This story concerns adult and teenage gay males who may be involved in sexual situations. If it is illegal for you to read such stories, or if you do not like to read such stories, please leave now.

This story is copyright 2006 by the author who retains all rights.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

WARNING!! This chapter contains a brief, second party description of a BDSM session between an adult male and a teenage boy that went horribly wrong and the victim was seriously injured. The scene itself is not described and the injuries are not specifically detailed, but spoken of in general terms. The author does not condone physical violence when committed as part of a sexual act. The scene takes place in this story for character development and disposition. Whether you agree, or not, bad things happen and sometimes there is a lesson in the occurrence. The author apologizes to those who are offended by violent acts occurring in his stories and understands if you choose not to continue following this story.

This is my third submission to Nifty. My previous submissions can be found in the High School section under Kiel’s Story. Any comments or questions are welcome at:

A warm thank you goes out to all who write. I appreciate knowing someone is actually reading this stuff, whether you like it or not. I try to answer all emails, even flames. (I’m a writer, I live for rejection.) Although sometimes it takes a little time to get back to you, I do try to answer. If I'm remiss in replying to yours, I apologize.

The Pastel Cowboy

by Carl Holiday

Chapter 5 – The Good, the Better, and the Despicable

Zach sat on the futon calmly listening to a string of foul words emanating from Steven’s mouth. Mostly, it centered around the fact there wasn’t any money.

“You could’ve least charged him a hundred bucks for a blow job,” Steven said sitting down on the other end of the futon. “Charlie is always good for a hundred bucks, he understands this shit isn’t free, you gotta pay the piper.”

“I didn’t do anything to Charlie,” Zach said. “Even when he drove me over here, I didn’t offer to do anything and he didn’t ask for anything. I guess I kind of felt sorry for him.”

“You don’t feel sorry for a john. Hell, half the time that’s why he pays you so much. What you’re doing makes him feel guilty and he feels he has to pay to redeem himself.”

“But his kids fucked him over. They screwed with his life and we got caught in the middle. They were using me as much as they were fucking with their dad’s mind.”

“So, you should’ve at least sucked his dick to make him feel better.”

“Maybe, I’ll do that Tuesday night.”


“We’re getting together at the condo,” Zach said, calmly.

“Why didn’t you say that to begin with?” Steven asked. “I’m getting mad as hell at you and all the time you’ve set up an appointment with him. You gotta get money out of him. You can’t make him think he’s getting freebies. You can’t feel sorry for the bastard. He’s cheating on his wife and his kids. He’s screwing with a guy. That’s one heavy guilt trip and you gotta let him pay you. He’ll feel better if he pays something. You’re doing him a service, let him pay for it.”

Zach sat back, then looked over at Steven. He hadn’t said anything about being fucked by Jeremy and Paul and wondered if he should. He felt happy about losing his cherry and was kind of happy Jeremy was his first, considering he was Jeremy’s first, too. Paul was a gift, but learning he’d come when both of them fucked him, now, that was a gift in itself.

He wanted to tell Steven, but knew he’d get yelled at. He, also, wanted Steven to fuck him right now, but to have that happen he’d have to tell Steven about losing his virginity. He’d have to tell him about Jeremy and Paul, except he didn’t really want to do that. What he’d done with Jeremy was special and what he’d done for Paul was even more special. He felt what he’d done with the two brothers wasn’t something you told just anyone, not that Steven was just anyone, but he wasn’t all that understanding. Then he felt a tear dribble down his cheek.

Steven was staring at him. He turned away as another tear dribbled down.

“Okay, what’s wrong now?” Steven asked. “Come on, tell me what’s wrong. Damn it Zach, what the hell’s going on?”

Zach watched him warily as Steven stood up and slowly walked around the back of the futon. Something caught his attention. It was only a brief movement, an arm repositioned. He cowered away from Steven, raising an arm to deflect the fist.

“What the hell is that for?” Steven asked, quickly coming around to the front of Zach, who rolled onto his side balling himself up and covering his head against the coming attack.

“Zach! What the fuck are you doing?”

Zach watched him kneel down on the floor right by his head. He flinched away from the hand on his arm. The fist was coming, he knew it, but he couldn’t fight back. That would only make it worse. He couldn’t fight back.

“Come on Davey, calm down. God, what is this?”

He could hear tears in Steven voice. He felt a hand softly caress his tear stained cheek. He wasn’t home. This wasn’t his father.

Zach didn’t know when he stopped crying or when Steven put the futon down so he could lie beside Zach. He couldn’t remember exactly at what point Steven undressed him, not all the way, but enough to be comfortable. He remembered the blanket being spread over them and Steven cuddling up behind him.

As awareness slowly crept back adding bits of remembrance to Zach’s clouded memories, he remembered the last beating, the one that put him in the hospital and his father in jail. Things were better after that. His father got the help he needed. What he couldn’t figure out was why he overreacted this time.

He heard Steven’s soft breathing behind him and became aware of a skinny, little arm draped over him. He looked down at the diminutive hand pressed against his chest.

“Stevie?” Zach whispered, not wanting the day to flood in upon them, yet wanting, needing something.

“Stevie?” A little louder, but not close to a full voice. He moved slightly hoping to waken his friend.


“Huh? What is it?” The voice, still wrapped in sleep’s confusion, was straight out of West Texas. It reminded Zach of his own intonations. It reminded him of home, but that was far away now in another lifetime that was cut short by a story, a made up story.

“Fuck me, Stevie.” Zach said. “Fuck me right now. Don’t think about it. Do it. Please, do it now. Stevie? Please, Stevie, do it now.”

Zach could hear himself losing it, again. He was too close to the memories of last night, last year, an hour ago, a lifetime past. He broke down and started sobbing. He didn’t want this, but he couldn’t stop himself.

“I’m sorry,” he blubbered. “I’m sorry. Oh, god, Stevie, I’m so sorry.”

“Hush, Davey. Come on, Davey, shush, now. It’s alright, Davey.”

The words barely slipped into Zach’s awareness, but he heard their comfort and used them as a crutch to pull himself back from the abyss. He rolled onto his back and turned his face to Steven. He stared into the blue eyes and saw concern, caring.

“I did it with Jeremy. It was his sixteenth birthday. I was the gift, but it didn’t turn out like Charlie wanted. Charlie wanted me to be fucked a couple times by all twelve boys then he was going to do whatever. He said it was going to be so bad I’d end up in the hospital. But, Jeremy and Paul outwitted him. And, then, I did it with Jeremy when we were alone. He’s not really gay, bi I think. I did him then he did me. I came when he did it. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have to touch myself. It was beautiful, Stevie. It was beautiful.

“Later, after we took a shower, we went upstairs because I was supposed to sleep with his little brother, Paul, but we ended up in Jeremy’s bedroom. We didn’t do it, but just rubbed ourselves against each other.

“I slept with Paul. He’s only twelve, but almost thirteen. I let him fuck me in the morning. I came that time, too. Can you ever forgive me? I’m so sorry, but it wasn’t like we thought it was going to be. I’m sorry, Stevie.”

Zach pulled the smaller body onto his and held it tight against him. He wanted something, but he wasn’t certain what it was. He felt Steven pull out of his embrace and did little to stop him. He closed his eyes and waited for the rebuke.

After a few moments he thought he heard something and opened his eyes slightly. Steven was standing at the foot of the futon, his dick wrapped tightly in a condom. He watched Steven spread lube over his dick and then walk around to the side of the futon.

“Pull ’em off,” Steven said. There was a bit of anger in his voice, or was it disappointment? Zach wasn’t sure. He raised his hips and slipped the boxer briefs down to his thighs. Pulling his knees back to his chest, he pulled the briefs down and off his feet. He looked up and watched Steven kneel on the futon.

He tried to relax, to take his mind away from what was about to happen, but he wasn’t prepared for Steven’s assault.

“Oh, shit!” Zach hissed as Steven bore into him, not stopping until he was fully imbedded in the bigger boy.

Steven pulled about halfway out then thrust back in. Not stopping, he pulled back out and came back. The attack was relentless, unending, nearly unbearable. Steven kept at it as he pushed Zach to the limit of his resistance; and, then he pushed a little further.

Zach couldn’t believe this was happening. He expected gentleness from Steven, not a brutal attack. He wanted it to end, yet at the same time he wanted to be punished for disappointing Steven. He deserved to be hurt. He asked for this. This was the least he could expect. And, just when he didn’t think he could go another second he saw his cock swell as his body reacted to the engorged cock pummeling his ass. In less than a few seconds, his cock was fully hard and pulsing in tempo to his beating heart. He didn’t want this, but he was powerless to stop it. The feelings were so intense he felt himself falling back.

“Oh, god, Stevie!” Zach moaned as his orgasm swept him over the ledge, plunging him down, down, falling, down, down. He opened his eyes and stared up to Steven. He raised his head just enough to get the first burst on his forehead. The second hit his partially open mouth.

“Jeez, Davey, you’re doing it!” Steven whispered. “Oh, man, you’re so tight!”

Zach felt Steven swell inside him as Steven’s own orgasm shuddered through his small body.

“Oh, Davey, you’re so good to me,” Steven whispered as he lay down on Zach’s body.

It was well past noon when Zach finally opened the door to his dorm room. He’d planned on being back sooner, but making up with Steven took all morning and he wanted to be certain every thing was okay between them before he left. Steven was still a bit upset, but nothing like he was when Zach first arrived.

The first thing Zach did was peel himself out of the tight jeans and then removed all his other clothes. He didn’t know why, but he wanted to be naked and alone. Definitely, alone. He knew he’d taken a couple big steps, plus a pretty big stumble, too, and he wanted to lie down on his bed and not do or think about anything for a long time.

He was surprised he had been capable of willingly going along with Steven to sell his ass; and, then when it was all over, to make up with Charlie and offer himself to be used by Charlie. He remembered the slap Charlie gave him at the beginning and knew he could expect the same or more on Tuesday night. Though Steven hadn’t said anything, Zach suspected Charlie was very much into domination. He was that kind of man. What scared Zach was that he knew he could accept that kind of love, even though he said it he didn’t want anything rough. Yet, thinking about Charlie hitting him before he fucked him made him hard, but now was not the time for that.

He picked up his cell phone and checked his voice mail. There were three messages.

“Hey, Zach, this is Jerry. Wow, Bruce is so neat. You know I said you were the best, but Bruce is catching up to you. Man, he’s great. We’re going to be studying and doing shit together all this weekend. I guess I won’t be able to see much of you. Just wanted to let you know so you won’t worry. Talk to you later.”

Zach felt a tear come to his eye and wondered if Jerry and Bruce were really studying or if there was something more. He didn’t know either of them that well, but Jerry did kind of turn him on. He could imagine doing lots of things with Jerry’s body, even if he had a little dick, but that would come later after they got to know each other. Was Bruce pushing the envelope or was Jerry into doing gay stuff a lot more than he implied. Zach wiped his eye with the back of his hand and listened to the next message.

“Zach, this is Sara, call me as soon as you can. I’ve got something important to ask you.”

Well, she didn’t sound like she knew what happened. He wondered how she would take it knowing he was the gift, he was the whore Daddy bought for Jeremy. There was only one way to find out. He entered her speed dial number and listened to the ring tones.

“You stupid fucker, get out of here. Hello?”



“This is Zach. Is something wrong?”

“Oh, Paul, just being an asshole.”

“Sara, the language. I’m surprised. I thought you were a nice girl.”

“Not when my little brother walks into my room when I’m, well, I’m not wearing, uh . . .”

“I’m talking to you and you’re naked?”

“Nude. Girls are nude. Boys are naked.”

“Good, because I’m naked right now. We should make a nice a couple. Of course, we can’t go out in public that much, but at least we like the same lack of clothes.”

“Cut out the humor, Zach. What do you want?”

“You called me. I’m returning your call.”

“Oh, yeah, uh, my brothers Jeremy and Paul are going to be home alone tonight and I was wondering if you might consider taking them instead of Jerry. Do you think he’d mind?”

“No, actually, I got a message from him saying he wasn’t going to be able to make it. So you have brothers?”

“Yeah, two. Jeremy is sixteen and Paul is twelve, he’ll be thirteen next week. Maybe you can come to his birthday party.”

“I don’t know, but I guess it’ll be okay if they go to the movie with us.”

“Great, I’ll tell them. See you at seven?”

“Yeah, if I get lost trying to find your place, I’ll call.”

“Good bye, Zach.”

“Yeah, good bye.”

She didn’t know. Zach was glad about that, but taking her brothers with them to the movie presented a bit of a challenge. He wasn’t certain they could keep their mouths shut or their hands off him. He wondered if he could keep his hands off Jeremy, but he mostly wondered why Jeremy wasn’t going to be with Derek.

He checked the last message.

“Zach? This is Bruce. Hey, I got your number from Jerry and I just want to say I appreciate what you’re trying to do for him. He’s a real sweet guy. Yeah, I think we’re falling for each other. Sorry. I hope we can still be friends. I don’t want you to think I’m stealing him from you, but he’s so nice. I’ve never met anyone like him before. See you at lunch on Monday, okay?”

Zach sat laid down on his bed and stared at the ceiling. Did he care that Bruce and Jerry were getting close? He thought he didn’t, but there was something about Jerry. Maybe he saw the sweetness in the boy, too. Jerry was nice. Oh, well, he had Steven. He was a bit older, but he was nice in his own way.

Except, at that moment Zach felt very alone as if he were the last boy in the world. He thought of being with Jeremy, seeing him again. Was it right for him to become involved with a kid still in high school? He wanted to think it was possible, but there was Derek to consider. That boy was involved with Charlie; and, if Charlie was into domination, maybe Derek didn’t have any choice in who he messed around with. He wondered about Tuesday night and whether Charlie might have Derek there to make it a threesome, to get what they wanted Saturday night, but with Derek there it couldn’t be the same as being alone with Charlie. Maybe being with Charlie wasn’t a good idea.

He looked around the room and saw his books. He had a paper to write, a ton of reading to do, and less than six hours. He wiped his teary eyes with the back of his hand and went over to the desk.

When Zach stopped his pickup in the porte cochere at the McDonald’s he sat a moment collecting his thoughts. If the boys were decent about this, Sara might never know he was the guest of honor at Jeremy’s birthday party. She knew there was going to be a guest of honor, that was why she hadn’t been there, but what would she think, or say, if she knew the truth. Zach felt that familiar queasy feeling and brushed the back of his hand over his eyes even though there weren’t any tears, yet.

There was nothing to do except go to the door and steel himself against Sara’s vicious rebuke. He walked up the steps as if he was a condemned man climbing to his noose hanging before those massive oak doors. He looked for the doorbell, but the door opened. Paul stood there staring as if he wanted to jump into Zach’s arms.

“Hi, you must be Zach,” Paul said, making a not too subtle show of not knowing who was at the door.

“You must be Paul, is Sara ready?” Zach asked. He wanted to take the boy in his arms and hug the life out of him.

“How should I know? She’s a girl, they’re never ready.” Paul ran off yelling, “Sara! You’re date is here!”

Jeremy walked out of the hall leading to the kitchen. Their eyes met and Jeremy looked at the floor. It looked as if he’d been crying. Zach wondered if Daddy had Derek for the evening.

Just as Jeremy walked up to Zach, Sara came down the stairs. She was wearing faded blue jeans and a black over red North Park jersey. She was so at home relaxed she looked more like fourteen or, maybe, thirteen, a perfect little girl.

“Did Jeremy introduce himself?” Sara asked, looking at her brother.

“No, but that’s okay,” Zach said. “Hi, Jeremy.”

“Hi,” Jeremy said, looking at the floor. The tension between him and Zach was almost palpable. Both felt it and kept their eyes diverted lest Sara pick up on their feelings for each other.

Paul came bounding down the stairs like the little boy he still was.

“So, what are we going to see?” Zach asked.

Finding Nemo,” Paul said, matter-of-factly.

“Oh, not that, again,” Sara said.

“You haven’t seen it,” Paul said. “So, why are you complaining?”

“It has that woman in it,” Sara said.

“It’s a cartoon,” Jeremy said. “It’s just her voice.”

“She’s a lesbian,” Sara said. “You know how I feel about . . .”

She stared at Zach, her mouth ready to say the word, the word that would stop the night from happening.

“So, Sara, how do you feel about homosexuals?” Zach asked, not wanting to let it go, but wanting to get it out in the open. He couldn’t stop himself. If anything was going to occur in their relationship, this had to be decided right now.

“I, well, you know, I used to hate them, but I’m not like that anymore. I just forget, sometimes.”

“Yeah, it’s hard to be good all the time,” Zach said.

“Zach? I’m sorry,” Sara said. She walked over to him and took his hand in hers. “I’m sorry, okay?”

“Okay, I know you’re trying. So, what’s this movie about?”

“I don’t know, we’ve never seen it,” Paul said.

“Zach? Can I ask you something?” Jeremy asked. His voice was almost a whisper.

“Well? Are we going?” Paul said.

“Wait, Paul, what do you want Jeremy?” Zach asked.

“What do you want to ask him?” Sara asked. “You don’t even know him.”

“What are you guys talking about?” Paul asked.

“Not here, come with me,” Jeremy said, turning and walking toward the kitchen.

“Must be important, whatever it is,” Zach said. “Be back as soon as I can.”

Zach wished they were going off somewhere to have a quick kiss, but Jeremy’s subdued demeanor suggested something less pleasant. His first guess was Derek. He followed Jeremy into a small alcove, then through a small door into a large storage closet and through another small door into a large pantry. Jeremy went back and shut the doors.

“What’s wrong?” Zach asked. He turned and was surprised when Jeremy wrapped his arms around him into a tight hug. Zach put his arms around Jeremy and felt a slight quiver in the younger boy’s body.

“Derek is with Daddy tonight,” Jeremy said. “They’re up in Daddy’s rooms right now.”

Zach felt the boy’s body shudder as sadness overpowered him.

“Hey, come on, it can’t be that bad,” Zach whispered. “You’ve got me to hold onto.”

“Daddy laughed at me. He said I was being silly to think you’d like me. He said you were on drugs last night; otherwise, you wouldn’t have done it with me. He laughed at me, Zach, right in front of Derek. Daddy laughed at me.”

He was sobbing now; and, Zach held him tight. He thought of his own father hitting him. He wanted to cry when that happened, but didn’t have a friend to run to. Last night, Jeremy seemed too old to be crying like this; yet, being raised in the city and not having to get up in the middle of the night to hurry into the storm cellar because there was a tornado warning or having to watch where you walked out in the pasture when looking for a newborn calf because there were rattlesnakes might make a boy soft. Or, was it something else? Maybe, Zach thought to himself, maybe it was a greater sensitivity to emotions. He cried now when he’d never cried before meeting Steven. Did you have to fall in love to be able to cry, again? Did Jeremy think he loved him? They’d had sex only twice. Was that enough for love?

“Come on, Jeremy, it’ll be okay,” Zach whispered. “Be thankful he didn’t hit you. It’d be a lot worse if he hit you.”

“Were you on drugs?”

“Did I kiss you like I was on drugs?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Here, try this,” Zach whispered, pulling Jeremy’s chin up and pressing his mouth to boy’s, ignoring the slime on Jeremy’s upper lip. Holding the boy’s head with one hand, he moved the other down to the boy’s ass, grabbing a firm hold on a cheek with his fingers, pressing in through the loose material, and probing for that sensitive area. The kiss was hard and long and he felt Jeremy’s cock begin to press against his.

“Does that feel that it did last night?” Zach asked, breaking their kiss. “If I remember right, I might have been a little more into to it last night, right? Jeremy? Come on, talk to me, whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Come on, lover, stop crying or you’ll have to suck my cock and we don’t have time for that.”

“Hey! Are we going to a movie, or not?” Paul asked. He was standing in the doorway leading into the kitchen.

“Get out of here, now!” Jeremy hissed. Paul turned and shut the door behind him.

“Wow! You’ve got him trained pretty good,” Zach said. “I was never able to get my horse to respond that quickly.”

“What?” Jeremy looked up into Zach’s eyes. They were red from crying, but the moment had passed. Sadness still filled his face, but the worse was over.

Zach knelt down and unzipped Jeremy’s pants. He pulled out the boy’s erection and put his mouth over the swollen head. While using one hand to massage the boy’s scrotum and perineum and the other to stroke the rock hard shaft, he worked his moist lips and tongue over the head. He was in a hurry and Jeremy responded just as quick to the overwhelming sensations. Zach felt the testicles pull up and the cock swell. He slipped his hand further between the boy’s legs and pressed a finger to that most sensitive spot pushing firmly against the tight muscle.

“Oh! Fuck! Zach!” Jeremy hissed, trying to hold his voice in check as the orgasm swept through his young body.

Zach swallowed quickly, trying to keep up with the tartly sweet come spewing into his mouth. He removed his hands from the boy, but kept his mouth over the cock as Jeremy slowly came back from that blissful place. There was an unopened box of tissues on the shelf beside him and he took out some and wiped Jeremy’s still firm cock. Grabbing a few more, he stood up and began cleaning the tears and snot from the boy’s face. He handed a few to Jeremy.

“Blow your own nose, I’m not sucking that,” Zach said.

“You’re funny, you know that?” Jeremy said. “That’s what I like about you most. You always try to find something funny to say.”

“Look, I know your father is an asshole. He proved that last night. Maybe, just maybe, he’s got Derek by the balls and Derek doesn’t know how to say enough is a enough. Maybe he just can’t say no to your father. Maybe he doesn’t care for you as much as you’d like. I don’t know. All I know is I like you an awful lot, but I also know I’m a bit older and you’re still in high school.”

“You’re only a year older now.”

“And, I’ll be two years older in October.”

“I liked it when I was in you.”

“I liked it a lot more, but it’s going to be hard. You’ve got all those other boys to be friends with. What’s going to happen when they find out you’re dating me, instead of some girl at school?”

“I go to an all boys school. There aren’t any girls. Besides, I called Roger this morning and apologized for what Daddy did. He asked me if I was gay.”

“What’d you tell him?”

“I asked him if he’d hate me. He told me Johnny, his younger brother, was gay. He said we could still be friends, but I couldn’t kiss him. We laughed. I’m beginning to think Roger is a better friend than Derek.”

“Sounds like it to me. Come on, let’s get out of here and go to that movie with the lesbian in it.”

“It’s a cartoon! It’s just her voice.”

“Well, what was that all about?” Sara asked when they returned to the foyer. “I was beginning to think I was going to have to watch a video or something.”

“Guy stuff,” Zach said.

“What do you mean guy stuff?” Sara asked.

“Well, if you need to know. Jeremy is having problems with his penis. Nothing serious, mind you, it’s just that when he comes . . .”

“Stop! I don’t want to hear about it. It’s not something he should see a doctor about?”

“No, he could have asked his father, but I guess that isn’t an option in this house.”

“No, Daddy isn’t someone to ask,” Sara said.

“Isn’t that the truth!” Paul and Jeremy said, almost in unison.

“Come on, guys, and girl, let’s get to the movie with the lesbian,” Zach said.

“It’s just her voice!” Paul exclaimed.

Finding Nemo was better than Zach thought it would be. He was expecting a little kid movie with lots of silly songs, but was surprised he was able to get into the storyline and actually felt kind of bad for Nemo’s father. He figured the others were also seeing a father could be good and could care about his children.

After the movie, Zach followed Sara’s and Jeremy’s conflicting directions down to Burger Master for one of the best chocolate milkshakes he’d ever tasted. All in all it was a rather pleasant evening out and Zach hoped there would be many more. It felt good to be around regular people for a change. He was beginning to wonder if there were more people in the world who didn’t hate him because he was gay.

When they turned the corner and headed down the hill toward the McDonald house, Zach had that queasy feeling, again. There were flashing red and blue lights all over the place, but most of them were inside the wall around the McDonald house. A cop stopped them at the gate.

“What do you want?” She asked when Zach rolled down his window.

“I’m bringing the kids home from a movie, they live here,” Zach said.

“Let me check,” she said. Then she was talking in her radio. She walked away from the truck, toward her car.

“What’s going on?” Paul asked. He sounded as worried as Sara and Jeremy looked.

Zach was about ready to get out when the police officer walked back to the pickup. From the streetlight, Zach could see she was having trouble keeping the stern, don’t take this personal, look on her face. She motioned for him.

“I think she wants to talk to me,” Zach said, undoing his seatbelt. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

“I’m coming with you,” Sara said.

They got out together and went over to the police officer.

“What’s wrong officer?” Sara asked. When the officer looked at her like she might be too young to participate in this conversation, Sara added, “I’m eighteen. I’m the responsible party here.”

“Okay, Miss McDonald, I’m Officer Graham, and the situation is this: your father has been arrested for sexual assault on a minor, plus a few other charges. The victim is being readied for transport to the hospital. I guess their taking him to the burn unit at County General. Your grandfather has instructed the, I guess, butler, a Mr. Chambers I believe, to pack clothes for the three of you and for you to go to your grandfather’s house. But, first, I need you to stay out here until the ambulance has departed.”

“It’s Derek, isn’t it?” Sara asked no one in particular.

“Yes, I believe that was the boy’s first name. Do you know him?”

“He’s my brother’s best friend.”

“Was your brother’s best friend,” Zach said, for no other reason than to try to keep Jeremy out of this.

At that moment, a police car with Charlie sitting in the backseat came out the driveway and turned up the hill. From what Zach could see, he wasn’t wearing anything above the waist. Sara must have seen the same thing, but she didn’t say anything.

“Would either of you, or your brother, know how to get in touch the boy’s parents?” the officer asked.

“Yeah, Jeremy knows where they live,” Sara said.

“Could you get it for me?”

“Sure, I’ll be right back.”

When Sara got in the pickup, the officer turned to Zach and said, “Know anything about BDSM, young man?”

“Yeah, a little, I had a feeling Charlie was into that kind of stuff.”


“Yeah, that’s the name he uses when he hires someone for companionship.”

“In the business?”

“No, I know someone who knows about Charlie. I guess he hasn’t hidden much from his kids. They think he’s practically worthless as a father.”

“What about the mother?”

“Living with her boyfriend in Switzerland.”

“Sounds like a screwed up family.”

“Yeah, except for the kids. I kind of feel sorry for them.”

“Have a good father, do you?”

“No, mine kicked me out because someone told him I was gay.”


Sara came back as the aid car pulled out of the driveway and turned on its siren. She handed a piece of paper to the officer.

“Can we go up to the house?” Sara asked.

“Yes, Miss McDonald, I’ll let them know you’re coming,” the officer said.

There were four more police cars, plus a van, at the house. Sara directed Zach back to the garage where there was only one police car, with the officer standing beside it.

“I guess I’d better go,” Zach said when he stopped.

“No, I want you to come in with us,” Sara said. “I’m going to need you to take one of the boys over the grandfather’s, probably Jeremy as he knows the way. My Miata only has two seats and there definitely isn’t any room for bags.”

“Okay, whatever you say.”

The police officer ignored them as they walked toward the service entrance. Chambers was at the door waiting for them. He looked worried. Three large duffle bags were lined up against the hall.

“What happened?” Sara asked in a stern, business-like voice, an employer to servant voice.

“I was out since Saturday is my day off,” Chambers said. He sounded scared. Did the police ask too many pointed questions? How long was this going on? Where was he? How long did he listen to the boy scream before calling for help? Were there any other boys? Questions that were meant to unnerve, make answers waver, cast doubt.

“When I returned, I noticed Mr. McDonald’s car in the driveway. He told me he was going to the condo, so I was surprised he was home so early. I went into my rooms and turned on the television. I heard a scream, not too loud, not too long, more of a screech from a sudden shock. I knew Derek was with Mr. McDonald, but I make it my business not to know what has been going on between them. I do not pry into my employers’ lives.”

To Zach it sounded like a practiced speech. Chambers wasn’t so much sounding innocent, but more like protecting his butt. He had a job to make sure everything was hunky-dory in this house and it went to hell in his absence.

“There was another scream. This time it was someone in extreme pain; and, the screaming continued. It was horrible. I could hear agony in the scream. I went upstairs, following the sound of the unabated screaming. They led Mr. McDonald’s rooms. They were in there, your father and Derek. There was the pungent smell of burned flesh in the air. Once you’ve smelled it, you can never forget that smell. When I was a boy my brother got burned when his pants leg caught fire on a campout. You never forget that smell. Mr. McDonald was wearing black leather chaps. That was all. He was just standing there staring at Derek who was on the floor, naked. He was writhing in pain. I called 9-1-1 and told them what I saw. The woman on the line told me what to do to help Derek. Mr. McDonald went over to the sofa and sat down. He was there when the police arrived.”

“What happened to Derek?” Jeremy asked. It sounded almost as if he didn’t want to hear the answer.

“Mr. McDonald had been using a red-hot poker from the fireplace,” Chambers said. “I don’t know what they had been doing, but Derek had a dog collar around his neck and there was a leash. He was badly burned in his groin on his legs and, well, in between, and on his buttocks. I’ve never heard of someone purposefully doing something like that to another human being, especially a young boy like Derek. I’m sorry Miss McDonald, but I can’t work here anymore. I have advised your grandfather of my resignation.”

Zach was watching the tears build up in Paul’s eyes. He went over and put an arm around the boy. He wanted to cry himself. Then he felt Jeremy wrap his arms around him. Suddenly, he had a couple scared boys hugging him and fighting back tears. Zach thought of Tuesday night and his offer to be with Charlie at the condo. Was he that much of a fool to invite himself to a fling with a sadist? And, what about Steven? Steven never mentioned anything like this. Was Charlie very selective with his victims? Or, was Derek special, so special he had to be branded? Zach broke from the boys and found the toilet. He vomited.

Later that night at the McDonald house on Foundry Ridge—where houses weren’t so much houses as small castles, where old North Park money was made and wasted, and where people like Charlie grew up to become movers and shakers of their community or, like Charlie, moved away to hide their dirty little secrets—Zach settled Paul in his room on the third floor, the children’s floor, as it was called in the house. The room was spartan in furnishings, but, at the same time, was definitely a little boy’s room. It was always Paul’s room whenever he stayed with his grandparents. Paul was still tearful as Zach tucked him in and bent down to kiss his forehead.

“I wish you were staying with us,” Paul said. “I know I’m going to have night horses.”

“Nightmares,” Zach said, smiling. “They’re called nightmares. I tell you what, I’ll tell Jeremy that you might come and sleep with him if you get scared. Okay?”

“Okay. How could Daddy do that to Derek?”

“Your father is a very sick man who needs a lot of help.”

“You don’t think he was just being mean to Derek?”

“Oh, he was definitely being mean, but to do that a boy, someone would have to be sick.”

“Crazy, you mean.”

“You said it, not me.”

“Daddy laughed when I fell out of our apple tree last year and broke my arm. He was laughing so much Sara had to take me to the hospital. Yeah, I guess Daddy is sick. Sick in the head. I hope I never see him again. Ever.”

“Now, don’t start thinking like that. There has to be some good in everyone.”

“Even people who hurt kids?”

“Well, I didn’t say it would be obvious. Even my father, who was mean and despicable to me, gave me extra money to come to college. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. I’m not saying he was good all the time. A lot of the time he was downright mean, but he could be good, too.”

“I’m sorry, Zach, but I can’t forgive Daddy.”

“You get some sleep. It’ll be better in the morning.”

“You’ll talk to Jeremy?”

“I’ll tell him you’ll be over in an hour or so.”

Zach closed Paul’s door and went across the hall to Jeremy’s room. It was almost the same décor, but had posters of Swiss ski resorts on the walls. Zach wondered if they were presents from Mummy. Jeremy was naked, sitting on top of his bedcovers, slowly stroking his erect penis.

“And, what would you say to Sara if it was her instead of me?” Zach asked, sitting down next to Jeremy and adding his hand to the action.

“Tell her she can’t suck my cock,” Jeremy said, giggling. “Do you want to?”

“Not with Sara still up.”

“She won’t come up here. She’s talking to grandpa. They’ll be at it all night.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not taking any chances. Listen, Paul isn’t doing so good and might come over here to sleep with you. Is that okay?”

“Yeah, he does it a lot. He says the night horses are after him. Will you kiss me?”

Zach leaned over and their lips met. He opened his mouth, inviting Jeremy’s tongue to a little party. He took his hand off the boy’s dick and found a nipple to rub. Neither boy heard the door open.

“What the fuck are you doing to my brother?” Sara asked. “Jeremy? Why don’t you have any clothes on?”

“Oh, fuck off, Sara! What’s it look like we’re doing? Never seen foreplay before?”

“Jeremy! What’s gotten into you? And, Zach what are you doing here?”

“Actually, I came to say good night, but Jeremy had other ideas.”

“But, he’s still a little boy.”

“Well, technically, I am too. Sara, please calm down. Come over here and sit with us. Come on, I’m sure you’ve seen him naked before.”

“Not for a few years I haven’t. Cover yourself up, brother.”

“Okay, but it was my idea, not Zach’s.”

“You were the guest of honor last night, weren’t you?” Sara asked, looking at Zach.

“Yeah and I found out Jeremy likes boys, but he also likes girls, too. He gets to have fun no matter who he’s with.”

“Always a joke. Don’t you ever stop?”

“Sara, please, Jeremy and I are, well, close. We’re not boyfriends, if that’s what you’re thinking, but we like each other a lot.”

“I love him.”

“You’re too young to fall in love,” Zach and Sara said almost in unison. They looked at each other and started to laugh.

“Okay, Jeremy, under the covers and close those beautiful eyes,” Zach said, standing up and holding out a hand to Sara. He helped her up and he put his arm around her waist. “You’ve had your kiss and a little more. I’ve got to get home, myself. It’s been a long day.”

“Will I see you tomorrow?” Jeremy asked.

“No, I have to spend the day with a friend, but I can see you Tuesday night, if that’s okay?”

“I’d like that,” Jeremy said. “I’d like that a lot. Oh, why don’t you tell Paul to come on over. I think I’d like him in bed with me. I think I’ll need some company.”

“Good night, Jeremy.”

“Good night, Zach.”

“You’re falling in love with him,” Sara said as they descended the broad staircase to the second floor. “I can tell.”

“It’ll be hard. He’s still in high school.”

“It’ll be harder because we don’t know where we’re going to end up. Mummy might have Jeremy and Paul join her in Switzerland. You might not see Jeremy for years.”

“He likes Switzerland, doesn’t he?”

“Yeah, he had a lot of fun over there, but he’s made a lot of friends here since Daddy brought us back.”

“Sara, if you need anything, anything, give me a call. If the boys need something, call me. Okay?”

“You’re good, you know that.”

“Yeah, people keep telling me that,” Zach said, thinking of Jerry and Bruce and what they might be doing at this moment. “One of these days, I might start believing it myself.”