Chapter 12B The Golden Thread - Friday July 21, 1995

Written by Charles Well <charles.well@yandex.com> and Sarge AKA Aldric <pietar_the_fearless@yahoo.com>

(C) 2018)

The original Kids of Indian Spring (KOIS) story by Jonas Henley can be found here: https://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/young-friends/kids-of-indian-spring/ and if you wish to read Jonas Henley's account of the 1968 Mackey Choosing Ceremony, look here:

https://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/young-friends/mackey-tails/

Also see map.pdf and Springer Families.pdf in the Sandy Jacobs folder on Nifty. There is also an extensive family tree of the Mackey family available as well.


This story is about sex between boys and is therefore a total fantasy. It was written by an adult for the entertainment of other adults. No children or animals were either involved or harmed in the writing of this story. Please leave now if you are not supposed to be here.

Writing the continuing saga of the Kids of Indian Spring has become a real community effort. My co-author on this chapter was Sarge AKA Aldric. His ideas, drafting, hard work, and constant support in too many areas to mention made this chapter possible.

Please consider a donation to Nifty for allowing us to have this resource to share our stories. To donate go here: http://donate.nifty.org/donate.html

Comments or suggestions may be directed to either of the authors mentioned above. We welcome feedback from readers. It's the only payment we receive for many hours of hard work.


12:00 am, The Tucker's House - The Substance of the Shadow Part B

Kelley was torn between stopping the creature in black or running to the house to warn his family. But with the light from the fire, he could see more jars on the back step and realized he'd have to get to this monster before it could throw them against the house.

The creature didn't seem to be aware that Kelley was coming up behind him. It had paused to admire his work. But just as he was about to tackle the figure in black, it turned, the mis-shaped head grinning at him. He'd been fooled, something that shouldn't have been possible.

The figure stepped to the side and landed a punch directly on Kelley's ear. Seeing that the boy was stunned for the moment, the figure turned and headed for the porch where more mason jars were waiting for him.

Kelley shrugged off the blow to his head and reached for the back of figure, only his feet slipped on the wet grass and he fell, dragging what he could now tell was a skinny kid on top of him. He reached around to grab the arsonist by the throat but instead grabbed a mask, pulling it down.

It only took seconds before Malcolm worked up the courage to follow his friend from around the safety of his hiding place behind the garage. He saw Kelley on the ground wrestling with the dark clothed figure.

"Fuck," Malcolm said. The creature's face was distorted and horrible-looking. He wasn't sure what he was going to do when suddenly Kelley pulled the mask from the monster.

"What the fuck?" he said next as the figure in black pulled free of Kelley's grasp and rose to face him. "David? Are you insane? What the hell are you doing?"

David Mackey had slipped out of the long black coat, getting free of Tucker, but he knew his freedom would only last for seconds. He saw Malcolm reach for him and threw the one jar he still had in his hand at the boy. It missed, but exploded behind him. Outnumbered, he ran off away from the house, leaving the three bottles he had set on the back step and the four that were still in the pockets of the coat behind.

Tucker had the coat the boy had been wearing, but for one brief second, he had touched David's shoulder, and in the second he sensed three things one, the boy was frightened and somehow, nearly gone. And second, there was something else. He couldn't describe it, but it was something ... not human. And third, the touch filled him with anger, bordering on hatred.

Lights were coming on inside the house, and Mr. Tucker came running out the back door in his pajamas, nearly knocking over the mason jars on the step.

"Kelley, what have you done?" Mr. Tucker asked, but it was Malcolm who answered.

"It was David Mackey. He was trying to torch your house. He ran off towards the Crazy Indian."

Mr. Tucker grabbed the hose and began spraying the part of the house that was on fire, quickly rinsing the moonshine off the wall which effectively extinguished the blaze.

"I grabbed him, but he dropped this," Kelley said, holding up the coat. "It's got more of whatever is in the mason jars in it. We've got to catch him and then hurt him." He reached for the gold coin that was in his pocket and realized he was naked; his boxers were behind the garage. He didn't understand why, but suddenly his dick became erect.

"Thank god Ashton woke us," his mother said as she joined her husband and the boys in back. She gave a sharp look to her oldest son and said, "We will not hurt him. Why would you say such a hateful thing?"

Kelley didn't answer, and looked away from her, but he could still feel her gaze on the back of his head. Finally, she turned and asked, "Why on earth would David Mackey want to burn our house down with us in it?"

Malcolm remembered a conversation he had once with Dean Mackey, concerning David.

"Why's he mad at me?" Malcolm asked.

Dean laughed, "Somethin' stupid, like he didn't fight you when you picked on his little sister Denise. He didn't protect her like Darrell and Hiram thought he should have. But really, they don't care about that; it's really just cause Darrell and Hiram hate you so much. And they just jumped on the chance to use David as a punching bag since they can't get at you."

"I never did anything to them."

"You're alive. It's enough. You know that." Dean had replied.

"He'll be going to my place next," Malcolm said. "If he hasn't already been there." He looked in the direction of his house and was slightly relieved to not see a fiery glow. "I've got to get there." He took off running.

Hal was torn between running after Malcolm, going to get the car, or staying behind in case David came back to finish the job.

Kelley started for the back of the garage to get his boxers, but his father ordered him the opposite direction.

"Go inside and turn the floodlights on and call Duane. I'm going after Malcolm. And put some clothes on."

As Mr. Tucker ran to the front of the house, Kelley went in the back. He turned on the flood lights as ordered, and then made the call to David's father. The man seemed totally confused at first, but quickly comprehended the situation. He had been told of David's disappearance 5 days ago, but assumed, like everyone else, the kid had run away to Los Angeles. How the hell he got to Indian Spring was beyond him.

"Darrell and I will go out and try to find him," the man said, before slamming down the phone.

Kelley looked out the window. He saw the lights from his dad's car stopped just a short way up the street and then the passenger door open and Malcolm got in before it drove off. He went up to his room and put on his shorts. His hand reached in the pocket and grasped the gold coin into his hand before joining his brothers in the front yard. He felt the rage subsiding.

Ten minutes later a truck drove up and Mr. Mackey and Darrell got out.

"Are you sure it was David?" Mr. Mackey asked.

"Malcolm said it was. All I saw was someone dressed in a long black jacket from the back. But he was the right height for a boy my age. And he had bottles of sh ... uh, stuff with him. They're on the back step and more in the jacket."

"You can say shine boy. You and I both know there's some of that been brewed in the Spring," Mr. Mackey said as he went around to the rear of the house with Kelley's mother. Kelley stayed out front with his brothers and Darrell.

"Somebody stole some shine from a couple of stills before everyone posted guards," Darrell explained. "Some of it was used to torch all the stuff at Old Knot. I ain't supposed to say nothing, but I guess everybody will find out soon enough. My idiot brother got sent to a mental place in California just before the Choosing List was to come out. But he pissed-off from there a few days ago. But everybody said he went to LA, not here."

"How come he gets to say `ain't' and me and Ethan can't?" Ashton asked, as only a nine-year-old could at a time like this.

"It's Ethan and I, and he can say it because he's not my brother and you two are," Kelley said.

Ashton pouted as Mr. Mackey and his mom came back out front with the seven remaining jars of moonshine. "I'll be returning these to the rightful owner," he said. Kelley knew it was a lie. He planned keeping them for himself, but that was none of his business.

Kelley gripped the coin even tighter as his dad returned a few minutes later without Malcolm.

"Couldn't find him, and there was no sign he'd been around the McEwen house," Hal said. He looked at Duane Mackey and added, "Malcolm was positive it was your son."

"He got away from my wife in California. We were told he was headed for Los Angeles, but I guess he came here instead. I'll get some guys out looking for him, but the damn kid knows how to hide. It would be best if you got that drunk and his kid somewhere safer."

Kelley almost leapt at the man. He had no right talking about Malcolm's dad like that. However, his own father's calm voice held him in place.

"We'll help them as much as possible. Someday I'd like to know what is between you and the McEwen's."

The Mackey's left, and Hal turned to his oldest son.

"Why were you naked? What were you and Malcolm still doing outside this late?"

"Defending the house from monsters," Kelley said as the rage returned. He reached into his pocket and squeezed the coin. "And what we were doing is no one's business but mine!" He stormed off into the house, unsure why he was so angry all of a sudden.

"Monsters?" Ashton asked. He adored his big brother, but he'd never seen him like this. "There are monsters out here?"

"No sweetie," Silvie said to him. "He's just angry. There are no monsters." She looked to Hal, who was about to go after the oldest son, and said, "Let him go. He won't talk to you tonight anyway. And you know what they were doing. Don't ask him to tell you."

Ashton wanted to know why his brother was outside naked, but was hushed and told to go back to bed. Ethan was jealous. He knew what they were most likely doing, and he felt left out. But he also knew there were monsters in the Spring. And he feared that now his brother was one of them.

"Would it be okay if Ashton and I built a pillow fort in your office and slept there?" Ethan asked his dad.

"Aren't you a little old ..."

"I think that would be a wonderful idea," Silvie said. "But do it quickly, you and Ashton need to get back to sleep.


8:30 am, Malcolm's bedroom -"The more you read, the more places you'll go" Seuss

Malcolm had stayed up watching for David, but sometime during the night he'd dozed off. With the sun up, he made an inspection all around the house and into the woods behind it, looking for footprints or any other evidence that the evil boy had been around. After at least an hour of searching, he hadn't found anything unusual, and he didn't expect the kid to return during the daylight hours.

He hadn't thought about the book for a long time, but the partial quote carved into the mantle of the Witch's cabin had brought back memories. He lifted his mattress to get to the things he had to hide from his dad. There was the book, `A Tale of Two Cities', and a Playboy and Penthouse magazine he had stolen from his cousin's room a year ago. There was also the ribbon his mom had worn in her hair, his pencils and the last two sheets of his drawing paper. All the things that would remind his dad of her. The man didn't want physical reminders around. All pictures of her had been thrown away, except for the small one he kept under the mattress. Her clothes, and everything else, was all gone.

He'd told the boys he'd read the book, but the truth was, the last time he'd held it in his hand was when he was around nine years old, and the book then was just too hard to understand. So much vocabulary he didn't know. But he looked up the words in that opening paragraph he didn't understand, using his school dictionary. Epoch, incredulity, despair. Despair soon became the meaning of his life. He read and re-read the paragraph until he knew every word all the way up to the hyphen, the cadence coming naturally.

Now it was time to read the story. He remembered a few things from when his mom had read it, but not much. Not the plot, only memories of some phrases.

He put the mattress back and got comfortable. He started with the opening, even though he knew it by heart. He read about the king with the large jaw and the queen with the plane face, and paused. Something wasn't right.

When his mother read it to him, his bed had been next to a window, the moon's light shining in on his sheet. She would sit on a chair next to the bed. But in his room now, the window was a small rectangle high off the floor, designed to let in light but not useful as a window. He had to stand on his bed to look out, and he couldn't have possibly been tall enough to see out of it when he was four.

Maybe he had been in his parents' bed when she read to him, in their room, and his mom would carry him back here after he fell asleep. He got up, and went to that room. His dad, like normal, was asleep on the couch.

But this room was wrong too. Malcolm struggled to remember the house as it was before his mother left him. The color of the walls, where the bathroom was, the kitchen. None of this was right. His memories had to be all jumbled. The house he remembered was nothing like the house he lived in.

He put the book back and took out the next to last sheet of drawing paper and his pencils and went to Tucker's house where he would be allowed to sit at a table and draw. He'd dreamed once of being an architect. Now he was going to try and draw the floor plan of the house in his memories. But not here where his father might wake up and see what he was doing.

***

Hal Tucker was still angry about a lot of things. But the first thing he needed to do was find out what his oldest son had done to David Mackey to make him want to burn their house. However, his wife was adamant that he let it be for now.

He decided to call Duane Mackey to see if they'd found the boy. But when he got to his office, he saw the tent fort that Ethan and Ashton were sleeping in, and he felt his anger returning as he considered their sudden childish behavior.

"You're acting just like all the other people in the Spring that you have described to me," Silvie said to him when she saw he was about to wake the two boys. "You have cause to be angry, but taking it out on our sons is not going to help."

Her words did calm him, there would be time to discuss this later. Right now, he needed to go and inspect the damage and see how much his insurance would cover.

As Hal was leaving, Silvie heard Ethan in the bathroom and started getting his breakfast ready.

"How are you doing?" she asked pleasantly as he came into the kitchen.

Ethan was not doing well at all. He was worried about his brothers. Ashton had gotten over his fear of monsters two years ago, and the nightly checks under his bed and in the closet had finally ended. But now, after last night, he was afraid it would start again. He'd gone up to Kelley's room, but found the bed empty.

"I'm okay," he lied. He decided it wasn't time to tell his mother that Kelley was gone. "I heard the car pull out. Where did dad go?"

"He needs to talk with the insurance company, and I think he was going to stop at Duane Mackey's house," she said as she tried to read his inner mood. She was sure he wasn't as relaxed as he appeared on the outside, but decided to let it go until he was ready to talk.


9:00 am, The Tucker's House

"Hey Malcolm," Ethan greeted him as he answered the door. "Whatcha got there?"

"Can I come in? I want to draw something."

"Sure," Ethan said. Can I watch?"

"Yeah," Malcolm said as he entered. "Where's Kelley?"

The flick of Ethan's eyes to the outside told him all he needed to know. He decided to do the floor plan first and then he'd go looking for his friend.

They sat down at the kitchen table, but Silvie Tucker came in before he got set up. She was still extremely stressed about the events of the previous evening. After all, it was not every day that someone tried to burn your house down, but she also felt a motherly concern and a deep affection for this boy. She knew he had never really been given a fair-break in life. So rather than reminding the boys of last night, she asked, "What did you have for breakfast this morning Malcolm?"

"Uh, the usual," he replied. All too often, the usual, Silvie guessed, was nothing, as it had been that day.

"Then put your stuff aside for a bit and you can have breakfast with Ashton. He's just getting up."

Ashton made his entrance as she spoke. He was wearing boxers and nothing else, and he yawned as he entered the kitchen.

"Eggs," he said, just before his mom was about to ask what he wanted.

She cooked up more than enough for the two boys, and smiled as Malcolm dug in. She knew she had to do more for him and his father. The poor boy was nothing but skin and bones as it was.

"What are you drawing today?" she asked.

"A house," Ashton answered.

"Not you sweetie, I meant Malcolm."

"Yeah, I know. That's what he's going to draw."

Malcolm stopped eating. "How did he..."

"Ignore it, that's just Ashton," Ethan said. "What kind of house are you going to draw? Is it like a castle or something?"

"No, just a floor plan, something I'm trying to remember," Malcolm said as he resumed eating.

Silvie frowned. "How about something better," she asked. "I have a lovely daffodil just flowering in the garden that I would love to see you paint."

"I just brought my pencils, and until my aunt gets me more, I'm almost out of drawing paper. Besides, I want to do this. Maybe later I can get my paints and do the flower if you want."

"Yes, that would be wonderful," she said. She didn't know what had sparked his memory, but if he was remembering the move it was best to be prepared. She decided that she needed to talk to Hal about it.


9:30 am, Along the Bank of the Crazy Indian

"What would be the worst thing you'd do for a dollar?" Wesley Schumate asked. He and his friends, Dustin Cannon and the Henway boys Ryan and Kyle, were lying on the bank of the Crazy Indian in what they called no-man's land. It was between the two small bridges that spanned the stream west and south-east of them, well south of the Nesbitt house. It was warm and humid, and the day promised to be another scorcher.

"Suck a dick," Kyle Henway said.

"You'd suck a dick for a dime," his brother laughed. Ryan was 11 months older than Kyle, who was just two months past his eleventh birthday.

"I'll give you a quarter to suck mine now," Dustin offered. Stuck between his preteen and teen years, it would still be three and a half months before he turned 13. He'd never had a blowjob before, but if Kyle offered, he figured it would be a well-spent quarter.

"Not just suck a dick," Wesley said. "Something more wicked. We're talking a dollar here, so just putting a dick in your mouth for ten seconds wouldn't count." Almost twelve, Wesley enjoyed these games. Nothing ever came of them, but when they played he always got a boner. Today, because they'd been swimming in the Crazy Indian, he had to roll over on his belly to hide it as their clothes were on the other bank in the sun.

"So what else?" Ryan asked. "You and Kyle probably don't even shoot yet."

"Yeah I do," Wesley said.

"Prove it then," Dustin challenged.

"For a dollar? Yeah, I'll prove it. You got a dollar to see me do it?"

"I got a dollar, but not just to see you jack off."

"What if the dick was covered in something like honey, or peanut butter, and you had to clean it all off using just your mouth?" Wesley asked. "Would that be worth a dollar?"

"Who would be stupid enough to do that?" Ryan asked.

"I would," Kyle said. "For a dollar from each of you."

"Except that when you chicken out, you don't have three dollars for your end of the bet."

"I wouldn't need it `cause I'd do it. Besides, you don't have a dollar anyway."

The banter stopped. Dustin and Ryan had also rolled onto their bellies for the same reason Wesley had. Only Kyle was still on his back, his dick sticking up three and a half inches with a slight curve towards his feet.

"I'd do it if you had to suck me, Wesley and Dustin two times if I did it. Then we don't need no money."

"And when you chicken out, you have to suck them and me 3 times. And do it until we cum," Ryan said.

"Deal," Kyle said. He spit in his hand and held it out to his brother. Ryan spit in his and they shook. It was the sign of a binding bet between the two siblings. Neither one of them could back out now.

"Who's going to spread peanut butter on his dick?" Dustin asked, giggling at the very idea.

"I will," Wesley said without hesitation. "And on my balls too. And Kyle has to clean it all off or he loses the bet."

"Meet back here after lunch," Dustin said. "And bring a jar of peanut butter." This was better than anything he could have ever imagined. They all knew how competitive the Henway boys were. It was his plan, and Wesley had played his role perfectly. Now no matter what, they were both going to get a blowjob, and maybe two. He wished now he'd said he would do it. Having the younger brother licking his dick and balls clean would be weird, but fun. But Wesley had beaten him to it.

***

Ashamed of the way he had behaved to his brothers last night, when Kelley had woken he went to their bedrooms to apologize. He guessed they'd still be sleeping after what had taken place in the middle of the night, but their beds were empty. The house was quiet, so he supposed that maybe they chose to sleep in their parents' room.

Rather than face his parents after his outburst the previous night, Kelley had exited the house via his window. The anger had left him, or buried itself deep inside. He wasn't sure which. He hadn't visited the Cormack's in a long time, nor had he seen any of them around. He decided to go and pay a visit. But as he was riding his bike past the old Anderson house, he suddenly realized that he hadn't spent any time with Nathan since before the White Party. He turned around sharply and went down the street to the next right. Nathan was on his bike, just coming out from where his house was.

"Hey Nate, long time no see," he said.

"Yeah, I thought you were still pissed at me because of what I said about you lying to yourself that day we came back from Chandler Clary's pool."

It had been almost a month ago, and Kelley looked at how much his life had changed in that month. How had he forgotten his best friend for all that time? To not even think about him for weeks seemed impossible, but it had happened.

"I was never really mad. You were right. I was lying to myself. I think I've got things sorted out now." Kelley paused. "Nate, I'm sorry. I never came by. I, uh, a bunch of things happened."

"Yeah, I've heard. That thing with Casey. And I hear you're a Mackey now. What's that like?" Nate paused and saw that his friend was struggling with how to answer the question. "I know you can't talk about it with me. That's okay. I just heard rumors. And I think I know more about what the Mackey's do than people think I know.

They had made it back out to the old Anderson house, and Kelley pulled into the driveway. He turned to make sure that Nathan had followed him. He got off his bike and sat on the front porch, which was in the shade.

"I've got so much to tell you," he said. "But first, I am really sorry for a lot of what happened. I never wanted to hurt you, and I didn't even realize I had until after you rode off that day. Lately I've been thinking a lot about what you said since then."

Nate didn't say anything, but he sat in silence and listened as Kelley filled him in on everything that had changed since they were last together, even mentioning parts of the Choosing Ceremony. When it was done, Nate just sat there, and Tuck was afraid that this was it, that this friendship was going to end just like the one with Casey had.

"I should have come looking for you too," Nathan said at long last. "I, uh, made friends with Zeke Prosper. Kind of like more than friends. He said he loved me. We kind of got a little rough. Actually, a lot rough, but not out of meanness. Zeke had something happened to him a while back. Something bad, and somehow it made him attack me."

Kelley had to interrupt. "I asked you once if you would tell me if he hurt you, and you said yes. I knew you were lying then and let it go."

"He wasn't trying to hurt me, but it was pretty physical. A lamp got broke, he tore our clothes off, literally, and I think one of us knocked a hole in his wall. His parents caught us and there was a big hub bub. But they found out the truth and after a while they seemed okay with it. I had to tell my parents. That sucked!"

"So, are you still seeing him?"

"I tried. He got hit by a lightning bolt near the school, and now he doesn't even remember who I am."

Kelley could sense that his friend was both upset and okay with that, and didn't push him.

Nate continued with some of the other things that had gone on in his life since last time they were together. When he finished, there was another extended silence. Kelley couldn't stand it, so he broke it by asking, "So, are we still friends or what?"

"Never stopped being friends," Nate said. "We just took a vacation from it." He turned and smiled. "And I still like your ass."

"How'd you like to fuck one of the two newest Mackey's in the Spring?"

"You mean here, on the front porch?"

"I was kind of thinking we could hide the bikes and go inside."

The house was dusty, but there were footprints through the dust. Kelley remembered that a second set of Upshaw boys were due to move in sometime soon. They found some old sheets in a closet and spread them out.

"You sure about this?" Nathan asked. "Because..."

"I'm sure. Move over, unless you've got something better, I have to make it slippery." He took Nathan's erection into his mouth and washed the entire length with his tongue. Nathan was moaning with pleasure the whole time.

"Be gentle, as a Mackey, I'm a virgin," Kelley said as he bent over.

When it was done, they used the sheets to wipe up the mess and got dressed again.

"Hey, you said there were two new Mackey's now. Who's the other?"

"You know I can't talk to you about any Mackey stuff," Tuck said in a serious tone. And then he laughed and said, "Calvin Brewer, and boy did he get fucked."

"Don't worry, I will never let anyone know about the stuff you told me. You've always kept my secret, and I can protect yours. But now I'll have to bite my tongue next time I see him."

They recovered their bikes. "I'm heading over to the Cormack's. Want to come?" Kelley asked.

"Uh, they may not see you," Nate said with sudden seriousness. "There's something wrong with Ian. I think he's dying or something. It really sounds bad. His family is gathered, trying to heal him or something. They hardly leave their property at all. It happened that night I told you about, when Zeke got hit by lightning."

"James walked me and Malcolm to the Old Knot on the day, uh, you know, the day I can't tell you about and he didn't say a word."

"That was probably because you had too much going on for him to trouble you further. Go see them, but last time I was there they asked me to leave. They were nice and polite, but they still asked me to go and stay away for a while."


10:00 am, The England Home

"It would be hilarious, but maybe too over the top," Jonah Kemp said. Jonah was just a month past his 13th birthday and enjoyed a prank or two, especially when they weren't directed at him. But the last couple of days had seemed to be very odd, almost evil. "I mean, he is a dork, but all the way home?"

"Why not?" Jory England said. "Besides, he's such a baby, he probably won't finish the game anyway." Three months past his thirteenth birthday, Jory's favorite target had always been the kid who lived across the street from him.

Dewey Dunham, also known as Dewey the Dunce, was two months from turning thirteen. He was incredibly shy, and never removed his shirt even on the hottest days.

"I'll make sure I lose the first game, him believing the game isn't rigged is the only thing that will keep him playing," Jory said. "Now, you remember how to read the cards, right?" He pulled four cards from the deck and placed them face down in front of Jonah. "Which cards are they?"

He was getting better at picking up the subtle differences in the lines on the corner images. "Four of hearts, Jack of spades, nine of spades, and ten of diamonds."

"Not bad, but you got one wrong." He flipped the last card over. It was the eight of diamonds. "But I think you're close enough to get by. Can you talk Cliff into playing and to bring Dewey the Dunce with him?"

"The first part is easy. He's a dare devil. It wouldn't surprise me that he's already played strip poker before. Getting him to bring Dewey will be the hard part. He thinks Dewey is a bit boring, but he doesn't hate him."

"He loves pranks. He'll agree if you word it just right. I need them here around 1 pm," Jory said. "I want the Dunce running home in broad daylight."


10:30 am, the Cormack Residence - A Fool and His Gold

"Hi Tuck," Duncan Cormack said as Kelley started up the driveway. "I don't want to be rude, but today isn't a good time to visit."

"Can you tell me why? Or let me see Ian? I heard he's sick."

"Not a sickness, something else. Something you wouldn't understand. I'm not allowed to talk about it."

"Come on Duncan, I want to help if I can. Maybe the Lanham's can help. They ..."

"The Lanham's are the source of the trouble," Duncan whispered. "Jack stole Ian's magic, and now a Korrigan is trying to steal him and Jack and leave changelings behind."

"What? Duncan, you're not making any sense." Kelley saw that Conner was approaching. The moment he looked past Duncan, his friend spoke softly as he turned back,

"Go now, Tuck, please. There is nothing you can do to help. Please, just go, okay? You are in danger just by being here."

"From Conner? He would never hurt me."

"Not from him," Duncan whispered before turning away. "Something else. Just go, please."

Duncan walked away and said to Conner, "He just wanted to say hi. He's leaving now."

"Sorry Tuck, try again in a week or two, maybe things will be better then," Conner said. The two brothers stared until he turned to leave.

He had nowhere else to go, so Kelley returned home. His mom was hanging laundry on the line in the backyard, so he decided to help.

"Dryer broke again?" he asked as he grabbed a shirt and two clothespins.

"Belt broke. Your father went to town to get a new one. You must be very bored."

"Me? No, I'm okay. Why do you think I'm bored?" And then as he picked up a wet pair of pants he realized. "Maybe I just wanted to help you?"

"And I appreciate it very much. You need to talk to your father about last night. I won't have you speaking that way to either of us ever again."

"I'm sorry mom. I'll talk with him. I was just tired, and scared."

"Your father was wrong to ask what you were doing, especially with your brother's right there. He will apologize for that. It's your outburst that needs to be addressed, not Malcolm's purpose for visiting you."

Kelley blushed, knowing his mom probably had a good idea of what had taken place behind the garage and why he had been naked. "I'm sorry," was all he could say.

"I haven't seen much of Nathan for a while, are you guys okay?" his mother asked.

"Yeah. We had a small fight." He saw the look on her face and quickly said, "Not a fight - just a disagreement. Anyway, I was just with him. We, uh, made up. Everything is cool."

"That's good to hear. Malcolm is in the house, and I know hanging wet clothes on the line isn't your idea of a good way to spend the last hour of the morning. Go and see what Malcolm is doing before Ashton drives him crazy. I'll take care of the laundry."

Kelley finished hanging the pair of pants he'd picked up. "Okay mom," he said and hurried to the house wondering what had brought Malcolm over.

"Malcolm made a house," Ashton said as Kelley entered the kitchen.

"He did? What, a tree house?"

"No, a real house. Like how one would look if there wasn't a roof and you were a bird flying over it."

"Oh, a floor plan," Kelley said. Malcolm had stopped working and was smiling at him.

"Can I see it?" he asked. Malcolm slid the paper over.

Kelley could see that there had been a lot of erasures. "Are you designing the house you want to move into after college?"

"Me? College? I don't think that's in the cards. I'm trying to remember what my house looked like."

"Your house doesn't look anything like this," Kelley said. "The rooms are all wrong."

"Not the house I live in now. The one I lived in before, ... the day."

"What day?" Ashton asked.

"Ashton, why don't you go ask mom what she's making for supper?"

"Pork chops, beans and carrots," Ashton said.

Kelley realized asking Ashton to go ask his mom what she was going to make was a dumb idea. She probably didn't even know it yet herself, but he was sure his brother would be proven right.

"Doorbell," Ashton said. "Hey, its Phillip and Mikey Gaston. See you." He headed for the front door just as the bell rang.

"Kelley, who's here?" he heard his mom call from the yard.

"Two of Ashton's friends," he replied. Phillip was the same age as Ashton, 9, and his brother was a year older.

"He didn't even look up," Malcolm said. "Aren't you going to make sure that was who it was?"

"I don't need to. Ashton's never wrong. Besides, they're already in the backyard where my mom is."

"He asked me what we were doing last night. And if there really was a monster."

"What did you tell him?" Kelley asked. He wished he hadn't scared Ashton. When his kid-brother was younger, he'd been scared to death of monsters and Kelley hoped he hadn't reignited that fear.

"I told him you lost your boxers chasing David, and that you didn't mean a monster, that they aren't real, that you just meant David was acting like a monster."

Kelley knew now that monsters were real. And that hadn't been David in the yard. It was the boy's body, but what controlled it was something different. He gripped the coin, feeling the comfort it gave him when it was in his hand, touching his flesh. "Thanks," he said.

He sat back down and poured a glass of milk for him and one for Malcolm. He picked up the drawing and took a closer look.

"You know, this looks familiar," he said, trying to picture what the house would look like. "I've seen it somewhere."

"Where?" Malcolm asked.

"Why do you think you lived in it? Didn't you and your dad always live over on the bend past the Kerns' house?"

"I was reading a book, something my mom read to me, and I realized that my house was all wrong. I'm trying to remember how it looked. I still don't have it right, but I'm getting closer. I really want to know why we moved."

"Wait, I got it. I was there just an hour or two ago. This is the old Anderson house. You know, the old abandoned place next to the good Anderson's."


To be continued...