A Chance Encounter
By Jason Finigan

This story is completely fictional. Any similarities to any persons or events, past or present are purely coincidental. This story may contain scenes which involve sexual situations. If this type of material is offensive to you, or it is not legal for you to be reading this type of material, please do not read any further. This story is copyright © 2007 by Jason. Please do not copy this story for distribution or post on any online server without the author's permission. Please send all your comments to: jasonfinigan@yahoo.com You can also visit my site at: www.jasonfinigan.net. Thanks and enjoy the story.

Chapter 8

The trip back from Flamborough was spent in silence. I was sitting in the back seat with Terry, while my father and Uncle Tim were in the front seats. Although I was happy to see Powder finally reunited with her mother, and saw that she was going to be happy, I was still going to miss her terribly. Paula was driving behind us, following us in a beat up old pickup truck. Emily had asked to ride with Paula on the way home, and my father told her it was okay. Ever since we had started back from the preserve, Emily had been acting differently.

Terry held me close, rubbing my arms as I leaned into him, my head resting on his shoulder. I couldn't see my dad's or Uncle Tim's faces, but I was willing to bet they were trying to control their own emotions as well, trying to be strong for us. Who would have guessed that Powder could have such an effect on all of us.

"We're home," my Dad announced, as uncle Tim turned the car into the driveway. The four of us got out of the car, while Paula and Emily climbed out of Paula's truck. Emily wouldn't look at us at all, and instead of walking up to the front of the house with the rest of us, she bolted ahead, and rushed inside the house, slamming the door behind her.

"That is one unhappy girl," Tim commented.

"I know," my father said, sighing. The four of us walked to the front door, and entered the house. Once inside, we took off our shoes and headed for the living room, where we saw everyone but Emily sitting down, talking.

"What's wrong with Emily?" Kathy asked us.

"I don't know Mom," Terry replied. "Ever since we dropped Powder off at the preserve, she hasn't said a word to any of us."

"Maybe I should go see if I can find out what's wrong," Kathy said.

"I hope so dear," David replied, looking up the stairs where his daughter had fled. Kathy stood up and headed up the stairs. The rest of us sat in the living room, and talked. It wasn't a comfortable conversation either, most of us were just trying to make small talk, but no one was willing to talk about what was really bothering us.

"Oh this is silly!" my mother finally said. "We're treating Powder's having gone to a new home as if she was dead. She's not dead. She has a new home, and she's been reunited with her mother. This isn't the time to be sad, this is the time to be happy!"

"You're right dear, we should be happy. For Powder. I have an idea. Why don't we have a going away party," my father suggested.

"A going away party?" I asked.

"Sure, why not. Powder may not be here any more, but she's still with us in our hearts."

"That's an excellent idea dear," my mother said. "What do you think Kathy?" she asked, seeing her walk back down the stairs.

"Think about what?" Kathy asked.

"About us having a going away party for Powder," my mother replied.

"You know what? I like it. And I know Emily will like it too," Kathy said.

"How is she?" David asked.

"Well, she's really upset, but she promised me she'll be downstairs soon."

"Did we do something wrong?" I asked her.

"No, of course not dear. Emily's just upset because she didn't get to say goodbye to Powder."

"Oh shoot," I said, suddenly feeling bad for not letting Emily hold Powder one more time so she could say good bye. "That was my fault. I wanted to see if one of the deer they had was Powder's mother and I just took Powder into the paddock."

"Now son, don't go blaming yourself. And remember, it's not really goodbye. You'll be able to see her often enough. We all will," my father said.

"I guess," I replied, still feeling a little bad for forgetting Emily.

"Ah, there she is!" my mother said, watching as Emily slowly came down the stairs. It was obvious to us that she had been crying, and the expression on her face told us that she was still very upset.

"Emily," I said, walking up to her when she reached the bottom of the stairs. "I'm so sorry for not letting you say goodbye to Powder. I promise you I didn't mean to. I don't blame you if you're mad at me."

"I just wanted to say goodbye to her," Emily said, tears threatening to form in her eyes again.

"I know Emily, and I'm so sorry. I promise you the next time we are up there, you can come see Powder," I told her.

"You promise?" she asked.

"I promise. And if I break my promise, you can sick your brother on me," I said, giving her a little smile.

"Okay," she said, giggling.

"And hey," I told her, kneeling down in front of her. "I do love you."

"I love you too Simon. You're like my second big brother," she said, giving me a hug.

"And I promise to be the best big brother I can be." told her.

"Ah, babe, isn't that my job?" Terry said, coming up behind me.

"Oh I'm sure you wouldn't mind sharing the duties," I said, looking back, and giving him one of my smiles.

"Not in the least babe," he said. "Got a hug for your other big brother sis?" he asked. Emily detached herself from me, and jumped into Terry's arms, who picked her up off the ground and gave her a big hug.

"Well now that that is over with, I think it's time for us to get some dinner," my father said. With all that had happened that day, I had completely forgotten what time it was. I looked at the clock on the wall and realized that we had been at the preserve for almost two hours and that it was now supper time.

"Wow, I didn't realize it was that late," I said.

"Yes it is, and there is still plenty to do," my mother said, getting up off the couch.

"If we're going to have this party, we need to get some groceries and supplies," my father said.

"I'll get those," David replied, standing up, and already heading for his keys which were upstairs in the guest room.

"I guess I'd better make him a list of what we'll need," my mother commented, going to the kitchen to get a pen and some paper.

"You might as well show him where the stores around her are," Kathy said. Sometimes I think that man would forget his own head if it wasn't attached to his shoulders."

"That's funny, I sometimes think the same thing of Craig," my mother snickered.

"Oh that is so not fair honey!" my father complained.

"Oh isn't it? Who was it last week who forgot to put gas in the car on the way home from work? As I recall you had to walk to the gas station the next morning with a gas container so you could put some gas into the car. You were almost an hour late for work that day."

"Don't remind me," my father groaned, embarrassed that my mother would bring that up in front of others. I didn't mind, as I had already heard about it, but Terry and is mother were laughing, almost hysterically.

"Kathy's right, you should go with David so you can show him where everything is. If you can remember that is," my mother suggested, already writing things down on a piece of paper she had found in the kitchen.

"Fine, I'll go, if only to excuse myself from the unjust treatment I am receiving here," my father said sarcastically.

"Uh huh. On second thought, maybe I should give you a map," my mother said, causing both her and Kathy to laugh even harder.

"When I get back dear, maybe I should tell them about the cake incident last year," my father said, finally cracking a smile at my mother.

"You wouldn't!" my mother gasped, suddenly blushing a deep red. She had also quickly stopped laughing.

"Try me."

"Okay, you win," my mother said.

"I love you honey," my father said, coming up to my mother, and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

"I love you too dear," my mother said, smiling up at my father. "but I like it better like this." With that she grabbed my father's head and proceeded to kiss him on the lips, right in front of the rest of us.

"Ew, more kissing!" Emily squealed, which made everyone laugh, including Emily.

"Okay, we'll be back soon," my father said, seeing David walk back down the stairs.

"You're coming with me Craig?" he asked.

"Yes. Since you don't know where everything is in Burlington, I need to show you were to go."

"Thanks, I was going to ask for a map," he said, which set off another round of laughter. "What?" he asked, perplexed.

"I'll tell you on the way to the store," my father said. "We'll take your car since you already have your keys."

"Sounds good to me," David replied, and together the two of them left the house.

"Alright. As for the two of you, I want you upstairs helping Kathy and I clean out those two bedrooms," my mother said to Terry and me.

"Aw Mom!" I complained.

"No 'aw mom's' young man. Your uncles are staying over for the next couple nights, and Terry's and Emily's uncle is coming over and there's a lot of work to be done if those rooms are going to be ready to sleep in. Unless you and Terry would like to sleep in those rooms now and your uncles can sleep in the basement in the bed you had last night?"

I don't think I've moved so fast in my life. Terry was right behind me as we sprinted up the stairs, my mother and Kathy laughing behind us. Truth was, I didn't really mind cleaning up the upstairs. I had been up there several times already, and it wasn't all that bad. At least to me it wasn't. Somehow I doubted that my mother would see it that way and would find something for us to do. I was right.

Opening the door that led to the attic, Terry and I climbed the stairs to the top. The upstairs rooms looked very much like the rest of the house. My father and I had long ago renovated this part of the house, just like we did the basement. The hallway walls were drywalled and painted, there were picture frames hanging up on the wall, and the doors to both bedrooms were closed. Reaching the first bedroom, I opened the door and we walked inside.

Where the hallway was fairly clean, the bedroom was a completely different story all together. There were cobwebs everywhere. It wasn't as bad as in some horror movies, but hanging from the ceiling, and by the window, as well as the bed all you could see was cobwebs. The room had a layer of dust over everything, and the hardwood floor lacked it's natural shine, looking rather dull.

"Oh man, where do we start?" Terry asked, looking around at the filth in the room.

"That's simple, you can start by getting rid of the cob webs and the dust," my mother said, coming up behind us and giving us a roll of paper towel, some dusters, and a bottle of Pledge. "When you're done with that you can wash down the walls. I don't want to see a single cobweb when I come back in here. Then I need you to strip the bed and take everything downstairs to the laundry. You know how to use the washing machine. Then make sure there is no dust on the mattress. When you're done with that, you can make the bed, and then start mopping the floor. Oh and don't forget to wash the windows as well. We'll be in the other room," she said, pointing to Kathy and Emily who were standing behind her. They left Terry and me then, leaving us alone in the room.

"Well, we'd better get started babe," I told Terry, grabbing one of the dusters.

"Yeah, but how are we going to get all the cobwebs?" he asked, looking up at the ceiling.

"Look in the closet babe, I think my dad and I left the small ladder in here when we finished renovating these rooms."

"You mean your dad and you did all this?" he asked me.

"Yeah. It was the only way really that the two of us spent any time together, at least until recently."

"My dad had to practically drag me out of my room to get me to do anything," Terry said.

"Well, when you live alone most of the time, you're willing to do anything to just be with someone."

"Yeah I guess so." Terry found the small ladder in the closet and opened it up in the nearest corner. I grabbed another of the dusters and began to work on the cobwebs covering the window. The two bedrooms actually were facing the front of the house, so I was able to see the entire front yard and the homes in our neighborhood.

My parents didn't know this, but often when they were out, I would come up here and just stare out the window, imagining what it would be like to have them in the house all the time. Now that my wish had come true, and that I had found Terry. I didn't need to come up here anymore, but I still liked the room. I had even entertained the thought of asking my father if I could move up to one of the rooms, but I didn't think he would go for it.

It wasn't just the two bedrooms that my father and I had completed. There was also room up there for another full bathroom. It wasn't as large as the one downstairs, but it was large enough to have a full bath, a sink, and a toilet. A thought suddenly struck me, and I called out for my mother.

"Yes dear? You need my help already?" my mother asked. She was wearing a pair of rubber gloves, which were still a little wet.

"No, I was just thinking about something, and I was wondering if it was possible for me to move my stuff up here."

"You want to move up here?" my mother asked.

"Yeah. I've always liked it up here. When you and dad were out at night, I used to come up here and just look out the window. I don't know, I just felt comfortable up here."

"Well, I'll talk to your father about it, and we'll see," my mother said.

"Thanks Mom."

"You just get back to work and get this place cleaned up," my mother said, smiling at me before she left.

"What made you ask her that babe?" Terry asked me.

"I really do like it up here babe, besides, we'd have more privacy," I told him.

"Sneaky!" he said, grinning from ear to ear.

"I thought you'd like that!" I laughed.

The rest of the cleanup went fairly smoothly. By the time we had finished the room, both Terry and I were sweating. We had cleared away all the cobwebs and cleaned up any dirt that was on the walls. The windows, which had before been covered with water stains from all the rain we had, were now sparkling clean. In order to clean them, Terry and I had to carefully lift the glass from the frames and wash them both on each side, then carefully put them back in. The bed sheets were downstairs in the wash, and the floor, which had once been dull, was now as shiny as if it was brand new.

"Not bad at all!" my mother commented upon seeing the results of our labor. "Simon, you need to run downstairs to the closet to get some fresh sheets for the bed. You will find a couple of pillow cases there as well."

"What about a blanket, Mom?" I asked her.

"Don't worry about that, I'm going to call your father and tell him to pick up a couple of comforters," my mother replied.

"Are you going to ask him about me moving upstairs?" I asked.

"I promised you I'll talk to him about it, and I will," my mother said. The way she said it told me that I shouldn't push her about it, and I didn't plan to. I knew from experience that if I pushed my mother too much that whatever it was I wanted would be certain to be denied.

Running back down the stairs, I grabbed a bed sheet, and matching pillow case from the closet, then carried them back up the stairs. What was different with the bed that was in this room was that it was a double sized bed, whereas my bed was only a twin size. There was no way that Terry and I would fit on my old bed together.

Terry and I had just finished making the bed together when I noticed something outside the window. Moving closer to it, I could see a man standing on the sidewalk, opposite our home. He seemed to be staring at our house for some reason. The look of him made me a little uneasy, and for some reason, he seemed familiar to me somehow, though I couldn't remember where I had seen him from.

"Mom, can you come over here for a minute?" I called out to the other room where my mother was still working.

"What is it honey?" my mother asked, coming up beside me at the window.

"There's some man standing on the sidewalk, and he's staring at our house for some reason," I told her, pointing the man out to her. He hadn't moved an inch, and just stood there. I couldn't tell if he could see us, but after having just cleaned the windows, I didn't see how he could miss us looking down at him.

"Okay Son. You stay right here. I'm calling your father," my mother said, rushing out of the room.

"What's going on Anna?" Kathy asked, just as my mother left the room and was heading downstairs.

"I don't know Kathy, but it looks like theres some strange man watching our house. I'm calling our husbands."

"Oh my! Tim and Darryl are downstairs in the living room, you should tell them too," Anna said, at that moment, holding her daughter closer to her.

"I will," my mother said, and ran down the stairs.

"I don't know what my mother had said to them downstairs, but I saw what happened next. As soon as Uncle Tim and Uncle Darryl came out of the house, and I saw them making their way towards the man, he suddenly got into a nearby car, and sped off. Uncle Tim and Uncle Darryl then went back into the house and I heard them talking downstairs.

"Come one babe, lets find out what all that was about," I told Terry.

"Okay. Damn that guy was creepy," he told me.

"I know. And for some reason he looked familiar to me somehow. I just can't remember where I saw him before."

"Me too," Terry said, looking at me in surprise.

"Oh damn, you don't suppose it was that guy from camp do you?" I asked Terry, suddenly afraid.

"I don't know Simon, but he did look a lot like him," Terry said.

The two of us sprinted down the stairs where my mother was on the phone, obviously talking to my father. Tim and Darryl were standing over the desk in the living room, writing something down on a piece of paper.

"Excuse me Mom?" I interrupted.

"Yes dear," she said, after holding the receiver away from her head.

"You know that guy that was outside? Well, Terry and I thought he looked awfully like the guy that we ran into in the park."

"Oh my God! Yes, you are right!" she exclaimed. "Did you hear that honey?" my mother asked, speaking once again into the phone. "Simon just mentioned that the person who we saw outside our home looked a lot like the man who was accusing Simon and Terry of indecent behavior at the park the other day."

"You are kidding!" my father exclaimed on the other end.

"No, and now that they mentioned it, I did see the resemblance."

"Okay, David and I are only a couple minutes away. Did they see the car the man drove away in?"

"Yes, and they're writing everything down on paper," my mother replied.

"Okay, honey. I want you to call the police. We'll be home very soon," my father said.

"I will dear," my mother said. "Hurry home." She then hung up the phone, then picked up the receiver again, dialing three numbers. After a couple rings an operator's voice spoke up on the other end.

"Nine One One Emergency, do you require police, fire, or ambulance?"

"Police please," my mother said.

"What is the nature of your emergency?" the dispatcher asked.

"We just had someone standing outside our home, watching it. When my brother in law and his husband approached the man, he suddenly got into a car and sped off."

"Do you recognize the individual who was watching your home?"

"Yes, he appeared to be the same person that we had encountered when we were at Algonquin Provincial Park. He was forced to leave after harassing our son and his boyfriend because they are gay," my mother told the dispatcher.

"We have sent an officer from the Hate Crimes Division to your address and she should be there within the minute."

"Mom, there's a police officer outside, and Dad is pulling up into the driveway as well," I called out from the living room.

"The officer has just pulled into the driveway," my mother told the dispatcher.

"Please stay on the line until the officer has informed me of her arrival," the dispatcher requested. My mother did as she was told, and stood in the hallway looking at the front door which soon opened allowing my father, and David, followed by the police officer to walk in.

The police officer that had come into the house was a woman who looked to be in her forties. She had shoulder length brown hair and looked a little like my mother, except my mother had blond hair rather than brown.

The officer saw my mother standing in the hallway with the phone and went straight for her. My mother gave the receiver to the officer, who then informed the dispatcher that she had arrived. After that, she hung up the phone, and turned to look at us.

"My name is Constable Vivian Caldwell, and I'm a member of the Halton Regional Police department, Hate Crimes Division. Why don't we all have a seat in the living room then I can get as much information from you as I can."

My Uncle Tim went into the kitchen to grab some of the chairs then placed them in the living room. Terry sat with me on the love seat, while my Uncle Tim and Uncle Darryl sat down on a couple of the kitchen chairs. David, Kathy, and Emily were sitting on the couch, while my father and mother sat in the two living room chairs, my father of course sitting in his favorite chair. Vivian sat down in the other chair that Uncle Tim had brought, and took out her notepad and a pen.

"Alright, before I begin, I want you all to understand that the Halton Region Police Department takes hate crimes very seriously," she began. "I have reviewed the information I was given by the dispatcher, and I am aware that there was a prior hate crimes incident that may be related to this one. Looking at you all, I can see that there are two couples here who are gay and I want you to know that I personally do not have anything against gay people, as some of my best friends happen to be gay. Now, who was the first person to see the man standing outside your home?"

"Um, that would be me," I said.

"Can you tell me what you were doing before you saw the man?" she asked me.

"Well, we were cleaning up the bedrooms up in the attic when I looked out the window and I saw this guy standing across the street, staring at our house."

"Was he doing anything besides standing there?"

"I couldn't really tell, he was too far away. But I think he was writing something down as his hands were moving in front of him."

"Was there anything you noticed about him?"

"Well, he did look a lot like the man we saw in the park the other day."

"Tell me about that incident," Vivian said.

"Well, Terry and I were in the public bathroom and we were both taking a leak when we leaned over and gave each other a kiss. This guy who was in one of the stalls in the bathroom had apparently seen us kiss and screamed out loud 'God Damn Fagots!' and then stormed out of the bathroom." I told her.

"Was that the last time you saw him?" she asked.

"No, we saw him again on Sunday when we learned he had made a complaint against Terry and me, claiming that we had performed an obscene act in the bathroom."

"Okay and what happened then."

"Well, we found out that his last name was Powell, and that he was claiming that Terry and I were having sex, which we weren't. He got really mad when he saw that the park ranger wasn't going to do anything about his complaint and was eventually told to leave the park grounds because of his homophobic attitude. He was talking about the bible and how it's a sin to be gay and all that stuff. Terry and I were pretty scared, but our parents wouldn't let anything happen to us. I don't know what would have happened if they weren't there."

"Go on," Vivian said, writing down everything I was telling her.

"Well, when I looked out the window, and I saw the man standing there, he looked just like Mr. Powell did. He was standing beside this brown car."

"Did you get a look at the car?"

"Not really. I just knew that it was brown. I didn't even know it was his until I saw him climb into it after Uncle Tim, and Uncle Darryl walked towards him," I told her.

"Thank you Simon. What about you Terry?" she asked my boyfriend.

"I didn't really get much more of a look than Simon did, but he did look a lot like the guy from the park. I couldn't tell for certain though as Simon got a better look at him than I did," Terry said.

"Tim is it?" Vivian asked, to which my uncle nodded his head. "You and your partner went outside to confront this man?" she asked.

"Yes, my husband and I did," Tim said, pointedly correcting her.

"I apologize," Vivian said. "your husband. What can you tell me about the man?"

"Well, he had blond hair that was cut short, and he was wearing a business suit of some sort. I didn't get much of a look at him because as soon as he saw us coming towards him he got into his car and sped off."

"Did you get a look at his car before he left?" she asked.

"Yes, it was an older model Cadillac from what I could tell. I believe Darryl likes to call them the 'boat'," Tim said, causing Darryl and Vivian to smile.

"I agree, those things are huge. Please continue."

"Well, it was definitely and older model, and it was a dark brown colour, though I could see that there were some lighter spots where his car had obviously had some body work done to it."

"Did you manage to get a look at the license plate at all?" she asked.

"Only briefly, and I can't be sure of any numbers, but I believe the first three numbers were 837," Tim said.

"What about you Darryl, and it's nice to see you again," Vivian said.

"What? How do you know me?" Darryl asked, obviously surprised.

"Lets just say I know your mother from a few years ago," Vivian said, smiling at him. "She did not strike the department as a very stable woman."

"No, you're right there. When it comes to her religious beliefs, she's almost fanatical." Darryl said. "I think she belonged to a branch of the Baptist Church here in Burlington. One time she had dragged me along with her and there was this priest who was spouting all kinds of garbage about the sins of the world, especially homosexuality."

"Yes, we shut that group down a few years ago for inciting hatred. The priest wasn't even legitimate apparently, having been defrocked a year earlier for violating the rules of the church."

"That's good. People like that shouldn't be allowed to start groups like that,"

"I agree, but we got a little sidetracked, about this man's car?"

"Oh, well, I didn't catch all the license plate either, but I think the last three letters were 'CHR'," Darryl said.

"Alright, I think I have everything now. Is there anything anyone can add that might help us in this investigation?" she asked. When no one had anything else to say, she stood up, and closed her notebook, putting her pen away.

"Since I have all the information I'm going to get here, I'm going to try and run a check on this man, and his car and see if we come up with a match. I want you to understand that so far, he hasn't broken any laws, except for what he did at the park, which I will also be checking on. I want all of you to be careful, and report to me any suspicious behavior," she said, handing my mother her card.

My mother walked her to the front door, and after she had closed it, came back into the living room.

"What now?" I asked my father.

"Now, we continue as if nothing ever happened. I'm not going to give some sicko the satisfaction of seeing this family living in fear. We're going to have an excellent dinner, and tomorrow we're going to have the best going away party anyone has ever seen," my father said, which made everyone in the room smile.

Editor's Notes:
Why is it that so many people think it is their duty to put their noses in the faces of others, and try to impose their beliefs and ways of doing things on them. I remember a time that one's religion was something that one had the right to honor for themselves and not have someone else try to force theirs down your throat. Well, anyway that was another great chapter and I hope it won't be long before we get the next one.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Won't that guy ever quit? What is it with people who try to force their religious beliefs on others? Personally, I think it's them who need help, not the people they insist on condemning. Keep on sending me those comments. You can reach me at: jasonfinigan@yahoo.com You can also visit my site at: www.jasonfinigan.net