The contents of this story is purely fictional. The content matter of this story concerns love and may include sex between consenting males teenagers. If this is not what you like reading or it is illegal for you to read this material because of age or laws go somewhere else. This story is copyrighted by it's owner and may not be copied or published elsewhere without the owners permission.

Author's note:

Hey! Okay a new story...well sort of a rewrite of an earlier story with a lot more detail. The story is complete. Yay! It has been edited and my thanks to David, my editor, who is also an accomplished writer. You can see his stories here at .

I would like to thank the most wonderful guy in the world, Matt, who makes my heart melt. Dude you are the greatest.

I shall post chapters depending on response. That is to say higher volume responses equals more chapters posted(I might even be tempted to post more chapters on Raising Noah, Queststar and Landsphere...ya never know...)

Sam Lakes

SamLakes dot writer at Gmail dot com

The Greatest Gift

by Sam Lakes

Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved

Chapter 1

<Ethan Lewis>

I never thought I’d ever be going to school again, but here I am at Wilmington High and here I am working my way through a maze of other students to my homeroom class. It’s still weird, strange and scary to be here.

A few people talk to me, but most avoid me. Well, it’s not surprising because I didn’t make a good impression coming into the school in handcuffs, practically dragged along by Detective Briscoe to the office. I guess most of the students think I’m some kind of social pariah or psychopath. Anyway, they avoid me.

To be honest, I avoid them, too. Not so much because I want to but because I’m not sure how to act around them and I don’t want to be rejected. I don’t really trust people, so when they ask questions, I generally answer with the shortest possible answer. Life is funny the last four years, I wanted nothing more than to be with people my own age and to have friends, now I have the opportunity, but I’m scared.

I guess old habits are hard to die and my habit for the last four years was to avoid people and be invisible. It all started when I was eleven…

Four years earlier

I had been in a private boarding school when my parents were killed in a private plane crash. It turned my world upside down. The authorities put me into a foster home because I had no living relatives. The foster parents seem nice and all, but they only took me because of the money they got from the state. I slept in a room with an older boy called Ken. He was really nice to me, and I really liked him a lot. When I’d cry he’d always hold me and make me feel safe and loved.

Ken told me he was a runaway. His parents had kicked him out, and he did favors for Mr. Harkens in exchange for his room. Ken told me that the foster parents were okay except when Mr. Harkens got drunk. At the time, I didn’t know what drunk was.

Things seemed to be going fine for about a month but then one night Mr. Harkens came into the room. He stunk really awful. His hands were touching my private parts and I whispered, “Stop.” I tried to squirm away from him touching me but, he was a big man. He was trying to pull down my pants.

“Stop! You’re hurting me!” I yelled.

“Get away from him!” shouted Ken.

“Jealous? Is he your boyfriend? Too bad, I’m gonna have his cute little ass,” said Mr. Harkens. Then he grabbed me again. I tried to fight back, but he had a strong grip on my arm and it hurt. I screamed.

Ken hit him with a baseball bat and he let go of me. Mr. Harkens turned towards Kenny and Kenny hit him again along the side of his head. Mr. Harkens’ body crumpled to the ground.

“Is he dead?” I asked shakily.

“No, but you can’t stay here because he’ll just try to hurt you when he gets drunk the next time. You need to leave right now before he comes to. Pack your stuff. Now!”

He threw me his backpack to me. I started packing what few things I had.

“Where will I go? Will you come with me?” I asked.

“No…I…I can’t.”

“But-but I’m scared. I don’t want to leave you. I-I love you,” I pleaded and started to cry.

“Ethan,” he said softly, “I love you, too. But I can’t go with you. I have to stay here to protect you. You need to get away – far away and you have to keep them from finding you. Don’t get caught because they will just put you in another foster home with another foster parent like Harkens. I don’t want you to ever be hurt like that.”

“I’m scared Kenny. Why can’t we go together? I’m not smart like you,” I said wiping my tears away.

“I know, you’re smarter than me. Oh, baby, don’t cry,” Ken said. “I love you; but, if I go with you it will make it easier for them to find us. And, the – the thing is, I’m afraid that someday I might hurt you. And, I don’t ever want to hurt you. If you really, really love me you’ll go. Please.”

The thing is, I did really, really love him, so I did what he told me to do. He told me several things. First, don’t let people see you cry because they’ll try to help but end up turning you over to the police. He gave me wad of cash and told me not to let anyone see I had that much money. He told me to be stingy with it and it could last me a year or two. Hey, what did I know? I was an 11 year old kid who had been cared for his whole life. Money was simply pieces of paper to buy stuff with. Being stingy meant only buying one dozen donuts not two dozen donuts.

I managed to get two states away by sneaking into the back of a pickup.  I got out in a city. It must have been rush hour because I knew the driver could see me but he couldn’t chase after me.

I found an abandoned house that was boarded up except for a small basement window at the back. The window slid sideways to open. I tried opening it but it only slid halfway. I knew I’d never squeeze through half the window so I broke the window by kicking it. Then I squeezed through the window and dropped to the floor. Being a kid had its advantages, but being short had its disadvantages because the window was a good three feet above my head and to get out I’d have to stand on something.

The part of the basement that I was in was really dark and I could barely see the wall ahead if me. At the left end was an open doorway. I picked up Ken’s backpack and walk over to the doorway. Through the doorway, it was dark and dank and scary. I wished Ken were here.

I inched my way forward in the dark trying to find a stairway up. After what seemed like a long time, I found steps that led up. Because it was boarded up, the upstairs was just as dark as the basement. At least it wasn’t dank.

By chance, I found a light switch and flipped it on. Suddenly, the room was bathed in light. I was in the kitchen. There were no appliances, but there was a ratty old table and two chairs.

I explored the rest of the house, turning on the lights as I went. Other than being dusty, dirty and having lots of cobwebs, it wasn’t a bad place. There was running water in the bathroom, but it was cold. I found that out because I had to poop, and when I finished I realized there was nothing to wipe my butt with. No way was I going to go around with a dirty butt. I took off my socks, shoes, jeans and underwear. Then I squatted in the bathtub and washed my butt. Damn, that water was cold; however, I had a clean butt. Of course, I didn’t have a towel, so I gathered up my clothes and continued exploring while my lower half air dried.

The place was perfect except for one thing – I still was trapped inside. I had a vision of one day someone finding a little skeleton in the house - a little skeleton that had been me – dead from starvation. And at that point, I was really hungry.

I took one of the kitchen chairs to the basement tried using it to reach the window. That didn’t work as my fingers barely reached the window ledge. I couldn’t scream for help because then the police would come and they’d put me with someone like Mr. Harkens and Ken wouldn’t be there to protect me.

I started to cry because I didn’t want to be a skeleton that someone found in the future but then I realized I was crying too loudly, so I tried to cry silently. I heard a noise in the basement. I had visions of a hungry rat waiting for me to die or become weak with hunger and then eating me alive.

I ran up the stairs and slammed the basement door. I sat down on the floor and leaned against the door in case there really was a giant rat that really could push the door open. Moments later, I heard a scratching at the door and then heard the faintest cry, “Mew…mew… mew.” I slowly opened the door and looking up at me was the cutest little orange and white kitten with yellowy-green eyes.

The kitty mewed again. I reached down and picked it up, and then closed the basement door. Then I sat back down against the door just in case the giant rat really was down there.

“Hi, kitty, how did you get in the basement?” I asked. Then I realized it must have followed me through the window. “I guess we’re both trapped in this house,” I said. The kitty began to purr, but then stopped. It jumped out of my lap, went over to the boarded up backdoor, mewed, and then started scratching.

Curious about what the kitten was doing, I went over to look. I saw a faint light coming from under the door. I opened the door and discovered that there were two separate pieces of wood boarding up the door. The bottom piece was only a foot high. I figured I could crawl out if I could get that one piece off. I sat down on the floor and gave it a hard kick. It moved about an inch. I kicked again, and it came off.

The kitten ran off which made me sad.

I peered out the opening and didn’t see anyone. I reached out and pulled the board back toward the house. I needed to make the board look like it hadn’t been kicked off, but that was impossible because the nails were in the way. So, I turned off the light in the kitchen and waited for it to get dark.

By the time it got dark, I was nearly starving to death. I pushed the board out of the way, crawled out, and went to find something to eat.

I found a McDonalds. Remembering what Kenny had told me about being stingy I ordered double quarter pounder with cheese, super-sized because the guy behind the counter told me it was the best value, two cherry pies and an ice cream sundae for desert to go.

By the time I got back to the abandoned house I had eaten all of the fries, the quarter-pounder and both of the pies. I ate the pies first because they were melting my ice cream sundae. I was stuffed and didn’t even finish my sundae before I fell asleep.

The next morning I went back to the same McDonalds for breakfast. I was watching the TV as I ate. My heart skipped when I saw a video of Mr. Harkens’ house. The sound was turned down but the closed-caption said Mr. Harkens was dead. I saw Kenny’s name but didn’t get to read what it said because it went by too fast. The next image that flashed on the screen was photo of me. The close caption read, “Police are looking for eleven year old Ethan Lewis.” I bolted from McDonalds leaving most of my breakfast and I ran back to my hideout.

Maybe they think I killed Mr. Harkens. Maybe Kenny told them I did it. No, Kenny would never do that. Omigod! Maybe they think Kenny killed me and hid my body.  I was scared. I didn’t want to be placed in another home where someone like Mr. Harkens would hurt me.

It took me all day to decide what to do. I waited until after dark and took a bus to somewhere far from my hideout. I called the Pittsburg police and asked to speak to the detective in charge of the Harkens case. I talk in as much of a girly voice as I could so they wouldn’t recognize me. I told them I was ‘Maisy Bravo’. I was sent to voice mail.

“Hello, you’ve reached Detective Connors. I am away from my desk. Please leave a message.”

“This is Ethan Lewis. I didn’t kill Mr. Harkens and neither did Kenny and Kenny didn’t kill me because I’m not dead. Mr. Harkens tried to hurt me and Kenny tried to protect me. Bye.” I hung up. I was still scared and hoped they wouldn’t find me. I didn’t want to be put in another home like Mr. Harkens’.

After two months, my money had dwindled to $33.32. Eating out is expensive and I had to by some essentials: one winter coat, $78.43 (it was on sale); one sleeping bag $88.91 (but it was good to 30 below); one flashlight 18.99; rechargeable batteries $26.72; plus other stuff like food and a couple of night-lights.

But, that wasn’t the really bad news. When I woke up one morning, it was because someone was prying the boards off the front door. I quickly gathered up my stuff and hid in the closet, hoping whoever came into the house would not look in there.

Luckily, they didn’t. I overheard two men talking about doing repairs and painting because some family was going to be moving in. As soon as they were gone, I packed all my things and left. It was a school day and I was as nervous as a cat in a dog pound because I was afraid someone would spot me and start asking questions. I saw a cop car coming towards me a block away and I ducked into the next building.

I discovered the building was an apartment house that had six apartments – well, at least there were six mailboxes. I decided to explore. In the basement there was a laundry room with six washing machines and six dryers, a big sink, and a long table.  Beyond the last dryer was a door.

The door wasn’t locked, so I opened it. It was a fairly large storage room. Across the room was a door that was mostly blocked by chairs, bed parts and other stuff. I squeezed through all the stuff to the door. I opened the door, found a light switch and turn it on. The room was practically empty except for shelves at one end that held old cans of dried up paint, paint brushes, paint trays and dried up rollers, and other stuff. There was a thick layer of dust on everything. It was obvious no one had been in there for years.

I left the little room and looked again at what was at the stuff in the other room. The whole storage room looked like things had been tossed in there and forgotten about. There was an old bed with a rolled up mattress and boxes of junk stacked on it. I also found a night table and an old lamp.

I had found my new home! I cleaned up the room, being as quite as possible. I arranged the things in the storage room so that they hid the door to ‘my room’.

I was filthy from all the cleaning, but I was starved. I checked my watch. It was 4:00. School was out, so it would be safe for me to go outside. I found a quick shop about a block and a half from my room. They made fresh deli sandwiches.

Under the watchful eye of the deli-man and the cashier, I wandered around the store trying to decide what to buy. They probably thought I was going to steal something. I picked up a pint of milk. I really wanted chocolate milk but it was more expensive than regular milk; and forget skimmed milk – that stuff is nasty! I also picked up a small box of Quaker Oats – I would have preferred Frosted Flakes but. Finally, I walked over to the deli.

“Hello, sir, how are you today?” I asked.

“I’m doing fine young man,” he replied. I liked him instantly because he called me ‘young man’ instead of ‘kid,’ or, God forbid, ‘little boy’. “And how are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m doing well, sir. I just moved here so you’ll probably see me regularly in your very nice store. Would you happen to have a special on your delicious roast beef sandwiches, today?” I asked. I felt like saying ‘hint-hint’ but it would have been too obvious that I was begging for a bargain.

“Sorry, no special today young man,” he replied.

“Oh, well, then I guess I‘ll have a cheese sandwich,” I told him. I tried to stay cheerful.

“A cheese sandwich?”

“Yes sir, cheddar cheese, please.”

“And what would you like on it?”

“Everything that would be no additional cost.” That’s what Kenny would have said. He told me it makes you sound like a cheapskate if you say free. I missed him.

While the man, the deli man was making my sandwich, I picked up a couple of cupcakes for dessert.

“Young man, your cheese sandwich,” he called.

“Thank you very much sir, and have a wonderful evening,” I said as I took my sandwich.

“You too, young man,” he replied with a pleasant smile. I smiled back at him. I liked him.  He was a nice man.

The lady at the checkout counter was nice too. I told her to have a pleasant and beautiful evening.

When I got back to my room, I opened up my cheese sandwich. There was only one slice of cheddar cheese, but there were four slices of roast beef! The man must have made a mistake. I wrapped the sandwich back up and returned to the store and back to the deli.

“Sir, I said whispered, “You gave me the wrong sandwich. I brought it back because I don’t want you to get in trouble with the owner.”

“Ethan,” he said, “I am the owner and that is the way I made your cheese sandwich. Don’t you like it?”

“Uh, well yes, sir, but I thought you made a mistake and I didn’t know you were the owner. How do you know my name?”

“I heard you talking to Dorothy,” he chuckled.

I thanked him, grabbed my sandwich, and rushed to the checkout counter. “I already paid for this. I just don’t want to put it on the floor,” I said. Then I went over to the magazines. They were sort of out of order so I quickly rearranged them and made them neat and tidy.

Meanwhile, the deli-man had come to look at what I was doing. “My daddy told me if someone does you a favor you should do them a favor” I said. “There. All neat and tidy!”

“Why, thank you Ethan. That was very nice of you.”

“My pleasure sir, and thank you for my cheese sandwich.”

I took my sandwich and skipped all the way back to my room.


Comments welcomed - So what do you think? Love to get feedback from you.

sam lakes