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BY: RClayton



After sitting against the Ford for several hours, I was taken into
town and locked in a cell at the sheriff's office. No one had
offered any information or answered my requests for updates on the
search for Ryan. As far they were concerned I had killed my darling
boy and disposed of his beautiful body as though it were trash.

My anger had settled into deep despair as the day wore on into
night. It didn't help that the pain shot I had been given at the
hospital that morning had long since worn off. I had requested
something for the newly emerging pain hours before and was informed
that they would contact the doctor and see what he could do. After
that I had been left to myself until a female deputy brought a tray
into the cell block and placed it on the floor in front of my cell

The woman unlocked a small door and pushed the tray into the cell,
closed and locked the door again, and left the room. She didn't say
a word and I saw no reason to break the silence either.

My appetite was less than stellar but I knew that I had to get
something in my system before I became sick. The tray held a can of
Coke, a bag of potato chips and a ham and a cheese sandwich wrapped
in wax paper. I had a feeling the taste between the wrapper and the
sandwich would be unnoticeable.

An hour later the heavy metal door that led from the front office to
the cell block swung open and the federal agent entered the narrow
corridor between the cells and the cement block wall. He came to my
cell and leaned against the wall. "I see you've been fed."

"For lack of a better word, yeah," I said leaning against the bars
of the cell to my right, resting my butt on the flat pad which
covered a metal bed.

"Did the doctor ever get back to check you out?" The man asked. He
looked as though he might actually give a damn.

"No, he hasn't."

"Ouch, I guess the pain is really bad by now then." The man crossed
his arms.

"I'll live," I replied.

He pushed away from the wall and walked back to the big door into
the office, spoke to someone and returned. "The doctor will be here

"Thanks," I said. I couldn't see any reason to be rude, not when my
future could very well be in the hands of the man who had arrested

"They found the older brother."

I jumped to me feet and over to the cell door in an instant, all
thoughts of pain long gone. "Where? Is he okay?"

"Yeah, he was a bit bruised and had a few cuts, about the same as
his brother. He says he can't remember what happened after he
walked into the boat house to dress." The man leaned back against
the wall. "There won't be any murder charges. Both boys swear you
have never abused them. They say that their father was the one who
was the abuser and that they continued having sex with each other
after you took them in."

"I told you I would never hurt those boys." I looked at the man,
staying at the cell door.

"I don't like it. Not one bit." The agent stared at me. "I think
there is a Hell of a lot more to this than anybody is saying but
there's nothing I can prove...yet."

"Am I still under arrest?" I asked the man.

"No. Once the doc gives the okay, you are free to go."
He pushed away from the wall and left the cell block without another

"Hey, I just realized you never gave me your name." I looked at him
with annoyance.

"Mitchell Hazzard." He looked me over, shook his head, and left the
cell block. I noticed he didn't close the door when he left.

The female deputy came in shortly after and unlocked my cell
door. "The doctor is here. He'll be in to check you out shortly."
She spoke but wouldn't look at me.

"I appreciate it," I said. I went back to the bunk and sat down.
The pain that had been forgotten was back stronger than before. My
arm throbbed violently in its sling.


The doctor gave me another shot after checking my wounds from the
explosion and crash against the side of the boat house. He gave me
a prescription for pills that I could take to relieve the pain later.

I was then led out of the cell block and into the main office. I
saw Terry and a heavy set girl sitting on benches to the right of
the front door. Terry stood up and came to the counter.

The lady deputy returned my watch, wallet and keys, placed a form in
front of me and instructed me to sign it.

I signed the receipt for my property as she unlocked the door and
waited until I was in the lobby before locking it back.
"Thank God," Terry exclaimed. "I was so worried."

"I'm okay . . . now." I said. "You said you would find Ryan and
that was what you did. Thank you."

"I wish I could say I was the one who found him but I wasn't. He
was discovered walking through a field near town wearing only a pair
of bikini underwear." Terry informed me.

"Who found him?" I asked Terry.

"My aunt, it was her field he was walking through. She said that
she had gone out back for some air around 8:00, saw a figure walking
in her direction and wandered out to investigate."

"I'll have to thank her later."

"You can do that sooner than you think. The boys are at her house
sleeping. The doctor gave them both sedatives and released them
into her tender care." Terry opened the wooden door leading to a
narrow boardwalk.

The young woman said nothing as she exited the sheriff's office,
followed by Terry and me.

"Greg, this is Monica," Terry introduced me once we were out of the
office and the door was closed.

"I've heard a great deal about you." I said.

"I wish I could say the same." The woman said. Her tone was
hostile and her body language was reading anger and confusion.

"Monica, be nice. He's my friend." Terry said.

"I'm sorry. I haven't exactly had a great day." Monica said. She
gave me a partial smile that looked forced.

"I'm going to replace your car, Monica."

"Terry told me, thanks." She looked at Terry.

"I guess we had better get on over to Aunt Laurie's," Terry said.
He stepped off the boardwalk and led us to the blue, wood panel
station wagon.

"I thought this was the doctor's car," I said.

"It is." Terry said as he unlocked the Buick. "He let us borrow it
because Aunt Laurie asked him to." He got into the car and hit the
button to unlock the other doors.

After I got in and closed the door, Terry continued his explanation.

"He's been sweet on Aunt Laurie since his wife passed away a few
years back." He turned the key and the engine fired up.

"I thought I heard him say something about someone named
Rhonda . . . "

"That's his sister, she's a widow and he let her move in when her
husband died. They love each other but fight like Cane and Abel."
Terry backed out of the parking space and into the empty street.
The town closed up tight by nine every week night and midnight on

Monica sat silently in the back seat.

I could hear her moving around back there but she seemed to be
enjoying the company of her own thoughts.

"Have you spoken to Ryan or Harry?"

"I got a chance to speak to Harry while the doc was examining Ryan.
He is really upset, as you can imagine."

"I feel so sorry for him. He tries to put up this brave front but he
is so introverted that I worry about him a lot more than I do his
brother. He gets his feeling hurt more easily."

"I think he'll be okay." Terry said.

The drive to the book store below which his aunt lived, took less
than five minutes. Terry pulled into the drive and followed the
cracked pavement around to the back door. A white Saturn sat under
a make shift carport attached to the house.

When we entered the back door there were voices coming from the

I followed Terry into the old-fashioned kitchen and saw Ryan sitting
on a stool wearing shorts and a baseball jersey that were a size too
large. I hated to admit it, but he looked sexy as hell right then,
I'd have to get him a football outfit when we got home, but it would
never see a field, just my bedroom. God, what kind of monster was I
to think such a thing so soon after I nearly lost him, I thought.

Ryan looked at me and slipped off the stool. He made his way to me
and wrapped both arms around my waist, pushing his head lightly into
my good shoulder and began crying.

I wrapped my good arm around his waist and held him to me, letting
him work through his current upset state. "It's okay, babe. I'm
here now." I patted his back lightly. It felt incredible to have
him in my arms again, to feel his body close to mind and know that
he was safe.

After he was finished crying, he pulled away from me and pulled a
tissue from a box near where he was sitting.

"You two, go into the main room out front and talk." Laurie
said. "I had Terry light a fire in the fireplace to warm this old
house up a bit."

"Thank you, once again, Laurie," I said.

"None of that, I'm sure you both have a lot to talk about." She
said, handing me a mug of hot cocoa and another to Terry.

I led Ryan through the large entry hall and into the front room
where the fireplace lit up the long, narrow room. The book cases
filled with books of every type sat in darkness, out of the reach of
the fire's light.

Ryan sat in a wicker rocker and nursed his cocoa as I pulled up a
chair for myself. I sat close to him and took a drink from my mug.
I did not know what to say, there were so many questions running
through my head that I couldn't get my thoughts organized.

"I'm sorry I scared you," Ryan said. He looked into ...

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