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This story was initially released under the title "All About Sam". I have changed Chapter 1 and re-titled the document.
The Winner Takes It All
© Michael J Hudston 2007
Sam Everett was leaving the school early. He had been given permission, and was leaving at the start of lunchtime, for the short ten minute walk home. You would have expected that Sam, being your typical teenager, would have liked the opportunity to leave school early, but this was one occasion that he really didn't want to.
He was about to go, to visit the grave of his mother. The woman who had raised him alone since birth, had died suddenly, and without warning on his 10th birthday. He didn't want to do it, but knew, for his own sanity he had to do it. It was something he felt he owed his mother, something he felt he had neglected, and something he should have done years ago.
Two days ago, Sam had just had his 15th birthday, which as he had in recent years, made no real big deal about. Celebrating his birthday, only served to remind Sam of all he had lost. It was strangely ironic, that Sam's birthdays, also marked something he had found. Sam's natural father, someone who Sam did not realise he already knew, until after his mother's death. It was the man who had donated his sperm to Sam's mother Emma, so she could have the child she had always wanted.
Joe Marshall, had been a life long friend of Sam's mother, and even been involved in Sam's life to a small extent, helping Sam's mother out occasionally. It was only after his mother's death, that Sam had found out that Joe was his natural father. Joe and Sam had always got on well, and both had quickly agreed that Sam should come and live with him, and remain near his school and friends. The local council and social services on the other hand, had other ideas. They didn't think that a single gay male should be raising Sam, oh yes Joe was Gay.
It had taken legal threats, letters to the MP, and a story in the local news paper, to get them to back down. In fact it was Sam who had written to the newspaper and MP, not Joe, who had been prepared to take the council all the way to court. But when the story in the newspaper, appeared, with the headline "HOMOPHOBIC COUNCIL STOPS BOY LIVING WITH FATHER" with the heart wrenching story told by the then eleven year old boy, about how the council and social services are stopping this grieving boy from living with the only surviving relative he has. Pubic outcry ensued, along with the usual but few, "Do-gooders" who thought that the council were right.
The council and social services eventually relented, and on the very day of his twelfth birthday, Sam moved in with his Dad. Not that he often called him that.
Sam was about half way home when he heard a shout. He turned around in the direction he thought he heard the noise coming from, but saw nothing untoward. As he turned back, he realised someone was standing right in front of him. Sam didn't see the fist coming but rather felt the floor, as he hit the ground. The last thing he felt was the foot as it connected with the side of his head. Sam blacked out.
Joe was sat on the sofa in the lounge of his rather posh apartment that he shared with his son Sam. He was reading a book by his current favourite author. He is reading the last book in a series of fictional books written about Julius Caesar. The books were really engrossing, the kind you can't put down. So it took a little while for Joe to realise that Sam was a little late from getting back from school. Joe looked at the clock and thought that, as it was only 30 minutes, Sam had either decided to get some lunch before he left, or was just chatting to a few friends before he left. It wasn't too much of a worry, as long as they were on the road by Two O'clock, they could get to the cemetery where Sam's mum is buried, within about an hour. Joe went back to his book.
It was about 40 minutes later when Joe looked back at the clock. Now he was beginning to wonder where Sam had got to. Sam should have been back over an hour ago. This was not typical behaviour. Joe decided to text him on his mobile, just to enquire what was happening. After about 10 minutes, there still, was no delivery report. Joe was starting to get worried. Maybe Sam was having second thoughts, this was a really stressful thing that he was going to do, and Joe though that maybe Sam, was just of some where thinking things through.
The more Joe thought this, the more he could get that feeling from the back of his mind that something was wrong.
Sam regained consciousness and was very confused. He was cold, and he realised he was still lying on the hard ground where he had fallen. There were people all around him, and he realised someone was trying to talk to him.
"Hey kid, you with us? I'm the paramedic, just stay still and relax. We need to get you to hospital; you've taken quite a beating."
"I need to get home, I need to see my Dad" Sam tried to move, then experienced searing pain in his right side, and he blacked out again.
The next thing Sam saw was blurred bright lights. Not sure where he was, but he could feel the whole bed moving.
"What's happening, Where am I?" Sam barely whispered this, but it was noticed that he had come around.
"Hi there young man. Your in the hospital, relax and calm down, your going to be all right, but we need to treat you."
"I want my dad, where is he?" Sam was crying now, he had only been to a hospital twice before, once to see the body of his mother when she died, the other, when he broke an arm at the age of five. Neither where good experiences for him.
"OK we can't wait, we need to get him to surgery – Let's go" Sam didn't know who had said that statement, as he drifted off again.
The doctors were worried, the boy was seriously injured, and they had no idea who he was. The only idea was his school uniform, which had the school badge on his blazer, and a school ID Badge, with just his picture but no name of the pupil. The police were already heading over the school to try and find someone who could help identify the boy and contact his parents.
Joe was now getting really worried. Sam was well over two hours late now, and had not contacted him. Joe had tried both texting and also ringing Sam's mobile phone, but he had not responded.
Joe decided to ring the school.
"Good afternoon, Sheldon comprehensive, how may I help you?"
"Hi, my name is Joe Marshall. I am Sam Everetts father, and I am wondering where he has got to. He had permission to finish at lunch time and come home for a private family matter, but has not turned up yet. I getting a little concerned about his whereabouts."
"Ah yes Joe, Its Jackie here. I was aware that Sam was due to leave at lunchtime, but it was my impression that he had done so. I will check our system, just to make sure he has logged out. I won't keep you a minute." Jackie was the schools secretary, who looked after the general day to day running of things.
Joe heard some tapping, and he knew she was checking the computer system, that tracked who went in and out of the main gate. At this school, all students had a pass, which allowed them in and out of the gates. The system was introduced as a security measure, and also to try and reduce the amount of truancy that occurred.
"OK, it shows him having gone out the front gate at 12:06. That's almost two hours ago now. Are you saying he has not turned up? "
"That is correct Jackie, he has not showed up, and the school is only a ten minute walk away. I am concerned, because we were supposed to be visiting his mother's grave this afternoon, and it's the first time he would have been there since the funeral." All though Joe normally remained calm and collected in times of crisis, his emotions always got the better of him, where his son was concerned.
"Joe, I will go and get his form teacher to speak to a few of his close friends, they may know if he had been planning anything different. I have your mobile number on file; I will call you back as soon as I know anything"
"Thanks Jackie, please do. I am going to have a quick look around the area, to see if I can find him."
The policeman arrived at the school, and was escorted up to the main office. Where he met the school secretary.
"Hi I am PC Tom Hodges. We have a boy who has been admitted to the hospital, the only thing he had on him, was this ID Badge issued by your school. We need to identify him, so his parents can be contacted. The boys in quite a bad way"
"Oh my god! I already think I already know who it might be. One of the boys was supposed to have gone home at lunchtime, and his father has just contacted us because he hasn't shown up. Let me check that pass and I can confirm that and give you all the contact details"
Jackie took the pass and typed the number in the computer. It came up as Sam Everett.
"Yes I was afraid of that. The boys name is Sam Everett. He is 15 and his only parent is his father, Joe Marshall. I will give you all his contact details, but your better of ringing his mobile number now, as I know he's out looking for Sam as we speak. Ring him from here if you wish"
"Thanks I will do that" PC Hodges dialled the mobile number he was given, it was answered after only one ring.
"Hi, Joe Marshall speaking!"
"Hi Mr Marshall, I'm PC Tom Hodges, I am ringing from the school, about your son Sam, I understand he is missing?"
"Yes he should have been home a couple of hours ago, so we could visit his mother's grave, but he's not turned up. Why have the school got you involved so soon?"
"They didn't Mr Marshall. This is a bit sensitive, can I meet you at your home? Looking at your address you're just around the corner from here, I can be there in a few minutes." The policeman was deliberately not saying anything that could upset the man, whilst he was alone.
"Yes I am there now, I was just about to go out looking for him. What's this all about?" Joe was really beginning to sound worried at this point.
"I can't say at the moment, I will come around now and explain everything to you. I will only be a few minutes"
"OK I will see you in a few minutes" Joe hung up the phone.
Less than five minutes later, Joe opened the door to greet the policeman.
"Hi, you must be PC Hodges, come on in"
"Yes sir I am, and thank you."
"So what is this all about? Have you found Sam?"
"I think so sir. Before I called you from the school, I had just come from St James hospital. A boy was attacked in the street just after midday and he is in quite a bad way. All he had on him was this, which is your son's school pass, and the clothes he was wearing, nothing else"
"Why only think so? Sam has shown me that picture, it's recent, so it should look like him. Sam should also have had a mobile, his wallet and his school bag with him" Joe was really shaking now
"I think sir we need to go to the hospital just to be sure, we will worry about the missing items later"
All the way to the hospital Joe was going over things in his mind, they same questions kept going around and around his head. What are they not telling me. Why are they not sure it's Sam. If it's not Sam, who is it, and where is Sam.
It was some 40 minutes later that they arrived at the hospital. On entering the A&E department, they were immediately greeting by a colleague of PC Hodges.
" Hi Tom. The doctor has just informed me, that they have moved the boy to the ICU. His injuries were not quite as serious as first thought, but its still going to be a rough few hours for him. I assume you are Joe Marshall?"
"Yes officer. I am Sam's father, I presume, we now know that it is Sam we are referring too. I am eager to see my son."
"Yes, Sam was conscious enough to identify himself, and provide us with your name, just before he went into surgery, but not much else. We are still not sure exactly what happened, or who did this too him."
"I want to see my son now." Insisted Joe. It seems they were doing everything but let him see his son.
Sam had started to regain consciousness. He looked around and noticed that his left leg was in plaster. His left side of this chest also hurt and his head was groggy and vision blurred. He was struggling to focus on anything.
Just then his dad walked in along with a young policeman, and the doctor. Joe walked up to his son's side and grabbed his hand, then carefully hugged him.
"Oh god Sam, what have they done to you" Joe said
"Not they dad. Just him. It was Liam's Dad, and now I am worried he will do something to Liam. Officer!" said Sam re-directing his comments to the policeman, "the man who did this to me is a Mr David Connelly. He is the father of my best friend. I guess he must have seen us doing something to which he did not approve. You need to find him, before he does something to his son, if it's not too late all ready"
"Sam, what is it you did, that makes you think he will hurt Liam?" It was the officer that asked the question, but Joe had a good Idea, especially if Sam took after either of his parents.
"Officer, Liam and I were kissing. I didn't want you to find out this way dad".
At that Sam broke down in tears, and started sobbing uncontrollably. Joe hugged his son, and just kept telling him "Its OK, Its OK".
"I get the information about the suspect and then get a message out to have him picked up for questioning. I will also get a search team set up for his son. I will state that we are concerned for his safety. You get some rest, and get better soon Sam. Myself or another officer will come and see you tomorrow, to get a formal statement." With that PC Tom Hodges left Sam and his father alone.
The doctor administered a little pain medication, which had the side effect of calming Sam down a little, and he soon drifted off to sleep again.
Joe stayed by his bed.