The standard warnings apply here: If you are under 18 don't stop here, just go away  If you are offended by stories of gay love between consenting young men, just go away. If you live in a place that limits your freedom of thought and expression by repressive laws and ordinances, just go away. All that said, feel free to read on. The authors retain all rights to this story.

Authors Note: This is our first story so please be patient with any mistakes we made. All email's will be responded to by the authors. This story is entirely fictional.

For our readers James and Billy, our Dutch friend Adrian and our two Buds in Love, Kit and David: Thanks for the encouragement guys. Derek, we love ya Dude.

There are several well written stories in the Archives that we'd like to let you know about and recommend: "David and Tristan" by D.Z. in the Gay HS section; "Julio" and "The Day My Life Began" by Miguel Sanchez, both located in the Gay AY section; "A Special Place" by Sequoyah in the Gay HS section; "No Greater Love" and "High Iron" in the Gay-Historical section and all of the "Willow Bird" series of stories by John Water located in the American Indian Stories area of the Archives.

Will and Tyler's Odyssey
Part One: In the Beginning

   The snow covered everything and still fell very heavily. It was a winter wonderland by 2:00pm and the winds had began so rather than hold class, we each instructed the few students that had bothered to show up for our classes that afternoon to keep warm and have a good weekend. Everybody who bothered to show up would get points on their finals for going through the trouble in the now nearly blizzard conditions. Capricious I know, but you always have to keep them wondering!

   Ty was feeling much better this week as we have been spending a lot of time in the pool at WSU.
Since our anniversary a few weeks ago, the pain and cramping had become much less of a problem for Ty and our intimacy improved too. We had made passionate love without the agony of Ty's
knotted muscles that usually followed our bedroom fun. I love to have sex with Ty - he turns me on so much, but then he always has!

   My recurrent insomnia has eased too and I was able sleep soundly in Ty's arms for many entire nights without the sleeplessness intruding. Tonight was different though. I knew after I'd kissed my drowsy Ty following our lovemaking, that I was destined to be awake most of the night again. Ty had noticed my absence from our bed a couple of weeks ago and had asked if I was all right. What could I tell him? I can't sleep sometimes so I get up and re-read our journals? Well that's what I told him. Ty said he understood how I felt - for the past month he hadn't been able to sleep past 5am! He was reading the journals before I got up!  Passing lovers in the night!

   But now, Ty was sleeping soundly, his soft snores slow and easy, when I eased myself out of our bed and made my way once again into the study. I was now into Volume Two of the written account of our lives together, where the first few lines I read threatened to bring tears to my eyes as I began to read and remember....

Chapter Four

   Thanksgiving was coming and Ty was in the hospital. I had never had someone close to me be admitted to a hospital before and I was not dealing with it very well at all. Coming on top of the best three months of my almost 17 years of life - our lives seemed to become a sine wave of peaks and
valleys - all minor stuff until now. Even being the child of a physician and understanding what goes on and why, didn't stop the feelings of helplessness and an underlying current of barely concealed terror that I felt. My Babe was going under the knife one more time. So I paced a lot, to the point that Derrick and Mom told me that I was driving them nuts!  But Derrick was as bad or worse than I was. He'd been through this before - he told me that it never gets any easier.

   When Tyler's doctor told him he needed another operation to correct more of the injuries he'd suffered in the accident that had killed his Mother and left Ty in a wheelchair, my lover at first flatly refused. He had grown to hate hospitals - who wouldn't after what he'd been through, but alfter many tearful days he finally consented to have the surgery. I had felt powerless to help him but Ty had finally agreed after i had promised over and over to be with him when he went to sleep and when he awakened from the anesthesia.

   Mom arranged for me to stay with Ty until he was discharged a couple of days following the surgery. Just before he had to go into the hospital, we stayed in bed all day together, holding each other and gently making love over and over. I had refused to go to school and after arguing with Mom and Derrick about it for two days they finally relented. I think that it was actually sinking through that Ty and I were really together for life - and where Ty went, I went and vice versa. 

   I had been in his room while the nurse gave him the medications that would relax my lover and kissed him deeply while I held him in my arms as he fell asleep. Some of the nurses gave me a hard look while I held Ty, but none interrupted us while I comforted and reassured the guy I loved so
much. I would have gladly traded places with him.

   Mom came into Ty's room to check on him before she scrubbed in on the operation. She had her own work to do, but had made time to check on his progress between her own schedule of operations that morning. She gave us both a kiss on the cheek before going to the OR.

   "He'll be just fine Will, Janice will take good care of Ty," she told me as I held my sleepy lover.

   "I know's just...Ty is so important to me, he is my whole world now. I know that Aunt Janice will do her best, it's just that I feel so helpless right now."

   Fear. It was palpable in the air around Derrick. He knew that there was nothing life-threatening about the procedure to resection and repair some of the injuries Ty had suffered nearly two years earlier, but it didn't help him. I knew he was reliving that horrible day in his mind. Derrick had been through this over and over with Ty after the accident, he knew the procedure was safe, but it didn't help him. Me either. As Derrick and I sat together, my hand eventually sought his and so we waited, each gaining as much strength as was possible from from the other.  The waiting was pure hell.

   When Mom showed-up in her blue surgical garb with those funny booties over her Nike cross trainers, I knew that Ty was all right and I felt great relief. There was no misinterpreting her smile.

   Derrick and I let out big sighs simultaneously, like we had been holsing our breaths the entire time that Ty was in the OR. I think I had been doing just that, the relief feelt so good.  We embraced each other tightly, and then wiped our eyes with our hands.

   "You guys are the biggest babies I know!" Mom was trying to look serious and then stopped trying to impress us with her solemn "doctor" persona. She was grinning too broadly for that to be possible.

   "Tyler came through the anesthesia and procedure easily. Janice did a great job too."

   Janice is Janice Dayton Rogers, MD, FACS. She and Mom went to Med School together.

   "Thanks Carley...for everything," Derrick told Mom with his eyes filling again. He embraced Mom too. I hugged both of them to me.

   "When can we see him Mom?" I asked.

   "In an hour or so Will. Ty is going to be in a regular room after they bring him down from recovery. You'll be there when he wakes up fully and  you'll keep your promise to him son."

   An hour later, Janice walked down the hallway towards Derrick and me as we waited outside the recovery area. As usual, Janice was cheerful and funny, defusing a lot of our anxiety with her smiles and "sassy" attitude. Outside the OR, she was a lot of fun to be around. With a patient on the table under her skilled hands, she was known as "The Tiger of the OR:"  all business and don't screw-up as several of her student surgeons had found out over the years to their dismay.

   We all chatted quietly about how well the operation had gone while we waited for Ty to be brought
to his - our - room.

   "Tyler took the anesthetic very well, in fact we didn't have to use as much as we thought we would because the whole procedure went very smoothly and quickly. The reattachments and the resection went off without a hitch. One odd thing though, he kept saying something like "He'll never let me fall," over and over before he was finally completely under. Is that some kind of prayer?"

   Derrick and I looked at each other and smiled.

   "Not a prayer Doctor. It's a statement of trust and love," Tyler's Dad told her. Derrick didn't say anything else but he squeezed my shoulder tightly with his hand. He had understood what Ty had meant too.

   "Aunt" Janice is very nice and looks almost too young to be a doctor, much less Chief of Orthopedic and Sports Medicine at University Hospital and Professor of Medicine.  I never asked Mom how Janice was available to take Ty as a patient, since she didn't carry a patient caseload at Memorial, but here she was anyway. I think I knew anyway.

   Derrick and I were appropriately grateful on Ty's behalf: dinner at Derrick and Ty's Gourmet Oasis. Of course we would wait until the subject of the dissection could be present too!

   I was sitting by Ty's bed holding his hand when he woke up.

   "Hi Babe. Been waiting long?" My boyfriend asked me after he opened his eyes.

   "An eternity and then some Ty. I understand a lot better now why Derrick has such a hard time when you have to be in the hospital." I felt the hot tears rolling down my cheeks as I gaved into his fabulous eyes.

   I leaned down and kissed Ty very softly on his lips.

   Ty pulled our clasped hands to his lips and kissed my fingers one by one, like he did that first night we had confessed our love for each other.

   "I love you Will Johnston, more than you'll ever know."

   "I love you Tyler Anderson, more and more every day. You are my whole world Ty."

   Derrick came in after softly knocking at the door. He was getting used to letting us have our privacy. Ty's Dad crossed the room and stood next to me while he leaned over and kissed Ty on both cheeks and his lips. It was the way he and Ty's Mom had kissed him fron the day he was born. Derrick turned to me, took my head in his hands and repeated the same kisses he'd just given his son.

   "You both make me so very happy," Derrick told us, his smile lighting up the room. We sat around for a little while, the three of us chatting amiably before Ty nodded off back to sleep.

   "Will, I want you to know that I think of you as my second son." Derrick told me after Ty had dropped off into healing sleep.

   "I know that I haven't been as supportive as I could have been in the past couple of months: I let you both sort out your relationship and didn't interfere. I'm very glad I didn't. I can see now that my anxiety about the two of you - about your relationship with Tyler - were completely unfounded. I know that Ty loves you very much. I haven't seen him happy, since the accident. You are the reason for that change Will. Ty made a wise choice of you to be his lover and I want you to know, that I feel the same way."  Once again, both of us were teary as Derrick told me what was in his heart.

   "I know that your father has not been a part of your life for a long time....but I...I want you to understand that I'd be very honored and priviliged if you'd consider me your second father and allow me to act as if you were my own son too." I jumped up out of my chair and threw myself into
Derrick's arms and cried.

   What he'd just told me was the finest compliment anyone had ever given me.  I felt the same way about Derrick too.  He had always treated me as another member of his family.

   Ty was quite sore for a couple more days after he was released and came back home, but as he got used to the way his muscles worked in his back again, he discovered that the "kink" in his ability to turn his upper body was no longer there! It had been a problem for Ty more and more often lately so
that is where the need for an additional surgery was really necessary.

   Derrick had warned me - Ty had too in his own way - but I had no idea how scared and helpless I'd feel when Ty had been in the OR.  I knew that Ty was genuinely pragmatic about the need for further trips to the hospital - even after all his protests. It was a fact of his life since the accident and it would be in the future too.  So get on with it anyway!  Besides we had to study for finals!

   I sat in his darkened bedroom and watched Ty sleep.  Watching my lover sleep gave me a lot pleasure, although of us neither knew why. I'd frequently awakened to find Ty curled up in the easy chair in his room doing the same thing: Watching me sleep.

   "Oohhh," Ty groaned. I was holding his hand in mine again when he began to wake-up after his nap, slowly opening his eyes.


   "I'm right here babe," I said as I kissed his hand. "I'm here beside you Ty. Try to sleep some more. I'll be here when you wake up again," I told my boyfriend while I gently rubbed his chest, something I knew relaxed and soothed him. He lifted his hand and placed it on top of mine.

   "I love you William Johnston."

   "I love you Tyler Anderson."


   Our "secret" had lasted all of two weeks after Ty had gotten out of the hospital and returned to school. Ty had made a lot of new friends since September when he had started to work out with us at the pool six days a week. There were days when I had to work on some aspect of my skills for an upcoming meet, and then one of the other guys would volunteer to help Ty out during his routine. Everyone on the club respected Tyler especially since Coach Roberts had explained to the swimmers and divers, what type of injury Ty had, how he had been injured and just how hard he worked even when in excruciating pain. I had to get up and leave the room because the tears were beginning to stream down my face. A couple of the guys noticed, but no one said a thing to me
about my apparent distress.

   After that, a lot of the other athletes at University High began to say hello to Ty and me in the halls and at lunch, even going out their way to make sure he was introduced to their friends too! A lot of girls began to give Ty and me the eye and flirted with us all the time.  Privately, we laughed our
heads off every afternoon on the drive home at some of the competition between them to be the first to get a date with one of us. But in all seriousness, both of us knew that dating was something that we'd have to do if we wanted to stay closeted. Little did we know then, our closeted days were numbered.

   When it came was my fault: just careless and in love I suppose. Perhaps our outing was inevitable anyway. There are times when I cannot keep my hands off Ty, he turns me on so much. (He's just as bad but denies it !).

   That morning during first period, Becky Willis saw me hug and kiss Ty on the cheek before we left our Drama class that was held in the Theatre Workshop. Neither of us saw her, because she's hidden herself behind the proscenium arch.  She had been watching Ty and me for days.  Of course the rumor mill immediately kicked into high gear after Becky told Liz who told Amanda, who told her
boyfriend Kurt, who told Warren, a swim team mate, who told Coach Roberts who asked Todd what he knew. By lunch, the only people who didn't know that we had been outed was us!

   It was Ty who first sensed that people were looking at us. Not Tyler or me alone, but at the both of us! We picked up our trays of cafeteria mush and made our way to our regular table. It was already occupied and so were the ones nearby. Most of the varsity football team occupied the tables, but here and there I recognized some of my teammates and guys on the soccer, basketball and baseball teams too. What was going on? Odd thing, there were two spaces left: two at the end of the table where we usually sat to eat.

   Ty had slowed down considerably and wheeled to a stop a few feet from the table. Ty looked at me and we both realized what had happened. The entire cafeteria had gone silent.

   'Everybody knows about us.' His eyes "said" it all again. Tyler understood that our closet door had been fully opened and we had been exposed as "faggots" to everyone at University High.

   Kelly, the biggest guy in school stood up and walked around the table to stand in front of Ty. I felt my adrenalin kick in and I was preparing to jump Kelly if he attempted to even touch Ty, when Kelly squatted down in front of Tyler and broke out this big grin.

   "Hey Tyler. You and Will wanna eat lunch with us?" Ty looked around at me quickly and I saw that his grin had become as big as Kelly's.

   "Sure Kelly and I notice that there are two places side by side." Ty winked at me. We both understood that they all knew and still wanted to be friends with us. I wanted to cry with relief!

   "Thanks Kelly, thanks a lot," Ty told him in a whisper only we could hear.

   I could hear the emotion in Ty's soft voice, knowing that he couldn't speak either because he was just as moved as I was. Kelly blushed slightly then stood up and led us to the waiting places. Soon we were surrounded by the biggest roughest guys in school eating the tasteless mush the school
board says is fit for human consumption.

   The chatter of conversation around us felt a bit forced after we sat down though. The entire cafeteria was still silent except for the jocks sitting all around us when Ty looked at me with real concern in his eyes. I knew what he was thinking. We'd been accepted by the athletes, but what about the rest of our classmates? What about the teachers, Coach Roberts and the rest? I knew that there could be harassment from some of our classmates, maybe even violence.

   The whole school suspected we are gay and I had seen it in the past when some poor straight bastard had become the last kid accused of being Barney! The harassment didn't stop till the guy-changed schools. That wasn't going to happen to us, ever!  I was willing to go down swinging to protect us from the haters and harassers.

   I could see in Ty's eyes that there was more to do...more to explain.  We needed to finish what I had inadvertently started in our first period class even though at the time I had no idea how we had been found out.

   "Do you want to do this Ty? We don't have to say anything you know."

   "We've talked about this, that we might be outted Will. I won't lie about who I am and who I love. I know that you won't either. We're in this together lover, you and me, in everything. That leaves only the truth to be told."

   I knew that Ty was right, but I still can't figure out why I stood up right then. But as I looked around this table and those near us, I suddenly realized that every face in the cafeteria was turned towards me, expectantly, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Well here goes nothing and everything.
Strangely, I felt calm before I began to speak, all my nervousness suddenly gone, replaced by a confidence that I had never felt before. It was only because Ty was with me, here, now, that I was able to continue.

   "My name is Will Johnston. For those of you who don't know me, I am on the swim team and have done pretty well on the club and for our school. A couple of months ago I met somebody, a new student right here in the halls of University High. I had no idea that meeting this person would change my life: how I thought about things, how I saw the world around me, and last but most important, how I saw myself.  Who is Will Johnston anyway? I had been asking myself this question since 5th grade just like a lot of you have too. Meeting this person made me think about all that and come to some conclusions." Well I had them, now what? I looked at Ty and I knew what to say.

   "That new student I met was Tyler Anderson." Ty grabbed my hand and squeezed it quickly, but he didn't let go.

   Our eyes locked momentarily. Ty smiled at me, but I could tell he was very nervous too. I suppose it was Ty's look and nod that made what I said next easier, but I know if I hadn't had contact with him at that moment...physical contact, well I couldn't have gone on.

   "I don't know how you found out about us. It really doesn't make any difference in the long run anyway since we aren't afraid of being who we are. Yes, we are gay, and we are a couple. I love Ty like I've never loved anyone before in my life and he loves me the same way." Ty squeezed my
hand even harder.

   I looked down at him and his eyes "talked" to me again while the tears streamed down his face. They matched my own. I was surprised to see Kelly, Jamal and several others around us were teary too.

   'I want to stand with you.' There was no mistaking that message i saw in my boyfriends eyes.

   I knelt down by Ty and he wrapped his arms around my neck so that in one smooth motion we were standing together...two juxtaposed, meeting the stares and looks of disbelief with our own sudden newfound confidence. Like we had promised each other before, we'll face our lives together. There were gasps from around the cafeteria when Ty stood next to me.

   "I'm not a complete crip. I can stand up with help and surely I can stand up to those of you who will condemn us," Ty said to the our audience of "peers." It was my turn to squeeze Tyler's hand.

   "We don't want who we are to become a problem for anyone. Not for anyone." I said, then turned to look at the assembled jocks.

   "We only love each other and have no interest in anyone else, not even Todd or Kelly!"

   That got a little chuckle out of them. Kelly blushed, but Todd was nowhere to be seen.

   "Where's Barney now that we need him?" The words that were meant to intimidate and scare us both, came from the back of the room.

   When I heard those words, my blood ran cold for a moment, but Kelly and Jamal, our school's biggest linebackers went over to a table in the corner and pulled a junior I knew only as "Erickson" up and away from the table and out towards the doors.

   "Wait Kelly! Ty yelled at the two big football players.  Please let him go! He did us no harm, besides Erickson only made himself look like a fool with his ignorance and bigotry"  The strength in Ty's voice startled me.

   I looked at him and I could see the determination on his face and the fire in his eyes. My Tyler is one tough character. With all that had occurred in the past twenty minutes, I had momentarially forgotten just how strong he really is.

   What he just told Kelly and Jamal made my heart swell with pride. I don't know to this day what Kelly and Jamal said to Erickson, but the look on his face as he paled to a ghostly color said a lot by itself. He ran from the room.

   "Some of you will hate us for who we are and what we represent but we are not a threat to anyone here," I continued. "Some of you will be tempted to hurt us with words and even fists. Go ahead and do your worst, but expect as good as you give." I felt a large hand on my shoulder give me a squeeze. It was Jamal and Kelly was standing right next to him.

    "I know something about gay people too. My oldest brother is gay and I'll be damned if I let what happened to him at the old University High, happen to Will and Ty or anyone else." Jamal said.

   "You people know that if anything, and I mean anything, happens to Ty or Will you are going to deal with us: Not just Kelly and me, but all of us. There will not be another "Barney" here at our school." Jamal swept his large right arm over the three tables that were now occupied by athletes from all the school's teams.

   Like it was planned, they all stood up and looked at our other classmates. I knew that Jamal was very serious and so did the other hundred and fifty or so students in the cafeteria.
   "And then you'll deal with me before and after you are suspended!" Coach Roberts was standing just inside the double doors into the cafeteria.

   He wasn't looking at us or the young men standing by our side, bur at all the rest of the assembled students. Coach Roberts was also the Assistant Principle and dealt with all the discipline issues at University High. Todd was standing next to him too. Todd looked at Ty and me and smiled widely.

  "Will Johnston has brought nothing but honor to this school in the past two years. How many of you can say that? Four maybe five of you?" Coach said.

   "And Tyler Anderson has done just as much too in the short time he has been a student here. Not as an athlete on one of the teams, but in dealing with an injury he had that changed his life. How many of you could handle intense pain for years without any drugs at all and still be cheerful, make such good friends, and maintain a 3.5 grade average while putting yourself through hell each and every day? Coach had a very hard look on his face as he addressed the crowded cafeteria.

   "Tyler and Will admit that they are gay. Big deal, huh? No it isn't and it shouldn't be either! This school - your school - University High, has as it's motto "Truth and Honor Above All." Those aren't just words. They mean something special. What I have just seen Will and Tyler do - with the
support of your student leaders and the athletes who they practice with every day, has shown me that some of you DO GET IT!" Coach was walking among the other filled tables in the cafeteria, looking at every person he passed.

   "Science tells us that ten percent of all of you in this room may be gay...or lesbians. All of you learned about genes and genetics in freshman health classes. You also learned what bigotry, racism and hatred do to all of us too. Terms like fag, queer, kike and blackie are all meant to hurt and to demean another person. Do any of you think that Will and Ty would choose to be gay and submit themselves willingly to abuse? Well I know that they didn't and it looks like a significant number of your student athletes and leaders know that too."

   "But its against God's laws and the Bible," Becky Willis said to him.

   "Becky do you believe God created us all?" He asked her.

   "Yes of course I do."

   "Then you accept that God made Will and Tyler?"

   "Yes...but...but...Oh...," She sat down looking pale and nervous.

   "Yes you should sit back down Becky Willis!" Todd walked over to her.

    "I understand that you saw Will and Tyler together in Drama Class and
started all the rumors and accusations. Is that right?"


   "Becky do I have to get everybody you told to stand-up?"

   "YES. They wouldn't dare."

   "Oh, so you admit starting all this stuff?" Becky was even paler now, her face looked gray even under the caked make-up she wore.

   "They're an abomination in God's eyes! Its my duty to let everyone know they're faggots! FAGGOTS! It is my Christian duty!" There was a lot of grumbling and comments being directed at Becky from around the room now and none of it was complimentary.

   Becky had started a lot of rumors about other students too, especially directed at those she saw as "different" from her warped sense of what was "right."  A number of girls had their reputations sullied by her viscious gossip too.

   "Miss Willis, can I see you in my office for a momen?" Mrs. Tompkins our Principle walked over to Becky and stood above her, but Becky suddenly jumped up and pushed Mrs. Tompkins away from her. All around the cafeteria a lot of students had gotten-up and were about to go after her.  Mrs. Tompkins was well respected and loved by us all.

   "Stay where you are!" Mrs. Tompkins shouted at the rest of us before she turned back to face Becky.

   "What are you going to do defend them too you BITCH! All Fags and Jews and the Mud Races should be exterminated, like Elder Seth tells us." Becky shouted.  "He understands God's plan for us and it doesn't include THEM!" She was pointing her skinny finger at Ty and me, but her look of pure hatred included the dark-skinned Jamal and blonde haired Kelly whose last name
is Lowenstein. He's an Episcopalian!

   After Mrs. Tompkins and two other teachers escorted a cursing and threatening Becky Willis out of the cafeteria and the noise of loud voices talking had reached a dull roar, Todd caught my eye and nodded towards the back door leading to the parking lot. Ty had seen his gesture too and
started wheeling himself to the doorway followed by Kelly, Jamal, Warren, Todd and me.

   A steady light cold rain had begun to fall, so when we reached the "Beast" everyone piled in. Ty's chair was put into the trunk, and then I started the car to warm-up so we could get some heat. I knew that the cold made Ty hurt.

   Ty looked at me and I looked at him. We both reached for each other at the same moment, embracing in a tight extended hug and crying into each other's shoulder and neck. Damn, I hate confrontation, but what just happened in the schools cafeteria went way beyond confrontation in my book. We were out to the whole school. Our lives had been threatened and we found that a lot of our fellow students cared enough about us to support and protect Ty and me. And it was only 12:30!

   "Will lets get out of here. I don't want to be here right now," Ty whispered to me.

   "OK Ty, I don't want to be here either right now." Ty turned to look at Kelly, Jamal, Todd and Warren.

   "We're leaving and going to my house. You're welcome to come with us if ya want, but Will and I want to be away from here as soon as possible," he told our friends.

   "Good idea. Lets get some burgers and stuff first Ty. I'll drive so Will won't have to run us back here to get our cars," Todd told us.

   "We'll ride with Will and Tyler and catch a ride back with you later Todd." Jamal told Ty's cousin as we nodded that was OK with us too.

   "Hey Todd!" Tyler yelled as his cousin started to get out.

   "Forget the burgers, we have plenty in the 'fridge at home for everybody. Right Will?"

   "Sure there is. There is enough to feed the whole team a couple of times. I'll make something when we get there, so save your money Bud."

   With the heater on full, I drove out of the parking lot to Ty's house. Before I'd made it to the corner, Ty was molded against my side, with both his arms wrapped around my waist and his head on my shoulder. I put my arm around him and pulled him even closer.

   "I love you Ty," I whispered to him.

   "I love you Will," Ty told me as he kissed my ear.

   I looked into the rearview mirror and almost lost it when I saw Kelly and Jamal kissing in the back seat. I nudged Ty gently and nodded towards the mirror. When he looked up at me, his eyes were as big as saucers. Then we heard both Jamal and Kelly break out in laughter!

   "Surprised ya huh? Yea, we're gay too. You are most definitely not alone anymore." Kelly told us.

   Ty and I looked at each other once more, before my boyfriend...started to giggle like a maniac, which drew us all into laughing out loud with him too.

   What a day!


   The snow at the "Camp" high in the mountain forests continued to fall, adding to the already deep accumulations that had fallen over the past two weeks. Barney Coleman looked out of the heavy glass window of his small bare room just off the main "lodge" with a heart heavy with fear, anxiety and disgust. He had just sat through the daily "lesson" that Bannister had preached from the lectern in the main room of the large main log cabin. The words of hate wrapped in their "Elders" unique interpretations of scripture had made his stomach turn.

   Ever since that night in his room back in Fairview when he had been groped and nearly assaulted by Bannister, Barney had known he was going to die. His worst fears were confirmed when Aaron had disappeared one night, dragged into the lodge by Bannister and two of his men. Barney had
heard Aaron's screams for a long time. He knew in his heart that his friend had been raped and murdered by the leader of the band of racist and sexual sadists that called themselves "The Children of White Destiny." While Aaron's screams of agony still echoed in his ears, Barney had wretched up the meager contents of his stomach until the only thing coming out of his mouth was bitter yellow bile. The dry heaves continued for some time as he sobbed into the filthy pillow on his cot.

   His plan to escape from the clutches of Bannister and his followers were dashed when he first was driven into the heavily fenced and guarded compound of the Camp. There was no way he'd be able to scale the 12' high chain link and razor wire fence, elude the armed sentries and make his way out of the mountains in his weakened state. Bannister had been keeping the three boys weak from starvation. Less able of resist his advances and those of his followers.

   Barney had seen Jason taken into one of the smaller buildings when they had gotten to the camp. A few days later Jason was brought to the general meeting between two uniformed guards. Barney gasped when he saw Jason. His eyes were black - the back of his torn jeans were stained with
blood. He had obviously been raped and beaten. Jason's eyes were lifeless, glassy looking and devoid of any emotion as he walked by the chair Barney was sitting in. He looked heavily sedated. But at least he was still alive. Maybe.

   These thoughts were running through his head when he heard the lock in the door being opened and the door suddenly swing back. One of the compound guards, a brutal looking man brought in the bowl of oatmeal and sliced bread and coffee that was his daily meal. He knew Bannister's
followers ate well; the smells of meat, frying potatoes and fresh bread occasionally wafted through the corridors down to the locked rooms he and Aaron had been locked in. The guard leered at Barney, the evil smirk betraying the man's thoughts of lust and torture.

   "Tonight sweetie, you are going to be mine. Praise the Lord." He laughed that crazy way Bannister did when he closed and relocked the door.

   Barney threw the bowl of gruel at the closed door, evoking another demented cackle from the evil looking man was he walked away from the room Barney was locked in. He looked at the mess of the oatmeal sliding slowly down the door and wall and ran over to begin scooping up the half cooked grain cereal in his hands bring the mess to his lips and forcing himself to swallow. The dry old bread he picked up and placed into the pocket of his jacket. There were now seven crumbling slices in his coat pocket.

   Then Barney saw the spoon. A metal spoon! He had always been given a thin plastic picnic spoon before. There was a broken one in his other coat pocket that Barney had already decided to use on himself to open his wrists with. Now there was a shiny heavy metal spoon lying in front of him on the
floor near his cot. At that instant, Barney realized that he still had a chance to get away, but he'd have to do it very soon. He picked it up the spoon and walked over to the window. He began to work at the wooden base of the windowsill, prying the wood away from the wall, slowly and carefully; mindful that odd noises would get a response from the patrolling guards.

  This would be his only chance. If he failed...he knew that the sliver of thin white plastic would be his only other option.

   Darkness had fallen and if anything, the snowfall had increased as the gray light had rapidly faded late in the afternoon. When Barney had slipped out of the window and into the knee-deep snow next to the cabin, it was pitch dark.

   He didn't remember scaling the fence or crossing the razor wire strung along the top until his hands and leg started to throb. He looked at his hands in wonder. There must have been an almost full moon above the clouds, because he could see his hands, The bllod looked like oozing pitch
in the semi darkness. They were sliced up pretty well, but they weren't bleeding much any longer. He also didn't remember wrapping them in strips torn from the mattress before he'd gone out of the window. The thin blanket from the cot was wrapped around his body, his coat over that. There were also strips of mattress cloth wrapping his thin sneakers too.

   "I did pay attention on those winter Boy Scout camping trips," he laughed giddily to himself.

   The sound of his own voice in the snowy silence startled him into sudden silence, his every sense alert to any other noises in the thick pine forest. He stood absolutely still listening for a couple of moments, before he began to move steadily downhill again and away from the Camp. In several clearings he had to cross, Barney taken the time to break off a branch from a low hanging pine bough and used it to brush away his tracks. With the heavy snow falling, he knew that within the hour, his tracks here at least would become invisible.

   Barney ate some snow to help wash down the stale bread he had eaten under the trees before continuing down the mountianside.

   He heard the trucks on the highway below him before he saw the headlights passing down the pass that the highway route crossed. He knew that there were logging operations nearby; Bannister always had the logging crews under observation during the day, fearing that the "Feds" would use the activity as a cover for spying on their Camp.  Lately, his paranoia had been increasing too, reflected in the daily "lessons," where his followers were told to shoot first and ask questions later.

   When he reached the road, Barney slid down the high banks of snow and ice the ploughs had left behind when clearing the highway during the last two weeks when the snows had really began to fall in earnest. He crossed the empty darkened road and began to walk down grade towards the base
of the pass. Some minutes later, he heard a large truck coming up behind him so he hid beside a
large mound of ice at the side of the roadway and waited. When the slow moving pole truck drew alongside Barney saw his chance. There was room for his nearly frozen body to fit inside the door less spare tire rack under the trailer loaded with pine logs.  Summoning the last bit of energy he
possessed, Barney dashed for the slow moving trailer.  Behind him, where he had been hiding against the icy outcroping, a red patch of blood smeared the ice.


   Will unlocked the front door and we all came in as quickly as we could.  We'd have entered through the garage, but Dad had the only door transmitter in his Galant ES.  He'd promised to get another for Will to use, but I knew he'd just forgotten.  Fortunately, because the entryway was tiled, we didn't do any damage, just left a trail of wet footprints and wheel tracks through the house into the kitchen.

   Todd and Warren showed up a little while later, now our little group of friends (and lovers) sat aroind the kitchen island as Will prepared a pile of cold-cut sandwiches and hot soup for us all.  I asked what the other guys wanted to drink then fetched cokes for them and two ginger-ale's for Will and me.

   "Well Jam, Kel...did you tell Will and Ty?" Todd asked.  Both Will and I turned around and looked at Todd in shock.  He and Warren knew about them too!

   "Don't look so surprised you two," Jamal laughed.  His boyfriend Kelly turned and kissed him lightly on the lips.

   "We've all been friends since before Kindergarten," Kelly told us. "Todd and Warren were the first to know about us when we were in the eighth grade.  Yes Todd, Will and Ty know,"  he laughed lightly along with Todd and Warren..

   "Now...that...was an interesting afternoon, wasn't it, Kel?" Jamal asked his boyfirend as he joined their laughter

   "I have to admit Kelly, seeing you and Jamal in that liplock in the back seat was a shock at first, but now that I think about it, I always knew that you were close friends, but I never thought that you we are," Will said to them both as he kneeded my shoulders lightly.

   "We both have always wondered about you too Will.  You and Barney Coleman were so close that...Oh...sorry! I guess I stuck my foot in my mouth again." Kelly must have seen the look on both my face and Will's when he said those words.

   I felt the heat rising in my face as I turned to look at Will.  Will looked me right in the eyes and nodded. His eyes spoke volumes to me: I was the one Will loved.  Not Barney, not anyone else ever. Just me.

   "I told you Ty that Barney was a long story, and that we had been friends a long time ago...before he changed. Will looked around the kitchen at all of us sitting there.

   "Do you want to hear the whole story now Ty, or would you rather wait for Will to tell you alone later?" Todd asked me.

   "Now, please Todd."  I looked at Will and smiled.  He understood that everything was OK between us.

   "OK Ty, but first lets all go out to the summer room and eat. I'll bring the food out," Will said to me.

   "All right lover, but here, give me that tray of sandwiches and you bring the soup." I smiled at Will and I saw a look of relief pass over his features. He bent down and put his hands alongside my head and kissed me very tenderly.

   "I love you Ty, he whispered. I will always love you."

   "I know Will. I love you too, more now than you can imagine," I whispered to him too. "Now and forever."

   The mugs of hot soup tasted great and really hit the spot.  Dad had made it two days before - a "rustic" tomato and basil soup that just got better and better as it aged in the 'fridge. The sandwiches filled us up and as we finished, Will began to speak of the Barney Coleman he'd known years ago.

   "He was such a great guy before his Mom died. I suppose that would change anyone." Will looked at me and saw the brief flicker of sadness on my face and in my eyes.

   "Yeah, it sure can," I said softly.  I was sitting in his lap now because as I began to speak I had seen the look in his eyes as he gently touched my arm.

   Will had helped me stand and then we sat together. I held him close to me, his warm body and the scent of my lover was beginning to make me hard.  Will was arroused too and the devil that Will can be, he readjusted the way I was sitting on his lap so that his roch hard bone was nestled between the cheeks of my ass. He just smiled at me when I looked up at him, knowing exactly what he was doing to me too.

   Jamal and Kelly smiled at both of us in a knowing way that only two other gay men would recognize at once.  Jam and Kel understood exactly what Will was doing!  I felt my face flush with the heat of my blushing.

   "So," Will coughed, clearing his throat. "Did you know that the two seniors here were in the same kindergarten class Ty?" He asked me, gesturing at Warren and Todd.  I shook my head no.

   "Well, they were and Barney was too.  He was one of our group of neighborhood friends." Kelly told us.

   "We played T- Ball and little guy soccer, and as we got older, we even made up our own team for for the winter Junior Hockey League. Barney was a great goalie. He was fearless and he was always so happy around us. His Mother and Father were strict, but they loved him. We'd all go to Barney's house once a week to play, and he'd come to each of our places too.  You remember Will?  Even if you're a couple of years younger, you were with us all the time too.  You and Barney hung out together a lot as I recall"  Will nodded his head.

   "He lived just down the road then. There weren't any other houses in the neighborhood then and we got together almost every day." My lover said.

   "Then his Mother got sick and in what seemed to be a really short time, she was gone." Todd told me.  "We all went to the wake with our folks and paid our respects.  Barney was very sad for a while, but like all 5th graders, he seemed to bounce back alright.  He was the same kid we always knew.
But during the summer between 5th and 6th grade he started to change.  Barney stopped coming to Little League...he played third base and was a good hitter too.  He never signed up for the Soccer Team...when we saw him on the streets, he was angry and rude. That fall, all the fights started. He
broke Jam's nose in one fight...right Jamal?"

   "He sure did, after he called me a "dirty fuckin' n****r."  My Dad had the cops go over and talk with them: Barney and his Dad.  They told him that Mr. Coleman is a racist, a white power type and some kind of religious zealot, but I always thought there was more to it than that."

   "I'm sure there was more to it," Todd said.

   "Me too," Warren added. Todd and Warren looked at each other.

   Something unspoken passed between them before Todd turned back to look at us.

   "I'm pretty sure that he was being abused - physically and sexually.  Warren and I were riding our bikes down Old River Road past where Barney used to live, about a half mile from here.  He was screaming and cursing at his father.  Barney only had his fruit of the looms on.  I couldn't see his
father clearly on the screened porch, but he looked like he was naked." The last few words were almost inaudible, Todd said them so softly.

   "He was naked Todd, and what about the marks on Barneys back and legs?" Warren asked my cousin.

   "Yeah," Will said. "I saw those too. One afternoon I saw Barney at Safeway when Mom and I were shopping for the week.  There was blood seeping through his t-shirt, but before I could show Mom, he was gone."

   "He stayed back a grade, then two. He should be graduating with Todd and Warren this coming spring." Will told me .

   "i stopped trying to be friends with him after he began to try and beat me up every time we crossed  paths.  Mom had me in Karate classes when I was in elementary school because I was so short then, so I was able to defend myself from his attacks.  I guess he gave up trying to hurt me after a while, but I'd try to help other kids he'd be bullying, so we kept clashing.  I'm pretty sure he hates me almost as much as he hates himself." I looked sharply at Will when he told him that.

   "You know, that sounds like a classic case of child abuse. Didn't anyone tell Social Services? Wasn't there anybody who could get him away from his father."  I asked my friends around the table.

   "Yes Ty.  Several times they'd go investigate, but they were never able to prove anything. In any case, I understood that the "discipline" was some part of their religion and you know how skittish the authorities are about that.  Besides it looked like the beatings had stopped.  The other stuff...I just
don't know, but I doubt it stopped altogether." Warren told my boyfriend.

   I just shook my head in disbelief.

   "Thats so sad." I said looking at all of them.  I noticed Will's eyes were wet with unshead tears, just like mine and Todd's were too. "No wonder he's so angry and aggressive."

   "Has anyone seen Barney lately?"  I asked.

   "No," Todd said.  "After he dropped-out of school, it seems that Barney, Aaron and Jason just disappeared with Barney's father.  Their house looks like its been abandoned.  Aaron and Jason lived with their grandparents and they all belong to that weird church out by the Interstate that Becky Willis goes to.  I figure that they left with Barney."

   "I wonder where they are now?" Will asked to no one in particular, but he hugged me tightly after he'd spoken.  I wondered the same thing too.

   The conversation pretty much ended with those observations from the four of us since I knew Will wanted to change the subject back to what we had been avoiding all along by discussing Barney and what had changed him: Coming out at school this afternoon.


   By the time that our friends had left around 4:00pm, the snow had finally arrived in full force. An hour later there was slush in the streets and almost an inch on the ground. The storm promised to bring at least six inches and as much as a foot or more over the next 24 hours.

   Ty had built a fire in the big fireplace and I'd started dinner for the three of us.  Derrick was due home at 6:00pm so we cuddled in front of the warming flames.  We didn't talk too
much, there had been so much to digest from today's events that we both were somewhat preoccupied just sorting things out.  We just held each other and watched the flames dance.
We both knew that there would be reprecussions from our coming out at school, but there had been such a sense of freedom afterwards, that both of us felt sure that no matter what happened, we'd be able to deal with it.  Todd and Warren swore that they'd watch our backs and so would most of the athletes too. Jamal and Kelly would too, as we'd watch out for them as well.

   Coach Roberts had been a big influence on all of us over the years, so it felt natural that we'd stick together, protecting each other, and foiling any anti-gay harassment.  But we'd still have to be very careful and alert.

   Ty's Dad came in an hour late because of the snow, and we all ate in front of the fire.  We told Derrick about what had happened at school after we'd finished our meal.  "You mean Will stood up in front of the whole cafeteria and told everyone that you both are gay?" he sked Tyler.

   "Yes Dad," Ty replied.

   "And with the exception of those two idiots, there was nothing else said?"

   "Well not exactly Dad. Coach Roberts laid it all out like I said, but it was Todd who actually got Becky Willis to admit she had outted us in front of everyone."

   "But that's it, right?"

   "Pretty much Derrick, but we also found out about two other gay guys who are a couple," I told him.

   "And just who...WAIT! Don't answer that. It's none of my business anyway.  As long as my two sons are...are safe and you feel OK about coming out, that's all...all that matters really."

   Derrick was tearing up and his voice was full of the emotion we all felt.  He got out of his chair and knelt down by us, pulling both Ty and me into a tight embrace. We were all sobbing. Derrick kissed both of us on the forehead before he got up and poured each of us a glass of wine.

   Derrick sat down on the rug in front of the fire with us again.

   "Gentlemen, here's to the two of you," he said to us, the tears still rolling down his cheeks. "You have chosen each other to love with your hearts, but you have also used the brains that God gave you to find your way. May you son's... find the happiness you deserve." Ty and I were beaming and I could feel the love Derrick had for us radiating from him like a physical force.

   We drank our wine after clinking our glasses together.

   "Thanks Dad," we both responded. Ty and I both kissed him on the cheek before Derrick got up and went to bed. The evening had flown by. When Ty looked at his watch it said 11:35 pm!

   Ty reached over and pulled me down on top of him, crushing his lips to mine in a deep passionate kiss that lasted several minutes. When we broke apart, both of us were flushed with sexual excitement. I leaned over my Babe and gently took his swollen cock into my mouth through his jeans and using my teeth applied a little pressure. Ty moaned and rocked his head back and forth.

   "Lets take a shower and go to bed Ty. I...I want to make love to you
tonight."  I was burning with desire to hold and love Tyler.

   More than ever before I realized just how deep my love for Ty had grown in the last couple of months.  I had come to believe that Ty and I were meant to be together...always.
   His lips met mine in a gentle, soft kiss. "Lets go Will. I want to hold you and make love with you so much...I can't tell you how much I want to love you tonight." Ty's voice became husky and thick with emotion.

   I leaned over Ty and returned the kiss, before I picked him up in my arms and carried him to the bedroom before going into the bathroom where I helped him sit in the shower chair.

   "Ty, will you start to run the water while I get your chair?" He held me a moment and kissed me again.
   "Yes...but hurry...I need to have you next to me in the shower the first time."

   As I collected Ty's chair, i checked the house once more and made sure that the doors were locked before I turned all the lights out except for the few outside that lit the sidewalk and front door.


   The only thing that saved Barney from freezing to death was the location where tire box had been welded into the frame. It sat between and above the two huge spark supression type mufflers that channeled the diesel exhaust up and away from the roadway.  Barney had heard and then smelled the sizzling blood from his rag wrapped hand when he boosted himself into the tire bin and had to push on one of the big mufflers to get over the lip of the open box.  While Barney thought the space in which he was riding was warm, in fact it was still below 40 degrees. Hypothermia had already begun to effect his thinking and the earlier blood loss didn't help him either.

   The truck had finally reached the bottom of the long downgrade entering the valley about twenty miles from Fairview. In his drowsy, cold numbed mind, he thought he'd seen a clock in a 7-11 by the roadside read 10:30pm. He had left the "Camp" just at nightfall. Barney had been running and hiding for over five hours.

   'They'll be looking for me by now,' he thought.

   He briefly wondered if the guards and Bannister would try to follow his trail through the forest and the snow to find him, while the tires of the pole truck hummed on the wet pavement, the steady slap of slush hitting the spare box where he was hidden in the shadows, startled him frequently.

   'Maybe I have another hour before they start searching the highway. Will they come down the mountain after me?' He was sure they would. He knew too much to be allowed to live.

   A few minutes later, Barney was awakened from his stupor by the sound of the air brakes slowing the rig down. He opened his eyes seeing the bright lights of the Flying W Truck Stop come into focus.

   'The truckstop!' Barney recognized the place that was only a couple of miles from his old home.

   'This is where I get off,' but as he tried to move, the pain in his body almost made him black-out again.

   After a couple of minutes, his rag-wrapped bloody hands reached over the edge of the tire box and managed to get a grip.  He screamed from the pain as he pulled himself out and fell to the frozen ice and snow covered parking lot.  With the pole truck parked between other big rigs, no one saw him or heard his screams and moans.  But the agony that Barney felt as he lay by the truck helped to clear his mind.  He managed to get up onto his almost frozen feet and stumble into the darkness.

   'Only a mile more to the house. Only a mile to the house...only a mile. I can do that. I can do that,' Barney repeated to himself over and over as he truged down the unpopulated end of Old River Road.  Everyplace he left a footprint, the snow was tinted pink from blood.


   "Ohhh, Will...oooohhhhhh! That feels so good Will." Ty was laying on his back, thrashing his head back and forth as his lover bobbed up and down on Tyler's seven inches of hard cock taking him deep into his throat.  Will was just as turned on by sucking his boyfriends cock as Ty was.  The moans from deep in Wills throat were vibtating against Ty's hard flesh, while Ty's hands clutched the edge of the mattress.  Ty felt a tingling sensation that began as his balls retracted and his prostate spasmed sending his hot cum blasting into his lovers mouth.  He saw all the colors of the rainbow flashing in front of him as the thrill of his orgasm overcame Ty's senses.

   "WILLLLL!!!" He screamed as he came, his entire body rigid as the sensations he felt while Ty gushed into Will's hot mouth, rushed through his frame - everywhere except his legs.

   Will tasted his lovers sperm for the first time that night and realized he was addicted to the cum tasted uniquely like Tyler.  None of the bleach flavor that they had read about on the internet, but of herbs and spice with a hint of sweetness and salt in the viscous fluids he so eagerly swallowed. Will sucked and licked Ty's softening penis to get every precious drop of Ty's essence, before he released his lovers sensitive glans from his mouth.

   Ty's body was still spasming in ecstacy, when Will yielded to his lover's hands tugging him up onto his boyfriend's chest.  Their lips meeting in a deeply probing kiss,  pressing together their hardening cocks between them, their tongues battling.

   When Ty pulled Will up onto his chest and pressed his mouth to Will's, kissing him deeply, tasting his discharge on his boyfriend's lips and in his mouth while he wrestled his tounge against Will's - he felt himself cum again.  Will turned Ty on so much he just couldn't control himself.  His jism spewed between them, lubricating their cocks, while they thrust again and again against and each other in a lusty rhythm.  A moments later, Will too felt himself begin to spasm;  his hot juices joined his lover's between them, the screams of passion each made echoing around the bedroom.

   Like they had done earlier after Ty had sucked Will to a trememdous orgasm, they lay together kissing and caressing each other, slowly recovering from their incredibly strong multiple climaxes.
After a few minutes, Will rolled off of Ty's chest and as he did so he pulled Ty onto his side with him, neither breaking their kiss. When they did stop, each was still breathing hard from their post orgasmic high.

   "I love you so much Ty. You make my life complete," Will whispered to his lover as he nibbled on Tyler's ear lobe.

   "I can't imagine my life without you in it Will. You are my soul mate. You make me whole with your love."

   Ty hugged Will closer to his body, luxurating in the warmth of his lovers body.  Will also held Ty close, their cocks draped together, the leaking juices mixing between them. Within moments though, each was sound asleep, clutched tightly in his lovers arms.


   Barney thought the hallucinations had returned when the dancing white lights became clearer through the blowing snow. He knew that he was going to die very soon.  In any case, he had been wanting to lay down and rest for a while, the soft white snow looking more and more inviting.  At least he wouldn't go the way Aaron had, impailed on Bannister's cock and knife. He felt the pain in his body go away some time earlier and he knew that his end was finally near.

   But unlike the multicolored spots he had seen dancing around him in his painfully freezing eyes, these lights began to get brighter and brighter as he stumbled down the road, barely able to wade through the now knee deep drifts that had formed when the wind had picked-up.  Barney stopped and looked at the lights while he swayed in the wind.

   'A house!' Barney felt like he would have wept, but he had no energy to spare on emotion, besides he was so dehydrated he couldn't have formed any tears that would have frozen quickly anyway if he had tried.

   He staggered across the driveway through more snow drifts, following the glowing lamps up a ramp to the front door. He reached his hand out to ring the doorbell, but his fingers didn't work any longer so he hit it with his hand.  The jolt of pain he felt went right up his arm and into his brain. He saw everything go red, then collapsed to his knees falling forward hitting his head on the solid wooden door.



   Derrick had left his door open slightly when he went to bed after toasting to Tyler and Will's love for each other.  His bedroom was located at the front of the big house so when the doorbell rang at 1:30am he heard it clearly.  The loud banging sound had startled him fully awake. Derrick reached over to turn on the reading lamp afixed to the headboard of his king-sized sleigh bed, then sat up.  A momently flash of guilt passed through him when he saw the pools of almost dry cum on his chest and abdomen on his nude body.  Derrick had masturbated while listening to the screams and shouts of ecstacy coming from "his son's" bedroom down the hallway.

   'Is somebody in the house? What the hell is THAT? Who'd be out on a night like this, in a blizzard?' The thoughts cycled rapidly through his now alert brain.

   Derrick got up and pulled his heavy winter robe around his body and reaching into his bedside table drawer, pulled his flashlight out. He looked at the .380 Walther he kept in the drawer too and briefly thought of unlocking the trigger guard device to bring it with him to the front door to investigate.  He realized that there would be little to no chance that he'd need it in weather like this, then turned and went down the wide hallway to the main entry into the house. He opened the door and looked out.

   At first the shapeless mound on the porch looked like a heap of rags, but when he noticed a pair of bloody hands and feet sticking out of the snow and ice covered cloth, Derrick realized that there was a human being inside the pile of rags lying on the there and that person was in desperate condition!
Derrick stepped out into the snow and wind in this bare feet, knelt down and in one movement scooped the body up into his powerful arms and stood.  He backed into the house holding the rag clad person close and using his foot, kicked the door closed behind him, before carrying his burden into the living room of his home.


   "Will...WILL! Wake up Will!" In his sleep, Will thought he heard Tyler telling him to wake-up.

   "There isn't any school today Ty. Its Thanksgiving Day. Go back to sleep," Will mumbled, still mostly asleep.

   "WILL! WAKE UP!" This time there has the strong motion of someone shaking him hard.

   Will sat straight-up in bed and realized that the bedroom lights were on and Derrick was yelling at him to wake up!

   "What, what is it Daddy?" He heard Ty ask next to him.

   "Will, I need you're help right now!  Put something on and come to the living room right NOW!"

   "Tyler, call 911 on your cell phone.  The regular lines must be down.  Get the sheriff and an EMS ambulance out here as soon as possible.  Do you understand Ty?"

   "Yes Dad...the sheriff and EMS!  What happened?  Are you OK?  There's blood all over your robe!" Tyler asked him with a panicked edge to his voice.

   "I'm fine son. Just call EMS now, and then bring me the big first aid box, not the small one from the kitchen, the big box in the utility room.  Someone has been hurt.  Come on Will.  I need your help NOW!"

   Will jumped out of bed and pulled his heavy terrycloth robe on, covering his nude body but not before he reached over and squeezed Ty's shoulder in reassurance.

   "I'm right behind you Derrick, Will said and raced out of Ty's bedroom following Derrick down the hallway into the living room.

   There laying on the rug in front of the fireplace, still glowing with bright embers was a body of a young man with a short dirty beard and blood all over his hands and feet.

   "Will, help me get this wet stuff off him."

   As Derrick and Will carefully unbuttoned and unwrapped the man lying there, he began to moan apparently in pain as they pulled the rags away from his body. The smell coming from the man was almost overpowering.

   His eyelids fluttered open and he seemed to be staring at the ceiling and the wrought iron chandelier hanging above them, but his blue eyes were unfocused.  But the man seemed to know that there were people around him, trying to help him.  His head turned and with great pain etched in his face his eyes focused on the face nearest him.

   ", he whispered."

   Will stood-up in amazement and stared at the bearded man in the filthy, blood stained clothing. Shock registered on his face as he realized that he recognized the voice. He looked closely again imagining the emaciated face without a beard.

   'Barney?' he thought to himself.

   "My GOD! Barney! Barney Coleman!"

End of Chapter Four
To be continued...

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