Finding Love: A Journey
By: Scotty
( 2007 by the author)

Disclaimer: This is a fictional story dealing with love and consensual sexual activities between males.  If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by homosexuality and/or homosexual themes, leave this site now.

The characters in this story do not always practice safe sex.  Remember this is fiction.  You should always use a condom for the your protection and especially for the protection of the one you love.  The author recommends only safe sex.  Be wise and follow safe sex practices.

Several songs are quoted in this story. The copyrights to these are held by the artists or their publishers and not by the author. They are quoted as a tribute to the artist and the piece.

All persons in this story are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

All other disclaimers apply. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

"Bradley, this is going to be a long ride, so get as comfortable as you can.  If  you have to piss, I'm sorry to say you will have to do it in your pants.  I don't plan to stop for anything except gasoline.  I have some food and water.  I'll stop occasionally for gas and I'll be sure you eat and drink," Travis said to his son.

Brad could take it no longer. He sat up and shouted at his father,

"How could you shoot Jacob?  He did nothing.  I hate you!"

Travis was startled by Brad's unexpected outburst and nearly lost control of the Mercedes.  He braked and began to pull over to the break down lane.  Brad knew what he had to do.  He moved near the passenger-side door.  When he judged his father had slowed down enough, he opened the car door and flung himself out, falling in a ball and rolling down the small embankment toward the canal.  A short distance from  him an alligator slid noiselessly into the canal and swam toward the flailing young man.

Chapter 23

Doctor Norris approached the group.  He said hello and then asked who among them were Jacob's parents.  Doug indicated that he and Diane were the parents, but that Sadie had been Jacob's caretaker for a number of years and he wanted her to hear whatever Dr. Norris had to say.

"First, I think that Jacob will eventually be fine.  However, there a  couple of things about his recovery that could slow it down," he said.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Doug.

"Well, for one thing he has a bad concussion and that could take sometime to get over.  I don't believe that this will happen, but Jacob might have a memory problem.  Right now he is under medicated rest.  He'll sleep for some time.  His nose was broken and he'll have two black eyes, I suspect.  Finally, he was hit by the bullet . . ."

"Oh my God," said a devastated Douglas .

"Mr. Neilson, please.  The wound was not life threatening, but he'll have a sore calf where the bullet entered and exited it.  He's receiving some blood to replenish what he lost at the scene, and to replace some the little lost during the work on his calf.  Jacob will be up and around in a day or two, but athletic  activity will have to be delayed for a week.  He'll be able to go home as soon as I'm sure that the concussion didn't do any serious damage.  He can't see visitors for a while, an hour or two, but then he can see you three together, but for short periods of time.  I have had him moved out of recovery and up to the 4th floor.  He's in room 65.  Do you have any questions?"

"Yes, Dr. Norris, I do," said Diane. "When do we tell him about his boyfriend who has been kidnapped?  I know it's the first thing he'll ask about when he wakes up."

"Telling him exactly what's happening won't make him relapse.  It may make him very emotional, but we can control that with medication if you as his parents think that is necessary.  I got to know Jacob a few days ago.  He's a sharp young man who can control himself if he needs to do that.  Let him know that he won't be able to help if he doesn't control his  emotions."

Sadie moved to Dr. Norris.  She placed her hand on his lower arm, looked up at him and asked,

"Will he be in much pain, Doctor?"

"I shouldn't think so.  The nose and calf will be sore, but he'll be on some pain medication.  He has been struck in the head twice and that could give him some headaches, but I doubt that.  In general, Jacob should be in full recovery mode in a day, two at the most.  When he goes home, I'll give you some things to watch for that could indicate some injury to the brain, but all the tests are negative.  A nurse will come and get you when you can visit him.  I have other patients now, so if you will excuse me, I have to leave."

"Thank you so much, Dr. Norris.  You have allayed our fears about my son," said Doug.

To Norris's surprise, Sadie hugged him.  He smiled and walked out of the waiting room.

Before any of the three could speak, Beth Mason and a  large man that Sadie assumed was Gimple, rushed into the Emergency Room reception area.  Beth rushed to Doug and hugged him tightly.  She was pale and had tears in her eyes.

"How is Jacob, Doug?  Is he going to be okay?  Do you know what happened?" she asked as she hugged Diane and Sadie.

"We're not really sure, but Jacob was shot in the calf, and struck three times in the head, once in the nose which was broken, and two other times, one below his left ear, the other in the temple.  We can't see him until later, but Dr. Norris says he should make a complete recovery unless something unexpected were to happen," said a sad Douglas .

"Do they know who did this?  I mean, who hurt Jacob and kidnapped my son."

"They're not sure, but they believe it was someone from the community, not kids at the high school," offered Sadie.

"Whoever it was drove an expensive car," Diane said.

Beth  recoiled at Diane's statement.  She looked furtively at Gimple, seeking some help.  Gimple introduced himself,

"I'm Roger Gimple, Ms. Mason's private detective.  We have some information about a place where Brad has had a space reserved for him.  It's designed to change homosexual young men into heterosexual young men.  We know who made the reservations.  It was Mr. Mason."

"Why?" asked an incredulous Sadie.

Beth Mason looked at the floor and spoke,

"Because he's certain it will work.  He doesn't want to have two gay sons.  There's nothing he can do about Chris.  But it's different with Brad.  Travis sincerely believes if there is some kind of intervention now, Brad will be what he says is normal; that is a heterosexual young man.  He's about lost his mind over this."

"What the hell's the matter with him, Mrs. Mason.  Jacob and Brad are happy.  Jacob's the happiest I can ever remember.  Both the boys are discreet.  I never saw them flaunt their sexuality.  They are pretty private, except for some hugs and kisses.  All of us support the two of them.  We want them to be happy,  It sounds to me as if he has lost his mind," Doug said.

Beth Mason knew that what Doug had just said was the truth.  She also realized that her husband had  gone way beyond what could be characterized as normal.  She moved over to Doug, laid her hand on his arm, and told him,

"Doug, Travis has Brad with him, we're sure of that, and we know where they are headed.  The question is, what do we do about it? "

"I certainly don't know, Beth.  Right now my energy is on my son's recovery.  I want to help, Beth, but I have to know what to do, please don't expect me to come up with a solution.  But I want to help because if anything bad was to happen to Brad, it would kill Jacob."

Roger Gimple cleared his throat which caused the little group of people to look at him.  He smiled weakly at them and then said,

"Mr. Mason is headed toward Georgia .  We even know where he's taking his son, but unfortunately, we're not sure what the best way might be to intervene.  We don't want him to hurt Brad, and we're afraid if we upset Mr. Mason too much he might flip out and do harm to himself and to Brad. It is obvious that he has a gun with him since he wounded Jacob.  We are going to need all the help we can get."

"What about the police?" asked Sadie.

"We'll have to get them involved, but sometimes the police are not too interested in family matters, especially if it's like this, you know with gay sons," said Gimple.

"Yeah, we got some of  that the other day when there was a problem at our home.  But we have a friend.  Wait a minute!  If this is kidnapping, doesn't the FBI get involved>"

"Yes, they do," said Gary as he and Father Jim walked over to the group."

"Thank God you're here Father.  We need you to help us through this difficult time," Sadie said.

Diane had the presence of mind to make some quick introductions.  Soon everyone was aware of all the others in the group.  Gimple was surprised and relieved to hear about Gary.  He quickly pulled Gary to one side and had an animated and fairly loud conversation.  Jim looked at the two and smiled, Gimple would  quickly learn that Gary was not a pushover.

Jim went to the three ladies and hugged them.  He shook hands with Doug and asked him,

"How's my Jacob, doing?"

"He'll be okay.  He's already been brought up to the fourth floor.  We can see him shortly.  A nurse will come and get us," said Doug.

"Does Chris know about Brad?" asked Jim.

"No he doesn't Father.  I don't know if I can tell him.  He'll flip out because he hasn't had a good relationship with his father for some time," Beth said as she wiped tears from her eyes.

Jim hugged Beth who was obviously close to emotional breakdown.  

"Would you like me to tell him, Mrs. Mason?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, thank you father," she stammered and then she broke down, her sobs filling the waiting area.  Both Sadie and Diane were quickly at her side, comforting her, assuring her that everything  would be all right.  Sadie thought, `I wonder what the crazy man will do.'  Diane didn't believe all she was telling Beth in an attempt to keep her calm.  Travis Mason was a terrible threat and it frightened Diane to think of what he might do to his own son.

Gimple and Gary moved back to the group.  Gimple spoke first,

"We're going to call the local sheriff."

"There's no need to do that," came the deep voice of Sheriff Conklin, "I'm already here."  Gimple and Gary walked over to the sheriff.  After shaking hands, the three moved to a side area in the waiting room and spoke quietly.  Father Jim excused himself and left for the fourth floor to tell Chris and Peter what was happening.

Delores Treadwell and Kinkade arrived with two deputy sheriffs.  Shortly thereafter, Kev and Todd came into the waiting area.  Sadie and Diane had gotten Beth to sit, but they continued to softy assure her that Brad would be fine, even if they both wondered about the outcome.

Doug had hurried to Kev and Todd, hugging them both and thanking them for all that they had done to assist Jacob.  Both the young men insisted that they hadn't done anything that anyone would have done.  But Doug would have nothing to do with that; he insisted that they were heroes and that he wouldn't forget it.  Not for a second.  

"I have my son because you two had the presence of mind to help.  You could have just ignored the whole thing."

"But we couldn't do that, Mr. Neilson.  Jacob and Brad are our friends.  Friends help friends.  We, we  . . .'

"We love them, Mr. Neilson," interrupted Todd, "we love them like brothers."  Tears glistened in Todd's eyes and he wiped the near tears with the back of his hand.  Kev put his arm on Todd's shoulders and squeezed.  None of this went unnoticed by Doug Neilson.  He was genuinely moved and hugged the two guys again.

"Boys," said Sheriff Conklin, "could you please come over here so that we can talk with you.  We have some questions."

Before they would leave, Kev asked about Jacob's condition. Satisfied that he would be fine, he and Todd went to the sheriff, Gimple, and Gary.

Treadwell and Kinkade were talking with Beth Mason, Diane, Sadie and Doug who had returned to his wife and Sadie.  They related all that they knew about what happened.  Both of them praised Kev and Todd for their quick and important handling of the situation.  When Beth asked if they had seen Brad, they both hesitated but informed her that the car had left before they got to the scene.  Sheriff Conklin called for them to join his group; they left immediately and went to the sheriff's group.

A young pert nurse whose name tag  declared " Charlotte ", entered the waiting area, went directly to the Neilsons and told them to follow her as she was to take them to Jacob's room.  The four left with her, each of them apprehensive about what they would find.


"That son-of-a-bitch!  If I could get my hands on him, I would beat the fuckin' shit out of him.  How could he do this?  How could he do this?" screamed Chris as he collapsed on his bed, his body now wracked with sobs.  Father Jim sat next to him on the bed, speaking softy to him.  Peter, in obvious distress, was trying to sit up.  He wanted to help his lover, but he couldn't.  Soon he too was in tears.

As they approached  Room 65, they heard the shouting coming from Room 69.  Beth paled and started to tremble.  Sadie brought her to a chair near the room, where Beth sat.  Diane and Doug hesitated, but Sadie motioned them on, so almost immediately then disappeared into Room 65.

"Sadie, how can I go into that room and face Chris?  He's my son, but I can understand how he hates his father and probably me, too.  I don't know what to do.  I don't know what to think," said the distraught mother.  Sadie pulled Beth tightly to her, cooing as a mother might to a child.

"Beth, the best advice I can give you is to go in there and face Chris.  Let him know that you are on his side, and more importantly, that you are on Brad's side.  Be sure he understands that you didn't know anything about what your husband was planning.  You're not the villain in this terrible incident.  The villain is your mistaken husband who acted on questionable  information.  He's not the only one who has acted this way.  We see it in all phases of life, from the top down.  Just be truthful and sincere.  Whatever you think, I am certain that Chris loves you deeply.  Now go and tell him you love him," Sadie quietly said.

Without saying anything, Beth Mason got up from the chair and walked briskly to the door of Room 69.  She hesitated for a brief moment and then went into the room to confront her son.  Sadie hoped that she wouldn't forget to tell him she loved him the way he was.  Sadie walked slowly toward the door to Room 65.  Her heart was beating faster than normal and even her breath came in shallow gulps.  What would she find?  How would she react to her Jacob?  She stood straight, took a deep breath and entered the room.


Brad had hit his head as he rolled down the incline toward the canal.  It took him a moment or two to clear his  head, to remember what was happening, and to decide what to do next.  He looked out into the canal and suddenly he saw the alligator moving with astonishing speed toward him.  He turned and tried to run, but his sandals slipped on the moist grass and he slid back toward the streaking alligator and certain injury or death.  His thoughts went to Jacob, his Jacob, his injured Jacob, his wounded Jacob, and then in a horror he could not have imagined, his dead Jacob.  At that moment all hope left him and he lay still waiting for the inevitable, but with the assurance that he would soon be with Jacob.  Shots rang out and the gator thrashed about in the dark waters which became slightly sanguine. All movement stopped, and the gator floated casually to the top of the water.

Brad lifted his head and looked up the bank and saw his father standing there with his pistol in his hand.  Travis Mason had saved his son, but he would not even consider allowing him to return home and to that little whore.  He moved carefully down the incline, keeping the gun visible.  He stood over his son, regretting for a moment, what he was doing.  But he continued, recognizing a kind of defeat in the face of his son who was almost groveling before him.

"Get up, Brad.  You go first and I'll follow you.  Don't try to get away again or the outcome could be drastic.  Do you understand, Brad? he asked.  There was no answer as Brad got up and began the short climb up the hillock.  As he reached the top, he glanced back to see what the noise was. He saw a feeding frenzy as other gators quickly ripped apart the dead alligator's carcass.  `How like being a gay man in the bigoted society his father seemed to enjoy.  Gay men were only there to be destroyed.'  He walked to the car, stood outside the back door and put his hands behind his back.  He couldn't see it, but he  could feel the smile that spread across his father's face.

"Thanks for being cooperative, Brad," said Travis as he began to secure his son's hands together with plastic cable ties.  He laughed lightly and continued.  "These will keep you from getting in trouble.  I'm also going to tie your feet together.  Do you think you'll need a gag?" he asked Brad.

"No, no, I won't need a gag because I don't have anything to say to you," whispered Brad.  

He climbed into the car, sat on the seat and put his feet out so that his dad could fasten them together.  Travis made a quick job of it.  He lifted Brad's legs into the car and slammed the door shut.  He jumped into the Mercedes, pulled onto the road and sped away.  But he and Brad had not been alone.

Benjamin Huckins, pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.  He related all that he had seen and gave the operator the license plate number.  It was a  vanity plate which proclaimed "Lawyer".  After he had finished with the operator at 911, he grabbed his fishing pole, climbed on his bicycle and pedaled the short distance to the camp ground.  His wife was sitting outside the RV enjoying the shade of the awning and a glass of iced tea.  She was surprised to see her husband home early.

"You're early, Ben.  What happened?  Fish not biting," she said.

"You'll never believe what I saw.  I called 911 and reported it."

"My God, Ben, what did you see?" Emma asked.

Ben Huckins took his time to relate all that he had seen.  He was a good story teller so the details were thorough and finely drawn.  When he finished talking, he sat in the other chair and poured himself a glass of iced tea.  Emma observed her husband carefully.  He seemed at ease and comfortable.  She was angry, and couldn't understand what Ben had failed to do.

"Why didn't you  help that young man?  You're no coward, Ben.  He needed your help," she said.

"Don't you think I knew that, Em.  Good God, the crazy older man had a gun.  He'd have shot me just like he did the alligator.  He was not about to put up with shit from anyone.  If I had let him know I was there, I'd be a dead man.  Em, those two were father and son.  Can you imagine a father in his right mind doing that to his son.  I hope they catch the bastard and put him in prison for years."

Emma remained silent for a while.  She sensed the anger in Ben.  He had done all that he could have done.  She wondered if anything would be done about what her husband had reported.  She wouldn't ask him anymore questions.

"Time to start supper," she said as she got up from the chair and waddled her plump body into the RV.

"You mad at me, Em?" he asked.

"Course not, Ben.  You did all that you could  do.  I'm proud of you," she said from inside the RV.  Ben stretched out in the chair, looking up through the trees to the blue sky above.  He wondered if he could ever do anything as crazy as that.  He doubted that.  He prayed silently that the young man would be safe and would be saved from his father.

Em came out of the RV carrying a tray with plates and glasses on it.  Ben glanced her way and smiled.

"Thought we could have dinner outside tonight.  It's pleasant.  We're just going to have some hamburgers.  That okay?"

"It sure is hon," Ben said as a Sheriff's Department cruiser  drove into the space beside the RV.   Ben stood up and waited for the deputy. `Good,' thought Em, `they are doing something about it.'


Beth stopped just inside of the door of her son's hospital room.  She saw three young men in the room, her son Chris, his boyfriend, Peter, and Father  Jim.  They all seemed deeply involved with the not quiet conversation which she imagined had to do with Brad's kidnapping and the attack on Jacob.

"Chris?"  He looked past Jim's shoulder and saw his mom standing there.  She looked small and frightened.

"Oh, Mom, how could dad do what he's done?  How could he? her son asked.

Father Jim got up from the bed and moved over to Peter's bed.  Beth moved to her son, sat on his bed, took him into her arms and together they wept.

"I love you, Chris.  I'm sorry I didn't take issue with your father earlier.  He's wrong, Chris.  What he's doing is terrible.  He hurt Jacob and he's taken Brad away, threatening his life with a gun.  I can't explain it.  I didn't know what he was up to, Chris.  I can't make excuses for him.  Not any more.  Do you  forgive me? said Beth.

Chris was weeping quietly, but he had difficulty in being able to speak to his mother.  Finally, after getting control of his emotions, he wiped his eyes, got a tissue and blew his nose.

"I never stopped loving you, Mom.  I never blamed you, not really.  I guess I thought you should have taken our side with Dad, but I understand.  There's nothing to forgive.

Through tear-filled eyes, Beth Mason saw her son, maybe for the first time, as a highly intelligent, handsome, thoughtful, and wonderful young man.  They hugged again, holding each other tightly, experiencing one of those private family moments that can erase years of disenchantment.

"What's happening, Mom?  How can Peter and I help?  We've got to help Brad.  Mom, Dad is acting crazy.  I'm afraid he might hurt Brad, or worse," said Chris.

Beth recoiled at Chris's remark, `or worse',  and yet she knew deep in her bones that Travis would hurt Brad, that he might even murder him, especially if he felt pushed into a corner.  She knew she had to reassure Chris, so she told him,

"Chris, your father would never do anything extreme.  He loves both of you."

Father Jim had walked back to Chris's bed.  He looked at the two of them, sitting there and he wondered if they could ever again enjoy the pleasure of family.  From what he had heard today, he had doubts that there could ever be any kind of reconciliation between Brad and his father.  Travis Mason had injured Jacob, perhaps seriously.  Brad would never forgive that.  Jim didn't believe that he had the heart to try to bring this disjointed family back together.  Perhaps Travis Mason would have to live the remainder of his life outside of the compass of the Circle of Love that makes a family.
"Chris Mason, I want you over here so that I can hold you.  I want to give you some of my strength.  Get over here, now," said an exasperated Peter Li.  Beth and Jim helped Chris out of bed.  He pushed away their supporting hands, and walked over to Peter's bed.

Peter looked up at his life partner, a couple of tears running down his cheeks. He reached out and took Chris's hand in his pulling him down onto the bed and atop  him.  Their faces were only inches apart and they starred into each other's eyes.  Each of them now felt safe and truly loved.  Peter whispered,

"With God as my witness, Christopher Mason, I love you with all of my heart and soul.  Now if you know what's good for you, Baby, you'd better kiss me and you had better mean it.  Come here," he said as he smiled and pulled Chris down.  They shared a kiss which sent both of them soaring away from where they were to a place apart which was filled with the deepest and warmest feelings. Content and secure, they melted into each other.   

Father Jim looked at them and his heart began to beat faster and his mind flew to Gary .  He loved Gary .  Yes, he was willing to do whatever it took to be with him.  Thanks be to God that Father Crowley had been so accepting of his gayness and his desire to love and live with Gary and also to carry on with his ministry.  If he couldn't do it here because of bigots, then he and Gary would find a place where they would be able to live, love, and pursue their careers.

At first Beth Mason didn't know how to react to Chris and Peter's embrace and kiss.  It embarrassed her, made her feel as  though she was watching something pornographic.   Suddenly she realized that she was reacting to it in the same way that Travis would.  She looked back at them and this time she saw two young men who were in love.  There was no sex here.  Here there was love.  `How,' she wondered, `could love be wrong?  Had she and Travis been deceived at their church?  Had she been unable or unwilling to stand up to Travis and the  pastor at the church?'  

She was almost consumed with guilt which gnawed at her soul and made her wish for a simple forgiveness.  But this was short lived.  Her heart and soul were quickly overshadowed  by a dark, oppressive hole.  She knew it was her punishment for not saving Brad from his father.  If Travis hurt Brad, or, God forbid killed  him, then that terrible emptiness in her heart and soul could never be filled.

She had paled and was shaking slightly as tears streamed down her face.  Father Jim noticed and went to her.  He put his arm around her shoulders, and held her while asking her quietly if she was okay.  She shook her head in the affirmative, but did not speak.

"Mom, come with me and speak to Peter.  He wants to meet you.  He thinks you're the cat's pajamas.  We heard about your telling dad off in the cafeteria the other day.  Cool, Mom, cool!" said Chris.

Jim laughed, and to her surprise, so did Beth Mason.  She took Chris's hand in hers and walked to Peter's bed.  Although Peter was still a long way from full recovery, he smiled broadly at her and asked,

"Don't I get a kiss from the mother of the groom?"

At first Beth just looked at him, then she smiled and leaned down and kissed him  on the cheek.  Behind her Chris was smiling like the Cheshire cat.  Peter pulled her down and kissed her on both cheeks following the European tradition... or maybe the Hollywood tradition.  Whichever it was, everyone in the room enjoyed it.

"So, you're the remarkable mother that I've heard so much about, huh?  He talks about you all the time.  No, Peter, that's not how my mother cooks beef.  No, Peter, my mother never makes the bed that way.  No, Peter, you shouldn't cut the roast that way.  My mother says to cut it across the grain.  He thinks you're the only successful cook in the world.  He really loves you a lot, Mrs. Mason, and so do I," said Peter.

"I was never able to tell you what a great guy Peter is.  Can you understand why I love him so much?" asked Chris.

"Yes, I do understand, Chris.  You  are very fortunate to have Peter in your life.  And from my point of view, as your mother, I think Peter is very fortunate to have you in his life.  It's a win-win situation," said Beth with a gentle laugh.

"Jim?" said Gary who had quietly come into the room.

Jim's reverie was quickly interrupted as he had been personalizing what was happening before him.  Would that his parents and Gary's parents might  accept them with such love as Beth was accepting Chris and Peter.  He knew that his parents would as they already knew he was gay.  But he knew so little about Gary .  What would his parents think, would they accept him?  Those questions would be answered for good or  ill in the next months of his relationship with Gary .

" Gary, what have you found out?" he asked.

Beth, Chris, and Peter turned two the two men in the room as they also wanted to hear what was happening.  

"What news do you have?" asked Beth.

"It was your husband who took Brad.  It is kidnapping, Mrs. Mason so the FBI are now involved.  Some one saw the two of them about fifty miles from here.  The guy was fishing in the canal when he saw someone jump out of a vehicle and roll down the hill to the canal.  From the description it was Brad," Gary told them.   

He continued, "The man who reported seeing them told the deputies that the boy was dazed and at first didn't see the alligator  moving rapidly toward him.  He thought the boy would be mauled by the gator, but a man standing at the top of the hill fired four shots into the gator killing it."

"Oh, God, my poor Brad," cried Beth.  Chris and Peter hugged her to themselves, and even though Chris was ready to storm out of the hospital room and go after his father, he maintained his composure so that his mother could be comforted.

"What else, sir, did you find out?" asked an astonishingly calm Chris.

"The police were able to verify that it was Mr. Mason because of the car make and color and the vanity license plate.  Anyway, he went down the hill and pointing the gun toward Brad made him climb to the top where he stopped outside the Mercedes.  Mr. Mason bound his hands behind his back with what the witness said looked like plastic cable ties.  After Brad got into the car and sat, his legs were still outside the car.  The man then secured his legs together with more cable ties."

"I want him, that bastard.  I want to make him crawl.  I want to have him feel the fear that Brad and poor Jacob must have felt." Chris said his body now shaking with rage.

"Chris, please," said a sobbing Beth, "don't become like your father.  Control yourself, please."

"Stop! Christopher," enjoined Peter, "she's right, you don't want to be like him, do you?

Chris pulled away from both of them, then snickered,

"You must really be pissed at me, Hon, you don't call me Christopher unless you're really put out with me.  I'm sorry everyone.  It's just . . . it's just . . ."

"We know a little of how you feel, Chris," Father Jim said, "because we all have similar feelings.  But we can't act on them or we become what we dislike.  Besides, we all feel a certain sadness, too, because we understand what this will mean for your father, especially if it should get out of hand and he harms Brad as he harmed Jacob."

There was a heartbeat of silence before a red-faced Beth Mason got up from the bed, embarrassed by something.

"I'm so sorry.  We were so busy worrying about ourselves that we forgot Jacob.  How is he, Father Jim?" she asked.

"I don't know.  Maybe Gary can fill us in."

"He's apparently going to be better in a couple of days.  He had a concussion, but there doesn't seem to be any real damage to the brain.  His nose is broken, he has a couple of gashes on his forehead and face where he was struck.  He also had to have some minor surgery on his calf where he was shot.  The bullet went in and the out.  It will heal nicely according to the  doctors.  His parents and Sadie are with him now.  He's sleeping because he has been medicated to keep him calm," said Gary .

"Oh my God," whispered Chris, "does he know about Brad?'

"No, but doctor Norris is concerned about how he'll react when he gets all the information.  We suspect that all he knows is that Brad was taken away by his father," added Gary .

"I have to go to Jacob," said Beth.

"Not now," said Jim, and he reached out and restrained her.


In the back of the Mercedes, Brad lay in the fetal position on the back seat.  Neither father nor son had spoken since the episode near the canal.  Brad knew that they were moving north as he could occasionally see the sun getting lower in the west.  He also knew that the  peninsula of Florida was a long ride at best, but when you're hogtied, the ride for a cramped prisoner was excruciatingly torturous.  His father did have the AC on and had directed a good portion of the cool air to him.

As the day waned, Brad moved into a tighter ball as his despair pulled him deeper into the darkness.  Hope was dragging him away from reality and he began to accept his condition, his terrible fate.  The blackness intensified and, like a wicked and malevolent tyrant, cloyed at his soul, grasping his being and pulling it into a deep abyss.  No longer would he fight, as there was no reason.  It got even blacker, suffocating, blinding  in its intensity.  He was defeated.  He longed for death to escape the horror of knowing that Jacob had been taken from him.

"Let it go.  Let it go," he heard his father's voice command.

He looked into the darkness, the nothingness, trying to find something, some small fragment of hope or of love, but he didn't see any.  The tears burned in his eyes and flowed down his cheeks and into his mouth where he could taste the saltiness of his sorrow.  Then he saw it.  In the vast darkness there was a small light, brilliant and sparkling.  He strained to identify it, but he couldn't.

Then the light came closer and increased in size and took shape.  It was Jacob and his smile was radiating the light.  Then Jacob spoke to him,

"Fight, my Lover, fight!  I want you back with me.  I am waiting.  Don't give in!  Fight your father and his plans.  Brad, come back to me, please."

"Don't  leave me," Brad screamed,  "don't leave me."

Brad could feel his body being shaken.  But the light was still there.  He struggled against the darkness and the light became brighter.

"Brad, what the hell's the matter with you?" asked his father whose voice was gruff and filled with disdain.

Brad forced his eyes open.  His father stood there shining a flashlight into his eyes.

"I think you had some sort of nightmare.  Get with it.  I'm gonna let you use your hands so you can eat something and have a drink.  I'm also going to let you take a leak.  Then I'll refasten you hands.  And, Brad, don't try anything funny.  I still have the gun, and before I would let you go back to Jacob, I will shoot you and then myself.  Understand?" Travis said.

The darkness was gone now and it would not return.  Jacob had freed his soul from despair.  Jacob had brought him hope.  Jacob had  brought him love.  He rolled over so that his father could cut the cable ties.  He sat up and began to rub his wrists trying to get the blood circulating again.

"I need to take a piss," he said.  His father snickered.

"So you held it all this time and didn't wet yourself.  Amazing!  Come on," said his father as he swung Brad's legs out of the car.  

He pulled Brad to his feet and helped him a little way from the car.  He turned and left.  Brad unzipped his shorts and took out his penis.  He sighed in relief as the strong stream of urine splashed away from him and into the darkness.  As always, when he finished, he shook it and then put it back into his boxers and shorts.  He turned and hopped, not unlike a wounded kangaroo, and returned to the car.  He sat down on the back seat.

Travis Mason had new respect for his son.  He had endured much, but he reasoned it would be good training for what was to come at the Colony.  He opened the cooler and removed some snacks and a soda.  He handed them to Brad.  Brad was famished and the snacks really didn't help that much, but he said nothing.  Finished, he turned and put his hands behind his back.  Travis quickly secured them with another cable tie.

"Where are we?" Brad asked.

"We're in a pull off on a secondary road headed north.  We'll sleep here until daylight and then we'll continue on our trip. I'm a light sleeper, Brad, so don't try anything funny.  Remember what I told you.  Don't forget.  I meant every word of it.  Now get some sleep."

Brad rolled onto the seats again.  He was surprised when his father lifted his head and placed a small pillow under it.  Then he threw a light blanket over Brad.  He closed the door quietly and left Brad in another kind of darkness.

Sleep would not come quickly for either of them.

To be continued...


"The measure of love is to love without measure"

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