Take Your Burdens to Jesus
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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: September 28, 2020      Views: 16
Chapters:
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Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
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Chapter 31 of the book Par Angusta Ad Augusta
Jefferson couldn't imagine this happening.
"Chapter 31" by teols2016
Background
A law professor gets a family and a bookstore owner offers advice.


Previously in "Par Angusta Ad Augusta":

After his brother and sister-in-law are killed in a car accident overseas, NYU law professor Jefferson Thomas brings his young nieces and nephew to live with him in Manhattan. Meanwhile, local bookstore owner Monique Vasquez continues running her family's business while pursuing a relationship with Jefferson.


Abigail came out of the house screaming at the top of her lungs while running as fast as she could. Several people looked up as she streaked across the front yard, making a beeline toward Jefferson, who had been talking with Eric and Brian again. She crashed into his legs and clung to them, whimpering.

"Abigail?!" Jefferson asked in alarm. "Abigail, what's wrong?"

Abigail kept clinging to his leg, continuing to whimper. She was causing Jefferson to lose his balance and Eric quickly grabbed his friend's arm to steady him.

"Abigail!" Amy said, having come over to see what was going on. "Abigail, you're bleeding."

She pulled out a pack of tissues while barking at Brian to go find Dawn and a first-aid kit. She examined the cut on the side of Abigail's neck. Abigail flinched and whimpered as she worked.

"It's not bad," she assured Jefferson. "More a scrape than anything else."

Jefferson wasn't listening to her. He had finally managed to separate Abigail from his legs and was now crouching down at eye-level with the blubbering child.

"Abigail," he said as calmly as he could despite knowing his niece was on the verge of tears with a bloody wound on her neck. "Abigail, what happened?"

"The boy ..." Abigail whimpered.

"What boy? Abigail, please tell me."

"The boy ..." Abigail repeated, tears welling up in her eyes, "in the house ..."

Dawn, who was coming with the first-aid kit, heard this and gasped. Taylor and Matthew were also coming over and Eric moved to intercept them.

"What happened?" Jefferson asked. "Abigail, you have to tell me. What happened with the boy?"

Abigail began to cry.

* * *

With help from Amy and Dawn, Jefferson persuaded Abigail to somewhat describe what happened, but it was more than enough for them. While Dawn went to call the police, Eric and Brian led a search party to find Aaron Chesterfield. That didn't take long, as he was in his parents' kitchen just down the street, bandaging a bloody finger. He denied Abigail's allegations but they wouldn't hear any of it. They could see her bite marks on his knuckle.

"Girl's got razor blades in her mouth," Brian commented. "Good for her."

The Nassau County Police soon arrived and took Aaron Chesterfield away for questioning while an officer drove Jefferson and Abigail to the hospital to get her checked out. Despite Abigail saying the boy had only touched her and she'd scraped the side of her neck on his knife blade when she managed to escape, Jefferson wouldn't have it any other way.

* * *

Monique finished up the paperwork in her office and headed up front to make sure the bookstore's front door was locked. With that confirmed, she headed up to her apartment and straight towards the closet in her bedroom. Though Joan wouldn't be there to help her for a little while, it didn't hurt to already look. Monique wanted to dress up tonight.

* * *

"She was very lucky," the nurse said. "The cut on her neck is the worse injury, and the blade barely broke the skin. He didn't get a chance to do worse, though according to her story, it was not for a lack of trying."

Nassau County Police Detectives Roy Nolan and Seth Burton nodded. When the report of the suspected sex crime came in, they were assigned to the case. Now, they were in the Oyster Bay Medical Center, waiting to interview the victim, Abigail Thomas.

"The doctor will let you know when she's ready to talk," the nurse finished.

Both detectives nodded and thanked her. They then waited, not saying anything to one another. Detective Nolan had been investigating sex crimes for the past five years. Detective Burton had been doing it for three. Still, neither of them was ever truly ready to deal with the children. In their minds, no one that young deserved this.

Abigail's attending physician soon came into the waiting area. She repeated the nurse's summary, adding they could speak to Abigail now. The detectives followed her directions to the hospital room.

Abigail was sitting on a stretcher, her feet hanging over the side. She wore tan shorts, a purple t-shirt, and flip-flops. A white bandage was visible on the side of her neck. Her uncle, Jefferson, was sitting next to the bed. They both looked up at the detectives, as did Jefferson's guide dog.

"Hello, Abigail," Detective Nolan said. "You mind if we talk to you for a little while?"

"Okay," Abigail said.

Jefferson looked ready to completely break down.

"Mr. Thomas," Detective Burton said, "Could we speak outside while my partner talks to Abigail?"

Jefferson didn't move from his seat.

"Come on," Detective Burton insisted, gently pulling him up. "We're just gonna go talk outside."

He carefully led Jefferson and the dog out of the room. Detective Nolan sat down in the chair next to the stretcher.

"Abigail," he said, showing her his badge. "I'm a police officer. I wanna know what that boy did to you so I can help you. Do you understand that?"

"Uh-huh," Abigail said, nodding her head but not meeting the detective's eyes.

"We're gonna talk for just a little while. Any time you wanna stop, you just say so and we'll stop, understand?"

Abigail nodded.

"Can you tell me what the boy did to you?" Detective Nolan prompted. "Start from the beginning."

Abigail recounted how Aaron Chesterfield had cornered her in the hallway outside the bathroom in the Shay home. She described how he'd pushed her down and how he took out his knife and pressed it against her neck to keep her from screaming, threatening to cut her if she made a sound.

He had then started touching her through her swimsuit. At this point, Abigail had been too scared to even move. Then, Aaron suddenly pulled the knife away from her neck, scraping her skin in the process, because he needed to hold his hand up to his nose for an oncoming sneeze. It came and Abigail managed to wriggle away from him. Getting her feet under her, she'd run as fast as she could towards the front door, screaming. Aaron had tried to stop her, but she whirled around and sank her teeth into one of his fingers. She then kept running.

Detective Nolan couldn't resist a slight smile as he heard about the bite.

* * *

"This is all my fault," Jefferson said, unsteady on his feet as he and Detective Burton stood in the hospital corridor. "I should have gone with her. I should have been there. I shouldn't have brought her to the party. I should have ..."

"You can't dwell on what you could have or should have done," Detective Burton told him. "You gotta focus on what you're gonna do next to help your niece get past this."

"I don't know what to do next," Jefferson protested, tears welling up in his eyes.

"You'll figure that out. Listen to me. It'll take time and you have to be patient, but you will both move forward."

Jefferson couldn't think of anything to say. Detective Burton's cell phone then rang and he stepped away just as Detective Nolan was sticking his head out of Abigail's room.

"You can come back in," he reported. "We're done."

"Good," Jefferson said. "I just wanna get her home."

"That's probably the best thing for her. Hopefully, it'll give her a sense of safety. I'll go track down her doctor so you can get the discharge paperwork."

* * *

Half an hour later, Abigail walked out of the hospital with Jefferson, Presley, and the detectives. Dawn was waiting with her car.

Detective Nolan shook his head as he and his partner watched the group drive out of the hospital's parking lot. It made no sense. How could anyone be sexually attracted to a seven-year-old?

"Let's go do the paperwork on this," he muttered.

* * *

Jefferson quietly entered his house with Abigail, Presley, and Dawn. Amy was waiting for them. While Eric had taken their sons home, she had taken charge of Taylor and Matthew, bringing them back to Manhattan and staying with them.

"Where are they now?" Jefferson asked.

"Sleeping," Amy replied. "I don't think they entirely believed my assurances that everything was okay."

Her voice shook as she spoke.

"Go get ready for bed," Jefferson told Abigail. "I'll come check on you in a couple minutes."

"I gave the other two dinner," Amy said as Abigail headed up the stairs. "I found the food Anya left in the fridge."

Jefferson nodded. Abigail had eaten a sandwich at the hospital and proclaimed not to be hungry anymore during the drive home.

"Jefferson," Dawn said when Abigail was definitely out of earshot, "I don't know what to say ... I am so sorry."

The drive from Long Island had been pretty quiet, but things weren't any better now that one of them was speaking.

"It wasn't your fault," Jefferson said. "Thanks for the ride."

"Sure," Dawn replied.

"We'd better go," Amy said. "You call if you need absolutely anything. I'll probably be awake and worrying anyway, so don't feel bad."

Jefferson nodded and the women left. He fed Presley and headed upstairs.

* * *

Her styled hair starting to droop, Monique repetitively made a fist with her hand before relaxing it again. The fireworks were lighting up the sky through the windows behind her, but she ignored them. She was fuming.

She had been sitting at Jefferson's reserved table for an hour and a half, getting plenty of looks from the staff and other customers along the way. She had tried Jefferson's home and cell numbers several times, but he wasn't answering. By now, Monique felt effectively stood up.

* * *

Jefferson was lying in bed, unable to sleep. It was 11:40 at night and he had been tossing and turning for the last two hours. He couldn't forget what had happened just a few hours ago and he had no idea what to do next.

Abigail had gone to sleep much easier than he had, but she was a child. She was being resilient. He on the other hand was losing his mind. He had been replaying the afternoon over and over again in his mind, trying to figure out what he could have done different. So far, he was coming up empty.

A noise outside his door startled him and, thinking it was Abigail, Jefferson immediately got up to investigate the matter. To his surprise, the noisemaker turned out to be Taylor.

"What's wrong?" Jefferson asked.

"Abigail had a bad dream," Taylor said. "She's crying in our room."

Jefferson couldn't withhold a groan.

"Okay," he said. "Here's what I want you to do. You're gonna spend the rest of the night up here in my bed, all right?"

"Okay," Taylor said, sounding enthusiastic about this idea.

"All right. Go back to sleep."

Taylor darted past him and climbed into the large bed and under the covers.

Jefferson headed downstairs towards the girls' room. He could soon hear Abigail crying. He quietly entered the room and found her curled up on her own bed. She pulled back when he first touched her, but upon seeing who it was, she let him hug her tightly as she continued to cry into his t-shirt.

"What's wrong?" Jefferson asked.

"The boy," Abigail said between sobs. "I was sleeping and I woke up and he was in here. He had his knife."

She began to cry again. Jefferson could feel tears welling up in his own eyes.
"It's okay," he said, still holding her tight. "It's okay."

The book continues with Chapter 32. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
I have rearranged this story a bit. It is now thirty-eight chapters (instead of the original forty-two.)

Cast of characters:

Jefferson Thomas: a blind NYU law professor.

Presley: Jefferson's guide dog.

Monique Vasquez: a bookstore owner in Manhattan

Abigail and Taylor Thomas: seven-year-old twin daughters of Stanley and Margaret Thomas. Nieces of Jefferson Thomas.

Matthew: four-year-old son of Stanley and Margaret Thomas. Nephew of Jefferson Thomas.

Eric Nelson: Jefferson's colleague and best friend

Amy Nelson: Eric's wife and Jefferson's friend

Stanley "Stan" Thomas: Jefferson's brother. Killed in a car accident in Berlin.

Margaret "Maggie" Thomas: Stan's wife. Killed in a car accident in Berlin.

Feedback is always welcome. Enjoy.
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