Written by Charles Well <email@example.com> and Sarge AKA Aldric <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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:
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.
For anyone interested, I have also been working on another story away from the Indian Spring World with Sam the Ham.
See Cow Pies and Country Cousins at https://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/young-friends/cow-pies-and-country-cousins/
Kelley led the short procession from the Mackey lands into the Lower Spring. There was little talking. They passed Malcolm's house and followed the road as it bent to the south. Calvin Brewer was standing at the next intersection, and as they passed he joined them.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Kelley asked him.
"We're Mackey's now," Cal said. "Mackey's stick together."
A million responses went through Kelley's mind, but not one seemed appropriate. He remembered promising Ethan that he would give some thought to how he felt about Cal.
"Look, Cal, if you think this is going to make up for what you did, you're wrong."
"I know," Cal said softly. "I've been wondering how soon after the 5 days are up you'd be around to give me what I deserve and do to me what I did to you."
"I was never going to do that," Kelley said. "Do you even know where we're going or why?"
"You're going to face Eric Turner. I saw what he did to McEwen. I wanted to stop it, but I was too chicken."
"You what? Why would you of all people care what happened to Malcolm?"
"Because he and Ethan were the only two people who ever treated me okay," Malcolm said from behind them. "Until you changed. Its why your brothers were probably the only two kids around here I never picked on."
Kelley was more confused now than ever before. "There isn't going to be a fight," he said. "Eric Turner just wants to impress Andrea Harris. He's not going to fight me. I just want to talk. So if you think that being with us gives you the courage to stand up to him you may as well go home."
"You've got it all wrong Tucker," Cal said. "I'm not standing up to Eric. I'm standing with you, and Malcolm."
As they passed the Gaither house, they saw Eric off to the right, between them and the Harris house. Kelley made a decision, hoping he was right about this and a lot of other things.
"You guys wait here. I'm going to go and talk to Turner."
He wasn't sure they would listen, especially the Koch brothers, but they didn't follow him as he turned towards Eric.
"I see you got my message," the older boy said. He made a nervous glance behind Kelley. "Looks like your friends abandoned you."
"You didn't need to hurt Malcolm. I'd have talked to you. But the time for talking is past. I'm guessing something happened to Casey, and Andrea picked you to do something about it. You did your best. Now I'm going to talk to her, and you're not going to interfere."
"I'm not afraid of the army you brought," Eric said, but it was a foolish statement to make. Every glance, all of his body language, everything about him showed that he was scared. But Kelley didn't want to put him in a corner.
"They trust me. That's why they stayed behind. Let's go talk to Andrea and if she wants you to beat me up you can. But that won't fix anything. And you are smart enough to know that sucker punching one 12-year-old and then attacking another isn't going to be good for you."
"She doesn't want to see you. Neither does her little brother. And you aren't going to get past me to see her."
Kelley considered this new piece of information. "She doesn't know you hit Malcolm, does she? And she doesn't know you're keeping me away. Let's just go and talk to her. If she wants me gone, I'll leave. You can even have the pleasure of throwing me out if it makes you happy. But we aren't going to fight. That won't help either of us."
"You're just scared."
"I should be. You're fifteen, I'm twelve. But the truth is, I'm not afraid. And not because of the boys behind me. I can't take you, but I can hurt you. And we both know that your girlfriend isn't telling you to do this. She doesn't need to know you punched Malcolm. I want you to come with me. We're going to talk to her."
Tucker sensed the indecision in Eric. He paused, giving the older boy time to consider his next move. He wondered why Casey was back home. He should have been away at school.
"This really doesn't even concern you. It's about me, and how I hurt Casey. Andrea cares about her brother, but she doesn't want you fighting his fights. Let me go and see if she will let me talk to him."
"She won't," Eric said. But his posture had changed. He wasn't going to stop Kelley from going to the house.
"Tell Malcolm you're sorry. That's all you have to do. He won't hold a grudge. Nobody else needs to get hurt."
Kelley moved to the side instead of walking straight at Eric. He was still not totally sure what the kid would do when he tried to pass. But as he did go by, he saw out of the corner of his eye that Eric was looking at the five boys waiting at the intersection.
Kelley stopped and turned. "The Koch brothers won't make a move unless you directly challenge them. James Cormack is just there to make sure there isn't a fight. Malcolm isn't pissed. And Brewer? I truly don't know what he'll do, but I hope if he does do something you can let it pass." Then he continued walking to the Harris house.
Kelley's sudden departure gave Sandy a few minutes to think upon what he needed to say to get the council to consider the proposal. He thought that Kelley's abrupt nature had worked, but it wasn't his style. He needed to follow Raymond's advice and make it sound like less of an ultimatum.
"As Kelley said, there are serious consequences if something isn't done to Eli. I fully support the idea he presented, but it is nothing more than that, a proposal. Something for you to start from and then come up with your own ideas."
"You said you've talked with Mr. Corbin," Sheldon began. "But I think you and Kelley were the wrong two people to come to us. If Matty felt he was not treated fairly, it should be him here, presenting his own case."
"And maybe you should go and meet with him," Bert Mackey said. "He lives like 40 miles away."
Sandy noticed that Hiram and Darrell were staying quiet, which he figured was probably a good thing. The conversation between council members continued for a few minutes before the door opened again and Raymond entered.
"Sandy, I thought Kelley would be with you," he said as he looked around the room. "And where is James?"
"There was a problem between Malcolm McEwen and Eric Turner, and Kelley left to go and resolve it. Since it involved Near-Springer kids, James went with him," Shelden said. "I take it you know about why Sandy was added to the agenda?"
"Yes, I'm the one who added him. However, I just got back from a meeting that Eli and I had with Mr. Corbin, and the issue has been resolved. For now, it is a Corbin matter and Mathew is not going to press charges. Thank you for bringing it to my attention Sandy. I don't think we would have been able to do much about it here but it was a serious matter."
"What do you want," hissed Andrea when she answered the door and saw Kelley standing there.
"I need to speak to Casey."
"He's away at school. Go home."
"Whatever happened, maybe I can help."
"I said he isn't here. Go Home!" This time she slammed the door.
Kelley made his way around to the back. He found two small pebbles and tossed them at Casey's window. A moment later the curtain was drawn back and the boy stared down at him for a second before letting the curtains go.
Kelley sat down and waited. Two minutes later the curtains parted again. This time they were held open for a longer time. Kelley didn't signal or move, he simply sat there on the grass and looked up.
The curtains were at last pulled back, and the window opened. Casey came out the window and crossed the roof to where a tree was growing off the side of the house. He leaned to it and jumped, catching the tree with his feet. Then he slid down. Without a look or word to Kelley he headed across the back yard and towards the trees that bounded the Harris property.
Kelley got up and followed. In the short time he'd known Casey, he'd never been able to quiet the boy. The last time he'd tossed pebbles at the window he had to hold his finger over his lips to keep the boy from shouting out his joy.
"How did you know I was home?" Casey asked once he reached the trees. He sat on a log, leaving another one for Kelley.
"Your sister must have said something to Eric. He couldn't find me, so he punched Malcolm in the stomach as a message. I got it and came over."
"You aren't bloody, and you couldn't have taken Turner."
"He didn't really want to fight. I don't know what he wanted, except maybe to get your sister out of the house. She wouldn't let me in. She told me you were away at that school you go to."
"Used to go to," Casey said. "I had to leave." Kelley didn't ask why. He figured if Harris wanted him to know he'd tell him.
"I've thought about what you said, that I didn't think highly enough of myself, and I came to the conclusion that you were right."
"Actually, that was what you said to me," Casey said.
"And you said, `Same to you.'"
"You used me. You needed me to fuck you in order to break the Mackey, whatever the hell that means. Did it work? Was it worth it?"
"We've had this discussion," Kelley said. "I didn't use you. I don't know why I let you fuck me that first time in the pond. But I did. And it wasn't about using you. I think you were the victim of hero worship. Don't look like that, you're smart enough to know what I mean. Yeah, I got fucked by other boys. A few more than once. But each time, it was for them. I wanted something from them. Or I owed something to them. You were different. I came back to you because I wanted to. There was no obligation to allow you to fuck me. No secret purpose to it. With you, I enjoyed doing it."
"You told me I had a role to play. It worked into your plans. Now you're telling me that wasn't true. Which one do I believe?"
"I did tell you that. And at the time I believed it. I believed I needed you to own me in order to beat the Mackeys. But I was wrong. Everything I was doing was wrong. I beat the Mackey by accident, or by prophecy, or some fucking magic. I don't know. But it wasn't you. I never became a Mackey bottom."
That made Casey look up.
"Tanner Mackey came over to me right after you left and gave me the protection vote he'd been saving for his brother. It dropped me out of the top four. I don't know why, except that his father was told years before he was born that his middle son would do it someday, and damned if he didn't."
When Kelley stopped talking there was silence for a long time.
"I told my cousin Brad that I'd fucked someone. He assumed it was a girl, and when he asked who it was, I said your name without thinking. He told one of the counselors, and the school decided they didn't need a gay boy in the dorm. I had to have an exam of my ass! I kept telling them nothing has been in there except an enema tube when I was six. And the damn doctor asked me if I enjoyed it!"
"We both know that neither of us is gay, but I'm sorry that happened. You always did speak before thinking. What now?"
"My parents said they're fine with me being gay, and I can't convince them I'm not. But it bothered Andrea. She doesn't want to go to school as the sister of a gay boy. That's why she told Eric. My parents are proud of me, can you believe that? They sent me to that school so that I would learn to stand up for myself, and they see this as proof that they were right. The whole fucking family is screwed up."
He stopped for a second, picking his words more carefully.
"They were willing to let me go to school here. They kept asking who the other boy is. Andrea told them it was you. She told them she wants me sent away, somewhere else. I think my parents might be considering it."
"I wish I could help," Kelley said. "But I think anything I would say might make it worse."
"Don't worry, it isn't your fault. I was so damn stupid. Like you said, I always have been."
Just then the trees parted and Eric and Andrea stepped through.
"There you are," Andrea said to Casey. Then she looked at Kelley. "You! Get out of here. Stop trying to coerce my brother into joining you in your sexual fantasies."
"I'm not gay, and neither is he," Casey yelled. "And at least I don't need a gadget to tell me if I'm pregnant."
"What?" said Eric, looking at Andrea. "You're pregnant?"
"No, stupid, I'm on the pill. He's making that up."
"It was in the garbage. It had a minus sign on it. And I'm going to tell dad that Eric has been fucking you for at least two years now."
"Why did you need a test kit if you're on the pill?" Eric asked.
"I didn't. He's lying. Where are you going?"
But Eric had already run off and wasn't stopping.
"You little prick, you did that on purpose."
"I did it because you used your boyfriend to beat up Malcolm McEwen."
"No, I didn't. He was supposed to scare Tucker. This is all crazy."
"When dad gets home I'm telling him. I have the used test kit hidden in my room. When I show him, you're the one who will be sent away, not me."
Andrea ran off towards the house.
"Is it well hidden?" Kelley asked.
"It doesn't exist. Or at least I didn't know she had one. But if she's running off to search my room, I guess that would mean she did have one." Casey was smiling.
"I should get going," Kelley said, somewhat reluctantly.
"I, uh, need to think," Casey said. "I'd like it if we could talk. Maybe someday I'll want to do more again, but right now I don't. But I did miss you. A lot. You were about the only one who treated me decent."
"Come and talk any place, any time," Kelley said. "I'd like that too."
He left with mixed feelings. They were no longer friends, but at least they had talked of what bothered them. They left on a good note, unlike the last time. Kelley was optimistic that he would see Casey again.
Eric Turner was gone, but James Cormack, the Koch brothers, Malcolm, and Cal Brewer were still on the street. Kelley wondered what he was supposed to say to the boy who had nearly reduced him to tears at the White Party and who may have been planning to sexually assault his brother, but who now had come out to stand up for him.
"Everything is cool guys," he said as he approached them. "Thanks for supporting me, but like I said, nothing happened. Malcolm, did Turner apologize to you?"
"He tried, but he couldn't swallow his pride enough to do it, but I'm good."
"We've got a long walk back, so I guess we should get going," Arthur said. He and Austin turned and headed north.
"I've got stuff to do at home," James said. "Come by later, would you? Ian would like to see you."
"I'll be there. Is he okay?"
"He's getting his strength back. But he's changed. Just stop by whenever you can. We won't make you leave like we did the other day."
That left Malcolm and Cal.
"I'm sorry," Cal said. "For everything. It was stupid, and my dad is making me pay for it. Is Ethan okay?"
"You scared the shit out of him," Kelley said, but then saw the hurt in Cal's eyes. "But he asked me to forgive you. He thinks you got more than you deserve."
"What do you think?" the boy asked. Kelley never noticed how small Cal was. Or had he just grown?
"I think you, uh, shit Brewer, I don't know. I was so pissed at you I was afraid to even see you. I was afraid I'd do something."
"Go ahead, I probably deserve it." Cal looked down at the ground. "The five-day rest period is over. So, if you want to do something, go ahead."
"Cal, I don't want to do that, or anything else to you either."
"You should. It feels really good. Have you ever had your dick up someone's ass?" Cal asked.
"I'm not going to talk about that."
"You haven't, have you? You should try. It doesn't have to be with me. I'm just telling you that it's okay if you want to use me. That's what I'm here for. That's what I've become." With that, Cal turned and headed in the direction of his house.
"What the hell should I have said to him?" Kelley asked Malcolm after he was gone. "Ethan feels sorry for him, and thinks I should too."
"His dad was pretty hard on him," Malcolm admitted. "Don't look at me like that. It isn't a bad thing to feel sorry for people who are suffering."
"You would have never accepted me if I had felt sorry for you."
"Who says I was suffering? But I do think you need to speak to Sheldon about him."
"I will. Or Sandy at least. You know what scares me about this?" Malcolm shook his head. "If I still had that gold coin in my pocket, I think I would have fucked him. Right here on the street. Not for sex, I never had any interest in that. And not for revenge either. I'd have done it to hurt him."
"I don't know what it was," Malcolm said. "A curse, bad luck, one of those monster names you called it. But it wasn't you. And it's gone. What are you going to say to Ethan?"
"I don't know. I don't feel sorry for Cal Brewer. Do you think I should?"
"I don't know what he did to you. I wasn't there. But Ethan was, and it hurt him. Yet he doesn't believe the punishment fits the crime. Think about it. By the way, you and Casey. Did you, uh, get back to where you were and fool around some?"
"No, and I don't think we ever will again. We're both wiser now. But we didn't part in anger this time. I think after he recovers from what I did to him he'll come around. Not for sex. He was never gay." Kelley paused for a second.
"Wait, did you know we were, uh, doing stuff?"
"Let's just say that there were nights when I couldn't sleep. And half-dressed kids throwing pebbles at other kid's windows in the middle of the night sometimes caught my attention."
Malcolm laughed when he saw that Kelley's face was now red.
"I'll bet you jacked off watching us," Kelley giggled with a sly smile.
"You would win if I was stupid enough to bet. Seth was there too. We were ten feet from that fallen tree behind Casey's house. He had boxers on with sailboats on them. And you gave him your ass. He fucked you twice without pulling out. And you shot too."
"Shit," was all Kelley could say. Malcolm had really been there watching. He knew more details than he could have ever guessed.
"Wait, Mackey rules," Kelley said suddenly. "If Seth was there, why didn't he, uh..."
"Seth didn't care. First, you were both Springers. Second, he had nothing to gain from it. He just enjoyed watching. And next time you see him you'll be just as red-faced and embarrassed as you are now `cause you'll know he was there."
Kelley remembered Seth's reaction when Malcolm brought him to his house. The shared joke that he hadn't gotten. He understood it now, and was doubly embarrassed.
"I've got to visit the Cormack's," Kelley said. "You can come if you want."
"No, I haven't checked on my dad for a while. I'll catch you later though."
"How is Ian?" was the greeting Kelley gave to James as he was met on the driveway.
"He is much better, and he'll be out to see you soon, but I wanted to talk to you first. My parents are at the Lanham's, repairing the damage that was done between our families. Jack is also much better, thanks to you. And Ian and Jack have some kind of connection with each other now that even I don't understand."
"The thing, it has a lot of different names, it latched on to me when Jack grabbed my arm. If it hadn't done that, I don't know what would have happened," Kelley explained.
"I do. It would have taken both Jack and Ian and replaced them with changelings, evil creatures who take the place of their human host. What was happening was something I'd rather not discuss. It would be too hard for you to understand anyway. What I do want to talk about is what you did to stop it."
"I, uh, don't want to be rude, but some of what I did I need to keep secret to protect a friend. But I saw the creature when Jack touched me. I saw it again with another boy – David Mackey." That statement made James' eyebrows rise. "This is hard to explain, but people had been asking me who I was. I know that doesn't make any sense."
"It does to me. Trust me on that!" James said. "I gather you figured out who you were."
"Yeah. I had a, uh, it was, never mind. I had gold. I guess it was my gold ..."
"It would have had to be or it wouldn't have helped," James said, interrupting.
"Okay. Anyway, I threw it into the stream. At the source. I gave it up willingly. There was something about two sides that I didn't understand, but somehow, I accomplished what I needed to. I really didn't know what I was doing."
"I will tell you if you ask me to. Afterall, you saved both Ian and Jack. But I would rather not. Our traditions are like a religion to us. It's a private thing. We trust you completely, don't get me wrong. It's just that by telling you..."
"Don't tell me. I understand enough to know that something was guiding me. If I was supposed to know what to do, it would have told me. I'm good with that."
"If you had known, you would not have done the right thing. And understanding the vision you had of Ian giving up his gold, that was all you. The real you. Magic has two sides. Ian, and Jack for that matter, had no understanding of this. Jack was pissed at Ian because Ian had used his powers to make Jack do something. Without even knowing he did it, he cast a very powerful spell that drew an evil creature into the land."
"It's gone now," Kelley said. "It's back in its cave. That's all I need to know." He paused, thinking about how to phrase the question he wanted to ask.
"I never saw it before, but now I can guess what Ian was capable of. Is he still able to manipulate people?"
James also took a moment to consider his response. "One should never talk of their own or other people's magic," he said. There was a slight pause before he continued. "But now Ian and Jack have lost theirs. It is possible it went to others. That sometimes happens, or it might be lost forever. Ian seems to be okay with that. He understands now that the things he did for self-gratification were wrong, and he is at last old enough to know he couldn't control himself. But Jack is bitter about it. He doesn't blame Ian, he knows it was his action that led to him losing his ability. But it will always leave a hole in his heart."
"You knew what I did to Arthur Koch at the meeting room," Kelley said.
James gave a single response. "Yes."
"I, uh, just wanted to tell you I don't like doing that. I couldn't think of another way to control the situation. I've only done it twice, and hopefully will never need to do it again."
"Kelley, you have whatever magic you have for a reason. As long as you are confident of who you are, it will work out. I was surprised when I saw you do it. But it did not bother me. We don't need to talk of this again."
Kelley looked down, too embarrassed with the last thing he wanted to ask to look James in the face. "You said the creature would replace kids with changelings." He paused for a moment to think how he wanted to say this. "That boy I mentioned, David Mackey. I think that happened to him. But after I threw my gold into the stream, he lost his memory for the last six months. Do you think he's safe? Or is he still a danger?"
The look on James' face scared Kelley. He was suddenly very worried about David. But then James answered him.
"There are stories that in the past there were certain people who had the power to revert a changeling back into its true form; and sometimes to make changes in how those people think. Making someone forget six months is a very difficult feat, and those who have that ability are usually limited to a day or two." James was careful to not let Kelley know that he was one of those. Kelley had the power to make people forget things. It was an awesome power and came with daunting responsibility. Now was not the time, so he continued.
"To force a changeling out and leave the human behind alive is beyond the ability of anyone I have known or heard of. My knowledge of our family is sufficient to say that there has never been a Cormack who could do such a thing. And I would be more than surprised if you were able to do it."
"Could it have been an Indian?" Kelley asked. "I mean, a Native American?"
"Kelley, this is the strangest conversation I have ever had with anyone in my life. I suppose the answer is yes, and I will have to go and talk with David. I would recommend that you not have this conversation with your friends. If you must talk about it, my mother would be a good choice."
"No, I just wanted to know. I mean, David changed so much right after I tossed the gold into the source of the Crazy Indian, that I wondered if it was me who healed him. I don't need to talk to anyone else. My friends already think I was a bit crazy, that would only convince them that they were right."
"You were touched by a creature that for all practical purposes only exists in fairy tales," James said. "It wanted you to spend your gold, didn't it?"
"Yeah. I really wanted to. And I almost did."
"The Weeping Squaw of the Brave Who Never Returned," James said. "I've heard the tales. I don't know the answer to your question. I don't know if David was a changeling or just mad at the world. But I believe it might have happened."
"Tucker," a small voice said from the house. Kelley and James turned as Ian came running down the driveway. Ian somehow looked smaller than he used to. He gave Kelley a hug.
"Come with me, I need to talk to you."
Kelley looked at James, who nodded. He followed Ian to the fort in the backyard.
"Nobody knows this," he explained. Kelley started to say something, but Ian held up his hand.
"It was me who called you a filthy asshole and said I'd destroy you. Not Jack. I was scared of what you were going to do."
"It wasn't you, it was the thing controlling you. But it was you that let me know what you had done."
"I, uh, was bad, even before that. I made people do things I wanted. I would have made Ethan do things eventually. I feel empty inside now, but I know it's better. I just wanted to thank you, and to tell you it wasn't Jack."
"Okay, that's fine. Thanks for telling me. I really hope the emptiness gets filled with something else. I'll go and see Jack as soon as I can."
"He wants you to come, but he's here listening."
"You mean here?" Kelley asked, looking around. "Where, in the house?"
"No, he and I ... share things. We can blot each other out if we want, but so far, I haven't done that to him, or him to me. It's kind of weird when we jack off, I can sense everything he is feeling and I know what he is thinking about when he does it, and the same for him about me. He said I have to go and tell the people I used that I'm sorry, and I'll start doing that as soon as I'm allowed out of the yard."
"You do know that you aren't supposed to talk about your abilities, don't you?"
"Yeah, but you're different. Our families know something is weird between us, but they have no idea how well connected we are. We both wish you were part of it. You're the one who saved us."
Kelley wasn't sure he'd want anyone else `listening in' while he jacked off, but he understood the reason. "I couldn't have done it without help from a lot of people, and even then, it was a near thing. I'm just glad the two of you are okay."
"It isn't just me and Jack," Ian said. "At first, we were both confused. But we figured it out. We're connected to David Mackey too. The Madoc, or Baykok, took over his body completely. We think it sensed the power of his emotions, maybe even his hatred of many of the kids in Indian Spring and it latched on to that powerful force. It left Jack and me in semi-comas, but it had David running around following its orders without him even knowing. But now it's gone back to its cave and David is scared, and he blocks us out, but sometimes he forgets and then we can talk to him. He told the people he's with that he is crazy because he hears voices. We want to tell him he's not crazy, but he won't let us in."
"He didn't grow up in a family like yours or Jack's," Kelley said. "You just accept that it is magic. But he has no idea. Think how scary that would be for you."
"Yeah, I get that, but there is something more. He doesn't remember a thing beyond last winter or spring. But Jack and I can see what's in his head. He's the one who burned Old Knot, only he doesn't know it. And he got shot with rock salt when he was stealing moonshine from a still."
Kelley had to consider this for a minute. "If people knew what you told me, it would put him in great danger. The Mackey, and other families as well, treat that place like it is sacred. They would hate him if they knew."
"Jack wants to know if you'll take us to him. Let us talk to him in person. Tell him he isn't crazy."
"I can't do something like that without permission from your parents at least, and probably mine as well. And don't go exploring through his brain. How would you like it if someone did that to you?"
"You weren't listening. Jack does it. And if David tried, he'd know too."
"I can't ask your parents to let me take you there without having a reason why you want to go. And I assume you don't want them to know what you are telling me or they would know that as well. I'm not sure if I can help you."
"Jack wants to know what happens if David gets his memory back without us and tells people that he burned Old Knot?"
Kelley didn't have an answer for that. There was almost nobody the boy could tell that would keep a secret like that. Or that could defend him if the secret got out. "I'll try and find a way," he said.
He couldn't leave without saying hello to the rest of the family. It was a tiny bit awkward as everything that had happened was meant to be kept secret and not to be talked about. But they did promise a water fight soon. The biggest one ever, and Kelley promised he'd bring Ethan and Ashton. And Malcolm.
He needed to head for home. It had been another long and exhausting day. This time however, he promised himself that he would tell his father everything he'd done. Except for one thing. The magic he'd used to keep Arthur Mackey from fighting Eric Turner would remain a secret. Forever.
Kelley wished he had his bike. He was tired, and the walk from the Cormack house to his was about as long a walk as any in the lower Spring could be. He was just passing the Kearns house when he saw Mr. McEwen driving a car that was normally parked in the garage behind their house. Malcolm's father drove south, and was quickly out of sight. He decided that even though he was supposed to be home for dinner already, he'd go and check on his friend.
Malcolm was on his front porch. He looked like he was carrying the weight of the world, and only nodded when Kelley greeted him.
"Can I use your phone?" Kelley asked. "I should be home now, but I want to stay and talk with you and I need to tell my parents where I am."
"The phone was shut off years ago because he didn't pay the bill. You'll have to go to the Schumate's and use theirs."
Kelley stood there, unsure what to do. He didn't want to leave Malcolm, but he did need to tell his parents where he was.
"Just go. I'm not going anywhere. My dad went out to buy more booze. I have to wait and make sure he gets home okay. He normally starts drinking the moment he gets back in the car."
Kelley said he'd be right back, and ran across the street. His knock was answered after a short pause by Mr. Schumate.
"Wesley is having dinner now, please come back later," he said. He started closing the door but Kelley stopped him.
"I need to use your phone if I could. I'm late for my own dinner, but I can't leave Malcolm right now."
Mr. Schumate looked across the street at Malcolm. "Is he okay?" he asked as he stepped aside and invited Kelley in.
"Not really, his dad ... his dad went to the store."
"Okay, I understand. The phone is in the kitchen." He led the way. Wesley greeted him, and Mrs. Schumate got up and asked him if he would like to join them."
"No, but thank you very much for offering. I need to borrow your phone."
He dialed the number and his mother answered on the first ring.
"Mom, I know I'm late, but I'm with Malcolm. His dad just left to go ... shopping. I'll be home as soon as I can."
"Okay, I understand what you mean. Stay there as long as you need to, and keep trying to invite Malcolm over. I'll have something for each of you to eat when you get here. If it starts to get dark, I'll send your father to pick you both up."
"Thanks mom, I'll do my best. Thanks for not being mad at me for being late."
He hung up and thanked the Schumate's. "Sorry I interrupted your dinner."
"Malcolm has been nice to Wesley recently. He even apologized for some of the things he said and did to him over the years," Mrs. Schumate explained. "Word around town is that is your doing. So, go and take care of him."
Malcolm was right where he'd been when Kelley left.
"When your dad gets home you're supposed to come to my place for supper," Kelley said. He didn't say it as an invitation, but more of a directive.
"Okay, if he gets back safely," Malcolm said.
"Mrs. Schumate said you apologized to Wesley."
"Of all the kids about our age, I probably was meaner to him than any other. He was close by, an easy target, and he was scared shitless. He still doesn't trust me. I've said stuff to other kids too."
Kelley didn't know what to say. Malcolm was anxiously waiting for his dad to return, and he wanted to keep him talking.
"Can I talk to you about the diary?" Malcolm asked, surprising Kelley.
"Yeah, sure, if you want."
"By her own account, Hester was a wild spirit. That's how she described herself. She wrote the weirdest stuff in the diary. Like giving boys hand jobs when she was our age. She had sex for the first time when she and Theo were 13, and got pregnant from him. She wrote that she was in love with him. She had a miscarriage, but once she told Theo it was his baby he rejected her. There were two whole pages on how that hurt her. That's when she moved to the empty hunting cabin – what we called the witch's cabin."
"How did she get by? I mean, she was just two years older than us. Did she hunt?"
"I don't know. She never wrote about that, but she did have two jars of the gold at that time. She didn't say where she got them from. She talked more about the woods. How she learned her way around. She said she knew trails that nobody else knew. And she taught herself about healing and stuff. Pregnant girls who didn't want the baby came to her. But any boys who came around she put to sleep, robbed them, and sometimes left them near other people's stills, where they would get a load of salt shot at them when they tried to figure out where they were."
"She sounds, I don't know, mean I guess," Kelley said.
"I guess, but she didn't seem to think so. She did allow one boy to come around. Theo's younger brother, Angus. She wrote she forced herself on him, twice. But according to the diary, he enjoyed the sex but that wasn't why he was there. He wanted to learn about healing and herbs and stuff, and she taught him. In that part of the diary, she seemed happy."
"But in 1960, when she was 28, four boys came to the cabin and raped her. Titus Corbin, who by the way would have been Matty's uncle except he died before Matty was born. Ethan Sanders, Jeremy Mackey, and Colton Mackey, Able's son, were the other three boys. She said she told several people about it, including Elijah, who was friends with the four boys. None of the Mackey's, Corbin's, or Sander's did anything about it. Elijah told everyone she was lying. But she got pregnant from it and in early 1961 she gave birth to a baby girl she named Tabitha. Then she left, and didn't make any more entries in the diary."
"Those were different times. I hope there isn't stuff going on these days that nobody knows about," Kelley said.
"But I think some people had to know something. The boys who did it for sure. And when she got pregnant, that had to prove that it happened." A sudden thought occurred to Malcolm. "I might be a child of a Corbin, maybe that's why the Corbin's protect me."
"If she left, how would they know about you? Who you were? Nobody else did. Apparently, not even your dad."
"Somebody had to know. She was adopted by someone named Anderson. Your father told us that. Someone had to be involved. Even then, I don't think you could just give a baby away with no record."
"Makes sense," Kelley said.
"In 1980, Tabitha started adding to the diary. She wrote that, "Someone who knew who she was" met her in the Spring somewhere. She was very careful to not say who it was, but the person gave her a gold coin, told her the story of the gold, and gave her the diary."
"I guess that proves you're right. Somebody knew and believed her. But they didn't do anything, that's what bothers me."
"Mackey family politics are always involved in stuff like that." Malcolm paused a bit. "Here is where it gets bad. My mother searched out each of the remaining men who had raped her mother, and killed them. She described what she did. Jeremy Mackey died in Viet Nam. But she found the other three and murdered them. Colton Mackey was the last. He and Elijah were digging up the gold to move it. She put a laxative into the coffee and when Elijah went to take a shit, she tossed fire-bombs she had made at the Still and killed Colton. She took the gold so that Elijah couldn't have it. Then, a night later when she watched the news, she found out that Elijah's youngest son, Derek, was sleeping next to the still. She didn't know he was there and that she had killed him by accident. From what she wrote, it drove her crazy. But she got her name changed and said she "hid all the gold where it would never be found," but I guess now we know that part. She made the last entry while Elijah was sitting on the front porch telling her he wanted his gold back. Then she hid it behind the stone, where we found it. The last thing she wrote was a quote from the book "A Tale of Two Cities" -- "I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul." She must have known somehow that I'd find it."
Kelley was stunned, and had no idea what to say.
"What about the money?" he asked.
"It isn't mine. I don't know who it belongs to, but not me. And it doesn't belong to Elijah either." He caught Kelley off guard by asking, "How did you feel when you had that one gold piece?"
"Different," he said, knowing that didn't come close to how he had felt. "I wanted it. I thought about what I could get for it. Things for me. When I had it in my hand it was even worse. Then I was selfish, thinking only of what I wanted and not really giving a shit about anyone else."
"Back when we were about, I don't know, 5 or 6, I made a conscious decision to be an asshole, to almost everybody," Malcolm said. "I mean it. I remember sitting by myself in the back of the cafeteria at school, and decided I didn't want friends. I would hurt people to make sure I didn't have any. Not physically hurt them. I was too puny to get away with that. There were only two people I cared for. Seth and my cousin. I decided I was going to stay that way until my mom came home. I think that is when my dad really started drinking. I resisted his attention, and made sure there was nothing there for him to love. I thought it was his fault my mom left, especially when he destroyed everything that was hers. But now I understand. He must have known more than people thought. He knew he had to hide the fact that I was Tabitha's son."
"My dad helped with that," Kelley said. There were a lot of lies."
"But with your brother's help, you saw through to the real me. You read my mind, and saw what I was hiding from everyone else."
"I don't read minds, but I do get a sense of what people are feeling. I can spot any deception, any attempt to trick me." Then he realized Malcolm's point. He could be tricked.
"Except for myself. Nathan tried to tell me. I can lie to myself. I can let something like the coin deceive me. It took a conscious decision to throw the coin away. It wasn't to help Ian or Jack, or you, or even me. It was just to get rid of the coin."
He looked at Malcolm. "Is that why you don't want the money? Are you afraid it will change you back into what you were?"
"No. I will never be that person again. Like I said, I chose to be that Malcolm. The reason I don't want the money isn't about me. It is just that I haven't earned it. I don't deserve it. There are a lot of people here in the Spring that quietly go through their lives not knowing what could be. I want to find a way to change that."
The headlights of a car came into view. They shifted from one side of the road to the other, and both of the boys knew the driver was swerving back and forth across the road.
"Wait in the garage, would you please? I don't want you to see my dad like this. When he goes in, I'll put the car away and then we'll go to your house."