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"Pushed Too Far"


Chapter 1
Wage War

By Mistydawn

Exhausted, Jeremy plops down on the bench. The seizure-like symptoms correlated with his illness briefly leaves him in a weak state. Oh, how I wish my life was different. He notices rain clouds hanging heavily overhead. This murky sight adds to his eternal gloom.

The physician diagnosed him with chronic tic disorder at the age of two. Although he has a mild form, his symptoms cause him a lot of grief, especially with his peers.

He sees his classmates heading towards him as he continues to glance around.

"Oh look, monkey man is out of his cage," Paul says as they approach him. The crowd giggles. This and other dreadful names started in the first grade after a violent episode.

"Is this how the dance goes?" Paul impersonates a baboon.

"Maybe ape-man is saving it for graduation."

"He'll be walking down the aisles doing this." Paul flaps his extremities, similar to his buddy. The crowd laughs again.

Fed up with their taunting, Jeremy springs from the bench. "Leave me alone."

"What are you going to do if we don't? Huh, punk, what?" Jeff pushes him.

Jeremy falls to the soil, the way he has numerous times before. Enough is enough. It's time I take a stand. Fire shoots from his blazing eyes as he growls through clenched teeth. "I'll show you what." Jumping to his feet, he swings a right hook; it clocks Jeff in the nose. He roundhouses him with a left quickly followed by a right. Jeff folds to the dirt.

Lifting his adversary by his collar, Jeremy glares into his eyes. "Do you have anything else to say? Well, do you, punk?"

Jeremy's alarm startles him awake. I wish I could do that for real. He pictures the scenario and smiles. He then imagines the consequences that'll undoubtedly follow. I'll be pulverized by his buddies if I do. He throws back the covers and sighs. I wish I didn't have to go to school.

This is a normal conviction, more so today than ever. The teachers will be so distracted preparing for graduation that his enemies will have plenty of opportunities to make his life hell.

One more day and I'll never have to see any of them again. Jessica's face quickly comes to mind. She's the only one I'll miss at that horrid place. She's my sweetheart, the love of my life; the reason I go on. He pulls her picture off his nightstand and gives it a kiss. "Good morning my love," he says as he gazes into her big blue eyes.

***
Jerry and Rachel are busy at their desks trying to solve a new case. There's been a rash of burglaries in town and the team agreed to assist with the investigation.

Jerry, the lead detective, started at the station fourteen years ago. He did so well that he became a detective in a little under four years and a sergeant two years later.

Rachel's only been a part of the force for seven years, a detective for two. She was initially a nurse for Carroll General, but after helping the guys solve a murder, she decides to change careers. Joe, the captain shaped her into one of the best cops and then one of the best detectives on the force. She and Joe married five years later.

"Ouch."

"What's wrong, Rachel?" Jerry questions, hurrying to her side.

"Joe Jr's decided to play soccer again." She rubs her swollen belly. The baby kicks in response.

"I bet he's going to be one heck of an athlete."

"My broken ribs prove that."

Joe rushes to their desk. "It's time, it's time."

"Flash to the rescue." Rachel laughs.

"This is no time for jokes, let's go, let's go." Joe tugs on her arm.

"It's not time, Joe."

"What?" He releases her arm. Rachel falls against the chair.

"I'm not in labor; your son is playing soccer again."

"Oh."

"Don't worry, boss. He'll be here soon."

"I hope so. I'm not sure how much more of his kicking my insides can take."

"Is there any news on the burglaries?" the captain asks.

"A neighbor reported a black Mustang circling the block. There is only one in town; it belongs to Tolbert. Rachel is heading over there now."

"I'd rather you go, Jerry."

"He's busy on another lead."

"What if you go into labor?"

"I'll call dispatch."

"What if the ambulance is on another call and everyone else is busy?"

Rachel rolls her eyes. "And what if there's a hurricane, or volcanic eruption while I'm out?"

"In Arkansas?" Jerry questions, scratching his head."

"They're more likely to happen than what Joe just said."

"You're being ridiculous, Rachel."

"No more than you." Hoisting herself up, she turns towards her husband. "I'm getting hot water for my tea, so you better follow me, just in case."

"You're impossible, Rachel, just impossible."

"Yeah, but you love me." Smiling, she waddles away.

***
Jeremy's day went by smoothly. His rivals were so busy giving the teachers trouble they didn't pay attention to him. Although it was lonely at times, Jeremy would rather be invisible than teased.

One more night and I'll never have to go back there again, he reasons as he steps through his gate. He sees his mom laughing as she opens the door. Her humor stops abruptly when she notices Jeremy on the porch.

"I... I didn't realize you'd be home so early, sweetheart." She smooths out her clothes before she continues. "The salesman was demonstrating his vacuum for me."

"She liked all my, its fancy gadgets." the salesman winks.

"It would make things easier, but I'm afraid it's too expensive." She glances from the salesman to her son.

The peddler clears his throat. "I can set you up with a payment plan."

"I'll be sure to talk to my husband about it, tonight."

"Here's my card. Call me when you decide." Handing her a piece of cardboard, he rushes down the steps.

Jeremy smells his mom's perfume, as he brushes past. "How could you, mom?"

"How could I what, dear?"

"How could you sleep with him?" Jeremy tearfully exclaims.

"Don't be ridiculous, I'd never cheat on your father."

Clinching his fists, Jeremy throws them down by his side. "Stop lying to me, mom."

"I'm not." She looks away.

"Liar." His stomach tightens into a hard knot as he darts through the gate; his left eye begins to twitch. Not now, please not now. Jeremy sees his classmates shuffling towards him; he searches for a way to escape.

"Hey look, it's monkey man. I wonder if he'll do any tricks for us."

"Leave me alone, Jeff." Both eyes begin to twitch. It'll go to my arms soon. Jeremy tries to step around him. Jeff pushes him back. "Leave me the hell alone." Jeremy shoves the thug away. Jeff's muscular body plummets to the ground; the gang closes in. My worst nightmare is coming true. Terrified, Jeremy dashes down the road.

"I'm going to get you ape-man," Jef yells behind him.

Realizing he isn't being followed. Jeremy sighs with relief. How can she cheat on dad like that? he asks as he reaches the park.

Jeremy spots Jessica and Paul at the top of the hill. Paul yells something and then storms to his car. Jessica falls to the ground.

"He hurt her. The bastard hurt my girl." Jeremy rushes to her side. "Are you alright?" he asks, plopping down beside her.

She glances at him; tears streaming down her angelic face. "Oh, Jerr bears." She sobs as she falls against him.

He gently strokes her long, brown hair. "It'll work itself out, it always does."

"I don't know how," she bawls.

He wraps his arms around her. The warm embrace feels so good, so right like it was meant to be. One day we'll do this all the time, he thinks, hugging her tighter. "You know I'm here for you no matter what."

"Even if I'm having Paul's kid?"

Jeremy pushes her away. "What?"

"I'm pregnant Jerr Bear," she cries.

"Get away from her ape-man," Paul orders, stomping towards them.

Jeremy springs off the ground. "Make me, asswipe."

Paul charges towards him. Jeremy moves out the way. The tyrant tumbles to the ground.
"You're going to get it now," Paul bellows.

Jeremy sees Jessica crying harder than before; the precious time they've shared together quickly comes to mind. He's hurt my sweetheart, my love."No one hurts Jessie, no one, not even you." He kicks Paul in the ribs. Years of pent up rage surfaces; he kicks him again. Paul grabs Jeremy's leg and jerks him down. A cloud of dust emerges as they scuffle in the dirt.

"Cops," Jessica yells as she jumps to her feet.

Jeremy pins Paul to the ground. Glaring into his eyes he snarls. "I'm coming for you. For you, and all your pals." Punching him one last time, Jeremy darts away.
 


Chapter 2
Breaking Point

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

The cool night air gently brushes across Jeremy's face as he steps through the school doors for the final time. The horde of spectators has quickly vanished leaving a few discarded programs behind. I'm so glad my nightmare is over. He pictures the graduation ceremony and smiles. Memories from the joyous occasion are replaced by horrific images as he trudges down the weathered, concrete stairs.

He first recalls the numerous times he was cornered in the bathroom. The way they pushed him around in the gym. The excruciating pain that followed the horrific encounters. He then remembers the way he'd cower in the corner, feeling helpless and alone. How his peer's hurtful rants would replay like a broken record over and over in his mind. The way their damning words left him feeling like he was a mirage of a human, a waste of space. He then remembers all the times he glanced around the classroom, wishing someone would reach out; tell him he's not alone. Maybe take a stand against his horrid peers. Everyone turned their backs on him. Pretended they didn't see the brutality.

He turns towards the three-story brick structure for the final time. "So long, walls of hell. I hope I never see you again."

He's heading across the darkened lot when someone calls his name. He turns to find Jessica running towards him. A grin spreads across his solemn face as he waits for her to catch up. She's the only reason I'm still alive, why I go on. He's contemplated suicide numerous times over the years. He'd then picture Jessica's grief-stricken face and decides he can go on a bit more.

"Oh
Jerr-bears, you were right. Things did work out after all," she breathlessly exclaims.

"So, you're not pregnant?"


"No silly." She playfully slaps his arm. "Paul asked me to marry him." She holds out her left hand.

Jeremy notices the rock that covers her entire finger. "He what?" He bellows, trying to process what he's been told.

"He asked me to marry him. His proposal was so romantic with music and flowers. His dad was there too. You should've seen it
Jerr. It was every girl's dream."

Excruciating pain surges through his body. Like his heart is being ripped right out of his chest. Tears swell in his sad hazel eyes as precious times flash through his mind. He reluctantly pushes the cherished memories aside. "How could you, Jessica, huh, how could you?"

"How could I what? Why are you acting this way? I thought you'd be happy for me."

He throws his arms by his side as he stomps his foot on the ground. "I thought you loved me not that douc bag, Paul." His upper lip snarls as he says his enemy's name.


"I do love you. You're my best friend and I love you forever. Nothing will ever change that."

"Then marry me, not him."

"I... Ah..."


Getting down on one knee, Jeremy takes her hand in his. He's dreamed about this moment his entire life. Often practicing what he'd say. Nervously gazing into her big baby blues, he begins. "I love you with all my heart, with every ounce of my being. I have since the day we first met. I'd be honored if you'd take my hand in marriage. Be my one and only, my true love, my wife." When she doesn't answer he quickly adds. "I promise to take good care of you and the baby." He gently lays his hand on her stomach. "I promise to love it the way I would my own. Please, Jessica, please be my wife; let me spend the rest of my life with you."

"Oh
Jerr-bears, I love you, I really do..."

"Then marry me and not him." He looks towards the school and glares.

"I love you as a friend, not a lover."

 Tears stream down his somber face as he rises to his feet. "No, Jessica no, please don't say that. Please don't deny the feelings we have for each other."

"I wish I did love you the same way. I really do, but I don't." He turns away. She gently places her hand on his trembling shoulder. Fighting back her tears she continues. "I'm sorry I hurt you. I really am. It was never my intention to hurt you this way."


He spins around. "I never intended to fall in love, but I did." He darts away.

"You'll always be my best friend no matter what the future brings." Jessica tearfully exclaims as he darts out of sight.

Some friend you are. Choosing my enemy over me. Special moments come to mind as he wipes the moisture from his face. We've had a lot of great times together. Wonderful times, moments I will never forget. He then recalls their first kiss under the starry sky. How their one magical kiss turned into a night of hot, passionate love. It was the best night of my life.

He then imagines what his life will be like without her. How miserable he will be. I can't let her go, I just can't. Wiping the tears from his cheek, he rushes across the yard. He grabs her arm and spins her around. "What we have is special. Something you don't find every day." He strums his fingers down the side of her face as he continues. "We both felt it that night at the park." He dreamily gazes into her eyes. "The wonderful, magical evening we lost our innocence together."

"The night was sensational, Jeremey, it really was, but things are different now. I..."


Putting his finger to her lips, he gazes into her big blue eyes. "I love you Jessica, and I know deep in your heart that you love me too." He pulls her against him. Her breath escapes her when their bodies connect. Holding her against him, Jeremy reaches up with his free hand and stokes her angelic face. "I love you, Jessica and I know you love me too," he repeats. Leaning forward, he gently brushes his lips against hers. She sighs. Their lips gently touch again. Jessica grows weak in his arms mesmerized by his spell. He feels her tremble when his tongue separates her soft, honey-sweet lips. That's when he realized their one night of passion would never be enough. That their young hearts desired more. 

 His kisses start out gently, but his hot, raw passion savagely emerges to the surface. It was a flaming urge he'd never felt before. The feeling becomes so intense, so merciless that his romantic gestures become sensual, erotic acts of heated lust.


A soft throaty cry escapes her. Jessica intertwines her fingers in his hair and pulls him in close. His hardness rubs against her. Jessica moans in delight.

The two are so lost in their moment of passion they don't hear footsteps tromping across the yard.

"Get away from her, you moron." Paul bellows as he shoves Jeremy away.

Jeremy stumbles backward landing in the dirt.

Paul turns towards Jessica. Flames shoot from his eyes as he growls through gritted teeth. "You damn whore." Raising his fist, he punches her in the nose. Blood splatters across the ground; her head begins to swim; her body weaves back and forth. Paul swings a right hook. Jessica tumbles to the ground. "I'll make you lose your damn kid and then I won't have to marry your sorry whoring ass." He kicks her in the stomach again and again. She doubles over in pain.

Springing to his feet, Jeremy charges towards him. Tony and Jeff grab his arms and pulls him back. "Leave her alone, you ass-wipe," He screams as he tries to break free. The two drag him further away. "If something happens to her so help me God, I'll kill you, Paul. I swear I will."


Paul turns towards his pals. "Take care of my light work, wouldja." He glances at Jessica bleeding on the ground. "I have more important matters to take care of."

"Sure thing, Paul. Come on, you loser. Let's go." Lifting him up, they carry him across the yard.

"I'm coming for you, Paul. For you and all your friends." Jeremy yells as the two goons shove him in their car.

Seeing Jessica is struggling to get up, Paul pushes her back down.

A mix of tears and blood streams down Jessica's face when she glances up. "Please, Paul, please don't do this. Please, let Jeremy go."


Grabbing her hair, he jerks her off the ground. Paul glares into her baby blues and growls. "You better worry about yourself and not that loser ape-man." 
 


Chapter 3
Fight to Survive

By Mistydawn


"Help me, please, somebody help me," Jessica mutters weakly. Heavy darkness envelopes the sparsely furnished room vanquishing all hope of survival. Her battered body lies helplessly on the antique bed. Her hands and feet are secured to its metal frame. She's tried for what seems like an eternity to free herself from her restraints. This strenuous activity leaves her completely drained.

"This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't wanted to be with Paul. What did I see in that monster? Oh, what did I see?" She sobs into the cold, empty room.

She suddenly recalls his violent fit of rage. His behavior was so savaged, deranged. Like a beast had erupted from this kind, gentle, man. They were actions she'd never witnessed before and hoped to never see again. When Paul's last bit of anger was spent, he stormed away, leaving her on the brink of death.


"Oh, why did I go to that party? Why did I go?" Jessica's mind drifts back to how it all began.

She's awkwardly watching everyone have a good time at their pre-graduation ceremony. Being the nerd of the bunch, she never fit in and wouldn't be there now if it wasn't for her best friend. Jessica is about to leave when Paul sits beside her. They have a pleasant conversation between his endless supply of drinks.

Jessica then remembers their wonderful make-out session. How understanding Paul is when she tells him to stop.

She then recalls waking up naked in his bed. He's asleep beside her.

"Paul, Paul, wake up."

"Do you mind, I'm trying to sleep?" He rolls on his side.

She sees his penis and gasps. She's heard he's well endowed but had no idea it was true. She feels a dull aching between her legs. We didn't, did we? "Paul, Paul. Wake up, we need to talk," she repeats as she shakes him.


He slams his hands on the bed. "What is it?"

"Did we do anything last night?"

Paul smiles. "You was an animal, baby, couldn't get enough."

She pulls the covers around her neck as she tries to recall what had taken place. "An animal?"


"A freak of nature. Better than Brenda ever was." He smiles lazily as he rolls onto his back. His manhood at full attention. "Stick around and I'll give it to you again," he says, massaging himself.

She tries to think back to their nightly encounter. I remember feeling dizzy, light-headed when he escorted me to his room, but I can't remember what happens next. He and a few friends convinced her that she enjoyed it despite her memory loss.

"He barely acknowledged me, afterwords. Until I told him I was having his kid. I was so stupid to believe their story, believe that he cared. And now Jeremy is fighting for his life all because of me. I'm sorry, Jeremy. So sorry I dragged you into this. I'm sorry I didn't realize how much you cared." She blubbers
weakly as she slowly slips into an oblivious state.

***

It's a bright, starry night. The full moon glows luminously overhead. Jeff and Tony are taking their victim to a secluded area at the edge of the woods.

Jeremy is lying across the backseat bloody and bruised. His hands are tied tightly behind him. A gag is stuffed in his mouth, secured with a piece of tape. The confinement took a lot of doing, but after rendering him unconscious, the duo was able to succeed.

Pulling over, Jeff climbs out of the car. "Come on, loser, let's go." He grabs a fist full of Jeremy's hair and drags him to the ground.

"Where do you want to do this?" Tony nervously asks. Remembering the time he'll be facing if he has another run-in with the law.


"Right here will be fine."

Jeff sees their victim squirming across the ground. "You're not going anywhere, moron." He stomps on his back. Jeremy collapses against the dirt.

"I... I don't know about this, Jeff. I mean ape-man hasn't really done anything to us."

"No, but he's crossed Paul more than once."


"He should take care of him, then."

"You owe him this, Tony."

"How do you figure?"

"He took care of those punks over in Rogers for you, didn't he?"

"Yeah, but that..." He glances at Jeremy again. "That was different."


"I didn't realize you're such a pussy. Think I'll call you ballless wonder from here on out." Jeff laughs.

Tony sneers. "I'm not either of those things and you know it. It's just that I don't want to go to prison and that's what'll happen if he squeals."

Jeff glares at Jeremy. "I'll make sure this loser doesn't say a word."

"How?"

"I have my ways." He smirks.


Tony continues to glance around. "Maybe we should move further back so no one can see us from the road."

"It probably wouldn't hurt." You take his top half and I'll take the bottom. The two start to reach for him when a tall dark shadow steps out of the woods.

"Hey, what you
youngsters up to over there?" The stranger asks in a deep gritty voice. Jeremy tries to yell for help, but his cries come out as muted shrills. The intruder flashes his light on the ground and then in the abductor's eyes. "Why is he squealing like a pig? And why do you have him tied that way?" The boys glance at each other not sure what they should say or do. "I think you boys have some explaining to do. And I advise you to do it fast." He lifts the rifle to his shoulder as he steps closer. He's all for southern justice if it's deserved. Let the punishment fit the crime, his mama use to say. 

"Run, Jeff, run," Tony yells dashing to the car. His cell falls from his pocket.

The stranger takes a shot, breaking the back glass. "The next one will be for one of you," he warns.

The two jump into the vehicle and peel away.


The mountain man shines his flashlight on the young man again. The small portion of his face not caked with dirt is a battered mess. "They sure did a number on you."

"Please help me," he mumbles. Tears form in his swollen eyes.

"I'll cut you loose but if you try anything stupid I'll shoot, got it?" Jeremy nods. "Good, now hold still so I can undo this thing." The man pulls a knife from his pocket.

"No," Jeremy cries as he squirms away.

"You want these restraints off, right?" Jeremy nods. "This is the fastest way to do it." ... "There you go, boy."


Jeremy rips the adhesive from his mouth. His eyes tear up again. "Thanks, mister." 

"Barry, my friends call me Barry." 

"Nice to meet you."

Barry recognizes the lad's face when he pulls himself off the ground. My kid is a good-looking man.

"I'd love to stay and chat, but I have to save my girl."

"She's not in the same predicament, is she?"

"Worse I'm afraid." Jeremy brushes the dirt from his clothes.


His daddy's voice replays in his head. A man takes care of his own. I know dad, I know. He then recalls what his father did for him, helped him fight his bullies. That's what I'll do for him. "It'll take you hours to get to town on foot. So, why don't we go back to my house, and I'll give you a ride in."

"That sounds great, thanks."

Barry collects the tape and rope from the dirt. "Evidence," he says as scoops up Paul's cell from the road.

The two were mid-way up the steep incline when a vehicle races past them. "Where is he off to in such a rush?" Barry questions as the car whizzes past.

"That's Paul's car," Jeremy exclaims. He takes off in a dead run."

"Where are you headed, boy?"


"I'm going to save my girl."

"Hey kid, wait."

Jeremy turns around. "What?"

"You're going to need this." Barry tosses him his flashlight and gun. "There's only one in the chamber so use it wisely."

"I will, thanks."


"And, Jeremy."

"Yeah?"

"Be safe, son."

"I will."


***

Jeremy finds Paul's Mustang parked in front of a run-down log cabin. Its exterior walls have faded with age. Its concrete filler is cracked and chipped. He notices the tin roof is starting to cave in and the majority of the porch is on the ground. Jeremy then discovers a trail of fresh blood leading from the porch to his car. Please don't let me be too late. Oh, please don't let me be too late. He silently prays as he picks up speed.

He hears Jessica yelling for help when he reaches the steps. She's still alive. With every bit of strength Jeremy has left, he leaps across the weather-beaten porch. He lands a few inches from the door. With one quick thrust, Jeremy kicks the barrier open. The rotten wood splits in two. He raises the gun to his shoulder as Paul spins around. "Get away from my girl," Jeremy growls as he cocks the gun.

 


Chapter 4
The Rescue

By Mistydawn

A floorboard squeaks behind him. Paul turns to find Jeremy at the door, gun in hand; a crazed expression across  his face. He then notices the dagger-like glare in his enemy's eyes. His harrowing stare was enough to make a large man run.

Jeremy's body quivers and his eye begins to twitch. Warning him of his pending attack. Ignoring the symptoms of  his chronic tic disorder, he lifts his weapon to his shoulder  as he takes a shooter's stance."Get away from my girl," he repeats.

Paul hurls the poker like a sword. Jeremy ducks. The hot iron whizzes past his head as Paul lunges for him. He and Jeremy tumble to the ground.
The gun flies from Jeremy's hands. It skids across the floor; landing on the far side of the room. The boys scramble for it. Paul scoops it up as he spins around. Jeremy freezes in mid-motion.

"I always knew it'd come to this; you and me in a face-off."

There's a loud kerplunk. Paul falls face-first to the floor. Jeremy glances up to find Jessica smiling at him; a piece of timber in her hands.

"My hero," she murmurs. Her eyes gloss over. The piece of firewood falls to the floor.


"Jessie?"

She sways back and forth and then folds to the ground.

"No, not my Jessie." Jeremy scrambles to her. "Jessie honey, wake up, please wake up." He gently shakes her mangled body. She remains lifeless. "No, not Jessie. Please don't take her away, please don't take her away," he sobs, collapsing overtop her.

He hears a faint heartbeat and then feels her chest slowly rise and fall. "She's still alive." Wiping the blood-tinged tears from his swollen eyes, he assesses their grave situation. I need to get her to the hospital, but how?


He discovers a cell on the table. He scoops it up and tries to make a call. Jeremy quickly realizes that he doesn't have a signal. He dashes outside only to find he still can't connect.

He glances at Paul's Mustang. I'm not allowed to drive. His condition prohibits it. He glances at the cell again. It may be my only option. Fatal accidents come to mind. He pushes the horrid thoughts aside. I can't let her die. I just can't. Jeremy darts inside. "I'm taking you to the hospital. So hold on a little longer for me, ok?"

He tries to carry her, but he's so weak, he can barely lift her from the floor. Maybe I can drag her on a sheet.


Grabbing the soiled linen from the bed, he tosses it beside her. Jeremy carefully rolls her onto it. Grabbing the flashlight and gun, he drags Jessie to the door. How am I going to get you across this porch? Most of its wood is gone.

He's trying to come up with a plan when he sees Barry walking by. Jeremy waves his hands and yells, "Hey Barry, over here." The man looks around. "I'm on the porch." He moves the flashlight around.

"Jeremy?"

"I have to get Jessie to the hospital, and I need your help."


Barry sees Jessica on a sheet when he reaches the steps. His gun on the sheet beside her.

"I can't figure out how to get her across without hurting her more."

"You take one end and I'll grab the other." ... "Easy son, we don't want to jolt her too much." ... "That's it, nice and steady." He glances at the weapon again. "Do we need to take care of a body too?"

"I didn't have to use your gun."


"You didn't?"

"Jessica whopped Paul in the back of the head, knocked him out cold. It was a good thing too because he had your weapon."

"You try to save her, and she saves you. That sounds like true love to me."

Jeremy looks at the sheet. "I do love her. I have since I was a kid, but I'm afraid she doesn't feel the same."


"Maybe she'll change her mind."

Jeremy glances at her angelic face. "I sure hope so."

"Open the door and I'll lift her in the car."

"Won't you hurt yourself?"

"Are you implying that I'm old?"


"N... No, I just meant..."

Barry chuckles. "I'm a lot stronger than I look." Jeremy throws the door open as his pal lifts her off the ground. Adjusting her in the seat, Barry closes the door. "Let's go."


***

Thunderous snores rattle the brightly colored walls in the Bower's apartment as Rachel and Joe attempt to catch a few Zs. Mumbling, Joe lifts his hand from Rachel's stomach and turns on his side. The baby kicks in response. "It's ok, baby, daddy isn't too far away." She snuggles against Joe; the baby calms right down. "I love him too, little guy." She smiles.

She's almost asleep when her cell rings. She grumbles as she reaches for the nightstand. "Sergeant Bower." ... "When did this happen?" ... "I want all available patrol looking for Paul and tell Jessie I'm on my way." She disconnects the call and then turns towards her husband. "Joe, Joe, wake up."

"Is it time?" He asks as he springs off the bed.


"No, no, I'm not in labor. Jessica is in the hospital."

"Hospital, what happened?"

"Her boyfriend beat her up."

"Get dressed and I'll take you."

Rachel rolls her eyes. Of course, you will, she thinks.


Rachel's parents are in the hospital waiting room when she and Joe arrives. The couple rushes to their side.
"Is she alright?" Rachel questions.

"The doctors said she'll make a full recovery with a lot of rest."

"Why are you crying, Mom?
" Bonnie is actually her stepmom, but she's been more of a mother to her than her birth mom.

"She lost the baby," Bonnie sobs.

"Baby, what baby?"

"Your sister was six weeks along."

"I had no idea."

"None of us did, honey," her dad says as he pulls Bonnie close. Max notices Joe beside them.
"It's nice to see you again, Joe."


"I wish it was under better circumstances, sir."

"Me too."

Seeing Jessica's family in the corner, Jeremy runs to them. "I'm sorry I couldn't save her from Paul. I tried, I really did, but Tony and Jeff dragged me away before I could stop him."

"They would've killed Jeremy if I hadn't come around when I did," Barry says as he steps beside them.


"You are?" Rachel grabs a notebook from her pocket. Then glances down the hall.

"Barry Moore, I have a cabin in the hills."

Joe takes the pen and paper from her hands. "You go be with Jessie and let me handle this."

"Thanks, Joe." She kisses his cheek.

"Sergeant Bower."


Rachel turns around. "Yes, Jeremy?"

"Could you tell Jessie I love her and I'm here for her no matter what?"

"I'm sure she already knows, but I'll remind her." She winks.


***
Paul slowly opens his eyes and looks around. Discovering the hut is empty, he hobbles towards the door. "That little bastard stole my Mustang." He looks towards the table. "And my cell phone too. He's a dead man when I find him. A dead man." Paul punches the door. "He's going to wish he'd never been born." He bashes the door again.

A horrid thought suddenly comes to mind. What if he and Jessica went to the pigs? I bet they did, and I bet Jeff and Tony are already in jail. I'll be next if I don't hide. He darts through the door.

He makes it to the top of the first hill a few minutes later. I have to keep going. He pants. His legs begin to ache and his lungs burn as he trudges on.

The night grows eerily dark. Paul looks up to see heavy rain clouds overhead. Getting soaked would be a perfect way to end this day. He glances down the hill, longing for the cabin's shelter. He then recalls his alarming deduction. I'd much rather be soaked than in jail.

He hears rustling in the woods nearby. I hope that isn't the rabid wolf. Paul darts to the center of the road. The swooshing gets closer. Paul picks up his pace. The commotion follows. You're not getting me. Paul sprints down the hill. A mile or so down the road the uproar finally subsides. That was too close. He pants.

He's trying to catch his breath when he notices red and blues light the darkened sky. I have to get out of here. Paul runs to the opposite side of the woods. He discovers a wild boar at the edge of the trees.


 


Chapter 5
Out for Blood

By Mistydawn


Summary
Escaping a horrid fate, Jeremy rescues Jessica. Paul, one of their attackers, runs into a wild boar while trying to escape the law.


An eerie stillness hangs heavy in the crisp night air. The frigid northern wind that had been blowing just moments ago is completely still. The boisterous calls of the nocturnal wildlife have completely ceased. Paul feels like all the creation around him large and small is waiting for his inevitable doom.

He glances to his right and sees the cop's headlights are getting closer. The boar snorts. Paul looks back to find the wild pig charging towards him. He dodges out of the way. Spinning around, the animal rushes for him again. Paul does a quick sidestep. The beast’s razor-sharp tusk pierces his leg.

Using his brute strength, the animal pushes his target backward. Paul struggles to remain afoot. The creature continues to plow forward, pinning him to a tree.


Paul raises his fist and punches him in the snout. Blood gushes from his leg when the pig pulls away.
The wild beast roars as he claws the ground. It was a low, gritty growl, similar to a cougar.

Paul shudders from the noise. I’m in for it now. His grandpa’s wise words quickly come to mind. “Go high, son, always go high.” Paul’s insides quiver as he frantically searches for a way to escape. There were dozens of trees around him, but they were all too frail to hold his weight. Paul spots an old Oak tree deeper in the woods. The boar is mere inches away.
It’s do or die time. Paul sprints towards it. The creature’s teeth scrape across his calf as he runs. 
Paul feels himself weakening but the tree is still a distance away. He looks back to find the boar a mere stride behind. I have to keep going. Blood spews from his leg as he pushes on.


When he’s only a few yards away, Paul makes a giant leap landing in front of the tree. He turns to see the animal closing in. He grabs a hold of a branch and hoists himself up. Dead foliage falls to the ground as he climbs.

He glances down to discover the wild creature attempting to climb the trunk. Paul draws back his leg and kicks him in the snout. “Take that you beast.” Losing his grip, the boar plummets to the ground. Smacking the edge of a large boulder on his way down. I need to get higher before he comes to. Paul’s arms begin to shake as he pulls himself up. He manages to lift himself up a little way. His arms give out; his body swings back down.


He looks towards the ground and discovers the animal is still out cold. I could make a run for it. Maybe find safer ground. Headlights brighten the darkened area around him. Frightened, he scoots against the trunk He sucks in his gut as he presses further back. I hope the cops didn’t see me; he thinks, too fearful to take a breath. After what seems like an eternity, the lights slowly fade away. Paul breathes a sigh of relief. This will probably be the only chance I’ll get. He starts to climb down when he hears the pig snort below him. He discovers the creature is coming to.

I better go higher before he comes after me again. Every muscle in his body aches as he reaches for the limb. I have to do this. His muscles burn with fury as he tries to pull himself up. He grits his teeth, hoping he can work through the pain. I can do this. His arms begin to tremor; his fingers slip. “No,” Paul screams as he tries to maintain his hold. His fingers continue to slide down the wood. His body plunges to the ground.


*** 
Jeremy finds Jessica’s hospital room completely dark except for a few neon-lit monitors blinking above her head. The machines give off just enough light to silhouette her battered face. Standing in the entryway, Jeremy admires her angelic beauty. I’m going to win your heart over, just you wait and see. Jeremy imagines the life they’ll have together. How wonderful it’ll be to cuddle up beside her every night for the rest of his life. Someday my dream will come true. He sighs. He starts to leave when a frail voice pierces through the darkness.

“Jeremy?”

He spins back around. “I hope I didn’t wake you.” The doctor explained to them that Jessica has dissociative amnesia. Most likely brought on by her trauma. He went on to say her memory will come back in bits and pieces if she’s given time to heal and to rest.

“I have all night to sleep. Please, come sit with me for a while.” Scooting over, she pats the bed.

Jeremy anxiously glances behind him. Nurse Ratchet has already shooed him away twice and he isn’t certain what’ll happen if she catches him again.

“I really need my
Jerr bear,” she tearfully adds.

He gazes over at Jessica. She’s the love of my life. The woman of my dreams. Spending one second with her will be worth anything that battle-ax does to me. He rushing to her side. “I’m so glad you’re alright, Jess.”

“I’m not alright, Jeremy. I’m not. I lost my baby. I lost my baby,” she cries, falling against him. Jeremy wraps his arms around her. “How could I have been so stupid, Jeremy how? Thinking Paul is such a terrific guy. That he’d be interested in someone like me. Me, the class nerd. Head of the Chess Club and the Historical Society. The worst part of it all is that an innocent life was taken all because of me and my stupidity,” she sobs.

“Paul and his buddies are idiots for not realizing what a special person you are. And you’re far from stupid, Miss Valedictorian. I bet you’ll be accepted into a fancy college and put the rest of us to shame.”

“I don’t know about that.” She sniffles.

“I do. And as far as Paul goes, you’re not the only one who fell for his act.”

“Yeah, but I should’ve known better, Jeremy. I should’ve known better than to fall for his crap.”


"He’s good at his game, Jessie. So good that he’s even conned a few teachers out of their pants.”

Pulling away from him, she looks into his eyes in disbelief. “He and our teachers have...? No." The home economics teacher quickly comes to mind. The lady is wide as she is tall. And her face is so homely her own mother couldn’t even love it. “That’s gross, Jeremy. No, it's beyond gross it’s disgusting.”

“How else do you think he gets his good grades?”

“Well, I…”

“It certainly isn’t from what’s up here.” He points to her head.

She recalls a few of the stupid stunts Paul’s pulled through the years. “He can be a dunce sometimes.”

“Sometimes? My dog is ten times smarter than he’ll ever hope to be. Heck, Sparky’s poop is a lot smarter than him. Better looking too.” Jessica chuckles through her tears. “There’s the cute laugh I love so much.”


“You always know how to make me feel better, Jerr bear.”

“What are best friends for? Now lay back and get some rest.”

“Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?”

He glances towards the door and finds the hall is completely empty. “It’d be my honor.” Wrapping his arms around her he snuggles against her.

“This is nice, Jeremy.”

“Really nice. You know I’m always here for you, Jessie, no matter what.”


“I know and I’m very lucky to have you.” She snuggles closer.

“No, I’m the lucky one.”

Jessica mumbles something then smiles as she drifts off to sleep.

The warmth of her body against me, the smell of her hair, her floral perfume is so heavenly. Jeremy’s eyelids begin to droop. Jeremy opens them, but they quickly drop again. I have to stay awake; he thinks as he slips into a deep, peaceful sleep.

“No, no, stop,” Jessica yells, sitting up in bed.

“It’s ok, Jessie, you’re safe now.” Jeremy reaches for her hand.

Jessica anxiously glances around. She quickly realizes where she’s at. How did I…? Paul’s last words replay in her
mind. Her face turns ghostly pale. “I may be, but my family’s not.”

He sits up beside her. “What are you talking about, Jess?”


“Paul threatened to kill my family.”

Jeremy springs from the bed. “I’m going to make sure he doesn’t touch a single hair on their head.” 

“What are you going to do?”

“What I should’ve done years ago.”

“Jeremy, wait.”

He meets her nurse at the door. “What are you doing here?”

“Call security and tell them a threat was made on her life.”

“A what?”

“Jessie will explain,” Jeremy yells as he bolts down the hall.



Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder. 
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad Jeremy doesn't know it yet.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents

Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down



 


Chapter 6
Pay Back

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

The crisp northern wind blusters through the dark forest blowing dead foliage all around. A bolt of lightning brightens the cloudy skies. Thunder soon follows.

Shaking his head, the boar snorts as he rises to his feet. He sniffs the air and discovers the smell of human blood all around him. He then sees his prey out cold beside him. The beast licks his chomps as he grunts. This is a well-deserved feast in the creature's eyes. The animal rips away Paul's clothes and then tears into his warm flesh. Blood spews across the predator's fur as he devours his meal.


A sharp, stabbing pain surges through every cell in Paul's body, jolting him awake. He glances down to find his leg is being torn to shreds. He lifts his opposite extremity and shoves the beast away.

Scrambling to his feet, Paul hobbles towards the road. Blood spews across the withered debris. Excruciating pain surges through every ounce of his body. He grits his teeth as he continues to the edge of the woods.


Losing his foothold, he tumbles to the ground. He discovers the beast is close behind. I'd rather go to prison than face him again, he thinks. Grabbing the sizable branch beside him, he uses it for leverage to rise to his feet. He straightens up to find the beast lunging for him. Paul wobbles out of the way.

The beast's head smashes against the trunk of the tree. He falls to the ground in a daze.

Paul staggers to the road and sees the cops are a distance away. They're never around when you need them. The creature growls as he stands. Frightened, Paul does a quick limp-splint towards them. Pain courses through every inch of his body as he hobbles on.


He looks back to discover the beast is mere inches away. I need to get their attention before it's too late. "Help me, please, someone help me," he cries.

A horn blares behind him. He turns to find a pickup barreling down the road. The truck swerves to the left. The beast's massive body collides with the edge of the bumper.

The boar flies towards him. Paul takes a quick step back. The creature's lifeless body flumps millimeters from his feet. It lifts his head one final time and snorts. "Rot in hell you demonic beast!" Paul draws back his leg and kicks him as hard as he can. Crippling pain rockets through him. His body folds; his legs grow weak. Paul drops to his knees. He teeters back and forth and then collapses across the wild beast.


***

A crisp northern wind whips through the quiet town. Large bolts of lightning flash through the sky. Jarring thunder soon follows. A few small puddles from the previous storm remains.

The cold wintery breeze bellows again. Shivering, Jeremy fastens Barry's jacket around himself before he continues. He's headed to the edge of town in search of Paul. He's hoping to release some of his hostility.

Jeremy's bottled emotions that have been lurking deep inside him for the past thirteen years are demanding to be released. They are a collection of torment and anguish, fed daily by his pent-up hatred and rage. It's a suffering Jeremy's hidden away for far too long.


Jeremy moves along from day to day pretending they don't bother him. In reality, their brutal insults, their heartless words eat away at the core of his being, his self-worth. Their constant torment leaves him feeling useless like he's a waste of space with no other purpose but to breathe and to torment the ones he holds dear to his heart.

So many nights he's cried himself to sleep, wishing he'd never been born, praying to God that he'd die.

He recalls his mother's devastation when the doctor told her he was ill. That the child she thought was her miracle baby wasn't a blessing after all.


He then remembers how she seldom left her bed for well over a month. The way she overcompensated for her neglect after. From that moment on, Jeremy felt like he was a disappointment to her no matter what he did.

So badly he wanted to tell her he knows he's not what she'd hoped for, but he's doing the best he can. Then beg her to accept him for who he is. Jeremy refrained from spouting off the well-practiced speech because he knows his harsh words would send her into a state of depression. And one of the few things he wanted from this world is for his mom to be happy.

My life may not amount to much, but Jessica's life does. So, I'm going to make sure Paul and his goons never hurt her again.


Jeremy feels this dark evilness stir inside him. It was a ruthless monster Paul and his gang has created with their venomous acts. I'm going to stop every one of them once and for all. He recalls his and Barry's conversation as he continues down the road.

Barry volunteered to help him take care of Paul. Jeremy thanked him for the offer and then quickly explained he needed to handle this on his own. The man seemed saddened by his refusal but said he understood. Why is he so determined to help me, and how does he know my name? I didn't tell him, did I? I didn't think I did.

He's replaying their initial conversation in his mind when a vehicle pulls up alongside him. Jeremy turns to find Jeff in the driver's seat.


"Hey, Ape-man." With a lot of quick talking, Jeff was able to convince his pal that they had to do something with Jeremy, Jessica, and the old man. Otherwise, they'll all end up in jail. "No witnesses, no case," he explained. After hours of searching as a pair, they decided to split up so they could cover more ground.

The car pulls to the side of the road. Jeff starts to climb out.


Jeremy anxiously glances towards town. I can't shoot him here. Jeremy sprints down the street. The vehicle follows. Jeremy takes off in a dead run. Water soaks through his tennis shoes, making it hard for him to jog. Jeff's car swerves in front of him. Jeremy jumps back. His left foot slides off the slick pavement; he plummets to the ground. A small revolver falls from the jacket. Jeremy looks towards town again. I wish I could use it, but I can't. He shoves the gun in his pocket as he springs to his feet. Jeremy puffs out his chest as he straightens up. I'm ready for you this time.

"Your buddy ain't around to save you, monkey-man." Jeff pushes him.

Jeremy pushes back "The one that needs to be saved is you."


Jeff chuckles "Is that so?" He pushes him again, harder than before.

"Damn straight it is. You've messed with me one too many times. I'm going to make sure it all ends right here, right now."

"Oh, yeah, so what are you going to do about it, pussy, huh, what?" Jeff grabs his shirt and slings him against the car. "Just what I thought. You talk tough but you're too big of a wimp to back it up."


Jessica's battered face flashes through Jeremy's mind. I'll show you pussy, punk. Using both hands, he flips his enemy around. Jeff's head plunks against the hood. Jeremy lifts him up and then shoves him down. Jeff's head whacks the vehicle again.

Jeremy leans over his enemy. Fire shoots from his eyes as he says through gritted teeth. "You've picked the wrong day to fuck with me, ass wipe." He punches Jeff. His nose falls sideways; his head smacks the hood.


Jeremy grabs him by the collar and lifts him to his feet. "That was just a warmup." Jeremy swings a right hook. This is followed by a left and then an uppercut. Blood spews from Jeff's face as he teeters back and forth. Jeremy does a final right hook. Jeff collapses against the car. His unconscious body slides to the ground.

Leaning over, Jeremy punches him again and again. Jeff's head pings off the bumper. "You made my life a living hell, Jeff, but no more. Do you hear me, Jeff? I ain't taken yours or anyone else's shit anymore."

Jeff's limp body falls sideways. Jeremy watches his victim lying motionless on the ground. "One down, five to go." He smiles.


Jeremy starts to walk away when another thought comes to mind. He grabs a handful of hair and pulls his adversary to his feet.  "I think you and I need to take a ride." Taking the keys from Jeff's pocket Jeremey opens the trunk.
 

Author Notes I want to apologize for the violence and to explain that I didn't have much choice. See, Jeremy refused to speak to me until I agreed to a fight. I have to keep my main character happy, right?
PS. Don't worry, I know he's fictional, made up but he seems so realistic in my head.


Chapter 7
Jessica's Discovery

By Mistydawn

Summary 
Jeremy was tormented by Paul and his gang his entire life. Their victimizing intensifies after graduation. Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of his life is beaten by Paul. 
Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica. 
Barry offered to help take care of Jeremy's enemies. The lad refuses. Jeremy beat Jeff and then put him in the trunk.
Paul was attacked by the wild boar trying to escape the woods.
 

Jessica wakes up to find her surroundings have become eerily dark. The moonlight that had once glittered around the window has completely diminished. The soft soothing glow from the exterior lights is gone.

 Jessica sees a tall figure standing over her when lightning brightens the darkened room. A scene from a horror movie quickly comes to mind. She gasps as she shuffles to the far side of the bed. The figure continues to stand motionless beside her. A bolt of light flashes again. Jessica discovers the stranger is her IV pole. I need to stop watching horror films. She giggles.


An unsettling sensation washes over her, despite her latest discovery. Bloodcurdling evil oozes into the darkened room. This villainous ambiance quickly covers the entire area and then hangs heavily in the air. She pulls the blanket around herself as she nervously glances around. The horrific perception intensifies with every fleeting moment. Jessica pulls the covers Over her head, leaving just enough open to see. It's just my imagination elevated by the storm. She tries to convince herself as she continues to look around. The area remains still. It's just my imagination, she repeats. She takes a big gulp of courage as she pushes the bedding down. A childish fear.

The monitor's soft beeps soothe her frayed nerves. Her eyes become laden. Jessica struggles to stay awake. The medically induced sleep becomes harder to resist. My assailant wouldn't dare come for me in here. She was told that Paul was her attacker, but she finds that hard to believe. "Why would someone ask me to marry him and then try to kill me a few hours later?" she argued. I wish I could remember.

Jessica is almost asleep when she hears footsteps tromping down the hall. She turns to find a tall, slender figure slinking her way. An earlier event races through her mind. This horrid imagery leaves her in a paralyzed state. The intruder continues towards her. The terrifying moment flashes through her mind again. He wants to make sure I'm dead. "Help me, please somebody help me," Jessica screams. The hall remains deserted. The invader continues towards her, unaffected by her desperate plea. "Somebody, please, help me," she yells again. A second figure joins the invader. He's quickly followed by a third.


Realizing that no one is coming to her rescue, Jessica springs out of bed. The wires connecting her to the monitors pull her back down. Jessica removes the devices and tries again. She feels a sharp sting in the center of her arm. She looks down and discovers her IV has grown taut. She grabs the plastic tube and jerks it from her arm. Blood spurts across the freshly polished floor. That's the least of my worries

Jessica scans the room in search of a weapon as the goons walk through the door. Not finding anything in reach, Jessica darts toward the bathroom. Jeff grabs her arms and shoves her against the bed. Her frail body collapses against the mattress.

"You're not getting off that easy, you little whore." His friends laugh as they step closer.

"Somebody, please help me," she cries.


"Miss Webb, Miss Webb, wake up honey, wake up," a soft voice says.

Jessica gasps as she sits up in bed. She hears voices but they seem to be a distance away.  She shakes her head hoping to clear the fog.

"Are you alright, honey?"

She glances around to find she's still in her hospital room a nurse and two orderlies by her side. "It was only a dream."

"I'd say it was more of a nightmare."


"It was, it definitely was. I dreamt Jeff and two of his friends were coming after me."

"Don't worry honey, we'll keep you safe."  She points towards the officer outside her door.

"What if he has to step away?"

"We'll make sure you're always protected."


Jessica sighs with relief. "I appreciate it, I really do."

"I know you do, honey. Now, why don't you lie back and get some rest."

"Have you heard from Jeremy?"

"Not since he left you a few hours ago."

Jessica glances at her cell. "He hasn't called either."


"He probably doesn't want to disturb you."

"You're probably right."

The nurse straightens her covers. "I caught the little stinker trying to sneak past me several times before he managed to get in."

Jessica chuckles. "That sounds like
Jerr Bear."

"He must care a lot about you."


"He does." More than I realized.

"I even heard he apologized to your parents for letting this happen and for not saving you sooner."

"Wait, Jeremy's the one who rescued me?"

"You didn't know?"

"No one told me and the only things I remember is Paul taking me to the cabin and then waking up here."


"Jeremy even refused treatment until he knew you were alright."

"I asked him about his cuts. He said it didn't matter that he was just glad I was alright."

"Sounds like he'
s a really sweet guy."

"He is. He's always been there for me no matter what."

"And you for him." She grabs the collage of pictures from the nightstand. "I saw it when I was in here earlier."


"Jeremy left it. Said he wanted to remind me of happier times."

"You're one lucky girl to have someone care so much about you that they're willing to risk their life for you."

"I am lucky, aren't I?"

"He sure loves you and it's obvious you care a lot about him."

"Do you think fate did all of this to bring us closer together?"


"It doesn't matter what I think, honey. What matters is what you feel in your heart. Now lay back here and get some rest." She fluffs the pillows.

"Jeremy asked me to marry him before this began. Said he'd raise the baby like his own."

"You don't find
a love like that every day."

She's right you don't. "Could you hand me the pink teddy, please."

"Sure honey."


"I know I'm a little old for stuffed animals, but this is the bear Jerry won for me at the fair."
She wraps her arms around it. "The bear smells like him too."

"There's nothing wrong with a little comfort."

Jessica starts to settle in when a horrid image pops into her head. Frightened, she sits up in bed.

"Is something wrong, honey?"

"Paul and I weren't alone in the cabin."


"Do you remember what the visitor looked like?"

Jessica tries to picture it in her mind. "Their faces are blurred."

"There's more than one?"

"I think so. Oh, I don't know for sure."

"Maybe it'll come back to you once you get some rest."

"Yeah, maybe."


***

Huge bolts of lightning flash across the black cloudy sky. Clashes of thunder violently shake the slushy ground around him as heavy raindrops continue to ping from the hood.

Barry pulls his coat over his head as he climbs out of his truck. He glances down the road and discovers the cops are busy searching for Paul. Five minutes is all I need. He slides his hands into a pair of rubber gloves as he crosses the dirt path.

Barry discovers the wild boar at the bottom of the
pile. Paul's motionless body draped over top. This couldn't have worked out better if I'd planned it. He chuckles to himself.

Barry pulls his gun from his pocket and then looks towards the cabin again. Two more minutes, boys, just two more minutes. He locks the suppressor in place and then flips Paul on his back.

Paul lifts his blood coated arm as he weakly whispers: "Please help me."

"I'll help you, alright. I'll help you by sending you straight to hell." The thunder roars above them. Barry holds his weapon at an angle and pulls the trigger. Paul gasps a final time; his eyes roll to the back of his head.

"No one hurts my kid and gets away with it, no one." The thunder crashes louder than before as he pulls the trigger again. The rain quickly washes the fresh blood downhill.

Barry grabs Paul's arm and tosses him across the beast. Now to get rid of the evidence. He opens his knife and digs the spent casings from the dirt. This will come in handy with my plan. A villainous smile spreads across his face as he heads to the truck.

Grabbing his cell from the dash, Barry dials a number. "Hey, Jeremy it's Barry, I have some great news for you, son. I found your enemy dead in the road." ... "Yeah, that's right. A wild boar tried to make Paul his dinner." ... "You know what they say about Karma." Barry chuckles. "Well, I don't want to bother you, but I thought you'd like to know." ... "Sounds good, talk to you soon." Real soon. He smiles as he hangs up his phone.


Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder. 
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad Jeremy doesn't know it yet.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents

Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down


 


Chapter 8
Sweet Revenge

By Mistydawn

 

Summary
Jeremy was tormented by Paul and his gang his entire life. Their victimizing intensifies after graduation. Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of his life is beaten by Paul.
Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
Barry offers to help take care of Jeremy's enemies. He refuses. Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk.
Paul was attacked by the wild boar trying to escape the woods.

The harrowing storm has stopped momentarily; leaving sizable puddles in its wake. The clouds linger heavily above, covering the bright moonlight; adding to Jeremy's unsettled feeling.

He's racing out of town. His battered enemy is unconscious in the car trunk. Evil plots race through his head as he speeds down the murky road.

I could drop him off in the woods. I’d have to be deep enough in the forest that he’ll never find his way home. I might get lost too. I could push him off a cliff. It needs to be a place known to have lots of animals. Various locations flash through his mind. What if the police discover him before they do and what about his noneditable remains? I could feed him to the hogs. What if I get caught lugging him to their pen? Maybe I could stage an accident and then rig the car to catch fire. That’d destroy any evidence I leave behind. Whatever I decided, it has to be quick with a minimal amount of risk.

He’s trying to come up with an idea when he sees Tony flagging him down. Horrid images flash through his mind.

He first remembers all the times Tony stuffed him into a locker. All the swirlies Tony gave him through the years. The time he nearly drowned. He then recalls the day Tony stripped him and then shoved him into the hall. Everyone pointed and laughed as they walked by.

Jeremy’s heart pounds fiercely in his chest. His nostrils flare. His face turns a dark crimson as he clinches the steering wheel with both hands. This is my chance to take care of him and Jeff. He swerves towards him as he pushes the pedal to the floor.

Realizing the car is headed for him, Tony darts out of the way.
Jeremy veers to the right.

A disturbing thought comes to mind as he gets closer. I’m no better than him if I do this. I’d be worse, way worse. I’d be a killer, a monster, a cold, heartless beast. How can I live with myself knowing what I’ve done? Jeff deserves to be punished but not like this.

At the last possible second, Jeremy swerves away. The car’s tail end slides around. Knocking Tony to the ground.

Jeremy glances back to find his enemy sprawled out in the dirt. “I hit him, I hit Jeff.” Terrified, Jeremy slams on the brakes. Rain engulfs the car as it skids to a stop.

Moisture soaks through Jeremy's shoes; mud splashes on his clothes as he sloshes towards his victim. Please let him be alright, oh, please let him be alright, he begs.

Thunder bellows in the distant sky. Jeremy jumps. His feet slide out from under him. His butt lands in a puddle of mud. He sees the rain clouds have become heavier, much darker when he glances up. That’s all I need.

Scrambling to his feet, Jeremy darts towards his victim. He discovers Tony motionless at the edge of the road. “What did I do, oh, what did I do?” he cries.

***

Barry finds a horde of officers searching the cabin and its surrounding area when he pulls up to the scene. The captain is barking out orders from the porch. I hope this works. He practices what he’ll say as he crosses the drive.

“You can’t go in there, sir.” Barry is in such deep thought that he doesn’t hear what was said. “You can’t go in there, sir.” The officer repeats as he grabs his arm.

Barry turns around. “What?”
“This is a crime scene, sir, you can’t go in there.”

Barry jerks away. “I know this is a damn crime scene because I’m the one who reported it. Now if you don’t mind, I need to speak to the captain about this case.” Seeing the hesitation Barry adds. “It’s very important.”

“Wait here and I’ll get him for you.” The rookie walks over to Joe. The captain glances over and nods.

Barry is looking around when Joe approaches him. “The officer said you have some important information about this case?”

“The guys you’re searching for is dead in the road about a mile south." He points over Joe’s shoulder. “It looks like a boar got ahold of him. His two buddies, the same two that beat up Jeremy were hovering over him. They saw me and ran towards town.”

“Everyone, listen up, we’re taking this search down the road. Let’s go, let’s go.” The canines bark with excitement as they’re being led from the scene. The officers piled into the vehicles and were gone within a matter of seconds.

Part one of my plan is complete. Barry reaches for the phone in his pocket as he walks across the yard. He starts to step up on the porch when a forensic tech meets him at the door.

“This is a crime scene, so, you need to leave.”

“Jeremy and I were the ones who reported it.”

“Doesn’t matter, you still need to go.”

“Can I take a quick peek around for my phone? I think I dropped it when I was in here earlier.”

“I didn’t find one, but you couldn’t have it back even if I did, being that its evidence and all.”

“It has important medical information on it that I really need.”

“If I find one, I’ll let the captain know.”

“I appreciate it. Wait, I think I see it under the bed.”

The forensic tech turns to where he’s pointing. “Where?”

“It’s in the far-left corner.”

The technician walks across the room. “Where? I see it now.”

Barry grabs Jeff's cell from his pocket and drops it through a small slit in the porch.

“It’s just a piece of rubbish.”

“Oh, well thanks anyhow.”

***

Lighting brightens the dark starless night, Thunder soon follows. The rain pours down in thick, heavy sheets soaking Jeremy and his victim to the bone. He continues to stare at Tony hoping to find even the faintest sign of life.

“I killed him, I killed Tony.” His body crumples to the ground beside him. “I’m a killer, a cold-heartless beast.

Why did I let my anger get out of hand, why? How can I face myself in the mirror after what I’ve done?” He sobs into the dark unknown.

Childhood memories play in his mind. He first pictures happy times with his mom at the park. He then imagines the wonderful times he and Jessica had together. “I’d love to spend the rest of my life with her but how is it possible now?” He looks down at the motionless body again. “Oh, what have I done?”

He imagines Jessica’s tearful face in his mind. “What kind of life would that be for us, for her? Always worried about being caught. How could I be there for Jessie when I’m always on the run? It wouldn’t be fair to her to confine her to a long-distance love affair. It just wouldn’t be right."

He notices headlights coming down the far hill. I need to do something with Tony. Jeremy glances over the edge of the road. It’s too shallow to hide him in there. He glances up and discovers the headlights are closer. Think Jeremy think. I could put him in the trunk and then decide what to do from there.

Jeremy grabs Tony’s shirt and lugs him to the car. Tony is a hefty boy, so, this takes a lot of doing. The vehicle continues to get closer. Just a little further.

He starts to open the trunk when he hears Jeff moving around. He’ll lunge for me the moment I pop the lid.

He drags Tony to the side of the car and opens the back door. Jeremy tries to lift him, but his body wouldn’t budge. Maybe I should pull him instead. Jeremy runs to the opposite side and throws the door open. He looks up to see the vehicle is just a hill away. I have to hurry.

Threading his arms underneath Tony’s pits, he heaves him onto the seat. Jeremy's spent body collapses backward as Tony’s large frame gives way. Wiggling out from under him, Jeremy scrambles out. The approaching vehicle is now just a short distance away.

Jeremy climbs into the driver’s seat and tries to start the car. The vehicle roars to life and then dies. He pushes on the gas and tries again. The engine refuses to cooperate. Jeremy looks up to find the vehicle is a short distance away. “Please start oh, please start,” he begs as he tries again.


Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad Jeremy doesn't know it yet.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents

Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down

 

 

Author Notes I apologize for any formatting issues you find. I've tried to correct them, but Evil Eddie comes back the moment I hit save. Warning to all, never badmouth him, cause he will get revenge.


Chapter 9
Joining Forces

By Mistydawn

Summary
Jeremy was tormented by Paul and his gang his entire life. Their victimizing intensifies after graduation. Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of his life is beaten by Paul.
Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
Barry offers to help take care of Jeremy's enemies. He refuses. Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk.
Paul was attacked by the wild boar trying to escape the woods.


Large raindrops pound furiously against the hood of the car. This deafening sound adds to Jeremy's inordinate angst. Jeff is thrashing around in the trunk. Tony continues to stir in the backseat. Jeremy glances up to find headlights shining through the thick foggy mist. His terror rises even more. I can't just sit here and do nothing. He tries to start the car again, but it scarcely makes a sound. 

In a state of panic, he throws the door open. Raindrops pelts through the door as it squeaks open. I either face the storm or prison. His feet sink into the mud; the downpour soaks him to the bone the second he steps out. The vast amount of headlights coming towards him catches his eye. He freezes in mid-step. Jeff beats on his enclosure. This brings Jeremy out of his terror-stricken state. He'll go to the police, tell them what I've done if I run. What if he tells his crew instead? Jeremy pictures the gang beating him to a pulp. I can't leave them like this. I just can't.

Jumping into the driver's seat he tries to start the car. "You can do it, girl, come on, you can do it." Jeremy coaxes as he anxiously tries again. The dash lights dim, the sound grows fainter. The battery is almost dead. He looks up to see the headlights are closer. I either drain the battery or go to jail. He tries again. The lights grow fainter, the sound becomes duller. Jeff's pounding becomes increasingly intense. He turns the key again. "Please start, oh, please start," he begs. He hears a light tap on the window. Jeremy discovers a tall figure in a bright yellow jacket beside him when he turns around. "

***
The station is eerily quiet. The faint glow of the emergency lights adds to this ghastly feeling. The storm caused a power outage across a large portion of the city which brought the sergeant's back work to a standstill.

She really wishes she could be out searching for Paul with the rest of her crew, but the captain, her husband thought it was best if she stayed at the station. Stating he didn't want anything to happen to her or their unborn child. After a brief argument, she reluctantly agreed. I hope everyone is safe, Rachel thinks as she stares out into the cool, blustery night.

Her phone rings, she toddles over to answer it. They'll probably hang up before I get there at this pace. She tries to hurry, but with the extra baby weight, it's hard for her to move fast.


She sees Joe's number on the caller ID when she scoops it up. I hope he's alright. She puts the phone on speaker as she plops in her chair. "Are you alright, Joe?" she breathless asks.

"We're fine, honey, but why are you out of breath?"


"It's a long walk from the window to my desk when you're the size of a rhino." She glances back to find it was only a few feet.

"You're not that big." Joe laughs.

"I feel like it sometimes."

Joe chuckles again. "The baby will be here soon."

"Not soon enough for me."


"So, having a dozen kids is out I take it?"

"A dozen, are you out of your mind?"

Joe laughs again. "I'm just kidding, six will be plenty."

"That'll only happen if you have the next five."

Joe chuckles. "I called to let you know Jessie's attacker is dead."


"How did that happen?"

"Looks like a boar got a hold of him. Tore him up pretty good. Wait, the ME found something."

"What is it, Joe?"

"Hold on." The phone shuffles. She hears voices, but can't make out what's being said.
"Are you still there?"


"What's going on, Joe?" Rachel asks again.

"She says she found two bullet holes in his chest."

"You don't think Jeremy shot him, do you?"

"Maybe."


She pictures the boy's sweet face. "No, that's crazy, Jeremy isn't a killer."

"Well, it was either him or your sister."

Rachel recalls her sister's reaction when Jessie saw her revolver. "Jessie wouldn't do it; she's scared to death of guns."

"I'll have Jerry pick him up."

"It might be best if I do it since he's like one of the family and all." 


"There's no sense in you getting out in this mess. Besides, it's late and you're tired."

"Fine, but I'm going to talk to my sister in the morning, by myself."

"Go see your sister, but I wouldn't get your hopes up with her dissociative amnesia and all."

"She might remember now she's had a chance to rest."

"Maybe. I'm headed back. Do you want me to pick you up some breakfast on the way?"


"Please, I'm famished."

"See you in a few."


***
The rain continues to pour heavily around them. Jeremy remains frozen in the driver's seat, not sure what he should do. Jeff and Tony's actions have momentarily ceased.

The intruder knocks on the window as thunder rumbles above them. "Having car troubles, son?"

Images of what'll happen to him if he gets caught flashes through his mind. I've got to get out of here. He turns the key but the car refuses to start. A bright light shines through the window. Jeremy turns away as he tries again. The dash remains completely dark. "The battery is dead. "He collapses over the steering wheel.


"Are you alright in there?"

Barry? He turns to find a familiar face staring at him. It is him. Rain gushes through the window as he rolls it down. "I'm so happy to see you," he cries.

"Why, what's going on?" Barry flashes his light through the vehicle.

"I killed him, I killed Tony with the car, and I don't know what to do," Jeremy blurts out.

"He wouldn't happen to be the guy in the backseat, would he?"


"Yes, yes that's him. What am I going to do with him? Oh, what am I going to do?"

Barry moves the flashlight to the back again. "You didn't kill him, son"

"What?"

"He isn't dead."

Jeremy turns to find Tony stirring around. "He's still alive."


"It's a good thing too because it would've ruined my plan."

"You have a plan?"

"A great one, but we better make sure he can't fight back."

Jeremy recalls all the anguish he'd just been through thinking Tony was gone. "You're not going to knock him out again, are you?"

Barry laughs. "No, no, I have something in my truck that'll fix him up really good. Wait here."


Like I have a choice.

A few minutes later Barry returns rope in hand. "I'll tell you my plan while we secure his hands and feet." Barry hears a loud thump coming from the back of the car. He looks up, a curious expression on his face. "What was that?"

"Jeff. I beat him up and then threw him in the trunk."

"You've been busy, boy." Barry chuckles.

"Yeah, well what can I say." Jeremy shrugs.


"That'll do it, Barry says as he tightens the last knot. "We might as well take care of Jeff too." They hear Jeff shuffling around. "This will take a little more ingenuity."

"What do you suggest we do?"

"Open the trunk from inside and when he climbs out, I'll whack him with my gun."

"How about if I use the fob?"


"The what?"

"The keychain remote, see?"

Barry chuckles "That'll work too. "Stand back. That's far enough. On the count of three. One, two, three." Jeremy pushes the button, the trunk pops open. Jeff anxiously glances around. "Surprise." Barry smacks him with the butt of his gun. 

"Did you get him?"

"He's out like a light. Here, grab a piece." He hands Jeremy a section of cord.


"You said you had a plan?"

"We're going to frame Jeff and Tony for Paul's murder. If we do it right, they'll be upstate for a very long time."

"I wish I would've thought of it."

"You did."

"I did, when?"


"Don't you remember telling me about a story you watched where someone was framed for murder and how you wished you could do that to them?"

Jeremy chuckles. "I was so mad that I said a lot of crazy stuff."

"There's not a damn thing wrong with blowing off a little steam." 

Jeremy glances at his enemy. "It did feel good to take my anger out on Jeff."

Barry scans Jeff's battered face. "You did one whale of a job on him too."


"He's had it coming for a long time."

"You don't have to explain yourself to me."

"So, what do we do next?"

Barry smiles. "I thought you'd never ask."


Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad Jeremy doesn't know it yet.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents
Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down



 


Chapter 10
Plan of Action

By Mistydawn


Summary
Jeremy was tormented by Paul and his gang his entire life. Their victimizing intensifies after graduation. Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica, the love of his life is beaten by Paul.
Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
Barry offers to help take care of Jeremy's enemies. He refuses. Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk. On his way to dispose of the body, he hits Tony with Jeff's car.

Paul was attacked by the wild boar trying to escape the woods. Barry puts two bullets in his chest to finish him off and then reports his findings to the captain. 
Barry plants evidence and now he and Jeremy plan to frame Jeff and Tony for Paul's death.


The downpour has stopped momentarily, leaving a thick layer of fog behind. The crisp morning breeze that sweeps ever so lightly through the valley has a wintery dampness to it chilling them to their bones. Shivering, Barry flips on the heat. He pauses a second and then cranks it up higher. "I'm freezing to death," he says through chattering teeth.

"I was just about to ask if we could turn it on."
They decided to tow the car and its passengers to Barry's cabin in case a nosy nelly happened to drive by.

"My road is a mile south of here," Barry explains as he pulls onto the highway.


They hadn't made it too far when Barry notices headlights behind them. He glances in the rearview mirror and discovers it's a cop. "I don't want to panic you, son, but a cruiser just pulled up behind us."

Jeremy turns to see the car on their tail. He then notices red and blue lights flashing across the darkened sky. "What are we going to do?"

"Find out what he wants, of course." Barry turns on his signal as he slows down.


Jeremy's body quivers; his voice reaches an all-time high. "Are you out of your freaking mind?"

"What?"

"You want to pull over with Jeff and Tony in the trunk?"


"What do you suggest I do?"

"Outrun them."

"In my beat-up pickup, towing a car? I don't think that'd work out too well." Barry pulls to the shoulder of the road.


Jeremy reaches for the handle. Barry grabs his arm. "They'll shoot you before you reach the forest," Barry warns.

A ghastly scene from his favorite show flashes through his mind. Jeremy closes the door.


"I know how to handle them, son, trust me on this, ok."

Jeremy gazes into the misty night. What other choice do I have?


One of the officers taps on Barry's window while the second shines a light through the opposite side.

"Evening officers," Barry says as the barrier slowly squeaks down.

"License and Registration please."


Barry hands the documents over. "Did I do something wrong?"

The officer glances at the license and then at Jeremy. "I need to see yours too."Bar

"M... mine?"


"Is there a problem?"

"All I have is my school ID."

"You don't have a driver's license?"


"No sir, my condition prevents me from driving. Jeremy's hands tremble as he hands him the card.

The officer looks at the laminated picture and then at Jeremy. Satisfied he hands his Id back. "We're looking for the owner of this car. You don't happen to know where he is, do you?"


"I have no idea," Barry replies.

"You don't know where he is, but you have possession of his car?"

"He called saying that his vehicle broke down and needs it towed to my shop. I thought he'd be with it, but he wasn't. I figure his dad gave him a lift home."


"When was this?"

"About an hour ago. I picked it up a couple of miles down Caddo Gap."

"This car is evidence in a pending investigation. So, I need to tow it to the station."

"No, you can't." Jeremy blurts out as he nervously wrings his hands.


"What the lad means is it's no longer evidence because he's not pressing charges. He and Jeff worked it out."

"You need to take that up with the prosecutor in the morning."

"So, we're free to go?"


"You are but the car isn't. Until my boss tells me otherwise it's part of the crime."

A dispatcher's voice blares through the radio. "All units be advised there is a robbery in progress at 305 West Trimble. Officers request immediate assistance. Repeat, officers request immediate assistance."

"We've got to go."


Mike nods at his partner. "I want you to wait here for the tow truck. It should be along shortly." Barry starts to speak, the officer lifts his hand. "If you decide to leave, you'll be arrested for hindering prosecution and evidence tampering. Both are serious offenses that come with jail time and a hefty fine."

"We'll stay right here, officer."

"You'll get your license back if you do." He and his partner dart to their cruiser.


"It couldn't have turned out any better."

"How do you figure, Barry?"

"I'll explain as we work. Grab the bag and follow me."


***
Rachel and Joe are on their way to the robbery. After a heated debate, and a few well-phrased threats Joe agreed she could go. Sleep on the couch and no nighttime fun, she sure knows how to hit me where it hurts. 

"This could be it, Joe. We could stop this burglary nonsense once and for all."

"I hope so."


There's been a rash of robberies they haven't been able to solve. With no evidence or security footage, the team was left with mere hunches. They first figured it must be a professional job and the security tapes were altered, but couldn't find any signs of tampering. This led the detectives to believe it was an inside job. After a lengthy investigation, this theory proved to be fruitless as well.

The press wasn't any help. They romanticized the perp naming him Casper the friendly burglar because he'd leave thank you notes scribbled in whatever was handy.

Joe and Rachel find their officers ducked behind their cars when they pull up to the scene. The restaurant's front door and side window have several bullet holes in the glass, but no one appears to be injured. "What do we have, son?" Joe questions as he steps up beside a rookie.


"There are two perps, captain. Both are armed and extremely dangerous."

"Have we been able to establish communication?"

"We've tried sir, but they won't answer the phone."


"Get a layout of the building. Jerry, you take Jeff and secure the back. George, Fred cover them. Mike, Steve, you secure the sides. Rachel and I will cover you." He turns to find his wife doubled over at the car. "Are you alright, sergeant?"

"My water just broke." She glances down at her soiled slacks.

Joe anxiously looks at the building and then at her."Not now."

"Tell that to your kid. Oh, it hurts, Joe. It hurts really bad."


"Breathe, honey, just breathe."

"I'm trying," she says through gritted teeth. The pain hits again. Rachel digs her nails into the hood. "I have to go now."

"I'm coming, honey." Joe turns towards his crew. "Jerry I..."


"My contractions are four minutes apart."

"Don't worry, boss, I got this."

"I'll have the kid right here if you don't hurry."

Jerry chuckles. He knows how dramatic she can be. "Go, boss, go."


A single shot rings out, Rachel screams as she folds to the ground.

***
Barry notices headlights breaking through the foggy mist. He glances over to find Jeremy and Jeff seated in the cab. Closing the trunk, he rushes to his vehicle. "I finished in the nick of time," he says as he climbs in beside them. They decided to take Jeff to the cabin. Leave Tony and a few other incriminating items in the car.

"I hope your plan works."

"It will, son."


"How can you be so sure?"

"I was a forensic specialist for several years."

"You never told me."

"There's a lot of things you don't know about me." Some are best left unknown I suppose. He wants to tell him the truth, but Jeremy's mom thought it was best not to.


There's a light tap on the window. Barry rolls it down.

"I'm here to pick up a car," the man explains handing Barry's license back.

"She's all yours." Barry rolls up the window.


"What are we going to do with him?" Jeremy points to his enemy.

"Since he'll probably remember you two fighting and being in the trunk, we'll have to alter his memory. Shape it into something useful."

"How are we going to do that?"


"We're going to convince him you two talked it out and decided to become friends."

"I have to pretend to be friends with him?"

"Just long enough to win his trust. I want you to suggest he goes to the prosecutor with you to prove that your not pressing charges.

"When the prosecutor sees Jeff, he'll arrest him on the spot."

"Exactly, Jeremy but first we need to convince Jeff that him believing he was in the trunk must've been a nightmare."


"What will we tell him when he asks about his car?"

"It's on Caddo road. I'll say he flagged us down claiming he's having car trouble and needed a ride into town. Being so inebriated I suggested he sleeps it off before he faces his dad, he agreed. That's when you two made up."


"Ok, but he'll deny hitting Tony."

"You said no one saw you in the car, right?"


"Yeah."

"So, it'll be his word against Tony's and with Tony in his trunk..."

"This might work after all."

"Of course, it will." Jeff stirs in the seat. "We better get him to the cabin before he wakes up."

Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad Jeremy doesn't know it yet.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents
Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down


Chapter 11
Unexpected Surprise

By Mistydawn


Summary
 Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of Jeremy's life is beaten by Paul. Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
In retaliation, Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk. He then hits Tony with Jeff's car. He and Barry decide to take Jeff to Barry's cabin leaving the car, Tony, and incriminating evidence for the police to find.
Paul was attacked by the wild boar. Barry shoots him with plans to frame Jeff and Tony for his death.



The dark, starless night looms overhead. Trees sway softly in the misty breeze. The dim streetlight scarcely illuminates the light around them. The overwhelming scent of gunpowder lingers heavily in the air as the officers scamper for safety. 

"Take cover, take cover." Joe darts towards his wife lying supine in the dirt. He discovers a puddle of red liquid oozing from underneath her when he gets closer. His hands tremble; his brown eyes fill with tears as he takes the final tottery step. Please don't take Rachel from me, please don't take her away, he silently prays. Dodging a stray bullet, he leaps to her side. "Stay with me, Rachel, help is on the way."

"The baby won't wait that long." She tries to get up, he pushes her back down.


"Let me take care of your wound."

"I wasn't shot."

Joe flashes the light on her shoulder. Not seeing anything he sighs with relief.

"I have to push, Joe, I have to push." She grabs his arm and squeezes. Joe winces from the pain.

"Breathe through it honey, just breathe through it."

"I can't."


"Yes, you can, like this." He breathes like they were shown in Lamaze. Rachel follows. "That's the way baby. Jerry, help me get her in the car."

"Yes, boss." 
Jerry drapes her arm around his shoulder.

 "May I have this dance, handsome?" Rachel winks and then doubles over in pain. "Here we go again." She resumes her breathing.

"That's what you get for flirting." Joe chuckles.

"Not funny, Joe," she mutters through clenched teeth.


They hear a loud explosion. The three turn to find the building in flames. "I'd say our friendly burglar went out with a bang." 

"Good for him, now get me to the damn car."

"Yes, honey."

"Good luck, boss."

Joe notices the earth-shattering glare in Rachel's eyes. "I'm going to need all the luck I can get." Jerry chuckles.


***
The sun is slowly rising over the Ozark Mountains. Barry is busy with a few last-minute details. Jeremy is glancing around the log home.

"This is a nice place you have here."

"It's been my home since the day I was born. I'd like to pass it down to my kid someday, keep it in the family and all."

"You have kids?"

"One son, but he lives with his mom."

"Do you ever see him?"


"Not as much as I'd like." He glances at his son. I wish I could tell you the truth. He then recalls he and Madeline's agreement. But I can't. "Tell me about you, Jeremy."

"I'm an only child. I just graduated high school."

I know, I was there. Barry couldn't be any prouder, watching his son on the stage. Especially, after all the struggles he faced. "Congratulations."

"Thanks."

"So, what are your plans for the future?"


"I would like to work with graphic designs."

"Sounds like a good plan to me."

"First things first, I need to win Jessica's heart."

"Is she the girl you saved?"

"Yes. I've been infatuated with her since we first met. She calls me her little
Jerr bear because I'm soft and cuddly like a carebear."

"It sounds like she has feelings for you too."


"She says she only sees me as a friend, but I'm hoping to change her mind. You know, sweep her off her feet like they do in the movies."

"So, you're a Casanova in the making."

Jeremy smiles. "Something like that." Jeremy picks up a picture from the mantel. "Is this your son?"

Seeing him with the keepsake Barry races to his side.


Jeremy studies it for a second and then glances up at Barry, a frightened yet puzzled look on his face. "Why do you have a picture of me?"

"I... I can explain." Barry reaches for him, Jeremy backs away.

"You better do it fast."

"You might want to sit down for this." Barry motions to the chair.

"I'd rather stand." Jeremy crosses his arms.


Barry clears his throat before he begins. "I'm your biological father, sperm donor I think you guys say."

"My what, no way. It's not possible. I look too much like my dad not to be his."

"You mean like this?" Barry hands him another photo.

H
e and the boy in the picture look identical. "Who is this?"

 "That's me when I was your age."

 "What, no way."

"Look at the date in the corner."

"So, you knocked mom up and left?"


"No, no you've got it all wrong."

"What happened then? Huh, what, you better explain yourself and you better do it fast." Jeremy thumps his foot on the floor.

"Your mother and I were planning to be wed then I was drafted to the army. I had no choice but to go. So, we decided to have our wedding when I returned."

"So why didn't you marry her then, huh? Was it because you found out she was pregnant and you didn't want a kid?"

"Quite the opposite. I was happy you were to be born."


"What stopped you from marrying her then?"

"My mother and her lies. When your mom stopped writing, I got worried, so I asked mom about it. She told me she'd met another man and they were going to get married in the spring. I was devastated, Jeremy. So heartbroken that I didn't care if I lived or died. Years later I found out my mother told Madeline I was dead and Howard helped her in her time of grief. They fell in love and were married soon after. I didn't want to get in the way of you and your mom's happiness, so I let it be."

"Why haven't you two told me the truth?"

"We talked about it and decided it'd be best to leave it alone."


Tears swell in his sad brown eyes. "How can not knowing, be the best for me, huh, how?"  Jeremy bolts towards the door.

"Where are you going?"

"As far away from you as I can get."

"No, Jeremy, please, don't go."


He spins around. "I hope you and mom rot in hell for what you've done."

"Jeremy, wait." The screen door slams too, Jeff stirs on the couch.

"Jeremy, come back he's waking up." The lad continued across the drive.
I'll have to do this without him. Barry shakes the lad. "Wake up Jeff, wake up, you're having a nightmare."

Jeff opens his eyes and looks around. "Where am I?" he asks as he continues to glance around. 

"You don't remember me taking you to my cabin?"

"Who are you?"

"I'm Barry Whitmore, the tow truck guy, your dad's friend."


"Tow truck guy?"

"Yeah, you called and said you needed a tow."

Jeff gives him an inquisitive look. "I don't remember calling you."

"You were pretty drunk when I picked you up."

Jeff crinkles his nose. "I do smell like a brewery." He chuckles. "Wait, these ain't the clothes I had on."  

"They're the ones I picked you up in."

He glances at his outfit again. "How did I end up here?"

"You said you needed to sleep it off before you faced your dad."

"It's probably good I did because he'd be royally pissed if I came home drunk again."


This is going better than I'd hoped. Barry chuckles. "That's what you said last night too. Said he'd kick you out."

"He probably would. You said I was having a nightmare?"

"You was yelling get me out of this trunk."

Jeff gets a perplexed look on his face. "I was?"

"That's what it sounded like."

"Why did I dream I was in a trunk?"

"It's hard telling."

"You said I had car trouble?"


"It's nothing I spare tire can't fix. How about if I get you some breakfast before we get to it?"

"I'd rather just tend to my car."

"Let me grab my keys and we'll go."

"It isn't here?"

"It was too dangerous to tow it in the storm. Don't worry, I made sure it was safe."

Jeremy walks in to find Jeff on the couch. Fire shoots from his eyes. He tightens his jaws as he clenches and unclenches his fists. Every ounce of his being wanted to rip him apart. I have to remember our plan. He glances at his new-found father. I don't think I can do this, Barry. I really don't.

Discovering his enemy in the doorway, Jeff jumps off the couch. "What are you doing here, ape-man?"


"Is that any way to talk to your friend, Jeff?"

"We ain't friends, far from it. Right, monkey-man?"

I should have beat the fuck out of you when I had the chance. "You're going to think monkey-man." Jeremy plows him to the ground.

"Our plan, Jeremy, our plan."

"Fuck your plan, Barry, I'm going to take care of this ass wipe once and for all."
Jeremy slams Jeff's head against the floor.

"Not in my house you don't." Barry grabs his gun and aims it at the door. The boys jump.
"The next one will be in your asses if you don't take it outside." They continue to glare at each other but neither moves. "Don't try my patience, you two." Barry reloads his gun.

"You heard the man, let's take this outside." Jeremy pulls Jeff off the floor.

"You think you're so tuff, ape-man, well, let's go."

"After you." Jeremy opens the door.

The three discover cruisers in the drive when the step out on the porch. They're taken aback.

"Hands in the air, do it, now," Joe yells. Rachel and their son are doing well, despite her giving birth at the crime site.


Jeremy's arms tremble as he does what he's told. "What... What's going on, Barry?"

"Remember what we discussed and you'll be alright?" He watches more cruisers pull in the drive. I hope.

 


Chapter 12
Brink of Freedom

By Mistydawn

Summary
 Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of Jeremy's life is beaten by Paul. Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
In retaliation, Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk. He then hits Tony with Jeff's car. He and Barry decide to take Jeff to Barry's cabin leaving the car, Tony, and incriminating evidence for the police to find.

Paul was attacked by the wild boar. Barry shoots him with plans to frame Jeff and Tony for his death.
The police arrest Barry, Jeremy, and Jeff
.

The bright morning sun glistens above promising a beautiful day ahead. It was a pleasurable sight after last night's horrid storms. The high winds caused extensive damage and power outages across the majority of the town. 

Jeff is handcuffed and shoved in one cruiser while Jeremy is restrained and crammed into another. Barry is talking to the captain on the porch.


I hope he can get us out of this. Jeremy sees Barry grimace when Joe clicks the cuffs in place. He then notices his father's grief-stricken face. A sense of guilt overwhelms him bringing him to tears. This is my fault. It's all my fault.  I'm the one who dragged him into this, made him get involved. Years of torture replays in his mind. He then recalls the time he retaliated and the anguish that followed I should've known better than to try and fight back. Thinking this time would be different; that I'd somehow win. Why did I have to be so stupid, why? I should've left it alone the way I'd done in the past?

 Joe and Barry step inside the cabin. I wonder what that's about? Jeremy thinks. They return to the porch a few minutes later laughing like old chums. Barry's restraints are gone. Whatever happened must've gone well. A harrowing thought suddenly comes to mind. Barry wouldn't hang my ass to save his, would he? Oh, I wish I knew what was going on. Joe inches closer to the cruiser, Barry by his side. I hope I tell the story right. What version should I tell? The side door opens. The frightened lad takes a big gulp of courage. Its do or die. His entire body trembles as he conjures up the courage to speak. "I can..."

"Barry explained what happened, how you picked Jeff up at the side of the road."

"Yes, yes that's what happened. We gave him a lift to Barry's cabin. He was so drunk we were afraid to leave him out there alone."


"Since the security camera shows you've been here the majority of the night, you're free to go."

 "I'm what?" He glances at Barry a perplexed look on his face.

"He's cutting you lose, son."


Helping Jeremy out of the car, Joe reaches behind him and unfastens the cuffs. He then turns towards his right-hand man. Jerry, take Jeff to the station, I'll be along shortly. I want to check on Rachel and the baby first."

"Copy that boss."


Jeremy remained frozen alongside the car, not sure what to do. The officers exit the scene. Barry places his arm around the shaken lad's shoulders. "Come on, son, let's get some grub." Barry leans over and whispers. "I'll explain when we get inside." Afraid the lad would say too much, he rushes him across the yard.

 "What security tape?" Jeremy questions as he closes the door behind him.

Barry chuckles. "The one out front. I learned how to rig it from a crook we chased years ago. He'd forge the tape to make it look like he was somewhere when he wasn't. It took me a while, but I finally caught on."


"Did you ever catch the guy?"

"He was long gone by the time I figured it out. Enough about that old case, why don't we get some breakfast?"

"I'd rather hit the sack if you don't mind."

Barry yawns. "It wouldn't hurt for me to grab a few hours of shut-eye too."

***
An unbearable scent hits him the moment Joe steps through the hospital doors. A horrid memory suddenly comes to mind. He pictures himself as a young lad holding his mother's frail hand as she takes her final breaths. It's special occasions like these that he misses her the most. Rest in peace, mom. Wiping a tear from his cheek, he darts down the hall. 

Rachel is nursing the baby when Joe walks into her room. "Wasn't he nursing when I left?"


Rachel chuckles. "Your little guy has a healthy appetite."

"Maybe he's a booby man like his daddy." He massages her exposed breast.

"Not here, Joe." She playfully slaps his hand.

"Something so beautiful staring at me is hard to resist."


He reaches for her again. The baby fusses. "I don't think your son wants to share."

"I brought you into this world little guy."

Rachel clears her throat.

"With the help of your mommy, of course. So, the least you can do is share."

The baby screams.

Rachel chuckles. "I don't think he liked your idea."

"So that's how it's going to be, is it, son?"


The baby yells louder. "I think you got your answer." Rachel laughs as she switches sides. The baby latches on and quickly gets to work."

"He is a hungry fellow."


"He has a big appetite like his dad." She glances at her son and smiles. "I bet you never dreamed you'd be delivering him when we went out on a call."

Joe recalls the horror that coursed through him when he saw the baby's head peeking through the birth canal. "My first son and first delivery all in the same day." Joe chuckles.

"In the back of old Betsy." Rachel laughs.


Betsy was Joe's first cruiser. She's old, very outdated but Joe uses her every now and again. "You know what this means, don't you?"

"What Joe?"

"We have to keep Betsy now." They've been trying to get him to get rid of her, but Joe wouldn't agree. Said it reminded him of his humble beginnings, he and Rachel's first dates.

Rachel shakes her head. You're going to tell me you want to be buried in the car next."


"That's not a bad idea."

"Joe." He chuckles.

There's a knock on the door, they turn to find Jessica in the entryway.

"Hey, sis."


"This is a nice surprise." Rachel hadn't expected her to come up since she lost her baby hours before.

"I had to see my handsome nephew. Mom says he's quite a chunk."

"Almost ten pounds."

"No wonder you were so big." Jessica reaches out and strokes his head. "He's adorable, guys," she says choking back the tears. Grief overwhelms her, she turns away. "I thought I could do this, but I can't, Rach, I'm sorry." She sobs.

"It's ok, Jess, we understand. And Jess."


Jessica holds up her hand. "Please don't. I've had all the sympathy I can take." She wipes the tears from her face. "I... I better be getting back before nurse ratchet sends a search party for me."

"She can't be that bad." Rachel laughs.

"I thought she was going to have Jeremy's head when she caught him in my room."

"Jeremy visited you?" Joe questions.


"Yeah, he came in around midnight. Jeremy said she threatened to put him in the psych ward if she caught him trying to sneak in again. He was so scared he jumped at every sound." She chuckles through her tears.

"You're sure it was around midnight?"

"He texted me at 11:55 and said he's on his way. Well, I better go. She glances at her nephew again. "He's adorable, guys. I wish... Oh..." Jessica races out of the room.

Rachel watches her disappear down the hall. "Poor kid."


"She's strong like her sister, I'm sure she'll be alright."

"I hope so. I thought you said the case was closed?"

"I thought it was, but after hearing that I'm not so sure. See, Barry showed me security footage to prove he and Jerry were at the cabin most of the night. Said he wanted to show me they didn't have any part in whatever was going on."

"Yeah, so?"

"How did he know we were questioning him about last night?"

"Maybe Jeff said something?"


"Yeah, maybe."

"Something is telling me you're not buying Barry's story."

"He just happens to find one of Jeremy's enemies on the road and the second one stranded? Jeremy was so nervous I thought he was going to piss himself."

"You can be very intimidating."

The captain runs his fingers through his thinning hair. "Honey do you..."

"Go, go, the baby and I are fine."


"Thanks, honey, you're the greatest." He races for the door.

"Don't you forget it either, mister."

***
Jeremy is startled awake by pounding on the front door. He turns to find Barry waddling down the stairs. "What's ... What's going on, Barry?"

"I have no idea." The intruder bangs again. "Berryville Police open up."

Jeremy sees a text message from Jessica when he glances at his phone. Scooping it up he skims through it. Jeremy's heart drops as he reads. "I think I know."


There's pounding on the barrier again. "I know you're in there. So, open up before we break it down."

Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents

Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down

 


Chapter 13
False Blame

By Mistydawn

Summary
 Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of Jeremy's life is beaten by Paul. Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
In retaliation, Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk. He then hits Tony with Jeff's car. He and Barry decide to take Jeff to Barry's cabin leaving the car, Tony, and incriminating evidence for the police to find.

Paul was attacked by the wild boar. Barry shoots him with plans to frame Jeff and Tony for his death.
The police arrest Barry, Jeremy, and Jeff
. They're released. Joe discovers a discrepancy in their story

Jeremy's hands tremble, his face turns ghostly white. He wipes the sleep from his eyes as he reads Jessica's text again.

The intruder bangs louder than before. "Berryville PD, open the door, now."

Barry anxiously snatches the phone away.

"I didn't know you were going to do what you did," Jeremy explains as tears swell in his big brown eyes.

There's pounding again. "The place is completely surrounded so come out with your hands up."

A terrified look spreads across Jeremy's face as he nervously shifts his weight. "What... What are we going to do?"

"Stall them as long as you can.
"

"But I..."

Barry pats Jeremy's back. "Don't worry, son,  I got this." He darts down the hall.

Jeremy looks towards the door and then back at Barry not sure what he should do. Horrid images suddenly come to mind. Jeremy first imagines being tossed in a cell. He then pictures brawny men beating
him up. The way they did in the movies.  He glances towards the bolted back door and then the small windows. There's no way to escape. Tears stream down his pale face.

The intruder bangs again. "This is your final warning. Open the door or we'll break it down."

Jeremy anxiously glances down the hall.

"Go ahead, son, I'm done.
We came in at a quarter till one." Barry winks.

Jeremy's entire body quivers as he trudges to the entryway. He turns to find Barry closing the office door.

A large hand grabs Jeremy's collar and pulls him through the door. A second set of hands tosses him on the lawn.

Air explodes from his lungs when he lands. Jeremy looks up to find Paul's brawny gang over him.

***
Joe finds Jerry and Kirk at their desks when he races through the door. He zig-zags around the assortment of furniture to their small section of the station.

"Jerry, find Barry's statement for me."

"Sure thing, boss." He shuffles through a stack of papers. "Is something wrong?" He asks as he hands it over.

"I'm not sure." Joe scans through the report. "It's not here." He tosses the paper on the desk.

"What isn't boss?"

"What time he and Jeremy claim to have made it home."


Kirk glances up from his computer. "He said around midnight I believe, sir."

That's what I thought too. "Do we have his security footage, Kirk?"

"Didn't think we needed it since he and Jeremy were in the clear."

"Has our suspect said anything?"

"Not a lot, boss. He claims he's not sure what happened. Said he recalls he and Jeremy having it out over on Main Street and then waking up in Barry's cabin. Said Barry told him he'd called and asked for a tow, but he doesn't remember making the call."

"Is Jeff in the interrogation room?"

"Yes, sir. Sir, the blood on the clothes found in the trunk belongs to Jeff and the blood matches Paul's."

"Did forensics find anything else, Kirk?"


Kirk taps a few keys. Their report comes up on his computer screen. "The fingerprints on the gun belong to Jeff and the ones on the spent bullet is Tony's."

"Jerry, bring Tony back up here."

"Yes, boss." He jumps to his feet.

"Kirk, grab a few officers and pick up Barry and Jeremy. Be sure to get the tape this time. "

"Copy that, sir."

***

Hearing a commotion on the front lawn, Barry grabs his rifle and darts outside. Seeing what's going on, he squeezes off
a round. "Get the hell off my property before I put a bullet in your ass," he barks. Barry feels a hard object press against his head. He then hears a click of a gun.

"Drop your weapon," a deep, gritty voice orders.

Barry sees squad cars pull into the drive as he lowers his weapon. He glances over at Jeremy who's bleeding on the cold, wet ground. I hope they hurry


Discovering the commotion, the officers spring from their cars, guns in hand.

"Berryville PD, hands where I can see them, do it now."

The gang throws their hands in the air.

"You on the porch drop your weapon. Do it now."

The man darts inside.

"I've got him, detective." The rookie sprints across the lawn.

Barry hears a loud bang and then a thud. He turns to find the bloody gunman beside him.

"He had a little run-in with your floor." the officer explains as he shoves his suspect across the porch.

"Hate when that happens." Barry chuckles.


"Let's get the rest of these low-life's loaded up. Let's go, let's go," Kirk orders.

Barry walks over to Kirk. "I'm so glad you guys showed up when you did. We'd probably be dead if you hadn't."

"You and Jeremy are coming too."

"Why us?"

"Joe wants to ask you a few questions about last night. Says he wants to see your security footage too. "


"Barry," Jeremy frighteningly mutters.

"Tell them the truth son and you'll be alright."


***

Jeff glances around the cold, bleak interrogation room. His home away from home his dad likes to call it. He claims Jeff is there more than his house. He then recalls what his probation officer said. "I might be doing tome upstate." Happy memories play in his mind. "I'll never have those times again." A tear trickles down his cheek, he wipes it away. His thoughts are interrupted when Joe storms in the room.

"So, we meet again."

"I... I didn't do anything wrong. I swear."

"Like you swore all the times before?" Plopping down in the chair, Joe opens the vanilla folder. He then turns the camera on.

"It's different this time, I've really cleaned up my act."

"Driving on a suspended, that doesn't sound like you're cleaning up your act to me."

"I did that but I...I didn't do what you guys claim." 

"If you didn't do it then how did Tony end up in your trunk and why does the gun that killed Paul have your prints all over it?"


"I...I don't know."

Joe slams his hands on the table. Jeff jumps back. "Come on, fess up. We know you did it. Paul's blood is all over your clothes." He plops a picture on the table. "You can't say they aren't yours because they have your DNA all over them."

"I... I didn't do it, I... I swear," he blubbers.

"Tony claims you and he killed Paul and then you tried to kill him." He slides a piece of paper across the table.

Jeff sees Tony's sloppy scribbles across the sheet. "That's not what happened." He wipes the tears away.

"I have his sworn affidavit right there." Joe points to the piece of paper. "So, unless you can prove differently, you're under arrest for murder and attempted vehicular homicide. You'll be lucky if you don't get sentenced to life."

Jeff's body quivers. "Life, no. I... I didn't do it, I swear, he bawls" 


"Then explain to me how your prints are on the gun and why Paul's blood is on your clothes?"

"I... I don't know. All I remember is having it out with Jeremy then waking up in Barry's cabin."

"So, let me get this straight. You claim you and Tony were beating up Jeremy, Barry pulls up, you run off and the next thing you know you're at his cabin?"

"Yes, wait no, Barry broke up the fight earlier in the night. I found Jeremy later and decided to finish the job. Tony wasn't with me then." He wipes his face again.

"Where was Tony?"

"His house, I guess. That's where I dropped him off."

"So, you beat up Jeremy the second time and then...?"

"I woke up in Barry's cabin."

He didn't do any of the stuff he normally does when he lies and I've never seen him cry. Being a frequent flyer, Joe knows his actions well. "Sit tight a minute."


Jerry steps up beside him when he walks out the door. "We have enough to convict without a confession." 

"I know, Jerr, but this whole thing doesn't make sense. Where's Tony?"

"He's next door."

Joe sees Tony looking around when he walks in. "So, Tony this is how it stands. Your fingerprints were found on the bullet that killed Paul." He begins as he thuds across the room.

"I... I didn't kill Paul."

"Jeff claims you loaded the gun and he shot him. I have his statement right here. He plops the file on the table.

Tony anxiously glances at it, then he looks back up. "No, that's not what happened at all."

"Tell me your version of the story. Start with you two beating Jeremy up." 


Beads of sweat pop out across his forehead as he explains. "We planned to, but an old man threatened to shoot us, so we ditched." 

"What happened next?"

"Jeff dropped me off at my house. I decided to go to my other friend's house and that's when Jeff hit me and threw me in the trunk." 

"You're sure it was Jeff?"

"It was his car." 

"Did you see his face?"


A puzzled look crosses his face "No, but he's the only one that drives his car." He nervously fidgits in his seat.

"What time did he drop you off?"

"Around eleven-thirty. Dad was watching cops when I walked in."

"Your dad saw you?"

"Yes. I didn't leave again until after he went to bed. It was nearly one I think." 

"I'll be back." Joe steps into the hall. "What is Paul's time of death, Jerry?"

"The ME put the TOD at 11:30. Said it'd had to have happened within half an hour of her initial assessment because his body temperature was 97.9."

"Call Paul's dad, see if he'll confirm his alibi."

"He could've loaded the gun before he was dropped off."


"It'd take Jeff at least thirty minutes to drive from town from Chrystal mountain. So, unless Sharon is wrong, these two couldn't have done it."

Jerry scratches his head. "Tony could be lying about when he came in, boss."

"That's why I want you to call to confirm."

"Yes, boss. Kirk just called said a gang was beating up Jeremy when they rolled up. Said the gang claims they're getting revenge for Paul's death."

Joe glances back at tony then towards Jeff. They may be right. Jeremy might be our killer.


Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents

Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down
Kirk detective



Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents

Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down


Chapter 14
Truth, Lies and Speculation

By Mistydawn

Summary
 Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of Jeremy's life is beaten by Paul. Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
In retaliation, Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk. He then hits Tony with Jeff's car. He and Barry decide to take Jeff to Barry's cabin leaving the car, Tony, and incriminating evidence for the police to find.

Paul was attacked by the wild boar. Barry shoots him with plans to frame Jeff and Tony for his death.
The police arrest Barry, Jeremy, and Jeff
.  Barry and Jeremy are released. Joe discovers a discrepancy in their story and arrests them again.


Jeremy nervously glances around the sparsely furnished room. Its meager decor consists of a long metal table and matching chairs. An old-fashioned light-fixture hangs lopsided on a chain above him. There's a one-way mirror on the drab walls in front of him a barred window on the opposite side. These discoveries add to the nauseating perception anchored in the pit of his stomach; that a grave fate is headed his way. 

Heavy footsteps tromp down the hall, stopping outside the room. Jeremy's entire body quivers. The thick metal door flies open and then crashes against the colorless wall.

The terrified man-child jumps in his seat. His cuffs clunk against the table. He glances up to find Joe's brawny frame in the doorway. He has his hands on his hips, a horrifying expression on his face. Jeremy gulps as he cowers in his chair. 

Joe stomps across the concrete floor. Slamming his hands on the table, he leans across and glares into Jeremy's teary eyes. The lad's body paralyzes with fear.

After what seems like an eternity the captain finally speaks. A dagger look remains on his face. "I'm tired of your games, Jeremy. So, tell me what really happened before I throw you in the slammer."


Jeremy gulps a large dose of courage before he begins. "I... I already told you what happened, sir." He nervously fidgets in his chair.

"Tell me how Paul ended up with two bullets in his chest and how Tony ended up in Jeff's car?" Joe slams his hands on the table as he leans in. He stops a few centimeters from his face. His warm, stale breath pelts Jeremy's face when he speaks. "The car you and Barry were caught towing. Tell me, Jeremy, tell me how." Joe slams his hands down again.

The color drains from the frighten lad's face as he leans back in his chair. "I... I don't know. I... I swear I don't," Jeremy blubbers on the verge of tears.

"Don't lie to me, Jeremy."

"I'm... I'm not, sir. Paul was alive when we left him, and I haven't seen Tony since Barry scared him and Jeff away."

"You didn't go back and finish Paul off once you knew Jessica was ok?"

"No... No. Barry and I went straight to the cabin."


"Explain to me how you and Barry were pulled over if you went straight to his cabin?"

"Pulled over?"

"I have the police report right here." He tosses a piece of paper on the table.

"That happened hours later. See, Jeff called and asked for a tow."

What time did he call?"

"I'm not sure, but I know it was late. Barry and I were already asleep."

"According to the police report, you two claim you didn't know where Jeff was."

"We... We didn't at... At the time." He nervously squirms around again.

"How did he end up at the cabin?"


"We found him alongside the highway. Barry was afraid he'd get hit so we took him home."

"You're claiming you went from the hospital straight to Barry's cabin, correct?"

"Yes... Yes, sir."

"Barry said he stopped for gas."

"He might've. I was so tired I fell asleep."

There's a knock on the door. Joe sees Jerry in the entryway when he turns around.

"Can I speak to you a moment, boss." Stepping into the hall, Joe closes the door behind him.

"Jeff has GSR on his hands, and forensics found a hair in the trunk that doesn't match Jeff, Tony or Paul."

"There's another conspirator in all of this?"


"Looks like it, boss."

Joe runs his fingers through his thinning hair. "What did they find on the security footage?"

"It shows them coming in a little before one like he claims but Kirk and I believe he initially said midnight."

"I think he did too. Have them check for tampering and pull hospital security footage."

"Copy that, captain."

"Have you heard any more about the gun in the trunk?"

"The serial number was scratched off so we've sent it to ATF, see if they can identify it."

Kirk runs to them. "Captain, detective, I thought you should know we found Jeremy's prints in the backseat and in the trunk of Jeff's vehicle."

"The prints could've been from the abduction earlier in the night. Come to think about it the extra hair could be from the kidnapping too."

"What do you want us to do, captain."


"Check the security footage and then go from there. Have you been able to reach Tony's dad yet?"

"No, sir, he's not at his house or his work and no one has spotted him or his vehicle in town."

"Keep trying."

"Yes, sir."

Joe stomps back in the room. Jeremy jumps again. "So, Jeremy, where were we?"

"You... You were asking me about the ride home, sir."

"What time did you make it to the cabin?"

"I didn't check the time, but I saw Jessie around midnight. She was tired so I didn't stay long."

"Jeff said you and he fought twice last night?"

"The first time was more of an ambush. He and Tony tied me up and beat me. Barry scared them away."


"Tell me about the second time."

"I was headed home when Jeff saw me again. He jumps out of his car and tried to throw a punch."

"He tried?"

"He was so drunk he fell. "

"So, what did you do?"

"I hit him a couple of times and left."

Joe tilts his head to the side; a look of disbelief crosses his face. You didn't beat him to a pulp after all the trouble he's caused?"

"I thought about it, believe me, I did but Barry talked me out of it said I'd be stooping to his level."

"Where did you two go from there?"

"Home, well, Barry's home."


"Sit tight a minute." Joe steps into the hall. Jerry walks up beside him.

"What's going on, boss?"

"I think I know what really happened. I want everyone in my office, ASAP."

"Copy that, boss."

***

Rachel was surfing through the channels when she hears a knock on the door. She glances over to find her sister in the entryway. A perplexed look on her face.

"Is something, wrong, Jess?" Running to her side, Rachel guides her to a chair.

"
I just remembered something about the cabin." 

"What is it, Jess?"

"I don't know if this will help, but I remember Jeff and Tony being there. The three argued and Jeff left." 

"What were they fighting about?"

Jessica glances towards the ceiling, trying to recall what had happened. "My memory is still very vague."

"I know, honey, but you need to try and remember what was said."

"I can only remember the last part." 

"Anything you can tell us will be a big help."
 
"Jeff mentions Jeremy. That it's Paul's fight, not his and he was tired of being Paul's lackey. Paul mumbles something. Jeff pushed him. Tony breaks it up. Jeff tells them both to go to hell and leaves. I must've passed out right after, because when I woke up, Paul was standing over Jeremy with a gun in his hands. I  hit Paul over
the head  and then I woke up here."

"Was Tony still there when Paul had the gun?"

"I didn't see him, but I really didn't look either. I was more concerned about Jeremy."


"Do you remember a weapon going off?"

"No."

"Can you describe Paul's gun?"

"It looked like the ones in Dad's westerns. You know, the ones with the long barrels."

"Was it like this?" Rachel hands Jessica her phone.

"Yes, that's it."

"I better tell Joe your news."


***
Everyone crowds into the office as Joe finishes up on the whiteboard. He turns to find Jerry in the back. "Close the door, Jerr."

"Sure thing, boss."

"Ok, so this is what I think happened. Jeremy and Barry beat up Jeff, rendering him unconscious. They hit Paul with Jeff's car and then decides to frame them for Paul's murder." 

"That'd explain why Jeff doesn't remember how he got to the cabin, but Tony claims Jeff hit him with his car."

"Tony said it was Jeff's car, Bill, but he didn't see the driver." With both in the trunk, our duo would have access to everything they need."

"I can see how they'd transfer fingerprints, but how did they recreate a perfect splatter on Jeff's clothes, sir?"

"Jeremy could've worn them when he shot Paul, Kirk."

"Wouldn't Jeremy's DNA and fingerprints be on the clothes, sir?"


"Have forensics check it again. If they do find anything have them compare it to the hair found in the trunk. I'll ask Jeremy for a GSR test."

"Yes, sir."

"What do you want the rest of us to do, boss?"

"Figure out a way to prove or disprove my theory, Jerr." He glances at the board again.


Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents

Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down

 


Chapter 15
The Truth is Revealed

By Mistydawn

Summary
Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of Jeremy's life is beaten by Paul. Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
In retaliation, Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk. He then hits Tony with Jeff's car. He and Barry decide to take Jeff to Barry's cabin leaving the car, Tony, and incriminating evidence for the police to find.
Paul was attacked by the wild boar. Barry shoots him with plans to frame Jeff and Tony for his death.
The police arrest Barry, Jeremy, and Jeff. Barry and Jeremy are released. Joe discovers a discrepancy in their story and arrests them again.


The officers are waiting patiently in the crowded office for their assignments while the captain talks to his wife on the phone. Disconnecting his call, he turns towards them a perplexed look on his face.

"What's wrong, boss?"

"Did forensics find a rifle at the cabin?"

"I don't think so but let me check again." Picking up an evidence log, Jerry scans through it. "The only weapon on here is the gun in Jeff's trunk."

Joe points to his two rookies. "You two check the cabin again." Nodding, the officers' leave.

"What's going on, boss?"

"Jessie remembers Paul holding a rifle to Jeremy's head. She also remembers Jeff, Paul and Tony fighting. Said she can't recall all the conversation, but remembers hearing Jeremy's name. Said Paul was angry because they let him go."


"That could be the reason why Jeff killed Paul, sir."

Joe runs his fingers through his hair as he reviews the case again. "The evidence is compelling, but what about Barry and Jeremy's changing story? There has to be a reason for that. I think you and I should talk to them, Jerry, see what the fight was about. The rest of you pull security footage, see if you can find the four of them anywhere in the city." The team shuffles out. Joe and Jerry follow.

Stopping at the door Joe turns towards his detective."I want you to take the lead on this one." 

Jerry opens the thick metal barrier. "After you, boss."

Jerry makes his way to the table while Joe heads towards the corner.

Jeff glances at Jerry, then at Joe and gulps. One is bad enough, but two? Jeff gulps again as he cowers in his chair.

"I heard you and Paul got into a fight at the cabin."

"We... We had... Had a few words, sir."


"Do you mind telling me what it was about?"

"It was no... Nothing really, just a little disagreement between friends."

Slamming his hands on the table, Jerry leans across the furniture. "Threatening Paul's life is more than a little disagreement wouldn't you say?"

Jeff's body trembles as tears form in his eyes. "Who... Who told you that?"

"So, it is true. You did threaten him."

"I... I didn't threaten anyone. We had a few words I told him to go to hell and left."

"We were told you would've killed him if Tony hadn't dragged you away."

Joe walks towards them. Jeff's body trembles again. Joe places his hand on the lad's shoulder. "It's alright, son, we understand. Tony explained it all. How Paul treats you two like lackeys; forcing you two to do his grunt work while he's out having a good time. How his daddy's extensive reach always bails his ass out leaving you and Tony to take the fall."


Jeff's body shakes with fury as memories replay in his mind. He then recalls he and Paul's last conversation. Anger rages inside him. Springing from his seat Jeff growls through clenched teeth. "I was pissed enough to kill him, alright. I was, I was. I wanted to tear the little prick to shreds. Probably would've too if Tony hadn't dragged me away."

"So, you dropped Tony off and then went back to finish the job."

"I didn't shoot Paul, damn it, I didn't, I didn't. I didn't go to the cabin a second time," he cries.

"We have a witness who claims he saw you twice." Jerry lays a piece of paper on the table. "He claims you ran him off the road."

"I did go out there to shoot him, I did, but I couldn't cause the cops were already there."

Jerry leans across the table and glares into Jeff's teary eyes. "I think you found Paul and shot him."

"I didn't see Paul the second time, I didn't. I was so scared I'd be blamed for whatever was going on that I left."

Jerry slams his hands on the table. "You might as well fess up boy, cause we already know it was you."


"I didn't kill him, I didn't I swear." Jeff blubbers through his tears.

Jerry leans in closer. "How did Paul's blood get on your clothes and gunshot residue on
your hands?"

" I don't know." Jeff sobs.

***
Not wanting to return to her drab room, Jessica decides to take a tour of the hospital. She especially wanted to see the new surgical wing on the third floor.

The smell of fresh paint overwhelms her the moment the elevator opens. Jessica gags from the strong stench. They're not working on Sunday, are they? She steps onto the earth-toned carpet and nervously glances around. Discovering it's safe she continues.

She first discovers what appears to be the waiting room. It's decorated in soft pastel pinks and blues. The grand hallway leading off it is done in a soft baby blue.

Jessica pushes through a set of swinging doors to the surgical unit. This hallway is done in an off white with porcelain colored floor. 
Four small rooms are adjacent to it, two on each side. A large room sits at the end. Like the adjoining area, it has a cold, colorless feel. The hospital needs this. Being ill-equipped to handle major trauma they often evac patients out.

Jessica is admiring the addition when an arm wraps around her neck; a soft, damp cloth presses against her face. Jessica tries to squirm away. The attacker tightens his hold. Jessica gags. Tears run down her flushed cheeks, her mouth and throat become painfully dry. I can't go out like this, I just can't. She tries to fight him again. Jessica becomes, dizzy, lightheaded like she's about to pass out. I've got to get away before it's too late. She tosses her head back as she launches her elbow into his stomach.

"Your little antics won't work with me, Jess." He laughs as he readjusts his grip.


***
Joe and Jerry step out of Tony's room aggravated that they are no closer to finding out what'd happened than they were an hour ago.

"That was pointless,
Jerr."

"We should've known Tony would stick up for him, especially if he has a part in Paul's death."

Kirk runs over to him. "I found a disturbing message on Jeff's phone, sir. It's between him and another one of his friends." Kirk hands the device to the captain.

Joe quickly scans through it and then hands it to Jerry.

"I wonder what Jeff has to say about this." Jerry storms into the interrogation room. Joe follows.
"So, Jeff, do you mind explaining this message I found on your phone." Jerry shows him the message.

Jeff skims through it. "I... I didn't write it. I don't even know who this Bruce guy is."


"How did the message get on your phone if you didn't write it?"

"Maybe it was spoofed."

"Spoofed?"

"That's when you can make a message look like it came from a phone when it didn't."

"So, you're claiming someone put this on your phone?"

"They... They must have
be... Because I didn't write it."

"We'll just see about that."

Kirk meets them at the door when they step out again."We checked the security camera from the stoplight. It shows Jeff returning around twelve-thirty." He shows them the footage.

"That fits what he told us, boss."


"How can you tell if a message has been spoofed, Kirk."

"That's easy sir." He grabs the phone and taps a few keys. "The message center will tell you," he explains as he scans the list. "It looks like all the messages were sent from his phone, sir. The last one was made around ten-thirty last night."

"Now are you convinced, boss?"

"Maybe someone found his phone sent the message and then planted it at the cabin."

"The only fingerprints on it were his, sir. Besides its security code was his thumbprint until we changed it."

"Jeremy had his body in the trunk."

"Not at ten thirty,
Jerr. He and Tony were at the cabin the first time around then."

"So Jeff must've sent the message right after his and Paul's fight."

Joe scratches his head, "Unless Paul sent it, trying to frame him for something else. Possibly Jessica's murder."


"How would Paul unlock it, boss?"

"Maybe it was unlocked when he found it."

"The entire area is a dead zone, captain."

"A dead zone, Kirk?"

"You can't get a signal until you get a mile or so down the highway."

"So, he sent it before he met Paul and then dropped it on the way out."

"What did you find out about Barry's security camera, Kirk?"

"There's no signs of tampering, sir. Tony's dad claims he came in around eleven-thirty. Said Tony was pissed because he and Jeff had just got into an argument. The dad asked him what it was about, but he wouldn't say."

"I imagine it had to do with Paul."


"What do you want to do now, boss?

"We have to release Barry and Jeremy now that we don't have anything to hold them on."

"The bloody clothes, gun, GSR, message and fingers should be enough to convict Jeff and Tony."

"Right, Jerr."



Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents
Berryville PD
Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.

Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down
Kirk, detective. He previously worked in the lab.


 


Chapter 16
Love Concurs All

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of sexual content.

Summary
Jeremy is taken hostage by Jeff and Tony. Jessica the love of Jeremy's life is beaten by Paul. Barry saves Jeremy and then he and Jeremy save Jessica.
In retaliation, Jeremy beats Jeff and put him in the trunk. He then hits Tony with Jeff's car. He and Barry decide to take Jeff to Barry's cabin leaving the car, Tony, and incriminating evidence for the police to find.
Paul was attacked by the wild boar. Barry shoots him with plans to frame Jeff and Tony for his death.
The police arrest Barry, Jeremy, and Jeff. Barry and Jeremy are released. Joe discovers a discrepancy in their story and arrests them again


Jessica is motionless on the cold tile floor. Her attacker is standing above her drawing up a lethal dose of medicine. Mike realizes this is the only place he can take care of her where security cameras won't catch him in the act.

He glances up and says: "This is for you, Paul." He's looking for an undetectable spot to administer the poisonous elixir when the elevator dings. Terrified, Mike grabs her arms and drags her to the corner.

"Jess?"

I thought ape-man was in jail. No worries, I'll just take care of both at once. He hides behind the door and waits.


"Jess?" A fist bashes Jeremy between the eyes the second he sets foot in the room. He grabs his nose as he staggers back. Blood pools into his hand as the last free member of Paul's gang rounds the corner.
Fury surges through every cell in Jeremy's body at the sight. He balls his fists as he yells through clenched teeth: "Where's Jessie?"

"She's resting comfortably." Mike lifts a half-filled syringe and sneers.

Precious memories flash through Jeremy's mind. Her beautiful face, her laughter, their first kiss under the starry sky, "You bastard." Jeremy lunges towards him, plowing him to the ground.

Mike's head thuds against the tile as air whooshes from his lungs.

Jeremy straddles Mike's semi-conscious body and screams; "No one hurts my Jessie, no one." He socks him with a right followed by a left. Blood spurts across the shiny tile with every crushing blow. "You've hurt us one too many times and I'm going to make sure you never do it again." A soft, sweet voice drifts across the room as he pounds him again.

"
Jerr bear?"

He glances over to find Jessica reaching for him. Springing to his feet Jeremy runs to her side. "You're alive." He scoops her into his arms and sobs. The scent of her perfume and her strawberry shampoo takes him back to their special night.

The warm June breeze blows gently under the starry sky cascading them with a wonderful assortment of fragrances as they stroll hand in hand through the park. Turning towards Jessie, Jeremy takes her hand in his.

"I've been thinking a lot about us, how much we mean to each other."

"And?"

Jeremy nervously shuffles his foot in the dirt hoping to find some courage.

"What is it, Jeremy?"

Gulping, he gazes into her eyes. "I think we should take it to the next level, see where it'll go."

"I'd like that." She smiles.


Jeremy's heart races, his hands become sweaty as he leans in for a kiss. Jessica's sweet lips brush against his. "I love you, Jessie."

"I love you." Passion sparks when their lips touch again. Their soft, gentle kisses quickly turn into lust.

Jeremy feels an untamed desire stir deep inside him. It was
a raging lust he'd never felt before. He pulls her against him and kisses her again. Their sensual kiss arouses sexual urges neither had experienced. Jeremy hardened manhood presses against her as his tongue glides across her lips.

A heat rises between her legs. It was a womanly desire she knew only Jeremy can fill. She pulls his hardened appendage against her and begs; "Please make love to me."

Jeremy feels her heat, sees the animalistic desire in her eyes. "But I ..."


Jessica presses his finger to his lips. "I want you to be my first."

Jessica's sobs bring him back to reality. "Are you alright, Jessie?"

"Hold me,
Jerr-bear, please hold me," she cries. Her body trembles as he pulls her in closer. He thinks back to how he nearly lost her at the cabin and then again, a few short minutes ago. Pulling her back he gazes into her soft brown eyes. "You're my one and only, the love of my life, my soulmate. You give me a reason to live. It may take the rest of my life to win your heart, but just know I won't give up until I'm in my grave."

"I love you Jeremy with all my heart every ounce of my being. I was a fool not to see how much you mean to me."

Jeremy gulps back his tears. "Do you mean that Jess?"

"Ask me again." She lifts her left hand and smiles.

Jeremy glances at her hand and then at her face.


She nods.

Jeremy scrambles to one knee and then takes her hand in his. "I've loved you from the moment I first saw you. My love for you has grown stronger every single day. I'd be a great honor if...
"

"Yes, Jeremy, yes." She scoops him into her arms.

Someone sniffles behind them. They turn to see Barry wiping tears from his face.

"That was beautiful. The most romantic thing I've ever seen." He sniffles. Taking a handkerchief from his pocket he blows his nose.

"Thanks, Dad."

Jessica glances at Barry and then at Jeremy, an inquisitive look her face. "Dad?"

"It's a long story." He glances over at Barry and winks. "I'll tell you all about it on the way to your room." Jeremy helps her off the floor.

Jessica eyes her abductor. "What about him?"


"Guess he'll be going upstate with the others."

"The others?"

"You'll never believe what's happened, Jess." Jeremy laughs.

***
Four Months Later

The breeze blows gently on the warm summer's day. The heavenly scent of summer flowers drifts through the tepid air as an abundance of guests gathers on the freshly cut lawn. The public garden is lavishly decorated for the festive gathering.


There's a white satin walkway leading from the edge of the park through a floral garnished arbor to a wooden podium at the end. A colorful assortment of floral arrangements sits on either side of the platform. An organ to its far left.

White chairs adjoin either side of the walkway. The groom's tearful family occupies one side of the aisle while the bride's weeping family inhabits the other.

Jeremy is to the right of the platform with Barry by his side. Both are wearing royal-blue suits. A red carnation projects from their breast pockets.


"This is it, son."

"I'm so nervous I'm afraid I'm going to forget what to say."

Barry chuckles. "I thought you might be." He pulls index cards from his pocket and hands them to Jeremy.

"What's this?"

"Your vows, son. Exactly the way you rehearsed them." He's practiced so much that Barry knows them by heart.

"Thanks, Dad."

Barry smiles proudly. "I like the sound of that."


"You're going to be called Grandpa soon."

"I'll like that too." Barry glances around the park. "You two picked out a beautiful place."

"It's special
. It's where..." Jeremy's face turns red as he clears his throat. "You know."

Barry winks. "I understand, son."

"It was the first for both of us."

"No wonder this place is so special."

A black limo pulls up. A chauffeur climbs out and opens the passenger door. Jessica takes the driver's hand and stands. The crowd aahs at the magnificent sight.

Barry leans towards Jeremy. "She's beautiful, son."

"I know." He smiles.

Jessica's full-length gown is done in an ivory white
. A delicate strip of lace elegantly drapes across her collarbone; it attaches on either side to short lacy sleeves. The plunging neckline is fastened by lacy ribbons.
An embroidered floral design extends to the entire length of her gown. The dress unfurls across the ground around her.

A
diamond-studded headdress holds her blonde hair back, fastening at the nape of her neck. Her outfit, the headpiece gives her a classic, Victorian look.

The driver intertwines her arm with his and then escorts her to the edge of the walkway. "Your daughter, sir."

Precious memories flash through Max's mind as he gazes at the breathtaking young woman in front of him.
He recalls holding her for the very
first time. Waving bye from the sidewalk on her first day of school. Where did the time go? "You look beautiful, honey." Max gulps back his tears. He promised Jessica he wouldn't cry but he's finding it difficult to do.

"Thanks, Daddy."

Memories continue to replay in Max's mind as he blubbers his next words. "My baby girl has grown into a beautiful young woman."

"Please stop before I cry too." Jessica swallows her tears.


"How can I not when I'm losing my baby girl, my best friend." Tears stream down his face. Max swoops them away.

"You're not losing me, Daddy, you're not. I'll always be your baby girl," Jessica bawls.

Max wraps his arms around her and holds her tight. "I love you,
Jessie, now and forever. Don't you ever forget it, alright?"

"I'll always love you too."

The chauffer wipes the moisture from his cheek as he clears his throat. "The guests, sir."

Max glances towards the tearful crowd. "We have them
bawling too." He chuckles.

"Leave it to us to make a crowd cry."

Max dries his face. "Are you ready, sweetheart?"

She looks towards the large congregation and gulps. "As ready as I'll ever be."

The driver keys the organist. The wedding march begins.

"I'm very proud of you, Jessie."

"Please... Oh, here I go again." She chokes back her sobs.

"We have to pull ourselves together if we're ever going to
get through this."

Jessica squeezes his hand. "You're right, Dad." She takes a gulp of courage. "Let's do it."

"You do look beautiful, honey."

"Daddy."

Max chuckles. "I won't say another word."

Jessica gazes up at his handsome face. "I love you, D
ad."

"And I love you."

Max's body heaves, tears trickle down his face as he tries to contain his emotions. I have to do this for Jess,
he thinks as he chokes back his tears. After the most agonizing moments of his life, Max hands her to the
groom. "Take good care of my
baby," he whispers sternly.

"I will, sir."

"Love you, Daddy."

"Love you too, Jessie."

Feeling like every bit of energy had been knocked out of him, Ma stumbles to his seat.

"Are you alright? Bonnie asks as he plops down in the chair.

"Our baby girl is gone." He sobs.


"You'll always be a big part of her life."

"I... I hope you're right." 



Characters
Jeremy, Highschool graduate, always being bullied by his peers because of his disease, chronic tic disorder.
Jessica, Jeremy's best friend she was raped at a party and was pregnant with Paul's child.
Paul, Tony, Jeff, bullies, Jeremy's enemies
Barry, Jeremy's biological dad.
Bonnie and Max Webb Jessica's parents
Berryville PD

Joe Bower, captain
Rachel Bower, sergeant, Joe's wife, Jessica's older sister.
Jerry, a detective was a sergeant his health forced him to step down
Kirk, detective. He previously worked in the lab.


 


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