Finding Love: A Journey
(© 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...
My dad said, "It looks to me as
if the pairs are already formed. You and Todd, Kev and Ashton, and
Conner and Greg. I'd say those are good pairs. Of course, I
approve of Jacob and Chris as a pair and . . ."
"Dad," I interrupted, "can we get going? If we don't, everything will be over."
"Sorry, Jacob, you're right. Lead the way, and everyone, take care and hopefully one of our group will find Brad.
Silently I prayed that it would be me.
At first the rush to the gate and then down the long path to the back door of the school seemed chaotic. Actually all the guys gave Chris and me ample time to get there first. In fact, Conner came and helped us, as the path was rough and the wheelchair kept getting stuck. It didn't take much effort from Conner to get me rolling with increased speed on the pathway. Chris kept up with me, oblivious to any pain he might be having. The strange thing was that there was no talking; we moved as silently as a snake might on the lawn.
Conner and Kev picked me and
wheelchair up and carried me up the short staircase to the back
door. Someone had opened it and left it ajar. Chris began pushing
me down the corridor. We passed a toilet, came to a large ornate
door, which an officer informed us did not open. I asked him if
Chris and I might wait there for a while. That way we would be out
of the way of the other guys who were anxious to start looking. The
officer agreed and told everyone else to follow him. He would take
them to areas that needed to be searched.
My dad and John Li stopped and asked if we would be okay. Once they were assured that we were fine, they followed the guys and the officer and disappeared after turning off the long corridor. We could see them from our vantage point.
"Chris, if you want to go with the others, I'll be fine here. I'll wait for you to come back. Let's agree on fifteen minutes. I don't want to slow you or the others down. I'm not ready to walk just yet, but in a few minutes, I'm sure I will be."
Chris looked troubled and I knew he would resist leaving me alone. I knew that I would be fine and if he promised to return in fifteen minutes, I wouldn't get antsy. He knelt in front of me and looked up into my eyes. The intensity was palpable and I almost looked away, but avoided that as it would have been all he needed to stay with me.
"I don't know, Jacob. I'll be uneasy leaving you alone here. We don't know who might be wandering around. You probably wouldn't be able to defend yourself if you were here alone," he told me.
"Bullshit! If I had to, I bet I could run the length of this corridor and not fall or get out of breath. You're in the presence of a competitive swimmer," I said with a giggle.
"Really? I didn't know I was in the presence of a world class athlete," laughed Chris.
"Just get your hunky ass out of here. I'll be fine. I'll just look around here. I won't go anywhere else. Okay?"
"Guess so, Jake, but you had better do as you said. I'll be back in ten to fifteen minutes."
With that he hurried down the corridor and took the corner going in the same direction as the others. I sat where I was for a while. I moved the chair down the corridor a short way and pulled open the door to a classroom. As I entered the room. I smelled the moisture and mold and something else I couldn't identify. The furniture was old and the desks were fastened to the wood floor which had been treated with oil of some kind which contributed that other smell to the room. I noticed the blackboard which was covered with Latin verb conjugations. I was surprised. Apparently, no matter what else they did, this was also a school. I left the room and went down the corridor a little further.
This classroom was an exact duplicate of the previous one, except here the blackboard had math problems on it. From the problems on the board, I decided it was advanced algebra. I remembered the struggle I had with that, at least for a few weeks. How different these classrooms were from those at Palm High School . I didn't like the emptiness of the room, so I left and rolled back up the corridor.
I stopped in front of the door to the toilet and waited. I got up from the wheelchair, pushed the door open and went inside. There were urinals and across from them was a wall of stalls. I heard myself gasp as I remembered another boys' room. Memories cascaded down upon me, and my heart began to beat rapidly and my breath came in short pants.
I spoke out, "Brad, where are you? Are you hurt, sweetheart? I need you, Brad. Come to me, please. God help me."
There was silence. I was alone facing a possibility that made my blood run cold. I thought, `If Brad is d . . .' I pushed the thought out of my mind. I had to do that, because if I didn't I would have collapsed from sorrow. Then I thought I heard something. No... it was nothing.
Again the noise. Almost a grating. I listened carefully. Nothing! Again. I strained to hear. Nothing! A tapping? Was it a ghost? My God, was it Brad's ghost trying to communicate with me? I was shaking and close to hyperventilating. I had to get out of here. I ran to the door and out into the corridor. I fell into the wheelchair, pushing it with force against the ornate door, making a loud thud. I thought I wouldn't be able to get it all together. `It wasn't anything but the building talking as old buildings do,' I told myself.
Then I tried to get up, but my legs were still weak and I fell back into the chair which banged again against the ornate door. Then I heard it again: a noise. This time is sounded almost like a tapping. I was frightened. What was going on? I waited. There it was again. It was a tapping! Where was it coming from? It came again this time stronger. I got out of the chair, pulled it away from the door and using my fist, I pounded on the door. One, two, three times. I waited. There it was, weak, but I could hear it: tap, tap, tap.
Was someone trying to contact me? I tried the door, but it seemed stuck. I struggled, pulling with every fiber in my being. Suddenly it flew open and struck me, knocking me on my ass. It took a moment or two to get my bearings and to get up. Some light from the corridor shown beyond the doorway and I could see some stone steps. I was afraid, but I went forward and stopped at the top step.
"Is there anyone there?" I asked.
"Can you hear me?"
<Tap, Tap, Tap.>
My heart leaped into my throat. What should I do? I asked,
"Are you hurt?"
<Tap, Tap, Tap.>
"I'll try to get down to you. It may take a a little time `cause my leg is sore."
Then I really thought I heard a hoarse whisper of my name. But it couldn't be. Brad wouldn't be down there in some kind of cellar. Did I dare call out his name?
<Tap. Tap. Tap.>
"Oh, my God! I'm coming for you, Sweetheart."
Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap, came the frantic reply.
I hurried as much as I could down the dark, slippery stairs. I took care that I wouldn't fall. I wanted to be able to help Brad. `Thank you, God,' I silently prayed. I slipped, almost falling, but caught my balance and continued down toward my lover.
"I'm coming, Brad. I don't want to fall because if I did, I wouldn't be able to help you. I love you. I love you."
<Tap, Tap, Tap.>
"Brad, please, please be patient. I love you so much."
<Tap, Tap, Tap.>
I had reached the bottom of the stairs and was standing on the slippery floor. It was pitch dark and I couldn't see anything. I got on my hands and knees and began to move forward running my hands before me. Where was he? Then I felt something. What was it? It was a bare foot. Was it Brad?
<Tap, Tap, Tap.>
In a barely audible raspy voice, I heard Brad,
I began kissing Brad's naked foot, using all my being to prevent the tears from spilling out of my eyes. I had to keep it together for Brad's sake. I carefully worked my way up his body until I was at his head. As I kissed his face, I could feel the roughness of what I knew was dried blood.
How badly hurt was my lover, my partner, my Brad? I sat upright and began screaming as loudly as I could,
"HERE!" "HERE!" "HERE!"
John Li was not prepared for
what he and Doug were finding as they explored their assigned
section of the building. For one thing, the rooms were actually
cells with metal doors that locked much like a jail. They had
searched four rooms where they found only a dirty mattress on the
floor, a metal jail-like commode, and no window. The room smelled
foul, and there was evidence that whoever had been held in the room
had scratched drawings and words on the walls. Most of the
scribbling seemed to be mere disjointed fragments created by a
Inadvertently John Li gasped and grabbed Doug's arm. Doug glanced at John, his face registering the utter disbelief at what he was seeing.
"My god, Doug, this is terrible. I mean how could they have kept innocent young men in such horrible conditions?"
"I don't know, John. Worse than that, I can't understand it. I cannot fathom how the minds of the people who are responsible for this could ever rationalize their creation of such an awful place."
"They're bastards; that's for sure. God would never condone
this. Never! I'm not sure I want to go on. I don't know if I can take any more," Li said.
Doug Neilson continued moving toward the door of the cell. In a moment, Li followed him. They didn't speak for a long moment. They reached a cell with the door shut and locked. Doug Neilson removed a pass key which had been given to him by the police officer. Doug stopped and turned to John Li. He asked,
"John we can't forget Brad. He could be anywhere. Do we unlock this door and check it out, or wait until an officer gets here?
John Li took a deep breath, turned to Doug and then looked at the floor in a kind of shame and whispered,
"I did forget why we're here, Doug. Please forgive me, as I want to find Brad, too."
Doug patted John on the back. "Don't worry, John. This place gives me the creeps, too."
He inserted the key into the door lock, turned it and unlocked the door. He carefully and slowly opened the door. The interior of the little room was dark and the odor was immediately offensive. As their eyes grew accustomed to the low light in the room, what they were able to discern was upsetting. There was no toilet in this room, so there was urine and human feces on the floor.
The mattress was ripped and the stuffing was coming out of it. There were rat droppings on the floor. Both men had covered their mouths and noses with their handkerchief to reduce the intensity of the smell. They were ready to leave the room, when John noticed a bundle of dirty cloths in the corner.
"What's that, Doug?" he asked as he pointed to the linens.
"It looks like rags to me. I'm going to go over and check it out. You stay here in case I need you to help me."
"You sure you want to do that?" asked Li.
"Yeah, I'm sure."
With great care, and watching where he stepped, Doug moved across the room to the far corner. He reached down and slowly pulled away some of the rags."
"Merciful God!" he uttered.
The school had a unique
layout. The main corridor ran past the principal's office in both
directions to the end of the building. In that long corridor were a
number of classrooms, toilets, the nurse's office, and storage
rooms. At one end was an unused door to the basement of the
school. Another door, at the other end, also led down into the
basement. That door worked and it was presently the only way to get
to the basement. Where the principal's office was located acted like
a hub, with corridors leading out from that point like spokes on a
wheel. There were many people searching the areas.
The police officer, who was accompanying the boys, and Doug and John, asked each pair to search certain sections of the corridors. There were many student rooms, the equivalent of a college dorm room to be searched. Each of these needed to be searched carefully: closets had to be checked, under beds examined, shower rooms visited, study rooms inspected, and common areas surveyed.
Conner and Greg had been assigned to a section where the more incorrigible boys and young men were housed. As they worked their way down the corridor, they found five young men, all of them naked, in five of the rooms. Shortly after they had found them, Greg ran to get police, counselors, and EMT's to check the students for injuries. Child Protective Services also helped in getting the boys showered and dressed before interrogating them.
When Conner and Greg finally got to the sixth room, they found a young man, naked and tied to his bed. He was not happy to see anyone, and quickly made it clear.
"Are you the new fucking goons here to fuck around with me? Where the fuck are Comstock and Specter? Get the fuck out of here, you cock sucking bastards!"
"Watch you tongue, sonny, or I'll knock you into tomorrow," said an angry Conner.
Greg moved to the bed and began to untie the young man. He asked,
Do you have a name? Mine is Greg and that's Conner."
"What the fuck do you care what my name is? Everything that's happened to me since I got here has been bad. I've been beaten. I've been forced into sexual activity I didn't want. I've been put into isolation, had my meals withheld, been refused showers, and had to go long periods of time without a toilet to use. So why would I think you two would treat me any differently?"
"Look, buddy, we can't do anything about what these bastards did to you. We're here to try to help. If you don't want any help, then we'll just leave."
The young man on the bed stopped struggling, his tirade ended. His eyes glistened with tears and he turned his head away from Greg and Conner so that they wouldn't see his emotion.
"My name is Spencer" he whispered. "Please help me. Please."
Conner rushed to the bed and in moments Spencer had been untied and was free. Greg had found some shorts and a T-shirt in the closet. Spencer quickly dressed. Then he surprised the two young men when he hugged them tightly and murmured a quiet thank you. The two boys led Spencer directly to the EMT's who would notify Child Protective Services. As they were getting ready to leave the room where the EMT's were set up, Spencer went to them and hugged them again.
"Thank you, guys. You helped me to understand that there are people out there who really care about us. I'm sure that God will bless you."
Chris had been wandering around
aimlessly. He finally met Kev and Ashton. They had just finished
searching an area of eight student rooms. They had been surprised
by the wide range of ages of the students that they had
encountered. All the guys were now either with the EMT's, the Child
Protection Services counselors, or with Gary and Father Jim. The
youngest kid they discovered was eleven years old, placed here by
his father after he was caught masturbating with a friend. The
oldest was nineteen, a big guy, who had tried to protect the younger
guys, especially the eleven year old.
Ashton remarked that it bothered him that the guys all shied away from Kev and him. He couldn't put his finger on it, but he suspected that they had been held here so long in a jail-like atmosphere that they didn't know how to socialize with outsiders. Benjamin, the nineteen old, finally made it clear that they hesitated to get too close to us because other straight guys had taken advantage of them. Adam, the youngest guy, had been sexually abused by older men, many of them friends of the Reverend Colechester.
Another boy, Alex, who was fourteen, made it clear that he had seen the Reverend forcing himself sexually on Adam. He knew because he was there servicing another of the Reverend's buddies. He and Ben had ministered to Adam when he returned with a bleeding anus. A trip to the nurse usually resulted in an accusation that the boys themselves had anal intercourse and injured the young boy.
So from that time on, they took care of things on their own. Eventually Adam was able to accommodate the men who wanted him sexually. When he could, he told Kev and Ashton, he would perform oral sex on the older men. But sometimes they wanted to fuck him. If he didn't cooperate, then he would be placed in the dungeon for long periods of time without food or water. His friends, Ben and Alex, also spent long days there for helping Adam.
The other boys also had horror stories to tell. Staff members were always demanding sexual favors from the boys. If they cooperated, then there were small rewards, maybe a candy bar, maybe soap for a shower. When they refused, they went to the dungeon meeting at night where they were abused by multiple members of the staff. There were some staff who did not bother them, but that was because they were lovers and had all the sex they wanted with each other.
Kev asked Benjamin if there were any straight guys on the staff. Benjamin's answer was a loud guffaw, after which he added,
"Straight staff? No! Don't you see? If the staff were gay and abusing us all the time, then we'd say anything they wanted to hear just to get the fuck out of here. The real gay sluts who were sent here generally became staffers. This place is as close to hell as any place could be."
Kev looked at Ashton, and even now as he was telling Chris the story, he was filled with disbelief and then anger. Chris collapsed into a nearby chair. He face was white and he looked stricken.
"This is why gays get such bad reputations. Most of us are not like the pricks who ran this place. This fucking place should be burned to the ground, and the terrible people who ran it and who abused all these guys should be put in prison until they die from old age. It's too terrible to believe and yet I know it's true. God help us all. I've got to get back to Jacob since I promised him I wouldn't be away from him for more than fifteen minutes. We'll see you guys later when this awful nightmare is over," said Chris as he slowly got up from the chair and walked down the corridor toward Jacob.
Chris had only disappeared from sight for a moment, when Tim and Todd rounded a corner and met up with Kev and Ashton. Both of them were strangely quiet. Ashton finally asked them,
"You guys got a problem? You seem distracted or something."
"Yeah," added Kev, "is it something we said?"
"It's not funny, guys. What we've seen and heard here is enough to make you straight. There's no love here. It's been months, years of terrible abuse for these guys. The Reverend Colechester isn't around to answer for this terrible place, but there are others who are just as responsible, just as culpable. They all deserve the most severe punishment that the law allows," spit out an angry Tim.
"Cool it, Tim. We agree. If we tell you what we heard from kids who have been here for a long time, you won't believe us, and you'll be even angrier with the people who ran this place. We're angry, damn angry. Somebody has to pay for this tragedy," an irate Kev said.
`Let's go to the principal's office to see what else is going on," offered Todd.
Without further discussion the four boys headed down the corridor toward the office. Silently they all wondered what had happened to Brad. God forbid that he had been abused!
Doug Neilson could not believe
his eyes. Under the pile of rags lay a young boy rolled in the
protective fetal position. He was covered in dirt and feces. His
body was bruised, and he whimpered like a beaten animal. Doug
reached out to touch him, but the boy pulled away and cried out in a
muffled, raspy voice.
"Please don't hit me. Please."
Doug was so taken aback that for a second or two he couldn't speak, but he found his voice and told the youngster,
"I won't hit you. I'm here to help you. Can you trust me to take care of you? You need to be bathed, have some clothes and to eat something."
The boy just whimpered. Doug yelled at John Li,
"Get some help. There's a young boy here who needs medical attention. John, on the double! I've never seen anything like this."
Without asking any questions, John ran to the EMT station to get help. He had never seen Doug Neilson looked so white, so shocked, so filled with disbelief. `The boy,' Li reasoned, `must be in terrible shape.'
Shortly after he left, Doug tried to get the young boy to talk, but it was useless. The kid was in shock, or he was so undernourished that he didn't have the strength to speak. Finally Doug reached down and stroked the boy's dirty and matted blond hair, causing the boy to weep.
"It's okay, son. You're going to be fine. Help is coming. We're going to take good care of you."
At this point, Doug couldn't wait any longer, he reached down and picked up the boy who didn't object. He pulled the boy tightly to his chest and began to whisper to him about how things were going to change. It surprised Doug when he saw his tears falling on the youngster's dirty face. He even was more surprised when he tried to stop his gasp for breath and the sobs that were escaping from his most inner being. Suddenly he had a minor revelation; this intense emotion that he was now experiencing was tied directly to his son, to Jacob.
A huge man in the uniform of an EMT charged through the door followed closely behind by John Li. As soon as he saw Doug standing there with the young boy in his arms the EMT stopped in his tracks.
"Oh, my good God! What the hell's going on in this damnable place? What have they done to this kid? Stay right there, sir, I'll come and get the kid. He looks so small," the EMT said.
"It's okay, I'll take him over to you since I know the safest way to get back to you," offered Doug.
Again stepping carefully, Doug made it quickly across the messy floor to the EMT. When Doug tried to give the boy to the EMT, the young man whimpered and with all the strength he had, clung to Doug. The EMT, Jon, saw immediately what had to be done.
"Come with me, sir. He doesn't want you to leave him. It's okay. Let's hurry to the EMT station and if you stay with him, I'm sure he'll let us check him out."
John Li, after seeing the young man, gasped in disbelief. As he followed Doug and the EMT, Jon, down the hall John thought about his son, about Peter. He would be so angry that he would want to kill whoever would treat his son in this manner. He knew in the deepest recesses of his soul that this was not a humane idea. His upbringing, his heritage, his own life had taught him the preciousness of life and he knew that he could never actually kill. But those responsible for this young boy's abuse should pay the ultimate price for their perversion and inhumanity.
When they arrived at the room that held the EMT station, all chatter in the room stopped when they saw their colleague and then the man carrying an emaciated child. A path was cleared to a cot where Doug sat down still cradling the child in his arms. His tears had not stopped. The boy whimpered but wouldn't let go of Doug's shirt.
"It's okay, sir, just hold him. We'll work around it," said Jon. John Li stood nearby, helpless in that he didn't even know what to say. `It is best to stay silent,' he thought, `when to speak would only demonstrate stupidity.'
Soon another EMT, a young woman named Corine, joined them at the cot. She turned pale when she got close enough to see the condition of the young boy. She took a deep breath and tenderly stroked the boy's forehead.
"How could anyone do this to a kid?" she asked no one in particular, but everyone in the room. There was only silence.
"He's very weak. I know he's dehydrated, and from his emaciated look, he's probably malnourished. We need to get him to a hospital," said Jon.
"Let's go, then," Doug said.
Corine tried to lift the boy from Doug, but the kid cried out in fear, so she backed off. She seemed alarmed at the boy's reaction, but Jon reassured her that the boy was just frightened.
"Jon, what are we going to do? We've got to get this kid to a hospital. Look, not only does he have all the problems you listed, but he's been beaten. He's been beaten a lot. Look at the bruises," Corine said.
"Sir . . ." began Jon.
"Please call me Doug. That's my name," interrupted Doug.
"Doug, can you come with us to the hospital? It's an hour trip to and from?" asked Jon.
"Of course. John, tell Jacob what's going on so that he won't worry. I'll catch a ride back with these guys. Sorry, this guy and gal."
"Consider it done," said John Li, as the little group left the EMT station.
John Li sat heavily into a chair near the now vacated cot. He needed to get himself back together. What had happened in the last few minutes, had disturbed him more than he had originally imagined. For the first time he really looked around the room, and he saw young men and boys at many of the cots being cared for by EMT's. This institution could be on one level of Dante's hell. He got to his feet and walked slowly and shakily out of the room. He headed down the corridor that would eventually take him to where he and Doug had left Jacob.
As he passed the classroom where students were being interviewed, he almost ran into Father Jim.
"Sorry, Jim, I wasn't really paying attention. I've seen so many terrible things that my mind is numb." Jim looked at John and noticed how haggard he looked, obviously the result of what he had seen and heard.
"Where's Doug?' asked Jim.
Li hesitated for a bit, then took a deep breath and related to Jim what they had found and how the young man had attached himself to Doug and wouldn't let go. Jim waited patiently for Li to finish the story and tried not to look surprised when Li recounted the trip to the hospital. As he finished, a deep sigh escaped from Li and his eyes glistened.
"I know how you feel, John. I have heard so many horrible tales and seen such abuse that I can't imagine how this place remained in business. Most of the boys related that their parents never came to visit. If they did come for a visit, everything was arranged in one special section of the school. The room in that area became theirs, everything there suggested a nice place. Parents only came one family at a time. All of them were shown the same area. It was just part of the deception of this terrible place. I hope that God can forgive the perpetrators of this crime because at this moment I know that I cannot," said Father Jim.
Li shook his head in agreement and reached out and grasped Jim's hand. He squeezed it tightly not anticipating what happened next. Jim pulled him into a strong embrace, hugging Li to him. It felt good to have the priest's strength flow into him.
"Thanks, Jim, I needed that hug," John offered.
"It felt good to me, too. Where are you headed?"
"I'm on my way to tell Jacob where his father is. You want to come with me?" asked John.
"Can you wait a minute or two? I'm waiting here for Gary . He'll be along momentarily. He's just finished one interview. He's exhausted emotionally. But I guess we all are."
At that precise moment, Gary came out of the room. He was pale and his eyes were red, no doubt from keeping the tears back as he talked to the young men. Jim moved quickly to him and hugged him tightly and kissed him gently on the lips.
"Are you okay?" Jim asked.
""Yup. Just washed out from hearing all the horror of this damnable place," said Gary .
"John is on his way to give a message to Jacob about Doug. I'll explain as we walk there. Come on, Baby," urged Jim.
John Li smiled. What a strange few days he was living through. He had met couples who were so much in love, who willingly would do anything to protect the other. And here was another couple, obviously deeply in love, who lean on each other when they are distressed and get from the other the support they need. Strange that heterosexual couples were all too often not as quick to support, share with, or protect one another as were these gay ones.
They moved quietly down the corridor, stopping when they thought they heard someone calling out, "Here." "Here."...
"Did you hear something?" asked Li.
"Yeah, I did," said Gary .
"It sounded like "Here." didn't it?"
"My God," said Li, "that's what we agreed upon as a signal that Brad had been found. Let's get going."
The three rushed toward the cry they had heard.
Lorraine Li had called a taxi
to take her to the hospital so that she could spend some time with
Peter. She had asked Beth Mason and Sadie if they wanted to go with
her, but neither of them did. Sadie had housekeeping duties to
attend to: bed linens to change, laundry that needed attention, and
food preparation for the day's meals.
Beth wanted to go home for a short time to get clean clothes and to check the mail. She planned to hurry back in the hope that word would be received that Brad had been found and that he was fine. It surprised her that she had no interest in what happened to her husband. He deserved whatever he got. Her only hope was that he got punished. She would also inform the pastor of her church how wrong he had been.
After Lorraine arrived at the hospital, she went directly to Peter's room. She was pleasantly surprised to see him sitting up in a chair but with some of his lines still attached. He looked a little uncomfortable, but he smiled a huge smile when he saw his mother.
"Mom, it's so good to see you. Have you heard from Chris? Have they found Brad? How's Jake doing? Have they . . ."
Lorraine Li interrupted her son. She was laughing lightly when she chided him a little,
"Peter, dear, calm down a little. And slow down a little. I'll answer all your questions. Now, let's see. No, we haven't heard from Chris. At this point they haven't found Brad. We don't know how Jake is doing because we haven't heard anything."
"What did you say, Peter Li?" asked his mother.
"I said `shit' and I apologize for that, but I'm so worried about Chris. Maybe I should have told him not to go; but, Mom, Brad's his brother and he knows what kind of a person his dad can be. I had to let him go, Mom. I had to."
Mrs. Li, knelt by the chair. She took her son's hand into hers. First she kissed him on the cheek, and then she consoled him,
"Of course you had to let him go. He wants to help find Brad. We all understand why you did what you did. You love him, Peter. When you love someone as deeply as you love Chris, you have to sacrifice your happiness to assure that he has your approval to do something that might be hurtful to him. But to deny him going would have made neither of you happy. Bless you, Peter Li, for doing what you did."
With some difficulty, Peter hugged him mother. How he loved her, always his confidante, his moral support, his balance. He kissed her gently on the cheek.
"I love you, Mom. Thanks for always being there for me. I'm surprised Dad didn't call you or something. That doesn't sound like him."
"Peter, your father has a lot on his mind. He knows we're both safe. Try to understand that. If anything important or serious was happening, your dad would call and alert us. You have to trust him to do the right thing."
Peter sighed and his eyes watered. He sat back in the chair, obviously feeling some pain. He winced, but looked directly at his mother.
"It's just that I miss Chris and I'm worried about him. If anything were to . . ."
"Nothing is going to happen to him," interrupted his mother, "He'll be coming back to you and the two of you will be able to continue your life together."
"I pray that it may be so, Mom, how I pray it."
Jacob was getting frantic.
He kept screaming, "Here!" "Here!", but no one seemed to hear him.
Brad moaned as he tried to move a little. Jacob stroked his matted hair, whispering quietly to him between his shouts for help. Jacob could see that Brad's head was resting on the cold dirty floor. He had to make him more comfortable.
"Sweetheart, I'm going to move very close to you so that we can get your head on my lap or thigh so that you can get it off the cold floor. If it hurts too much, Brad, say so. I don't know what you may have broken, so moving you could be
dangerous. Does your neck hurt you? Because if it does, I don't want to take the chance."
"Can you move your fingers and toes?"
"... think so" Brad croaked.
Do you want me to try to get your head off the floor?"
"Yes," came the raspy reply.
I moved my body as close to his as I could. He groaned once when I hit his shoulder so I pulled quickly away. Brad was lying on his stomach, so this would be difficult to do. I pulled past him and then moved down to his head. I got my thigh so that it was touching my body. I leaned forward and slowly lifted his head as I pushed my leg further in. I did this slowly and soon I thought my thigh was far enough so I carefully and with the great gentleness lowered my lover's head.
Brad coughed deeply and it shook his body causing him to groan in pain. I froze.
"Kiss me," he whispered.
I wanted to kiss him so badly that I finally lost it and began to cry softly. I couldn't figure out how I could kiss him. Even with his head turned to the side, I didn't think I could reach him in order to kiss him without moving my leg.
"Brad, I want to kiss you more than anything I've ever wanted to do, but I'm afraid to hurt you."
"Please, Jake, please!" he said this time with more force.
I leaned in as far as I could, and with the agility of a gymnast, I found Brad's parched and cracked lips and kissed him gently and then slowly ran my tongue across his lips. He sighed deeply.
"Thanks, Baby," he whispered and then a sob escaped from deep within him.
My heart cracked and I pushed my hand into my mouth to stifle the sobs that were springing from my broken heart. I leaned in and kissed him again, and again, and again.
"I . . . want . . . to . . . touch . . . you," he was finally able to force out.
Brad was lying on one arm, the other was somewhere in the darkness of the stinking cellar. I reached around his head and stretched to find his hand. I found it. He was holding a hard object in it. I had to pry his fingers open to get the object from his hand. I then took his hand in mine and squeezed it. He moved his hand just a little, and found my wrist. He stroked it as best he could.
"I love you," he said quietly.
I gasped and struggled not to cry out, but I told him,
"Brad, I love you. You know that. We'll get out of here. Things will be okay."
"I'm . . .okay . . . because . . . you're . . . here," Brad stammered.
"HERE! HERE! HERE!" I yelled at the top of my lungs.
Inwardly I was falling apart. `Where is Chris? Where is my father? Where is Kev? Where are all the others?' When Brad stopped stroking my wrist, I panicked. I wanted to run up the stairs to find someone, anyone who could help us. But I knew I couldn't do that. I had to stay with my man. So I yelled again,
"HERE! HERE! HERE!"
"Jacob are you down there? Jacob?" Chris asked.
I had to catch my breath, but finally I was able to shout out,
"We're both down here. I'm with Brad. He's been hurt. We need help. Chris, please help us."
"Don't you move a fuckin' muscle. I'm going for help," yelled Chris.
And then there was silence.
After Chris left the other guys
and headed toward meeting Jacob, he couldn't get rid of some of the
images that kept returning to his mind. No matter how hard he
tried, he couldn't yet dismiss them. He actually had felt sick to
his stomach and once he thought that he might actually vomit, but
fortunately he had been able to get through those terrible minutes.
When he thought of Peter, a peacefulness returned to him and he was calm. He realized after the last few days how much Peter meant to him. It was more than that, he realized how much he loved him. It was a fact now, not just some notion, not some mythological fantasy. It was more than a simple feeling. Chris now knew it was a love that rose from his soul, a love that had enraptured him and had engulfed his being. He knew it wasn't sexual, although that was important and fulfilling. Now he understood that their love was so much more, so much more important; in fact, it was spiritual.
Passing the principal's office, he recollected his days in high school. He had bragged to Brad, but in reality he had not had much sexual experience in high school. He knew he was gay, and he knew that he had to travel to South Beach for some action. He only went one time because he found the scene more than he was ready to accept. He met some nice guys, but there was a tone, a high caliber demand for sex at any price.
As a senior in high school he discovered two guys who were gay and who put out for anyone who was good looking and well endowed. Fortunately for him, he filled the bill. So began a long affair with Aaron and Clifford. On a couple of occasions they had experimented with three-way sex. Then Aaron called the day Chris was leaving for Gainesville and college. Aaron had been drinking and started telling Chris' father about how sexy Chris was and how he enjoyed having sex with him. His father went ballistic, but fortunately he had already left for college.
His father had disowned him and forbade him to ever return home. His mother, emotionally distraught, failed to temper his father's rage. Brad, wonderful brother that he was, screamed and yelled at his father, but to no avail. His father had sent Brad to his room, with orders to stay there until he could control himself.
As Chris began his college years, he realized that this was a new page in his life's book. And when he met and fell in love with Peter, he knew he would be happy. Only Brad would remain a part of his family from the past. He had forged a new family with Peter. He still loved his mother, but he was unable to forgive her.
When he looked down the corridor, he could see the overturned wheelchair. `My good god,' he thought, `what has happened?' He increased his speed, as best he could, and he felt frightened that he had left Jacob alone. If anything had happened to that kid, he could never be able to forgive himself. Then he heard the cry:
"HERE! HERE! HERE!
From somewhere deep within him came the energy and the ability to run, and he ran quickly to the open door and called out for Jacob.
John Li, Father Jim, and Gary
were hurrying down the corridor after hearing the cry "Here". They
had not gotten too far when they saw Chris Mason running toward
them. He was breathless and obviously alarmed.
"Got to get help. Got to get help. Jacob and Brad are down in the cellar of this damn place. Mr. Li, Brad's hurt and needs help."
John Li looked at his two companions whose faces were masks of concern. He knew instantly what he had to do. He took Chris by the arm and turned to Jim and Gary.
"You three go to the boys. Brad's your brother, Chris, and Doug is at the hospital with another child. Father Jim, you and Gary should be there, too. I will run and get help. Be patient with me as I am not as young as you are so it might take a bit longer. I'm leaving now,"
"Mr. Li, how can I ever . . ." Chris tried to say.
"Later, you three are needed by your brother and his partner. Get to them! I will join you shortly." John Li turned and was hurrying down the corridor toward the principal's office where he would find all the help he needed.
As the other three hurried to the boys, Father Jim and Gary were filled with questions. Chris could only think about Brad and that he was hurt and needed medical attention.
"How badly is Brad injured?" Jim asked.
"I don't know. Jacob just said to get help. I rushed away, leaving those two down in that stinking, dark hole. I don't know if there was a struggle or not. But when I got back, Jacob's wheelchair had been knocked over, the large door was ajar and no one was here. I was scared shitless, oh sorry, Father."
Gary was laughing lightly. He poked Jim in the biceps and enjoined him to block his ears so he wouldn't hear naughty words, like `shit'. Jim snickered and grabbed Chris' hand.
"Chris, Gary isn't making fun of you. He's really making fun of me. But don't worry, I have heard that word and many other naughty words and I survived them all. I will make Gary pay for his frivolity tonight, you can count on that," said Jim.
"Are you making threats, Father Jim, or better still, is that a sincere promise?" asked Gary .
Chris stopped. Jim and Gary soon did the same.
"Guys, are you two an item? Or was it my imagination? Tell me you're a couple, `cause you'd made a great one," said Chris.
"There's no need to wonder or to delay getting to Jake and Brad. Yes, we're a happy couple and Gary will pay. And that, dear Gary , is a firm promise," said Jim.
"Look at the wheelchair and everything. See what I mean?" said Chris already forgetting what he had just heard.
Jim was the first to the door. He took a deep breath, and shouted,
`Jacob, are you okay? How badly is Brad injured?"
"Thank God you're here. I'm okay, just cold and dirty. I don't know about Brad's injuries. It seems to be a shoulder that really hurts him. I haven't moved him because I can't see anything in the darkness. He has spoken a few words to me, but that's all. He sleeps most of the time. Is there a doctor with you? Tell me!" Jacob demanded.
"Just hold on a little longer. Lots of help is on the way. I'm going to say a prayer for you and Brad," offered Father Jim.
"Thank you, Father," I said, my shivering making my voice sound odd.
Father Jim knelt down on the corridor floor. Gary and Chris joined him even though it caused Chris considerable pain. They joined hands, and after bowing their heads, Father Jim prayed.
"Gentle Jesus, we humbly ask You to look with loving favor on Your servants Brad and Jacob. Protect them from harm, and give Brad comfort from his injuries. Place Your gentle hands on both of these young men, and encircle them in Your holy arms providing them comfort and solace. Amen."
To be continued...
"The measure of love is to love
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