Suffer the Little Children
Copyright© 2012 Nicholas Hall
There were four Anderson brothers; Jacob, the oldest; Andrew, John, and the youngest, William, who now lay before us in a small, metal casket, awaiting his final trip to the darkness of the grave after the preacher gave his final blessing and led us to the church cemetery at the side of the church. William, young, fragile, beautiful, with a smile that warmed the hearts of all around him, died at the age of eight; a death brought about by his step-father, a miserable, wretched pusillanimous man addicted to drink and impassioned with violence toward his own family. A man, despite the most diligent efforts of local and state law enforcement officers, had yet to be apprehended.
Jacob, sitting next to me, Andrew, and John, between Jacob and their mother Ann, tears slowly slipping down their cheeks, realizing their little brother would no longer be in their lives, were not only mourning the loss of their little brother, but silently, determinedly, vengefully angry, expressing that anger through stoic silence. I was just as angry as they were, yet satisfied in my mind that justice is always served.
The family, or now what remained of it, entered my life in the fall of the year after my assignment to the county that spring by the Chief of Law Enforcement, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, as the resident Game Warden or conservation officer. I was relatively new to law enforcement and the Department, serving only one year in a previous assignment after graduating from the U of I. with a degree in Fish and Wildlife Biology and then from the Law Enforcement Academy in Des Moines, so I was somewhat taken aback by the new responsibility. Ordinarily, newbies aren't reassigned that quickly unless they've been a royal fuck-up somewhere along the line.
According to the Chief and the District Supervisor who'd be my immediate supervisor, they needed someone in the county who understood the river and the type of people that lived along its banks and flood plains. "Colin, you were raised in an area not dissimilar to that county, so we're hoping you'll be able to use your personal experiences and background to do some good there. The folks who live there aren't quick to trust law officers," the Chief advised, "so it may take some time. Don't rush it, just be yourself; your record's good, you're highly recommended, and, with that baby-face of yours, you'll have two-thirds of the county wanting to cuddle you and take you home."
Well, I didn't think I was that "baby-faced," young looking, yes, but at age twenty-five, five foot ten, about one hundred and fifty pounds, and looking quite young, I was still able to hold my own in any fracas. I was slim-hipped, but a regime of weight-lifting and running kept me in better than average shape. I wasn't a person who sought violence, in fact, most times I found growing up, in college, and my first year of experience, it's much better to defuse a situation with sensible, non-threatening talk than "shoot from the hip," so to speak.
Jim Volsted, the District Supervisor, added, "We know there's a hell of a lot of poaching going on; hunting without licenses, out of season, and the like, but we don't think we can stop it all. We'd really like to slow it down and eventually convince the locals to take stewardship of the resources in their area. We've had way too many hunting accidents, boating accidents, and accidental drowning's because of failure by the boating public to wear a PFD; we need to do a better job of educating the people, especially the young folks and we think you're just the right person to do it; young, energetic, and with an ability to grin down a snowstorm."
The Mississippi River, the islands, swamps, backwaters, and flood plains, along with its adjacent forests and croplands, provided an abundance of fish and game and recreational opportunities. According to Volsted, most residents harvested only what they could use. Although illegal, this wasn't the group the Department wanted me to focus on; they wanted the gluttons, the game hogs, the selfish, who, if the limit on pheasants happened to be three, would shoot ten or more, skin out the breasts and throw the rest away.
So it was, in the spring of that year, I became the new game warden. I spent the spring and summer "learning the territory," keeping a low profile, but keeping my eyes and ears open. I wrote very few tickets to the local population, although I did check for licenses and even found a few with them. Most of my enforcement work was done on the big river, checking for PFD's, boat registrations, alcohol, and licenses. Those offenders I did write up were generally from out of the area and, although most admitted their offenses, there were those who were just plain obnoxious, making my job a hell of a lot easier.
In the fall of my first year, the school principal asked if I'd present a program on hunter safety to the Junior-Senior High School students in an all-school assembly. I quickly agreed; he knew, as well as I, there'd been an inordinate number of accidents over the past few years involving either firearms related injuries, boating accidents, or ATV (all-terrain vehicle) accidents among the young and the old. In the past ten years, however, there also were four accidental firearms deaths, three drowning's, and five ATV deaths. This was far too many for this small county; of the twelve fatalities, only three were local individuals, but still three too many.
"I have plenty of problems as it is," he commented as we talked about the program and set the date. "Most of our people are poor people. They do with what they have, raise in the gardens or small farms, catch in the river, or hunt. If they didn't do some poaching now and again, some would go mighty hungry. We have the highest percentage of free and reduced lunch participants in the State and for many, that's the only hot meal they'll get during the day. Next year, we'll be starting a breakfast program as well to meet the needs of our kids."
"My biggest problem," he continued, "especially during the winter when there's little else to do it seems, are alcohol use, physical abuse, or incest. If some of the adult jay-birds aren't drinking themselves to oblivion, they're beating up their wife or kids, or screwing their own children or relatives."
I was about to protest he was painting the entire community with the same brush, when he held up his hand. "I know, most of our people are good and don't engage in all of that nonsense, but the few who do can make life miserable. I guess, what I'm saying is, if you can help someone stay alive and safe while hunting or fishing or using an ATV, it's one less problem the school has to deal with. God, I do hate funerals of young people and I've been here long enough to see my share of them."
The program that fall went well; better than I expected, actually. There were approximately two hundred and fifty students in attendance and the few questions which were asked were good ones and the student's reactions to my answers were positive. The program was just before lunch and knowing how hungry some were and anxious for a break, I cut the program short, announcing I'd be in the cafeteria during lunch if any had further questions.
A person in uniform, a gold shiny badge pinned to the shirt, and a great big gun on the hip can be intimidating to many, but this group of young people seemed not the least bit so. They made it a point to come up to me and visit and continue to ask questions. It would seem my public relations efforts just might begin to pay off. I looked the students over as they ate their lunches, joked with each other, and noted they acted just like those I was raised with. The clothing they wore wasn't new, well worn, but clean, a clear sign times were tough, but they still maintained their pride. I thought, "These are my people; the people I was raised with; the type of people I loved and felt most comfortable with."
I'd just tousled the head of a precocious seventh grader who had a billion questions after he'd wolfed down his lunch, and was leaving the cafeteria to head for my State pickup truck in the parking lot, when the principal's secretary stopped me.
"Warden McFarland," she said, "the principal needs to see you in his office."
She didn't say "would like to see you," or "please stop in the office," but "needs to see you," implying there was a problem or situation he felt I should be aware of or handle. I headed straight-away to his office. Entering, I noticed two boys, one perhaps fifteen or so and the other one sixteen or seventeen, standing near the principal's desk. Neither boy was very large, sort of lean, and lanky, the oldest perhaps five foot six inches and maybe one hundred fifteen pounds; the younger one a little shorter, perhaps five foot four or so and, on a good day, one hundred pounds, but I'd bet less that than. Both were good looking young men, in the cusp of flowering, and, if I wasn't mistaken, were brothers. Leaning up against one of the walls was another man dressed in sweat shirt and pants, a whistle and a ring of keys, secured on a lanyard, dangling around his neck.
The principal rose from behind his desk, addressing me first and then turning his attention to the two lads, began, "Warden, I called you in today to assist us with a problem we seem to be having. I'm having a hard time getting these boys to tell me the truth and perhaps, with you here, they just might decide to do so. Coach Wilson was in the locker room after the boys had physical education this morning and noticed some rather nasty bruises on Jacob. Jacob, pull up your shirt and show Warden McFarland your back and side."
Jacob, the older of the two, looked me in the eye and slowly pulled his shirt free from his pants. Lifting it, the bare flesh sported some nasty, deep, purple and yellow bruises on his back and side. At the belt line, where his pants barely hung on to slim, narrow hips, was the beginning of what appeared to be an abrasion on his left hip. When he saw me shift my eyes from his back and side to his hip and lower torso, he quickly dropped his shirt.
"Now," ordered the principal, "tell the Warden how you came to get those injuries."
Jacob shrugged nonchalantly, continued to peer into my eyes, as if seeking something, wanting me to notice him or protect him I'm not certain, but yet not wanting to answer the question, responded, "I fell out of the barn."
I merely nodded, commenting, "Pretty nasty fall."
Shaking his head in exasperation, whether frustrated at Jacob's explanation or my response I'm uncertain, the principal sort of groaned and turned his attention to Andrew.
"Andrew, drop your pants and show the Warden your butt."
Andrew quickly shot a glance toward Jacob, seeking approval before he complied. Jacob gave a slight nod of his head while continuing to stare at me. Andrew began unbuckling his pants until I raised my hand. "No need to embarrass the lad any more than he already is; Andrew, just tell me what I'm supposed to see."
Before he could speak, the principal interceded again, "Andrew has some rather nasty cuts on his buttocks. Some of those cuts bled through and stained his underwear. Those stains are what caused Mr. Wilson to notice there was a problem."
Someone obviously abused these boys, but I didn't feel I was qualified to investigate such incidents. Such an investigation would be better off left to the County Sheriff and social services. However, since I was a law enforcement officer and would report it as soon as I could, I assured the principal I'd at least listen to Andrew's story.
Addressing the boy quietly, I asked, "Tell me, Andrew, how you got those cuts, please?"
"I fell off of my bike and skidded on a gravel road," he answered just as quietly.
I nodded slowly, knowingly, "Have to be careful when riding a bike on gravel, right?"
The principal snorted in disgust. "Those are same answers they gave me and, frankly, I don't believe them. I've already called the County Sheriff and Social Services and will let them handle this mess."
Admonishing the boys, he continued, "Someone will want to talk to you two, so make certain you stay home and don't take off into the woods like you do most times. In fact, if the warden doesn't mind, I'll ask him to take you home and stay until someone from the county shows up. That'll stop you boys from doing a `Houdini' and disappearing."
His request caught me off guard, but I'd nothing pressing the rest of the day and, if it meant getting the boys home safely, I had no objection. There was always the chance the boys might open up to me on the way to their house and tell me the real story. I was pretty certain what may have happened, but knowing what I did about abusive relationships, these kids weren't about to spill the beans; the culture of "say nothing or lie" was prevalent in those types situations. Telling the truth could lead to more drastic consequences when the authorities weren't present. No, these boys would probably say nothing, know nothing, and stick to their stories.
Jacob's eyes finally left mine, his head twisted toward the principal, saying, "Just make sure you tell Johnnie and Billy to get off of the bus at Aunt Jane's and stay there until I come and get'em or she brings them home."
Giving a nudge to Andrew and nodding to me, said, "Lead the way Warden."
Jacob and Andrew followed me to the parking lot where my state crew-cab pickup truck was parked. I unlocked it and motioned Andrew to sit in one of the jump seats in the crew section and Jacob in the front passenger seat. After making certain they were buckled up, I said with a sigh, "Boys I have to call in to the County Dispatch Center and tell them I'm on patrol before we go. I'll also have to tell them I have you two with me and will be taking you home."
Completing my task, I turned to Jacob, "You'll have to tell me where you live and point me to the right roads if I become confused, but I don't think I will."
Reluctantly, Jacob gave me directions and I began driving the meandering gravel roads through the hills and valleys toward their small farm. I cast a glance in the rearview mirror to check on Andrew and could see tears slowly sliding down his cheeks.
I slowed the truck, pulled over to the side of the road, stopped, and turned to Andrew, asking, "Does it hurt really badly?"
He nodded, took a deep breath, and wiped his eyes with his hands.
I unbuckled and climbed out.
"What are you doing?" Jacob asked in alarm, fear and apprehension surfacing in his face and voice.
"I'm going to get my first aid kit and you and I are going to doctor up your brother's butt, that's what I'm going to do. Now, get out and help."
Jacob quickly did as he was told and I was surprised when Andrew dropped his pants at Jacob's request. It didn't seem to bother them that they're standing on a country road with Andrew was baring his butt to a relative stranger.
I opened my kit, knelt down behind Andrew, and did a quick inspection of his firm, but damaged ass cheeks. They were badly bruised and the left cheek had a couple of rather nasty cuts on it. They'd been bleeding, as the coach observed, and needed to be bandaged. There were signs this wasn't the first time this type of abuse had occurred. It wasn't a pleasant sight and one I cared not to see again. I had some lidocaine spray in the kit, so I gave his butt a quick spray, telling him as I did so, "This may sting a bit, but once it begins to act, it'll numb the sore spots." He winced and sucked in his stomach when I placed a hand his hip while I put some ointment and adhesive bandages on the cuts.
"Anymore?" I asked and turned him around. As I did, I could see he was well on his way to developing into a healthy male. A few curled sprigs of dark hair adorned his pubic area, just above a three to four inch, uncut penis, now in the process of extending itself just a bit. I quickly turned away and told him to pull up his pants.
As he did so, he said, "You better check out Jacob; that raw spot on his left hip was oozing stuff in the locker room and he said it was fine when I asked him. He's lying; I'll bet it hurts like a son-of-a-bitch. Drop your drawers, Jacob, and show him what you've got there."
I swallowed hard, wondering just what Jacob "had there" and soon found out. Jacob dropped his pants revealing not only a nasty looking abrasion on his left hip, but his lean, slim, very attractive torso unadorned by any underwear, and a larger than average uncut cock, slowly slipping out of its shroud, extending the pink bulbous head beyond its protective covering, supported by two egg-sized, low-hanging, balls enclosed in their velvety sack. His eyes never left me as I sprayed the abrasion with lidocaine and when I placed my hand on his abdomen, just above his pubes to apply the adhesive bandage, he placed one hand on mine and began slipping them both toward his instrument of pleasure. I pulled back and stood up as his dick continued to swell, hanging at half-mast.
"Better pull you your pants, Jacob," I instructed nervously and added, "how old are you anyway?" Clearly what was appearing before me was not the instrument of a boy, but of a young man, horny as hell and advertising it.
"Seventeen," he responded, "but I'll be eighteen next month."
Tipping his head to the side, not in any hurry to pull up his pants, smiled, licked his lips seductively, and said, "You can fuck me if you want."
If I wanted does shit stink? God, yes, I wanted; I wanted to run my hands across his smooth, almost hair-less abdomen, up his chest, caressing his nipples to erotic tautness; back down his torso, over his dark pubic mass to his smooth, silky, delicately delicious maypole, engulfing it while I fondled and massaged those exquisite, low-hanging containers of baby makers to explosion before I turned him around and sailed my fully masted clipper ship up his inside passage, anchoring it deeply before off-loading the full cargo begging to be free.
But I couldn't, I wouldn't, fearful of his youthfulness, his underage status and of announcing something I'd successfully kept hidden throughout high school, college, and in the DNR; my attraction to the male of the species, fearful my sexual proclivities would prevent me from seeking a career in law enforcement, specifically that of a conservation officer. I wasn't too certain the Department would accept an openly gay officer into its ranks or even now, after my appointment.
I shook my head, jerked my thumb in an upward manner indicating he should cover that beautiful instrument, and announced, "Jacob, you're under age and it's against the law. O.K.?"
He was clearly disappointed in my response, but from behind me I heard Andrew mutter, "I wish somebody would convince our asshole stepfather of that."
Not certain what I'd actually heard, I turned and asked, "What did you say Andrew?"
There was a cautionary cough from Jacob and Andrew answered, "Nothing," and clammed up.
"Pull up your pants, guys and let's get you both home," I told both of them and headed for the truck.
Pulling into their drive, I noticed they lived in an older two-story farmhouse with several outbuildings, including a garage, on the property. The was a small barn, a small stockyard, a chicken house with a fenced in area for poultry, and a roofed, open-sided wood shed, stocked with an abundant supply of cut and split firewood. The fences were in need of repair, but wouldn't take much work to make them secure for farm animals and relatively predator free. There were no animals on the premises, including a dog.
The boys climbed out of the truck, looked around warily, seeking any danger which they felt might be waiting for them, and were greeted by a woman, their mother I assumed, announcing, "It's O.K., he's gone, so come up to the house."
Jacob gave a quick jerk of his head indicating I should follow him to the house. When we came up on the porch, he introduced me to his mother, explained my presence, and informed her of the first aid I'd applied to him and Andy. As she extended her hand to shake mine and thank me, I couldn't help but notice the sad expression on her face and the bruise under her right eye. I wondered how many other cuts and contusions she carried on her body.
She was about to invite me inside, when Andy yelled, "Ma!" and pointed down the drive.
I looked where Andy pointed and noticed two cars, one a county sheriff's squad and the other, a non-descript vehicle with county license plates, coming down the drive toward the house. Once parked in the yard and the occupants disembarked, I recognized the driver of the squad as a county deputy I'd worked with on a couple of cases after I arrived in the county. It wasn't long before the two men in the other car were heading toward the house, motioning to the boys.
One shouted, "Inside boys, you know the drill."
Jacob looked at me, grinned, shot me a "thumbs up" and followed Andy into the house.
"What's up, Jim?" I asked the deputy leaning up against his squad.
"You must've brought the boys home," he responded, not as a question, but as a simple statement of fact.
I nodded and, with a puzzled look on my face, asked, "What's the deal; she seems like a nice lady, with a couple of good-looking boys who seem to have a certain degree of intelligence. I haven't met the other two boys, but I'm willing to bet they're not much different."
Jim scratched his head for a moment before speaking. "You need a little history on this family. This isn't the first time we've been out here, as you notice from the social services boys and the kids' reaction to them, and probably won't be the last. The boy's mother, Anna Hillcreft, remarried after her first husband, the boys' father, drowned in an accident on the river about five years ago. Where she met Roy Hillcreft, I'll never know, but he's a real asshole. He works the river boats, you know the tows, and comes home about every three months or so and gets shitty-assed drunk, beats the be-Jesus out of everyone and is gone again. We get called, nobody talks, presses charges or does shit; and then we're good for a while. I'm certain there are times we're not called since this is only the second or third time I've been here in the last couple of years. The school watches for signs of abuse and alert us once they spot it."
"If it goes on with this much frequency, you'd think one of the boys would spill the beans and get him locked up," I offered.
"Yeah," answered the deputy, "but if he did, would any of the rest still be alive?"
I dreaded hearing that answer, but I already knew it before I asked. The threat of additional violence or death is often used by the abuser, so the response of "deny and lie" keeps them alive, for a while.
"Jacob's very protective of his younger brothers, especially William, and makes every effort to get them out of the house whenever Roy shows up. Ann works part-time nights at a nursing home, so if anything's going to happen, it's when she's away. Billy is the youngest and so small, making him especially vulnerable to Roy's attacks. I suspect Jacob takes the beating while Andrew ferrets the younger ones away. Apparently, Andrew got caught up in it this time and didn't get away. One of these days, Roy will go too far and there'll be hell to pay. Those boys are growing and I don't think Roy realizes it yet."
Our conversation came to a halt when the two case workers from social services approached the cars.
"Well?" queried the deputy.
"Same old, same old," muttered the older of the two, "no one says a word, nothing. One says he fell out of the barn and the other one says he fell off his bike."
Turning to me, he asked, "Did you put the bandages on the boys?"
When I nodded, he growled, "Next time, don't, it fucks up the pictures."
I waited a minute or two until the county deputy and social services people drove out and returned to my truck, when Jacob bounded off of the porch, secured my arm, and with a huge smile, asked, "Ma wants to know if you'd like a cup of coffee?"
I think he knew very well I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to be with him. We had a nice visit; Ann informed me she and her first husband purchased the farm before Jacob was born and it was all paid for when he drowned. She mentioned she'd like to fix the place up and get some chickens and a pig or two. Although she received social security payments for the boys and was on the food stamp program, even with her limited income from the nursing home, with five of them in the house most of the time, it sometimes was hard to make ends meet. Roy contributed nothing to the household income. When she invited me to stay for dinner, I quickly agreed. Ann's sister, Jane, brought John and Billy home in time to join us. The meal was excellent, "lamb from friends" Ann insisted, although it tasted a good deal like venison to me.
After dinner, Jacob walked me to my truck, placing a hand on my arm, saying softly, "My birthday is less than a month. Would you help me celebrate?"
I nodded, smiling at him, and held up my hand in caution, as he leaned forward toward me. "You'll have to wait, Jacob, until you're old enough to do legally what we both want to do. O.K.?"
Jacob agreed and as I left, looking in my rear view mirror, I saw him in the drive, waving goodbye.
I made up my mind to see what I could do to help the family out without embarrassing them or putting them at further risk. If anything, my friendship just might prove to be a deterrent to the viciousness of Roy Hillcreft. Within two weeks of my first visit to the farm, when patrolling the western part of the county where folks were more affluent, I'd located a farmer who wanted to get rid of the two dozen or so laying hens he had, another willing to part with four geese (one a gander), found a couple of roosters to service the hens, and received a promise from another farmer to give me two or three runt piglets when his sows started farrowing.
Jacob, Andrew, John, and I began repairing the chicken coop and nesting boxes while Billy carried water and soft drinks for us and acted a "gofer" hauling tools and fencing material where and when we needed it. It was a great time for me and for the boys, a bonding time, a time to secure my presence on the farm and, if I wasn't mistaken, announce to the other boys and Ann that Jacob and I were becoming an item. Just before Jacob's birthday, he and I traveled to the western part of the county and gathered up the fowl I'd been promised. The crates, loaded in the back of my truck, resounded with cackling hens, crowing roosters, and honking geese by the time we arrived back at the farm and began discharging our cargo into their new home. A quick trip to town to buy some chicken feed and the boys were set up in the poultry business.
Jacob's birthday party was simple, but nice, the guest list consisting of his mother, his brothers, and me. Ann prepared a nicely decorated cake and I brought the ice cream. He received a new shirt from his mother, a package of undershirts from his brothers, and a silver friendship bracelet from me. After we finished our cake and ice cream, the conversation, on my urging, turned to the absent step-father. According to them, Roy would probably stop again before he began his winter tow boat work in the southern part of the Mississippi and wouldn't return until the upper river was free of ice and open to navigation. As a result, winter was a fairly relaxing time for the family.
I gave Jacob my cellphone number with instructions to call me if Roy showed up or if he felt I was needed. Less than a week later, my cell phone rang and it was Jacob. "Colin, I need you I need you badly."
"Are you O.K?" I asked anxiously, fearful something had happened to him or someone else in the family.
"We're all fine, but I'm so lonely. Can't you stop by the house for just a little while?"
I was getting ready to call it a day anyway, so I drove out the farm, arriving around eleven at night. Jacob met me on the porch as I bounded up the steps. Clad only in shorts, his naked, lean torso, legs and arms beckoned me, signaled me, he really needed me, and he was everything I ever wanted in a lover. My arms wrapped around his nakedness, pulling him closer to me, our crotches rubbing together, his erect cock poking out the fly of his shorts engaging contact with my own stiffness sheltered by pants and shorts, I damned near erupted and belched my load in my shorts.
Without speaking, Jacob took me by the hand, leading me up the stairs to the bedroom he shared with Andrew. Andrew, sound asleep, didn't stir as we entered and began disrobing each other. My gun belt, shirt, and pants were hung on a chair while the rest of our clothing was dropped on the floor at the edge of the bed when we joined each other there. Jacob's substantial and very hard endowment, larger than mine, sticking straight out in front of him from his dark, thick, and soft bush, was no less straining to be touched, suckled, or buried somewhere warm, soft, and constricting than my own stiffness now unveiled for his pleasure.
Jacob gently positioned me on my back, lowered his head to my crotch and deftly, softly, gently, suckled my erection into his mouth where his tongue began dancing around the leaking head, bringing an intake of breath from me, and a long sigh of pleasure. I began turning so I could reciprocate, but he stopped me. Instead, he lay on his back, spread his legs, and invited me to settle between them.
This would be a new experience for me; never before in my life have I had intercourse with any person, male or female, other than my own hand. My penis, hard, dripping, jerking up and down with anticipation, was guided to his entrance by a firm and determined hand. His puckered gateway was slick, already lubricated and ready to receive me, giving evidence of Jacob's need and desire. He slowly pulled me forward, wrapped his legs about my waist, heels digging into my bare buttocks, and began forcing me forward until I was fully embedded in that warm, sensual place my lover had prepared for me.
Locking my arms under his shoulders, gripping with my hands, I secured his lips in a passionate, tongue-wrestling kiss, signaling my desire for him, as I began to pump. He thrust back, meeting every forward motion of mine with one of his own, increasing the pleasures for both of us, his long, smooth leaking cock making contact with my stomach on each pass back and forth stimulating each of us to an intense orgasm. Once I softened and withdrew, I lay by his side, our arms around each other, relaxed in post-coital bliss. We hadn't discussed it before, but I thought now would be as good as time as any to talk about the abuse he and his brothers and mother had suffered at Roy's hands.
I snuggled Jacob close to me, held him close, wrapped my arms around him protectively, and quietly asked, "You don't have to tell me if you don't feel comfortable doing so, but what caused those cuts on Andy's ass the day I first met you and brought you home?"
Jacob was silent, tossing the decision back and forth in his mind, and, deciding he could trust me, responded, "The metal buckle on Roy's belt. It's big with his initials on it and has some sharp edges. He got so mad at Andy he ripped Andy's pants off of him and whaled him with the buckle end of the belt."
"He was trying to stop Roy from fucking Johnny."
"Where were you?"
"I'd snuck Billy out to the barn and hidden him there. When I came back in the house and saw what happened, I kicked Roy in the ass just as he started to pump Johnny. It pissed him off and he beat the shit and kicked hell out of me. While he was doing that, Andy grabbed Johnny and ran out of the house. Roy really got pissed then and tried to chase after them, but he was too fucking drunk. He kept screaming he was going to kill all of us, especially Billy if he found him."
"How long as this been going on?"
"Maybe three-four years or so; he likes the young, hairless ones, before their balls drop. It started with Andy and when he grew and changed, Roy started on Johnny. Before long, he'll make a grab for Billy and I just can't let that happen."
"Does your mother know?"
"Only that he beats us, not that he's fucking us too. When she tries to stop him from beating us, he wallops her and threatens to kill her and us if she reports him. It scares the shit out of Ma and us, so we just keep quiet."
Jacob stopped his narration, took my face in his hands, and in the darkness of the night, pulled me really close and whispered emphatically, "He means it Colin; he really means it and someday he'll do it!"
Now I was really upset; somehow I had to stop him. No way was he going to murder the man I loved and the family I'd grown fond of.
Jacob felt Roy would be returning pretty soon. Andy always got a funny feeling, like there was someone watching the house or the boys and felt that way earlier that morning. It was that fear, and the fact Jacob really wanted me to make love to him, that brought about his request to come to the house.
I heard a snort from Andy's bed and he spouted, "Man, would you guys quit talking. I need to get some sleep. At least when you were fucking, you were quiet. I'm going to crawl in with Johnny," and left the room.
The next morning, when Ann came home from work, I had breakfast ready for the family and the boys ready for school. If she was surprised or upset by my presence, she didn't show it. She must've known of my relationship with Jacob and either approved of it or was indifferent. Informing her I'd be back that evening after work, she smiled, said "thanks" and gave me a kiss on the cheek. On the way out the door, I damn near gave Jacob a kiss goodbye, but didn't. Instead, he walked me to my truck, looked around, and gave me one. He giggled, standing there, looking at me as I climbed in my truck and commented, I had that "freshly fucked look," and there was no way his mother didn't know. Well, he had the same look and we both would walk funny the rest of the day.
That night, around ten o'clock, shortly after Ann left for work, Jacob and I sat, bundled against the cold, fall darkness, watching the drive; within the hour, Jacob gave me a jab in the ribs and pointed down the lane where it met the county road. A pickup truck, lights off, began a slow journey toward the house. Sending Jacob inside to watch the boys, I picked up my spotlight, unbuttoned my coat for easier access to the tools of my trade, and waited.
Roy parked his truck, opened the door, and fell out on the ground. Muttering to himself, after getting up and steadying himself on the front fender, he staggered to the house. He started up the steps and, when reaching the top one, I stepped from the darkness, shone the light in his face, and said sternly, "Roy, stop right there; you're going no further."
"What the fuck!" he squawked and tumbled back down the stairs.
I quickly bounded after him and before his drunken, confused mind and body could react to the shock of my confrontation, was on him, flipping him over on his stomach, pulling his arms behind his back, and cuffing his wrists. Roy screamed bloody murder while I called the county on my handheld radio for backup from a deputy sheriff. He continued his drunken ranting while we sat and waited for the deputy to arrive. Jacob and the boys stayed inside, preferring to stay out of sight.
As the county squad drove down the lane toward the house, Roy growled, "You can't do this to me it's my house!"
"Oh, yes I can," I said quietly, "and I can do more if you ever return to this house and beat or fuck the boys again. You won't have the equipment to do it with," and pulling my pistol, shoved it in his crotch, to emphasize my point. He must've been convinced because by the time the deputy walked up to us, Roy was pretty quiet. I requested charges of disorderly conduct and OWI be filed against him and told the deputy I'd be in shortly to do it. We took a quick field sobriety test and it confirmed his alcohol level. Two days later, after making bail, Roy was gone, south according the sheriff's office, to work the towboats all winter.
Winter was good to us; Jacob and I spent more and more time together, loving and planning our lives. The farmer, who promised me the runt pigs, called in late winter and asked if he could unload a two or three bred sows on me. As he put it, "I think you can find a good home for them," and with a wink and a nod, helped me deliver them to the farm. His generosity and his concerns were deeply moving for me and for all of the family. He didn't have to do it, but he did and became a good friend.
Spring is always a busy time for wardens and this spring was no different from any other. I was called away to assist another warden in a neighboring county in a poaching investigation. After three days, we concluded the case, filed the charges, and I headed home, anxious since it'd be about this time Roy might show up again, if he did. About twenty minutes away, my cellphone rang, answering it, I heard a sobbing Jacob moan, "Colin, come home quick; Roy killed Billy."
"Is he still there?" I shouted into the phone, hitting my flashers and siren as I punched the accelerator down.
"No," sobbed Jacob, "he's long gone by now."
"Did you call 911?"
"Yes, before I called you. Please hurry, Mom's coming home from work. I called her too."
With that, my radio chattered, dispatching officers and paramedics to the farm. I radioed dispatch, gave them my "10-20," and told them I was responding also. All units seemed to descend on the farm at once, although I was the last to wheel into the drive.
Ann was sitting the porch, her arms around Johnny and Andy. Jacob spotted my truck and raced out to meet me. I pulled him to me, hugged him closely, and asked, "What happened?"
"We didn't think he'd ever show up again since everyone knows you stay here, but tonight he did, just as drunk and fuckin' ugly as ever. Andy and I were in the barn helping a sow drop her pigs and didn't hear or see anything until Johnnie came running screaming for help. I grabbed a club from the wood pile and ran to the house. By the time I got there, Billy was already dead."
There was nothing I could do, but hold him tightly and cry with him.
Finally, he said, "That son-of-a-bitch killed Billy. Colin, I tried so hard to keep my brothers from getting hurt and I failed!"
"Jacob," I said quietly, you didn't fail Billy or anyone else. You've done all you could; right now, you need to take care of your Mom and other brothers. My job is to find the bastard and put him in jail. Any idea where he might have gone?"
Jacob looked at me, with a strange steeliness in his voice and a hard set to his eyes. "I doubt anyone will ever see him again. I think he's long gone by now."
The Sheriff and a couple of his deputies interrupted our conversation.
"Colin, excuse us please, but we have some question we have to ask Jacob.
I understood! This was a murder investigation and they needed to talk to witnesses and gather evidence. As they started to take Jacob aside, he looked at me, holding my gaze, and said almost off-handedly, "Colin, would you check on those sows that are farrowing? Seems like they were making a lot of noise a while ago," and turned away from me.
When I returned, the sheriff and a detective were questioning Jacob. From what I could pick up, listening from the sidelines, Jacob launched himself at Roy and hammered him on the head with the wooden club from the barn, exploding his nose into a bloody mess, while Andy tried to help mortally injured Billy.
"You must've popped him a good one," conjectured the Sheriff, "seeing there's a lot of blood on the club, the porch, and down the steps."
"I was pretty mad and wanted him gone," responded Jacob. "Once out of the door, I didn't care where that asshole went."
The next morning and for two days after that, the woods and surrounding areas were searched for any traces of Roy. Law enforcement officers found absolutely nothing. The day after the funeral, a boat was discovered missing from one of the local marinas and then recovered downstream, half submerged, against a private dock where a local farmer kept his houseboat. Whoever stole the boat hadn't bothered to untie the rope securing it to its mooring; just cut it. The sheriff assumed the thief was Roy and either made it to the Illinois side of the river and set the boat adrift or had fallen from the boat and drowned. Two weeks passed, no body was found, so the search was abandoned.
A month later, after our new mobile home was delivered for Jacob and me to live in, we were leaning over the fence checking the sows and their now plump and growing piglets. Jacob had just filled the feeders and dumped some chicken heads and entrails from some old hens we'd butchered. I was leaning across his back, nuzzling his ear, hoping we'd have some time to try out the bed in the new mobile, watching the hogs jostle for the goodies tossed to them.
"Hungry bastards, aren't they? They seem to love chicken guts and heads," I commented, then looked down near the fence line, a metal object catching my eye.
"Yeah," mused Jacob leaning back and nuzzling my face, "a hog will eat anything."
I picked up the belt buckle with the initials "R.H." on it and slipped it into my pocket, wondering how I ever missed it when I checked on the noisy sows that night.
Thank you for reading "Suffer the Little Children" Each year in the United States, four to five children lose their lives due to child abuse. If you witness such heinous acts, suspect it, or if you are a victim yourself, GET HELP NOW! There are people and agencies that will help you, protect you, and keep you safe. Please don't end up another "William Anderson;" you're too special for that.
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Nifty- Beginnings - "Table Number Five" January 18, 2012
Nifty- Beginnings -"The Carpenter and the Piano Man" January 24, 2012
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Nifty-High School - Sheldon's Nutshuckers
"The Stinky Pinky" February 14, 2012.
"The Head of Medusa" March 8, 2012
"Twachtman's Revenge" May 1, 2012
"The Fugly Ucker" June 5, 2012
"The Six-Legged Dog Trot September 15, 2012
Nifty- Beginnings "Last House on the Left" February 21, 2012
Nifty-College "First of May" February 29, 2012
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Nifty-High School "Railroad Bridges" May 9, 2012
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Nifty-College "Cloaked in Many Colors" September 25, 2012
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