Subject: Raising Boys 75 Thanks for all your responses to this story. Comments, questions or even criticisms are always welcome at hoo A special thanks to the generous readers who have made donations in our name to Nifty. I hope we can all find it in our hearts to do what we can to support the wonderful gift of stories found on this site. Again, fty/donate.html 75 I felt pretty much nothing but shock as I sat in the Emergency Room waiting area. It had been like that since we had heard the code blue called for the emergency room. Javi was sobbing again and I looked over and Jack was in tears. He didn’t even know this young boy but Jack was one of the most empathetic, sensitive boys I had ever known. When I looked up and saw big tears rolling down Stewart’s cheeks, it broke my heart. I knew he would be blaming himself for this. Stewart suggested we all just join hands and pray or meditate silently. We did that and, after a few minutes, calm returned to our group. “I can’t believe neither of his parents is here” Stewart said. “Do you think you should call them?” I asked. “From the sound of things, the boy was in no shape to give anyone his personal information.” “No way” Javi said. “He was bleeding from his nose and mouth. I think he had some broken teeth too. There’s no way he could have given them his information.” I put in a call to Deputy Isaiah to see if there had been any reports filed. He said there had not after he called his office. I explained what had happened and he said he would be right over to try to find out what was going on. It seemed obvious a crime of some kind had been committed, given the child’s condition. I thanked him and told him we were in the ER main waiting area. Waiting was sheer hell. Especially after we heard the code called. I knew Rhett was back there and I knew he would fight for this boy’s life as long as he possibly could. I simply couldn’t understand what had happened but I had an ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew I didn’t have any facts yet but my gut was telling me that this was all associated with the boy’s father and mother who had reacted so negatively to his confession regarding his attraction to another boy. I knew that Stewart was scheduled to fly back to Denver in five hours. His flight was to leave at six and he needed to be on it. As we sat there, feeling helpless, I saw Mark Lambert come in. Mark was the new orthopaedic surgeon in town who was also Rhett’s new partner in their sports medicine practice. He came over and said he had gotten called in on the case by Rhett and hurried on back to see what he could do. We told him we were frantic for information. He left but returned within a minute. He confirmed that the code we had all heard called was on the young boy. It was another forty five minutes before we heard anything. Then Rhett came out, looking exhausted. He took our little group into a conference room off the waiting room. “First of all, the good news is that Nile is alive” he said. “I knew you heard the code called. We lost him but it was very brief. We immediately started CPR and got him back very quickly. He had a couple of punctured ribs which resulted in a collapsed lung. He could easily have drowned in his own blood, but we got a trach immediately and we have him intubated and on a ventilator at this point. We do not believe he was anoxic for more than ten or fifteen seconds, so we are hopeful that will not be a problem in that respect. He has multiple broken bones, but we haven’t been able to x-ray yet so we don’t know the extent of those injuries. The boy was obviously beaten all over his body and we suspect he was kicked in the gut and probably elsewhere. We are monitoring for internal bleeding. He has a long, tough road ahead of him, assuming he survives the night. I want you to know that if you hadn’t gotten him here when you did, there is no way Nile would have survived the beating he had gotten.” I looked up to see Isaiah at the door. I invited him in and Rhett reviewed what he had just told us for the deputy’s benefit. “I don’t see any way this could have been accidental” Rhett said. The boy even has bite marks on his arms and one of his shoulders. He has been abused terribly. In addition to that, it looks as if he hasn’t eaten for several days and he was absolutely as dehydrated as anyone I have ever seen. It will take a while to get his electrolytes stabilized, but we’ve begun that already. Isaiah, I’m so glad to see you here. I hope you will start an investigation into this immediately. Let us know how we can be of help. We have Mark in with a portable x-ray crew as we speak, trying to determine the extent of fractures and I promise you everything humanly possible is being done for the boy.” He sat down beside Javi and took his hand in his own. “Javi, I promise you we will do everything we can to save your friend” he said. “It is impossible to understand how another human could treat another human in the way your friend was treated. Just know we will do our absolute best for the boy.” “Thank you so much, doctor” Javi said quietly. “I trust you and please know that I appreciate you.” Rhett asked if any of us had contact information for the boy’s parents. Stewart said he had all the information on file at the church and agreed to run over to his office to get the information. He said he could be back with it within fifteen minutes. I went with Stewart to the church. I realized I would need to call Derrick so that he could tell Der about what had happened to his young friend. I had something nagging me which I knew I had to share. When we were in the privacy of our car, I shared with Stewart. I gave him a brief rundown of what had transpired earlier in Fee’s office. I told him I had experienced a chill throughout my body when Fee had so calmly announced that he had `another fish on the line.’ The very thought that he had another woman ready to give up her family for him made me nauseous. I wondered whose lives would be the next to be wrecked for the sake of the reverend’s comfort. He had just been too cool when he realized they were losing the home provided by Clifford’s wife and he was being turned out of his own family home by a wife who had simply had enough. “I find it hard to believe Yardley and Myra, Nile’s parents, could be that gullible” Stewart said. “He’s one of the two or three top guys at NASA and she’s a very successful realtor. I’ve always thought her a little off but nothing like this. I could have been wrong. I would never have thought Clifford’s wife capable of the things she did either. I’ve never been one to blame the evil men do on some boogey man with a red face, horns and a tail, but I’m beginning to think Satan may be living in the Rocket City and he has a big old ugly spotted dick.” “What kind of a father forces his son to spend hours on his knees praying away the gay?” I asked. “A father who doesn’t deserve to have a son” he said. “I’m having a very hard time believing Yardley would be that kind of a father.” We had arrived at the church office. I had been away from church for a couple of weeks and I was stunned at the progress on the construction of the new sanctuary. “They’re really moving on things. The large beams were put up last week and things should move pretty quickly” he said. “I think we made a good decision on the selection of a company.” “Who are you using?” I asked. “I thought you knew” he said. “The committee was unanimous in selecting Derrick from the bids we received. We couldn’t be happier so far.” “That’s great, especially given all the turmoil in their personal lives” I said. “The company is very well run” Stewart said. “I can’t believe how far ahead of schedule they are.” He retrieved the information on the family from his files and his rolodex and we headed back to the hospital. “I really hope my gut is wrong on this, Stewart” I said. “As horrible as this all was, I just hope it was some kind of random attack by a stranger” “I pray that’s the case” I agreed. When we got back to the hospital, our group was still in the conference room. Rhett had arranged for our group to use it as it gave us more privacy. Stewart went to the desk to give Rhett the contact information for the boy’s parents. He returned very shortly. I heard a familiar voice and turned to see Sam and Gil walking in the door. She quickly kissed my cheeks and went straight for Javi. She cradled the boy in her arms and he was sobbing again. “Gil, “I said. “I sure am glad to see you, my friend. This is just terrible. How did you guys know what was happening?” “Well, you know we had lunch at the Ledges with Donald and Bradley” he said. “Sam thoroughly enjoyed the story about Fee being brought down. We had just gotten home when Donald called Sam. We had been talking about Alejandro and his wonderful family at lunch. As usual, Sam was singing Alejandro’s praises. When Donald and Bradley got home, Kurt and Ren told them what had happened. Nothing would do for Sam but to head straight here so she could check on Javi. She’s crazy about that kid. Nothing would do but to come straight here. Do we know anything?” I filled my friend in on what little information we had. “I hope you know if there’s anything I can do I’ll be more than happy to help” he said. “I know Jack could use a hug from you. He’s in the conference room and he’s been pretty upset, as we all have. It amazes me how our entire group is so touched by this, even though we don’t know the boy at all” I said. “Amazing, yes” he said. “Surprising, no. Those two boys we had lunch with are just amazing kids. When I see the way Sam looks at Donald, it both thrills me and breaks my heart. There’s something there, I suspect. But I also know she’ll talk about it when she’s ready.” “You are a wise man, my friend” I said. I watched as Gil went into the little conference room to see Jack. I saw him hug Jack and Rick, then Rick came over. I knew he wanted to give Gil and Jack some privacy. “Any news?” Rick asked. We gave Rhett he contact information for the boy’s parents. We haven’t heard anything back yet” I explained. Deputy Isaiah joined us. He was trying to figure out how Nile had gotten to Alejandro’s house. He was anxious to get to the location where the family had found the boy. There was a possibility of rain during the evening and he didn’t want any potential evidence to be washed away. Rick and I offered to accompany him to the home Alejandro gave the deputy permission to search within the house if he needed to. He wanted to join us but he felt he should stay with his son. We left the group, telling them we would return as soon as possible. Rick and I joined the deputy in the patrol car. We weren’t saying much. We were all in a bit of shock at the brutal beating this kid had received. It was a short trip to the ranch. We went immediately to the pool deck where they had found the boy’s unconscious body. There was a great deal of blood. It looked as if he had tried to get to the pool either to attempt to wash the blood from his body or to drink the water. Given that Rhett had said the boy was badly dehydrated I was beginning to suspect he had been deprived of water for a long period. We followed the blood trail from the pool back through the side yard to the driveway. We found blood on the street. It was a deserted area which had very little traffic. The blood trail crossed the street and led us into the woods. We continued to follow through the weeds as it led us through a wooded area. About 200 yards later the woods ended on a beautiful residential street with fine, sprawling homes on very large lots. I recognized the street name as being the street in the address Stewart had given Rhett for the Flavin family. I called Stewart to get the street number and it turned out we were only two houses down from where the Flavins lived. We followed the blood trail which became much thicker in the Flavin’s beautifully manicured front yard. We continued to follow around the house and found the trail ended at a basement window which had been smashed. There was blood and glass everywhere. We went to the front door of the home and rang the bell. We rang several times but there was no response. We made our way as quickly as possible back through the woods to the ranch and headed back to the emergency room. On the way, I called Stewart to tell him that the Flavins should not be permitted anywhere near their son. He was shocked but said he would see to it. Isaiah said it would be really helpful to know if the boy had been at school during the previous week. Without hesitation I called the principal of the high school on her cell phone explained the situation and requested information regarding the boy’s recent attendance. Selena said she would immediately go to the high school and find that information. We sped back to the hospital. When we got there we were told there had been no change. Stewart reported Rhett had come out and had informed him he had contacted the boy’s father by phone. He said it was strange that the father didn’t seem shocked. Mr. Flavin had told the doctor that he was not giving the hospital permission to treat his son. He angrily told Rhett that he and his wife would be there as soon as they could to pick up their son and move him to another facility. Rhett attempted to explain just how critical escort kocaeli the boy’s condition was but the man on the phone refused to listen. Rhett had been shocked further when the man hung up on him. Gil was very upset by this news as it looked fairly certain the boy had been beaten in his own home. He said he would start work on getting an emergency restraining order against the parents as it might be needed if they should attempt to remove the boy from the facility. Isaiah ordered a crew out to preserve all the evidence and get official photographs of the blood trail. He had also request a search warrant for the family home. He had another deputy take Javi and his father to the station to record their statements and obtain fingerprints and DNA, which they had offered freely. Stewart was still in disbelief that these seemingly normal people with excellent reputations in the community could do something like this but I was by now fairly certain they had come damned close to killing their son. And that the boy’s life was still hanging by a thread. Stewart was holding onto a sliver of hope that the boy’s parents might have gone out of town for the weekend and a stranger came into the home and beat the crap out of the boy. I went in with the deputy to ask Sam about the wife. She said she had known Myra for most of her life and she had seemed pretty normal until the last six months or so. She said the woman had always been a top producer for her company and was still one of the top realtors in the area. She said she had been surprised to see the woman taking part in the protests at the women’s clinic just a few weeks ago and she had almost been arrested for threatening to strike a young pregnant woman with the sign she was carrying. She said Myra had obviously joined the ranks protesting abortion at the clinic and making lives miserable for young women who found themselves with a difficult choice to make. She also told us of an event a couple of months earlier where she had a temper tantrum at a luncheon where she had expected to receive an award that went to someone else. Sam said she had really gone off, throwing a flower arrangement that was in the center of her table at the realtor who had won the award she had expected to receive. Sam said she had considered both incidents strange but she still felt those behaviors a far cry from beating your own son almost to death. When Rhett came back out, Isaiah and I showed him pictures we had taken indicating almost certainly the boy had been beaten at his own home. He thanked us for the information and said that could certainly make a huge difference in the position the hospital would take regarding the parents’ access to the boy. He also agreed to contact the hospital administration to be on standby as a problem could very well occur. Stewart made a decision to try to contact Nile’s older brother who was in college in Louisiana. He reached the boy, who said he hadn’t talked with his parents in several of weeks. The boy didn’t seem to want to talk to him but Stewart got a distinct impression there was trouble within the family. He specifically asked if there was a problem between his parents and his younger brother. The brother said there was a problem but he would prefer not to discuss it. The boy said he had been taught by his parents that dirty laundry should not ever be aired in public. Stewart told the young man his brother was in critical condition after taking what could be a fatal beating. The boy was speechless but still insisted he would not discuss any family matters. Stewart hung up on the young man. He then tried the young boy’s older sister. She had been a faithful member of his church and very active in the church’s youth group. She had even considered seminary at one point but had changed her mind and decided on attending law school. Stewart reached her and questioned her about the family. She was as reluctant as her brother to discuss family problems until he told her about Nile’s condition. Then she broke down. She admitted her parents had gone off the deep end about her younger brother. She said the whole thing had been made worse after her mother had asked Reverend Fee to intervene. She admitted she had cut off contact with both parents over a month ago as she was finding it too stressful to deal with. She also admitted having ignored calls from her young brother because she just didn’t want to deal with it. “I’m sorry you found the situation too stressful to deal with” Stewart told her. “I hope your refusal to deal with things doesn’t turn out to have killed your little brother.” He then hung up on her. Stewart came and sat down beside me. “I was way too harsh on those kids” he said. “I know what’s causing it. It’s because I know deep down that I failed this kid too. I should never have just walked away. I should have followed up with him.” “Stewart, that family chose to leave your church” I said. “You and I know that if this boy had reached out to you in any way that you’d have been there. You’re a wonderful man and a wonderful pastor, but you are not a fucking mind reader.” That got a tiny chuckle. “I think I need to cancel my flight to Denver” he said. “I need to be here with Javi and for Nile. I think they need me.” “I know you don’t want to go back to Denver” I said. “It would be really easy to let this keep you here. But you know that all of the people in this room will be here for that boy and for Javi. We’ll be his safety net and his support system. If you want to delay going back, you know I’d love it if you never went back to Denver. Just make sure in your own mind you’re doing it for the right reasons.” “I will” he said. “I still have almost four hours until my flight. I’ll hold tight for now and see what happens. I think there’s another flight out at around eight in the evening.” “Why don’t you take a little break and run to the house and spend a little bit more time with Flynn?” I said. “I’m sure Kurt and Ren will take care of your packing. They both know you well enough to anticipate what you will need and I think you had pretty much everything laid out already.” “That’s not a bad idea” he said. “I had hoped to get a little more time with Flynnie today. I can barely stand the thought of leaving him, or any of you for that matter. I’d really like to see Nile for just a moment before I go. Do you think that might be possible?” We went to the desk and asked if we could see Rhett for a moment. The nurse went into the treatment area and brought him back with her. Stewart asked if he could see the boy for just a moment. Rhett was agreeable and offered us to take us into the treatment area, warning us to be prepared. There was no way anyone could have been prepared for what we saw. This young man was lying there with a breathing tube in his throat, attached to monitors and intravenous medications. But the hard part was looking at the boy. It was easy to see the boy was an absolute beauty. His bare features were fine. But his face was horribly swollen and bruised. Redness was turning to what would be deep purple bruises. There was a chest tube running directly into his lung to drain the blood and fluid to keep him from drowning in his own secretions. The sheet was pulled up to just below his nipples. There was not an inch of his skin visible that wasn’t bruised. Teeth marks were evident on one of his shoulders. My eyes filled with tears to see this and I could see Stewart has experiencing the same emotions. Stewart leaned in and lightly kissed the boy on his forehead. I watched as Stewart took the vial of oil from his pocket and put oil on his index finger. He then traced the sign of the cross on the boy’s forehead. We left the room silently. “How could anyone do that?” Stewart asked. “That boy is one of the most beautiful and kind kids I’ve ever met. I simply can’t fathom how this could have happened.” “You need to go and spend some time with your own beautiful son” I said. Stewart agreed to head for home and he told everyone goodbye. The deputy came over and said the crew was on the scene documenting the evidence we had found earlier at the family home and at Alejandro’s. His office was busy getting a search warrant for the home and Gil continued to work on a restraining order against the parents. I wanted to run back upstairs and update Poppy since I knew Nile was a friend of Der’s and I felt Poppy should be kept up to date. Russell was there, talking with Poppy. Eli was in bed with his dad, soundly sleeping with his little hand in his daddy’s chest fur. I brought them up-to-date on what had happened downstairs since we had left. “Is Rhett all right?” Russell asked. “It’s been a long day for him.” “Rhett is great” I said. “That man is an energizer bunny in more ways than just the one you’re learning about, son” He blushed as Poppy and I laughed. “So you think Der was a good friend of the young man in the emergency room?” Poppy asked. “According to Javi, they were good friends” I said.”I’ll be glad to call Derrick in just a bit if you’d like.” “I think that’s a great idea,” Poppy said. “I think Eli’s been here long enough. I don’t think having a child in a hospital room for too long is a good idea. But you know what a softy I am when it comes to this one.” “It’s not just that one, Poppy” I said. “It’s all those precious boys. And they love every minute they get with you. And you don’t know that little Yarrow is at our house. We sent him and his brother home with our boys so that Alejandro and Javi could stay here.” When Poppy heard that he couldn’t wait to get home. The thought of having four boys to coddle and spoil instead of just three was more than he could resist. He gently woke Eli and they took off for home after Eli kissed his daddy more times than I could count. Within minutes of their exit, three of the frat boys came in to spend some time. I introduced myself and thanked them. Russell provided them a report on today’s occurrences. They were all really nice, friendly young guys. Russell decided to join me downstairs. I strongly felt he needed just to put his eyes on Rhett. We hadn’t been downstairs ten minutes when I saw Selena Walden, the principal at the high school, walk in. She rushed right over to me. “Rob, how is Nile? she asked. She then recognized Rick and Rhett from the day they had been there protecting her middle school students at the school. She greeted them with hugs. “Is there any change in the boy’s condition?” she asked. “I’m afraid not at this point” Rhett said. “It was one of the worst beatings I’ve ever seen. He has several broken ribs which had resulted in a collapsed lung. We have also confirmed that his spleen was ruptured. One of his shoulders was dislocated and we’re evaluating him for other bone fractures. He coded shortly after we received him but we got him back really fast. He is, of course, unconscious and unable to give us any information. I spoke with his father who indicated he would be coming here to take his son to another facility. I assure you that will not happen. This poor boy is in terrible shape and it may take an act of God to save him.” I could see she was fighting back tears. “I’m afraid we have let him down too” she said. “I checked attendance records and he has not been at school since Tuesday. I had clearly instructed our attendance monitors to contact me immediately anytime one of our students is absent three days in a row without contact from a parent or guardian. That did not happen and I am so very sorry. It sounds like this boy has been failed on many levels.” “Don’t blame yourself, Selena,” I said. “He has been failed on so many levels. Just like so many kids have been failed.” “He’s such a beautiful, talented boy” she said. “I just had no idea that anything was wrong. He’s been a real star in our theatre department. I can’t imagine what might have happened. I’ve made it absolutely clear that any student with three consecutive absences should trigger a notification to our attendance officer. If we are unable to reach a parent or guardian, it triggers a welfare check from law enforcement. Something broke and I feel terrible” I shared with her what we had found at the boy’s home. I also shared the information we had received from Javi regarding the parents’ apparent determination to have the boy deny his homosexual urges. “I just can’t believe there are still so many goddamned ignorant people” she said. “The boy’s dad is one of the top guys at NASA and I’m told his mother is one of the most prominent realtors in this town. How does this happen?” I shared with Selena what had happened earlier today at Point of the Cross. She was relieved that Cliff was okay and back with his family. As we were talking, I noticed a tall, well-dressed couple headed to the check-in counter. I recognized the man as Yardley Flavin from appearances he had made on television as a NASA administrator and spokesman. I recognized his wife, Myra from yard signs I had seen all over town for her real estate listings. They were a handsome pair. The man was a shade over 6’2″ and his wife only a couple of inches shorter than he. They looked around the room momentarily as if looking for someone, then proceeded to the ER registration desk. I could not hear the conversation so I moved a bit closer. Rick picked up on my interest so he also moved kocaeli anal yapan escort in a little. Then we saw Mr. Ridley, the attorney for Reverend Fee come in the door. He too was looking for someone. I walked up to the diminutive little shit, determined to speak to him. Rick was right beside me. “What are you doing here, you cumeating little dipshit?” I asked quietly. The man looked as if I were the last person he wanted to see here, but he tried to move past me. “Don’t touch me” he sniffed. “I’m meeting my clients here.” “Believe me,” I said, “I wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole. If you’re here to defend those parents who almost killed their own son this morning, you need to hear one thing. The beatdown you and your buddies got earlier today is absolutely nothing compared to what you’re going to get when you get involved in this case. What you had with our Cliff was an assault. This may very well be murder � the murder of their own fucking child.” The man looked rattled but brushed on past us and joined the couple at the desk. We saw that Rhett had come out to speak with the couple. We got close enough to hear what was being said. “Dr. Curry, I have tried to make it clear you are to prepare our son for discharge” Mr. Flavin said. “My wife and I will be taking our son home.” “Your son is going nowhere” Rhett said firmly. “He’s clinging to life at this point. Someone broke his ribs and ruptured his spleen. He was in cardiac arrest a mere hour or so ago and is currently intubated and on life support. This boy is going nowhere and neither of you is getting near him.” The wife turned on the husband. “Yardley, what the Hell have you done to our son?” she asked. “Don’t blame me for this!” the man said. “You were the one who told me we could pray the gay away. You’re the one who had me lock him in that basement Tuesday night. You’re the one who said no food and no water until he confessed his homosexuality and promised to change his ways. Then you and your new reverend are the ones who pushed me to beat the gay out of him when prayer didn’t appear to be working. This is on you, bitch!” “You’re nothing but a liar” she said, her voice rising in volume. “I suggested we separate him from his friends I believed to be bad influences. I suggested limiting his food and water to try to force him to think. I never laid a hand on our son.” “Limiting his food and water?” the man asked incredulously. “You said he was to have absolutely no food or water! You’re the one who brought the leather straps and wooden paddle into the basement and put them in my hands. You’re the one who told me I had been too soft on our son and had raised a faggot” the man said. “I told you we all needed to be down on our knees in that basement praying to God to take away his demons “she said. “I told you we had to bring him to the point to accept Jesus and denounce the sins of this world. I never told you to kill our son.” “You told me that the prayer wasn’t working. The last time you walked out of that room with us, you told me if praying away the gay wasn’t working it was time the beat the gay away” Yardley Flavin said.”Those were the exact words that came out of your dirty, lying mouth!” Mr. Ridley, Esquire stepped into the fray. “As your attorney, I am advising both of you to say not another word” Mr. Ridley said. He put his hand on Mr. Flavin’s sleeve. Mr. Flavin yanked his arm away from the attorney’s grasp. “Don’t you put a fucking hand on me, you little asshole,” Mr. Flavin said. “It’s pretty obvious you’ve teamed up with my wife and that preacher to put all of this on me. Well, I assure you that will not happen. This was all my wife’s idea. She told me to lock our son in the basement and to not allow him any food or water until he confessed messing around with his buddies. She’s the one who accused him of having sex with two of his male friends. He was crying and denying and begging her to stop. But oh Hell no, she just couldn’t shut the fuck up! She tormented the boy with all these accusations. Nile denied dong any of those awful things.” Mr. Ridley tried again. “Yardley, you and Myra really need to calm down and stop talking” he said. “We can find a conference room and talk privately.” “I told you not to put your goddamned dirty little paws on me, asshole!” he yelled. “You think I don’t see what’s happening. My wife’s been down at that church every night for the past week or so, huddled up with that preacher and his son How do I know that you’re not fucking her too?.” “Shut the hell up, Yardley” Myra said. “You and I both know this was all your doing. You came to me and told me our son was having sex with other boys in his school and we agreed he was headed for Hell if we didn’t do something. We both took him up to Liberty and we agreed to enroll him so they could set him on the path to righteousness, but when he balked, you gave in. I wanted to leave him on the roadside. I knew he’d give in and do what we wanted. But you balked and let him back in the car and brought him home. Once he was home, he started playing those nasty dick games with his queer little buddies. This isn’t on me. This is on you as a weak, good-for-nothing pussy of a father! I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that you’re as big a faggot as our son!” “You foul, lying-assed cunt!” Yardley yelled at her. “I told you the boy wasn’t doing well. I told you on Friday night I was getting worried. You told me to keep praying when the boy was begging for a drink of water. I wanted to give him just a sip but you convinced me he would eventually give in. You kept telling me that one more day would do the trick. Then yesterday, even you admitted it wasn’t working. The boy was begging for water. You told me not to even think about it.” “Both of you really need to calm down and not say another word” the attorney said. “Why don’t you just remove yourself from this spousal interaction, asshole” Rick asked, getting right in the attorney’s face. “Haven’t you defended enough rapists and criminals for one day?” The young attorney went running for the men’s room. I’m afraid Mr. Ridley has a very delicate digestive system” I said. The Flavins continued as if no one else were in the room. “You crazy bitch!” the boy’s father continued. “You told me this was all the work of the Lord. You said it was all in his hands even as you put a leather strap and a wooden paddle in my hands. The boy was almost too weak to fight back. He pleaded with me to stop but I couldn’t with you standing right beside me, urging me on. `Hit him again” you said, even as the boy begged me not too and cried for us to stop. `Make hin confess’ you said, even as our starving boy was pleading with me to stop beating him.” “This is all on you, Yardley,” Myra said quietly. “I never touched the boy. It was all your doing. My fingerprints aren’t on the board or the strap. You did this. And then, when I found him in terrible shape this morning and I wanted to bring him to the hospital, you said we couldn’t. You said we needed to get to church and pray for him. This was all on you. Every bit of it.” “I can’t believe you would lie like this, bitch,” he said. “I was the one who wanted to bring him to the hospital this morning when he was barely conscious. You’re the one who refused and insisted we go to church and pray for his healing. You’re the one who said the boy was better off dead than to be alive and living the homo life. You’re the one I saw bite our son on the shoulder when he wouldn’t confess to committing homo stuff! You vile, lying, traitorous bitch! I ought to fucking kill you right here!” Yardley lunged for his wife but she easily stepped aside, evading his grasp. He went tumbling into a row of waiting room chairs and into the block wall. But he was enraged and came back for more. She was running toward the emergency room exit but Rick put out one arm and clotheslined the tall bitch. His stiff arm caught her right at her neck and she went down. She was lying on the ER floor looking stunned, holding her neck and gasping for air. We looked and Yardley was now going for Rhett. “You motherfucker!” Yardley shouted, ready to jump across the desk and grab Rhett. “I’m taking my fucking son out of here!” He jumped over the desk, pushing a nurse over in her chair and had his hands around Rhett’s throat, but Russ was there in a heartbeat. “Oh no, cocksucker” the young therapist said. “You aren’t touching him!” Russell easily lifted the tall guy and slammed him to the floor. The man lay crumpled on the floor. “You are vile and evil. You almost killed your own flesh and blood. Then you made another mistake” Russell said. Yardley was still on the floor, gasping for air. He obviously had the breath knocked out of him when he was thrown to the hard floor. But the boy wasn’t finished. “You don’t treat a son or anyone else like that and you certainly don’t go after my friend.” With one of his feet, Russell managed to spread the man’s legs. Then one of his feet came down squarely on the man’s nuts. He stomped the man’s nuts four times, each stomp harder than the previous one. Yardley was screaming but he was still struggling to get up and continue the fight. Then Rick walked over beside Russell. “You try to get up again and you’ll regret it” Rick said quietly. “You’ll really regret it.” The man didn’t listen and struggled to get up again and continue the fight. Rick lifted his leg as high as he could get it and brought his big foot down with all the force he could muster directly on the guy’s nuts. I heard an ugly squishy sound as he moved his foot back to the floor. I was a bit nauseated myself at the thought of the excruciating pain the man must be feeling but I knew it was deserved. Mr. Yardley Flavin was no longer struggling. The man was out cold. His crotch was wet. I didn’t know whether it was blood or piss and I didn’t care. Myra was up again and rushing over to help her husband. “What have you people done to my husband?” she said, trying to get to her husband’s passed-out body lying on the floor in the middle of the emergency room. “These people have done exactly what your precious husband deserved, ma’am” Selena Walden said. “And I caught this whole thing on video on my telephone in case there’s any question. Between this video and the hospital security cameras I think it’ll be pretty easy to make a case against both of you for the attempted murder of your own son.” “Ma’am, if I have anything to do with it and if your son survives what the two of you did, you’ll never get close to him again � not in this lifetime” Rhett said. Deputy Isaiah had slapped handcuffs on Mrs. Flavin and Yardley had now been loaded onto a stretcher, one hand attached to a rail with a handcuffs. “We’ll get those nuts looked at and then he’ll be off to the jail to join his missus” the deputy said, as he led the woman out. Javi and Alejandro returned just as Mrs. Yardley was being led out in handcuffs as she continued to spew obscenities. We explained what had occurred and they reported having given their statements to the police about finding Nile’s body. They said everyone had been polite and they had even taken them to the site and walked them through the events of the early afternoon. I realized I was long overdue for a pee break so I headed for the men’s room. As I peed I heard a soft sobbing from one of the stalls. I walked over and cracked the door. I looked in to see Attorney Ridley sitting on the closed toilet crying. “You fucking worthless little worm,” I said, “what the hell is your problem?” “I’m ruined” he sobbed. “Reverend Fee is going to be furious. None of this was my fault. I don’t know what to do.” “What the fuck are you talking about, you worthless piece of shit?” I knew I was being rough on the man but I pretty much despised what he had done in the interest of the Fees. “My life is over” he moaned. “After we left the church in the limo this morning, Reverend Fee told us not to worry. He said he would have a place to live for himself and his son. He actually seemed happy to be free of his wife and Mrs. Holliman. He had always complained about Becky being too clingy and he’s hated his own wife for years. He’s promised to take care of me and my family if I did as he asked.” “So what happened after you left the church?” I asked. “Well, we stopped and got some breakfast. I wanted to go and be with my family. I have six little children. The oldest one is eight years old. We’re very devoted to our church and I don’t what I’ll do if I lose them.” “Don’t cry to me, motherfucker” I said. “You didn’t hesitate to help Fee tear anyone else’s family apart so I have no sympathy for you. Don’t expect it because that is one thing that will not happen. So finish your sob story or get the fuck out of here right now.” “So we all had breakfast” the man continued. “Then the Reverend Fee’s cell phone rang. He was quiet for a moment, then he told the person on the other end of the line that we’d be right over. The limo took us to a very nice residential section of town I had never been to. We went in this big, beautiful house and were met by Mr. and Mrs. Flavin. Both of them were really upset and they kept saying how Nile had escaped while they were at church. Mrs. Flavin kept calling her son `the little homo’. Mr. Flavin izmit yabancı escort just called him `fagboy’. Reverend Fee seemed to have been aware of the fact they had been keeping the boy in the basement and he asked why they were upset. Mrs. Flavin said that when they had left for church this morning, their son had seemed so weak it just didn’t seem necessary to tie him to the chair as they had when all this began. They told the reverend they had just made sure the ropes on his wrists and ankles were secure and they had left for church. Apparently, when they got home, Nile had somehow managed to break the little window in the basement and used broken glass to free his wrists and ankles. Then he had apparently managed to crawl out the small window and get away. She said they had followed a bloody trail through the yard and she had tried to make her husband follow it into the wooded area. Mr. Flavin had refused, saying he was afraid of what he might find. Mrs. Flavin berated her husband, blaming all of this on him because he had left the boy able to move around when they left for church. Mrs. Flavin said they had then called the reverend for guidance as he had been the one who had advised the whole course of action regarding their son.” “There must have been blood everywhere” I said. “It was awful” he said. “It made me so nauseous I had to vomit.” “You seem to do that a lot, asshole” I said. “There was blood everywhere. I have no idea how the kid could have managed to break that window and use the broken glass to free his hands and feet. The window was so small I couldn’t believe a boy could get through it” he said. “Nile is a very slim boy and that may have saved his life” I said. “If he lives. Do you even begin to see how evil the people are that you’re aiding and abetting?” I asked. “I’ve begun to realize that the reverend is not what I thought he was” he said. “My wife is convinced the man is a prophet of the Christ. I wanted to believe he was doing good work but I had begun to have doubts.” “You’ve just begun to have doubts?” I asked. “You must be the dumbest man in this whole state and that’s saying a motherfucking lot in this state! I wonder how many of those snotty brats you call your own were actually fathered by the reverend of his son? You know even better than I what dirty whoremongering wife-fuckers he and Chase are I thought a couple of those kids with you looked a lot like Chase Fee. You better have some DNA testing done.” “There’s nothing I can do differently” he said. “I don’t have any choice.” “What the fuck are you talking about?” I asked. “Every man has choices. You’ve just made some shitty ones.” “No, I really have no choice” he insisted.” “You better start explaining what you mean.” I said. “My friends just stomped your buddy Yardley’s nuts into that ER floor. I mean really smashed them. I guarantee you that even if he manages to keep them, he’s never going to shoot another sperm. He got his balls smashed. They may even be removing the bloody mess as we speak. There’s nothing I’d rather do right now than to give you the same treatment he got. You wouldn’t be stuffing any more babies in the womb of that stupid cunt you’re married to.” The man jumped up, opened the toilet seat and knelt as he began to retch. “Cut that shit out right now and tell me what you’re talking about” I said. “I can’t” he said. “I just can’t.” “Okay then” I said. “I’ll get my buddies in here. I’ll tell them both to wear their cowboy boots for your nut smashing. If you think I’m kidding just try me.” He was really frightened now. “But I can’t betray the Fees” he said. “Chase will ruin me.” “You better tell me right this second what the living fuck you are talking about” I said. “I mean right this very fucking second.” I reached out and helped him stand. He mistook my gesture as if I might be raising him to attack his nuts. He now looked really frightened. “Okay, okay, okay” he said. “I’ll tell you what I mean. Chase has video of me doing stuff.” “What kind of stuff?” I asked. “Bad, nasty stuff” he whined. “I’m really getting tired of your silly games” I said. “What does Chase have on you?” “You remember the week of Bill Boyd’s funeral?” he asked. “Of course I remember that” I said. “What about it?” “You’ll remember that someone left that son-in-law of his tied to the front of the church during the man’s funeral” he said. “We came out of the church and found him tied there wearing nothing but panties and he’d jacked off on himself and on the panties. He was a really big, hairy guy.” “Yes” I said. “Go ahead.” “Well, the reverend sent Chase and me out to untie him. Seeing the hairy boy in those sheer panties made me get hard. Chase saw me staring at his crotch and he knew what I was. Later that night he called me into his office at the church. He told me he saw me eyeing that boy’s crotch and he said he knew I liked dick. He made me strip naked for him and put on that same pair of panties the boy had worn. They were all crusty with dried cum. It turned me on. I got hard fast. Chase made me dance around, wearing nothing but those panties. Then he made me get on my knees. You know what a handsome boy he is. I’d really wanted him. But then he took out his dick. It’s really big like his father’s but it has those ugly spots on it. I didn’t want to suck it but he made me. And he’s made me do it a bunch of times since then. Whenever he wants it sucked, he knows I’ll do what he says.” “And if you ever piss him off, he’ll show the video of you sucking his big old dick?” I asked. “That’s what he’s told me” he said. “If my wife ever saw me doing that, she’d leave and take all my children. I couldn’t live with that.” “Fucking boo-hoo for you! Does Reverend Fee know about the videos or about you sucking off his son?” I asked. “Oh no” he said. “I’m almost sure he doesn’t. The reverend got really angry at Chase the night he had that young boy fuck his mother. I wasn’t there but Chase told me about it. Chase thought it was funny but he said his old man got mad when he saw him grab the young boy’s cock. He told Chase that’ touching another man’s cock is gay behavior and he doesn’t approve. I know Chase has some tendencies though. Sometimes when I’m sucking him off, he’ll grab my dick. He’s watched me jack myself off. Sometimes he’ll surprise me and punch me in my gut or in the nuts just as I’m about to shoot my load. He’s very abusive and I’d be happy if I never had to see him again.” “You’re in a tight spot, Ridley, but I have no sympathy” I said. “You got yourself in that spot through your own ignorance and your insatiable desire to be a breeder. What you’ve done to families makes it impossible for me to feel sorry for you. You’ll have to decide what is and what isn’t important in your life. If you’re going to stay with the Fees, you bet get your ass down to the police station. Mrs. Flavin was arrested and is currently incarcerated. Mr. Flavin will join her once he is treated for testicular damage. Know one thing before you leave here. I consider you, the reverend and his son just as guilty as the parents in what has happened to this young man. I hope you never close your eyes again without seeing his sweet, battered face.” The man looked terrified. He realized Fee had probably been trying to reach him. “You’re still nothing more than Fee’s nasty little fuck-poodle” I said. “That’s what you’ll always be. I’d love to be there the day your ignorant cunt wife gets to see the video of you chowing down on Chase’s big old ugly spotted dick!” The man glared at me and walked out of the bathroom. I walked out of the bathroom and was met by Gil and Sam. “We’re going to run now, buddy,” Gil said. “If there is anything either of us can do, don’t hesitate to call. The boy’s going to be hospitalized for a while. Rhett isn’t at all sure he’ll make it through the night. Rhett says there is no way he should ever have been able to get out of that basement so we know he’s a fighter.” “I will call the attorney in Philadelphia first thing in the morning and set up our trip with Bradley” I said. “I think that needs to be handled in a timely manner.” We exchanged hugs and they left. Rhett came out and called our group into the conference room. After closing the door he sat down. “Guys, you need to know things are still very much touch and go for this kid” he said. “I’d love nothing more than to tell you he’s out of the woods but I won’t lie. He was starved and deprived of water for days. He’s been beaten within an inch of his life and he’s lost a lot of blood. His lung function is severely compromised. And we have no idea at this juncture how severely he may have been beaten around the head I think you know we’ll do everything we can for the boy but I want to be real about this. I don’t think we’ll know any more about how things will go until tomorrow. If he makes it through this night, I’d give him a fighting chance. I think it would be best if you guys go home and get some rest. If he makes it through, he’ll need all of you to help him deal with everything that’s happened.” Rhett, I just can’t stand the thought of that boy being all alone” I said. “What if he does wake up and he’s alone? I simply can’t stand that. Can you get approval for one of us to be at his bedside at all times just in case he does awaken? Please.” “Of course I’ll do that” he said. “It can’t hurt. I’m hoping we can get him transferred to ICU very shortly and I’ll make it clear he is allowed to have one visitor with him at all times.” “Thank you, Rhett” I said. “For everything.” “No problem. I’ll let you know when he’s moving” he said. I had decided to take the first shift of staying with Nile. I encouraged Alejandro to take Javi home. I suggested he leave his other boys at our house for the evening and he and Javi could go to Shaggy’s and inform Derrick and Der. Javi had said Der would likely take this very hard. Javi had shared with me that Der was the boy on whom Nile had the crush earlier. He said Nile had been allowed to spend the night at Der’s house a couple of times before he had confessed his attraction to his father. Alejandro agreed to do that and I bade them goodbye. Rick said he would take Jack, Bradley, and Donald home and they would make a plan as to who would stay with Nile. Then Selena Walden came up. She asked that she be permitted to take the first shift sitting with the boy. She said she fully intended to do her part and she would like to stay with him now. We all agreed and I assured her one of us would be back within just a few hours to stay with the boy. She made it clear that she wanted to attend any legal proceedings for the boy’s parents and we agreed to freely share any information either of us had. We invited Russell to come home with us for pizza and he agreed to come, knowing Rhett would not leave the hospital until something changed with Nile. On the way home, I told the guys about the information Attorney Ridley had shared with me in the ER men’s room. We decided to stop and get pizza for the whole gang so we went to the boys’ favorite pizza place. As we waited, Rick and I had a beer, toasting to what had been a very successful morning for Clifford and his boys. We also discussed that things were looking brighter for Elliott. The guys were just blown away at Principal Walden’s genuine concern for the students at her school. I was amazed that she would take such an interest in all her students, as was Rick. I shared with the guys my gut feeling that Fee may have been referring to Nile’s mother when he said earlier that he already had another fish on the line. My thoughts were that he had planned to use Nile as a wedge between Mr. and Mrs. Flavin but that things at their home had gotten out of control. I believed Fee had planned to turn Mrs. Flavin on her husband and then move in to comfort the woman. It was impossible for me to believe Fee or either of the parents would have gone so far as killing the young boy. The guys asked if Stewart still planned to return to Denver. I told them I wasn’t sure but I had heard him mention the idea that he might catch a flight three hours later than the one on which he had originally booked. Donald said he had decided not to leave this evening but to get an early start in the morning. He didn’t have a class until one in the afternoon so he thought it would be best. I could tell Bradley was very pleased with that decision. Donald said he would love to drive his convertible back to Auburn and asked if he might park the Escalade he had driven up in our garage. I told him that would be great and he said he would leave the keys and urged us to use the vehicle if we needed it. When we got home Poppy and Kurt had all the boys in the pool. They had about worn the men out and were now having Ren and Yugo throw them into the air. Landry, Flynn, Yarro and Eli were all having a blast and had been the centers of attention all afternoon. Stewart had been able to spend time with the boys and his Flynnie looked so very happy. As happy as it made me to see our loving family having so much fun, I felt a lingering pouch of sadness in my heart for the beautiful boy lying in the hospital and fighting for his life and for the fractured disaster his family had become. Part of me knew that except for grace, my family could have become just as fractured. We all agreed to postpone dinner for another hour as we all wanted to play in the pool. The pizzas went in the warming ovens and Jack, Rick, Donald, Bradley, Russell and I all dropped our clothes on the patio and hit the pool. We played horse and splashdown and we were all having a wonderful time.

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