however, poor and talented artists are a dime a dozen,' he grinned. `But I want to be more than that. I still have a ways to go, but I think I'm getting there.'
you ever had an exhibition?'
not yet . . . but one of the galleries in the city did
put out some feelers after I had won a prize in one of
the local competitions, so I'm hopeful.'
sure it'll happen for you. Especially if this gets
hope you're right,' he replied.
showed me through the racks of his paintings, which were
a mixture of portraits, seascapes and landscapes,
including some more amazing works depicting Cory, which
were, apparently a part of a series.
he continued showing me around we chatted about this and
that, both of us trying our best to keep the subject
matter light and free of the drama which had brought me
here, but I have to admit that I was finding it
increasingly difficult to concentrate on what we were
talking about, as questions and possible answers kept
running through my mind. In the end I simply had to give
I ask you something about that day?' I enquired, to
which he looked at me and simply said, `Of course.'
was it that found them together?'
would have been me and Mr Cunningham,' he replied.
the two of you?' I urged.
was supposed to meet Cory after the last lesson, but he
didn't show, so I started back toward admin . . . I
was going to see if he had gone there or left a message
or anything. I met Cunningham on the way and just
happened to ask him if he had seen Cory anywhere.'
. . . but after what happened the year before . . . with
Martin, he tended to be something of a worry-wort every
time someone wasn't where they should be. He told me
to come with him and we would have a look around . . .
and as we were closest to the science and art building
that's where we went first.
school was out we found nobody in any of the science
rooms, but when we started on the art rooms I noticed
that the door to Corcoran's room was open, so I headed
for that, while Cunningham was still checking some of
the other rooms.'
long was this after the last class had been
dismissed?' I probed.
not really sure. More than half an hour, but not quite
an hour I wouldn't have thought. The school was
basically empty, apart from the kids still waiting at
the bus stop out the front.'
was there anyone or anything in Corcoran's room?'
. . . Cory's school bag was sitting just inside the
door, so I knew he couldn't have been too far away.'
pointed to a couple of stools and so we both sat down
and took a load off. I was sitting with my back to the
door, while Robbie was facing it, as we continued our
what did you do?' I asked him.
stuck my head back out the door and called for
Cunningham, then went straight to the door at the back
of the room, which I knew was to the storeroom, to see
if they were in there. It was empty, but the door from
there out into the corridor behind it was also open.'
nodded, knowing full well just how much like rabbit
warrens the old school buildings were.
heard a loud bang come from somewhere down the corridor,
so I set off in search of what might have made that
noise, trying every door as I went, before eventually
coming to one of the storeroom doors, which thankfully
had a small window in it. When I looked inside that's
when I saw them,' he said, in a voice that seemed to
tremble slightly, and as I noticed that his hands were
also shaking slightly.
Jesus,' I whispered, suddenly having flashbacks to the
vivid images I had witnessed in my dreams.
did you see? And what did you do?' I asked.
saw me being tied to a desk,' said Cory from the
doorway behind me.
at Robbie I saw his eyes light up, before he quickly
stood up and crossed the floor to his boyfriend. I stood
up and turned, just in time to see them hug and kiss; a
sight which I found enchanting.
how much do you remember?' I gently asked, once they
can't remember everything that happened,' Cory said.
`Some of it is really quite hazy . . .'
on,' I urged.
looked at Robbie, his expression one of uncertainty, but
his boyfriend nodded and smiled.
okay,' Robbie whispered.
went into the art room . . .' he continued. `I think
Corcoran must have seen me outside and called me in, but
I'm not totally sure about that.
as I met him he put his arm around my shoulder and said
he had something he wanted to show me and led me toward
the storeroom at the back of the classroom.'
that alarm you?'
he was always like that. Real, touchy-feely, you know
what I mean? So I wasn't very concerned. I actually
kind of . . .' he started to say, but then looked up
at Robbie and cut himself short.
okay, babe. It doesn't matter,' Robbie urged.
were you going to say?' I asked him.
looked back at me, the guilt plainly written on his
was going to say that in a way, even though I knew it
was wrong in so many ways, I kind of liked it,' he
said. `When he would touch me like that, or run his
hand down my back, it actually sent a shiver through
okay. I know exactly what you mean,' I offered. `Can
you remember what happened next?'
. . . he did give me something to drink, I remember now.
He had a flask of something in the cupboard where he
kept his personal items. He poured some out into a cup
and drank some himself, then handed the cup to me. I
don't know what it was, but I figured if he'd drunk
some it must have been okay.'
did it taste like?'
Kind of creamy. And it left me with a warm feeling all
the way down to my stomach.'
talked. He rubbed my shoulders and started touching me.
It felt . . . I don't know . . . it was like the world
was spinning . . . and it felt nice . . . kind of like a
dream' he said, while looking quite guilty and trying
to avoid Robbie's gaze.
he told you this before?' I asked Robbie. He nodded,
and as he did so I noticed a single tear trickle down
his cheek, which I saw Cory reach up and brush away.
so sorry,' Cory whispered to his lover.
be. It's not your fault, it was his fault. And
you've got nothing to feel guilty over, you hear
me?' Robbie whispered back.
I felt like an intruder, butting in on a tender, private
moment, and so I stepped away from them, just to give
them some space.
I thought about what Cory had said so far it all began
to make sense to me. Corcoran had given Cory something,
so it stood to reason that he had done the same thing a
year earlier with Martin. If that was the case, then was
this a proven formula for him? Had he done it before?
Were there any other victims?
made a mental note to check his employment history
against any possible similar cases from towns where he
had been working.
don't remember how I got to the other room,' Cory
eventually continued, forcing me to turn back toward the
two of them.
room? The one which Robbie found you both in?' I
The next thing I remember was hearing a loud banging
noise and waking up, stretched across a desk.'
else can you remember?' I gently asked.
was Robbie . . . he was making the noise . . . he was
banging something against the window in the door.'
at Robbie I saw him nod. `It was a fire
extinguisher,' he said, which caused my heart to skip
I couldn't move. My hands were tied. I couldn't move
my feet either. And it was cold. That was when I
realised my trousers were pulled down, and my shirt was
off me too. Suddenly I was very scared . . . but I
couldn't understand why Robbie wasn't coming in to
then was when Cunningham arrived. When Corcoran saw that
he panicked . . . he dropped a knife that he had in his
hand . . .' Robbie said, before trailing off. I
noticed him squeeze Cory's hand as he did so.
all knew what the significance of that knife was. That
knowledge hung in the air between us. Cory had been a
very lucky boy.
did Corcoran do?' I urged.
as Cunningham unlocked the door with his master key,
Corcoran pulled up his strides and bolted out the far
side door. And that was the last anyone ever saw of him
at that school.'
the knife and whatever he used to tie Cory up? What
happened to those?' I wondered aloud.
guess you'd have to ask Cunningham about those,'
what about the police?'
never spoke to me,' Cory said.
me,' added Robbie. `We never saw them.'
So the only record of what happened is what's in
Cunningham's files,' I bemoaned.
in my diary,' Robbie added. `I wrote it all down
just in case this day would come and something might be
able to be done about him, in spite of Cunningham's
was getting late when I finally left their house, my
head now crammed with answers to almost every question
except the one that really mattered.
knew now just how Corcoran was able to do what he did,
but I still didn't know the reason why. Why the hell
would he get so close to these boys, drug them, rape
them, and then stab them? What possible motivation could
he have for doing that?
the time I figured that Adam would soon be getting
close, and so with my nerves starting to tingle and the
butterflies in my stomach beginning to become active,
rather than heading back toward Tom and Beth's house I
headed in the direction of Stockton Bridge, which was
where Adam would cross the river. I figured that was as
good a place as any to wait for him.
I reached the spot I had in mind, a wide grass verge
along the side of the road, just past the off ramp, I
pulled over and parked with the car facing back toward
the bridge. That way I would be able to keep an eye out
for his flashy car, while also being able to look out
over the river toward the city. It wouldn't be long
before the sky would start to turn, as sunset
approached, but I was hoping that Adam would be here
well before that. This spot also wasn't far from
somewhere else I wanted to visit before I left here this
weekend, so I hoped that Adam wouldn't be running too
late and that I would be able to find the time to call
in there this afternoon.
I sat in the car waiting I picked up Corcoran's file
and started looking through it once more, not really
knowing if I would find anything more of use there, but
curious all the same. Starting with the various pages
tagged with the yellow sticky-notes, I began flicking
through those. I found a couple of incident reports,
where students had raised concerns about inappropriate
touching, although nothing seemed too serious and there
was no real action taken, other than a warning being
issued. Even so, under normal circumstances those
actions would be enough to raise a red flag for most
people, yet there was no note of any follow-up between
Cunningham and Corcoran or of any other action being
taken, such as police or education authorities having
been notified, which was something that I certainly
entry in the folder dealt with the incident involving
Cory, which was immediately followed by an entry from
Cunningham which outlined his version of events, which
were close enough to what Cory and Robbie had described
to me. He had finished with a statement saying that
Corcoran had disappeared and his employment had been
I could read any further, however, my phone started to
ring and so I answered it, expecting it to be Adam. As
it turned out it wasn't him, but instead it was a
rather excited Shane, who had apparently just returned
from sailing up and down the river with Jimmy and Tom.
After enduring his enthusiastic descriptions of what
they got up to, what they saw and where they went, he
wanted to know where I was.
be back home soon,' I promised. `I'm just waiting
for Adam to show up, then we've got one more pit stop
to make before we get to the house. Just let Tom and
Beth know for me, will you please?'
thing,' he answered, before disconnecting, leaving me
smiling at the thought of his teenage exuberance and
remembering having those exact same feelings flooding
through my veins after my first full day out on the
water with Martin.
sooner than I had disconnected the phone rang once more,
only this time it was indeed Adam.
just approaching the bridge,' he said to me, even
before I could get a word in myself.
I'm waiting at the other end,' I replied.
babe, I'll see you soon,' he responded, before
out of the car I walked around to the front, to where I
could see the traffic coming across the bridge, and
propped myself against the bonnet, watching the steady
stream of vehicles. It wasn't long before I spotted
the flashy red vehicle zooming across the bridge, which
immediately brought a smile to my face.
he approached the end of the bridge I noticed the car
slow down, then drive off onto the exit, so I moved
around to the side of Beth's car so he would be able
to see me more easily as he approached.
what had been going on today, right now I was feeling
just as excited as Shane had been just a few minutes ago
when he called me. This past week had made me realise so
many things, about both myself and the people I cared
about, and I had so much that I wanted to say to Adam. I
just hoped that I would be able to get it out without
making a complete arse of myself.
he came closer he flashed his lights at me, indicating
that he had spotted me, and then began to pull over
toward the side of the road and onto the grass verge,
before finally coming to a stop almost right next to me.
We were both grinning at each other.
glad you could make it!' I said to him, as I pushed
myself off Beth's car and started toward his.
can I say? It was an offer too good to refuse!' he
replied, before stepping out of the car and coming
around the front toward me.
it's so good to have you here,' I said to him, as I
started walking toward him. `There's something
I've been wanting to do all day.'
is?' he chuckled.
saying a word I met him and wrapped my arms around him,
then pulled him close and kissed him, forcing my tongue
inside his mouth and refusing to let go of him until we
were both light headed and in danger of passing out.
on the road a couple of cars blew their horns at us,
while some yobbo yelled out and told us to get a room. I
didn't care though. After the week I'd had, I now
had Adam in my arms and I wasn't going to let him out
of my sight.
our lips finally parted Adam leaned back slightly and
said, `Wow! You've sure been saving that up!'
have no idea, Adam,' I replied. `There has been so
much going on this week that my head has been
I think I have a pretty fair idea,' he remarked.
was talking to Tom and Beth about you . . . and
honestly, they can't wait to meet you . . . but Tom
asked me something that really made me think.'
asked me if I loved you.'
shit . . . here it comes,' he said. `And just what
did you tell him? I'm curious to know.'
told him the answer was yes,' I sheepishly replied.
`And the more I've thought about it since then, the
more convinced I became. I love you Adam Bennett, and I
don't ever want to lose you!'
was looking up into his eyes, which seemed to be smiling
back at me, filled with joy and light, and I was feeling
happy, as if a weight had been taken off my shoulders,
now that I had finally opened up.
you sure about this?' he asked.
Don't you want me now?'
Rick . . . more than ever!' he said, before kissing me
once more. `And don't you ever doubt it . . . but I
just want to make sure that you're sure.'
sure,' I firmly replied. `You're stuck with me
is this where I get to meet the in-laws? This was your
plan all along, wasn't it?' he teased.
you'll meet Tom and Beth shortly, but before we go
there would you mind if we made a pit stop?' I asked.
babe. I promise we won't take long. How about you
one last kiss we both went back to our vehicles, and
when I pulled out onto the road Adam was right behind
me. It was only a short drive to where I needed to go,
and wondered what he would be thinking when I put my
indicator on just a few hundred metres down the road and
turned into the Stockton Cemetery.
both came to a stop in the car park, side by side, and I
noticed him look across at me, his expression hard to
read, before we both got out of our cars.
know this probably isn't quite what you might have had
in mind when I said I wanted to make a pit stop,' I
said. `But it's my favourite time of day to visit,
and it's about the only chance I'm going to have to
come here while I'm in town. I hope you don't
mind,' I said, as I walked around to where he was
standing and held out my hand for him.
don't mind at all,' he replied, while taking my
hand. `I know that this place will mean a great deal
to you . . . it's a part of what makes you, you. I'm
just pleased that you're willing to share this with
|To be continued...|
(c) 2015 Mark