This is a story of friendship, commitment, love and trust. It is not a sex story. However, this story deals with love between male teenagers. If you are offended by stories involving love between two teenage boys, please do not read this story. There may be some sex scenes in this story; however, sex is not the main theme. If you are under age 18 or 21 or it is illegal to read this story where you live, don't read it. Reproducing this story for distribution without the owner's permission is a violation of that copyright.
samlakes86 at yahoo
Arbor Maine woke from a drunken stupor. He was sitting behind the seat of Kevin’s car. The engine was idling and in gear slowly inching along the road. Everything seemed surrealistic and far away. He started to giggle for some unknown reason. In his right hand was a nearly emptied fifth of whiskey he held it up trying to focus on the label.
A vehicle with bright headlights bumped him from behind and started pushing the car faster and faster along the road. Suddenly, Arbor was struck by a sobering thought; they were trying to kill him.
Arbor slammed his foot on the brake with no effect. He yanked the steering wheel hard to the right. No effect. Frantically he searched for the seat belt, but it was caught in the door. Looking out the windshield he saw the railing ahead. In a matter of seconds the car would hit the railing and the impact would send him flying through the windshield and life would be over.
Arbor managed to catapult his body over the front seat into the back and grabbing the seat belt held on as the car smashed through the barrier and continued into the air. He felt the car taking a nose dive as his body slammed into the back of the front seats. The car’s impact with the steep embankment sent the front seats crushing backwards pinning Arbor’s left leg. The car flipped on its roof partially collapsing it. Arbor’s body slammed into the roof with such force that his pinned leg twisted free. Arbor screamed in pain as the car continued to slide down the embankment on its roof.
Arbor felt the car in free fall once again then a jolt as the car was engulfed by the icy river. He gasped. The freezing water devouring him into it’s endless belly while the ferocious current yanked him out of the car and down the river, bouncing him off hidden boulders like the ball in a pinball machine.
Struggling for his life Arbor managed to fight his way to the surface, gasping for air as the numbing and raging torrent of water flailed him further and further down its icy path.
In the darkness he thought he saw a low lying branch and grabbed for it and with all his strength he held on. Somehow he managed to pull himself towards the shore, but now only a few feet from shore the merciless water was taking its toll on his body. He was losing his grip.
It would be over if he let go. It would be over if he didn’t get out of the water. He didn’t want to die, not yet. He had to get to Colt before they found him. He had to save his friend. And with that thought and that thought alone he fought his way to the shore where he collapsed.
The searing sun beat down upon his body. Vultures circled in the pale blue sky waiting and hoping for a fresh carcass. Arbor slowly opened his eyes hoping the nightmare was over. He looked around. It had not been a nightmare. It was real, too real. He couldn’t identify a single area of his body which didn’t hurt. He had no idea where he was or how long he’d been there. He was covered with mud and dirt. His jeans were torn and he had no idea of where he’d lost his shoes. He took a deep breath and a sharp stabbing intense pain inflected itself causing him to let out a scream which nobody heard.
He laid there an undeterminable period of time suffering from the night’s battle with the river and fighting the images of the previous evening. He lapsed back into the darkness of unconsciousness occasionally tormented by images of Alan mixed with images of Colt being shot. He woke screaming in terror. As he laid there, barely conscious, he thought he heard a train whistle coming from the west. With great effort Arbor slowly made it to his feet and started walking slowly and painfully westward.
"Hello, Highway Patrol. Good. There's been a serious accident" said the man in a Dodge Ram as he drove down the road away from the accident. He gave them the exact location. "Look I'm late for a meeting. The driver was drunk swerving all over the road and then he hit the crash barrier. He must have been doing eighty. There's no way anyone could have survived. I checked to see if maybe he had been thrown from his car, but saw no one and the car is sitting in the river. Only the bumper is showing. If the crash didn't kill him the river did. I can't stay any longer."
He didn't wait for a reply. He simply hit the off key. As he drove over the bridge he wiped the phone clean and threw the phone into the river below.
Kevin Mitchell was sitting in the kitchen when he heard the doorbell ring. It was two o'clock in the morning. He was tired and a little peeved that his step son had not returned home with his car. He opened the door not expecting to see a police officer standing there.
"Are you Kevin Mitchell? And do you own a 2005 Lincoln Town Car?" Officer Milner asked.
"Yes. What's wrong? Where's my step-son?" asked Kevin Mitchell.
"May I come in?" asked Milner.
Kevin invited him in.
"My step-son, where's my step-son?" demanded Kevin.
"Your car was involved in a serious accident. The car was found submerged in the Whitewater River. A witness to the accident said that the driver was apparently intoxicated and hit the crash barrier going eighty miles an hour there are no skid marks, but the damage to the car confirms the car was traveling at high speed.
"We found the wallet and driver's license of Arbor Maine inside the car. The body has apparently been carried downstream. I'm afraid his chance of survival from the crash is very slim in fact our assumption is that the driver was killed on impact."
"If your step-son has ever been finger printed it would help in possible identification of the body."
Kevin nodded to the officer "Just a minute, I need to wake my wife. Give me a few minutes."
"Sure, take your time, sir" said the officer.
Kevin walked into the bedroom. Ruth was sleeping peacefully. Kevin gently shook her. "Ruthie, wake up" Kevin said in a low monotone voice.
"Kev, what time is it?" she asked sleepily.
"It's after two. I-I need Arbor's finger prints. There's been an accident the police think Arb…Arbie been killed" he said.
"No! No! Kev!" she cried bursting into tears. Kevin held her.
Another squad car pulled up outside. Another officer got out and walked up to the front door.
Milner went out to meet him. They talked.
"We've probably got to answer some questions. The Officer said Arbor was drunk. I just can't believe that's true" Kevin said quietly. "I need his ID card, the one with the finger prints. An eyewitness said he must have hit the crash barrier at eighty miles an hour and was drunk. They haven't found his body. They think it was swept away in the river's current."
Ruth put on her housecoat and slippers and walked out of the room and downstairs to the office/den and dug out Arbor's Children's ID kit she had kept since he was ten.
She gave the ID kit to the officer.
"I'm very sorry, folks" Officer Milner said "But, I have some other questions to ask. Do you know if your son knew a Stephen A. Benison?"
"Alan Benison. He never used Stephen. He's a graduate student of mine. He's recently finish his doctorate. Arbor and Alan have been friends since Arbor was twelve - almost six years. What does Alan have to do with the accident?" Ruth asked refusing to agree that Arbor was dead.
"Well, a person of your son's description was seen running from Mr. Benison's apartment. Then, getting into your car and driving off very recklessly with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. Upon investigation Officer Mills discovered the body of Alan Benison. An apparent victim of suicide - he'd blown his brains out. A note on the computer screen was a confession of his intent to take his life and apparently he was ‘in love' with your son and had made some advances to your son and your son apparently refuted them and was going to tell."
"No, Alan would never do that and" Kevin shot her a look and she said nothing further.
"I'm sorry, Ma'am, but we're just going by the evidence. We think Benison got your son drunk and tried to make advances. Your son refuted the advances ran out of the apartment. Mr. Benison, fearing reprisals simple took the easy way out. It's happened before this type of thing." Milner asserted.
Late the next evening Kevin and Ruth were informed that and extensive search of the river did not produce any results and that it was very unlikely the body would ever be recovered.
The local paper had carried a story of their son's death and the suicide of Stephen A. Benison along with the supposition as to the relation of the two deaths.
Arbor walked slowly and steadily for two hours when he found the railroad tracks. He still had no idea where he was or which way to go so, he went right. One miles later he came to a graded, but seriously neglected road. He went right again.
Two hours later he saw a trailer home. As he approached it really looked run down and looked deserted.
"Hello. Hello. Anybody here?" he called.
There was no reply. He pounded on the door. Nothing.
Arbor carefully and slowly opened the door and went in. It was deserted. A single can of beans in the cupboard, a pair of jeans only slightly better condition than his totally ripped jeans, five sizes too big for him, and a dirty XXX-Large tee shirt which looked more like a night shirt when he tried it on. He found a rusty screw driver which he used to open the can of beans. After finishing the can of beans he lay down on the floor and fell asleep.
The next day he woke screaming in terror. His body hurt and he could hardly move and he felt very sick. His sleep had been repeatedly broken by nightmares of what had happened. But the worst was what had just woke him. Instead of Alan it was Colt. He saw Colt on a roof of a building being pistol whipped by the man who had blown Alan's brains out. Then Colt was running and was shot in the back of the head splattering his brains all over Arbor. As he laid there all he could think about was Alan and what had happened. He kept seeing the image of Alan's death. He would find them and he would kill them for what they had done. He thought of Alan again and for the first time started crying over the loss. He cried until again he passed into a restless and gruesome sleep.
Arbor slept most of the day. His temperature was high and as evening approached he began to get cold and shivered continuously. Finally, he managed to fight his way back to consciousness and after a time he managed to ventured outside the abandoned trailer in search of something to help keep him warm and he needed water. The water he found was in a mosquito ridded rain barrel. Other than the mosquito larva which inhabited the surface the water below seemed drinkable. And so using the empty bean can he dipped down into the water and well below the larvae and drank his fill.
He found a box of dirty oil stained rags and a stack of old newspapers which he slowly took back into the trailer. He made a makeshift mattress out of the rags and papers, then used more of the papers as a cover and fell back into unconsciousness.
It was the third day since he'd climbed out of the river. He woke with a start when a dog began licking his face. He let out a yelp which scared the dog and the dog started barking at him.
"Hey, muttski! Whatcha barkin' at?" called a voice as the trailer door open.
Arbor was petrified. His first reaction was to get out of there, there was no way out. His second reaction was to hide, There was no place to hide so he crouched down in the corner of the trailer like a scared rat.
"What the hell!" the old man said. "Hey, muttski looks like you trapped us a trespasser!" the old man laughed. "Come on, kid. Up you git. I ain't gonna hurtcha. I jest joshin' you." he said with a kind smile.
Arbor smiled back "I didn't mean to trespass, sir. I just needed someplace to sleep last night."
"Here are your clothes" Arbor said stepping out of the jeans and taking off the tee shirt.
"Jesus! Boy what the heck happened to you?" the man said staring at Arbor.
Arbor's left rib cage was black and blue as was nearly every other part of his body. His own shirt and jeans were ripped to shreds and were barely hanging on his body. Arbor hadn't thought of what he must look like to others until that point as he looked down at his body then back at the man who was starring at him.
"I…I fell in the river." Arbor said.
"Boy! Thar ain't no river for 5 miles. Now you be honest with ole Jessie Creamer, you be one of those abused kids! Right?"
Arbor thought for a few seconds and then replied quietly with his head hung down "Yes, sir. But please don't do nothin' to hurt my pa. He's having a rough time and it would darn near kill my mother if the police took him away. She's an invalid and without my pa's money she'd died!"
"Well, I ain't one for causin' peoples troubles nor am I one to go runnin' to no sheriff or police. My Betsie Mae will tend to you - when's the last time you had a square meal?"
"I ate your can of beans two days ago." Arbor said.
"That ain't no square meal, son. What's your name, anyhow?" Jessie asked.
Arbor thought the he saw the word ‘Phoenix' in a headline of one of the papers on the floor called ‘The Star' "Uh..Phoenix Starr. That's Star with two ‘R's, sir" Arbor said.
"That's a right interestin' name, son. Well, come along let's git in my truck and git you fixed up and back in good health."
Arbor took two steps, his legs felt like rubber, the room started spinning then everything went dark as his body crumpled to the floor.
Arbor woke to hear voices talking.
"Jessie, I just don't understand how people can treat their own flesh and blood like this. That boy had five cracked ribs and bruises all over his body - it's a wonder he's alive. Now I've bandaged him up, however I'll want to see him in a few days. Meanwhile, you and Betsie kept him in bed so those ribs will heal. He can get up to go to the john, but nothin' else. Here's some medicine make sure he takes one of these every six hours and one of these every four hours. If he needs a pain killer give him one of these or an aspirin"
The two promised they would. Then Betsie said "Look, Doctor Adams. I thinks he's waken up"
Phoenix half smiled at them and said weakly "Where am I?"
"Well, youse shore knowed how to gives an ole man likes me a scare young'n. Phoenix Starr, this here is Doc Adams and this is my wife, Betsie and if'n you do remember, I'm Jessie. Jessie Creamer."
"Hi" said Arbor. He thought "Who's Phoenix Starr?" Then he vaguely remembered the paper.
"Young man, you mind these good people and don't give'em a hard time." said the doctor.
"Yes, sir. I mean, no sir… I mean I'll do what they say and behave myself."
For the next week Arbor was confined to bed. However, he was given first class service from the Creamer's. They had had a son, but he had died from leukemia when he was seventeen. He was there only child and after his death they had left the city bought this land and spent most of their years farming it. Life had been hard on them, however, they were good people and Arbor nearly forgot his own problems. He had developed a great fondness for them. And it was evident that they felt the same for him.
Two nights before he left Betsie woke him. He had been crying and shouting in his sleep. It was the image of Alan getting shot mixed with the same nightmare about Colt. He looked at Betsie his whole body trembling and just started sobbing she held him in her arms comforting him the way only a mother can do.
"They killed Alan. They killed him…they blew his brains out…I've got to protect Colt…" he cried. She continued to cuddle him until he was asleep again.
The next morning at breakfast Jessie looked at Arbor with his steel gray eyes "That was some nightmare you was having last night, son. That's about the fourth time you had the same dream in one week! Howse about tellin' us the truth."
Arbor looked down into his plate of scrambled eggs and bacon. He pushed at the food slowly. Tears started forming in his eyes. He held them back.
"Alan called me up and tells me to come over. When I get there, there are two other men in his apartment. He was scared and I could see they'd roughed him up a bit they asked me if I had my laptop computer with me. I said ‘yes'. They told me to start drinking a bottle of whiskey or they kill Alan." Arbor paused. He closed his eyes and a tear fell on to the table.
He shook his head opened his eyes and continued "When I'd finished half the bottle I looked over at Alan who had tears streaming down his cheeks. The one guy yanked Alan's head back shoved his gun in Alan's mouth and pulled the trigger. Alan tried to fight, but it was too late the guy pulled the trigger and the back part of Alan's head blew off. His body went limp. He…he was dead."
"I threw up then passed out. The next thing I knew I was in my step dad's car getting pushed down the embankment into the river. I got caught in the current and nearly drowned. Somehow, I survived. I wandered around 'til I found the trailer."
The old couple had moved in close to Arbor.
"You must be the boy that they thought was killed in that drunk driving accident! The papers weren't too kind about your friend. They said he was the one that got you drunk and tried to molest you and when you refused and left he got scared about what would happen that he blew his brains out."
"That's not true! They killed him!" Arbor exclaimed.
"Son, you've got to talk to the police." Jessie said calmly.
"No! No. Don't you see they think I'm dead. If they knew I was alive they'd kill me and they'd kill you! I don't know if they know about Colt. But sooner or later they'll figure it out and then they try to get him too! Please, Jessie, Betsie you've got to promise me NO police! No Sheriff!" Arbor cried in desperation.
"Okay. Okay. We'll just keep this our secret" said Jessie calmly.
Later that day Arbor went outside to find Jessie. He found him working on the tractor.
"Jessie. I need to talk to you." Arbor said.
"Go ahead. Talk." Jessie said with a fatherly smile. He knew what was coming.
"I've got to leave. I've got to get to the bottom of this and I've got to see those two never ever kill anyone again. When it's all over I want to come back and visit you and Betsie. I don't really want to leave, but I've got to end this affair and besides my Mom could be in danger too. And I miss her so much."
"I understand." Jessie said sadly. Then with a forced smile "Man's gotta do what a man's gotta do!"
"Thanks" Arbor said as he hugged the old man. Jessie hugged him back closing his eyes and forcing the tears away.
"Well, when ya fixin' on leavin'" he asked trying to appear cheerful.
"Tomorrow mornin' if in youse can gimme a ride to town." Arbor said trying to cheer him up by talking country.
"Well, city boy, whatcha gonna do fer money?" Jessie asked.
"I hadn't even thought about that. I guess I'll hitchhike." Arbor said.
"No boy of mine is gonna hitchhike. I got a few hundred tucked away. I'll give it to you, but you've got to promise me you'll pay me back personally in a couple of months!" Jessie said.
"I promise" Arbor said.
The next day Arbor bid them both good bye at the bus stop then got on the bus.
When he arrived in the city his first port of call was the mall. He walk into the mall as a brown-eyed brunette and walked out as a blue-eyed blond with his ear pierced and wearing wide legged jeans with shoes that made him a little taller a couple of fake tattoos that looked real and an unlit cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth.
In short he was Phoenix Starr.
Arbor Maine was dead.