Before Why Comes What

Before Why Comes What

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Author's note

TSL sent me a heart wrenching poem that he had written and which you will find at the end of this story at the bottom of the page. When I read it visions of that boy's story started filling my head and below you will see what I thought of as his story. I hope I have done TSL's poem justice here with this story and that he thinks it's a worthwhile contribution to his work. I hereby release it to him wholly and completely to use as he sees fit or not as the case may be. To my friend your work is wonderful and touches deeply those who read it, it inspired me not for the first time to try something based on your work. I hope you find this fitting to what you envisioned. DS
Thanks also go as usual to the one who makes it readable and that is the incomparable Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher and of course TSL for all the work he puts into editing this and other stories, mine included. Thank you once again

"Okay class, pay attention cause even if that bell rings you aren't going anywhere until I'm done here, you all know that," Mr. Cartwright said, causing groans to escape from most everyone in the room.

Jeez, it was Friday, give us a break for a change.

"Just so you will have something to do this weekend, since I wouldn't want you to get bored, I expect a five page report on the life of President Abraham Lincoln to be on my desk Monday morning. Further, we are going to do in depth analysis of his life and Presidency including the civil war, its causes and what it brought about in this country. The latter will be covered over the next few weeks so be prepared. A general report is sufficient for right now but expect more in depth reports over those weeks," he told us before adding, "I also don't want to hear one single person in this class say slavery was the reason for the Civil War."

If I thought the groaning had been bad before, it was almost deafening now.

During his ruining of the weekend the bell had rung but we knew better than to move at all until he said so and he loved making us wait until he did, just like now as he stood there smiling at us.

I think he was just waiting for someone to actually act like they were going to move and then he'd have his fun but we'd all learned by now not to, so finally and with a look of disappointment on his face he told us we could go.

I don't think yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theatre could have resulted in people moving faster than we did to get out of his class.

It was almost like we were afraid he'd call us back if any of us were around for him to do so.

Then again knowing him, it was entirely possible he'd do it too.

As we escaped into the hall and made our way to our lockers to put our stuff up for the last time today and get out of here I heard someone call my name.

"Hey Mark!"

I turned back to see Zach making his way through the crowds of kids towards me and couldn't help the smile that came to my face.

"What's up?" I asked as he caught up to me.

I got a few stares cause of blocking the hall but I didn't really care much.

"Escaped Bennington finally, how bout you?" 

"Same here, only Cartwright," I said as I started moving again with him following close behind.

It was a toss up who was worse and we often debated it, each trying to come up with a worse story about the teacher in question.

We hated both so in the end I suppose it didn't matter but it was still fun and with them it was about the only fun we had.

We didn't say much all the way to our lockers and then back out through the maze of kids to the front door and freedom.

This year we didn't have to wait around for our little brothers anymore since they got out at 2:30 still, but we were stuck until 3:10 so we headed right out.

Growing up sucked sometimes and if I heard Mom or Dad say one more time, 'You're the oldest and you have to set an example', I was sure I was going to go nuts and start screaming or something crazy like that.

Of course Mom and Dad didn't care that the little shits always started it and they certainly didn't care that usually while they were yelling at me the little brats were standing behind them sticking their tongues out at me, and Josh even stuck something else out last time.

Personally, I thought it was his IQ but I was still going to get him back for it first chance I got.

"Sixth grade sucks," I told Zach.

"Yeah but I hear Seventh is even worse," he replied.

"Let's flunk," I said, only half joking.

"Uh uh, my Dad would kill me," he said and he wasn't joking at all, but what he said suddenly sent a chill down my spine as he quickly said, "I'm sorry."

"S'ok," I muttered.

"Hey ya wanna come to my house?" he asked.

"Like to but got to go home," I told him.

"Maybe later?" he asked hopefully.

"I'll try but you know…" and let it trail off.

He knew, we both did.

"Yeah, we could stop at the Fort for a few minutes?" was his next try and I thought about it for a bit.

Finally everything hit me and I said, "Yeah lets do it." 

"OKAY!" he cried and put his arm around my shoulder giving me a real fast hug.

I couldn't help but smile at him as we cut off through the park to our secret place back up in the woods.

I knew what he wanted cause I wanted it even more and soon we would be able to have it.

Soon though, it was over and that time came.

"I've gotta go," I said.

"I know," he replied as I held him tightly and gave him a hug.

He looked deeply into my eyes for a long Moment then let go.

As much as I liked these times, it was when it was over that made me so sad cause I had to leave him.

We walked in silence all the way to the block before our houses where we stopped and as always lately just stood there looking at each other trying to put off going our separate ways.

Finally he asked the question he had been asking for some time now, "Why?" 

I didn't have an answer for him this time anymore than the other times.

I guess that was because I didn't know it either.

He turned left to go to his house and I stood there watching him as he walked away until he got to the corner and stopping, turned back and waved.

I waved back and then he was gone. 

I still stood there for a minute looking after where he had been before turning and continuing my walk to the house.

I hadn't even gotten the door shut when I heard him scream "Where the hell have you been?" and then he was walking out of the kitchen.

I had learned the hard way these last months and kept my eyes down as I said clearly but without raising my voice "Walking home from school, sir."

"Bullshit!" he yelled, now in front of me.

"Where were you?" he asked again.

"I told you…" but that was as far as I got as his hand crashed against the side of my face and I went reeling to the floor.

"You were with that little faggot again weren't you?" he demanded more than asked, as he stood over me.

I was lying on the floor looking up at his red face and could feel the tears running down my cheeks in both pain and anger.

"He's my best friend!" I yelled at him.

I wondered for a moment if he was going to explode his face got so red, but then he was grabbing my arm and yanking me up hard then pulling, half dragging me towards the couch in the living room.

"I told you that you were to have no more contact with him!" he screamed and I noticed then that both Josh and Kevin were at the top of the stairs watching in horror at what Dad was doing.

He threw me onto the couch and my whole arm and shoulder hurt bad as he moved forward and began fumbling at my belt.

"No!" I screamed, trying to push his hands away but he only backhanded me again causing more pain and went back to undoing my belt and pants.

Then he stopped and stared at me or maybe I should say my pants.

"You filthy evil spawn of Satan," he said softly and I looked down only to see the white stain on the front of my zipper

Oh no

"It was from earlier, I did it in the bathroom at school," I quickly said but he just looked at me.

"Liar!" he yelled as he struck my face again and before I could react, he had reached down and ripped my pants and underwear down around my ankles as he grabbed me.

He squeezed me upwards and sure enough the evidence came forward sparkling in the light from the window.

Faster than I could see he reached down and picked up a shoe and brought it down and down hard on my thing sending waves of agony through me as I screamed in pain.

"See if you can use it now, faggot" he said, as he shoved me over on my stomach.

Then the next little while became a pain filled blur as I felt his belt striking me in the butt, back and legs, over and over again.

All the while all I could hear was his screaming "I'll beat it out of you, I'll beat it out of you, ya hear me?" 

I couldn't tell you when it stopped but it did and I couldn't tell you how long I lay there, everything swirling and not making sense, but at some point I heard the front door slam shut and at some point I realized that Josh and Kevin were there and crying, begging me to be alright.

I didn't know if I was and all I could think was "Why?" as everything swirled even worse and then thankfully stopped.

When I next woke up Zach was there and Mom too.

Zach was crying and for that matter so was Mom.

"Zach what are you doing here?" I asked as I also noticed Josh and Kevin holding one another and sniffling

"Mark are you okay?" Zach and Mom asked at the same time while Zach reached out and grabbed my hand.

Everything was still fuzzy but slowly I began to feel the pain again and gasped.

"It hurts," I said although it came out more of a whimper.

"I know honey, but it'll stop in a few minutes as soon as I get this stuff on," Mom said as she opened a jar and took a gob of stuff onto her fingers and then moved down with it.

Suddenly I felt something cold on my penis and testicles and realized that I was still naked as I looked down.

I know I should be embarrassed with being naked in the middle of the living room and my Mom rubbing stuff into my dick but it just hurt so bad and I just couldn't seem to care.

All I cared about was as she rubbed the pain went away. 

I didn't even want to look anymore and quickly looked up into the concerned eyes of Zach.

It was swollen and red, I had seen that much and it wasn't cause Mom was rubbing it either.

"Zach, how did you get here?" I whispered squeezing his hand tightly.

"Josh called me and when I got here and saw you I called your Mom" he said

"You shouldn't be here" I told him urgently, afraid he'd come back.

"If he touches me I'll tell, I'm not afraid of him," he told me then added, "I'm afraid for you."

I was afraid for me too; this had been the worst so far.

How much more could I take?

"Turn over sweetie," Mom said reaching out and helping me to turn onto my stomach.

"Oh God," she cried and Zach gasped as I watched a look of horror come across his face.

I looked at her and she was looking down crying softly.

"Mrs. Jeffries you got to do something, look at him," Zach cried, but Mom just kept looking at my backside.

When he didn't get a response, I saw him get angry and say, "Fine, if you won't then I will," and pull his hand from mine.

I was scared now, but petrified when he walked over to the phone and picked it up.

"NO!" I yelled.

"Mark, you've asked me to keep quiet and I have even though I think it's wrong, but not anymore. Hate me if you want, but he almost killed you this time," he cried as he started punching numbers.

Mom suddenly got up and swiftly took the phone from him saying "Don't" as she looked at it.

"He's your kid you're supposed to protect him," Zach yelled but Mom was still looking at the phone.

She reached down and pressed the thing on the phone then let it go saying softly "I know, but it's my job, not yours," as she pressed three buttons on the phone.

"Mom, no!" I said but she wasn't listening as she said into the phone "I need the police and an ambulance here at my home, my husband has severely beaten our son."

"No, Mom, no," I cried as she gave them our address and then hung up the phone.

I could never get it back the way it was before, if she did this.

She was just staring at the phone again not moving not saying anything just staring.

Josh and Kevin had scared and shocked looks on their faces and even Zach looked surprised at this turn of events.

Then I heard the front door open and quickly looked to it only to see Dad walking into the house.

He froze, we all froze as I watched him stare at what he saw before him.

Then his eyes found Zach and a rage worse than I'd ever seen came across his face as he uttered one word "YOU!"

He was moving forward as I screamed "Dad, NO!" 

Mom was moving to get between them but Dad just shoved her aside and grabbed Zach yelling "You little faggot, I'll teach you to corrupt my son!" 

He started hitting Zach who was screaming and hurt or not hurt, I moved off the couch and jumped on Dad's back hitting him around the head and face while screaming "Leave him alone, leave him alone!"

He dropped a bleeding Zach and reached up behind grabbing me and throwing me over his shoulder.

I screamed and remembered hitting the chair across the living room, that and the incredible pain that went through my chest as I felt something snap inside.

He was walking forward towards me, and I realized then that he really hated me, really and truly hated me.

Everything I had been telling myself these last months trying to deny it was shown to be a big lie in that Moment as I looked into his eyes.

I loved him and he hated me.

"You would attack your own father for that disgusting creature, that perversion of nature and God?" he asked and I lost it.

I couldn't move, it hurt so bad but I stared up at him and said, defiantly, "YES, because I love him." 

The look on his face was one I will never forget, the hate and also complete disbelief mixed all together.

"No son of mine is a faggot" he roared.

"Wrong Daddy, I'm one and I'll always be one, whether you like it or not!" I yelled back and then his foot began moving and I knew I couldn't stop it.

It connected with my side and I doubled up in pain as he kicked me again this time in the stomach.

"Leave him alone you SON OF A BITCH" I heard Mom scream as she slammed into him.

I could hear Kevin screaming and crying on the phone and hoped he was calling the police as Mom and Dad fought.

It was no match and he hit her again and again until she wasn't moving anymore then he turned back to me.

"If you want to live the devil's life, then you can go meet him right now," he said as he stalked back over to me and then his fists began to rain down.

"NO!" I heard and then saw Zach on his back hitting him with the ashtray.

He didn't do any better than I had as Dad grabbed a leg and yanked him with a scream from his back throwing him onto the table.

"You can both go to hell where you belong," he cried as he advanced on Zach who was curled up holding his arm on the table.

I couldn't move, couldn't help and watched as he bent down and grabbed Zach by the throat.

Zach started choking and brought the one hand he had to use up desperately prying at Dad's fingers but it did no good.

Josh and Kevin were screaming at Dad to stop and all I could get out was a gasp as I watched Zach's face turning red then redder.

I began to cough and everything seemed to become far, far away as I saw a lot of red.

I realized that it was blood, my blood coming up with each cough, a lot of it.

The last thing I remember is watching Zach as his face went from red to purple and his eyes, eyes that were looking at me, pleading with me only it wasn't to do something it was that he wouldn't live to be here anymore with me.

Then I didn't remember anything anymore.

Four weeks later, with Zach at my side, I left the hospital, my Mom, his parents and my brothers all at my side.

I had awoken in pain that at first I didn't understand, later when I did I wished I didn't because the pain became even greater.

He'd hated me, my own Dad.

All I could think was "Why?"

I loved him so much and I knew without a shadow of a doubt he was going to kill me, "Why?"

The police had arrived just after I passed out and arrested Dad.

They had managed to bring Zach back although he hadn't been breathing by the time they busted in the door.

Me, they said, they almost lost.

Sometimes I wish they had, it hurts so much but every time I think that Zach is there, somehow, knowing and trying to comfort me.

I'd been unconscious they told me for four days and was in and out another three before I actually woke up and stayed awake.

The man had come in the next day.

Prying, sticking his nose in where I didn't want it, asking questions and making me think about things I didn't want to think about, trying to help and eventually beginning to heal me in spite of myself.

When he came in I was staring at the ceiling and didn't even look at him.

He didn't seem to take the hint.

"Hello Mark, my name is Daniel" he said into the silence.

I didn't answer him.

I knew my family was dead and Zach, Zach was dead too.

"I know it's difficult to talk about things right now but that's what I'm here for, to help you"

"You can help me by going and fucking yourself," I almost snarled still not looking at him.

"Well that is rather difficult to do, but I'm sure it would be fun if possible," he said and at that I couldn't help but look over at him in complete disbelief.

"Ah that got a response," he said smiling, but I was still staring at his face which was a mass of scars down one side of it.

"What do you want?" I finally asked.

"To help, that's all, just to help," he replied.

"You can't help," I told him, looking back up at the ceiling.

"I can if you'll let me. It may seem really bad right now but if you give it a chance you'll make it through this," he said.

"Oh goody, you can help. Let's see can you resurrect the dead?" I asked sarcastically, but I could feel the tears coming again even though I fought them not wanting him to see me cry.

"Well that's something I can't do I'm afraid but I can help with what you're feeling right now," he told me.

"No you can't, nobody can, and if you can't bring my Mom or my brothers back, if you can't bring…if you can't then you can't help me" I told him.

"Mark, what are you talking about?" he asked, and hearing the confusion in his voice, I turned and looked at him.

I laughed only it wasn't a sound of joy as I said, "They send you to help the faggot but they forgot to tell you that my family is dead." 

He was shaking his head and when I finished said, "Mark, they're not dead, what would make you think that?" 

"I…I saw…he killed them. Mom then Zach and probably Joshy and Kev too," I told him finding myself crying again.

I couldn't seem to stop crying.

"You saw wrong then Mark, they're all alive," he told me but I knew different.

"Don't lie to me! I know they're dead. I asked and they wouldn't even look at me they just told me someone would be in to talk to me and walked out," I replied angry now.

"Who?" he asked.

"The doctors and nurses, that's who," I told him.

"Son of a bitch!" he said, getting up and walking from the room leaving me staring after him as he called back through the door "Don't go anywhere." 

Like I could anyway, they even had a tube in my dick cause I couldn't make it to the bathroom much less get out of bed.

A minute later the door burst open and looking at it I saw something that made me gasp in shock.

It couldn't be.

"Zach," I whispered in disbelief.

"MARK!" he cried and then he was running forward and wrapping his arms around me.

I couldn't help the cry of pain that escaped me as he hugged me but I still put my arms around him and hugged him back.

"Oh Zach, I thought you were…that you…." But I couldn't go on 

Then I got another shock as the door opened and Mom stood there in the doorway.

"M…m…Mom," I cried as she came in and to the other side of the bed kissing me all over my face and forehead mumbling "Oh baby, baby, I've been so worried." 

I lost it then crying like a little baby, just bawling my eyes out and I couldn't seem to stop.

They were alive, they were alive.

Finally I could breathe again and the tears weren't quite as bad as I realized that Josh and Kevin weren't here and almost afraid to ask, I did only to be told that only two at a time could come in for now but that they were okay too.

It was then I noticed him standing there smiling at me and I found myself smiling back at Daniel.

He nodded his head and turning, walked out of the room leaving me, Zach and Mom alone together as we all cried and cuddled together.

Maybe I am too old to do that anymore, but right then I didn't care and never wanted to let them go.

My brothers came in and it was all repeated then they left leaving me alone for a time until he came back.

"So you feel like talking?" he asked as he walked into the hospital room and took a seat next to my bed once again.

"Not really," I mumbled. 

"Hmmm, poor choice of words maybe," he replied.

"What do you want me to say? My Dad hates me and tried to kill me and my Mom or maybe I'm evil and going to hell cause I'm a faggot." I asked, 

"Do you believe that?" he asked quietly.

"Yes," I finally said as the tears rolled down my face again, "I know he does" 

"And the other?" he asked gently,

I didn't answer for a minute but finally said, "I guess I must be."

"Must you and why is that?" he asked.

"Cause Dad was right, I am one and…and they said you'd burn in hell for it," I told him.

"Do you believe that?" he queried softly.

I looked away thinking about it not knowing what to say anymore.

For so long I had tried to tell myself it wasn't bad, wasn't evil but look what it had done. 

Look what it had done to me and to my family, look at what it had almost done to the person I loved.

"I don't believe it. I don't think you're evil and if you'll let me I'll help you understand that you're not and it's not," he told me.

"What would you know about it? Look at what it's done to everything," I cried, turning away again.

"I know how you feel Mark and please I can help you if you let me," he said.

"How can you know, how could you possibly know what it's like?" I asked bitterly, angry at him, at my Dad, just angry at everything all of a sudden.

I watched as he looked away for a Moment but before he did I saw sadness, a lot of sadness and even more pain in his eyes.

I think it was that, that showed me maybe he could before he ever spoke.

Slowly he reached up and touched the scars on his faces, trailing his fingers along them back and forth before slowly dropping his hand and meeting my gaze again.

"I know how you feel Mark, how you hurt, what you're thinking and going through, because I've been there and went through it myself. How old do you think I am?" he asked

"Uh maybe like thirty or forty" I said not really understanding the sudden change of subject.

He laughed before saying "I'm twenty-two Mark, twenty-two years old," and it was my turn to stare in shock as I mumbled "Twenty-two?" in disbelief.

He looked older than my Dad who was thirty-five, how could he be twenty-two?

"Yeah, you see Mark, once upon a time I was careless, we were careless I guess I should say and well we paid the price for it. I was 14 and my Dad usually didn't come home til about six at night so Travis and I went home after school thinking we had a few hours to be together before Dad came home. Travis was my boyfriend Mark, he was the love of my life and that day we had made love falling asleep afterwards. We woke to Dad screaming at us followed by him beating us half to death. Then he left and we thought it was over only it wasn't. You see he simply went down to the garage to get something. Just when we thought that we were safe finally he came back and in his hand was a gas can. He told us that since we were going to burn in the fires of hell anyway that he was going to send us on our way in style. After his little speech he started pouring the gas on us. It seems the neighbors had called the police at hearing our screams and they arrived in time to say their most famous phrase. The only problem was in this case it was wholly inappropriate because as they screamed drop it he did, only it was his lighter. Travis threw himself on me to try and protect me, that's why only one side of my body is burned. It was the last thing he did because he died three days later in the burn unit at County. So I do understand Mark and I do want to help. I work for a gay youth outreach center here in the city trying to help kids like you only usually before it gets to this point" he told me leaving me stunned.

I didn't know what to say, what could anyone say to something like that?

I thought I had it bad and I guess it was bad but to be…to have your own Dad try to burn you to death...

I could feel myself shiver at the very thought of it and for Zach to have died, I don't think I could have gone on if it had happened to me.

Finally Daniel looked up at me from his memories and said softly, "I think that's all for today Mark." 

He moved closer and took my hand saying softly, "I'd like to help if you'll let me," before giving it a gentle squeeze and letting it go moving towards the door.

"Daniel," I called out as he reached it and turned back to face me.

"I'm sorry," I told him, knowing it was completely inadequate but all I could think to say.

"I know, so am I," he said before turning walking out of the room leaving me there to think.

To think about everything that had happened to the both of us, to what he had lost and what I almost lost all because someone thought that God hated us.


That was all that I could think of once again.

Why did he hate us so much?

Zach, Mom and my brothers all were in to visit, mostly just giving me hugs and telling me how much they loved me.

I made sure after what happened to tell them how much I loved them as well.

Never again would I not tell them even if my brothers were such pains most of the time.

They were here, now, for me even knowing what I was and what Dad thought about it.

They were family and I finally understood what that meant.

The next day Daniel showed up again as I knew he would; only this time he brought Zach in with him.

"Hey Mark, how are you feeling today?" he asked as he took a seat on the chair next to my bed while Zach climbed up on it and snuggled into my side.

"Okay I guess," I said. 

"Yeah, not really huh?" he told me smiling.

"No, not really," I replied.

"I brought Zach with me today because I've found a lot of times that being with someone you love and more importantly someone who loves you helps a great deal in talking about things. If you would prefer he not be here then he'll leave. You should also know I told all this to Zach before we came in and he won't be upset if you don't want him here," Daniel told me.

"I won't. I understand if you want to keep stuff private," Zach said looking at me seriously and I thought about it for a Moment or two before I said what my heart felt, "I want you a part of everything just like it's always been." 

He smiled and gave me a gentle kiss before snuggling back close to me.

I had no doubts that I had made the right decision as Daniel asked me once again, "So do you feel like talking today?" 

"No, but I don't think I ever will either," I told him.

"No you won't. Oh it'll get easier with time, but it'll never be something you want to do," he said.

"Gee I wonder why," I said sarcastically.

"No idea," Daniel replied just as sarcastically and I couldn't help but smile for a second.

"There that's better," he said.

"So what should I talk about? My Dad hating me or maybe how that now we'll never be a family again?" I asked.

"Talk about whatever you want to talk about Mark, maybe explaining how you think you could've been a family again with a father like that might be a start," he said to me.

I thought a moment or two before saying, "He wasn't always like that and my life wasn't always like this either, once it was different, a lot different." I said.

"How?" he asked me.

"Well, once we were happy, once he loved me, you see it all started about eight months ago……


I don't know what woke me up, but it was to hear Mom and Dad arguing in the hall at my doorway.

"I don't care they're getting too old for this and I want it stopped" Dad said angrily.

"Oh honey look at them, don't they look so cute," Mom replied.

"No they look like a couple of queers" Dad said and I was confused. 

Who was he talking about?

"You stop that right this instant. They're just sleeping for God's sake," Mom replied, clearly angry now.

"Well it ain't natural, they're almost twelve and look at them" Dad replied not so quietly now.

"Shhh, you'll wake them," Mom said and then their voices faded as I heard the door shut and they moved off down the hall.

They were talking about me and Zach but why was Dad so mad?

Me and Zach had always been together since we were babies, too young to remember being together even.

We did everything together and that included sleeping together whenever he was over or I stayed at his house.

It had always been that way.

I loved Zach so much and for the longest time thought that it was because he was like a brother to me but only recently we had reached the conclusion that it was a lot more than that.

We had discovered some things together but it soon became much more than that. 

I started looking things up online and at the library and realized that it probably meant that I was gay and Zach thought he was too.

The books and stuff also said that it was normal for kids who would be straight someday to do the stuff we did but both of us kind of knew that this was different.

It wasn't the sex stuff that mattered but the other stuff that made us think that way.

We couldn't imagine a life without each other in it and together, not to mention that the thought of girls was like double triple super yuck to both of us.

The thing was that we had been very careful to not let anyone know about anything especially Dad.

The closest thing to ever being discovered was Joshy running into the bathroom one night when Zach and I were in there taking a shower amongst other things.

He had to pee and while he saw our boners he just giggled at them but he did promise not to tell and I believed him.

So why was Dad mad now?

He had called us queers just for sleeping together as if somehow that made you one.

Ever since he had started that new church a few weeks ago he had been different and I didn't like it.

Joshy and Kevin didn't either and to tell the truth, I really didn't think Mom liked it much but Dad kept going.

Nothing got said the next day and so I sort of put it out of my mind and didn't worry too much about it.

A couple of weeks later, Dad announced that we had to go to this new church with him and stop going to the one we had always gone to.

No one was happy but when he slapped Joshy in the face for crying about it we were all stunned.

I mean Dad had smacked our butts when we needed it but he'd never hit us like that before.

He'd also never yelled at us and quoted bible stuff about obeying your parents either.

And so we went to the new church and I hated it as did my brothers.

The church we had gone to all our lives taught that God loved you and we had always loved God too.

One of my favorite songs even though it was a little kids song was "Jesus loves me". 

I still sang it, only to myself, when I went to bed at night…"Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so…" 

Silly I know but this new church taught that God loved people but only certain ones and not others.

It seemed so alien to me that they would say stuff like that after being raised that God loves everyone.

I tried to talk to Dad about it, but he only yelled and started quoting bible stuff at me about not believing and nothing I could say could convince him that I believed just not what this new church taught.

God was about love but this church taught you to hate and I didn't think that was right.

They of course didn't actually come out and say "Hate this and hate that", but you knew what they meant that was for sure.

As time went on, things became even worse as Dad changed from someone who I loved into someone who I feared.

Joshy and Kevin were scared of him too and we all walked around wondering what was going to get him screaming or hitting us next.

It was a few weeks after I woke up that night that Dad first said something to us as we came in the door after school.

"Zach, you need to go home, you spend way too much time over here," Dad told Zach just as we walked in that day.

Zach just stood there with a stunned and hurt look on his face.

"Dad…" I started to say but he yelled "Shut up and go to your room!"

"But…" and that was all I got out before he was across the hall and his hand connected with my mouth.

"Go!" he screamed, before turning to Zach and advancing on him.

Zach turned and ran out the door but not before I saw the tears on his face.

When Dad turned around the look on his face frightened me and was one I couldn't understand.

"What are you still doing here?" he asked and it was in such a voice that I felt like I wanted to pee myself as I quickly backed up towards the stairs.

"You spend way too much time with that boy and it's going to stop." he said as he matched my footsteps.

"Why, why would you say that to Zach? He's my best friend and he practically lives here," I said anyway.

"That's the problem, you need other friends. He has a home so go let him live in it," Dad told me.

"No, he's my friend and you can't stop us being friends," I yelled, mad now but Dad just got red in the face and came after me.

I ran up the stairs but he followed and it was the first of many beltings which I would receive at his hands.

What made this worse though was he was calling Zach names like faggot and queer and he thought Zach was making me into one.

That night, Zach's parents came over and tried to talk to Dad and Mom but Dad just yelled at them and told them to get out and join their faggot son but keep him away from me.

I couldn't believe that Dad would actually do something like that.

You see, Zach loved my Dad too, he was like another father to him, he always had been.

I talked to Mom about it but she said there was nothing she could do.

The following Sunday, I just knew that his new church had, had something to do with it because the sermon that day was on the evil influences of homosexuals upon the innocent. 

Seeing Dad smiling throughout the service convinced me that he had spoken to the pastor and that was the reason for the particular sermon that was given that day.

It was about the evil influence of Zach on me.

The next months got no better as Zach and I tried to stay in touch, yet not let Dad know but he did anyway.

The beatings, for that was what they were, got even worse and were on all of us now with equal frequency although Dad saved the "Faggot" speeches just for me.

We had to look down when he addressed us or we would be told we were challenging his authority and we had to answer everything with "Sir" or we were being disrespectful.

It got to the point that if we ever questioned anything that it meant that we were being disrespectful and that would earn us "God's punishment" which translated as a beating.

Zach became a real problem over them cause once he saw the bruises he got so pissed and told me it was child abuse and he was going to tell.

I begged and begged him not to and crying, he finally agreed but only to a point. 

He said if they got too bad, then he was going to tell no matter what and it left me praying to God that they wouldn't reach that point.

Zach and I spent a lot of time crying in each other's arms trying to comfort one another, him for the loss of what he had always thought of as a second father and me for the loss of the only one I had ever known.

I tried to explain that I just needed time to get Dad back to the way he used to be and then everything would be alright, but Zach didn't ever believe it would be alright again.

Things at home just got worse and we all lived in a constant state of fear over what would violate God's laws next.

I had never heard most of these laws until now, but apparently this new church taught Dad all about them and so we got to live with them.

Why did they hate us so much when they didn't even know us?

Josh got caught whacking his weed one day and I thought Dad was going to kill him.

The coach had told us in school that everyone did it, but Dad was screaming that only evil spawn of Satan did such things and he wasn't going to have it in his house.

I didn't tell him that it had been in his house for a long, long time before Josh started doing it.

I finally spoke up and said it wasn't bad and the church was wrong to say it was which got me beaten instead but at least Joshy didn't get anymore that day.

I'm really not sure how much more he could have taken.

Dad finally forbid me to see or speak to Zach not that I listened or stopped seeing him, I just made sure Dad didn't find out about it.

He must have suspected though, cause he made me start coming straight home from school and it was about then that I noticed his spies at school.

Suddenly the same group of kids was showing up everywhere I was over and over again and what was worse was that I recognized them from the "New" church we were forced to go to.

It was after that, that the shit really hit the fan cause one day me and Zach were out on the playground when suddenly this group of older kids was there looking at us.

I asked them what they wanted but all they would say was "Faggots will burn in hell" and they walked off.

That afternoon I got what was probably the worst beating of my life and couldn't go to school for three days afterwards because of it.

During the whole thing all Dad kept screaming was that I had lied to him and was seeing that faggot boy again and he knew it.

He also kept on about how this was God's will that I be chastised for my disobedience and willfulness. 

All I know was that it wasn't the God, I knew and loved.

I asked again "Why?" but still didn't get an answer.

So Zach and I had to be even more careful than ever because I wasn't willing to give him up and neither was he.

We knew that the older kids were on different schedules than us so we found out what they were and made sure to get together whenever there wasn't a chance of being caught or at least not much of one.

It didn't work completely as my rear found out several times but for the most part it allowed us to be together and get away with it.

The weeks turned into months and things just went from bad to worse although we kept asking ourselves how much worse it could get. 

Somehow it always did. 

Dad seemed to almost hate us now, me in particular.

None of us could ever seem to do anything right and after a while we stopped wanting to try.

Zach kept telling me that I would never get Dad back the way he used to be, but I wouldn't believe him.

I was so sure that I would somehow get my family back just as soon as I figured out the right way to do it. 

Now I wished I had listened to him because it would have saved us a lot of pain.

Of course you know what happened then and here we are.

It can never happen now.

I told the story and finished up finally with tears running down my face and Zach hugging me tightly to him.

Daniel didn't say anything for a while but finally he asked, "And do you believe that what you are is evil?" 

I thought about it but finally said, "God is about love, He never said love some but not others. He just said to love everyone. So no I don't believe that we are evil." 

"Good, because what that so called church teaches you isn't right and it's not God's word. God said to love one another as you love yourself." he told us.

"I know that now. Sitting here thinking about everything, I realize that there is nothing evil about the love I have for Zach. It is the most wonderful thing in the world," I replied.

"I'm glad you see that Mark, usually that's most of the battle right there when I work with kids to make them see that they are not evil and dirty for how they love," he said.

He left us then and Zach and I talked quietly for some time totally relaxed in each other's arms finally and at peace before falling asleep holding one another.

Daniel came each day I was in the hospital and we talked about stuff.

Sometimes the bad stuff and sometimes just stuff in general but he was always there each day.

The hardest part came when we talked about how I felt about my Dad, but we did and I finally gave up the dream of ever having him back the way it used to be.

I think I gave up the idea of having a Dad anymore at all truly that day or at least started to anyway.

Finally the day came that I was released to go home and with me in a wheelchair and Mom, Zach's parents, along with my brothers and Zach at my side I left the hospital to go home.

I guess I should mention the one good thing in all of this and that was that when everything happened and Zach's parents had rushed to the emergency room to be with him he had made a decision. 

Zach, there in the hospital bed had told his parents exactly why my Dad had beaten him and almost killed him and me.

Zach told me later that he thought they would take it okay but even when he told them he wasn't sure until his Mom and Dad had reached down and gently hugged him and told them they would always love both him and me and nothing would make them stop doing that.

They had told him many other things as well including that they had known of our love for longer than we had, which shocked the hell out of him and later me when he told me but he said he would remember that hug forever.

He told me he was kind of embarrassed cause he was crying like a little baby when it happened but then I told him to look at me silly and he did only to find me crying too.

In some ways I now felt so old even though I was only twelve it felt like I was a hundred.

As I was placed into the car all was as right with the world as it could be right then except for one thing and that was that Daniel hadn't come to say goodbye.

I guess by some of his comments that he had made left me understanding that saying goodbyes wasn't his greatest area, but he also let me know that he would be there if I ever needed him.

I think I had begun to love him at least a little bit.

As I got settled in the car, I looked out the window and there he was.

Standing there looking at me and smiling sadly as he nodded his head.

I just nodded back, nothing needing to be said at that point.

He had come to say goodbye after all and it was enough.

Going home was more difficult than I thought it would be and when the Moment came to actually enter the house, I couldn't do it.

I just froze there on the doorstep of the front door and started shaking until I felt Zach wrap his arms around me and everyone else touching or hugging me but most importantly giving me time.

I knew Dad wasn't there, but at that Moment it was as if I knew he was waiting just inside the door at the same time.

Weird huh?

I mean I knew he wasn't there, couldn't be there yet I couldn't stop shaking and feeling as if when I went through that door that he would be and this time I wouldn't make it out.

I don't know how long I stood there shaking, sweating and feeling like I was going to wet myself before I reached out and took hold of the door knob.

Looking at Zach who was gazing at me with a worried expression on his face, I took a deep breath and turned the handle pushing the door open and then just staring inside.

I was cold, frozen actually as I stood there and saw that day all over again, reliving it in a heartbeat but finally with a deep shuddering breath, I moved one foot forward.

After that another followed and another until I was in the house, and he wasn't there, I didn't die this time, I just collapsed into the chair and broke down for the millionth time.

Only this time my brothers and my love were there holding me, telling me it was going to be alright and not to worry while Mom and Zach's parents stood there letting us have this time together but also letting me know that if I needed an adult they all were there and always would be.

I think that was what got me through it on my return home, knowing that they would be there for me, knowing that I could finally be myself and they would support me, all of them.

I was still out of school for two weeks, although I had been getting my work sent home so I wouldn't be all that far behind and between Zach's Mom and Dad and mine helping me out I was doing pretty good.

I still had to do those damn reports though for Cartwright.

It's like geesh, ya almost die and he still wants his darn history reports, how bad is that?

Zach thought it was funny but then I told him if I had died Cartwright would probably have been out at my grave screaming at me to wake up and hand them in.

For some reason Zach fell on the floor laughing at that but I actually wondered if Cartwright might not really do it.

Far be it from death to be an acceptable excuse not to hand in one of his assignments.

I also had to go to counseling twice a week, both by myself and we all had to go as a family as well. 

I wanted to continue seeing Daniel, but everyone said he wasn't a real doctor yet and so I couldn't. 

I did talk to him all the time though and he explained that someone who had more training than he did would be able to help me a lot more.

I didn't agree and finally just told him they might have more training but they hadn't lived it and he didn't say anything so I think I won that argument but I still had to go.

The surprising thing was one night after we went to bed; Joshy came into my room and asked if he could talk to me.

I could tell by the look on his face that this was very serious and patting the bed next to me I told him to come on over.

He surprised me by lifting up the covers and crawling into bed with me then wrapping his arms around me tightly.

"Hey little dude, what's up?" I asked.

"I was so scared, Mark," he whispered into my chest.

"I know kiddo, me too," I said thinking that I had Zach and Daniel but who did he have to talk to and hold him.

I brought my arms up and around him hugging him tightly and felt him sigh as he relaxed into me.

He was only nine and shouldn't have had to deal with this anymore than I did.

After a while he softly asked, "What's it like, you know being gay?" 

I tried to think about how to answer that but really didn't know. 

It was something that I just was and finally told him that.

"I don't know how to say it Joshy, I just am, and that's all. It's fine for me, cause I really love Zach."

"So if you like doing stuff you're gay?" he asked me and I could feel how his body stiffened up and I thought I knew what was going on now.

"No, if you like doing stuff then it means you found this wonderful thing on your body and are sharing those feelings with someone else, but gay is different. Lots of boys mess around with each other and do stuff with their dicks. I do that with Zach as you probably know, but even if I weren't I love Zach and he's like my whole life. One day you'll probably feel that way too about someone and maybe that someone will be a girl or it could be a boy, but doing stuff with boys now doesn't mean you always will," I told him.

He didn't say anything for a while then told me, "But I really like it, a lot." 

"I know, it's lots of fun." I said laughing.

"Yeah," he replied.

"Does it worry you that you might be gay or that I am?" I asked him in the quietness.

Again he didn't answer for a while, but then hesitantly said, "At first, yeah it kinda did. Then I thought about it and you know I do stuff too so I thought that might make me that way. I just got confused but I guess after everything I figured if you were my brother before I found out and I loved you then, why does it make any difference now. That and if I was doing it too then how could I hate you?" 

"I love you too, Joshy and I know I don't tell you that often enough but I really do," I told him squeezing him tight once more.

"I decided I don't care Mark, you know, if I am I mean," he said next.

"Josh don't worry about it yet. You're only nine years old and you got lots of time to figure things out. Just enjoy stuff now and worry about what you'll like when you grow up later when you do. I knew deep down but lots of people don't. I've been reading stuff about it and most boys play around til their like fourteen or fifteen even before they know so you got time yet," I said.

"Thanks Mark, you're the bestest big brother in the world," he mumbled softly against my chest and I realized he was falling asleep on me but actually I didn't mind.

His last words were, "I'll tell Kevin too," and then I felt him softly begin to snore as I just hugged him.

"I love you, Joshy," I whispered as I kissed the top of his head and let myself fall into sleep with my brother there at my side.

It was funny the next morning when Zach came by and up to my room.

Joshy and I were still asleep, although I woke up and smiled at him shortly after he came into the room.

"So what do you have there?" he asked.

"My brother, Dufus," I replied.

"Ah, so I have some competition now eh?" he said smiling.

I didn't realize that Joshy had woken up until I heard "I'm sorry, really, I'm not," and looked down to see his frightened expression looking at Zach.

"Hey, I was just kidding little man," Zach said quietly as he moved over and sat down on the bed next to Josh and me.

He slowly reached out and began rubbing Josh's back gently as he said "You're my love's little brother and I'd never try to stop you guys from loving each other and that means spending time together cuddling and other stuff." 

Josh though wasn't relaxing and it took me a minute to finally realize why.

"You know bro, that's normal for guys," I told him and felt him stiffen up even more as he turned scared eyes on Zach.

"If it's what I think it is, then don't worry. Even if you were doing something with him, I wouldn't be mad because you're his brother. Josh he loves you and I do too. You know you're a little brother to me too, Kiddo."

"Really?" he asked softly.

"Yeah really," Zach replied and I was so proud of him right then as he reached down and scooped Joshy up into his arms hugging him to him.

Josh soaked it up like a sponge but then suddenly reached down and covered up what was now showing.

"It's okay," Zach repeated again softly and after a Moment of Joshy looking at him closely he slowly let his hands fall away from the tent and smiled shyly up at Zach.

"See," he said to the younger boy and I watched as his smile got bigger and he just hugged Zach back.

Those two weeks plus the time in the hospital had brought us closer than we had ever been before and when the time finally came to go back to school, I really wished I didn't have to.

The time did come though and back I went.

It was not what I had expected, as people had heard what happened and more why it had happened.

Everyone looked at me and I could see them making comments, but it was when they began to say things about faggots and stuff that it really began to hurt.

Why did they have to be that way, they didn't even know me in some cases and I didn't know them yet they hated me.

I could see it in their eyes and it hurt, it hurt a lot.

Zach was right there though, and he made it bearable although those kids from church were right there too.

They were the worst and constantly said things about God hating us and stuff.

I just didn't understand how they could say they loved God and be that way.

God made them and God made me, he loved me and I loved him so how could they say they loved God too? 

I wondered sometimes if it was the same God that I loved so because it sure didn't seem like it.

As time went on, the comments seemed to die down except from them but what worried me was that they had taken to pushing us around and threatening us.

Neither Zach or I were fighters and Zach always liked to say we were lovers which I guess we were but I began to think that maybe being fighters might have been better as it just seemed to be getting worse.

Mom went to the principal about it several times but he just told her that 'boys will be boys' and wouldn't do anything.

It was several months later that Zach and I headed home from school and towards our fort.

We knew we could be ourselves at home but having little brothers who just loved to spy on stuff and then giggle just when you got really into it kind of put a downer on things if you know what I mean.

We often went to the Fort for a while after school to be alone and have some loving time as we had taken to calling it and this day we definitely loved one another quite well and thoroughly. 

We were laying there holding one another after just enjoying being together as our hands gently moved over each other's body when I felt icy fear shoot down my spine at the voice I heard.

"So this is where you've been going," and I looked up to see them standing there.

911 Call Center

"So Cara comes running out of the bathroom buck naked with Beth screeching at the top of her lungs like the world was coming to an end or something" I said laughing at the memory.

"Well four year olds don't much like clothes," Carlos said laughing with me.

"Yeah try telling Beth that. She doesn't seem…." I was saying when the alarm went off and I turned back to my console.

"911 what is your emergency?" I said as always into the headset on my head.

All I could hear was heavy breathing and which we get from time to time from morons who think it's funny and don't seem to realize that we also get their phone numbers and addresses.

"This is 911 do you have an emergency?" I asked as Carlos looked inquiringly at me. 

I hit the mute button and said, "Heavy breather", just as I heard a child's voice gasp "Help…us…please." 

Unmuting I quickly said "What's wrong and where are you at?" Since the call came in as a cell number.

"Help…" was repeated as I turned back to Carlos and said, "Get me a trace right now."

"On it," he replied as I asked again, "I need to know what's wrong and where you're at honey."

"He's bleeding so much," the child cried. 

"Where are you?" I asked more urgently as I listened to the child breathing hoarsely. 

"L..L…Lin…coln" he got out and I quickly said, "Lincoln Park?" 

"They hurt us…" he cried.

"Fort, please" he said before saying, "Don't go Mark, don't go without me, please," 

I hit the Code Red button and told Carlos to get medical and PD over to Lincoln Park right now as the supervisor came up to me.

I quickly muted and filled in the supervisor before turning back to the child and said, "We've got help coming just hold on, but I need to know what happened." 

I didn't get an answer, just a soft whimper as he said to obviously someone else, "I'm almost there, stay please." 

"It hurts, Zach," I heard another child's voice say, and quickly told them two victims as Carlos said he had a location and dispatched it.

"They're coming, stay with me," I almost begged now.

"I'm here Mark, I'm here," I heard with a long sigh followed by silence.

"Zach is it, talk to me son, what happened?" I asked him,

"We can go now Mark, look at the light. Oh Mark isn't it beautiful?" the boy called Zach cried as the other voice replied, "He does love us Zach, can't you feel it, they were wrong, he does." 

"Zach!" I called, but this time there was nothing but silence and I turned to Carlos who was looking at me worriedly.

I realized then I had tears running down my face as he asked what had happened.

"I think I just lost them," I replied stunned as I turned back to look at the number flashing on my screen.

Lincoln Park at the Fort

The Captain got out of his patrol car and walked up to the LT in charge and asked "What have you got, Mac?"

He was surprised when Mac turned to him and he saw the tears in the man's eyes.

"It's bad Roger, real bad," he replied.

"What is it?" the Captain asked.

"Two kids, both DOA" Mac replied as he led the way towards the scene.

He didn't want to go back but knew he had to.

"Twelve years old and by their school ids they're Zach Meadows and Mark Simpson. It looks like this was a Fort for them and they were surprised," Mac told him but the Captain stopped and asked "Did you say Simpson?" 

Mac nodded and the Captain looked ashen as he said, "I just came from his house. His Dad broke out of prison and the mother was found dead in the house. Two other boys are missing and presumed kidnapped by him," he said before allowing Mac to lead him to the scene and then just stopped looking at it in horror.

He watched as the Captain came to a stunned halt looking at the two boys. 

Zach's head was lying on Mark's stomach and he had the boy's arm gripped in his while Mark's arm had come around to embrace him, both of them staring off into space.

Mac would never forget the look of joy and peace on their faces for as long as he lived. 

It was such a dark contrast to everything else here.

Finally Mac walked up to the Captain and said, "From what we can tell after the attack, Zach, the boy on top, crawled from where they had left him to his backpack where it looks like he got his cell phone. He called 911 from there and even though he was severely injured it appears as if he crawled all the way over to the other boy before…well before he died."

The Captain looked at the scene and it tore his heart as he realized what it had taken for the young boy to make it across the peaceful meadow to his lover's side for there was no doubt with the words carved into the boy Mark's chest that they had been lovers.

"How could anyone…?" the Captain tried to ask through the tears flowing down his face but he couldn't get it out as Mac replied "It gets worse, Sir." 

"How could it?" the Captain asked, looking at his friend.

"Patrol picked up five juveniles a short distance away covered in blood, sir they proudly have admitted, no they've bragged about doing this," Mac said.

The Captain brought his hand to his face covering his eyes for a Moment before turning back to the young boys lying in the meadow.

"How do we raise kids to do that? What a day it's been," he said before gently reaching down and one after the other gently closing their sightless eyes.

"Rest now little ones, no one will ever hurt you again," he said softly, before turning and walking slowly away.

The Captain with over thirty years, slowly and as if a heavy weight was bearing down on him, made his way back to his unit where he got in and allowed himself to finally break down and cry at what he had seen in the meadow above.

To his dying day, he would swear he heard a soft child's voice cry in the wind,

"Why did I have to die?

I was just a kid,

Why did they hate me?

I didn't even know them!

Why did they hate me,

They didn't even know me!

I was just a kid,

I loved my family and I loved life.

Why did I have to die?

God made me and God made them,

So why did they want to kill me?

I loved God and God loved me,

They loved God or so they said.

I was just a kid,

Why did I have to die?"

When the Captain finally left the scene he just wished he had an answer for him.

Editor's Notes:

I have to apologize to everyone, and especially to TSL and Dark Star for taking so long in getting this wonderfully heart wrenching story edited. I have no real excuse. Well I have tons of reasons, but they all add up to the fact that I found that this is possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to edit. I literally had to do it in sections, because I cried so much while I was editing it, so I had to put it aside for a time to allow myself to read it and edit it. As Dark star said, TSL's poem was amazing and It took Dark Star to turn it into the wonderfully crafted story you have just read. I am now going to send it to TSL and hope that he can forgive me for not doing it more quickly. Please let TSL and Dark Star know how much this powerful story means to you.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Contributor's Notes: Dark Star you took my nine line poem and turned it into a masterpiece of a story. Your story takes my poem into a dimension I could not reach and for that I am very grateful and I thank you very much. Like yourself Dark Star I only write what is in my heart and it was the wonderful work done by you, Roland, ACFan, JeffP, Akeentia and D & B in the "All Hell Breaks Loose" versions of your wonderful CSU Stories that inspired my poem. My intention was to try and portray some of the anguish and pain experienced by the children involved in those battles. Until I read this story I had no idea how well I had done what I had set out to do. Without the wonderful words written by all you very talented CSU Authors my poem would never have seen the light of day. I am very grateful to all of the associated authors for all they have done. Dark Star thank you again for giving my simple poem a life far beyond what I ever dreamed possible.

I do have one question which I have never seen answered. If we were all created in God's likeness how could he hate some of us?

I concur with The Radio Rancher as well; please let Dark Star know your feelings on his story.

This story will reside in its rightful place with the rest of Dark Star's amazing stories on the Corner Café, as well as being linked from my poem "Why" on The Story Lover's Home.

The Story Lover