The Craft (Novel Version)
by Julien Gregg

This story is a work of fiction its characters do not exist outside the story. Any resemblance to living people or places is strictly coincidence. This story is Copyright © 2014 Julien Gregg. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This story contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.

Chapter Two

"I'm drunk," said Melvin. "Help me to my bed."

Adam got up and helped him to his bed. It was a comedy in errors because Melvin was so much bigger than Adam. He nearly had them both crashing to the floor several times. He was laughing and coughing all the while. Then when he finally reached the bed, Adam thought he was done. He started to head back to his own bed.

"Wait," Melvin slurred. "Gotsta take my cloves off."

"You mean your clothes," Adam corrected. "I'm not taking your clothes off, Melvin."

"Please," he said, making the word longer and trying to pout. "Purty please, Adam. Come on. I know you like ta look. Ain't no big deal."

"What the hell do you mean you know I like to look?" Adam demanded, getting angry.

"It ain't no big thing," he slurred again so that the words were almost running together. "Come on. Help me out."

Adam was starting to think that Melvin wasn't as drunk as he was pretending. His words only slurred every other time he spoke and though his eyes were clouded they cleared up now and then. He wasn't going to get trapped into anything with Melvin. He just wasn't.

"I'm not taking your clothes off of you," he said firmly. "If you can drink yourself to the point where you can't get them off then you need to sleep in them."

"You're mean," Melvin pouted but he closed his eyes and miraculously, Adam thought, he went to sleep.

Being quiet, he slipped the candle out from under his bed, went into the bathroom and stripped out of his clothes. The book had said that casting spells in the nude was best. He'd gathered the now completely cooled candle as well as the bag of other spell ingredients from under his bed before going to the bathroom. Gingerly sitting on the cold tile floor of the tiny bathroom, Adam put the candle on the floor and spread the rosemary around it in a circle. He lit the candle and began to silently chant and let his mind focus on the money he wanted. It was hard, because his ass was freezing more now that he was sitting on it, but he forced himself to only concentrate on the burning candle and the money he wanted. With any luck, he would have the money soon.

When the candle had burned half way, he blew it out. He did his best to sweep up all of the rosemary from the floor. He'd need to do this again to complete his spell, but he had more rosemary. He silently prayed to whatever higher powers might exist that his spell work as he put on his sweat pants and t-shirt. He silently let himself out of the bathroom and went to bed.

He woke up early in the morning, and he knew that none of the buildings on campus were open, but he wanted to be away from the room when Melvin woke up. He was still wondering if Melvin had been drunk the night before or not. He was still thinking about how Melvin had told him he knew he liked to look. He'd been trying to keep his eyes away from him whenever Melvin could notice. He'd probably slipped now and then and he supposed that Melvin had noticed. He silently cursed at himself for being so stupid.

For the majority of that Saturday, Adam browsed Mystical Enchantments for books on other kinds of spells he could cast. He didn't even know that the one he was trying to cast would work yet, but he wanted to be prepared if it did. If his spell worked, then he'd know that magic was real, and he could get almost anything he wanted. He decided it was better to be prepared.

The girl that had helped him the last time he was in the store wasn't working. In her place was a boy about Adam's age with blond hair that was almost white and dark eyes. He was dressed in ripped black clothing, his nails were painted black and his eyes were ringed with black eyeliner. He had a stud in his nose and a ring in his brow. He smiled at Adam when he came in, but he let him browse uninterrupted. Adam selected a few books, paid for his purchases and then headed back to campus.

He knew that Melvin had football practice, so he didn't feel worried about going back to his room to shower and dress for work. He hid all of his new purchases under his bed and set about taking his shower. He was just drying off when he heard the door to his room open, and his stomach began to quiver with trepidation. He stalled for a bit, but when Melvin knocked on the bathroom door, there was nothing to do but respond.

"What," he said, shocked at the bite in his voice.

"Uh," Melvin hesitated. "Are you going to be much longer?"

"I'll be out in a minute," replied Adam.

When he came out of the bathroom, Melvin was standing there in his football pants without pads. He looked a little embarrassed as he looked at Adam. Adam wondered what he was embarrassed about. He was still thinking that Melvin had tried to put him in a real bad situation the night before. He wasn't sure of it, but he suspected it none the less.

"Listen," Melvin said, looking at the floor. "I'm sorry about last night. I don't remember much, but I hope I wasn't rude or anything. I don't even know how I got to bed."

"I helped you to the bed," Adam said, deciding to tell him everything he had said. "You asked me to help you take off your clothes and I said no. Then you told me it was no big deal because you knew that I liked to look. That pissed me off and I told you go to sleep and then you did."

"Oh, God," he breathed. "Adam I'm sorry about all that. I can't believe I said that to you. Look, I don't drink that often and it was hitting me really hard. I was at a frat party with my girlfriend last night and I think one of those frat boys slipped me something. They're trying to get me to rush their frat, but I kept saying no."

"Well last night I was half convinced that you weren't even drunk," Adam replied. "You would slur your words one minute and seem really drunk and then the next minute you talked fine and your eyes cleared. You kept asking me to help you. You called me mean and pouted a bit, too. If they slipped you something I'd suggest you stay away from them."

"Yeah, Lisa said that I should stay away from the frats this morning," Melvin said, looking contrite. "I guess I was pretty mean to her last night, and I'm so damned sorry for saying that you liked to look. Adam I know you're not perving on me and I know I walk around naked a lot and there's really nowhere else to look. Please don't think I meant anything bad by it."

"I've got to go to work," Adam said with a sigh. "We'll talk about this if you're here when I get back."

"What time do you get off work?" he asked.

"I get off at three today," Adam said. "Where will you be at three?"

"I'll pick you up," Melvin said. "If you don't mind. Lisa will be with me when I do if she's not too mad at me."

"That's fine," Adam replied, thinking that it'd be nice to have a ride instead of walking back. He still didn't trust Melvin, but he decided to give the guy a break and see where things went.

"Thanks, Adam," Melvin said as he headed for the bathroom.

True to his word, Melvin was parked outside the gas station at three o'clock when Adam came out the front doors. There was a blond haired girl in a cheerleading outfit in the front seat with Melvin. Adam supposed that this was Lisa, the girlfriend he'd as yet never met. He smiled and headed for the car.

"Hey, Adam," Melvin said with a grin as Adam climbed into the back seat. "This is Lisa. Lisa this is my roommate, Adam Wells."

"Hi there, Adam," Lisa said, turning in her seat to look at him. She smiled and it lit up her china doll face. She had long blond hair that she had in a ponytail. "Melvin says you read him the riot act when he came into the dorm last night. I want to thank you for that."

"My pleasure," he said, grinning back at her. "I told him to stay away from the frat houses, too."

"Yeah, I told him the same thing," she said. "He thinks they put something in his drink, and after what I heard from the girls on the squad I'd say he's probably right."

"Well he wasn't too bad last night," Adam lied. "He came in and went straight to sleep. I didn't give him what for until this morning."

Melvin drove them to the cafeteria and they sat together to have a late lunch or early supper. Adam was happy when Pete came in with his own tray of food and sat down beside him across from Melvin and Lisa. Adam introduced him and they started talking. Lisa asked about where Adam came from and he shocked himself by opening up at least a bit.

"I grew up in Crete," he said. "It's about six hours back up the interstate near Cedar Rapids."

"Got any siblings?" she asked.

"No, and that's probably a good thing," he said. "My stepfather is abusive and my mother is an indifferent alcoholic who's currently hooked on vicodin."

"That's awful," Lisa said, looking sick. "I'm sorry you had to grow up with that. I've got three sisters, all younger than me and Melvin's got an older brother in the Army. My folks are the greatest people I know."

They talked back and forth about this and that. Pete told her his sad family story and she just shook her head like she just couldn't believe that parents could be anything other than great. Melvin told them that his family owns and operates a farm and that though his folks are great he never wanted to go back to the farm life.

When they left the table Adam had found that he'd somehow been talked into attending a football game and then hanging out with them afterward win or lose. Pete decided to tag along so they found themselves sitting in the third row of the bleachers watching the Storyville University Sentinels take on another football team. Adam found that Melvin was a good player and could power through many of the opposing team's players, breaking tackles and scoring rather a lot.

The cheerleaders did death defying stunts during the half time show, throwing each other in the air, climbing on top of each other in a huge pyramid of the red and gold outfitted girls with strong looking guys on the bottom of the pyramid. Then they were working the crowd up with their catchy cheers and sexy dance moves. Adam and Pete were into it. They answered the cheers in all the right places, stood up and danced around before sitting back down to throw their hands in the air and answer them again.

Then the second half of the game began and the Sentinels beat the Sultans rather quickly. The fans were on their feet, cheering and screaming. The cheerleaders went wild and Adam and Pete went wild with them. Then they were heading out of the stadium and into the parking lot to wait for Lisa and Melvin. Pete talked a mile a minute about this play and that one. Adam just smiled and agreed with everything he said. He'd never known much about football but this game had sure been entertaining.

An hour later Melvin finally came through the gate with Lisa nearly wrapped around him. They piled into Melvin's car and went to the campus diner where Melvin paid obscene amounts of money for their food and ordered more sodas when their glasses were empty. He was all smiles and excitement even after they left the diner. He dropped Adam and Pete off in front of the dorm and headed back out to hang out with his teammates.

"What are you guys gonna do?" Lisa asked as she stood there in the parking lot.

"I don't know about Pete, but I'm going to bed," Adam said, though he really wanted to get up to his bathroom, strip naked and finish his spell.

"Yeah, I'm beat," Pete said. "Stick a fork in me."

"Oh come on, guys," she said. "If you guys go to bed then I'll have to hang with the girls and go spy on the guys. I hate that."

"Sorry," Adam said. "But I'm really tired."

When he got upstairs he gathered all of his spell ingredients and headed for the bathroom. He stripped and sat down on the floor scattering rosemary around the candle in a circle. He lit the half burned candle and began to chant. He'd had a great night and he poured all of that energy into the chant, willing the spell to work. When the candle burned out he put all of the stuff away, took a shower and then crawled happily into bed. He didn't know when Melvin got back or if he even did. His bed was still empty when Adam woke up and got ready for a Sunday at work.

And for a while that's how things went. He and Pete went to every home game when they weren't working and hung out with Melvin and Lisa afterward. Adam was shocked when Lisa started coming to find him here and there. She'd talk to him about Melvin and ask if he talked to him about her. She was sometimes upset with him but most often she was happy. Adam really liked her and she seemed to really like him back. She loved to play with his hair he discovered the one time she'd found him in the dorm room after just getting out of the shower. He'd been towel drying his hair when she'd knocked.

"You've got the most silky, beautiful hair, Adam," she said as she ran her fingers through his wet locks.

"I've been thinking about cutting it," he told her and laughed when she gasped.

"Don't you dare," she said. "It makes you look sexy."

He got a funny feeling in the pit of his stomach when she'd said that. No one had ever called him sexy or even good looking. He'd always been the ugly kid they never wanted or the ugly fag they liked to hurt. He smiled at her and then she hugged him tight. She was still there when Melvin came in and he was one unhappy camper. He'd sent most of his stuff back to the farm and gotten into an argument with his father on the phone. The man had told him to find a job and pay for his own tuition before hanging up on him. Lisa put her arm through his and led him back out of the room to cheer him up.

Adam was asleep when the door banged open and Melvin stumbled in. Adam could tell right away that he was drunk. He'd seen enough drunks to know. The way Melvin slurred when he talked was another give away. The menacing stare he directed at Adam was what made his stomach quiver with nerves. He knew all too well how abusive drunks could be, and he mentally figured the difference between them in size and power.

"Yer a fuckin' faggit," slurred Melvin as he slowly advanced on Adam. "I seen the way you been lookin' at my pecker. Like lookin' doncha faggit?"

Adam was stunned and terrified at the same time. He didn't know what to say to that. He'd thought Melvin had figured that he wasn't really looking at him like that. He'd said so the morning after he'd said something like it the last time. Adam wanted to scream that at him but he couldn't speak with his mouth so dry anyway. He just stared at Melvin, wondering when he was going to start pounding him. Shocking him even more, Melvin pulled down his sweat pants, letting his hard dick smack against his firm stomach. He couldn't drag his eyes away from Melvin's dick, and he couldn't say anything.

"Yeah, you like lookin' all right," slurred Melvin after a few minutes. He wrapped his hand around his dick and yanked it down so that the head faced Adam. "Why doncha suck it, ya faggit? Get on down on yer knees and suck it."

Without waiting for Adam to reply, Melvin lunged forward and took his head into his hands, slamming his face into his crotch. Adam had no choice but to open his mouth. Melvin's dick was pressing against his closed lips. He wasn't prepared for the force with which Melvin thrust his dick into his throat, though, and he gagged on it. Melvin didn't let up. Instead, he just kept slamming his dick into Adam's mouth, fucking his face as he mumbled incoherent things.

Adam slowly became accustomed to the ramming dick in his mouth and throat, but he didn't work his throat or tongue to maximize Melvin's pleasure. He decided that if he was going to rape him, he wasn't going to help in any way. He'd wanted Melvin in no way other than in fantasy. He'd lusted after him since the first time he'd seen him. He didn't want it to happen this way, though. This was no better than Donny and his rough fucking. The difference was that this time he didn't feel degraded and used. This time, he felt rage and hatred. He would make Melvin pay for this one way or another.

"Thas it, faggit," Melvin slurred as he finally realized that Adam wasn't choking on his dick anymore. "Take it like the pussy boy you are. Thas it."

Adam's rage grew with every drunken slur that was thrown upon him. His mind filled with ideas about how to make Melvin pay from cutting off his dick while he slept to using magic. The latter thought was what appealed to him the most. If his first spell worked, Melvin would pay for what he was doing. Adam wouldn't rest until he made Melvin pay for every single time he called him a faggot. He'd make him pay with his body.

"Bitch won't put out for me," panted Melvin, "but I got me a personalized dick sucker right here in m' own room. Couldn't be any better 'n this. Suck it, faggit."

His grip on Adam's ears was almost excruciating. Adams eyes burned, and his nose was continually slammed against Melvin's pelvic bone. He was sure that it was bleeding. He couldn't be sure, because he knew that saliva was running from his mouth. When Melvin suddenly ripped his dick away from him, he let go of his ears and started laughing.

"Fucked yer face bloody, faggit!" he cried loud enough to be heard in the hall if anyone was out there. "Fuck yeah. Get up."

He roughly pulled Adam off of his bed. He was pulling at his underwear as he slurred out for Adam to get his pants off and let him see his ass. Adam knew what was coming now, and he hoped that he'd wet Melvin's dick enough with saliva. He didn't think he could stand a dry fuck from a dick that size. It never occurred to Adam to fight back. He was so used to abuse that it just came natural to be meek and obedient until it was over.

"Thas it," Melvin breathed as he turned Adam around and pushed on his lower back to bend him over. "Gon' fuck yer ass right, faggit. You gon' love this."

Adam gasped as he felt Melvin roughly pry his ass cheeks apart, and he chomped down on his blanket as Melvin's dick ripped into his asshole in one solid thrust. Pain erupted inside of him, and he thought that he might black out for a moment. Melvin's hand slapping his ass kept that from happening, though. He was awake for each violent thrust and every slurred insult.

Finally Melvin thrust into him for the last time. Adam could feel him cumming in his ravaged ass. Even through the pain, he could feel it. As Melvin pulled his spent dick from his ass, Adam could feel that cum leaking out of him. He was humiliated and devastated. He couldn't believe it had happened. Storyville was supposed to be an escape from all of the abuse, but he'd delivered himself into another form of Hell.

"Fucked ya bloody, too, faggit," laughed Melvin. "You gon' have a sore ass to go wit' that sore beak!"

Tears flowed from his eyes, and pain radiated from his ass as Melvin continued to laugh at him. The slaps continued as well as the slurred insults, and Adam's rage burned hotter and hotter. He considered just killing Melvin. He was sure that he could get away with it. All he had to do was admit to what was happening right now, and he would get away with killing him. Post traumatic stress. That's what they'd call it.

Adam fled from consciousness as Melvin walked over to the other bed and collapsed there. He didn't know how long he slept, but the ache in his nose and ass woke him to a dark room. The sun hadn't come up, and he could hear Melvin snoring across the room. His ass was throbbing, and his nose was on fire. He slowly got off of the bed, mentally cursing as his bloody face stuck to the blanket. He pulled his feet out of the underwear that were now around his ankles and walked slowly to the bathroom.

One look in the mirror told him all he needed to know about his nose. It wasn't swollen, so he knew it wasn't broken again. There were no bruises on his face, so he didn't have to think of an excuse to explain those away. His ass was another story. He couldn't see the damage, but he could feel it with every step he took. Once in the shower, he washed all of the blood off of his face and from between his ass cheeks and legs. He cried as he watched the blood swirl around the drain and disappear.

This was all supposed to be over. It had to be over. He couldn't live that way again. He wouldn't live that way again. He had to do something to get away from Melvin. All thoughts of making him pay had vanished. Escape had replaced them, and it took a full twenty minutes for him to remember the candle spell he had performed just weeks ago. If the money spell would finally work, he could leave Storyville behind just as he had his home. Somewhere there had to be a place where he could live without pain.

He didn't sleep for the rest of that night. Instead he sat on the bathroom floor and cried. When the sun came up he went back to his room to get clothes before returning to the bathroom. He was putting his pants on when he heard Melvin knock on the door. His entire body went rigid with fear and anger all over again.

"What," he said, shocked at the bite in his voice.

"Uh," Melvin hesitated. "Are you going to be much longer?"

"I'll be out in a minute," replied Adam, his voice still as cold as ice.

He was thankful that he'd remembered to bring his boxers into the bathroom with him. He slid those on, silently cursing as his asshole throbbed. Melvin. He hated Melvin more than he'd ever hated anyone in his life. He slowly opened the bathroom door, fully expecting Melvin to be waiting on the other side. Instead, Melvin was sitting on his bed, staring at the bloody spot on Adam's blanket.

"Adam . . ."

"Leave me alone, Melvin," hissed Adam. "The only reason I haven't turned you in is because I've decided to leave. If you touch me one more time, I'll go to the police. I mean it. I won't live like this again."

"I wanted to say I was sorry," mumbled Melvin.

"Save it," said Adam as he pulled on his shoes that he'd left on the foot of his bed. He tucked his work shirt into the waistband of his jeans and left the room, putting his hat on as he went.

That day at work, Adam thought about his decision to leave Storyville. He didn't really want to leave Storyville. He wanted to get even. He wondered if there was a way that magic could help him get even with Melvin for what he'd done. He thought about that throughout his shift, and he was amazed at the end of the night that he hadn't screwed anything up. He couldn't remember even one customer or even stocking anything in the store.

He was sitting in his Literature class, trying not to listen to the gossip that was going on around him. Six cheerleaders were in that class with him and he heard, even though he tried not to that Lisa had broken up with Melvin that very morning. He was thinking about that when the door opened, and Mrs. Brinkmeyer, his advisor, stepped into the room. She looked troubled, and when she looked at Adam, her face was a mask of pity. Adam felt his stomach flip over. Had she learned what had happened? Had Melvin confessed for some reason? Adam didn't think he would be able to bear that.

"Mr. Wells," said Professor Lang, "Mrs. Brinkmeyer would like for you to come with her. Gather you things."

Adam moved on autopilot. He barely remembered getting his bag and stuffing it with his book and notebooks. He followed Mrs. Brinkmeyer down the hall and out of the building. She said nothing, but she kept wringing her hands as they walked. She led him to the Student Services building, and her office. A man was waiting there, and he looked at Adam when they came into the room. Adam saw the same look of pity in the man's tired blue eyes, and his stomach threatened to expel his breakfast.

"Mr. Wells, I'm Tom Denton," said the man, standing and reaching for Adam's hand. "I'm your family's attorney, and I'm afraid I have some bad news for you."

His family? Adam couldn't think of what news about his family would be bad unless they'd decided to move to Storyville and make him live with them. He took a seat when Mrs. Brinkmeyer offered him one, and Tom Denton sat, too. He opened his briefcase and pulled out a folder. As he opened it, he started talking again.

"Your mother and stepfather were killed, Adam," he said. "It was an accident in Crete."

"I see," replied Adam as his stomach finally loosened up, and his heartbeat slowed. This wasn't exactly bad news.

They stared at him for a few seconds, no doubt expecting him to break down at the news. However, he returned their penetrating gazes with as calm an expression as he could muster. He had no tears for his mother and stepfather. They'd been nothing but cruel to him all of his life. They were gone now, and that meant that they could never hurt him again. He couldn't see it as bad news.

"Shock," murmured Mrs. Brinkmeyer after a long silence. "The boy's in shock."

"That's completely understandable," replied Tom Denton. "I do have to get through this with him, though."

"Get through what?" Adam asked.

"Well, there's the matter of your parents' insurance policy," said Tom, looking at him with a worried expression. "You're named as the sole beneficiary, Adam."

"Insurance policy?" he asked. He couldn't remember them ever doing anything other than drinking. The insurance policy was a shock. The bigger shock was learning that he was the beneficiary.

"Yes," replied Tom. "Your stepfather took out this policy on himself and your mother just two moths ago."

Two months. Adam's mind reeled. He'd cast the spell for money exactly two months ago. His mouth grew dry, and his palms began to sweat. Was this his doing? Was this the spell working itself out? Had he killed them?

"It's all right, Adam," said Mrs. Brinkmeyer with a very satisfied look on her face. "You go ahead and cry. I know its difficult."

"Thank you," Adam mumbled, but inside he was laughing at her. "Um, how much was the policy?"

"The policy amount is seven-hundred, fifty thousand dollars," said Tom Denton, and Adam thought he might faint. That was the exact amount he'd cast the spell for!

Adam felt nothing as the bus took him back to Crete to bury his mother and stepfather three days later. He wondered if he should have felt something. After all, these two people were the only parents he'd had. Granted, they were abusive, drunks and all sorts of other things, but he would never get another set of parents. He sighed as he watched the fields and animals pass by out the window of the bus.

He didn't even want to go to the funeral. He wanted to stay at school and pretend that they'd never existed, but Mrs. Brinkmeyer had already paved the way for him to go to the funeral, take a little time off and still be all right academically. He knew that they'd all think something was wrong if he said he didn't want to go to the funeral, so here he was with a suitcase packed with mostly spell books. At least he'd had the presence of mind to pack all of those and not leave them in the room for Melvin to find.

As the bus pulled into Crete, Adam's stomach began to quiver again. He'd planned to never return, yet here he was. If he'd known that casting the spell would result in his being sent back to Crete, he thought he would have never cast it. Sure, the money had actually come with casting the spell, but so had this. Consequences. He had to remember the consequences of every spell.

He'd read in one of the books that he should be very specific when casting a spell. Backfires could happen with any spell. He had to make sure that he thought out the result of each spell he cast before he ever set about casting them in the future. He didn't want any other nasty surprises popping up when he should be enjoying the rewards of a spell.

He got off of the bus and looked around at everything he'd thought he'd left behind forever. He was also looking for Tom Denton. The man had promised to be waiting for him when his bus arrived. He'd said that there were a few papers that he had to sign along with final arrangements to handle. Adam didn't want to sign any papers or handle any final arrangements. He wanted to get his money and get the Hell out of Crete again.

"Adam," said Tom Denton, startling Adam from behind. "I see you've made it."

"Hello," Adam replied, trying to hide the irritation and childish fear in his voice. "Yes, Sir, I made it here all right."

"How was your trip?"

"Uneventful," replied Adam as Tom led him to a car. When he tried to take Adam's suitcase, Adam gripped it tighter. "I'll keep that with me."

They drove to what Adam had always thought of as the ritzy side of the city and parked in a parking garage. Tom Denton made small talk the entire time, and the man didn't shut up until Adam was seated in front of a huge mahogany desk in an office. A secretary brought him bottled water and told him that Mr. Denton would be with him in a few moments. When she left, Adam sat there, looking at the certificates and pictures on the walls of Tom Denton's office. The man really seemed to think a lot of himself, Adam thought.

Then, so many things started to happen that Adam felt overwhelmed and tired. Tom Denton came back into the room with a stack of papers for Adam to sign. His "few things" had turned into an all day event. Adam had to sign the insurance policy and talk about what his plans were for the house. He'd nearly choked on his water when he'd been told that the house was now his. The lawyer tried very hard to talk him out of selling the house out right. He'd said that Adam would never know when he would need the place.

In the end, Adam learned that he'd inherited the house, both cars, though one was now a twisted pile of metal, and what little money that his mother and father hadn't converted to alcohol. The sum was just under thirteen thousand dollars. He had the life insurance policies, which would be paid to him when he had set up a bank account. Tom Denton had offered to do that for him, but Adam quickly told him that he didn't want his money in Crete. He didn't tell him that he never wanted to be brought back to the city again.

What he wasn't prepared for was the fact that he would be spending his nights in the house that he'd grown up in. He wondered if he'd feel the same way about the house as he always had. He believed he would, but there really wasn't a way for him to get out of it without looking stupid. After all, the house was actually his. It would be in his name as soon as probate was finished.

His first couple of hours in the house were spent remembering the past. He worked himself up into almost a panicked state before searching through his suitcase to find his candle spells book. He flipped through the book, looking for what he wanted, and then started rummaging through his backpack for a pure white candle. In the kitchen, he found a bottle of olive oil and placed it on the kitchen table next to his candle. He searched the house until he found a candle holder and then sat at the kitchen table to try and clear his mind.

He was surprised that he could clear his mind so completely. He formed a single flame in his mind and fed all of the negative energy he sensed in the house into that flame until there was nothing left but the flame. Once that was complete, he formed his chant in his mind and began to rub the oil on the candle. He lit the candle and began to chant: "Protection surround me, complete serenity" over and over again until his voice became thick and his eyes stung from staring at the burning candle.

He was putting the candle and oil away when someone knocked on the back door of the house. He stared at the door for a few seconds before sighing and opening it to confront Aaron. His peaceful calm nearly shattered when he saw Aaron standing on the other side of the door. The boy looked amazing, and Adam hated himself finding him attractive after all that he'd done. He carried a six pack of beer and a smile. Adam nearly closed the door in his face.

"How are you holding up?" asked Aaron, not waiting to be invited in before nudging his way around Adam and into the kitchen.

"Fine," said Adam, closing the door and taking a seat at the table. "I didn't expect to see you."

"I came to pay my respects," said Aaron with a lopsided grin. "Want a beer?"

"No, thanks," replied Adam. "I'm in the middle of going through papers."

There were papers spread across the kitchen counter, but those were the aftermath of Adam's search for the candle holder. Aaron didn't need to know that, however. For all the man knew, Adam could have been hunting for the insurance policy. Adam almost smiled at that thought.

"Taking this awful light, aren't you?"

"My parents are dead," Adam said flatly. "There's nothing I can do to bring them back. If I seem a little too calm, I'm probably in shock."

"You disappeared on us," said Aaron, ignoring Adam's statement of shock. "Didn't know where you went."

"I went to college," replied Adam. "You took me to buy my bus ticket, and I'm going back to college as soon as all of this is settled."

"Something is different about you," said Aaron, cocking his head to one side and looking at Adam hard.

"I'm the same old Adam," he replied.

"Look, Adam," Aaron said, running his fingers through his hair as he sighed. "I'm sorry for all of it, okay? Donny got two years in prison for beating me, and I thought you and I could bury the hatchet."

"Bury the hatchet," Adam said slowly. "You honestly think that helping me get away from your brother makes up for four years of taunting and punching, kicking and spitting on me? Your brother raped me. You may not have shoved your dick in my ass but you forced me to suck it, so in a way you raped me, too. How the hell are we supposed to bury that hatchet, Aaron?"

"I really am sorry for all of it, Adam," Aaron said, looking miserable.

"I'd like for you to leave now," Adam replied.

Two hours later, Adam was actually going through every scrap of paper he could find in the house. He was avoiding his parents' bedroom as well as his own, but every other room was a mess from his searching. He found little of value, and most of what he found confused him. There were bank receipts and withdrawal receipts mixed in with old utility bills that were all marked "paid". He found fifty dollars stuffed in a book on a table in the living room, and there was another twenty-five in change in a big wine bottle next to the television. He put all of the money on the kitchen table. That was, in his opinion, the only safe room in the house.

He had to figure out where he was going to sleep. He couldn't just crawl into his old bed, and he wasn't ready to open his parents' bedroom door. He couldn't see himself dragging blankets out of the closet and camping out under the kitchen table. That would have been great for Tom Denton to see in the morning when he came to get Adam for the funeral.

After finally checking the refrigerator and finding something to eat, Adam put a sheet over the couch in the living room and went to sleep. He found it hard to sleep at first, but exhaustion won out over nerves in the end, and he slept deeply without dreaming.

The next morning, he woke up with the sunrise. He took a quick shower and dressed in his best clothes before sitting down at the kitchen table to eat a bowl of cereal. He'd put all of the papers and other things away before going to bed last night, so the kitchen looked tidy again. He didn't want to have to explain to Tom Denton why there were papers all around.

The lawyer showed up not long after Adam had finished washing his cereal bowl. He apologized for not having coffee, but he'd never thought about it. They talked about nothing in particular as they waited for the time to pass, and Adam wondered why the lawyer had come so early. The funeral wasn't for another hour.

"I don't know if you're ready to discuss this yet, Adam," said Tom, finally getting to the reason for his early arrival. "The truck that hit your parents was driven by a man who was drinking. He's still working for the company, Adam. I'd like to talk to you about a law suit."

"I can sue them?" asked Adam. He hadn't thought about that. Did he really want to sue the company? After all, his parents could never hurt him again, and the company was responsible for that in one way. He was responsible for it in another way. Did he want to punish them?

"I'm sure they'll settle out of court," said Tom. "The very least I expect is that they'll terminate the driver who killed your parents."

Adam wondered if it would look strange if he didn't sue the company. He didn't want anyone to look at him and think that he was happy that his parents died. That wouldn't do. He thought about it for a minute before answering Tom. He could sue them, and if they would settle out of court, then nothing was really getting too out of hand.

"What would I have to do to get that started?" he finally asked.

"Well, I've taken preliminary steps to put that ball in motion already," said Tom. "I haven't done anything that will start the suit. I wanted to talk to you about it first."

"So, you're ready to go ahead?"

"Almost," said Tom. "We can talk about that after the funeral."

They were silent for a few minutes after that. Adam didn't know what to say to the lawyer, and he didn't appear to know what to say to Adam, either. Until the man had appeared in Mrs. Brinkmeyer's office to tell him that his parents were dead, he hadn't even known the man existed. He didn't know him well enough to ask personal questions, and he wasn't interested in the law, so there was nothing for them to really talk about if it didn't involve the insurance policy, the house or the suit.

Thankfully, they left the house and headed for the funeral home. Adam wasn't prepared for viewing the bodies, but the coffins were closed. There were several people already in the funeral home. Adam knew none of them, yet they all came to him to shake his hand and offer their condolences. There were flowers surrounding the coffins and there were more behind the row of "family" seats. Adam and Tom were the only people to use the six seats at the front of the room.

The minister talked to him for a few minutes before the service actually started. Adam sat there and listened to the nice things that the minister said about the two people who had made his life Hell for almost all of it, and he was thankful that he didn't ask if anyone had anything to say. By the time he was finished with his prayer, guests were already lining up to shake Adam's hand and offer a last round of condolences.

About forty minutes after the last guest left, Adam was taken back to the house with a car load of flowers he didn't want. Tom was shocked to hear that Adam had a bus ticket that would take him back to Storyville the following day, and when he tried to talk Adam into staying longer, Adam nearly screamed at him. He didn't want to stay in Crete any longer than he had to. Tom could call him with news on the law suit as well as probate. He still hadn't decided if he would actually keep the house or not, but all of that could be handled from Storyville as well.

He left keys to the house with Tom, so the man could get in if he needed anything. There were no plants to take care of, and Adam had already sent all of the flowers with Tom to his wife. The food was all boxed up, and Adam insisted that it be donated to a church or something. He was back on the bus the next morning with Tom standing there, looking at him with sympathetic eyes. The man still believed that Adam was either in shock, or he was running from his pain. If he knew what was really going on, he wouldn't be so friendly to Adam. He was sure of that.

In Storyville, Mrs. Brinkmeyer helped him get his account open so the check could be deposited. He called Tom with the account information, and Tom promised to take care of it. He had his money the following day, and then all he had to do was decide what to do with it. He wanted to move out of the dorm, but he'd been told that Freshman had to live in the dorm. That meant he was stuck with Melvin. That thought chilled him, but Melvin seemed to want to avoid him as much as Adam wanted to avoid Melvin.

His rage and hatred for Melvin grew, however, and along with that came a desire for revenge. He focused on his spell books to see if magic could help him gain his revenge. He read all of the warnings about what he intended to do and cast them aside. He found a spell that could be what he wanted, but he wasn't sure enough to actually cast it. He kept searching until he opened his book of potions and serums. Inside, he found exactly what he was looking for. The book had a whole chapter on Potions For Compulsion, and Adam's mind filled with a plan.

He found the potion he wanted and began to gather all of the ingredients. He had no trouble finding something personal of Melvin's, and his hair was in the shower stall. He put all of the ingredients together and boiled it on Melvin's hot plate. When the liquid turned red, he removed it from the heat and hid it under his bed. He had to put exactly nine drops of the potion into something that Melvin would drink. He knew exactly what Melvin drank every morning. That was why he had the hot plate to begin with. He just had to be up and paying attention when Melvin got up in the morning to drink his coffee.

All day long he worried about if Melvin would taste the potion in his coffee or not. Nine drops wasn't much of the liquid, but Adam had no idea what it tasted like. He wasn't about to drink any to find out, though. He had to just console himself with the hope that nine drops wouldn't be enough to change the flavor of Melvin's coffee.

Then he had another idea. Melvin was gone, so he didn't have to sneak. He found the small tin can of coffee on the shelf above Melvin's desk. He took the vial of potion and dripped twenty-nine drops of it into the powdered coffee. Using his finger, he stirred the powder, so he could make sure that Melvin didn't see the wet spots in it. Then all he had to do was wait.

When Melvin came in that night, Adam was in bed with his back turned to the rest of the room. He wasn't anywhere near sleep, though. He was far too nervous about the coffee to sleep. He was awake all night long, and when Melvin's alarm went off, he stiffened. He would know soon if the potion worked at all. He wondered what would happen if it did work. What would Melvin do? What would Melvin do that Adam wanted him to do? So many possibilities ran through his mind.

He heard Melvin leave the room for a pan of water, and his heart started beating faster. It was coming. Soon, Melvin would drink the potion without even knowing it. Soon, Adam would know if he could have his revenge or not.

He turned over and watched as Melvin brought the cup of coffee to his lips. Their eyes met for an instant as Melvin drained the hot cup of joe in one gulp. Then Melvin turned to make his second cup, and Adam found himself holding his breath. He didn't know what to expect out of Melvin, but nothing had happened so far. Melvin drank four cups of coffee, and then he went into the bathroom to take his shower, leaving Adam to wonder.

Adam still had no classes to get to. They were all suspended for "mourning". He also didn't have to be at work for a few days. He had nothing to do but wait and see what would happen. He was supposed to meet with Pete in a few hours to talk, but other than that, Adam was free. Free time might be hard to figure out until he knew what was happening with Melvin and the potion.

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