Jeremy lay on his bunk, for what must have been at least a few hours, just letting his mind wander over the events of the past three days. As much as he knew that it was all real, it still seemed like a dream to him or maybe he just hoped that it was. Too much had happened, and this was really the first time that it was starting to sink in as he lay there with nothing to do but let it. So much was going on, and now some idiot on the news was spewing lies about him and his father. He knew his dad wasn't a member of any damn racist group. He had hated them, and thought they were all full of shit. Hell some of Jeremy's “Uncles” were black Jeremy thought, thinking about them. All his “Uncles” were people that his dad had known in the military, and they had kept in touch since he was released, they were family. He wondered where they all were now and what, if anything, they could do to help him.
He was brought out of his thoughts when his cell mate, who he found out earlier was named Mariq, or as he liked to be called, Diamond Dawg, came into the cell. Jeremy had his back to him, and nothing was said as Mariq got ready for bed. All too soon, a guard came by, and checked on them, shutting the cell door before moving on.
Jeremy just lay there listening to Mariq, and wondering what, if anything, the other boy was going to do. He soon got his answer as he was treated to the distinct pleasure of listening as Mariq jerked off in bed. He really wished the older boy would have been quieter about it, but it seemed that Mariq liked to be as loud as possible as if he felt the need to show off what he could do. Why Jeremy didn’t know, cause his dad had told him all boys did it but that sure seemed to be the case here. Between the squeaking of the bed springs, and the moans coming from the bed next to him, Jeremy had to imagine that the older boy was having a very good time, not that he really wanted to picture that in his mind but... Finally, after about ten minutes, and a loud scream in the end, the older boy turned over, and went to sleep. Thanking God and whoever else might have had a hand in it Jeremy waited until he could hear the boy snoring softly, before he let the tension drain from his body, and he could finally let himself fall off to sleep as well.
For some reason, Jeremy dreamt that night of one of the many times his father had given him personal instruction in the martial arts. This wasn't like the other times though. This time it was more of a sit down discussion where they talked about what it meant to know the things that Jeremy was learning.
“You’re being taught something very valuable here Jeremy, and also something that is easy to abuse. Yes, you are learning how to fight, but more importantly, you are learning some of life's most important lessons.” Andy had said, when Jeremy was nine years old. “When you go into the studio, what is my most important rule?”
Jeremy grinned as he knew this one. It was the first thing that his dad and told him when he first started to learn martial arts, when he was just four. “The most important rule is to always give your all. Giving anything less is not just an insult to your teacher, but also an insult to yourself. To give less than your all is to show that you do not take what is being taught seriously.” The young boy had said, reciting from memory, but more importantly, from his heart, as he took those words just as seriously as his dad did.
Andy smiled down at the young boy who was his son, and let the pride he felt show through. “Good, now for the next lesson. Everything you do in life should be just as if you were doing it in my studio. When you decide to do something, you should put everything you have into it.” Andy was surprised when Jeremy just nodded his head, and interrupted the lesson.
“Of course, Daddy, to do less would be stupid. If something is important enough to do, then why wouldn't you give everything you have for it.” To Jeremy it just made sense.
Andy nodded his head and ruffled Jeremy’s hair, which elicited a little giggle from the boy. “So true Jer, so true. Too bad not everyone has figured that out. That was going to be my lesson to you for today, but I guess you already know it, so I am going to do something different. I have one other question for you, but I want you to think on it for a while before you answer it, okay?” Jeremy nodded, and his dad continued. “What is the most important thing to be, when you are faced with a surprising situation?”
Jeremy sat there pondering the question, while his father went ahead and prepared dinner for the two of them. All through dinner, Jeremy thought about the question his father had posed to him. It wasn't till he was almost done, that suddenly he looked up with a big smile on his face. Andy saw the look, and put his fork down, waiting to hear what Jeremy had to say.
“The most important thing to be when faced with a surprising situation is calm. You can't focus on the problem unless you’re calm, and if you can't focus, you can't figure out how to handle the situation.” Jeremy said with a bit of triumph in his voice.
His father smiled broadly and nodded. “Very good, Son; if you can remember that, then nothing will ever be too much for you to overcome. Most people get confronted with something surprising and just blindly react. Most of the time, they react badly, and sadly, the situation is often made worse by their initial reaction. But if you can remain calm, and use your brain to think through the situation, nothing is too big for you to overcome and that calmness will allow you, and not the other person to be in control.”
“I know Dad, you have to remain calm no matter what, so you will be in control of the situation,” he said, smiling up at his father.
“Yep, you got it kiddo.” Dad said, ruffling his hair once again.
Jeremy nodded again, and was soon lost in thought once more, thinking about what his dad has said.
Jeremy was rudely awakened from his dream by a pillow being shoved down on his face. He could hear Mariq laughing as the boy pushed down on the pillow. “Whadda ya think now white boy? Not so tough nows is ya?” And with that, the older boy punched Jeremy hard in the side. It knocked the wind out of the smaller boy, and he started to frantically struggle to break free, just as he felt another punch land. He was thrashing around, but Mariq easily outweighed him by 30 pounds, and was really leaning on the pillow hard as he punched him over and over, all the while, laughing and taunting Jeremy.
Then suddenly a calm came over Jeremy, and he heard his father's voice again saying. “Remember Jeremy, you can do nothing here, if you’re not calm. Stay calm, focused, and most importantly, THINK about what is going on; if you do that, then you have a chance of controlling it.”
Jeremy did, and even though he was still getting hit, he really didn't feel it any longer. He was in the state of calm that he always got when he meditated, and in his mind, he was able to see what was going on. It only took him a second or two to think about what needed to be done, and once he figured it out, he simply did it.
His hand shot up, and grabbed the hand that was holding the pillow to his face. Mariq was pushing down with all his weight, so Jeremy had no hope of pushing him off. But the older boy couldn't be prepared for Jeremy to pull him down on top of himself. Which was just what Jeremy did, pushing the boy to the side as he came down, allowing Jeremy to roll in the opposite direction off of the bed and onto the floor. As soon as he hit the ground though, he sprang back up to his feet, and was just in time to see the older boy take a swing at him.
However, in the state of calm, and with the amount of focus the young boy had, it looked to Jeremy as if Mariq was moving very slowly. Jeremy easily ducked the punch aimed at his head, and drove his fist hard into the boy’s side hearing a satisfying whoosh as all the air escaped from the older boy’s lungs.
Jeremy then leapt back, and stood there facing the thirteen year old, ready for anything.
“You don't want to do this Mariq, I don't want to hurt you.” Jeremy said, in an almost pleading voice as he watched the older boy trying to recover.
Mariq gave a half grin as he started to advance on Jeremy. “Oh no there white boy, you ain't gotta worry bout hurt'n me, yous gots to worry about me hurtin you.”
The black kid then lunged at Jeremy, but again, to him, it looked like the older boy was barely moving. Jeremy easily side stepped the boy, and gave him a little push, which sent the bigger boy sailing into the wall hard, face first. He watched as Mariq slammed his fists against the wall while screaming out in frustration.
When he turned around, Jeremy could see blood now trickling down from the older boys nose, as he snarled. “Oh now yous gonna get it! I was just gonna hurt ya, now though, I's gonna have to kill ya.!”
He then simply charged at Jeremy, but still the older boy moved so slowly to Jeremy's mind. As he watched the slow motion charge it was then that he heard his father's voice again saying. “Son, it's time to end this, once and for all.”
Jeremy smiled savagely when the boy charged him, and saw that it had the desired effect, Mariq faltered momentarily, and Jeremy took that advantage for all it was worth. He dove in low, and at the last minute, planted his feet and lifted with his legs, just as Mariq ran into him. The result was that the older boy was lifted off the ground, only to then come slamming back down, hard, on his back. Jeremy didn't give him any time to get back up though, as he jumped on the boy, and delivered two quick punches to his face.
He then hauled the boy to his feet, and threw him into the wall. Mariq recovered faster than Jeremy thought he would, and sprang back off the wall, coming at Jeremy with a fist full of force. Jeremy ducked and slammed his open palm hard into the boys sternum, and was rewarded with a creaking noise from the protesting bones. Jeremy didn't hit him hard enough to break the bones, as he wasn't trying to kill him, but he did hit him hard enough to stun the boy.
Jeremy then came up and grabbed Mariq around the throat. Jeremy was very strong for his age, thanks to long hours working out, and his love for mountain climbing. But in this instance, the adrenaline pumping through his body made him even more so.
Jeremy lifted the older boy off his feet and slammed him into the wall, holding him there with his feet just off the ground. He cocked his other hand back to hit him, but instead, he leaned in real close, and in a voice that would haunt the older boy for the rest of his life, said, “DO NOT fuck with me again. Next time, I WILL kill you, do you understand me?” Jeremy's voice was deathly calm, and Mariq swore that the eyes that stared into his were those of someone who was already dead, and didn't care about anything; what he didn’t know was that it was the truth. That, more than everything else, scared him, and Jeremy's answer came in the form of the older boy wetting himself.
With a snort of disgust, Jeremy dropped the older boy who just went down to the floor sobbing and trying to catch his breath. Jeremy then calmly walked over to Mariq's bed, and grabbed the towel that was hanging off the end. With barely a look back, he threw it at Mariq. “Clean up your mess, asshole, and don't bother me again. Is that clear?”
As he continued on back to his bed, where he climbed in, and laid there thinking about what had just happened, Mariq quietly cleaned the mess up, and without another word, changed his clothes and went back to his bed. Jeremy was sure that soon he heard the older boy crying, but he just didn't care anymore.
Over the next two days, Jeremy hardly moved from his bunk. He knew that everyone out there knew what had happened the second night he was there. He knew there was no way anyone could miss the big black eye that Mariq had, but nothing was ever said to him on the few times he came out of his cell, for meals and such. Monday morning bright and early, he was dressed, showered, and in a nice suit for the court hearing that was scheduled. To say that he was nervous was an understatement, but Mr. Washington said there wasn't really anything to worry about.
He was taken to the courthouse in the back of a van that was modified to have a cage in the rear, all the while, being handcuffed, with an officer sitting in the back with him. Nothing in his short life had prepared him for anything like this, and although he was trying to be strong, it was slowly starting to wear him down.
He met up with Mr. Washington where he was again told that he didn't have much to worry about, and if everything went well, he would be able to leave the jail today. Jeremy was really hoping that Mr. Washington was going to be able to pull it off. Everything that was going on right now was really starting to affect him and not for the better either.
When they finally got into the courtroom, and sat down at the table, Jeremy finally got a chance to look around. He was rather surprised at how many people were there. Mr. Washington said that the courtroom would be open for other people, but he hadn’t expected there to be this many. As he looked around, he realized that the room was almost completely full, and everyone was staring at him.
“What the....?” he heard Mr. Washington say when someone came in and sat down at the table across from them. She looked to be about twenty five years old, and would have been a beautiful black woman, if it wasn't for the sneer that Jeremy saw when he looked at her.
He was about to ask what was wrong, when the bailiff called the court to order, and the judge came in. Everyone rose to their feet as the old man came walking in. He was almost as black as the robe he was wearing, and Jeremy was starting to see a pattern, and did not like what he was seeing.
“All rise, this court is now in session, the Honorable T. Elliot Graham is now presiding.” The officer called out, and the judge motioned everyone to sit down once he was.
“Okay everyone, I see we have a packed courtroom in here today, so I wanna make a few things very clear. This is a juvenile court, and as such, I have a lot more freedom in how I do things. In other words, this is my courtroom, and we do things my way here. I will not tolerate anyone speaking unless I tell them that they may. Any question?” Jeremy almost had to laugh when the judge didn't give anyone time to answer as he just rushed on. “Good,didn’t think so, let’s move on, then.”
“Ms. Guthry, I am rather surprised to see you here,” The judge said to the prosecutor, “It says here that the District Attorney had assigned someone else to the case, I am curious as to why the sudden change.”
The lady at the other table stood up and addressed the judge. “Your honor, I was just recently assigned to the case after the District Attorney decided that I would be better suited to deal with such a large case.”
The Judge snorted a bit, and shook his head, muttering under his breath something about election time, but waved his hand in dismissal, and the woman sat down, but did not look happy.
“Okay now, it looks like we are here to decide on the matter of bail for one Jeremy Rose. He is being charged with two counts of first degree manslaughter.” The judge started, but was interrupted when Ms. Guthry stood up.
“Excuse me, your Honor.” She said, and the judge's eyes shot daggers at her for being interrupted, but finally nodded and said, “What is it?”
“I'm sorry your Honor, but it is the position of the State that the charges leveled by my predecessor, are not the proper ones for such an act. The state is amending the charges to two counts of Murder in the second degree.”
While Jeremy didn't really understand what was going on, he knew by the reaction of everyone in the courtroom that it wasn't good. The people in the audience section broke out in cheers and applause, his lawyer silently cursed under his breath, and the judge’s jaw hit the table. Of course the judge’s reaction was short lived, before he started to pound his little hammer on the table.
“Order in the court... order in the court...” The judge was yelling, but it wasn't stopping anyone from cheering, and Jeremy could see that the lady sitting across from him had a big grin on her face as she looked back at all the cheering people. “That’s it! Bailiff's clear this court room, NOW!”
The Judge had screamed to be heard over everyone else, and the bailiffs quickly cleared the court room, much to the protests of everyone there. After a few minutes though, the Judge looked down his glasses at the ADA, and the look was not a friendly one.
“Now Ms. Guthry, please explain to this court why I should allow you to entertain such an unusual request?”
At this point, Jeremy tuned out what was going on. He knew now that things were just as bad as, if not worse than, he had feared. It really didn't matter what happened anymore, nor did he really care. He knew in his heart that he had killed those two to save his dad, but he couldn't even do that right, and now he had to pay the price for his failure. He didn't react to anything anymore, he just didn't have the energy, and when he heard the judge declare that he would have to spend the time before the trial in the jail, he didn't even blink, he had known that it would happen.
Now he just had to deal with whatever came.
Jeremy didn't even listen to his lawyer later on when he tried to tell Jeremy that things were not as bad as he thought. In Jeremy’s opinion, they certainly were. He also didn't really realize anything till he got into his cell later on that day. It was like he was in a daze and nothing was real or maybe he just wished it wasn’t. He realized as soon as he got there though, that things were different. Sitting on the bunk that Mariq used to have, was now a boy that Jeremy had only seen a few times. He looked to be maybe a little older than Jeremy, but in a few ways looked younger. Darryl, Jeremy remembered the boys name, being a rather shy and somewhat pudgy boy, with sandy blond hair, and rather fair skin.
Jeremy was really in no mood to talk when he got back that afternoon, but to his complete surprise, soon found himself opening up to the other boy. The next thing he knew, he was crying again, only this time, he was wrapped up in someone's arms, and for just a few minutes, Jeremy actually thought they were his father's arms, and that made him cry even harder.
Darryl became a very important part of Jeremy's life over the next few days, as Darryl was really the only boy in the entire place that was nice to him. He hadn’t realized just how much feeling so alone all the time had hurt, until he suddenly wasn’t anymore. It was kinda weird though, as Darryl was two years older than him, but Jeremy kept thinking that Darryl was younger as he was slightly smaller than he was. Also, Darryl was a certified genius, and everyone else felt threatened by how smart he was, so they avoided him. That was something they shared.
Just about everyone in the place avoided Jeremy, and he knew why. He knew that once word got out about what happened in the cell that night, and how he had beat up Mariq, that people were avoiding him. And to be honest, he was glad of that. But he also noticed that people avoided Darryl much the same way that they avoided him, which is probably why they got so close so quickly.
The next day, something happened that would bring Jeremy and Darryl even closer. Jeremy had finally been convinced by Darryl to go to the library room they had there, and find himself a book. At first Jeremy had no real interest in it, but Darryl was insistent, and finally Jeremy did as the older boy had asked. He supposed that since he loved to read so much that it didn’t take all that much convincing. He spent a few minutes looking around, till he settled on one of the Harry potter books. It helped that it was also the same one that he had been reading when everything started, but had never gotten the chance to finish.
He was almost back to his cell, when he heard some commotion coming from inside. He rushed in, and saw that one of the older boys had Darryl pushed over one of the beds, and was trying to pull the small boys shorts down. Darryl was fighting as hard as he could, but he was just not built as a fighter and was therefore no match for the older boy.
Jeremy dropped the book from his hands, and rushed into the cell. The older boy never knew what hit him, as Jeremy spun the boy around pushing him back and away from Darryl before following up with, a spin kick to the side of the boy's head. Knowing that the boy was no longer a concern, Jeremy immediately went over to Darryl, who was crying, and trying to get his shorts pulled back up.
The smaller boy threw himself into Jeremy's arms, and cried into his chest. In the meantime, the older boy slowly got to his feet, and quietly made his exit staggering a bit as he went. Jeremy kept his eye on the boy till he was out of the cell, but before he left, the boy stopped and looked at Jeremy saying, “this ain't over, not by a long shot.”
Jeremy just looked at him, finally saying, “It better be,” and then after a pause “For your sake.”
With that, the older boy looked away and quickly left.
Since that incident, Darryl and Jeremy had really been inseparable, and Darryl started to teach Jeremy everything he would need to survive here.
It had been a week since he got back from court, and Jeremy was actually starting to fit into the jail life. Or at least he was starting to understand how things worked in here, and since he really had no interest in upsetting the balance of life in the jail, he just went along with things as much as was possible just as long as he and Darryl were left alone.
That Friday, after breakfast, Darryl told Jeremy that he had better watch his back as he had overheard some of the older boys talking about trying to get him back for what he did to Mariq.
Jeremy wasn't really worried about it, cause there wasn't really anyone here that he had to worry about, so he just shrugged it off.
Later on, he wished he would have listened better.
That afternoon, Jeremy went off to get a shower, and as always, he had the large shower room all to himself. He picked this time to shower, cause he knew the other boys were usually out in the exercise yard, and he didn't have to deal with anyone else.
I was soaping myself up thinking, “I really hope Darryl is okay when I’m gone, yeah he’s older than me, but he’s such a small kid…” Then I heard a sound from behind me and quickly ducked under the water to rinse off before turning around. I was just in time to see ten kids walk into the shower room and I wondered just what the heck was going on. I wouldn’t have to wait long for my answer.
“Well lookey what we got here boys, if it ain’t wonder boy the bad ass.” The biggest of them said while everyone else just laughed, as they spread out to surround me in a semi-circle.
‘Oh shit; this can’t be good’ I thought as I looked at what was happening. I glanced over to the exit but saw they had made sure that there was no way out for me. All of a sudden, I started to get very scared. This wasn’t supposed to be able to happen, at least three of these boys were older, a lot older with the oldest looking to be about seventeen. They shouldn’t be able to be here. They weren’t allowed in the younger boys’ section of the complex, ever.
“Tell you what, Whitey,” The biggest boy said, seeing the look of fear in my eyes. “Hows about we all have some fun here. See, we all came here to get a piece of your tight white ass. And we's gonna get some... the hard way, or the easy way it be your choice which way we's gonna do it.”
At first, I didn’t get it, but then I watched as the rest of the boys started laughing and grabbing their crotches and seeing that instantly I could feel the blood drain from my face as I realized what they meant.
The other boys laughed at seeing that, and I started to hear comments coming from all over the place about who was going to ‘bust my cherry first’ and others like that.
I began to wonder if my training meant anything at all. I knew I was terrified and knew I was going to get hurt, but I didn’t really care anymore about that. They could kill me as far as I was concerned. There just wasn’t a point to living now that dad was dead. The thing is that I also knew what these kids wanted to do and that it was worse than death, much worse and it made me scared, scared about what they wanted to do and even more scared that I wouldn’t be able to stop them.
All I could do was plead silently. “Please God, not that, let em kill me but don’t let em do that to me.”
Suddenly, I could once again hear my dad’s voice.
“Calm down Jeremy, this isn’t as hopeless as you think.” I was back in the studio dad had owned. Standing around me were the eight other students in my class, and Dad was giving a lesson about dealing with multiple opponents.
“The key to this kind of fight is to try and escape. First and foremost on your mind should always be to get out of a situation without having to fight. For the sake of this exercise, we will assume that you could not find an escape route, okay?” I just nodded as Dad squeezed my shoulders and took a step back.
“The next thing you have to do is figure which one of your opponents is the biggest threat to you. That person is going to be your first target. Remember your biggest advantage is being able to think. They won’t expect that and probably aren’t thinking very much themselves. If you do that, you have a good chance of getting out. Most people in a fight just react, you guys are taught to think, no matter what. However, to think, you need to be calm. Now take a deep breath and think about this. If you can remain calm and in control, then you WILL be IN control.” Hearing Dad’s voice so loudly and clearly in my mind as if he was standing right there alongside of me, allowed me to push back the panic and terror enveloping me to the point that I could bring myself to a sense of calm and therefore control.
I looked around and started to look at who was here surrounding me. I knew that the big guy that was doing most of the talking was the biggest threat, but it was as I looked around that I noticed that most of these kids were pretty nervous. They were trying hard to hide it, but I could see it in their eyes. Now that was an advantage that I would have to use, if I could just figure out how.
All this happened in the space of a second and I knew that when the biggest boy saw me calm down, that he took it as resignation to what they wanted to do to me. I could see it in his eyes, as well as the satisfied smirk on his face even before his next words. “Well boys, it looks like little Mr. Bad Ass here finally figured out what’s gonna happen.” That drew some laughs as he looked back to me. “Tell ya what kid, get over here and suck my big black cock and maybe we won’t be so rough with ya.” He added, laughing.
My eyes went wide in shock, as I watched him actually reach down and start to undo his pants. I knew now that I had a chance. I didn’t much care for the idea that I would actually have to take this kid’s dick in my mouth, but I also knew it was the only option I had. Maybe after I dropped this prick, the others would back off enough to let me run. Maybe…
I slowly began walking over to the bigger boy, doing everything I could to use my training to keep my fear in check, but it was really hard when I saw what he had taken out and had waiting for me. I went to my knees as the other kids laughed at me. I felt ashamed at what was happening even though it might just save my life. I felt the older boy roughly grab my head then, and pull it onto his erection.
Then I was back in the studio and dad was speaking once again to us. “Jeremy, the rest of you, it’s important to remember that at this point, you are more than likely fighting for your life. You can’t be squeamish about what you may need to do. Especially you girls here, but the guys too. You must do whatever it takes to end the fight as quickly as you possibly can and escape. Go for the eyes, penis and testicles, they are the most vulnerable.” I remembered some of the kids going, “Ewww,” then at hearing that and Dad looking at them before drawing himself up and saying in a dead serious voice, “If someone hits you in the head and kidnaps you, then takes you somewhere, it will be to sexually assault you and probably kill you afterwards. That means hurting you badly in your private parts. If that person gets you away from people where you can’t call for help, you will have only one chance of living through it. To make it, you will have to do what you consider “Ewww!” Is your life worth it?” I remembered the dead silence that met that question. As I came back to the here and now, I realized that I now had that choice to make, even as I realized that I had already made it.
I braced myself for what I was about to do and when I felt the boy pull me down as far as he could onto his erection, I bit down with all my might. I felt him let go and then scream which was the point where I pulled my head back and to the side as roughly as I could, like a dog savaging a bone. I almost started to choke as the blood exploded into my mouth and I suddenly knew I had not just bitten into the thing but that I had bitten it clean off.
I watched as the older kid stumbled back, and I jumped to my feet spitting out blood and pieces of flesh as he fell to the ground clutching at the remains of his ruined appendage while screaming in a voice filled with terror and shock.
I noticed almost as an afterthought that the boy wasn’t doing anything to stem the flow of blood and knew that meant he would bleed out but then again I didn’t really care if he did.
I quickly put him out of my mind and looked around to see what everyone else was doing. I had hoped that they would be stunned enough so that I could get around them and get out of there but felt my hopes dashed as I saw one of the older kids charging at me.
It was pure instinct mixed with barely suppressed terror as I reacted to the threat and kicked out with my leg right to the side of the kid’s knee. I then jumped to the side and as the kid went down, followed it through with a kick to the back of his head. I heard a sickening crunch as the boy’s head rebounded off the cement floor and he didn’t move again.
I swung my head towards the exit now desperate to try and get out, but I could see that it was not to be. Unfortunately, looking had made me turn my back and allowed a boy to get behind me and the next thing I knew I felt a punch to the back of my head. I felt the world start to spin as I fell to my knees and could taste the tangy taste of blood in my mouth. This is it, I knew as I listened to the laughter and mocking jeers from the boys still around me. It’s all over, and I’ve lost was all I could think.
Suddenly I felt something I had never felt before flow into me, something I didn’t even recognize at first, it was so alien. “Why did they hate me so much? Why? Why did they have to take my dad? What had I ever done to deserve this?” All these thoughts flew through my mind and suddenly I felt my fear being pushed aside as all the anger, pain and rage of the last weeks took it’s place, and now I recognized it. Rage, unbridled rage mixed with sadness and incomprehension. What was left in it’s place was nothing except those feelings. I had never felt such primal emotions before, and I felt myself losing all control to them.
It was like something alien took over my body, and I had no more choice in the matter. I have heard people talk about “seeing red,” but I never really understood it. Now, I knew exactly what they meant though. I was seeing everything through a reddish tint, and time seemed to actually slow down for me.
“Ya wanna play do ya?” I could hear a voice say. A voice that, while at the same time I knew to be my own, was also one which I didn’t recognize. “Fine, I’ll show you how to play.”
I looked up through the red haze, and saw that the other kids were trying to encircle me. It reminded me of watching a wolf pack hunt a deer. They would encircle the creature, then move in for the kill. Unfortunately for them, this deer wasn't anywhere near as helpless as they thought.
My eyes met with one of the younger boys, and suddenly he stopped moving. I could only imagine what he saw in my eyes. But then again, maybe I didn't want to know. I'm sure he will look back on this and remember clearly the look in my eyes, but then again, maybe not.
The boy started to take a step back, but I was having none of that, I was far beyond caring now, beyond escaping, now it was time for some serious payback. Payback for everything, yes, EVERYTHING, not just this as I felt the rage consume me even further. This kid wanted to hurt me, so I was gonna show him just exactly what hurt was. I leapt straight at the boy with a scream of pure hate and rage. The impact pushed us both back and into a wall. With a quick movement, I landed three hard knee kicks to his solar plexus knocking the wind out of him. Then, when he bent down from the pain I grabbed the back of his head and with all the strength I could muster, I rammed his face into my rising knee. The kid flew back and hit the wall with blood running down his face. I knew in all likelihood that the boy was dead with the bone driven back and into his brain but I just didn’t care.
Not bothering to wait to see the boy hit the ground I spun around looking for a new target. “YOU WANNA FUCK WITH ME?!?! I'm gonna make you wish you never got the balls to come down here!” I screamed, having lost all semblance of control by now, and acting on pure adrenaline and rage. If I had stopped to analyze it, I would have realized that all rational thought had left me in my fight for survival, but of course I didn’t.
Another boy was charging me now, and I almost laughed out loud at the pathetic way these kids tried to fight. They simply had no clue. All I had to do was step to the side, grab the kids neck and let the kid’s momentum do all the work for me. I didn’t even have to take my eyes off the rest of the kids as I heard the crunch of the neck bones as the boy crumpled to the floor.
Four down and six more to go I thought, when they all rushed me at the same time. I kicked and punched with everything I had in me, and knew I was hurting the other boys, but I also knew somewhere in the back of my mind that they were getting hits in on me too but in the state I was in, I wasn’t feeling anything other than the rage.
Time meant nothing to me and what could have been hours but was actually only a short time later, I found myself standing with my back to the wall and now there were only three kids left facing off against me. I knew that I was hurting but by the looks of the other boys they were too. I was just thinking I might make it out of here after all and was about to press my next attack when I saw one of the boys look over his shoulder and shout out “Guys get your asses in here.”
I looked over in time to see five more kids run into the room. They stopped in their tracks and took in the carnage that was the shower room. They were younger boys but they quickly came to the aid of the others and blocked off any chance that I might have had of escape, if I had been thinking of taking it.
I also saw that there was only one of the original three or four older boys left. I knew I would have to go after him first, but I was really starting to feel the injuries I had suffered in the fight now. I was trying to figure out what to do next when suddenly all eight of the boys rushed at me at the same time. I fought with everything I had, and again I knew I was being hurt but I knew I was hurting them too. I was still running on nothing but hate, anger and rage, but even that can only fuel a body for so long.
I felt my head hit the wall, hard and it stunned me long enough to let the other boys shower down a rain of kicks and punches, too long as it turned out. As hard as I fought, they finally dragged me down. The last thing I saw was a foot come rushing in at me and I felt it connect with the side of my head then merciful blackness overtook me.
I woke up a short time later when water was thrown in my face then really wished I hadn’t. I couldn’t move and soon realized why. They had me held down on my stomach with a boy on each arm and one on each leg spreading them as wide as they could.
I looked up to see the last of the older boys standing there with a grin on his face. I watched as he reached up and wiped some of the blood away from a split lip and looked at it. His grin disappeared as he looked down at me and that’s when I noticed that he was naked.
“Well there whitey, yous got some fight in ya. But now we's gonna make you pay for that.” The older boy said before spitting blood from his mouth into my face and walking around behind me.
“Please God no, don’t let them.” I begged silently, knowing I had lost even though I tried to struggle. It was no good, they had too tight a hold on me. All I could think was ‘please not that!’
I managed to turn my head in time to see the boy lean over me and knew what was going to happen, even though I couldn’t see what shortly began. I felt it though, as the pain of being brutally raped began. I screamed in agony at the invasion, but one of the other boys quickly shoved his organ into my mouth to silence me and then the rest of the boys resumed beating on me. Maybe there was a God after all, because finally one of the punches to my head combined with the agonizing pain and knocked me out. The last thing I saw was stars and then everything began to turn black.
It was finally over I thought, and would have cried what was my last thought if I had been able to, but of course I couldn’t.
Officer Roberts was having a bad day already. He was fighting with his eldest son about the friends that the boy had, and this morning, Ethan, his son, stormed out of the house, and went to school early. Which was a miracle in and of itself, considering how hard it usually was to get the boy out of bed. Roberts knew that the teen years were the toughest, but Ethan wasn't even a teenager yet, and they were already having titanic battles. He even thought about letting Ethan come to work with him and see exactly where the kind of kids he hung out with would end up.
He was making his rounds in the younger section of the jail house, and as often was the case, was puzzled how kids so young could end up in a place like this. He really tried to be nice to the kids here cause he knew most of them had just gotten a raw deal in life. But some of them in here were as hard as they come, and he knew no matter what happened, no matter what he did, most of the hard kids here would end up living off the state for the rest of their lives. It didn’t mean his heart didn’t break seeing the little ones though.
He sighed as he thought about that yet again, and continued on his rounds. He knew things had been tense in here lately with the addition of the Rose boy, and he couldn't understand for the life of him why the kid wasn't in protective custody, but that was not for him to question at least he wasn’t suppose to question it, but he did anyway. He thought it was a disaster just waiting to happen, only he didn’t know how soon it would. He didn’t know it but he was about to find out. He just had to do his job, but he was determined that he would look out for him as much as he could.
He was making his way to the shower area, when he heard one of the showers was running. This was odd as there wasn't supposed to be anyone showering right now, so he picked up his steps, and moved more quickly that way. Whoever was in there showering, was going to get in trouble, and around here, that could mean something as small as being confined to his cell for a day or two, or if it was someone that was always in trouble, it might mean solitary. Who ever it was lucky that it was Roberts who would find him, as he usually went lighter on the boys than some of his other officers would.
He turned the corner into the shower bay, and stopped dead in his tracks staring in horror at what lay inside. What he saw in front of him was like something he might have seen back in his army days when they were in a war zone. There was blood all over the place, most of which was being washed down the drain in the center of the room yet even the water couldn’t wash it all away or fast enough. There were ten boys laying on the floor, and every single one of them were covered in blood. “Oh my God!” Roberts muttered, as he reached up to key his radio mic. “1 Charlie 17 10-33 Code 12, 902R cell block C showers. Get those medics in here NOW!!!” Knowing they would be locking the place down now and sending the medics as well.
He was answered almost immediately, and was relieved to hear the captain’s voice come over the radio. The captain was a harsh but fair man, and knew how to handle just about any situation. “Control, what's going on Roberts?”
By this point, Roberts had moved into the shower room, and was going from boy to boy, seeing if any had a pulse. “I'm not sure Captain, but we got ten kids down, four dead, and at least one who looks like he's gonna join them soon. Where the hell are those medics?”
Roberts didn't bother to wait for a response, but sighed when he heard the captain come back over the radio issuing orders to lock down the entire jail, as well as ordering all medics to the shower room “Right this fucking second.”
He knelt down beside the boy that was still alive, and finally realized that it was the Rose boy Jesus, the kid was almost unrecognizable he had been so badly beaten. His face was all bloody, and he knew that some one, or some ones had worked him over real well, and left him for dead.
As with all officers in the jail, Roberts knew first aid and CPR, and knew that there was no hope for the other four boys, so he concentrated on Jeremy. He was starting to go over the boy when he heard the young boy start to moan. Roberts quickly moved back up to the boy’s head, and held it on either side. He didn't know if the boy might have a neck injury, so he held him down to make sure he didn't hurt himself any more.
“Shh... son, it's gonna be alright.” Roberts said gently, trying to hold back the tears he felt at seeing this little boy like this, as Jeremy opened the one eye that wasn't already swollen shut.
“Daddy?” Jeremy said in a voice that could barely be heard by the man.
“It's okay Jeremy, you hang in there buddy, helps on the way.” Roberts whispered to Jeremy losing the battle with the tears which he could feel running down his face at those words, but truth be told, he didn't know if they would get there quickly enough.
“I....I'm sorry daddy. There were too... too many of them... I... I just couldn't stop them. Sorry.” Jeremy quietly said, then let his one eye shut, and Roberts heard the boy exhale, but not inhale as he stopped breathing.
“NO!!!!!” Roberts screamed, as he heard people running down the hallway to him.
He quickly moved and started CPR, as the others came into the shower room sending up a prayer with everything in him to not let this little one go.
Officer Roberts paced outside the local emergency room waiting for word on the condition of the kid he had brought in. When everyone got into the shower room, all hell had broken loose. The entire place had been locked down, and every available guard crowded into the shower room until the Captain told everyone to leave. Everyone that was except Roberts. The officer had still been holding the kids hand and talking to him, trying to convince him to hang on as the medics performed CPR. He held the boys hand all the way to the infirmary they had there, and then when the ambulance came to take him away, all it took was a look to his captain, and Roberts rode to the hospital with Jeremy. Now, he was just waiting for word on whether or not the young boy would live, if he did, he would be the fifth to survive out of the ten he had found, the one hadn’t made it and joined his four friends before he had left the shower.
So far, all he knew was that he was in surgery, that he was severely injured, and they were doing all they could for him. He had been waiting for more than four hours so far, and had already called his mother to ask her to take care of the boys that evening. Thankfully his sons loved their grandmother, and very rarely gave her any problems. Even with the kind of terror that Ethan had become, he was always just as nice and polite as his younger twin brothers when it came to his grandmother. Now, since he knew his sons were taken care of, he could sit here and wait.
It was only about twenty minutes later, that a doctor came out to see him. The doctor led Roberts into a smaller conference room, and after gesturing Roberts to a seat, took one himself. “I'm Doctor Kimball, the pediatric surgeon that operated on young Jeremy, I understand that he is in your custody while here?” The doctor began, and Roberts just nodded, then sighed.
“Well, whoever did this, really went to town on him. He has a rather extensive list of injuries, but is now in stable condition. I am worried about something though, but I will get back to that in a second. First off, his injuries are numerous, and include multiple broken ribs, one of which punctured his left lung, while another one nicked the ascending Aorta, which is the major artery that pumps blood from the heart to the rest of the body. How he didn’t bleed out from that alone is a miracle, in and of itself, but he didn’t. Both of those have been surgically repaired, and I believe he will make a full recovery from them. He also has a severe concision which I believe was a result of repeated blows to the head that should clear up but we’ll keep an eye on it anyway and hope there has been no permanent injury to his brain. He also has multiple fractures to both his right arm, and right leg. Both of them have been set and cast.” Kimball had been reading from a file up to this point, but he closed it and looked up at Roberts. The look in the doctor's eyes reminded Roberts of someone who had seen and done way too much in their life.
The doctor sighed heavily before he went on. “As you can guess, there were also many internal injures, which required exploratory surgery to find and then effect repairs on all of them. We had to remove his spleen, because it had ruptured, and also stitch up a tear in his left kidney. However, I am not sure you are aware of the rest, as it was not reported by either yourself or the paramedics.”
Roberts cocked his head to the side, not knowing what the doctor was referring to, but somehow he knew he wouldn't like it.
“I can understand how you missed it,” Kimball continued, “with all the rest of the injuries, and all.” He sighed again, and re opened the file folder he had. “It seems that the people that did this to him were not content on just beating him up. He also has severe damage to both his anus and rectum...”
Roberts looked up and gasped at this as he realized that what the doctor was implying and in shocked disbelief finally asked what he dreaded to have answered. “Wait a minute, are you saying this kid was…was raped?” He got out.
Kimball snorted, “Raped is an understatement.”
Roberts let his head fall into his hands at that, sweet Jesus he thought as if everything else wasn’t bad enough and now this too. He wondered just how much one small boy was expected to take. Finally after he regained control of his emotions, he looked up and nodded for the doctor to continue.
We did a full rape kit on him and do have semen samples at least from those old enough to produce it and we have sent blood out for an STD panel but right now we just don’t know. I’ve started him on broad spectrum antibiotics for that as well as his other injuries and we’ll hope for the best. The damage was…extensive” and with that the doctor trailed off for a moment before finally continuing.
“Okay, we also had to remove Jeremy's left testicle, and he needed to have a little bit of re-constructive surgery on his penis. From the looks of it, I would say that he had been repeatedly either kicked or punched there, and they have inflicted some severe damage to those areas. I do believe that he will be fully functional in that area, and I am sure you know that men can still survive with only one testicle”
Roberts just nodded and his sympathy for Jeremy rose to even new levels. No one, no matter what happened, should have to have endured what it seems that Jeremy had to.
It had been just over a week since the incident at the jail, and Roberts had requested, and gotten permission to be one of the guards assigned to Jeremy. Anytime one of the inmates had to go to the hospital, it was required that they have around the clock guards. Roberts was able to convince the captain to let him take his shifts at the hospital, so now, everyday at nine in the morning, Roberts showed up, and relieved the other guard. Roberts would sit inside Jeremy's room, right next to him sometimes holding his hand or sometimes stroking his forehead and cheek. They say the unconscious can hear you so Roberts even talked to the boy telling him that everything was going to be alright while at the same time trying to convince himself of that, waiting to see when the boy would wake up and wanting to be there for him when he did.
On this particular Sunday morning, Roberts walked in, just at the same time that Doctor Kimball was walking out of the room. “Hey there Doc, what's up, you look a little worried?” Roberts asked, after seeing the look on the doctor's face.
Kimball didn't answer, but simply motioned for Roberts to follow him. Once they got into the doctors office, and both sat down the doctor began. “Technically, I am not supposed to talk to you about the boy. I really should only be reporting to his lawyer, or social services.” Roberts was about to protest, but Kimball lifted his hand to cut him off.
“I said technically. I can see that you actually give a damn about the kid, which is more than I can say about the social service worker, and the boy’s damn lawyer can only smell the blood of a lawsuit. I mean I guess he cares about the boy, but he's still a lawyer.” Kimball paused, removed his glasses, and rubbed the bridge of his nose for a few seconds. “Anyways, I am concerned about Jeremy. While his injuries were severe, and we have been keeping him sedated, mostly with pain medication, that’s been tapered off, and he still hasn't woken up. We just did a CAT scan on him, and he is in a comatose state right now, but we can't figure out why. Each day that passes, he gets weaker and weaker, and I just can’t explain it.”
Roberts sat up straight when Kimball said that, and asked in a soft voice, “What are you saying doc?”
Kimball shook his head and looked down at the desk for a second. When he raised his head, Roberts could see tears threatening to fall. “What it means, is this boy is dying, and I can't figure out how to stop it. It's almost like Jeremy is willing himself to die.”
With that the doctor left a stunned officer sitting there as he left the room. Roberts had seen him losing the battle with the tears and knew he didn’t want him seeing him that way. For some reason doctors weren’t supposed to feel. Roberts did though and through his own tears he made his way back to the boy’s side taking the small hand in his own and squeezing it gently as he told him. “You fight Jeremy, you hear, don’t let those sons of bitches win, you fight and you live!” Then he bowed his head as the tears fell on their joined hands and prayed for the little boy that no one cared about lying there dying because he didn’t want to live anymore and Roberts understood why even if he didn’t agree.
Jeremy found himself floating in a dark, cold place. He had no idea how long he had been here, nor why he was here. He just floated along feeling nothing at all. He was totally at peace without a care in the world right now. He closed his eyes, and sighed deeply. He had no idea who he was, where he was, or anything, all he knew was that he didn't hurt. He didn't remember why he had been hurting, but he knew he didn't want to hurt anymore and this was much more preferable.
Suddenly a face flashed before his eyes. The face was that of an adult, lean and tanned. He saw the face come again, only this time there was a body attached to it. Well muscled, and toned. But what he noticed most, was the man's eyes. There was so much joy and love in those eyes love directed at him and of him. Suddenly a name came to him, and even as he spoke it out loud, the man vanished. “Dad? DADDY!” Jeremy screamed out into the darkness, and suddenly it all came crashing down on him.
The robbery, seeing his father get stabbed, and then doing CPR on the only man he loved. He remembered being in the hospital, and being told there was nothing they could do to save his father, and at that moment, feeling something inside of him scream in anguish, and then die.
Once the memories started though, they wouldn't stop. He remembered being arrested, being fingerprinted, being strip searched. He remembered listening to the lies they told about him and his dad on the news that second night in jail. He remembered Mariq, and what the older boy had tried to do to him.
But mostly he remembered that day in the shower. He remembered the look on the ten boys, as they surrounded him. He vividly remembered getting down on his knees and taking the penis of the oldest boy in his mouth. He remembered the feel of it as it was pushed roughly in and out of his mouth. He felt the penis as it was shoved down his throat to the point he couldn't breathe. And he felt the gush of blood going down his throat as he bit with all his might.
Suddenly he was back in the shower room, but this time he was watching the fight from above and a little off to the side. He saw the older boy jump back as his hands flew down to what had once been his pride and joy, but was now nothing more then a bloody stump that ended about three inches from his body. He saw himself jump to his feet, even as he spit out the remaining pieces that had been in his mouth. He saw, with perfect clarity, the look of terror on the face of the older boy as he stumbled and fell on his ass.
He also saw the looks of fear and astonishment on the faces of the other boys, as Jeremy jumped to his feet, and squared off with them. He saw one of the older boys rush him, And watched as he kicked out with his leg, and caught the kid right in the side of the knee. Then watched as he brought his leg back around, and slammed the kid in the back of the head.
Jeremy saw himself look towards the exit with a frantic look on his face. That’s when he got hit from behind, and he saw himself go down to his knees.
He then saw the look on his own face that scared him. The look was that of feral animal or something even worse. It was a face that Jeremy had seen in nightmares ever since the beating. The face of pure hate, and rage, and... almost... the face of purest malevolence.
Jeremy almost couldn't bear to watch what happened next, but he couldn't seem to tear his eyes away from it. He saw someone who wore his body, wade into the kids and with every punch, or every kick, someone got hurt. The other boys did get hits on him, but it never bothered the other Jeremy. He was too far gone to realize that he was hurt. Then he saw the other boys come in from out side. Jeremy knew at that point that trying to escape would have been pointless. At the same time he realized that this other Jeremy didn’t even want to escape any longer, he wanted to hurt them.
Jeremy then had to watch as the fighting started again, only this time, the other boys had finally worn Jeremy down enough, and with one lucky hit by one of the boys, Jeremy's head bounced off the cement wall. That was all they needed, and soon Jeremy was dragged down.
Jeremy couldn't stand to watch what happened next, and even though he had his eyes firmly shut, he could still hear the laughing boys as they got ready to rape him.
Jeremy saw his other self start to wake up just as the older boy lined himself up over top of Jeremy and roughly shoved his erect penis deep into Jeremy. The Jeremy that was floating above it all screamed at the same time as his other self did, and tried to turn away from the scene before him, but found that he couldn't. He found himself forced to watch as every single boy that was left took his turn.
He got to watch as they hit and hit him, kicking him while they were at it. He got to watch as the blows rained down everywhere. He got to watch as they laughed throughout although his other self was long unconscious by that time.
He got to watch it all.
After what seemed like an eternity, the boys were finished with their fun, and left Jeremy lying there, along with the bodies of their fallen companions, as they all rushed from the shower room.
Jeremy was then returned to his darkness, and there he cried an anguish filled scream, that seemed to rip at the heavens.
How did it get to be this way? He cried not out loud, for in this place there was no sound, but he cried it just the same. “Just two weeks ago I had a life, I was happy…now..now I just wanna die, I wish I was dead.” With that he let his head fall into his hand and just sobbed asking one word “Why?”
Sometime later, he raised his head, and saw that he was no longer in the darkness, but now was sitting in a lush field, and just being here brought about a sense of clam, and love. He looked around and saw that he was sitting next to a stream, and leaning against a large tree. Off in the distance, he saw a huge mountain range, and he smiled slightly as he thought about climbing those tall peaks.
“It's quite a view from up there, I can promise you that.” Came a voice from behind him, and Jeremy shot to his feet, and spun around. Standing there was a boy that was maybe a bit younger than he was, he had straw yellow hair, and a mischievous grin on his face.
“Who are you?” Jeremy asked, and the younger boy just shrugged.
“Sorry, I can't tell you that right now, not that it would make any sense if I could, but if you need something to call me, call me Danny.” The young boy said, and before Jeremy could say anything else, the young boy rushed on. “Tell you what, let’s go have some fun.”
The next thing Jeremy knew, he was hanging from a cliff, reaching behind himself to chalk up his hands. He felt the gentle pressure of the climbing rig that was wrapped around his waist, and the tugging from the rope that went up. He followed the rope with his eyes, and there, about twenty feet above him was the younger boy. Jeremy looked down, and gasped, as he was too high to even see the ground. All he could see below him were clouds.
“Come on Jeremy, we only got a little ways left to go to get to the top. You'll absolutely love the view.” Danny called down, then turned back to the climbing.
Jeremy shook his head, and without even thinking about it, started to climb. He felt freedom like he had never felt it before. The wind blowing through his hair, and sound of his heavy breathing, and the occasional grunt as he pulled himself up to the next hand hold.
Time meant nothing to him as he climbed. The past held no power over him, and he was free. Nothing could hold him down as he pushed and pulled his way to the top. Finally, he crested the top, and was met with a bright grin from the boy who had brought him here.
He climbed his way to his feet, and looked around. Danny had been right, the view was absolutely breath taking. Below him all he could see were clouds, and poking up from the clouds were other peeks, but none of them as high as this one.
“I told you.” Danny said after letting Jeremy look around for a few seconds. Jeremy turned back to Danny, and again gasped as he saw what was behind the boy.
“What the?” Jeremy gasped as he beheld a golden arch, with beautiful silver gates that were wide open. He could also see a stream of people slowly making their way into the gates, and disappearing once inside.
Danny just grinned as he looked over his shoulder at what Jeremy was seeing. “Well, I told you the view would be grand. I just didn't mention that there was more to see than just over the side of the mountain. And yes, before you ask, those are the “Pearly Gates.”
Jeremy gasped and took a small step back. “You mean.... you mean I'm dead?”
Danny smiled softly, and sadly. “Not yet your not, but you seem to be willing yourself to die.”
And with that everything came flooding back to Jeremy, and he let out a strangled gasp as he sank to his knees. He started to sob, and felt the younger boy wrap his arms around him, and gently rock him.
“It hurts...” Jeremy kept saying over and over again while Danny held him and tried to comfort him. Finally, after a few minutes, Jeremy got himself under control enough to look up and notice that Danny was silently crying as well.
“Why... why did you bring me here?” Jeremy asked, and Danny gently pulled Jeremy to his feet and turned to face him.
“I brought you here to give you a choice, and hope I can convince you to choose the right one.” Seeing that Jeremy didn't really understand, Danny went on. “Right now, you are actually lying in a hospital bed, where the doctors are fighting to save your life. The problem is, that while your injuries are not fatal, you seem to be dying. The reason for that is simple, you’re here, not there.”
Jeremy took a step back, and anger showed in his eyes. “You want me to go back don't you?” All Danny could do is nod, and Jeremy took another step away from him.
“Why? Why do you want me to go back? Why would I want to go back. I've lost everything, and... and...they raped me!” Jeremy struggled to get the last part out, and then just as suddenly as the anger hit him, it fled from him and he dropped to his knees again sobbing and saying in a whisper, “They raped me”.
Danny wrapped him up again, and could barely hear him cry over and over “Why.” It took a few minutes, but finally Danny got Jeremy calmed down enough to where he could talk to him, but this time, he kept his arms wrapped firmly around the older boy.
“I wish I could answer that Jeremy, but sometimes, they happen. Only know that they happen for a reason.” Danny had been trying to comfort Jeremy, but realized right after he said it, that it was the wrong thing to say.
Jeremy pushed Danny away, and sprung to his feet. “What do you mean they happen for a reason?” Jeremy practically snarled at the younger boy. “What possible reason could there be for my dad getting murdered, and me ending up in jail, then raped? HUH! Explain that one! Why should I WANT to live?”
Jeremy was on the verge of attacking the younger boy but stopped when he saw the look of pain and sadness that was in the boy's eyes as he said, “At least you have the chance to live. That’s more than I can say for myself, and more than I can say for a lot of others. You've had it rough lately, but just know that there are those that have it a lot worse than you do. Do you think you’re the only one that has ever been hurt? Do what you want, but know this. If you throw away your life just because you've had a shitty deal recently, you'll never know the good you could have done. The good your father wants you to do.”
Before Jeremy could say anything else, Danny vanished. Jeremy stood there for a few minutes in shock, then he looked around again. On one side was the cliff he had just climbed, and on the other side... on the other side was his release from the pain and suffering he knew awaited him if he went back.
But he couldn’t stop thinking of the tears running down the other boy’s face and the pain as he had said that one sentence. “Do you think you’re the only one that has ever been hurt?” Somehow Jeremy knew he was talking about himself as he looked back towards those gates and…and his father.