Forsaken 4

I was only a couple of feet away from the front door, afraid to take the few steps necessary to turn the knob. Cut, scraped, bruised up, and dirty...I took in a deep breath. I regretted everything that I did today. I shouldn't have run off. I should have just gone to camp like I was supposed to and obeyed my father like always. Instead...I have to face him and let him rip into me knowing that I was totally in the wrong. Look at me. I don't even want to go in the house. I felt bad...but I was gonna have to get this overwith eventually. Here goes nothing.

I reached out and opened the cabin door, stepping inside quietly. Not that it did me much good. "Wesley???" My Mother called out to me from the kitchen, and I saw her rush around the corner to see me standing there. "Oh God!!!" She said, and began to move towards me, to wrap me in her embrace and hold me tight, thankful that I had returned home. But she didn't make it. Before she could reach me, my father had basically pushed her aside and his angry footsteps propelled him forward at a frightening rate. Before I even had time to gasp, he put his large hands on both my arms, his fingers digging into my bruises and making me wince in pain. He gave me a few violent shakes, his eyes glaring at me with an anger the likes that I had never seen from him before. "WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU?!?!?!" He shouted. I froze, a feeling of utter shock washing over me and taking my ability to speak. "ANSWER ME, DAMMIT!!!" He shook me some more, his anger spit at me through gritted teeth, and the pain in my arms was unbearable from the way he manhandled me.

"Dad...I..." Where do I start? And once I do start, where do I stop? What should I tell him? What should I NOT tell him? Everything rushed into my mind at once, getting clogged up in my throat until I could hardly breathe.

"Do you have ANY idea what you put me and your mother through tonight??? DO YOU??? I send you off to camp, and you never show up! You're gone ALL day! No phone call, no note, nobody knows WHERE you are!!!" He screamed, shaking me even harder. The ruckus had gotten my brother Nick's attention, and he was quietly watching from the doorway of our shared bedroom, holding Prince in his hands as the puppy seemed to watch with the same silent interest. "We called the police, Wesley! TWICE!!! I drove around in the truck for FOUR HOURS, searching these woods for you! I didn't know if you were HURT! I didn't know if you were LOST! You could have been DEAD, for all I knew!" He pushed my back up against the door with a thud. "And now you come waltzing back in here late at night like nothing's wrong??? You have really got some nerve, boy!"

"Dad, let me explain..."

"Explain WHAT??? You put this whole FAMILY through a CRISIS tonight! Do you understand???" He shoved me again, and the fear mixed with the humiliation of having my mother and brother watch this began to make me angry. "You worried your mother half to death!"

"I'm TRYING to tell you what happened!" I said, my voice a bit louder than before. But he put his hand on my neck.

"Don't you DARE raise your voice to me!!! Who do you think you are?" He hollered as a few stray tears ran down my cheeks.

"Henry, please..." My mother finally spoke up for me, trying to calm him down. Oh how I wish her hug had reached me first.

"NO, Helen! This is what happens the second I turn my back! This is what our little boy does when he sees an opportunity to act like some kind of degenerate!"

It was beyond insulting. I was NOT being a degenerate! How the hell can he lookat me like some kind of worthless criminal when all I did was worry about him the whole time that I was gone? It's not like I was purposely trying to piss him off OR upset my mom! Why does he always assume I'm the worst fucking kid on the planet? "I was TRYING to get home!" I said, my father's hands holding me still against the wall.

"Don't you lie to me!"

"I'm NOT lying!" I said, my anger beginning to bubble to the surface. "Let me go!" I squirmed free and tried to tone myself down a bit. But it was like trying to swallow a basketball. My emotions swelled and burned in my throat, embarrassed beyond belief, and made to stand here accused of being blatantly 'wicked' without him even hearing me out. "There....there were these kids, ok? They picked me up from the road. I thought they were going to bring me back much earlier today, but they didn't. I was too far out to just WALK, so I just..."

"What kids?" He demanded. I stumbled for a second, and he asked louder. "WHAT...KIDS...WESLEY???"

"Just....some kids from the area. Some locals. That's all." I spoke softly, hoping that he wouldn't ask me to go much further into it.

"So the 'grabbed' you off the road? Is that what I'm supposed to believe?"

I found myself stumbling again. "They...they didn't exactly...grab me..."

"What do you mean, 'they didn't exactly grab you'? Did they put their hands on you? Did they force you?"

I lowered my head. "No. I....I got in on my own."

There was a silence while my father shook his head to further shame me. "You got in on your own." He said, pacing away from me before coming right back to put his finger in my face. "When are you gonna grow up, Wes? Huh? When are you gonna stop playing these little kiddie games and GROW UP??? I can't trust you! I brought you here to teach you how to be an upstanding adult, and all you think about is playing games!"

"Dad, I TOLD wasn't like that. I was trying to get home! WHY won't you believe me???"

"I can't believe YOU! I can't believe a single word coming out of your mouth! You've disobeyed me, you've disrespected your mother, you lie, you disappear with no rhyme or reason...HOW am I supposed to listen to anything you have to say?"

"LOOK AT ME!!!" I shouted. "Don't you even CARE where I've been? Don't you CARE what I've been through tonight? You didn't even bother to ask if I was HURT!"

"Don't you take that tone with me!" He shouted. "This isn't a game anymore! Do you hear me? You're not gonna beat me! I'm going to whip you into shape if it KILLS me!"


"Shut your mouth! I've heard enough out of you for tonight!" Then he added, "What's next, Wes? Huh? Drugs? Alcohol?"

"Jesus CHRIST, Dad!!! It was just one little...." But before I could finish my sentence, I felt a harsh slap cross my cheek. The contact stung fiercely, and my head jerked to the side as tears came to me involuntarily. The entire cabin froze solid, with my mother and Nick gasping in silence.

"Don't you DARE take the Lord's name in vain in this house!!!" He screamed. "You WILL respect me! And as long as you are living under this roof, you are GOING to obey my rules!!!" There was a long pause between my father and I as I held my face in shock. I didn't want to cry, but for some reason, the tears ran free without my consent. What little restriction I had was bulldozed by the utter rage I felt at having been humiliated and hurt in the most insulting way. I just stared at him with watery eyes, a burning anger twisting my stomach into knots as I held back my every angry word. But at that moment, I'll be honest...I wanted to hurt him. I really wanted to hurt him. "Now, when you wake up're going to go down to that camp and you're going to apologize to EACH and EVERY one of those counselors for worrying them and making a spectacle of yourself. And then you're going to be the BEST damn camp aid this place has EVER had! Do I make myself clear?" My bottom lip quivered, my face crimson red, my cheeks stained with warm tears...and I nodded slowly. Unable to speak for fear that I would give the hatred inside a release that I wouldn't be able to control. "Good! Now go to bed! BOTH of you! Go to bed!" He yelled at Nick and I, and Nick hurried off to jump into bed before I even turned in that direction. That's when my father threw me a towel, hitting me in the back of the head with it. "Take a shower first! You're filthy!" He walked back into the kitchen, and my mother gave me a worried glance, before going around the corner to be with her husband. She wasn't even on my side long enough to hear my side of the story. It felt like the whole house was against me. And I hated it. I hated it.

I grabbed some underwear out of my bedroom, with Nick under the covers pretending to have gone to sleep that fast. Then walked into the bathroom to take as quick a shower as I could before bed. I didn't want to cross paths with that man again until the next morning if I didn't have to. He had insulted me and cut me down to the marrow without the slightest bit of regret. He just...tells me how evil I am, and how I'm going astray. He never believes in me. He never ONCE takes my side, or considers the fact that I'm not exactly an 'awful' person. It never enters his mind that I'm not necessarily a jerk when it comes to most things. He just wants to believe that my every mistake and misfortune is some sort of deliberate attempt to 'embarrass' him in front of his self righteous friends. He expects the WORST of me no matter what I do, and makes me feel like some kind of loser every chance he gets. I should have known that him being nice to me before was some kinda fluke. He was WAITING for me to screw up. He's always looking for me to do something wrong so it can further prove his sick point. And I HATE it! What the fuck do I have to do just to get him to leave me alone once in a while? When is he ever gonna show any kind of 'faith' in his first born son? I suppose that expecting a hug once in a while, or a positive comment every now and again, is asking too much from my own father. Maybe he just doesn't like me anymore. And if he ever found out that I was gay...he'd like me even less.

I felt even more degrading and disgraced as I stripped down and got ready to climb into the shower. My dad was upset, my mom was upset...they weren't bound to let me forget it anytime soon. Not only that, but my little brother would probably be staring at me tomorrow...making me self conscious about being punished in front of him. What did Nick care? He was Mom and Dad's perfect little blond angel. There wasn't a single flaw in him that they couldn't overlook. My baby brother had them fooled to the point of sainthood in their eyes. But me? I was a mistake. Just one big, stupid, mistake. Sometimes, I really hate this family. I really do.

I let the water run down over my feet for a second or two, testing the temperature, before turning the shower on. Then I just let the spray cascade over my shoulders for a while, the weight of the water pressing my blond hair down into my eyes. It was probably the most relaxing thing that I had experienced all day. All I could think about, was my father's voice. Angry. Accusing. Insensitive. Unsupportive. Berating. It was like being wrapped in an embrace of thorns, and his words echoed in the back of my mind.

"I will NOT be embarrassed!"

"The boy needs boundaries, Helen! He's getting out of control!"

"Sometimes I just don't know what gets into your head."

"What's WRONG with you?"

"Don't you DARE raise your voice to me!!!"

"I told you not to let Freddy touch you so much, Wes."

"This is not a vacation, boy. I didn't bring you hear to sit in your room and sulk for three weeks."

Everything he says to me is an insult, or a put down, or a complaint. I TRY! I KNOW that I try! But nothing is EVER good enough for him! Nothing ever impresses him. All he wants is for me to be Nick, and skip along behind him like a good little robot and not cause any commotion. But I'm NOT Nick! I never will be! Just ONCE, I'd love to have him take notice of something I did RIGHT, and keep it in the back of his mind for times like this when he's calling me a total jackass.

Then, as the hurt set in a bit deeper, and I began to lightly run the washcloth over my scraped and scratched was the voice of the others that flooded my mind. Kinder voices. Accepting voices. Voice that encouraged me and made me feel wanted. Kristin...and John Boy...and Cyrus...

"It Doesn't matter. Cyrus still sees great things in you."

"He WANTS you to come to him, Wes. He can taste your search...your need...and he can help you find what you're looking for."

"You, my friend, are searching for an experience. Something real. Something Right."

"You impress me."

"All that effort to be a 'good boy' and a 'helpful soul' and a 'responsible citizen' and a 'loyal friend'...for WHAT??? YOUR life is still shit, isn't it?"

"What is it? The gay thing? Don't worry about it. Homosexuality has been around long before you came along. We won't hate you for it. It's honest. It's who you are, Wes. You wanted itand you went after it. Be proud of yourself."

The sounds of Cyrus' warm voice seemed to travel through me with such a strong surge of emotion. It seemed so much more rational. His words embraced me, told me the truth, inspired me to just be myself.

"That's exactly how you looked to me. You were the brightest spectacle amonst an entire wasteland of dimly lit entities. And I wanted you with me." He said.

"You want to do your own thing. Be your own person." He told me.

And the phrase that echoed loudest in my mind as I let the warm water rush down over my face?

"I got soooo tired of being the martyr, Wesley."

Over and over again, I thought about that statement. And that was exactly how I felt. I swallow my pride, I bite my tongue, I suppress every urge I have from throwing a rock at a window to turning my head to look at a cute boy in the mall. All for my father. And does he care? Of course not. It's much easier for him to ridicule and humiliate me than it is to assume that I'm not just some wandering toddler in this wilderness of uncensored evil. I'm not STUPID. I just need to be my own person. Cyrus understands that. Why can't he? Cyrus bought me food, offered me comfort, encouraged my smile, drenched me in sexual delights, and despite trying to run away from him and all of my disappointing faults and flaws...he still wants to embrace me as one of his own. No judgements. No bullshit rules. No stupid 'attacks' without some kind of justified reason. It seemed sorta backwards, seeing Cyrus as the 'good guy' in all this. But as I thought more and more about it...his way made more sense. All he ever tells me is how beautiful I am, and special, and intelligent, and I'm better than most. Even though he gets angry from time to time, he never once 'hurt' me. He never 'hit' me. At least with them I knew where I stood. At least with them I had a fighting chance to prove myself.

As far as my father was concerned...I was nothing more than a common street thug in training. And I'd never be anything more.

The warm shower flowed over my shoulders as I lightly ran a wash cloth over my cuts and scrapes. For a moment, I thought that I had turned the water on too hot, but soon recognized it as another flash fever that began to spread out over my whole body again. It urned and throbbed and itched all over. It was like that strange feeling of 'pins and needles' that you get when your foot falls asleep, but worse, and covering every inch of you. For a moment, I couldn't do anything but hold my breath and take it as it started to become more and more painful. And the more painful it go, the hotter the fever would burn, until I could feel drips of sweat pour out of me, even under the spray of the shower. I was nearly at the point of crying out, when the sensation reached its peak...and began to subside again. Slowly, it faded back to wherever it came from, and released me from its heated grasp. I felt myself panting a little bit, and when I looked down at my arms and legs...I saw the water wash away what I could have SWORN were deep gashes and scratches on my skin. It was as if the scabbed over areas just 'fell apart' and washed right down the drain. Amazed, I took my washcloth and wiped it over one of the large abrasions. And without any pain at all...I wiped away the hardened scar to reveal smooth unblemished skin underneath. Untouched. No scar, no scratch, not evidence of any kind that the mark was even there.

There was a pounding at the bathroom door. "Get to bed, Wesley. We're getting up REALLY early tomorrow, believe me." He said, an angry tone of satisfaction in his voice from proving me to be the delinquent he wanted me to be. I'm sure that I'm quite the 'stress reliever' for him at the end of the day.

I didn't answer back. I just quickly washed my hair and turned the shower off before he came pounding at the door again. When my father was in a mood like this, he wanted everybody to see it. He wanted to show off, and be overly dramatic, and act like the apocalypse was only a week away. I know that he won't let this go. Not yet he won't. Not until I've been saturated with his bad attitude and his insults are through doing their damage. He's such a fucking CHILD sometimes.

I dried myself off, happy to be clean again, and looked at myself in the mirror. I couldn't believe that all of those cuts and bruises were virtually gone, with the exception of a few dark circles here and there. I turned around to look at my back, and the only thing that remained was Cyrus' 'divine birthmark', as John Boy called it. And even that had faded a little bit. But it was still visible. It would always be visible. "WESLEY!" Came a voice from outside the door.

"I'm coming." I muttered through gnashed teeth. Asshole!

I put on a pair of boxers and draped a bathrobe over my shoulders before opening the door. He was just far enough away where I could walk directly into my room without having to hear anymore of his ranting and raving. Not that it stopped him from shouting it from the living room anyway. "You go STRAIGHT to sleep, do you hear me? Both of you. I don't want to hear a single peep coming out of that room until sun up." I shut the bedroom door, hoping that it would give me enough of a barrier to tune him out completely. I said I was sorry. What does he want me to do? Nail myself to a cross in the middle of camp? Geez!

I took off my robe and slipped into bed. That's when Nick raised his head from his pillow and whispered, "Where'd you go?"

"Nowhere. Go to sleep." I said, keeping it as short and sweet as possible.

"The police were here. They said they couldn't declare you missing until tomorrow, but Dad was gonna make them look for you anyway."

"Nick..." I said, annoyed already, "...I'm HOME! Alright?? It's done. It's over. Now shut up and go to bed. I don't wanna talk about it."

With a sigh, Nick laid his head back down to his pillow. He was quiet for a few minutes, and I shut my eyes. But I was too mad to sleep. It bubbled and churned in the center of my stomach, refusing to let me relax. Then Nick rolled over onto his back and whispered..."I'm glad you're ok. I didn't want anything to happen to you."

At first, I was almost ready to slug him for still talking after I already told him to shut up...but...shit! The little bastard caught me by being 'sweet' again. "Sighhh....thanks." I said, trying not to take it out on him.

"Did you fall? You looked really dirty when you came in."

"Yeah...I fell." At least he had the common decency to ask.

"Are you alright?"

"Sure. I'm fine. It didn't hurt that much."

"Ok." He said, pausing for a few seconds. "Dad was really mad at you for not going to camp, Wes."

"Dad's ALWAYS mad at me for something." I answered.

"But this time, he said he wasn't going to take anymore disobedience on your part. He said..." Nick rolled on his side to face me, "...He said he might send you away."

I didn't look at Nick, I just stared at the dark ceiling above me, feeling a deep hatred building up inside of me, almost bringing tears to my eyes. "Is that what he said?" I could hear the tremble in my own voice, and it only made the emotion worse. It settled into this feeling of despair, of hopelessness....defeat.

"Yeah. I heard him talking about it with Mom. It's some kind of corrections school or something far away from here. He said you needed discipline."

"I didn' anything wrong..." I sobbed under my breath. "Why does he hate me so much?" I knew why. Because I wasn't Nick, that's why.

"I don't know."

"I don't wanna be sent away." I said, feeling tears roll back from my eyes and down onto the pillow behind my head.

"I don't want you to be sent away either." Nick whispered. "Why did you have to run away from camp today? If you keep doing stuff like this, it's only going to make him madder."

"I didn't do anything so bad that he has to send me away."

"It doesn't matter. Why can't you just do what he says, so you won't get into trouble?" Nick asked, and I just wanted him to stop talking. To just leave me to my miserable existence in peace. "Wes? Come on...he's really upset this time."

"Go to bed, Nick." I said, feeling more tears bleed from my eyes as I rolled over on my side to face the other direction.

"He really means it, Wes. He's gonna send you away if you don't straighten up." What the FUCK does 'little boy perfect' over there know about straightening up? Who is he to tell me I need to improve my attitude.

"Leave me alone. Just mind your business and go to sleep." I said. "If I get sent away, then I just get sent away. End of story. I don't care anymore."

"Why are you being like this? Can't you just...NOT do stupid stuff to get yourself in trouble? Why can't you just act right?"

"You don't know anything about it, ok?" I said, my voice louder than a whisper now.

"You're such a jerk. Everything would be fine if you stopped trying to piss off Dad all the time."

I shot up in my bed to stare him down. "I TOLD you to shut up! LEAVE ME ALONE! You don't have ANY idea what you're talking about! Just GO TO SLEEP!" I shouted.

My father's voice boomed from the other room. "SLEEP! NOW! BOTH OF YOU! One more word and it's gonna be big trouble! If I have to come in there, you'll BOTH be sorry!"

I turned my back to Nick again, and covered myself up to my neck in my sheets. Behind me, I could hear Nick slam his head down to his pillow and yank his covers up in a huff, pouting silently to himself over my outburst. But what did I care? Nick's blond, he's young, he's cute, he's heterosexual, and he'll always be my parent's favorite little boy. The rest of his life is going to be a garden of roses in comparison to mine. People would bend over backwards to please that kid, and he'd be the first to rub it in my face every chance he got. So let him pout like a baby. It's probably the worst thing he'll ever have to put up with until the day he dies.

I turned my face into my pillow and cried quietly, hoping my little brother was too upset to hear me. Send me away? He wants to send me away? How unfair is that? I'm NOT a bad person! I'm NOT! I do EVERYTHING I CAN to be a good son for them they just....they just...'hate' me. That's all. They just hate me.

Those were the last thoughts to cross my mind, before I fell asleep.

It felt like walking on thin ribbons of paper, the grass beneath my feet. Was this real? It was hard to tell. While I usually feel aware of myself in my dreams, this one was different. I had no 'sense' of myself. I couldn't see what I looked like, but I knew it was different. I could tell. I could feel the night wind brush past me, the moon shining down on me, but that image didn't feel stable. It didn't feel real. And as I looked down again, I noticed that my bare feet were now standing in my kitchen at home. Not the cabin...but at home. I felt as though I were ten feet tall, and had to take in huge amounts of air just to fill my lungs. I could feel my chest rising and falling in large sweeping gasps. The room was pitch black, but I was aware of everything in it. And it was then that I felt a large warm puddle of blood at my feet. Like a thick heated syrup, almost an inch or two off of the floor, rising up between my toes. I couldn't see my own hand in front of my face, but could feel my fingers...long and angled in an unnatural way, dripping down to add to the puddle below. Covered in warm red liquid, small bits of skin and tissue jammed tightly up underneath my long black fingernails. I noticed my arms covered in blood, then my chest...then my chin. There was a bitter taste in my mouth. The acidic burn of human blood, accented by the nauseating flavor of chunks of raw flesh stuck between my teeth. Skin, and strands of hair, even chipped pieces of bone from biting so deeply. As I used my tongue to pull the meat from my canines, I gave the pieces a few more chews before spitting the bitter flesh from my mouth. The taste was both disgusting and arousing at the same time. And as I looked see my mother, father, my little brother Nick, and even the 'puppy'...ripped into an almost unrecognizable heap of slaughtered shreds down at my was only then that I realized...

...That I was smiling.

I sat straight up in my bed with a jolt, my heart beating so hard that I had to clutch my hand to my chest to keep it from bursting out of it. My forehead was burning, and it felt as though my blood was running hot, like molten lava in my veins. I worked to catch my breath, the lingering images of my nightmare still clinging to my reality. I used the damp sheets surrounding me to wipe my brow free of perspiration. What the hell was going on with me these days? I can't even SLEEP without something going wrong. I rubbed my eyes and looked over at my little brother in the next bed. He had kicked off his sheets, naked except for a pair of nearly see-through tighty whitey briefs, snoring ever so softly with his head facing the other way. My skin felt as though it were crawling. Rippling. And despite the utter horror of what I was just dreaming, I felt more sexually charged that I had ever felt in my life. I was stiff and extremely sensitive to the point where even feeling the fabric of my boxers against me was nearly orgasmic. Even looking at the form of my brother in the dark, which was usually a normal experience, became almost...erotic. He was there, laying on his stomach, shirtless, smooth creamy white skin, not a hair in sight, not even under his arms. Soft blond hair that glimmered even in the dark, and faint traces of boyish sapling muscle in his back and shoulders, not a blemish on him from his neck all the way down to his waist. His small bubbled cheeks rose with the most seductive curve, arching softly outward from the small of his back, and the briefs were so tight that they accented the tight cleft in between. Mentally, I had disgusted even myself for looking at my own brother in such a way. But my body ached for release. ANY release. And at that moment, he appeared to be the most sexually desireable creature imaginable. Thoughts entered my mind. Strange thoughts. Fantasies of crawling over the foot of his bed, and licking a long smooth trail...from the back of his knee...sliding wetly up his supple thighs...and then slowly tracing the fabric of his briefs around the leg. Further inside, in between his legs where I could feel the heat of him on my cheeks, lewdly licking the small cloth covered sack from behind...with my nose and face buried deeply in the snug area between those pert young cheeks. My hands kneading the impossibly soft mounds, only a little more than a handful each. Sucking hungrily at that sensual nexus, and laving further upward to taste the most heated space of all.

I clamped my eyes shut, hoping to shake the image from my mind. And I quickly got out of bed. I made sure not to look at Nick at all as I left the room and went to the bathroom. It was pretty late, and both of my parents were fast asleep. I closed the door and switched on the light, making my way over to the sink. I let the water run cold and splashed it a few times over my face. The cool sensation did comfort me a bit, and my erection began to droop little by little, still tingling in anticipation. I felt as if I could have had sex with 100 men and not have been satisfied. I'm surprised that I made it in here before exploding. I don't know what Cyrus awakened in me, but if that's how THEY feel all the time, no WONDER they have so many orgies!

I took a towel off of a nearby rack, and I wiped my face. Get a grip, Wesley. It was just a dream. A dream and a boner. You're ok. You're ok. I looked closer at myself, and noticed my eyes. They were completely dialated. I mean 'completely'. I was surprised that I could see at all, to tell you the truth. body started to calm down, and things felt like they were under control again. For a brief moment though...I thought I was seriously losing my mind. I shut off the light and walked softly back to my room. Nick was still in the same position, still practically naked. But it had no effect. It was my brother. On top of that he's not even 12 yet. I don't know why, but I stared for another few seconds before reaching out a hand to grab his blanket and toss it over his lower half. He didn't stir at all. What in God's name would cause me to see Nick as any kind of temptation whatsoever? I couldn't tell you. But whatever it was, thankfully, it was gone. I walked back over to my bed, and slid back into the sheets. They were still a bit damp, but not uncomfortably so. Besides, I was still exhausted, and knew my father would be back in just a few hours to rag on me again. So, with a yawn, I rolled over and tried to get myself comfortable again. But as I ran my fingers up under my pillow...I felt shreds in the mattress. Right through the sheets. I lifted the pillow to look, and sure was like a series of 'claw' marks, ripping through the sheet and digging into the bed. Not too deep, mind you, but they were definitely there. I ran my fingers over the indentations a few times, then scooted over to try to get some more sleep. I'll have to remember to cover those up, or flip the mattress or something so my parents don't see it. Afterall, if my dad sees something like that, he's liable to assume I'm some kind of savage vandal with no respect for other people's property, and that I did it on purpose. Seems to be the natural order of things around here.

"Hey!" I felt a harsh shake at my shoulder, and I couldn't believe that my dad was waking me up THIS early. "Get up!" He whispered loudly. "Let's move. I don't want you dragging your feet. You've got some apologies to make. Don't think I forgot." He said, and then took my pillow from under my head and threw it on the floor next to me before leaving. It took me a minute or two of glaring at the ceiling, trying to talk myself out of being furious at him for being such a fucking grump about it. MOST parents would have been happy to see their child home safe and sound. Then again, MOST parents give a damn about their kids.

I stretched out, every muscle in my body tightening up almost into a cramp, before relaxing again. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I felt a little bit stronger than I did the day before. In fact, except for a little soreness in my arms, legs, and chest, I felt like a jock that morning. Must have been all that sexual excercise, I'm sure. I got up out of bed and pulled on a pair of jeans and some socks. I heard Nick turn over in his bed, but he was still fast asleep. I stared at him for a minute, worried if what I was thinking about last night was ever going to strie me again. But nope, nothing. So I buttoned up a shirt and grabbed my shoes, looking at Nick as I left the room. Weird, freak occurrence. That's all it was. A weird, freak occurrence.

I walked over to the breakfast table where my father was already dressed and waiting, reading the paper with some eggs and toast in front of him. He turned down a corner of his newspaper the second I sat down, "I hope you're rested up. Because we're going to make sure that you're a real 'patriot' for the rest of this week. Believe me." He said. I didn't answer. He was just trying to provoke me. Instigate another argument so he'll have a reason to yell at me again. I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. "You can sulk all you want."

"I'm not sulking." I mumbled, almost involuntarily.

"What?" He asked, putting he paper down on the table. Don't do it, Wes. You're falling into the trap.


"You're in need of a serious attitude adjustment, boy. I'm gonna make sure you get one. You just keep it up." He said. "You're going to stay right by my side all day long. I don't want you to leave my sight unless I tell you to. You hear?" I didn't even bother to look up from my plate. "YOU HEAR?" He said louder.

"Shhh...Henry, it's early." My mom said, bringing over some cooked ham and scrambled eggs to put on my plate right out of the pan. Her eyes barely connected with mine at all. After all the times I considered her to be on my side...she offered me not a single word of comfort. Nothing to say in my defense. Nothing to even give me the opportunity to defend myself. Fine...I see how it goes. She's no better than he is.

Why is he even doing this? It doesn't PROVE anything. It doesn't SOLVE anything. What's the damn point? LOOK at him...just sitting over there with his coffee and paper, 'stewing' over something so petty when he could just let it go. He's just doing this to be MEAN. I suppose Cyrus was right. All of those good grades and manners and helping out at the church don't mean shit where it really matters, huh?

It was then that I cut a piece of the ham and lifted it to my lips to take a bite. I chewed it a bit...but...something was missing. tasted like EVERYTHING was missing. It was almost like chewing a wad of dollar store toilet paper. I swallowed it down uick and tried to eat from the other end of the ham slice that I had, but it was more of the same. I couldn't explain it, but it was like all the flavor was completely gone. As though it had been 'cooked out'. Deprived of its life essence. I tried not to make any visible faces from the lack of taste, and just tried to scarf it down so I'd have enough food in my gut to take me throughout the morning until lunch. I suppose anything is better than the mess hall food at this place. I took larger bites, hoping to chew it just enough to get it down my throat without choking. My mom was usually such a great cook. Maybe it's just the meat in this place. I kept chewing, and chewing...and out of nowhere, I began to get the strangest flashbacks from my dream last night. Strong ones. I did my best to ignore it, but it was like I could feel the warmth of their fresh blood on my chest. I could feel the flesh beneath my nails. And as I was chewing that ham...I was reminded of that taste....that salty, bitter, awkward taste. Large chunks of human skin, wet with blood, seasoned by deposits of fat, and textured with cartillage and chips of bone. I could feel my teeth biting down on muscle, the feel of it stretching and and pulling back from my jaws grip exciting me. I bit down on something soft...squishy. And a delicious juice flooded my mouth, dribbling out of the side of my grinning lips. Something round....a human eye.

"HACCKKK!!!" I coughed up the meat in my mouth and spit it out into a napkin! The dreamlike images hd taken over for a moment, and the second they let me go, I was almost sick.

"What the hell is the matter with you?" MY father asked. But I was spitting out as much of my breakfast as I could. Every last morsel of meat. I even wiped off my tongue, and drowned out the imagined flavor with an entire glass of orange juice. "Wesley?"

"It's nothing. Just...thought I bit down on something. That's all." I said, getting up from the table. "I'm really not hungry anyway." I scraped my plate into the trash while my mother looked on slightly worried, and then put my plate in the sink. "Sorry, Mom." I left the kitchen to go put on my shoes. The whole time...trying to rid myself of that repulsive image. Jesus...I just couldn't shut my eyes tight enough to forget about it. But I tied up my shoes and walked over to the door. "I'll wait out in the truck."

I climbed into the front seat and just leaned my head back, occassionally spitting out of the window. My mouth felt like it was full of grease and contaminates, it was sickening. I couldn't spit enough of it out. But I stopped once I saw my father walk out of the house. I just tried to sit there and ignore it. He climbed into the driver's seat and started up the truck. Then we started on our way. He didn't talk to me much during the ride. Which was fine by me. I didn't really have much to say to him after last night. And anything that he had to say to me was probably going to be spit in my face in the form of some venemous insult that I wasn't going to pay much attention to anyway. I guess you could say that the silence was refreshing. Too bad it couldn't be like that all day.

The second he put the car in park, he got out and says, "Come here." With a stern look in his eye. I walk towards him, and he puts his hand on the back of my neck. Almost identical to the way that Cyrus would do it, but my father's grip was much tighter. Angrier. And I was instantly humiliated the second we stepped into the lodge.

"Wesley! You're ok. That's Greeeaaaat!" Mr. Rigby said. "I'm glad to see that you weren't hurt or lost."

"Go on. Tell him." My father said, and I looked up at his eyes. He squeezed my neck harder and directed my attention to Mr. Rigby. "GO ON! Apologize." Oh my God, don't tell me that he was actually SERIOUS about this? Jesus! "Tell him you're sorry."

"I'm...sorry if I worried you, Mr. Rigby. I'm ok." I said.

"It's ok. As long as you're alright." It's not that he really cared one way or the other. Unlike my own flesh and blood...he was actually happy to see me. However, my dad wasn't content yet.

For the next twenty five minutes, he took me to each and every single church counselor on the early morning shift, and gave me the embarrassing task of having to apologize to them one by one. Looking them in the eye when I spoke. None of them scolded or reprimanded me for disappearing. If anything, they all mirrored Mr. Rigby's concern. But my dad didn't stop until I reached every last one of them. Even some of the counselors that were my age. God I hope he doesn't make me do this later when the other counselors get here. Maybe he'll get his fill of 'shaming' me beyond belief by then.

He made sure to give me the dirtiest jobs that morning, and wouldn't stand for a single whine. He was never more than a few steps away from me for the first three hours, and frankly, I got sick of looking at him. Got sick of him looking at ME! I felt like a prisoner, a slave. Like a dog tied to a metal pole in the middle of the backyard...getting more and more ferocious by the minute. But I didn't protest outloud. The way I see it, the sooner I get through this punishment and back to my OWN town, the better.

My first break from the torture of being under my father's militaristic regime came when he was called to meet with some of the other counselors for tomorrow's activities. I took a five minute breather, my shirt and pants covered in mud and some strange mixture of tree moss and forrest slime. Not to mention that I'm sure I've been bitten by every species of insect in existence at this point. But I was still able to work up somewhat of a half smile when I caught sight of Kyla as she walked over to join me from the field. "I take it you made a daring getaway last night?" She grinned.

"I got away, sure enough. But it's what I came HOME to that I should have been running from in the first place." I moaned.

"Yeah, so I heard." Kyla giggled a bit as she pushed some of her long brown hair over her shoulder. "Some of the other teen counselors were talking about you today. They said something apology?"

She eased me with an evil smile. "Aww, shut up!"

"Oh no, I want my apology, Wesley. Afterall, I was worried about you. So let's hear it."

"Fuck off."

"Oooh, that doesn't sound very 'apologetic' to me." Then she put a hand on my shoulder. "Don't look so SERIOUS! I'm just fucking with ya. Don't sweat it. Half of the teen counselors in this place are here as some kind of punishment. And the other half are parental robots who are gonna end up at the crossroads between being a priest or a serial killer. You've got nothing to worry about." She told me. "But between you and IS kinda funny! apology, please. Before I have to go get your dad and tell him how 'awful' you made me feel inside when you didn't show up to camp yesterday."

I turned my eyes to the ground, and couldn't help but let a smile break out on my face as I held back a refreshing laugh. "I'm sorry I worried you, ya heartless bitch." I giggled.

"Apology accepted." She gave me a little shove, and we both broke out into a quiet snicker.

"Don't make me smile. If my dad catches m having a good time, he'll make things even worse."

"I know. I kinda figured. But I was too curious about yesterday to leave you alone."

"Yesterday?" I asked.

"Yes. Yesterday. Hello? The Rainbow's End kids? You spent like an entire DAY with them, didn't you? I mean...what was THAT like? They don't just let anybody roll with them."

"Whatever. I'm not THAT important."

"Dude...I don't think you get it. Those guys hardly even TALK to anybody unless they're having sex with them, or...." Then she stopped, a big smile on her face. "...OMIGOD! Did you have SEX with one of them??? The blond girl who's always hanging out with them???"

"What? NO!" I said, but couldn't hide my blush. Thank goodness she didn't know about Sebastian.

"You DID, didn't you? Holy son of a bitch!"


"It's ok, it's ok. Mums the word. But I know it had to be good. Sex is their 'sepcialty' afterall. At least for the boys it is. Hehehe!" She said.

"Kyla? Can you help us set up for the camp meeting?" I saw Brother Chris come over to ask for her assistance.

"Sure thing. I'll be there in a minute." She replied, and he walked off without saying much else. I'm sure that after seeing Cyrus and the gang the other day, interrupting our activities and knowing my name, he knew what I was up to yesterday. And who I was with. He didn't really say much, but the look in his eye told me exactly what I needed to know. He gave me a short glance, and walked away. What did I care? "Listen, I've gotta help them set up for prayer. Where are you gonna be later?"

"Prayer?" I asked. "That's not until three o'clock."

"Yeah, but they've got a special one today for some locals supporters of the camp who died in a fire yesterday. So...they wanna pray for the families and such."


"Yeah. Didn't you hear about it? Some old diner not far from here got burned to the ground yesterday. It was some little greasy spoon on the side of the old road. The owner and his daughtered died inside. They used to donate money to the camp every year. So we're having a small memorial for them." She said.

My blood ran cold. Ice cold. "Did...did they say where this diner was?"

She shrugged her shoulders. "Hell, I dunno. Somewhere not far from town, I'd suspect. A little rundown steakhouse type of place...on an old dirt road."

My head began to spin. I felt sick to my stomach. Was this...could it be...the same place Cyrus had taken me to eat earlier? Was it? What the hell was going on here? And why did I suddenly feel so damn wicked?

"Uh comes your, um...friend." Kyla smiled. I turned my head to see Freddy walking over to greet us, but it didn't look like Kyla was sticking around. "You two have 'fun', hehehe!" She smiled, and gave me a playful slug in the shoulder before taking off.

"Hi, Wesley." Freddy said as he approached. His shyness was already evident, even though he tried to hide it. "I hope I didn't..interrupt anything...I was just..."

"Oh Kyla? No. No dude, it's ok. She's just, a good friend. What's up?" I said, now walking slowly beside him behind the lodge.

"Nothing. I just...wanted to say hello. I saw you over here, so..." He trailed off a bit, then smiled at me from the side. "I'm sorry you got into trouble for yesterday."

"Geez! You know about it too? Great!" I groaned.

"The whole camp knows. But I know...I was worried about you. I went out by myself with a flashlight trying to find you, ya know?" He said, a slight blush rising in his cheeks.

"Really?" I asked.

"Yeah, well...I didn't want you to be lost. You know...unless I was lost with you." It was meant to be sweet when he said it, bu I saw his eyes suddenly widen as though it had slipped out unconsciously. "I mean...I don't mean it like THAT! I just I you find your way home! If we were lost together, that is!" He stumbled and he stuttered and he fidgeted nervously with his pants pockets. And as he babbled along, trying to cover his senses picked up on something weird. I was like...this scent, you know? It's nearly impossible to explain, but there was this definitive aroma that I could definitely sense radiating from Freddy while he spoke. It was sugary and sweet, as though someone had added a mint flavored nectar to his sweat glands, giving him the faint flavor of candy. I kid you not. It was more of a 'sensation' than a smell, but as I talked to him, it became more and more evident. His body was producing it all on it's own. And when I smiled at him to tell him that it was ok and that I know what he meant...the scent became even stronger.

I squinted my eyes a little bit, and smiled at him again. "So Freddy...I mean...I'm sorry if you were worried about me and all. I was ok all along. Just...ditching camp." I couldn't help but want to bury myself in that scent. It was so warm. So arousing.

"You don't have to apologize to me, Wesley. I don't mind you having some fun on your own."

" might have been a little bit more fun, if YOU were there." I gave him a flirtatious smile, and had to think about what I was doing. Something...deep inside...had suddenly been switched on. A slightly mild version of what I experienced when I looked over at my baby brother's half naked body last night. It was this sexual rush of wanton desire that seemed to only be enhanced by that magical aroma of his. It called to me. Compelled me. And without even knowing it...I was actually 'flirting' with Freddy.

"No...I'm no fun." He blushed.

"Actually, you're a lot of fun, Freddy." I said, and reached up a hand to lightly rub his cheek. I smiled at him a bit more, staring deep into his eyes, and I could tell he was scared. Sooooo scared. "You know...maybe one day soon, you and me can take that hike you asked about before. It would be cool. I get away from all these people and just...'talk' for a while." It was an unprecedented move for me, and Freddy, while really cute, was never my first choice for a boy to kiss or have sex with. But at that moment, as my juices ran hot and his eyes reflected that same interest...nothing seemed more right. I lusted for him. Not only for his body...but for his soul. I could feel how much he wanted me. I could feel it coursing through my veins...exciting me twice as much as it excited him. That delightful fragrance surrounding him became addictive, and the more I teased his sexual urges....the more it swirled around his slim body and filled the air around him. He was aroused, I could tell. I wanted him to be. I wanted to take it as far as I possibly could. How amazing would it be...for Freddy to finally taste the boy he had been dreaming about for so long? How long could he hold off that explosive orgasm...knowing that it was ME, his dream boy, his Wesley...kissing and licking and sucking his most private place...aching for him to do the same? Freddy would be in paradise. I had the power to make his every fantasy come true, working my body on top of him, making him gasp and moan in desperation, creating a blindingly surreal experience for him that would last him the rest of his life. Just to let him have me. Just to let him touch me. Come on, Freddy. I know you want to. You've always wanted to touch me. Well here I am I am. Let's do it. Let's do it now.

"Wesley?" I heard my father's voice from in front of the lodge, and brought my hand down from Freddy's cheek.

"Maybe we'll pick up where we left off later. Ok?" I said. I think Freddy was so shaken by my sudden change in demeanor that he could hardly move. My flirtatious gesture alone would probably provide him with hours of jack off fantasies for weeks to come. Good. There's no better stroke of ego than seeing the look of sensual addiction in someone else's eyes. He nodded, a horrified, but extremely anxious look on his face. I knew it. I always knew. But I doubt that I'd need any more proof than what I had right now.

"Wesley!" My father called again. Freddy had a rather noticeable bulge in his pants, but I didn't draw any atention to it. It wasn't 'full', just enough to notice that it was there. Man...the will power it must have taken him to keep himself at 'half mast' must have been incredible. Just then, my dad came around the corner, and saw Freddy and I standing together behind the lodge. "I thought I told you to stay out front where I could see you." He said. He looked at Freddy, then back at me.

"Sorry, Dad. I just wanted to apologize to Freddy. Just like everybody else. About yesterday." I said. But my father took a hold of my arm.

"We need you over here right now. You can talk to Freddy later." Funny how making amends with the 'gay boy' wasn't that much of a necessity in his eyes, huh?

"See you later, Freddy." I said, and gave him aother bashful grin as I watched him tremble and quake where he was standing.

"O-o-ok, Wesley...." He said, and he could hardly stand still. I don't know what it was about exciting him so much, but I liked it. And it brought my own libido into full blossom.

"What do you think you're doing?" My father asked me, after marching out of earshot from where we were just a few moments ago. His grip on my arm was so tight that it began to hurt, and he turned me to face him as he spoke to me in an angry hush. "What did I tell you about letting Freddy touch you?" He said.

The comment snapped me out of my thoughts, and I wrinkled up my forehead. "What? What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about letting him sneak you back behind the lodge just now. Do you not listen to ANYTHING that I tell you?"

"Sneak me? Dad, Freddy didn't sneak me anywhere. I went because he wanted to talk. That's it. He's my friend."

"He's NOT your friend! Can't you see that?" He said, holding my arms tight and down by my sides. "That boy is about as abnormal as they come, and I DON'T want you talking to him! Do you understand me?" What the hell was he saying?

"What do you mean ABNORMAL???" I protested.

"YOU know damn well what I mean!" He shook me to make his point. He must have seen the anger building in me and lowered his voice. Almost pleading with me to understand. "I know Freddy seems like a good boy, Wes. I know. CAN'T just go around letting him get too close to you. He's....he's sick, son. Do you hear what I'm telling you?"

It was probably the first time I had ever heard the words leave his mouth so blatantly. It was the most unapologetic form of hatred that I had ever heard from him. And even then he was holding back from saying it outloud. "Dad....?"

"His sickness is NOT to touch you. You hear me? No more." He said, and it truly broke my heart. "You're at an age now, where you're getting curious about a lot of things, Wes. And boys like Freddy....well, they're looking to take advantage of that. Force you to make choices you don't want to make." He said. "It only takes ONE time, son. Just ONE time. And you'll end up burning in hell right next to him." I couldn't believe my EARS! Why was he doing this??? Why did I have to be here to hear this? My God...he hates fags. He thinks I'm going to burn in hell! My own father! Probably my whole family! I can't believe he's saying this to me right now. I can't believe that he could hate me so much. He grabbed me in a short embrace, and said, "You're a good looking boy, Wes. Don't throw your life away. People are going to want you to do some disgusting things...and I'm just trying to protect you. Ok?" I was sick. The pit of my stomach was about to bubble over and spill out on his shoes. I didn't return the hug, but I felt my eyes get watery, my vision blurring slightly as I tried to deal with the emotions rushing up to the surface. It was proof. Proof that I'd never be what my father needed me to be. Proof that he would have hated me no matter what I had done to show him that I was a good person. Proof his eyes...I was as worthless and as outcast as my original feelings made me when I first figured out that I liked boys in the first place. He was disgusted with me...and I was going to burn in hell. The God that he had been devoted to his whole life...told him so. Eternal damnation, just for loving the wrong sex. Just for being born with the wrong 'feelings'. Just for...being 'sick'.

When he let go of me, I was speechless. I felt a disconnection from my father that I had never felt before. A complete abandonment of everything he ever taught me, every rule he ever enforced upon me, every good comment or moral concept that he had ever given me. It was all bullshit, wasn't it? ALL of it. He didn't care about me. He didn't want what was best for me. He just wanted his own little sheep to be like everybody else. Somebody to obey his every command and mold in his image. He didn't love me for me. He loved me for who he WANTED me to be. Because who I really was inside...wasn't good enough. The person I was inside...was a figment of his imagination, and he didn't want the 'real' me spoiling the illusion. When he let go of me, when I was out of his embrace...I felt like I'd never let him hug me again. Out of all the nasty things he's ever said to me, all the punishments he's dished out...this hurt more than anything. This burned a hole in my very spirit. And I gave up. Just like that...I gave up. I'm done. Every hope I ever had of pleasing that man was gone. All that was left behind...was the truth. He loathed my very existence. And I didn't want to be near him anymore.

The next few hours were spent feeling sorry for myself really. There was this unavoidable silence inside of me, and I didn't have anything to say to anybody. I'm sure most of the other counselors thought that it was just me sulking over yet another punishment. But it went a lot deeper than that this time. At this point...I almost wanted to be sent away. Brother Chris attempted to cheer me up once or twice, but he wasn't necessarily the most 'entertaining' person in the world. Didn't matter though. You could have set a clown on fire while he danced the Charleston on stilts, and I doubt I would have had the heart to pay it much attention. I felt paper thin. And the only thought running through my mind was telling me that I had two choices on how to live the rest of my life. Be honest, and have my parents and little brother hate and abandon me forever for living a vile and perverted lifestyle. Or I could lock myself down, lie about everything I am, and try my best to swallow my true feelings...never once knowing what real life and love could have been like...had I only given it a chance. Somehow, that didn't seem like much of a choice to me.

The feeling swelled in my chest, and it felt as though my heart and lungs were being filled up with wet cement. Getting heavy, and murky, hardening into a cold slab in the faint shape of the organs they used to be. Every breath I took felt pointless. Every step had lost all meaning. And when I saw Casey in the distance, riding his bike to go work at his uncle's store...I was almost too ashamed to look at him. Too ashamed to notice him. Worried that if I let my eyes wander over his beauty, that my 'illness' would overflow. I couldn't help wanting him. Why damn myself further by giving into the temptation to look?

"Wesley..." My father approached me with a folded map, but I didn't even look at him. My name sounded like a curse word in his mouth. "...Here's what I need you to do. Three groups of campers are going to take an extended nature hike tomorrow around the Eastern area of the camp. I marked it off right here. I want you to take this compass and this map, and mark off a trail for them." He gave me a backpack full of little red marker flags. I looked at the map and then at his face in disbelief. "You put the markers down, try to stay away from the main roads as much as possible, and we want to meet here, in this park, for a lunch break..."

"Dad..." I said. "...This is 2 miles out, and 2 miles back."

He ignored my observation entirely. "Try to make it so the young ones aren't going through areas with too much mud. And no heavy inclines either. Here's the map."

I just stared at him. "Why are you doing this?" I asked softly.

For a second, I thought I had seen a moment of weakness in him. A pause that might have revealed some level of guilt for working me like a dog these past few hours. But I guess I had imagined it. I guess, in his mind, I deserved it. "If you start now, you can be back before lunch is over." He said, a stoic look on his face, and then he walked away from me. He never once looked back. He wanted me gone. He wanted to send me away. And what choice did I have, but to do what he says? When you're 14 years old, you're forced to depend on the people who take care of you. The people who feed and clothe you. Their word has to be final and you have to obey. Just...give in. And I just didn't have the energy to challenge his boundaries anymore. They were too tight, too narrow. It was like being locked in a box wrapped in barbwire. And considering what he thinks about me and my 'kind' was self loathing humiliation to have to stand there and take it. But what alternative did I have?

It was maybe 30 minutes later, and I was almost a mile away from the map's starting point. I had been marching my way through low branches and mosquito infested puddles for about as long as I could stand. I had a pretty good idea of where I was going. And if I got lot, all I had to do was head North and it would take me right back to the main road. So I just continued along, putting down those stupid little trail markers and silently grumbling to myself while my mind became consumed with mental 'noise'. And I walked past a particularly large tree...I heard a voice. Calm and steady, but enchanting in its tone.

"You look like you're having about as much fun as a smashed fly." I jumped a little at first, but recognized him right away. I turned to see Sebastian standing up against the tree, one knee slightly bent, hands in his pockets, and his soft brown hair partially obscuring his eyes from view. You would have thought that he had been waiting there all day for me by his comfort.

"What do you want, Sebastian?" I pouted, not paying him much mind.

"I wanna know where your smile went, sweetheart. You seemed much happier yesterday."

"Yeah, well that was before I came home and got busted for being gone all fucking day. Thanks to YOU guys."

"Hey, don't blame us for your misfortune. We told you what would happen if you went home. If you had listened to us, you'd be waking up next to me with a smile on your face instead of....whatever it is you think you're doing."

"I'm marking a hiking trail." I said, and kept walking.

"Marking a unique." He said, but when I didn't turn around, he stood upright and began to follow me.

"So where are the REST of your 'friends'? Decide to sleep in this morning?" I said with a sarcastic sneer.

"Doing other things. Up to no good, probably."

"So why aren't you with them?"

"I wanted to see you." He said, a hauntingly seductive tone ceeping into his voice.

"See me?"

"Yeah..." A bashful smile crossed his lips. "...I thought we had a 'date' for last night. You and me...alone in the upstairs bedroom, remember? I was sort of looking forward to it."

"Right." I told him flatly. I rolled my eyes at the idea. Sure. Sebastian wanted me. Whatever. I'm not buying it, and I'm not going to let him trick me anymore either.

"Great. Well, here I am. You've seen me. Satisfied? Now go home. I've got 'chores' to do."

"We ARE quite hostile this morning, aren't we?"

I stopped walking to stare him in the face. " guys got me into a LOT of trouble last night! You practically KIDNAP me, drag me all over God knows where, and then you threaten me right in front of my own damn house? Exactly what part of yesterday's 'activities' makes you think that I can trust you ever again?"

"Let's set the record straight, junior...just in case you were thinking of playing the innocent victim in all this. You were a willing participant of everything that happened yesterday. The ride, the singing, the sex, ditching played your part because you wanted to. Not because we tied you up and held you at gunpoint. You did it of your own free will, Wesley...and you enjoyed it. It excited you, didn't it? It thrilled you. And like it or not, ten, fifteen, twenty years from'll look back on that day and smile. Because you got to let go. You got to be free...for just a little while. You're not going to remember good grades and church meeting and pats on the back from dear old" Sebastian moved closer, resting his chin on my shoulder as he stopped me from walking. He whispered in my ear, "'re going to remember that kiss, overlooking the beach bonfire at Rainbow's End. You're going to remember holding onto the side of that truck as it whipped around corners at 50 miles an hour. And you're going to remember what it was like...the first time you sucked me into your mouth, and tasted the unforgettable flavor of your first boy on boy sexual encounter." His whispers hypnotized me, and I felt a shiver run through me. "You're going to look back and think about those hands on you. Those lips. Those tongues. Touching you on all sides. It felt good....didn't it, Wesley? It felt soooo good." He reached his hand around me to gently rub my stomach, and I felt it begin to slide lower. "It's Ok. I'm here to tell you that it's ok to enjoy those things. To indulge in whatever desires you have readily available to you. It doesn't make you 'wicked' to go afterwhat you want. To enjoy the taste of sex, or to follow a destructive impulse, or to entertain a few impure thoughts now and then. We accept you, Wesley. We want to help you get what YOU want. In a few days won't have any other choice. You're going to have to come with us sooner or later. We're in your blood. And it's going to get worse." I listened, sure. But I moved away from him the second his fingertips began to fiddle with the belt on my jeans. I won't let him do it. Not this time. This is how I got into trouble in the first place.

"Cyrus 'SENT' you. Didn't he?" I said. "He sent you out here to retrieve me because he knew I'd be attracted to you. Well, you know what? You can go back and tell Cyrus that I don't want to have anything to do with ANY of you anymore. I'm done. Tell him thanks for the memories. Oh...and that he can shove his 'three days' up his ass." I stormed off and went back to marking the trail. But Sebastian only smiled at me when I looked back to see if he was still behind me.

"You know something? You're awfully cute when you're trying to struggle with your own heart." He caught up to me and walked by my side. I didn't have anything more to say to him though. Screw him. Screw all of them.

So I just kept walking, marking the trail, and ignoring the hell out of him the entire time. But he stayed right there at my side. For the next fifteen minutes, all he did was whistle softly, occassionally glancing at me from the side. It annoyed and frustrated me to no end. Why won't he just leave me the hell alone? After fifteen minutes, even my most stubborn instincts gave way and I told him, "I'm NOT coming back with you! What the hell is your problem?"

"I never said anything about coming back. I'm attempting to enjoy your company." He grinned.

"You're a fucking FREAK, you know that?"

"Sticks and stones, Wes. If I'm a freak...then what are you?"

"Just go away already! I DON'T want you here!" I shouted. "As if I didn't have ENOUGH bullshit to deal with!"

"That's good! Shout louder! Get it all out! Hehehe!" He said. "Give it to me! ALL of it! You've got BULLSHIT to deal with! Bullshit like what? Tell me!"

His hand reached out, giving me a light shove to the back of my shoulder, and I snapped. I involuntarily reached out an angry hand to grab him by the shirt. I raised my fist in the air, and was ready to push it right through his pretty FACE if I had to. "I swear to God..."

"Go ahead." He said, not even flinching. "Come on. Do it. Let's see you follow through on that." But I thought about it, and I let him go, and lowered my fist. Then I turned my back on him and kept walking. "Oh come ON, kid! Is that all you've got? You spend more time fighting 'yourself' than you do fighting the people that hurt and annoy you. Why? What's the point?"

"I'm not like you."

"But you ARE like me, Wesley. You're just putting a whole lot of effort into trying to be someone else. It's an awful drain, isn't it?" He said, and I kept walking, making sure not to go too far off track. "Tell me something...with all of that 'practice' at being what your dad wants you to be...did he appreciate it?"

"What?" I said angrily. "Don't you worry yourself about my father and me. We're fine."

"Fine, huh? So you mean to tell me that you two are as close as can be? One hundred percent truth between you, straight down the middle, no excuses?" He asked, and I stopped walking again.

"What are you talking about?"

"You work hard at being what he needs you to be, right? Good son. Good student. Good Christian. So you two should be close enough where nothing could come between you. Am I right, or am I wrong?"

"I told you...things are fine." I lied.

"Things? What things?" He asked, moving closer. "I'm willing to bet there's one thing that he doesn't know."

"So what? It doesn't matter."

"But it DOES matter. It's who you are. And you let him shame you into keeping it a secret. How 'fine' is that?" Sebastian let a smirk cross his lips. "What happens when you tell him, Wes?" I didn't answer. I let my eyes drop slowly to my shoes. "What happens....when you tell him...Wes?"

I pictured that look in his eyes...telling me to stay away from Freddie. They were so angry. So judgemental. And it hurt all over again. "I don't know." I said weakly.

"I think you do."

"Look, I've gotta finish this and get back before the end of lunch..." I said, feeling my eyes glaze over with the beginning of tears. I turned around and started reaching for another handful of flags. My hands shook slightly, and I ended up pulling a bunch of the flags out at once, spilling them out of my backpack and onto the trail. "Dammit..." I got down on my knees and hurried to pick them back up again.

"He judged you, didn't he?" Sebastian asked. "He yelled at you, told you how wrong it was for you to have fun with us yesterday, rubbed it in further at every given opportunity?" I just scrambled to pick up the flags, doing my best to tune him out. "He's trying to keep you innocent by keeping you ignorant, Wesley. The more you think for yourself, the less control he has."

"I've got stuff to do. Please...just go."

"They've made a puppet of you. That's what they do. Through shame, and guilt, and pressure, and fear...they control you. They tell you what to do, who you are, what you'll be when you grow up, where to go to school, when to eat, when to sleep...and you let them feed you this garbage. You allow them to embarrass you out of being yourself. Out of having fun, or sharing a laugh, or having sex. Aren't you tired of feeling like this?"

"I don't have a choice..." I sniffled.

"You DO have a choice! And why should you sacrifice ANYTHING about who you are? You should be embracing your true self, that's where the real power lies. Not in some silly ficticious pecking order set up by a few old bald men and corrupt politicians. People waste their whole lives away trying to play the system in order to get what they want. It doesn't work for them anymore than trying to be your father's favorite son is working for you."

I picked up the last flag from the ground and put it into my bag. "I've gotta go."

"You shouldn't be punishing yourself for what happened yesterday, Wesley. And your dad shouldn't judge you. WE didn't." He said from behind me.

"That's different."

"How is that different?"

"It just is." I started to walk away, but he followed me again.

"Why don't you talk to me? What is it with you that wants to keep it all bottled up inside?"

"I can't just run around being crazy all day, Sebastian. I need structure. And boundaries."

"Create your OWN structure. Your OWN boundaries. Who knows what you want and need better than you do, right?"

"Look, I just CAN'T, ok? No matter what he says or does to me, I just have to do what I'm told. He's my father."

"He's a MAN. Just like any other man. Wesley...just say 'no'. If you don't wanna be here, if you don't like your punishment, if you don't want to be sent out into the wilderness with a backpack of little red flags...just tell him no. What could he POSSIBLY do to you?"

"Are you asking me to forsake my own father?" I asked.

Sebastian's face softened, and without blnking, he replied, "I'm asking you to realize...that he has forsaken you." I paused for a moment, and he added, "The longer you submit yourself to this game, the longer you convince yourself that you HAVE to be here...the harder it's going to be to break free." Our eyes connected for a moment, and then I walked away to finish marking my trail. Just like I promised that I would. But this time...Sebastian didn't follow me. He only leaned back against another tree with a grin. "Otherwise,'s no different than convincing yourself that we 'kidnapped' you yesterday. If you wanna leave...just leave. Don't pretend that you have nowhere to go." I kept going. No more temptation. No more influence. No more little speeches about 'letting go'. Nick said ONE more screw up and I'm history. I'm not about to risk it. Not in my last week here.

"Oh...and by the way..." Sebastian called out. "...Picking dark little side paths like you did last night when you tried to 'run off' from us..." He giggled a bit. "...It doesn't work on John Boy. He never needed the light to begin with. I suggest you find yourself a better strategy next time."

I spun around, hearing a faint echo of Sebastian's laughter...but he was gone. Completely gone. Sighhh...whatever. He's probably hiding behind a tree or something to spook me out. I don't care. I'm sticking to the plan, and that's that. No more games.

I repeated in my mind, over and over again. Hoping to keep any thoughts of Sebastian or Cyrus or ANY of them from entering my head. They were just using me. Every last one of them. I knew better. And I'm not going to let them keep doing it to me over and over again. I'm through, I'm done. As for my father, I'll deal with him on my own. For now...I just...I wanna avoid more trouble. That's all.

I continued down the trail, frustrated, without any more run ins with my beautiful stranger. But...somehow, a piece of him stayed with me. A piece of all of them stayed with me. And as I felt another fever wash over me, causing my stomach to ache and my forehead to was like I could feel their 'imprint' on me. Like they were inside me. Swimming in my blood like a virus, devouring everything in its path. With every fever I felt like I got stronger. Faster. More alert. I had never had my own body feel so unpredictably foreign before. But whatever it was that was doing this to me...there were moments when it felt great.

I wonder if this was the feeling that Cyrus was talking about. If those little doors he had opened up inside of me were leading me to some kind of full body nirvana of some sort. Hehehe, it sounds strange, but I can't deny...I've ever been so...'healthy'. I felt like I could knock down a tree at this point. And if only my mind wasn't so bogged down with other bullshit, I might actually be able to do it.

Yes...if this was the feeling Cyrus was talking about...then I have to admit...

...I want more.


Thanks so much for reading the new chapter of "Savage Moon", and for sending such GREAT feedback about the storyline! I truly appreciate every word, and I see the fanbase growing more and more with each new chapter! Thanks! I certainly hope you enjoyed this new episode in the series, and will be back soon for more! All emails are welcome at or you can drop by the website at (And don't forget to sign the guestbook!)

Look for a new "Savage Moon" chapter in the near future! And if you like this series, and want to check out another sci-fi/horror story of mine ('Vampires') sure to look for "Gone From Daylight"!!! Either on my website, or right here at Nifty! Tell your friends! :)