The following contains descriptions of graphic sexual acts between consenting teenage boys. It is a work of pure fiction and has no basis in the real world. Any similarities between people and places is just simple and plain coincidence. Do not read this story if you are under 18 or the legal age in your area; or, if it is just down right illegal to read this material where you live. And, don't go any further if you don't want to read about gay/bisexuals falling in love and having sex.
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Strangers on a Train
by. J. A. Adkins
Part 19-The Trial
A judges gavel strikes a somber chord in mahogany courtroom, drawing me out of the calm silence-the end result of so much chaos. I found myself sitting at a table, centered with lawyers like chess pieces flanking me on both sides. They were protecting me against the wrath of people gathered somewhere behind me at the same time preparing to defend against-or attack if necessary-the men who had been hired by the mob to destroy me. The actual truth was, by that point, there wasn't much left of me that they could feed from.
My soul had been crushed and rendered non-functional indefinitely. My heart was in even worse disrepair. It had been broken, then mangled by the Titanic of guilt that sank with all its massive weight right into the center of my emotional well-being. First, there was the blow delivered by Max. After the accident and the recovery time in the hospital, I finally learned what he was. Then, I learned what I had become. I had been his whore, his personal bonus prize to his favorite customers. Buy enough of whatever Max happened to be selling that week and you were given my name...and then my body.
I quickly grew to hate and despise every evenly tanned inch of that boy. But just as quickly and even more easily, I grew to hate myself. Maybe more than I hated Max. I don't know now. What I had done left me a living shell that had only one desire: to not be. It was the living part that was bothering me. Not that I ever tried to commit suicide. Seeing my own blood, guts, or brains on my bathroom tile was never a stomachable image for me. And pills? How melodramatic is that? I realized I had become quite the little twink boy, but that didn't mean I liked to think of myself as a drama queen.
Still, it wasn't something I didn't go without thinking about. I mean, I killed my parents. I could blame a dozen other people and name a million reasons why I was on the road that night; or, why I had done so many drugs. But I won't. There's no point. My hands were on that wheel when the headlights of my parents' sedan appeared right in front of us. I drove the two tons of pimped-out-painted steel and fiberglass head-on into their car at full speed.
"Your parents are dead," was the first thing I can remember hearing after the echoes of the accident subsided. They had haunted me for so long in a thick, blind darkness I thought I would never emerge from.
My world didn't explode. It didn't disappear or collapse in on itself. My ears went deaf before the echoes converged again on my hearing, this time with brief, haunting visuals that tortured my other senses trying to function again.
"Prosecution calls Officer Jacob Morrison!"
I snap back to the courtroom. It isn't a dream. I have to remind myself of that almost constantly. The holding cell I slept in every night was my new reality for that time. I knew I deserved it. I deserved worse.
This was how I marked time sitting in that hard, wooden chair in that stale old room lit by the most gothic light fixtures hanging limply from heavy chains clasping the plaster ceiling. I hardly remember what the witnesses in that cramped little box halfway across the room had said. I recognized most of them from various points throughout the last few years to most of my life. The looks from the jury I remember well: cold, harsh, indicative of the troubled youth before them. It seemed that in the muted pallete of their combined eyes, a verdict had already been reached.
That is, until one witness.
"Defense calls Jamie Ellett!"
There she was. It was the first time since the funeral I had laid my softened, pained eyes on her. The fleshy scar on her neck screamed at me. It burned my eyes and drew nothing but bleeding sorrow from my heart. Hers was another life I had come so close to ending. Instead, I only destroyed her flawless beauty. Now she was marked, tattooed forever as a "near-death" or "impaired". I watched the light spill down her dusty-brown hair to the casual style blouse she was wearing. I could tell she was nervous. Not about being on the stand in a possible murder trial. She was nervous because of me.
"Tell me, Ms. Ellett, what is it that you do for a living?" my lawyer said with an easy, light-hearted voice.
Jamie cleared her throat. All-too-tight strings twanged painfully in my chest. "I'm a nurse at Cedar Pointe Regional Hospital."
"And how long have you known my client?"
"About two or three years, I think... I've sort of lost count. It's hard to keep track with Taylor. Talk to him for a day and you feel like you've known him for years." She smiled. It was weak and nervous. She directed it first at the jury, then finally at me.
"Tell us, Ms. Ellett, in your own words, what happened that night?"
I had asked her the same thing. Time... I don't know how much of it had passed since the first few moments I had awoken to get the news of my parents only to pass back out again. We were in one of the small rooms on the upper floor. Night had set in outside the window beyond my bed. My body ached like never before. Bandages concealed my still-tender wounds. The soft, amber light from a bedside lamp illuminated Jamie's tired figure leaning over beside me. Her neck was still wrapped in its own bandages that night.
"What happened, Jamie?" I asked, barely able to keep myself from crying.
Jamie looked down at the floor, not sure how to answer and look at the same time. Her fingers continued to lightly caress mine. "There was an accident, Taylor. Our car crashed into another one."
"My parents' car," I had said. She thought I had asked.
"I'm sorry, Taylor." Jamie said after taking a moment to gather her thoughts. "I don't remember a whole lot. I remember getting to the party after picking you up. I remember talking with some old friends and seeing you with other people... with Max. After that..." Jamie at last made eye contact with me as her voice trailed off.
"After that I just remember hearing you and Max screaming at each other. You... I know what he was using you for... as. I should have told you before. Way before."
I broke our tear-filled gaze to set fire to the wall and every wall beyond it with my stare. "Yes, you should have."
"I'm sorry, Taylor. I blame myself."
"Don't!" I said, sharply. I looked back at her. "Don't, Jamie."
"I love you, Taylor. Jessie loved you. And despite what happened...I'm glad we got to spend time together."
I looked down, breathing... crying. Then, I met her eyes again. "And look at where we are now."
"Thank you, Ms. Ellett. No further questions, your honor."
As the memory of the two of us in the hospital room faded with the twilight of that night into the shadowy corners of my mind in that stale courtroom, the prosecutor stood up. He had her way with her, tearing into Jamie's story and analyzing every critical detail in the part she had played in aiding in my killing my parents. She had driven the car that took me to the party. Jamie, herself, had indulged in the illicit cornucopia of drug cocktails and sex in Max's apartment. That testimony led like a drill into the attempt in crumbling her credibility. Jamie held strong, though. She had survived my own stupidity. And she had just survived the wrath of a politically fueled attorney.
Before I knew it, the days had passed and the time for my own test of will and patience had arrived. "Defense calls Taylor Chapman to the stand."
"Did you love your parents," rang the softened voice of my lawyer from beyond the edge of the thick, wooden witness box. I looked up at him, passed him. The courtroom-once crowded, nearly overflowing with the quiet yet curious observers as I had left my seat behind the relative safety of the defense table and made the long, solemn journey to the front of the suddenly humid, even tepid-feeling chamber-was surprisingly empty. Where bleached yellow light from the fat, dusty lamps above the floor had lit up the wood and plaster-lined rectangular room, a single bitter-white light split the darkness I knew only I could see. In the light's core, my mother and father sat watching me.
"Yes," I said at last. "We had our problems. Fights and stuff like that. But don't all teenagers fight with their parents at some point?"
My lawyer paced back and forth. I kept my gaze locked on the on the two figures marooned in the island of light beyond the stocky man's shoulders a few feet in front of me. "Taylor," he started to ask, not slowing his pace. "I'd like to ask you..." Now he stopped. He looked first at the jury and then at me. "Are you a homosexual?"
Without looking away from the image of my parents, I answered, "Yes. I'm gay."
"Did your parents know?"
I swallowed. "I can't say for sure. I know they suspected."
"They never asked you?"
"No. I guess I never gave them the chance." I finally looked away from them. I don't know why, but I couldn't look at them anymore.
"Taylor, were you ever molested or raped as a child?"
Before I could even blink, the pencil-thin prosecutor with dollar marks on his cufflinks and beady, marble eyes had shot out of his chair and onto his feet as if his ass had suddenly ignited like a rocket engine. He cried, "Objection!" My lawyer returned fire with a fast rebuttal, gaining leverage with eagle-eyed judge whose hair was a shiny silver color and who hovered with a monolithic stature above my right shoulder.
"Yes, when I was nine. Two boys from my neighborhood followed me to a park that was a few minutes away-by bike. They were older than me... desperate maybe." The lawyer nodded as I spoke. I noticed a look in his eye that made me glance toward the jury box and then back at him with a quick skip in my pulse. "That didn't make me gay, though. They raped me... had their fun with me because they saw me staring at them. They did it because they thought I would like it."
There was something in my words, suddenly, that made the most horrifying sense to me and caused the next line of questioning to disappear past my brain in an echoing blur. I sat there, lost in the collage of thoughts trying to suddenly understand my mind for the first time. Around and around I chased the meanings of events in my head in infinite circles, absently answering the questions of my lawyer. He was trying to get the jury to see and understand my misguided innocence-the youth that was first corrupted and then stolen from me. I was too busy trying to understand my existence to that point.
No matter how hard I tried or struggled to concentrate, I couldn't find my footing in my brain. I knew the mystery to my thoughts was right in front of me. I just couldn't figure out how to put the puzzle all together. That is, until I heard the prosecutor call my name. "Mr. Chapman? Mr. Chapman are you alive?"
I glared at him-my only answer.
"Ahh, good. Let's skip the mushy stuff, shall we? We all know how much you loved your parents. How much you miss them. How sorry you feel for what happened. But that's exactly it. That's why we're all here. Why we've been here for the last few weeks. It happened! You killed them, Taylor. You chose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, more than fully intoxicated and under the influence of a heavy cocktail of drugs, and go smashing into your parent's vehicle at over Sixty Miles Per Hour."
He emphasized every word at the end of his sentence, as if they were nails he were personally and happily hammering into the lid of my coffin. I watched him while he spoke. He didn't walk, he floated back and forth across the front of the courtroom. His back was perfectly straight, his posture well rehearsed from what I could only guess was very strict and heartless upbringing. His voice echoed the influence of too many years at nothing but the finest schools. His mannerisms and careful gestures seemed right on the line. I couldn't help wonder which one of us was more gay than the other.
"Mr. Chapman," the prosecutor said, at last beginning his questioning. Twice already my own lawyer had objected to his badgering. I bit my tongue trying not to smile as I thought to myself that if that skinny, middle-aged man was going to so fiercely fuck me a new asshole, he should at least let me go free or even buy me dinner first.
"Do you know anyone by the name of Max Aralia?" His even, calculating voice brought my thoughts crashing to a stop. It froze my heart. His half-grin told me he knew the answer already; and, he knew what affect the question was going to have on me.
"Objection! Relevance?" shouted my lawyer.
The prosecutor looked at the judge with his leering eyes. "Your honor, the defendant and Mr. Aralia were in the car together that night. In fact, the vehicle was registered under Max Aralia's name. And, it is believed that they were known to be somewhat of an... item. On top of that, Mr. Aralia was also a known drug dealer and abuser. Right here from our own town! The defendant had to have known this!"
I could hear them arguing. I could hear the words clanging and crashing somewhere in the distant expanse of my mind like an epic sword fight. But all I could see was that muggy late-summer day near the football field and Max walking past me in all his numbing beauty. He was flaunting it then, reeling me into him.
I quickly came back from the silent flashback, sensing the judges eyes suddenly cast down toward me. His stony, almost ancient voice resonated like thunderclaps through the courtroom. "Did you," he asked, simply.
"Not at first. But after a while, yes."
"You see, your honor. By showing the extent of the relationship Mr. Chapman, here, had with Mr. Aralia, I believe I can better demonstrate and concretely prove how Mr. Chapman is anything but innocent in all of these events."
The judge sighed. "I'll allow it. But remember one thing... we are here to make clear what happened on a tragic night, not hunt drug dealers. Do that in another court on another day."
The prosecutor cleared his throat. "Thank you, your honor." Suddenly his beady, vulture-like glare shot back to me. "When was the last time you saw Max Aralia, Mr. Chapman?"
In a quick flash I saw and felt the rain on my skin that dark, cold night. Not the night of the accident. This one was closer. The air was just as heavy, my pain just as sharp and foreboding. It had lead me out of that dark and quiet house to the park where I had lost the innocence I never knew I had to protect. Lightning brought to life-for only a heartbeat-the rusted metal bodies of abandoned jungle-gyms.
"The night of the funeral," I heard myself say somewhere above the cold, dark, and rainy silence of my memory. I don't know how long I stood there, staring at the swelling puddles in the patchy brown grass. In another quick burst of lightning and thunder, I found myself near the base of the hill behind the trees. The muddy creek danced with the thousand drops cascading across its inky surface. I saw the rusted skeleton of my bike stretching up towards the sky out of the water, half drowned and half alive. The story of my own life.
And then, just like that, I was in front of his building. I had known it would be my last stop before I ever got to the park. There were so many reasons I wanted to be there that night. A million questions had formed in my mind, but only one was seeking an answer. I knocked on his door, ready to punch Max in the face and demand the answer to my question. He opened the door, finding me wet and powerless at his threshold. The smell from his apartment and the look deep in his eyes told me without words or noise exactly what I had wanted to know.
With each flash of lightning that followed, that lit up the inside of his dark, musty apartment for mere heartbeats at a time, I watched our naked flesh come together for what would be the last time. I listened to the thunder instead of his hungry, passionless grunting. I tried to let the rain carry my thoughts and vision to far off places I had never been as I felt Max inside of me, moving slow and hard, then quick and pained. His hands didn't feel the same, heavy and almost lifeless. His kiss was empty.
I walked half-naked to the roof of his building with the feeling of his semen creeping down my legs and tears beginning to slip down my cheeks. Again and again the cold memory of his cock sliding in and out of cum soaked ass he had already filled in a drugged and dizzy rush minutes before managed to turn my stomach. I threw up what little was in my stomach as soon as I touched the roof with my feet. It mixed with a puddle by the stairwell door, rippling under the assault of the still falling rain. I let myself cry that night, standing so close to the edge of the lone skyscraper.
I tried not to cry in the courtroom. I had found my footing in those memories. While I had loved Max with every ounce of life I could muster, he had not loved me. He gave me himself, he let me use his body while he used mine because he thought-no, knew-I would like it. He had known it was what I needed. I remember the way he had looked at me the very first time I saw him-the day of orientation. Max had known then, even when I didn't.
"What did you find there, that night, Mr. Chapman?" the prosecutor asked, softly. His voice sounded suddenly bitter, evil in a way.
"Answers." I hesitated after that, suddenly remembering something else about that night. I remembered the end of Max Aralia. "And death."
"Tell me, is it drawn to you or do you go looking for it? Death... err... that is." The prosecutor smirked wickedly.
"I had nothing to do with this." My voice was flat with a little more than a hint of hostility. I could not hide the fact that I hated the man in front of me. "Max was half dead by the time I knocked on his door. He was high on whatever he couldn't sell that week. I went there hoping to find something. Something that would define exactly what Max Aralia and I were. Something that I was to Max Aralia. I got my answer, though, and was devastated by it. I cried on his roof. When I came back down, someone else was paying him a visit."
The prosecutor let his hand rest on the edge of the witness stand. His face hovered inches from mine. "Who?"
My mind flashed back to that dim hallway. I could hear the shouting before I had even opened the stairwell door. From around the corner near his open doorway, I made out the voice of Max's favorite client.
"Max!! Max! God damn you, Max!"
He was high, lost in a craze and craving more. But his favorite dealer was dead, naked and lifeless with cold sweat still glistening on his pasty skin in the quick flash of lightning that pierced the darkness beyond the windows. Max had shot-up again while I was on the roof.
The next thing that happened surprised even me. The former captain of my high school's football team un-holstered a greasy revolver that he had tucked in the in the waist of his faded blue jeans. With a nervous, unsteady motion he pushed the mouth of the gun against Max's clammy brow and squeezed the trigger with his shaky finger. The buckshot sent the chemically charged youth rolling towards the end of the bed. He screamed again at Max as he recovered. I watched helplessly from just inside the living room as the older boy's arms twitched uncontrollably between each round he unloaded into Max. Blood splashed in thick mists across the bed and walls.
I didn't realize I was backing up until I bounced against the refrigerator. A glass candle too close to the edge, half-burned but still heavy, slipped off the edge of the freezer door. Thunder suddenly snapped like a whip in the sky above the building. In the same pulse pounding moment the candle shattered against the tile floor. The older boy turned in an instant, firing a deafening shot that sent an air severing bullet through the small apartment. I reacted barely in time, dropping against the littered tile as the heat of the tiny shell burned my naked shoulder on its meteorite-like path into the refrigerator door.
I listened to the excited air that seemed to pop with each panicked breath I made and burst of lightning outside. The jock turned junkie screamed again. The sound of a final shot exploded through the apartment, it's heavy noise pounding ruthlessly against my ear drum. I almost didn't hear the heavy thud of his body collapsing to the floor. It was minutes before I found the strength to slowly stand and take stock of the bloody scene. What was left of Max lay bleeding and dead in the tangled sheets of his bed. On the floor, only feet from the kitchen was the former football player at the end of his rope. The left side of his soft, brown hair was burned and matted with black blood and blistered flesh.
It was gruesome and awful. It took all of energy and nerve not to throw up again as I had gathered my clothes and left with the rising chorus of police sirens getting louder in my wake. It wasn't until I was sitting in the courtroom, leaving those memories behind and finishing my testimony that I felt justified by the carnage. I never really wanted Max to die. But I know now it couldn't have been any other way.
With that, the judge called an end to the day. Closing arguments followed late on the heels of the next day's half-cloudy dawn. I didn't look at the jury as the lawyers recited almost all-too-poetic monologues of guilt and innocence in today's society. I let myself just exist for once. All other thoughts were closed off from my mind. By the end of the afternoon, I no longer cared what happened to me. I had already suffered the worst punishment a single person could receive.
The next morning, something occurred which caught me off guard. Expecting the worst for the life I'd lived up to that day, I entered the courtroom with my regular escorts but felt completely alone in the world. Sitting in the seat I'd come to call a third home for nearly a month, I watched as the jury entered the room followed shortly by the judge. There was something in his hand. It caught my eye and held my attention in a very strange way. Maybe it was because of the color of the paper. It reminded me of the reams and reams I had seen stacked in my father's den. Or, maybe it was because for barely half a second, I thought I could see my father's partly beautiful, partly scratchy handwriting.
The judge sat down and cleared his throat. "Mr. Chapman, in light of the charges against you and everything seen and heard in this courtroom, I feel it only fair to you and the rest of us that something presented to me just this morning be read aloud." The judge paused while he unfolded the small parchment. "It's a letter... addressed to you. It was signed by your father the night he died."
I didn't move. I can't remember reacting at all. I just remember listening.
"To my only son..." the judge began, clearing his throat. "... My only child, and my best friend. You, Taylor, have meant more to me that I'm sure you will ever know. I realize I don't show my true admiration for you as much as I should. I suffer from that familiar plight that all of us, even you, must avail from: Human.
Things have gotten so sour and negative in our little family and I can only blame myself. It's just the three of us. We're all we have and I neglected to keep us in check. I let you storm out of here tonight more angry and sad than any father should. I let myself say things-I let your mother say things-that I realize, now, always too late, were more damaging than any slap or punch I could have actually delivered. My fear now is that we've pushed you so close to that edge we only wanted to help you down from that you are already jumping.
Don't jump, son. Please. Your mother and I know who you are. We know who you've always been. And, we look forward-with bright eyes and busy tails wagging in the wind-at who you will become. We forsee great things in your future. This darkness will not last. I won't let it. Wherever you are; whatever you are doing its because we put you there. Parents are just as responsible for the actions of their child as the child itself is. If we die tonight, so be it. It will not be in vain.
You are not responsible for us. We love you, with everything our small human hearts can muster. We give you our hugs, our hearts, and our soles, son.
I forgive, Taylor. Please forgive me. Love, your father. Eric Chapman. Forever your friend."
I remember how the judge had finished reading the letter. His voice had fallen to near mumble, cracking and subtly hesitating as the warm place in his old heart was touched. I recited the letter almost the exact same way on that warm afternoon under the soft, billowing leaves of the tree in lost somewhere in the Baden orchard. When I finished, I turned my head to meet Darren's beautiful eyes for the first time since I had started my story and sat down beside him. I realized then that Max's eyes couldn't hold a candle to the two breathtaking, captivating icy-blue orbs in front of me.
Darren's tender voice broke the momentary silence that had started to grow. "Wow. So... what happened?"
I took a deep breath, letting myself slip back into the memory. I close my eyes for a moment, only to find myself back in that courtroom again, wide awake with the weight of the world crashing on my shoulders. I was standing up along side my attorney. A few feet away, the pencil-thin, egotistical district attorney was standing tall as well. The judge directed everyone's attention toward him without a word.
Finally, clearing his throat, he spoke. His voice rang with a wise timbre throughout the room, yet he was speaking just to me. "Taylor Chapman. You've been found guilty on charges of vehicular manslaughter and gross negligence. These are serious charges. Serious crimes. And they often carry with them serious consequences."
"I understand, your honor," I said. My voice was flat. I was calm. I had no real reason to be anything but calm.
"Depending on the type of crime and the circumstances around it, a hefty prison sentence and a sizeable fine are the usual proclivities that go along with them."
"Yes, your honor." I said again.
The judge leaned forward. "But I'm not your usual judge. I can see the humanity in you, Taylor Chapman. I see the kid you are and the man you want to be. I've been a good judge of character throughout my years and it hasn't failed me yet." He took a deep breath then sat back in his chair. "Prison will do you no good. To isolate you with the worst in society, I fear, will only cause more corruption. And while I understand you have already suffered more than any of us can really understand... I can't just let you go free with that."
He cleared his throat again. "Taylor Chapman, in light of all the evidence at hand and the knowledge of the crim and surrounding circumstances, I find it is in the best interest of this court to hereby sentence you to one full year of house arrest for the involuntary death of your parents. Also, you will complete a designated number of community service hours each week until the end of that year."
There were gasps of astonishment and even of relief. Whispered comments became quick bursts of noise flamed by personal grievances and hatred toward me. The judge's gavel slammed against the wood of his bench. The sharp sound waves silenced the courtroom.
"Now, while they did not die in the accident, it is this court's opinion that it was the direct lead to the deaths of Martin Boxwell and Jessica Heenan. So, in memory of their deaths and retribution for your negligence, you will serve 1000 hours of community service at the Cedar Pointe Pediatric Wing, helping those who must deal with tragedy and can't help themselves. Also, you have a trust left to you by your parents. The entire sum of nearly half a million dollars will be divided between the families of your now dead friends."
There were more angered whispers and shocked gasps. The prosecutors conferred at levels above a whisper with each other at the neighboring table. I stood there, motionless, while surprised chaos swept around the courtroom. It was brought to order once more in the deafening aftershock of another gavel strike.
"That is all I have to say on this," the judge said, looking hard into my eyes. "May you find peace to survive past the darkness."
I blinked. I was back in the orchard. Darren watched me come back from inside myself, then looked away. I glanced up his sun-kissed naked body, the subtle bronze color making my heart skip and flutter.
"So now do you hate me?" I asked, my voice just barely above a whisper. After only a few days of knowing him, I feared more desperately what his answer would be than almost anything else I could have been afraid of.
Darren hesitated, waiting for a few slow seconds to pass before he turned back toward me. His warm smile was spread across his face. I felt his strong, loving fingers on my leg. He leaned in closer to me, our faces only separated by the length of our noses.
I smiled, or at least I tried to. He was already starting to kiss me. I felt myself go flush in the face and hard in the cock. But the moment was not to be.
"Hey guys!" came an adolescent voice I wanted nothing more than to break at that moment. It was Cody Braden. He stood a few feet away, his little thirteen year old hands on his naked hips. "Dad says it's time to go."
Darren smiled again. He looked at me, meeting my eyes. "You ready?"
I couldn't help but smile at him. Our adventure wasn't over yet. There was still a train to catch. "Yeah."
Darren's smile grew wider. A little boy's spark of excitement washed across his face as he rose to his feet, extending his hand to help me off the grass. "Good."