The Devil You Know 16+

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


After his mother remarries Jeremy quickly realises his new step father is not what he seems. In public he is the perfect father figure providing nothing but support and encouragement but behind
closed doors it is a completely different story.

Submitted: September 15, 2018

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Submitted: September 15, 2018

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The Devil You Know

You killed him didnt you? accused Ian, You killed our father!

Jeremy yelled, No! He was YOUR father! Not mine!

Ian punched him in the face, You killed him didnt you? You bastard!

Jeremy sat up on the floor, I had good reason too!

WHAT WAS THAT!? Ian yelled.

You nor anyone saw what was really happening! All this time and not one of you asked! replied Jeremy, Your father, beat and raped me every weekend when we came back from school!

YOU’RE LYING! He treated you like the son he never had! argued Ian, ‘He wasn’t like that!’

Jeremy clenched his fists shaking, Just like he always said. No one will believe you even if you tell them. I can talk my way out of this no matter what you say.

Youre not making any sense! answered Ian.

I told you in plain English, just now didnt I? I just told you that your father beat and raped me over and over. replied Jeremy, And when I tried to get away he would twist it so I have no other option but to come back to him. He threatened me, he threatened my mother! He’s a monster!

Ian replied, Tell me everything!

Jeremy looked at him, What?

Tell me everything! Use as much detail as you can remember. explained Ian, If everything adds up I will look into it further.

Jeremy answered, You wont bother. You dont want to know the details trust me! To you your father was the kindest and wisest person in your life but to me he was the complete opposite, he was a monster. You cant see past your love for your father, whatever I tell you, youll just dismiss every word I say!

Ian put his police hat on, Ok then. he sat down, While I am wearing this hat, I am not his son. Im a police officer with no emotional connection to the case. Please tell me everything.

Jeremy sat against the wall, Craig met my mother as you know, when he travelled to Boston nine months ago. They started dating he made frequent trips back and forth to coincide with you returning home from boarding school. This went on for around three or four months before a proposal was made.

Five months ago:

Sandra a tall, thin and brunette woman with her son Jeremy a impressionable young boy, also with brown hair were waiting at the platform for Craig to arrive back from seeing his son in England.

Stepping onto the platform was her fiancé an intimidating figure in a sharp suit, his short blonde hair cut in a style to enhance his authority instead of to flatter his good looks. Sandra ran up to her fiancé and hugged him happily while Jeremy was seemingly keeping his distance, as before he left Craig was drunk and tried to kiss him.

Craig looked at Jeremy, What? I dont get a hug?

Jeremy thought, Doesnt he remember anything?! he hugged him upon his mothers instruction and followed them out the station.

With Sandra on his arm and Jeremy at his side they seemed to be the perfect family unit. But underneath a dark terrible secret was brewing.

Sandra was a frail woman with a variety of health issues but Craig didnt care about those he loved her all the same. Jeremy a fragile yet clever boy was struggling to earn enough money to help support his mothers growing medical expenses.

He was glad his mother had found happiness with Craig and was grateful for the financial support he willingly offered. Believing that the drunken almost kiss was just a simple mistake, he watched as his mother fell more and more in love with Craig so he decided not to press the issue.

Craig and Sandra were talking, ‘Oh Craig, Im so sorry you have to keep travelling between England and Boston to see me.

It wont be for too much longer when you two move to England with me. Craig smiled.

MOVE TO……? Jeremy yelled shocked, ‘What?!’

Sandra chuckled, You didnt think we were going to marry and continue to live like this did you?

No, butwhy didnt you tell me I was going to be moving to England!? asked Jeremy.

We cant leave you here in Boston on your own!? I thought youd be happy. Craigs house is a mansion, he has some great works of art in his collection, he said hed be happy to give you a tour. And besides we’ll be happier in England. explained Sandra.

Jeremy replied, But what about school and my job?

Sandra smiled, We have already put through the transfer request for your school. Youll be attending the same school as Craigs son, Ian. And as for your job, you wont be leaving for a little over a month now, so just hand in your notice on your next shift.

‘But….?’ protested Jeremy only to be interrupted.

Craig placed his hand on Jeremy’s shoulder, ‘Don’t be so difficult, you know your mothers heart can’t take unnecessary stress!’

‘So, me not wanting to up roots and move somewhere I don’t want to go is too stressful for her but moving her away from her home and support system isn’t?’ asked Jeremy.

Craig looked at Sandra, ‘Go get the car darling, I’ll talk to him.’ without a flicker of resistance she left Jeremy with Craig, ‘Listen. We have better doctors in England and more specialists that can help her better.’ explained Craig, increasing his grip on Jeremy’s shoulder, ‘Don’t be such a brat!’ he whispered kissing his cheek.

This sent chills down Jeremy’s spine, ‘So, he does remember!’

He was about to protest when Sandra pulled up, ‘Come on you two.’ said Sandra. He got in silently and the longer he went without telling his mother the harder it became to tell her.

That night he woke to the sound of footsteps in his room, it was Craig, he seemed some what out of breath and surprised Jeremy woke up, ‘Sorry did I wake you?’

Jeremy sat up, ‘What are you doing in here?’

‘Just checking you were alright after our little fight earlier today.’ Craig replied smiling.

‘I’m fine, but can you leave now?’ asked Jeremy.

Craig smirked, ‘Sure, I’m done now anyway.’ Jeremy wondered what he meant, he seemed to readjust his clothes and leave. Unnerved he couldn’t fall back to sleep. All the while he was alone with Craig he felt uneasy and nervous, he couldn’t explain it but Craig made Jeremy feel very anxious.

Eventually his mother and Craig set on a date and married, moving to England was a huge task but Craig had professionals assist them making it all go smoothly.

Now in England Jeremy was introduced to his new big brother Ian, who was hoping to become a police officer some day and was introduced to the many staff and maids that would attend to him while he was in Craig’s house.

They were given a tour, viewing all the works of art Craig had collected over the years. Jeremy had a love of art but even that was shadowed by Craig’s presence.

All throughout the dinner that night, Craig’s eyes hardly strayed from Jeremy’s form, putting him on edge all meal. He felt someone’s foot stroke up his leg, he looked over to Craig and saw him smiling he stood up blushing.

‘I’m going to go to bed now.’ he ran upstairs and locked his door, he thought, ‘What was that? He was looking right at me smiling, while he was stroking my leg! What the hell was that?!’

That night, hearing a knock at the door Jeremy was startled, even more so hearing Craig’s voice, ‘Jeremy open the door, I need to talk to you.’

‘Leave me alone!’ yelled Jeremy not sure what he was going to do, he thought, ‘Thank god I locked it!’ just then he heard the door unlock, ‘What?!’ Craig entered, ‘Why does he have a key to my room?’

‘Now now! That’s not very nice.’ he shut the door locking it again.

‘Why’d he lock the door?’ he looked at Craig’s face, ‘Get out of my room!’

‘This is my room. It’s my house remember?’ stated Craig, ‘Do you like it? This room overlooks the pond.’ he walked up to him and Jeremy backed up.

‘Get away from me!’ yelled Jeremy.

Craig knocked him to the bed and pinned him down climbing on top, ‘Now, now. Bad behaviour will be punished you know!’ he kissed his lips, slipping his tongue into Jeremy’s mouth, ‘But just this once I will forgive you.’

Pinned and mounted he had no where to go, ‘St…op…!’ muttered Jeremy as Craig’s free hand crept between his legs.

‘This room is sound proof especially with the door shut. No matter how loud you yell no one will hear you. Not to mention they are all asleep.’ replied Craig.

‘Stop it!’ yelled Jeremy failing to fight back against his superior strength.

‘If you want me to stop doing this to you, I will just have to find someone else. How about your mother?’ Craig asked, ‘Her poor heart may not be able to take it like you can. I’m sick of being so gentle with her!’

‘Don’t you dare hurt Sandra!’ yelled Jeremy.

‘As long as you roll over and do everything I say, your mother will be blissfully unaware, healthy and happy. Every healthy person needs an outlet. And you Jeremy are mine. You don’t want me to hurt your mother like this? Then obey me.’ replied Craig.

Craig smirked as his hand teased Jeremy’s voice to ring out, ‘Don’t worry we won’t do anything more than this.’ he licked up his neck and kissed him, ‘Not tonight anyway.’

Jeremy seemed to submit and let Craig do what he wanted. Exhausted and drained afterwards, he was lying face down on the bed as Craig was getting dressed, ‘I’ll come back tomorrow night after Sandra falls asleep.’ he grabbed his chin turning his head to look at him. He kissed his lips, ‘See you tomorrow.’

Jeremy lay on the bed crying until morning. His alarm went off so he got up only then realising the extent of the pain caused by Craig’s attentions that night, he went into the ensuite to wash up and saw the marks left by Craig.

Jeremy rested his head on the mirror with his eyes closed and started crying again. Leaning on the basin he thought, ‘Pull yourself together! Don’t give him the satisfaction!’

He went to breakfast to see the perfect family waiting for him, ‘Jeremy? Where have you been? We were waiting for you.’ asked Sandra.

‘Sorry, my alarm went off late.’ lied Jeremy too embarrassed or too ashamed to tell her what happened last night, he didn’t know which one it was but he wasn’t about to worry about something so trivial.

After breakfast, he tried to find his passport, ‘I have to leave England. I can go back to Boston and live with my Aunt Helen, I know mum hates her but I can‘t stay here. I’ll just tell mum I was home sick or something.’ but he couldn’t find it anywhere, ‘No! I know I had it where is it? My money is gone too!’ he went to his mother, ‘Have you seen my passport and money?’

‘Oh Craig thought it’d be better if those things were in his fire proof lock box in his office. So, I gave them to him.’ she explained.

‘YOU WHAT?!’ Jeremy exclaimed.

Craig appeared, ‘What’s the problem? You won’t be needing your passport anytime soon and if you need money, just ask me.’

Jeremy thought, ‘Crap! It’s all so reasonable so mum won’t suspect anything! He’s trapped me!’

Ian appeared, ‘Sorry to interrupt but, I’ll be going back to school early this week. I have a lot of things to take care of now that I’m president of the student council.’

‘School?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Boarding school.’ clarified Ian, ‘It’s the best school in England but it’s so far away it offers board.’

‘I’ll go with you.’ said Jeremy, hoping to escape to school.

Sandra replied, ‘But you have no books, no uniform. You can’t go without any of that!’

Jeremy asked looking at Ian, ‘Ian, you don’t have a spare set of the uniform by any chance do you?’ Ian nodded, ‘Could I please borrow it until I can get one of my own?’

‘Jeremy?’ asked Sandra, ‘I was rather hoping you, me and Craig could spend some time together.’

‘Sorry mum, but I’m starting a new school it’ll be easier to learn my way around if it’s not too crowded.’ explained Jeremy desperately searching for a way out of Craig’s house.

Ian replied, ‘Sure and you can buy the books you’ll need from the campus library. I’ll show you around.’

‘Thank you Ian.’ answered Jeremy.

Sandra intervened, ‘Wait a minute!’

Craig interrupted, ‘It’s fine dear. If Jeremy wants to get a head start on his studies, it’s fine, it shows that he’s taking his education seriously, it’s nice to see boys taking an active interest in their education.’

‘I suppose you’re right.’ replied Sandra.

Jeremy went upstairs to pack his stuff for boarding school when Craig entered his room, ‘All set then?’ he asked as though he was a kind hearted father figure.

‘Yeah.’ replied Jeremy shrinking into himself as Craig went up to him. Flinching as he grabbed his arms from behind him, ‘Do you think you can escape from me by going to boarding school? Don’t make me laugh! You’re coming back every weekend when school finishes.’ he leaned into his ear, ‘You’ll be my weekend lover!’ he kissed his cheek before leaving.

Jeremy fell to his knees, ‘No!! I am NEVER coming back!’ he left with Ian, Sandra and Craig as they were driven. Ian showed him round and helped him get settled in.

Sandra gave Jeremy a kiss on his forehead, ‘See you at the weekend. Be good for your teachers.’

‘Thanks mum.’ he smiled watching them leave and the heavy iron gates closed him in. He thought to himself, ‘Nice heavy iron gates? He’s gone! Finally I can relax.’

He went to his room and met his room mates. Night fell and for the first time since Craig’s attentions started Jeremy had a full nights sleep.

Settling into his classes he learns that his new brother Ian isn’t just the new student council president he is also the schools top scoring student and is also the tops sportsman. With such a family name to live up to Ian had accomplished the fastest times or highest scores in almost every sport.

Jeremy watched in awe as Ian broke his own record in swimming. Ian was the polar opposite to Jeremy, he was the type to fade into the background whereas Ian was in the spotlight and seemed to relish it.

The week came and went, on Thursday he received a phone call from his mother Sandra, ‘Hey, how are you settling in? Are the other boys being nice to you?’

‘Yeah mum, they’re great!’ he replied, ‘I’m really enjoying it here.’

‘That’s good. I was so worried!’ she replied, ‘But I have so many things planned for your coming home this weekend!’

‘Mum! I…’ he thought, ‘Don’t tell her you don’t want to come home. She’ll want to know why and you can’t tell her that!’ he said, ‘I was going to stay here this weekend and study with my friend, I’ve fallen behind in my language class and he agreed to help me out since he had a last minute cancellation on his plans to return home.’ he lied.

‘You’re struggling!?’ asked Sandra.

Jeremy thought, ‘Crap! You tell her that and she’ll try to pull you out!’ he replied, ‘It’s nothing major. I just need help with my pronunciations that’s all.’

‘Jeremy, I was really looking forward to seeing you this weekend and so was Craig.’ Sandra replied.

Even hearing his name made Jeremy’s skin crawl. He answered, ‘Sorry mum but I really want to get this right. I’ll come back next weekend for sure besides I was thinking about joining the swimming team and the tryouts are this weekend.’

‘Ok.’ she answered, ‘Just be careful ok?’

‘I will mum. Bye.’ he said putting the phone down, his heart relaxed and he sighed, ‘Success! All I have to do now is think of an excuse for next weekend.’

Next weekend rolled on, Jeremy was on the phone to his mother again, ‘Why won’t you come home Jeremy? Ian comes back every weekend!’

‘Sorry mum but I think I caught a cold after trying out for the swimming team, it seems like I’ve got a fever and I’ve been feeling kind of out of it. I don’t think I should come home until I’m better, don’t worry the school nurse is looking after me.’ lied Jeremy.

‘Do you hate Craig that much?’ asked Sandra.

‘N……No! Craig’s a great guy I’m really just sick right now.’ replied Jeremy.

‘Alright, but take care of yourself, remember drink plenty and rest ok?’ answered Sandra.

Jeremy smiled, ‘Sure mum. Bye.’ he put the phone down and crossed paths with Ian who pretty much ignored him, ‘He probably thinks I’m pretty weird since I never go home, but he seems like the type to mind his own business.’

On Wednesday he was desperately thinking of a way to avoid going home again but his train of thought was interrupted by an announcement, ‘Jeremy Livet to the guest room. That’s Jeremy Livet to the guest room please, thank you.’

Upon arriving he sees the dean serving tea, ‘Ah! There you are Jeremy. You have a visitor?’

From round the chair he saw Craig looking at him, ‘Long time no see. I just got authorisation from the dean to take you on a shopping trip this afternoon.’

Jeremy masked his obvious fear, ‘Th…ank…you…’ his voice was breaking, ‘But…I don’t need anything.’

Craig leaned in, ‘Oh but I need to discuss something with you in private.’ Craig smirked, ‘Understand?’

Jeremy turned to the dean who was about to leave, ‘Please don’t go.’

He turned and looked at Craig who said, ‘Jeremy don’t tell me you’re worried about your exams again are you? A little time off isn’t going to damage your chances.’

The dean smiled, ‘Don’t worry Jeremy there are plenty of study groups you could join, if you’re that worried.’

Jeremy was hurried into Craig’s car, he thought, ‘Where are we going? What’s he going to do now? Why is he being so quiet?’

Craig gripped his wheel tighter as he sped up, ‘It’s all your fault you brat! Because of you Sandra has been a nervous wreck for two whole weeks now! Just watching her dithering gets me irritated! I had to stop myself from hitting her!’ Jeremy looked at him terrified, ‘Of course I didn’t but, I’m even more irritated now! ALL BECAUSE OF YOU!’

‘What are you talking about?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Stop asking me questions!’ he pulled up outside a hotel, ‘Can’t you do as you’re told?! You understand don’t you Jeremy?’

‘No! I don’t!’ replied Jeremy getting more and more anxious.

‘Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten our little secret?’ he stroked the back of Jeremy’s neck, he opened his door, ‘Get out the car Jeremy.’

‘No, I don’t want to….’ Jeremy was interrupted by Craig grabbing his shirt pulling him in.

‘So you want me to go back home like this? You want me to abuse Sandra instead of you is that it? It’s your own god damn fault I’m so tense! But if you’d prefer I can go home and take this out on Sandra it makes no difference to me!’

Almost dragged Jeremy was taken up to a room, ‘This room has a nice antique style bed.’ he opened the door to reveal a bed with a barred headboard, ‘Why don’t you take off your uniform it’s too hot in here for so many layers.’

‘Are you going to take me back to school?’ asked Jeremy wanting to clarify if he’d ever get the chance to escape again.

Grabbing his tie Craig pulled him in, ‘Eventually.’ he opened his briefcase that he had brought in with him, ‘Now strip.’

Jeremy thought removing his shirt, ‘I just want to get this over with as quickly as possible and get out of here! The least resistance I give the quicker it’ll all be over.’

Craig pulled something out the briefcase, ‘Hold out your arms Jeremy.’ Jeremy turned to see Craig holding a rope, ‘No need to be alarmed, I’m only going to bind your hands a little.’

Jeremy backed away, ‘What? Why?’

Craig pushed him against the wall and wrapped the loop round one of Jeremy’s wrists, ‘Don’t be so afraid, I’ll untie them soon.’ despite his resistance he bound his hands tightly together, ‘It’s just a little game.’ he smiled.

‘Craig!? Wait! No!’ Jeremy tried to resist but the more he pulled the more pain he felt in his wrists.

Craig pulled him over to the bed and tied the rope off round the bars, ‘Be a good boy now and I might forgive you!’

Trying to free himself fearing what Craig was going to do he decided to plead, ‘Craig! Please this isn’t funny. Let me go!’ Craig pulled out yet more ropes, ‘No!’ Jeremy yelled as Craig grabbed his leg tying them to the posts. Jeremy asked, ‘Craig! What are you planning to do? Wait a minute! Let me go!’

Having secured Jeremy’s legs to either post forcing him to lie on his stomach Craig stroked his exposed back, ‘How’s that? Too tight?’

‘Yes! Please let me go! I don’t want this! Please stop!’ he pleaded, ‘Craig, I beg of you let me go!’

Craig rolled up some cloth, ‘The hotel walls are pretty thin.’ in order to muffle his cries for help he stuffed it into his mouth and tied off another piece round his mouth to stop him spitting it back out.

Now unable to move or scream for help Jeremy had no way of stopping Craig from whatever he was going to do. Craig walked off, out of Jeremy’s line of sight for a moment and returned with a mask on and a belt.

‘This belt is a treasured possession of mine.’ Jeremy now fully understanding his position tried to struggle but being and full stretch already there was nothing he could do, ‘No need to worry so much. I won’t use the buckle end.’

Jeremy’s eyes swelled with tears of fear, ‘You’re such a bad boy Jeremy.’ he hit him hard on the back with the belt, ‘You didn’t listen to your parents.’ he hit him again and again, ‘That’s why you’re getting punished right now!’ he hit him twelve more times, before he even stopped for breath.

The belt was so old and thin it had cut his back in places. Craig dropped the belt on the floor and stroked the bloody marks he had created, ‘But I suppose you were a good enough boy to accept your punishment.’ he unbuttoned Jeremy’s trousers and lowered them along with his underwear. He teased him until he released and smirked, ‘That didn’t take long.’

He took pictures of his work almost as if he was proud of it, before removing Jeremy’s restraints, ‘Can you stand? You need to take a shower. I’ll help you if I have to.’

Jeremy got up, however unsteady he made it to the bathroom and washed up, as if his resistance was beaten out of him. Putting his clothes back on Craig straightened his tie, ‘Ready to go?’ Jeremy nodded wanting this nightmare to end.

They got to the desk and Craig gave him the keys to the car, ‘Go to the car and wait for me.’ Jeremy did, as he sat in the car he felt the extent of his beating. He had no time to adjust as a street walker went up to the door.

‘Stop going out with him! You’ll get yourself killed! He murdered his first wife you know!’ before she could say anymore or Jeremy could respond Craig appeared and punched her to the floor slamming the car door shut.

‘Get out of here you lying whore!’ he yelled. He got in the car and drove off, ‘What did that prostitute say to you?’ Jeremy gave no reply so Craig sharply braked and drove off causing Jeremy to slam his back on the seat.

Scared of what he’ll do if he says nothing Jeremy replied, ‘She told me to stay away from you. That I’ll get killed by getting involved with you.’

‘Tsk. Whores! Their all thieves and liars!’ Craig replied. He grabbed Jeremy’s fore arm causing him to flinch and looked at the marks round his wrists, ‘Wear something with long sleeves to cover your wrist understood?’ he let go and continued driving, ‘Your back will hurt for a few days, the marks caused by the belt and the ropes will probably fade within a week.’

Jeremy stayed quiet and shook with fear as Craig had shown him exactly what he was capable of doing, ‘Oh yeah. It’s been so long and I haven’t kissed you yet.’ he pulled over and grabbed his chin pulling him in to a kiss.

Ignoring his tears, pain and feelings, he slipped his tongue into Jeremy’s mouth, he smirked, ‘From now on, you will come home every weekend, do you understand? What happened today can easily happen again.’ Jeremy nodded terrified, all he wanted was to get away from Craig.

Craig drove him back and Jeremy ran back into the school, ignoring his room mates calling him for dinner, he went back to his room and curled up under his covers. His room mates went to see his brother Ian, ‘Sorry to bother you Ian.’

Ian turned, ‘What is it?’

‘Jeremy didn’t come to dinner and he appears to be crying alone in his room, ever since he went out with his father, he’s been acting kind of…… funny.’ Simon said.

Ian sighed, ‘He’s a weird one alright. Just let him be if it was something serious, he’d say something.’ he walked away, ‘But I’ll go check on him.’ he knocked on his door, ‘Jeremy?’ he went in to hear he was crying, ‘What’s wrong? Did you and dad have a fight or something?’

He pulled back the covers to see Jeremy flinch and curl up more, all his best efforts to get him to talk yielded nothing. He left and called home, ‘Hey dad, it’s Ian. Did something happen with Jeremy when you took him out? He seems really upset.’

‘It’s nothing to worry about apparently he had a girlfriend back in Boston and she broke up with him, he’s taking it pretty hard.’ lied Craig, ‘Which is why I took him out I thought it’d take his mind off it but clearly nothing has changed.’

‘Girlfriend?’ exclaimed Ian, ‘Jeremy had a girlfriend?!’

‘Oh no! I wasn’t meant to tell anyone! I’m terrible at keeping secrets. He cried on my shoulder and confessed the whole thing.’ Craig lied, ‘He didn’t want to come back home the past couple of times because it’s upset him so much and he didn’t want to worry us.’

‘Poor kid, huh?’ asked Ian.

Craig chuckled, ‘I know, young love right? Listen don’t say anything to him ok? You’ll just make him feel bad.’

‘Yeah, sure thing dad.’ Ian answered.

‘By the way, how is your studying for the police exam going?’ asked Craig.

‘Good. I think I’m as ready as I’m going to be.’ replied Ian, ‘I’m really nervous still.’

Craig chuckled, ‘You’ll do fine. But if you need a study partner I can always run through it with you.’

‘Thanks dad. I’ll see you at the weekend.’ replied Ian.

‘Bye son.’ answered Craig putting the phone down.

Back with Jeremy he curled up more and cried even more, ‘I hate him! My back stings so much because of him.’ he shook his head, ‘I can still hear the sounds of the leather hitting my back. Why? Why? WHY?’ he remembered everything Craig said, ‘So I’m getting hit in Sandra’s place!?’

The next day he went to home room and he’s friend said, ‘Are you ok? You look so tired.’

Jeremy nodded, thinking, ‘Of course I’m not fine. I couldn’t sleep a wink. When I changed my clothes I realised the cuffs and the back of my shirt were both stained with blood. I rolled it up and hid it in my trunk.’ he rested his head on his hand and looked away, ‘Just try not to think about it, the pain will surely be weaker by tomorrow.’

The teacher asked him to read a passage from a poem he stood up but couldn’t make himself speak, all he could muster were quivering half words, ‘What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I talk? If I don’t answer soon they’ll think I’m weird. They’ll think……’ he fell to the floor.

Everyone crowded around him, ‘Are you ok?’ ‘Someone get the nurse?’ ‘Why’d you fall over like that?’ ‘He’s not been himself for a while now maybe he should go home?’ ‘I’ll take him to the medical office.’ Jeremy refused any physical contact and got up by himself.

His friend replied, ‘Come on follow me.’ he showed him to the medical office, ‘Doctor, Jeremy collapsed in the classroom, can you take a look at him?’

The doctor looked at Jeremy, ‘You look like you have a fever. Did you sleep well last night?’ he went to touch his wrist and Jeremy flinched and backed away, after what Craig had done mere physical contact from anyone was enough to scare him, ‘What’s the matter? I was only checking your pulse.’

Jeremy shook his head again he was unable to talk, the doctor looked at his friend, ‘Can you get his brother for me?’ moments later Ian came in, ‘Sorry to call you but I need to check something.’ he turned back to Jeremy, ‘Do you know who this is?’ Jeremy nodded, ‘What’s his name?’

Jeremy tried to respond but his voice refused to come out, ‘Uh…uh…I…ea….’

The doctor sighed, ‘As I suspected, you’re younger brother seems to be unable to speak.’

Ian went up to Jeremy, he flinched as Ian touched his hand, ‘Hey, try to say something. Come on it’s me you can talk to me about anything.’ Jeremy gave no response, Ian said, ‘Come on, we’re going for a walk.’

Jeremy followed him and they sat by the river bank on the outskirts of the school grounds, Ian asked, ‘When my father visited yesterday…’ he saw Jeremy tense and curl up, ‘What happened? Why won’t you speak?!’

He saw tears in Jeremy’s eyes so he touched his hand, ‘Did something happen? Why won’t you talk to me?’ Jeremy seemed to wake up from his trance as soon as he realised Ian was holding his hand he scrambled away screaming, ‘Jeremy?’

‘N…N…NO!’ he backed away, ‘NO LET ME GO! NO!’ Ian let him go and he cowered into himself crying.

Ian replied, ‘You sure cry a lot, but at least you spoke.’

‘I’m sorry…..I…worried…you…’ he uncurled slightly, ‘Thank you…for staying…with me…’

‘You don’t like my father very much huh?’ asked Ian. Jeremy looked at him, ‘He has a habit of lecturing people so if he says something to cause offence just brush it off.’

‘I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT CRAIG!’ he shrunk into himself, ‘Please, anything else.’

‘I’ll just say one last thing. He really does seem to care for you.’ said Ian.

They headed back and Jeremy was given the time off to recover in his room. He lay on the bed looking out the window alone, ‘I get to stay in bed for the rest of the week, it’ll make dealing with the wounds on my back easier, but the weekend will come soon. Once it does I must return home. I wish the fall in class had cracked my skull or caused a fracture. So I couldn’t return to that place.’

He recalled how Craig had hit him before, ‘But in the end no matter what I want I must always return home! I’m scared Craig will do that to me again. I’m scared he’ll tie me down again. I don’t want to remember that but I can’t forget it.’

A tear rolled across his face landing on the pillow, ‘Was that the true Craig? Or was it a one time explosion of anger? No matter how much I pleaded, how much I refused, how much I struggled, how much I tried to run away, I wasn’t able to stop him.’ he rubbed his wrists, ‘I’m going to be forced by him again and again and there is no way for me to fight back.’

That afternoon Ian came in, ‘Ready to go back?’

‘Yeah.’ he replied, he thought, ‘I don’t want to go! Please Ian see that! HELP ME!’

They got back and Sandra hugged Jeremy. Jeremy stifled his painful cry from being hugged, ‘Oh it’s been three weeks since I last saw you.’ she looked at his face, ‘You look so tired, aren’t you sleeping well? Eating well? The school doctor called and said you had a rough time. Are you ok now?’ Jeremy nodded.

Craig came in and hugged Ian, ‘Welcome back Ian. How’d the exam go?’

Ian hugged him back, ‘It felt ok. I get the results next week!’

He let go, ‘Call me as soon as you know!’ Ian nodded and Craig walked up to Jeremy, ‘Well, well, well, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes, Jeremy! You’re finally back!’ he smiled and hugged him, ‘We’re so happy you’re back.’

That night, Jeremy locked his door and pushed a chair up against it, he sat on the window ledge staring at the door waiting to see if his plan would work. To see if tonight he could indeed avoid Craig. He saw the door handle rattle.

He heard him outside, ‘Why do you lock the door? You know I have a key.’ he unlocked the door but it wouldn’t open, ‘Huh?! What did you do? Open this door right now!’

‘Just leave me alone ok?!’ he whimpered failing to act tough.

‘Open this door right now Jeremy.’ said Craig, ‘I’m going to count to three and if you don’t open this door, I’ll have to knock it down and then I’ll really be mad at you.’

Jeremy’s breath quivered, ‘Can he do that? Can he knock the door down? I know he’s strong but….’

‘One. Two……’ threatened Craig.

‘Ok!’ answered Jeremy, ‘I’ll do it.’ he staggered over and shaking pulled the chair away. He opened the door to see Craig standing there, ‘I’m sorry. Please don’t be angry at me.’

Craig walked in and Jeremy backed up, ‘You shouldn’t do things like that.’

Jeremy jumped as he slammed the door. He fell to his knees weak with fear, ‘Please forgive me I’m sorry.’ Craig stopped.

Craig’s face sank to a smile, ‘Ok.’ he said, Jeremy’s breath levelled out, ‘Tonight we’ll go without the belt or the rope.’ Jeremy looked at him, ‘If you’re a good boy I won’t do anything bad. Show me your back.’ with his hands shaking Jeremy did what he was told, fearing what not doing what he said would yield. Craig stroked his back causing Jeremy to flinch.

‘NO! Stop! Please Craig!’ he tried to move away but Craig grabbed his wrist.

‘Are you scared of me?’ asked Craig, Jeremy flinched as Craig smirked, ‘I love it when you’re scared.’

Craig pushed him onto the bed and started to unbutton his trousers, ‘Please! Let me go! No! Craig please! Don’t!’ Craig’s hand teased him, his voice rang out.

After he was lying in the bed on his stomach, ‘It’s a shame that the belt marks are fading. But at least you’re healing.’ he stroked Jeremy’s back, ‘Say that you love me, Jeremy.’ he kissed the back of his shoulder, ‘We’re lovers after all.’

‘I’m not your lover. I don’t love you! This isn’t love!’ replied Jeremy.

Craig spun him onto his back, ‘How can you say that? After what we just did? I see I must teach you more and more about love. I’ve been taking it easy on you because you’re so young and thought you’d of never had a serious relationship with a man before. I’ll show you something special next time.’ he left Jeremy alone, he curled up and tried to put Craig’s words out his mind.

He mumbled to himself over and over, ‘This isn’t love. This isn’t love. This isn’t love. This isn’t love.’

The next day was Sunday, Jeremy did his own washing not wanting the maids to see what was going on, fearing repercussions from Craig but also he had no idea what he could even tell them, he packed his bags and went to leave only to be stopped by his mother.

Sandra grabbed his hand, ‘Jeremy. Stay a little longer. It’s three weeks since we last saw one another.’

‘Sorry mum but I have a lot of homework to catch up on too, it’s easier to study in the library.’ Jeremy said.

‘But……’ Sandra protested only to be interrupted by Craig.

‘Come on now Sandra. The boy’s taking his education seriously.’ he replied placing his hands on her shoulders, ‘Besides, he’ll be back next weekend. Won’t you Jeremy?’

Craig’s words shot through Jeremy as he nodded. He couldn’t explain it but Craig’s words sounded more like a threat then anything else.

He left with Ian to catch the train, ‘I can finally get away. Even though it was just one night, it felt overwhelmingly long.’ he remembered everything that happened down to the smallest detail and his whole body shook, ‘How long? How long will I be forced to be his puppet for? Forever? No! I have to find a way out of this!’

On Monday he was back in English literature class, reading a book about a man’s descend into madness as he kills his young wife and buries her body into the foundation of his house. Jeremy suddenly remembered the woman that told him Craig had killed his wife. Jeremy shivered, after what he had experienced of Craig’s anger he fully believed the he was capable of doing it.

Meanwhile, Ian phoned home, ‘Dad? Guess what?’

‘You passed the exam didn’t you?’ he asked excitedly.

‘I passed!’ he said.

‘That’s wonderful!’ he turned to Sandra, ‘Ian’s passed his first police exam!’

All week that thought haunted his mind, he was happy about Ian’s good news, but couldn’t put everything else from his mind. He hadn’t even noticed his week away was up and followed Ian back. He thought, ‘It’s like Ian’s my warden, ensuring I always come back to my cage. He has no idea what is really going on here, but he plays his part so well.’

Walking in all the servants were standing at the bottom of the stairs chatting. They saw Jeremy and Ian so explained, ‘Master Jeremy, Master Ian, there has been a terrible accident. Madam Sandra was scolded, she’s in her room with the doctor now.’

Jeremy’s eyes widened immediately suspecting that Craig did something to her to prove a point to him, he ran upstairs, ‘Mother!?’

He stepped in their room to see Craig holding her hand, ‘It’s ok.’ the doctor lay a supporting structure to stop the sheets touching her legs.

‘The medicine should take effect shortly.’ said the doctor.

A maid stopped Jeremy getting too close, ‘Oh Master Jeremy, your mum’s going to be ok. She dropped a pot of hot water on herself.’

Jeremy flinched thinking, ‘Craig did it I’m sure of it!’

The maid turned back to Craig, ‘Forgive me Master Craig, I was there but couldn’t do anything, Madam Sandra was so insistent on helping us and now she’s hurt.’

Craig never left Sandra’s side, ‘It’s alright it was only an accident. Thank you for calling me at the office.’

Jeremy thought, ‘He was at work? So, it was just an accident?’

The medicine kicked in and Sandra fell asleep, the doctor replied, ‘Could all of you leave so I can continue my work. Now she is asleep I can better assess the extent of her burns.’

They all left and Craig followed Jeremy to his room, Jeremy saw him enter and shut the door, ‘No stay away from me!’ he yelled, ‘Sandra needs you by her side leave me alone!’

‘Jeremy!’ he hugged him, ‘I was in such a state of shock to see her in such pain. I can’t stand to see her suffer!’ his grip increased. He pushed him onto the bed, ‘I can only rely on you Jeremy.’

‘No! Please!’ pleaded Jeremy, ‘Stop!’

He heard a knock on his door, ‘Jeremy?’

‘Ian?!’ Jeremy thought.

He was about to open the door when Craig answered it, ‘Father? What are you doing in here?’ Jeremy was sat on the bed facing away from the door.

‘I was comforting Jeremy.’ he explained, he looked back, ‘Try not to be too upset Jeremy and remember I’m just across the hall if you want me.’

‘Yes. Thank you.’ he whimpered, from behind he just seemed upset about his mothers accident but in reality his clothes were torn and open. Craig left with Ian.

Morning broke and Jeremy went to see his mother with Ian and another maid, Craig was tending to her so Jeremy went to the other side of the bed, ‘At least you’ve gotten some colour back in your cheeks.’ tears swelled in Sandra’s eyes, ‘Sandra? What’s wrong?’

‘I’m so sorry Craig!’ she hid her face, ‘I’m so useless!’ she held Jeremy’s hand stifling her tears, ‘I think it’s best if we return to Boston together.’

‘SANDRA?!’ Craig exclaimed, ‘Please! It was only an accident. Accidents happen every day, there is no need to resort to such drastic measures!’

Jeremy thought, ‘I can return to Boston?!’

She looked and Craig, ‘It’s not just that. I can’t do anything right! And besides Jeremy isn’t happy here.’ replied Sandra turning back to Jeremy, ‘You always take so long to return home from school and even when you’re here you seem to be somewhere else.’

Craig put his arm around Jeremy and pulled him in, being touched by Craig made Jeremy sick to his stomach though he didn’t show it, ‘Oh Sandra, it’s not like that. We’re not on bad terms or anything, we just haven’t had much of a chance to do anything together, with him only being here for the weekend.’

He increased his grip on Jeremy’s shoulder, ‘That’s how it is, isn’t it Jeremy?’ Jeremy nodded like a puppet on Craig’s string, ‘Listen, if makes you so worried, I’ll make an extra effort with him, I see him as the son I never had after all.’

Jeremy thought, ‘I don’t want to! I hate you! I hate you! I HATE YOU! Get your hands off me!’ Jeremy looked up at Sandra, ‘I didn’t mean to worry you. I’m sorry. I didn’t realise I was worrying you this much.’ he started crying, ‘I promise, I’ll try not to worry you anymore.’

Craig smiled, ‘There, there, no need to cry! From now on, we’ll be the ultimate family.’

Ian replied, ‘Sandra, I really don’t think you have anything to worry about with those two, father went to Jeremy’s room yesterday to comfort him after you were injured.’

Craig answered, ‘Sandra me and Jeremy get along just fine. It’s just tough on him moving to a new place, starting a new school it’s tough for any young man. We have a peace treaty look.’ Craig kissed his cheek, ‘That’s a good boy Jeremy.’ Craig returned to Sandra’s side, ‘Please, don’t ever say something so ridiculers like leaving ever again. I love you Sandra.’

Sandra seemed to melt into his embrace, Jeremy thought, ‘That bastard! He can talk his way out of anything!’

Ian and Jeremy left together and walked into the garden, they came to a clearing to find a tree on a hill with a swing hanging from it. Ian turned away Jeremy asked, ‘Ian? Are you ok?’

‘Sorry, I don’t like this tree.’ replied Ian, ‘Here’s where my mother died.’

Jeremy looked at the tree, ‘I’m sorry. How did it happen?’ he asked as his interest peaked, the spark was set by the prostitute and would finally be set alight by Ian.

‘She fell from that swing and broke her neck as she landed and rolled down the hill.’ Ian explained.

‘So, it was an accident?’ thought Jeremy, ‘Craig didn’t murder her?!’ he walked with Ian, ‘I haven’t got the strength to keep fighting him!’

Later, Craig and Ian started talking, Craig sighed, ‘Oh Ian! It feels like this family is falling apart at the seams.’

Ian replied, ‘Are you still worried about what Sandra said? Don’t be she loves you, I think she just needs a hobby, you know something to occupy her time.’

‘And what about Jeremy?’ asked Craig, Ian looked at him, ‘Sandra is right, he’s not happy here. I suppose it was a little harsh to up root the lad at such a fragile age.’

Ian answered, ‘Jeremy and Sandra just need to settle into a routine. You deal with Sandra and I’ll try to make more of an effort to be nice to Jeremy.’

Craig hugged him, ‘Thank you son. It means a lot.’

That night Craig went in to Jeremy’s room to see him sitting on the bed, he pushed him down and climbed on top, ‘You’re being so obedient tonight aren’t you?’ he lowered his hand between his legs and smiled, ‘You’re not resisting tonight?’

Jeremy gritted his teeth and bore with it, ‘I haven’t got the energy to keep fighting him off!’

‘Are you finally starting to desire our visits and enjoy yourself?’ Jeremy was shocked, Craig took both their trousers off and turned him over on all fours, ‘You were so well behaved earlier with Sandra and helped me talk her round.’ he inserted his finger, forcing Jeremy’s body to respond, ‘I think I’ll reward you for that by showing what I meant by real love.’ Craig had his way with Jeremy all night long.

That morning he was preparing to leave for school and went to say goodbye to his mother, Craig was there, ‘Sorry I have to go to work, there’s a problem I need to attend to.’

Sandra sighed, ‘I get so lonely when you all go off to work and school, I have no where to go.’

Jeremy replied, ‘I can stay with her for a while longer and catch the later train if that would help?’

‘That would be perfect.’ smiled Craig and ruffled his hair, ‘You really are being a good boy recently aren’t you?’ he walked out, ‘I’ll be back later.’

Jeremy thought, ‘As soon as mum goes to sleep I’m going to his office to find my passport. I want to get out of here as soon as possible.’

Eventually, Sandra fell asleep due to the high level of pain relief she was on. Jeremy went to Craig’s office to look for his lock box. While searching his office Craig came back, he hid behind the desk, he heard Craig say, ‘Jeremy? What are you doing in here?’

Jeremy’s heart sank as he stood up turning to face him, ‘I want my passport!’

Craig huffed, ‘I was wondering why you were behaving so well recently. So you were thinking of skipping out on me?’ he walked up to him grabbing his wrist, ‘Nice try but no luck, it’s in the banks lock box now. I have to sign it out for you and I will never do that.’

He pinned him to the sofa in his office, ‘NO! Let me go!’

Craig kissed him, ‘If you behave, I’ll forgive you.’ he had his way with him before releasing him to school.

Where he met Ian, ‘Jeremy do you have a moment?’

Jeremy shrunk into himself, ‘Sure.’ they sat together, ‘What’s on your mind?’

‘Jeremy you……’ he couldn’t find the right words, ‘My father…..’ he stopped again.

Jeremy thought, ‘He found out! He knows doesn’t he?’ he stood up to leave, ‘If it’s too hard you don’t have to talk to me.’ Ian grabbed his hand.

‘No! Sit down Jeremy.’ Ian said causing Jeremy to flinch, his commanding voice was so similar to his fathers. He sat down shrinking into himself scared of what would happen to him next, ‘What are you so scared for? I’m not going to eat you!’

‘Then what are you doing?’ asked Jeremy.

‘I lied to you.’ replied Ian, ‘My father found my mother as soon she died. It was suicide. She didn’t fall and break her neck, she hung herself from the tree. I only know this because the gardener let it slip when I found some rope tied in a noose.’

‘Why are you telling me all of this?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Because I want us to be brothers, I want us to be able to share anything and everything. You could have lost your mother if her burns were anymore serious.’ replied Ian, ‘Families are hard so want us to be able to co operate to keep this family together. So, I’ve told you something what about you?’ Jeremy looked away.

‘There’s nothing to tell.’ Jeremy replied fearing he’d let slip that Ian’s father was raping him, so he said nothing else.

‘What about your dad?’ asked Ian.

Jeremy looked at him smiling, ‘He was a really good guy. Loyal, caring and fiercely protective. But, then he died. Heart failure when I was ten. Being so young my mother had no idea how to tell me but I was quite mature for my age and knew.’

Ian smiled, ‘Thank you for sharing. I wasn’t sure about my dads marriage to your mother, in all honesty I didn’t want a younger brother. But since we’re here now, let’s make the best of it.’

Jeremy forced a smile, ‘Yeah.’ they parted ways and Jeremy sat in class, ‘Co operate to keep this family together huh? Basically every weekend I have to obediently obey Craig’s demands.’ he sighed and slumped in his chair, ‘Craig said something similar to that once. He said something like: But if you’d prefer I can go home and take this out on Sandra it makes no difference to me! Meaning he needs someone to hit. He needs someone to be mad at and take his anger out on.’

The week at school came and went. The dread of returning to that house, returning to Craig’s mastery sank in as Jeremy walked to the station with Ian.

On the train Jeremy thought to himself, ‘If Ian’s mother committed suicide, does that mean that Craig treated her like he treats me and that’s what drove her to do it. Or maybe he used hanging as his murder method so he could disguise it as suicide. What should I do? I don’t have anyone to ask.’ he remembered the prostitute that came up to the car after Craig hit him at the hotel, ‘I do! I can ask her, but how?’

They got back, Jeremy grew to hate everything about the trip back to Craig’s house. Even the sound of the birds outside his house haunted his mind. Inside Sandra was up and walking about.

Jeremy went over to her, ‘Are you ok being up?’

‘Yes.’ replied Sandra, ‘The doctor gave me the all clear, I’ll have to wear these bandages for a few more days though.’

A maid he didn’t recognise came round the corner, she bowed, ‘Oh hello! I’m the new maid I only started yesterday. My name is Sharon, nice to meet you.’ she looked at Ian and Jeremy, ‘Would you all like some tea?’

‘That would be lovely.’ smiled Sandra.

They carried on right through dinner as Craig came home. Jeremy’s head hardly ever raised, his voice hardly ever sounded, when he was in the same room as Craig.

Craig announced, ‘I’m having Sharon take care of Sandra as she said she’s been to nursing school so I thought having somebody to hand would be beneficial.’

Ian smiled, ‘As long as Sandra recovers that’s all I care about.’

Sandra smiled, ‘Thank you Ian that’s so sweet!’ the meal went on and no one seemed to notice Jeremy said nothing the whole night.

That night after Sandra fell asleep, Craig went to see Jeremy again. He opened the door to see Jeremy looking out the window, ‘Sandra is much better now, you don’t have to worry so much! But, sadly for the past week, Sandra and I haven’t been able to sleep in the same bed so I am a little frustrated.’

Craig removed Jeremy’s jacket for him causing him to flinch, ‘Because of her injury there was no way I could do anything with her. I’ve been waiting for you to come home, Jeremy, it’s been a long week.’

His hand lowered and he unbuttoned his shirt, Jeremy fought back, ‘NO! Don’t touch me!’ Craig hugged him from behind pinning his arms to his sides.

‘But, I like to undress you. Slowly. The slower I do it the more my heart races with anticipation.’ he nuzzled Jeremy’s neck while he whimpered in disgust, he pinned him face down to the bed unbuttoning his trousers.

‘Please! Stop!’ cried Jeremy.

‘That’s it! Cry and beg. No matter how much you struggle you can’t escape. No matter what you do, you’re mine to do with as I please.’ replied Craig.

After Craig left as he often did, Jeremy went to his ensuite to wash Craig’s touch from his skin, he looked in the mirror at his bruising from fighting back, ‘Peaceful family huh?’

That afternoon, he came across Ian looking shifty, he asked what was wrong only to be ignored and walked past, but a photograph fell from the pile he was carrying, on the back it read, ‘Lilia and Ian just back from the hospital.’ he looked at it, ‘This must be……Ian’s mother?’ he walked out to the swing where she killed herself. In the bright light for only one moment, he thought he saw someone standing there.

‘Braided golden hair? That’s Lilia!?’ as soon as he took one step towards the swing he felt a hand on his shoulder startling him more.

It was Craig, ‘Oh my, did I scare you? What’s wrong? You were looking at the swing?’

‘No I just……’ he was interrupted by a kiss.

Craig pulled away, ‘You’re trembling! I should hold you closer.’

‘No! Please! Stop!’ he managed to get away and ran back to the house. He knew if he was around other people Craig wouldn’t do anything. Even though he hated being in the house it was safer than staying outside alone with him.

That night, Craig went to Jeremy a second time, Jeremy backed away asking, ‘Why don’t you just pay some women to do this to them?’

‘What?’ asked Craig getting closer.

‘You’ll be satisfied, won’t you? You said that you needed someone to take your anger out on, why not pay some women to do it with you?’

‘You’re talking about that prostitute Maisy from the hotel in Mason, aren’t you?’ he chuckled, ‘Or is this your way of telling me I have to buy your love. Because that’s what I want. It isn’t sex, it’s love.’ he pulled Jeremy’s shirt off, holding him up against the bed post, ‘Rather than emotionless sex with a prostitute I prefer to only to it with people I love like you and Sandra.’

Jeremy failed to fight him off and yet again was forced to have sex with him. Jeremy curled into himself and cried at yet another failure.

He prepared to go to school, hiding the fact that he was planning to see Maisy, ‘I need some money for the train. I’m sure mum will have some.’

Jeremy went to see his mother, ‘Are you going back to school?’

‘Yes. Mum……would you give me some money?’ asked Jeremy, ‘I forgot to ask this weekend and I just remembered there’s a school trip, tomorrow.’

Sandra smiled, ‘I’m sure Craig will give you more of you ask him.’

‘You don’t have any with you?’ asked Jeremy.

‘I don’t need to. Craig pays for everything.’ explained Sandra, before Jeremy could protest, ‘Oh here he comes now. Craig darling! Jeremy needs some money for a school trip, could you give him some?’

Craig smiled, ‘Of course. I left my wallet in my study. Jeremy come with me.’ Jeremy reluctantly followed him, he stood in the door way, ‘Let’s see. Will £30 be enough?’

‘Y…yes…’ he replied gingerly realising he was alone with Craig.

‘Don’t be such a Scaredy Cat, come here and get it.’ said Craig.

Fearfully he stepped forward, the prize of potentially finding out the truth about Lilia’s death proved to be more valuable then the risk of Craig pinning him down again. When he was close enough Craig huffed smirking, moving the money out of his reach, ‘I’m not giving you this for nothing.’ he held his chin and kissed him.

He gave him the money and let him go Jeremy ran out wiping his lips, ‘At least he only kissed me this time!’ he sighed, ‘I hate him so much! Our so called healthy father son relationship is nothing but a lie. I will find a weak spot! Maisy is my only hope for that.’

He found the hotel Craig took him too and was greeted by so many prostitutes but none were Maisy he asked, ‘I’m looking for one woman in particular. I believe her name is Maisy?’

Maisy was called and appeared she saw him, ‘Oh it’s you again? Why did you come here?’ he took her away from the crowd.

‘You said that Craig killed his wife didn’t you?’ asked Jeremy, ‘Was that the truth or where you lying?’

‘I’ll tell you in a moment but first I want to know something about you. Why are you going out with such an abusive guy? Do you even know what he’s like?’

‘I know.’ replied Jeremy looking away, ‘I know all about the belt.’

‘Do you like that kind of stuff then?’ Maisy asked, ‘Because if you sold yourself that kind of stuff fetches a high price.’

‘No! I don’t!’ yelled Jeremy, ‘But he forces me.’

Maisy lit a cigarette, ‘I don’t like it either he puts on that creepy mask and takes pictures and I especially hate that rope!’ she inhaled and exhaled the smoke, ‘That’s the rope he used to strangle his wife with.’

Jeremy was shaken to his core, ‘With that rope?’

‘Oh? So, he’s tied you up with it too?’ asked Maisy.

‘Is that really the same rope he used?’ asked Jeremy, ‘How do you know this?

‘From what he told me. He coiled the rope around his wife’s neck and strangled her to death.’ Maisy explained, ‘I thought he was joking but then he strangled me with it, he said that’d he’d perfected the art of strangulation so I didn’t have to worry. His wife was the test pilot.’

‘If he really did all of this? Why hasn’t he been arrested?’ asked Jeremy.

Maisy sighed, ‘He made everyone believe it was suicide by hanging her from a tree after she died, the police took him at his word as the evidence was so overwhelmingly obvious, they didn’t perform and autopsy on her body. He got away with murder.’

‘Why don’t you come forward as a witness and tell the police what you know?’ asked Jeremy.

‘The police aren’t going to believe a whore!’ exclaimed Maisy, ‘They’ll believe me even less now it’s been so long since it all happened.’ Maisy continued, ‘Besides I’m relieved he stopped coming here, the abuse started to escalate dramatically, when he stopped coming we all breathed a little easier. Now I know it’s all because he found himself a nice new shiny toy.’

‘Thank you for telling me all of this!’ replied Jeremy.

Maisy asked, ‘After hearing this, do you still intend to see him?’

Jeremy replied looking away, ‘If I could run, I would. But I have someone I have to protect.’ he went to leave when Maisy called him back.

‘Trust me. Forget about protecting them. Run as far away as you can. He is dangerous and will only continue to hurt you.’ she explained.

Jeremy thought walking to school, ‘As I suspected. Craig did kill Lilia and made it look like an accident.’ he felt sick to his stomach, ‘Craig truly is a monster!’

The weeks would fly by but the weekends would drag for Jeremy, ‘Not again! I have to do something, I don’t want to go through this again.’ he remembered when Craig hit him with the belt, ‘But if I make him too mad he’ll hit me again.’ he sighed, ‘My only option is to take the lesser of the two evils.’

That night he was looking out his window and saw Craig’s reflection appear behind him like a phantom from his worst nightmare. He turned and Craig softly held his chin.

‘Did you strangle Lilia to death?’ Jeremy asked without thinking, the sound of his own voice shocked him as much as the bold question shocked Craig.

Craig’s face hardened, ‘Who told you that? WHO TOLD YOU THAT?!’ he grabbed his arms shaking him.

Jeremy thought, ‘Crap! I didn’t mean to suddenly blurt it out like that!’ he felt Craig’s grip increase on his arms, ‘I saw a ghost!’ he confessed, ‘By the swing. Lilia’s.’ Craig let him go, ‘What? He let go of me?’ he decided to continue with that train of thought to see if he could make Craig leave him alone, ‘I saw her, didn’t you? When you kissed me in the garden, she had blonde hair tied up in braids. That’s why I was so jumpy when you came out.’

All the colour drained out of Craig’s face as he ran out without a word. Jeremy ran to the door and locked him out, ‘I did it! I found his weak spot! If I talk about her every time he tries to come into my room can I keep him away?’

At breakfast, Sandra asked, ‘Craig? Are you ok?’

Craig yelled, ‘Just leave me alone will you!’ Sandra flinched, ‘Ah….I’m sorry Sandra. It’s work it’s starting to get to me.’ he lied, ‘I’m going for a walk.’

Jeremy watched as Craig’s erratic behaviour scared his mother, ‘If he can’t take it out on me. He’ll find someone else. I just have to hope it’s not Sandra. I want to run but I have no where to go. Even if I can avoid him at night he’ll just abuse someone else.’

That night Craig entered Jeremy’s room again, ‘I’m sorry Jeremy you must have been lonely last night.’ he locked the door and pulled out the rope from his pocket. Jeremy flinched at the sight of it, ‘I didn’t even answer you.’

Jeremy tried to run but Craig grabbed his hand, ‘No! Please Craig! Anything but the rope! You killed your wife with that rope!’ Craig ripped Jeremy’s shirt off and tied his hands together, ‘NO! DON’T CRAIG PLEASE!’ Craig tied Jeremy’s hands above his head and to the bed post and got the belt, ‘Stop this please let me go!’ Craig stripped Jeremy.

Knowing what Craig was going to do made Jeremy even more scared as tears swelled in his eyes, Craig smirked, ‘I strangled Lilia to death with this rope you say? Even though I loved her?’ he hit Jeremy with the buckle this time. He hit him five more times.

Jeremy cried, ‘I’m sorry Craig! Please! Forgive me!’

‘I won’t!’ he yelled hitting him over and over again. Craig stopped to catch his breath and Jeremy fell silent tired from his beating he couldn’t stand up anymore and let himself hang from the rope, ‘Even though I loved her.’ he thrust into Jeremy shocking him back into consciousness.

‘No! Craig! Stop please!’ begged Jeremy, ‘Forgive me……I won’t say….her name….again I swear….please!’ Craig ignored his pleas and continued thrusting into him, eventually he stopped and took pictures of Jeremy’s back.

He released Jeremy’s wrists from the ropes allowing him to fall to the floor in a heap, ‘Go wash up now.’ Jeremy did, the water stung the open cuts on his back caused by the belt buckle, Craig was still in his room when he returned. Jeremy was terrified to see him, ‘Sit down on this chair and I’ll treat the wounds on your back.’ fearing what saying no would bring he did as he was told.

‘Lilia betrayed me. She had a lover.’ replied Craig, ‘I found out. But enough about her.’ he wrapped a bandage round Jeremy, ‘I know tonight was tough on you, but you made me angry. I’ve warned you not to get me angry before haven’t I? I love you Jeremy, I only want to treat you kindly.’ he went to the door, ‘But I will discipline you as many times as I have to.’ he left.

Jeremy walked to his bed but collapsed at the side and cried into the sheets. The next morning they went to the station to take the train to school, seeing the train arrive he thought, ‘I can end it all! With one step I can escape from my hell! Like Lilia did.’ he stepped back and shook his head as the train arrived, ‘No why me? Why do I have to die he’s the problem! He should be the one to die! Not me!’

At school on of his classmates asked, ‘Jeremy are you alright? You look tired.’

Jeremy looked away, ‘I’m fine, I’m probably just coming down with something.’ they went to class but all Jeremy could think of was the pain in his back.

They were about to leave when the teacher called him back, ‘Jeremy, come here a moment.’ he did, ‘I thought history was your best subject. So, why did you hand in a blank piece of paper?’

‘I’m sorry sir. I just couldn’t concentrate.’ replied Jeremy.

‘If you can’t concentrate or if you are ill, you must rest instead of coming to class.’ he replied.

He nodded and stepped out, the boys asked, ‘Are you ok?’

‘Yeah.’ Jeremy lied. Another friend burst through another door, hitting Jeremy’s back, there was little he could do to hide his pain but everyone was too concerned with the tickets he had brought in to notice that Jeremy was hurt, so he composed himself.

All throughout the week little things caused concern in his friends, every now and again he would let his pain show, or his lack of appetite would raise a few eyebrows. His roommates noticed he wasn’t sleeping well or if in fact at all.

Another friend asked him, ‘Are you worried about something Jeremy?’

‘Worried?’ Jeremy smiled, ‘Sorry William, I didn’t mean to worry you so much.’

William said, ‘Forgive me but if there’s something wrong, you can talk to me or you can go talk to the school councillor.’

‘Something wrong?’ he started laughing, ‘I’ve told you there’s nothing wrong haven’t I?’ he stood up and went out, ‘Just mind your own business!’ pushing them away felt easier then confessing the truth.

He was called to the lobby for a phone call, he dreaded it be Craig but answered anyway, ‘Hello?’

It was Sandra, ‘I have wonderful news Jeremy! Craig and I have decided to go on a trip to Italy together.’

‘A trip to Italy?! When is it?!’ asked Jeremy thinking, ‘Please say this weekend! Please tell me Craig won’t be there this weekend.’

‘We’re leaving on Thursday for eight days. I wanted to bring you with us but……’ answered Sandra.

Jeremy interrupted, ‘No, it’s fine! I have school anyway so it’s fine.’ he continued, ‘By the way, could you ask Craig to return my passport?’

Craig took the phone off Sandra while he was asking, he smiled, ‘Jeremy?’ Jeremy flinched and started shaking, hearing his voice was enough to scare him, ‘Thank you for being so considerate. We should all go together next time, don’t be lonely this weekend without me.’ Jeremy couldn’t respond, ‘Yes sure, I’ll bring you a souvenir back. See you next weekend Jeremy.’ he said acting like they were having a perfectly normal father son conversation.

Jeremy slammed down the phone fighting back tears. Sandra was left none the wiser, Craig saw to that.

Jeremy ran outside and tried to stop his panic attack, ‘I don’t want to hear his voice anymore! I don’t want to see his face anymore! I don’t want a single finger of his to touch me ever again! It feels like I’m going to explode! I hate him!’

He got back to his room and took his clothes off to get changed, he saw blood stains and sighed. One of his room mates came in and he quickly dressed, ‘I can’t let him see the marks! I need to throw away or clean that shirt too.’

He heard his friend say, ‘Jeremy is that blood? Are you hurt somewhere?’

Jeremy shook his head, ‘It’s nothing.’ he walked out, ‘That was close! He already suspects something is wrong.’ he saw another student selling tickets to Ian’s boxing match against another student.

Jeremy thought, ‘Ian boxes?!’ he went to the gym to see Ian worried about him.

In the gym he saw Ian’s opponent training, he was a muscle bound thug he decided it was best to avoid him and asked someone else, ‘Is Ian here?’

‘Oh you’re Jeremy right? Ian’s younger brother?’ he asked, Jeremy nodded, ‘No he’s not here. I don’t know where he is.’

Ian’s opponent Matt came over and pushed Jeremy’s shoulder, ‘So you’re the younger brother are you?!’ he huffed, ‘Ready to see big brother lose?’

Jeremy smiled, ‘Like that’ll happen?’

Matt yelled, ‘What was that?’ he went to punch him when Jeremy dodged, Matt’s fist hit a punch bag that knocked Jeremy into an exercise machine, making his nose bleed. Matt was ordered by a teacher to cool off and Jeremy was taken out for treatment.

Ian heard about it and found Jeremy’s friends, ‘Where’s Jeremy?’

‘He’s in his room. The school nurse told him to lie down.’ he replied, ‘Rumour has it he took on Matt on his own.’

Ian ran past them and went to see Jeremy, ‘Jeremy!? Are you alright?’ Jeremy was holding a tissue to his nose and nodded, ‘Is it true that you tried to fight Matt?!’

‘Of course not! I went to the gym looking for you and that Matt guy attacked me!’ Jeremy explained, ‘I got out of the way of his punch but got knocked back when the sandbag swung.’

‘That guy picks on people. Does it hurt?’ asked Ian.

‘No, I’m alright. I’m worried though.’ he replied, ‘Ian can you really take that guy? He’s huge!’

‘I’ll be fine.’ Ian smiled, ‘You didn’t crack a rib or anything did you?’ Jeremy shook his head, ‘Here, it’s a ticket to the match. Since dad can’t be there it’ll be nice to see a family member cheering me on in the crowd.’ he turned back before walking out, ‘I’ll look forward to seeing you there!’ he left.

Jeremy thought, ‘When you get used to it, blood tastes quite sweet.’ he looked over at William, ‘I know he suspects something but won’t ask. He saw the blood on my shirt and has kept an annoyingly watchful eye over me. He’s getting kind of nosey!’ William left, ‘He has been watching me very closely recently, he has asked me why I’m not eating or sleeping properly and I don’t have a reasonable answer. He saw the teacher talk to me about my grades slipping and he’s seen the blood on my shirts. I need to get a hold of myself before questions I don’t want to answer start getting asked.’

The next day, it was Ian’s boxing match Jeremy filtered in with the crowd. They all watched as Ian and Matt entered the ring. He saw the difference in their size and stature, Jeremy thought, ‘Ian’s going to lose!’ the bell rang and they started punching one another.

Ian took a direct hit to the face and Jeremy saw blood roll down his face, ‘Blood? Ian’s bleeding?!’ Ian continued fighting almost as if he hadn’t noticed and hit Matt with severe blows. He won however beaten and bloody.

Jeremy saw the blood on his face as he was declared the winner, Jeremy went to the locker room to see Ian, ‘Are you ok?’

Ian looked at him with a bandage over his eye, ‘Hey Jeremy. I’m fine. Both me and Matt are amateurs so it was a pretty even match, his punches are heavy but he’s not so quick on his feet and his foot work is sloppy.’

‘Are you really ok?’ asked Jeremy.

Ian smiled and hid his pain, ‘Yeah.’ he spent the weekend with Ian at school and the town. For once the weekend was happy. But underneath it all his fear of next weekend coming haunted his mind.

Friday and he was back in class having a break from Craig’s twisted games gave him some level of clarity, but not enough to know exactly what to do but for the first time since this whole thing started he could think about his options clearly. He was in the library when he saw a book on psychology, he looked at the authors note, ‘He lives in London! That’s his address! He’s a therapist.’

Jeremy thought, ‘He’s a specialist and he‘s close! From the maze I’ve staggered into he might be able to show me how to escape.’ he smiled at the lifeline he had stumbled across. He found his phone number too from the library directory and left to find a pay phone.

He dialled the number and got a response, ‘Yes? Hello?’

‘Umm….I….Are you…Professor David…..?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Yes……who is this?’ asked Professor David.

Now that Jeremy had help within his grasp he was too scared to speak, ‘I have a problem.’

‘A problem?’ Professor David asked, ‘What is it?’

‘Umm……Umm…..I…..Uh……I’m being forced... into having…… sex with my father in law. I can’t see a way out.’ Jeremy explained, now he had said it to someone and spoke about it out loud it felt as though a huge weight had been lifted.

‘Since when?’ Professor David asked.

‘Since August when my mother remarried.’ now he had broken the silence, talking about it felt a little easier, ‘You believe me then?’

‘Of course.’ Professor David asked, ‘How old are you?’

Jeremy replied, ‘Fifteen.’

Professor David asked, ‘Can’t you simply refuse your stepfather?’

‘No, I can’t! I only just got away now because he’s not in the country! He has me trapped.’ Jeremy replied.

‘You should leave your stepfather’s house immediately. If you come to my office I can arrange somewhere safe for you to stay.’ Professor David explained.

‘My stepfather has the whole family fooled, my mother and adoptive brother know nothing about this and I don’t want them to!’ replied Jeremy, ‘If I leave he’ll just do what he does to me to my mother!’

Professor David explained, ‘It’s because you hide these things from your family is why they keep happening. It won’t stop until you let them know. Listen to me. The sexual abuse you are receiving is a criminal offence. Please don’t let whatever he has told you will happen stop you from making this public. I can assure you people will believe you.’ Jeremy thought about everyone finding out and started shaking uncontrollably, ‘Hello? Are you still there?’ Jeremy slammed the phone down.

‘No! I can’t handle that?!’ he fell to his knees, ‘Craig would find a way to talk his way out of it I’m sure, even if I have Professor David’s support it’s still just my word against his, yes I have the scars on my back but he’d talk his way out of it somehow.’

His phone rang it was his mother, ‘Hi mum.’

‘Jeremy it’s so late where are you?’ asked Sandra.

‘Sorry I haven’t left school yet.’ he lied, ‘I’ll leave now and catch the last train down.’

Sandra smiled, ‘Craig and I were so worried when you weren’t here. We thought you’d gotten lost or something.’

Jeremy sighed, ‘You worry too much! I’m gonna hang up and get the train.’ they said their goodbyes and Jeremy got the train, he thought, ‘I’ll walk slowly to get back. Give him less time to use me.’

He got back and was greeted by his mother, ‘Jeremy it’s been so long!’ she hugged him.

‘Hi mum.’ he smiled hugging her back.

Craig came in, ‘Jeremy.’ Jeremy’s body tensed as he hugged him, ‘I missed you.’ he let go and they went into the living room to catch up.

Jeremy sat down, ‘How was your trip?’

Sandra smiled, ‘It was perfect. It was just like a dream come true.’ all throughout the night he could barely keep himself from thinking about Craig hurting him that night.

Jeremy locked his door and waited, Craig came but couldn’t open the door, ‘Jeremy what’s wrong? You don’t need to lock the door. Are you perhaps upset because I left you behind to go to Italy?’

‘I’m sick of this! I’m sick of it all!’ yelled Jeremy, ‘Please just leave! If you want to tell Sandra then go ahead! I’ve had enough of this!’ Craig unlocked it and Jeremy retreated further into the room, Craig put his hand out to him, ‘No! Stop it!’

‘What’s wrong? You’re shivering. Is it because it’s been two weeks? Does your back still hurt?’ Craig asked hugging him acting nice.

‘NO! LEAVE ME ALONE!’ Jeremy yelled trying to get away.

‘You seem to be in a bad mood tonight. While I was in Italy I was so worried about losing you, I thought you’d be lonely while I was away.’ replied Craig.

‘Maybe I should kill myself like you told them Lilia did.’ mumbled Jeremy. Craig chuckled.

‘I will never let you do that!’ he kissed him forcing his tongue in Jeremy’s mouth, ‘That’ll be all for tonight.’ he stood up and went to the door, ‘Do you want me to lock you in?’

Jeremy replied, ‘Whatever you want!’ he went into the ensuite and brushed his teeth, ‘Craig’s tongue invades my mouth, he enjoys forcing me!’ he fell to his knees, ‘I hate this!’

He forced himself through his day knowing Craig was coming back the that night. As night came he was pinned to the wall by Craig, ‘No please! Stop using that rope! Not that rope! Please!’

‘But if I don’t tie you up you’ll try to run away won’t you?’ asked Craig.

‘Why? Did what I say last night make you angry?’ asked Jeremy.

Craig explained, ‘Last night you came back late and missed dinner. I hate boys who don’t follow the rules.’ he attached the rope to one wrist.

Jeremy replied, ‘I won’t run!’

‘Really?’ smirked Craig. Jeremy nodded, ‘Then I won’t tie you to the pole. Just your hands together.’ he forced Jeremy to his knees, ‘Kneel.’ he blindfolded Jeremy and rested his head on the bed, ‘You are being such a good boy aren’t you? Your scars from the last time are still there, I guess it’s because I used the buckle end last time, but as a reward for your good behaviour, I’ll go easy on you, I won’t use the buckle end tonight. So, don’t move.’

Jeremy was shaking but he was happy not to be tied to the pole. He felt the belt hit his back but muffled his cries as he gritted his teeth. Craig hit him six times, still feeling pain from his last beating he passed out and woke up alone.

Jeremy lifted himself off the bed, ‘He didn’t rape me tonight? I guess not even he is messed up enough to rape an unconscious boy.’

In the morning, he got on the train with Ian but didn’t go to school he went to see Professor David at his office, he was shown in and he saw him in a wheelchair attached to an IV. Professor David looked over at him, ‘Ah hello.’

‘Are you Professor David?’ asked Jeremy.

‘That’s right! I’m sick as you can see so you’ll have to excuse my appearance.’ Professor David explained.

Jeremy looked away, ‘I’m sorry I came by unannounced, you probably need to rest.’

‘Not at all you must have come for a reason, please sit!’ answered Professor David, Jeremy did, ‘Now then, what’s your name?’

‘I’m……’ Jeremy looked away, ‘I…um….urm…’ he couldn’t sit still.

‘It’s alright. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.’ he smiled, ‘Is it alright if I call you John as in John Doe?’ Jeremy nodded, ‘Now tell me. What brings you here today?’

Jeremy started shaking, ‘I’ve been thinking about……’ he composed himself, ‘I’ve been thinking about killing someone.’ Professor David was shocked but stayed silent sensing there was more to come, ‘If I don’t I fear I won’t be able to escape from him!’

‘Who is: him?’ Professor David asked.

‘My mother’s husband.’ replied Jeremy, ‘Every weekend, I return from boarding school, after my mother falls asleep, he comes into my room.’

‘Can’t you lock your door? Or stop him somehow?’ asked Professor David.

Jeremy shook his head, ‘He has a key to my room. I tried putting a chair against the door but you don’t know what he’s like he can twist everything around and with his words alone he forced me to let him in.’

‘Have you told anyone else other than me?’ Professor David asked.

‘I’m sleeping with my stepfather!? Who in my family will believe me!?’ replied Jeremy, ‘It’s my word against his, he has all the power.’

‘You being sexually abused by a family member, so you feel you can’t tell anyone and so nobody realises. It’s a trap that repeatedly ensnares you, even if you tell someone, they won’t believe you because it’s not something that usually happens or is openly discussed.’ explained Professor David, ‘It is clearly difficult for you to talk about this even now. And you are pushed as far as to say you want to kill him believing it is your only way out. It’s best if you tell…..’

‘No! Anything but that!’ exclaimed Jeremy, ‘I’m desperate not to let anyone know and that bastard thinks it’s a good thing! I’m being treated like a product. I’m not human. I’m nothing more than his plaything! I’m nothing but his toy! As I awake my body is completely stiff, I wash my bloodstained sheets in the basement and try to hide the fact that I’m in pain from he did to me from everyone.’

‘John. I know it seems hopeless right now but talking to me is a step in the right direction.’ Professor David explained, ‘You may not want to face this fact but you know it’s true. Telling people who can help you is better than planning to kill him!’

Jeremy muttered, ‘Not from where I’m standing.’ he stood up, ‘I’m sorry to have taken up so much of your time.’ he went to leave.

‘Wait! Are you the one that phoned me the other week?’ asked Professor David.

‘Yes. I was.’ Jeremy went to the door.

Professor David said, ‘Please come back next time you have a chance to get away.’

Jeremy didn’t turn from the door but smiled, ‘If I get a chance I’d like that.’

Professor David set his tape recorder, ‘I have just met with someone who will be here by be known as John, who called me on the phone a few days ago. He has been cornered into an emotionally distressed state, due to his stepfathers sexual abuse. Although he has not told me so, I suspect he is also the victim of physical and mental abuse. I don’t know of how much help I can be to John but, now that I am his ally, I hope to be of assistance to him. In any case, I would like to know what kind of person his mother is? I hope he will open up to me more.’ he turned the recorder off.

Jeremy thought, ‘If he dies, he’ll stop hitting me, he’ll stop tying me up, he’ll stop coming into my room and I won’t have to be afraid of him anymore.’

He went to school and saw William, ‘Jeremy?!’ he ran over, ‘How was your weekend?’

‘Same old. Same old.’ he replied.

William looked at his wrist, ‘Jeremy?’ he held his hand and rolled his sleeve up, ‘Where did you get that?’

Unsure of what to do Jeremy kissed him, ‘Wouldn’t you like to know?’ he walked away. Another friend came over to them.

‘Hey? What was that all about? Are you two dating?’ he asked.

William thought, ‘My minds gone blank! I wasn’t expecting that!’ he turned and blushed, ‘No! That’s not it at all!’ he walked off, he was unable to look Jeremy in the eye much less talk to him for the whole week. When he plucked up the courage it was the weekend and Jeremy had already left with Ian.

Craig entered his room and smiled, ‘As long as you obey like last weekend. I won’t even tie you up this time.’

Jeremy didn’t want to obey Craig’s orders but feared getting tied up and hit again so nodded, Craig’s hands touched his skin making it crawl as he was pushed onto the bed.

Being used as his plaything made Jeremy feel sick and helpless. But being forced to have sex with him had become the lesser of the two evils. Thinking he had a way to avoid being hit, he decided to choose the thing that hurt him less.

Monday morning, he gave Ian the slip and went back to see Professor David, ‘John you came back?!’

‘It wasn’t easy he wanted to give me and my step brother a lift to school.’ explained Jeremy, ‘I just barely talked him out of it.’

Professor David replied, ‘Why would you go this far for your mother? Must you be the victim?’

‘Yes. I have to. My mother has nothing to do with this. She’s important to me because she is always taking care of me.’ explained Jeremy, ‘I want to protect my mother, I want her to be happy and she is happy with him. He told me once he didn’t care who it was and if it wasn’t me it’d be my mother, I don’t want her to experience this. I want to protect her.’

‘Protect her? Normally, it’s the husband who protects the wife.’ explained Professor David, ‘And the mother protects the child.’

‘That’s true but my father died when I was younger. And my mother has had a really rough time this past few years. So, I want her to be happy.’ explained Jeremy, ‘My mother got the phone call about my fathers death and was so distraught I ended up looking after her.’

‘I’m sure you were saddened by his death too weren’t you?’ Professor David replied.

‘Only after a year, my mother had calmed down by then and I could finally feel how frustrated and sad I was.’ Jeremy replied, ‘Looking back now, I’m surprised I did that!’

‘You have a surprisingly strong sense of duty and loyalty to your mother, but I fear that is what’s letting

her partner use you like he is. About your mother’s new partner, I assume they married one another because they were in love correct?’ Professor David asked.

Jeremy nodded, ‘Yeah, he’s really kind to my mother and his son. He is to me when we are in public but as soon as he gets me alone, it’s like a switch has been flicked.’

‘You said your mother was distraught when your father died. However, you say you want to end her new partner’s life, won’t killing your father in law upset your mother just as deeply as losing her first husband?’ asked Professor David.

Jeremy shivered, ‘So, what you’re saying is, if I kill him, my mother will suffer. Then, I have no choice but to succumb to his will. When I think about him coming into my room, I start panicking, after he’s finished I feel like vomiting. Like he says maybe one day I actually really will end up desiring him.’ he started shaking and crying, ‘No! Anything but that!’

Professor David replied, ‘John!? That’s not right!’ he touched his shoulder, ‘Right now your body and mind are in pieces, he is abusing you and calling it love, that is how sadists deceive people. He is using you as a tool to fulfil his sexual fantasies. He doesn’t care a single bit about your feelings.’

‘On one hand, you know it’s not right and refuse him.’ Professor David continued, ‘But on the other hand, you fear him and so you respond obediently. Even without love, your body will still respond to his touch. I can’t force you to do anything but I will always offer. You can come and stay at my secure facility.’

Jeremy shook his head, ‘He’ll just abuse my mother if I leave, I don’t want that. And besides it’ll still just be my word against his, I know you believe me, but……’ he sighed, ‘He can talk all of this away I know he can.’ he left and went to school.

Sitting in class he thought, ‘I don’t kill him, I will continue to be abused. I do kill him, my mother will suffer.’ he looked out the window, ‘What do I do?’

Jeremy went back to his dorm room and saw William, ‘Oh Jeremy! You’re back! How was your weekend?’ Jeremy walked up to him and rested his head on William’s shoulder, ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Wouldn’t you like to know.’ he muttered. William touched his shoulder and was about to ask what was wrong but was interrupted.

Another boy came in and William pushed Jeremy off him, the other boy looked away, ‘The dean wants to see the both of you in his office.’

They knocked on the door and were greeted, ‘Come on in Jeremy and William.’

‘You wanted to see us?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Yes. Rumours and gossip have spread, so I have called you two here to set the record straight.’ the dean explained.

Jeremy replied, ‘Is this about the time I kissed William?’ William blushed, ‘Let me guess, you personally have no objection to it but orders from higher up has asked you to keep it quiet?’

The dean was shocked, ‘Jeremy?’ he composed himself, ‘We are moving you to another wing, in a single room.’

Jeremy nodded, ‘I understand.’

They left and Jeremy started laughing, ‘Don’t laugh Jeremy!’

‘Why not? Did you hear him William?’ Jeremy answered, ‘I’m being moved away because I kissed you! This is like my first warning!’ he thought, ‘And I’m being raped by Craig over the weekend and he gets nothing!’ he started laughing.

‘Jeremy we’re in trouble here?’ asked William.

Jeremy replied, ‘But you’re innocent right? This is my fault, I hope you can forgive me for dragging you into this mess! Moving rooms will be a good thing for me anyway. I’m sorry I caused you so much trouble.’

William said, ‘Jeremy? You can always talk to me. Even though we aren’t room mates anymore!’

Jeremy smiled and went back, he prepared to move out. That night he was getting ready for bed , he thought removing his shirt, ‘If it’s a single room I don’t have to worry about someone seeing my scars when changing. But how much longer can I last if Craig’s abuse continues at this rate?’ he looked at the door and smiled, ‘And I even have a bolt lock on that door.’ he gently lay himself on the bed grimacing in pain, ‘No one has the key to this door, I can finally relax!’

That weekend he went back home, he saw his mother but not Craig. He sat down with his mother who offered the explanation without being asked, ‘Craig has been in Paris since yesterday. But tomorrow, is his birthday. I’m sure he’ll come back for that.’

Jeremy smiled thinking, ‘Craig won’t be here tonight?!’ his entire body relaxed realising that tonight he wasn’t going to be visited by Craig. They went shopping for his presents and returned.

Sandra smiled, ‘Jeremy can you give me a hand in the greenhouse?’

‘Sure.’ he replied. He helped her cut and arrange flowers happily.

Sandra left Jeremy in to get another watering can and saw Craig, ‘Oh Craig! You’re back early?!’ she hugged him.

Craig kissed her, ‘Could you tell Ian I’m back I bought a new car. I know he likes cars.’

‘Sure.’ she smiled and without a flicker or resistance she left.

Craig stepped into the greenhouse, ‘Hello Jeremy.’ Jeremy flinched and cut his hand on the roses thorns, Craig chuckled, ‘You have to be careful with those thorns.’ he grabbed his hand and cut his fingers on the thorns forcefully, ‘See?’

Jeremy tried to run away, ‘Craig stop it! Please!’ Craig grabbed his chin and kissed him.

The maid Sharon saw them together while she was smoking just outside the greenhouse. They all heard Sandra’s voice, ‘Craig?! Where are you? Ian is begging for you to show him the car!’

Craig let him go, ‘I’m over here with Jeremy. Come on then Jeremy.’

Ian was checking out Craig’s new car, ‘This is so cool!’

Sandra saw the blood on Jeremy’s hand, ‘Jeremy? What happened to your hand?’

‘Sorry, I must have cut myself on the thorns.’ he explained, ‘I’ll go bandage them up.’ he left. Looking at his hand he thought, ‘Why the hell did he do this? I don’t understand! Then again nothing he does to me makes sense. He just likes to mess with me at every opportunity he gets.’

That night was Craig’s party, Craig came in popping a party popper in the mask he wore when he hit Jeremy at the hotel. Everyone jumped at the sound of the party popper, but only Jeremy was scared of the mask.

Ian saw him, ‘You ok?’

‘Yeah, sorry, it’s nothing.’ he replied.

Sandra hugged him, ‘You’re always the life of the party!’ she removed his mask and kissed his cheek.

They sat as his presents were brought in, Sandra got him a bottle of fine wine, Ian got him a manicure set and shaving balm. Jeremy shaking, presented him with a black wool trench coat. Craig smiled, ‘I’ve always wanted one of these! Jeremy how did you know?’

Jeremy looked away, ‘I didn’t. I just saw it and thought you’d like it.’

‘Thank you Jeremy.’ smiled Craig.

The night rolled on and the party slowed down, everyone went to bed even the servants, Sharon finished seeing to Sandra’s legs that were burnt, she was healing well. Walking away from their room she thought, ‘I can hardly believe I saw Master Craig kissing Master Jeremy. I must have been mistaken. I don’t really have time to worry about this anyway! I need more money, maybe I should ask Master Craig for an advance or Master Ian for advice.’

She was about to call it a night herself when she saw Craig walking to Jeremy’s room. He walked into his room, ‘Tonight, I’ll have to punish you won’t I?’

Sharon who followed him thought, ‘What is the Master doing in Master Jeremy’s room at this hour?’

‘Take it off. All of it.’ Craig said, Jeremy protested but Craig stripped him and tied his hands together and round his bed post.

‘Why do I have to be punished? I thought you liked the coat I got you?’ asked Jeremy struggling.

‘I got a call from the school.’ said Craig.

Jeremy thought, ‘Crap! Does he know?!’

Craig hit him with the belt, ‘You kissed someone else!’ he hit him again.

Jeremy pleaded, ‘I’m sorry, I swear! I’ll never do it again!’ Craig hit him ten times, Sharon ran to the bathroom and threw up.

‘I can’t believe it! Craig and Jeremy!?’ Sharon thought, ‘Their having THAT kind of relationship!’

Putting the belt down Craig said, ‘Do you realise how lucky you are that I didn’t pull you out of that school all together?! You are very lucky that all I asked for was that you be moved to a single room on your own.’

Craig thrust into Jeremy, ‘No! Stop! Please! Craig!’ still tied to the bed post he struggled, ‘Forgive me!’

Craig turned his head to make Jeremy look at him, ‘Not yet.’ he kissed him aggressively, Craig’s tongue was invading Jeremy’s mouth, as he pulled away he bit his lip. Jeremy passed out.

Waking he felt Craig touching his leg, too dazed to move he asked, ‘What are you doing?’

‘It’s a pedicure from the kit that Ian gave me today. I wouldn’t dream of using it on myself, but I can’t hurt his feelings by not using it now can I?’ he replied, ‘It was a present after all. From now on, every weekend, I’ll give you a pedicure afterwards.’

Jeremy had no energy to offer up any resistance, the pain in his back and hips was too bad and his head felt as though it was going to split in two. That morning he went downstairs to breakfast, exhausted and emotionally drained he could barely muster the power to chew.

Sharon watched on as the perfect family unit chatted away to one another, but now she knew the truth she could see the cracks, she could see Jeremy’s fear was out in plain sight for all to see. She couldn’t understand how she never noticed it before, ‘Am I the only one who knows about this? Madam Sandra and Master Ian seem to be none the wiser!’ she followed Jeremy out when he went to school.

‘Master Jeremy?’ he turned, ‘Do you have a moment?’ Jeremy nodded, ‘Yesterday, in the greenhouse were you and Master Craig kissing?’

‘You’re mistaken!’ said Jeremy bluntly turning away to hide his panic.

Sharon smiled, ‘And I suppose I was also mistaken when I saw Master Craig entering your room last night?’

Jeremy blushed panicking more, ‘He brought me some hay fever medicine!’ he lied.

‘And you had to take your clothes off for that?’ asked Sharon, Jeremy looked at her, ‘Don’t make such a face, I’m not going to tell anyone as long as you give me what I want. Around two or three hundred is fine!’

Jeremy thought, ‘It’ll be a good thing if she tells, if she tells everyone it can all stop! I have a witness now!’ he thought about how his mother would react, ‘No, I can’t do that to her!’ Jeremy held out the money and dropped it as she went to take it, he smirked, ‘It slipped.’ and walked off, ‘That’s almost all the money Craig gave me for the week! And I still need to buy new school books!’

Jeremy fell into the routine that Monday before school he would go to see Professor David but today he wasn’t there, however there was a boy.

He wrote on a piece of paper, ‘My name is Victor. Sorry John, but I can’t talk. Professor David is in the hospital for a check up, he’ll be here next week. My ears still work. If you still want to talk I can listen.’

Jeremy smiled, ‘Thank you Victor. But, it’s hard enough talking to Professor David about this.’

‘Would you like some tea? After all you came all this way!’ he wrote. Jeremy nodded and they had a cup of tea together, ‘You don’t look too well. Does it hurt somewhere?’

Jeremy lied, ‘No.’ he thought, ‘Yes, it hurts! I don’t think I can go on anymore. Everything is falling to pieces!’ Victor touched his hand, Jeremy looked at him, ‘Victor? Have you ever felt like you were about to break into pieces? How do I stop it!?’

Victor wrote, ‘Tell everyone! Tell anyone! Tell anybody and everybody who will listen!’

‘I can’t!’ replied Jeremy, ‘He’s too clever for that.’ he stood up, ‘Thank you for the tea but I have to go to school.’ he waved goodbye and Jeremy left, he thought, ‘When I return to school, the heavy metal gates shutting behind me make me feel safe, but with all the things chasing after me now, these gates seem small.’ he went to his room locking the door and lying on the bed, ‘I can still hear the sound of that bastard hitting me with his belt!’ he curled into himself, ‘I can’t do this anymore!’

 

In class, Jeremy was unable to concentrate, he didn’t notice class ended or people talking to him, concerned they called for Ian, he placed his hand on Jeremy’s shoulder, ‘Jeremy!’ he snapped out of it and fell of his chair shocked that his was being touched, ‘Are you ok?’

‘Yeah.’ he got up, ‘Sorry, I zoned out.’

Ian asked, ‘Did you get enough sleep? Your eyes……you look so tired.’

‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ he got his books but walked into the door.

‘Hey Jeremy!?’ Ian went up to him, ‘What’s wrong with you? Do you have a fever?’

Jeremy replied, ‘I’m just feeling a bit sluggish that’s all!’

‘Have a rest in your room. You need to take care of yourself Jeremy.’ Ian replied.

Jeremy went to his room, ‘My back, feels like it’s burning!’

Someone knocked on his door and came in, ‘Hey!’ it was one of his classmates, Steven, ‘What happened?’

‘Nothing just tired.’ replied Jeremy.

Steven sat on his bed, ‘I thought you were in pain after your weekend lover session?’

Jeremy panicked, ‘Another one?’ he answered, ‘What are you on about?’

‘Don’t play dumb with me, I saw the scars on your back when you changed in gym class. I would have never pegged you as a masochist.’ he smirked, ‘It really does take all kinds!’ Steven grabbed Jeremy’s wrists and chuckled, ‘You’re shaking so much! It must be true!’ he laughed leaving.

Jeremy fell to his knees, ‘Why does he know too?! How do people keep finding out about this!? And the rest of the family have no idea!?’

Back at the house Sharon was with Sandra, ‘Madam? About my payment this week….? I….?’

Sandra smiled, ‘Oh sorry, I don’t handle the money but if you speak to my husband I’m sure he’ll sort it out for you.’

Sharon went into Craig’s study, ‘Good Morning Sir.’

‘Ah Sharon. I heard you want and advance on your payment correct?’ he asked bluntly, ‘But the pay here should be more than enough, plus, you have a room and food all paid for. Not only that but you’re getting your fair share of young men too it seems! As long as he’s consenting and being safe. I don’t mind my son letting off some steam with you.’

Sharon blushed, however still money hungry she played her hand, ‘The other day I saw something rather interesting. I saw two men in the greenhouse kissing one another, I may have been mistaken but they looked an awful lot like you and Master Jeremy.’

Craig shut the door, ‘Interesting indeed.’ he grabbed her hand and twisted it behind her back while forcing her to face him and kissed her.

He pulled her and she struggled, ‘What are you doing?!’

‘Can’t you tell?’ he pinned her to his desk, ‘You wanted money right?’ he pulled her dress off to reveal her shoulder and bit her collarbone. He pulled away and smirked holding a £20 note, ‘Open up.’ he stuffed it into her mouth and let her go. She spat it out and ran out.

Sharon ran out to the safety of her room, ‘That guy is unbelievably strong! I really thought he was going to rape me!’ she started packing, ‘I’m leaving today! I’m not staying here any longer!’ she ran out the house, ‘Just thinking about him scares me! How do Jeremy and Sandra stand being around that guy!?’

She heard a noise, turning she saw Craig with a shotgun, ‘Oh Sharon?! Don’t tell me you’re going to leave us just like that!’

‘I have to go to see my husband! Something urgent came up!’ Sharon lied backing away.

Craig offered her Sandra’s emerald ring, ‘This is your payment to keep your mouth shut!’

Sharon backed away, ‘I don’t know anything!’ she ran away and Craig fired three shots.

Later, Sandra was looking for her ring, ‘That’s strange I could have sworn I put it in here?’

At dinner, Craig explained to Sandra, ‘I refused to give Sharon the advance she wanted, so I think she may have quit. And without saying anything too!’

‘What should we do? Craig, the emerald ring you bought for me is missing.’ replied Sandra.

‘We can’t suspect the girl so quickly! I admit the circumstances are suspicious but the emerald will probably turn up in a couple of days, you may have just misplaced it.’ replied Craig.

Sandra answered, ‘You’re probably right!’

Friday rolled around and Jeremy was walking to the station with Ian, ‘Friday already! Craig is going to rape and beat me, Sharon’s going to try and blackmail me and what about my classmate?!’ he sighed heavily, ‘I don’t know what to do anymore! I just want to disappear.’

He got back and Ian asked another maid where Sharon was, ‘Sorry Ian, Sharon left on Monday.’

‘Why?’ asked Ian.

‘She didn’t say.’ she explained.

Jeremy thought, ‘Sharon’s quit!?’ he hid his smile, ‘Yes! One less thing to worry about!?’

That night Craig walked in with his shotgun alerting Jeremy more than usual, ‘Tell me have you ever fired a gun?’

‘Of course not!’ replied Jeremy backing away.

Craig got closer Jeremy grew more and more nervous, ‘My marksmanship is really quite good.’ he sighed, ‘It’s a mystery about Sharon isn’t it? I wonder what could have happened to her?’ Jeremy started to get scared, ‘Did you know that she found out our little secret.’ he chuckled, ‘The stupid bitch tried to demand money from me. That’s why I punished her.’

‘P……punished?’ asked Jeremy now petrified guessing what he had done.

Craig held the gun close to Jeremy’s head causing him to flinch, ‘You can still smell the gunpowder residue can’t you? I shot her on Monday after she tried to blackmail me.’

‘That’s a lie, isn’t it?!’ said Jeremy, ‘If so what happened to her body?’ Craig pushed Jeremy against the bedpost with his gun.

‘Don’t worry the forest surrounding this house provides the perfect cover, I rolled her body into a deep ditch and with all the rain we have had this week, her body will never be found!’ Craig smiled.

Jeremy tried to get away but fell back onto the bed, still pointing the gun at him, ‘C…Craig… please stop it……!’

Craig stood on the bed over him pointing the gun to his heart, ‘Still think I didn’t do it?’

‘Craig! Please, don’t shoot!’ he whimpered.

‘Do you really think you’re satisfying me enough? Do you really think you’re a good enough boy for me to let you live?’ Craig pulled the trigger, Jeremy flinched and Craig started laughing, ‘You idiot, this gun isn’t even loaded!’ Jeremy couldn’t stop his shaking or his tears from falling, Craig fell to his knees on the bed, ‘I’d never kill you that easily! It’s more fun to have my way with you.’

He kissed him lowering his hand between his legs, ‘Were you scared?’ he smirked as Jeremy’s breath quickened, ‘I’ll make it up to you.’

Monday came and Jeremy went to see Professor David, he was sitting up in bed, ‘Oh Jeremy! I am so sorry I couldn’t see you last week. How have you been?’

‘Ok, but are you ok to see me?’ he replied.

‘I’m fine, I am only in bed on doctors orders. Please sit.’ replied Professor David, ‘You seem very troubled this week.’

‘I think he’s killed people before.’ confessed Jeremy, ‘I think he killed his first wife years ago and a serving girl just recently.’

Professor David asked, ‘Do you have any proof?’

‘No.’ Jeremy shook his head, ‘Again! It’s my word against his and he’ll be able to talk his way out of it!’ he started shaking.

‘Are you scared he’ll kill you one day?’ asked Professor David.

‘That guy won’t kill me. He told me that himself, he shares this secret with me because he thinks I’m his lover who’ll obediently do whatever he says. He thinks I can’t do anything to him, no he won’t kill me, if he did he’d lose his valuable toy.’ replied Jeremy, ‘The toy he ties to the bedpost, beats and rapes.’ he thought unable to bring himself to tell Professor David that.

Professor David said, ‘And what? Do you think you can kill him?’ Jeremy looked at him, ‘You don’t strike me as the kind of person who could kill someone else. You talk about being scared that he may have killed people so how would you handle becoming a murderer yourself?’

Jeremy sighed, ‘I don’t know.’

‘I remember once my mother during a storm, opened the front and back door. When I asked her why, she said so if lighting struck the house it would go right through out the other door, she told me not to let our misfortunes find a home.’ Professor David explained, ‘I didn’t know it back then but she was dying and she wanted me to remember that so that after she died I’d still be able to live happily. Next time there is a storm John, open the front and back door.’ Jeremy nodded.

Back at school he saw Steven walking towards him, ‘What do you want?’

‘So aggressive!’ he mocked, ‘What? Not satisfied enough with your S&M this weekend?’

‘You misunderstand. I don’t have a lover and I’m not into S&M!’ Jeremy replied, ‘Those weren’t wounds on my back. What you saw were just my scars from when I was younger.’ he lied.

‘Is that so?’ he walked off, ‘Fine! Whatever you say!’

All week Jeremy tried to catch up on what he missed last week, but it was no use his focus was split knowing he had to go back to Craig’s at the weekend and be his plaything again. The weekend came.

It was coming to the end of October and snow fell, Sandra asked, ‘Craig? Does it snow a lot here?’

‘Not heavily no.’ replied Craig, ‘Besides, where’s Jeremy he should be back by now?’

Sandra smiled, ‘He’s been back for ages! He said he was going to walk around outside to look for something he thinks he dropped the other day. I told him not to bother because it looked like the weather might turn but he insisted.’

Meanwhile, Jeremy was searching in the woods as deep as he dared, ‘If I find Sharon’s body I can prove Craig killed her and then this relationship can end!’

Craig’s car pulled up on the road behind him, ‘Jeremy? What are you doing out here?’

‘Nothing. Just taking a walk to clear my head.’ lied Jeremy.

Craig walked up to him, his heart sank, ‘You’re looking for Sharon’s body aren’t you? Do you want to know where she is that badly?’ he wrapped his arm around Jeremy making him flinch, ‘How foolish! I couldn’t have possibly killed Sharon, even Lilia who betrayed me, I forgave, I have a big heart you see, I may even find my way to forgive you.’

‘Forgive me? What did I do?’ asked Jeremy.

‘For thinking I could actually do those things of course.’ replied Craig, pushing him against a tree he kissed him, ‘Come back inside.’

That night Craig came into his room, ‘Please just leave me alone!’ pleaded Jeremy.

Craig showed him the rope and belt, ‘Behave and I’ll forgive you quicker.’ Jeremy started shaking as his shirt was torn and his hands were bound, ‘Kneel.’ he was pushed down, ‘That’s right! Good boy. So, did you find anything in the forest?’

Jeremy couldn’t bite his tongue any longer, ‘You killed Sharon with that gun and you killed Lilia with this rope.’ Craig lashed his back with the belt. Jeremy couldn’t get away as Craig’s foot on the rope made it impossible.

‘So, you were hoping to find her body and then call the police on me weren’t you?’ he sighed, ‘My own lover trying to betray me!’

Jeremy looked at him, ‘I’m not your lover! I will never be your lover!’

Craig tied him to the bedpost, ‘I don’t know how you can say that after all we’ve done together.’ he bit and sucked on his neck forcing a love bite to form, ‘I will teach you this as often as you need me to, you are mine!’ he hit him with the belt fifteen times before raping him.

After, Craig was polishing his toenails, ‘Why do you do this?’

‘I have to prove you’re forgiven somehow right?’ asked Craig, ‘Besides, your nails need to be looked after. If it wasn’t for me being so nice to you I don’t know what would become of you.’

Jeremy now realised a pattern in Craig’s otherwise irrational behaviour, only when he believes Jeremy has done him some kind of wrong, he’d be tied up and hit with the belt. Otherwise, Craig will just use his superior strength to force Jeremy to have sex with him. After, whatever he does he now polishes his toes. As if he is trying to make himself look like the good guy in all of this.

On Monday, he went to see Professor David. He looked to be at deaths door, Jeremy fought back his tears, ‘I’m sorry, I’ll go, you need to rest.’

‘No. Please!’ Professor David said, ‘How are you?’

Jeremy forced himself to respond, ‘I’m fine.’ a tear rolled down his cheek, ‘I left my stepfathers house and got an apartment.’ he lied, ‘He can’t get to me anymore.’

‘John? If that’s true why are you so sad?’ asked Professor David.

Jeremy forced a smile, ‘Because you don’t look too well.’ he thought, ‘I don’t want to be a burden to you anymore. If you are going to die I would like for you to go believing you helped one last person.’

‘What about your mother?’ asked Professor David, ‘Aren’t you worried he’ll abuse her now?’

Jeremy replied, ‘Cracks have started to appear in their relationship, if he hits her I’m almost certain she’ll leave him. My mother has never tolerated it before I don’t see why she’d start now. Besides, I couldn’t take his abuse anymore.’

Professor David answered, ‘I’m happy to hear it. But you still seem troubled.’

Jeremy barely held it together, ‘That’s because you have been such a good friend to me and I can’t do anything for you in return.’

Professor David answered, ‘Do one thing for me then?’ Jeremy nodded, ‘Be happy. If you can live happily you win.’

Jeremy nodded, ‘Thank you Professor.’

‘And remember, don’t let your misfortune find a home.’ Professor David smiled.

Jeremy walked up to him and hugged him, ‘I won’t. Professor? My name is Jeremy.’ Professor David wrapped one arm around him.

‘It’s nice to meet you Jeremy.’ said Professor David.

‘I’ll stay until you fall asleep and I’ll come back on Friday.’ Jeremy replied.

‘Thank you Jeremy.’ Jeremy sat with Professor David as he drifted off into sleep.

Jeremy disheartened and dejected at Professor David’s fate went to school. He returned on Friday before going home to see Professor David, but instead of seeing him he received an invitation to go to his funeral.

Victor wrote, ‘I know it is short notice but I know he’d of liked you to come.’ Jeremy nodded and followed him, he gave him a suit to wear and they headed out together to the funeral.

At the wake, there was a toast even though he was underage they still served him alcohol. He kept drinking more and more not wanting to go back to Craig’s home, but he knew he couldn’t put it off forever.

Intoxicated he went back to Craig’s house, walking through the door. Sandra exclaimed, ‘Jeremy where have you been it’s almost ten o’clock?’ she smelt him, ‘Have you been drinking?!’

Jeremy replied, ‘I went to a funeral today. I told them I was too young but they let me drink.’

Craig came over, ‘Jeremy!? What has gotten into you?!’

Jeremy smiled, ‘Whiskey!’ he laughed.

He saw Craig’s stern expression but didn’t care, Sandra said, ‘Why don’t you go to your room and sleep this off? We will discuss it in the morning.’

Craig replied, ‘I’ll take him. He can barely stand.’

Jeremy batted his hand away, ‘Good night.’ he passed out.

Sandra tended to him, ‘Jeremy?!’

Craig sighed, ‘He drank until he passed out! Whoever’s funeral it was they must have meant something to him, to make him get to this state.’ he picked him up, ‘Try not to worry I’ll stay with him tonight to make sure he doesn’t do something stupid.’ he carried him upstairs and threw him carelessly on his bed like a rag doll, ‘Are you awake?’

‘Yes……’ replied Jeremy holding his head, he chuckled unable to see the danger right in front of him and instead focused on his drunken sensations, ‘Everything feels so light.’

‘Whose funeral did you go to?’ asked Craig placing his hands either side of him, Jeremy only murmured, ‘Did you know I love whiskey scented kisses?’ he moved closer and tenderly kissed him on the lips. Jeremy gagged because of the alcohol, ‘You really are still a kid aren’t you? You don’t even know when to stop drinking do you?’ he threw the covers over him, ‘It’s fine, just for tonight. Good night.’ he sat in the windowsill, ‘I promised Sandra I’d stay here to look after you.’

Jeremy let a tear escape his eyes as he realised the seriousness of his current situation, tomorrow night when he has sobered up Craig was definitely going to punish him. But he delighted at the fact that at least for now nothing was going to happen to him.

In the morning, Craig wasn’t there so he went downstairs, to see them all in the living room, Ian exclaimed, ‘I heard you came home drunk last night! Is it true?’ Jeremy nodded, ‘Do you have a hangover?’

‘Not really. My head just hurts a little.’ replied Jeremy.

‘That’s what you get when you suddenly drink such strong alcohol.’ said Craig.

Sandra replied, ‘I’m just glad you got home where it’s safe.’

Jeremy muttered sarcastically under his breath, ‘Yeah right?!’

A servant came in, ‘Sorry to interrupt but I found the perfect tree.’ it was brought in. Craig, Sandra and Ian were decorating it with enthusiasm but Jeremy was phoning it in, knowing what awaited him tonight in his room.

Craig walked into his room, ‘Yesterday, you were like a little drunken angel.’ chuckled Craig, ‘I should look after you better.’

‘Binding, beating and raping are the only things you can do.’ Jeremy replied.

‘You seem to have gotten pretty brazen?! What? Still a little drunk?!’ mocked Craig, ‘When you were drunk I thought about how I’d never seen you so happy, you always grimace when you receive my kisses but yesterday you didn’t.’ he pinned him to the bed, ‘You want me to kiss you more don’t you?’ he tied the rope around one of his wrists, ‘You want me to tie you up don’t you? You want me to hit you don’t you?’

‘No! Stop!’ Jeremy yelled.

He pulled Jeremy up and tied it to the bed post and stripped him tying his other hand to the other bedpost, ‘If you didn’t want this you wouldn’t do things that make me angry.’ he smirked, ‘You know I love you Jeremy.’ he turned his head round and kissed him, ‘Now lets have some fun together.’ he stepped back and hit him twenty times with the belt ignoring Jeremy’s pleas, he raped him twice before untying him and throwing him onto the bed, ‘See you tomorrow Jeremy.’

In the morning, Jeremy awoke at six am but pushed his aching body off the bed and had a shower. He went to the greenhouse to find his mother, ‘Oh Jeremy! It’s not like you to be up this early on Sunday!’

‘I’m sorry about the other night. I know you were worried.’ said Jeremy.

Sandra smiled, ‘It’s ok. Craig told me he had a word with you and I wasn’t really all that mad anyway.’

‘If I died would you be sad?’ asked Jeremy out of the blue.

Sandra stroked his arm, ‘Jeremy? What kind of a question is that? Of course I would! Jeremy is there something bothering you?’ Jeremy gave no response, Sandra hugged him, ‘You don’t talk to me anymore. I promise you I’m not mad about you coming home drunk, at least you came home.’

Craig came in smiling, ‘Have you told him yet?’

‘Not yet.’ said Sandra.

‘Tell me what?’ asked Jeremy getting nervous.

Craig explained, ‘I was thinking about travelling to Boston. So you have a chance to visit your family and friends for Christmas.’

‘Really?’ exclaimed Jeremy, he thought, ‘I know my way around Boston I can escape from this hell!’

Sandra smiled, ‘Isn’t that great?’

‘Yeah. I can’t wait!’ smiled Jeremy, he thought, ‘I can go back to Boston once the holidays start!’

That night Craig came into his room, ‘Don’t worry I’m not going to hit you tonight.’ he pushed him down onto the bed, ‘Depending on how obedient you are tonight, I’ll consider the Boston trip more seriously.’

Wanting to keep his escape plan in tacked he submitted and stopped fighting. Monday he went back to the school and again failed to play catch up on the work he had missed.

Jeremy was so focused on his escape, he didn’t notice he was followed to his room, it was Steven. He turned and saw him behind him, ‘What are you doing in here?’

‘I came to try my hand.’ he kissed him pinning him to the wall, ‘I get it now. You’re the type that likes to be attacked.’

Jeremy tried to break free, ‘Stop it!’

‘We both know you don’t mean that.’ Steven chuckled moving him to the bed, ‘Your lover must be good since you always look so exhausted when you come back.’

Jeremy yelled, ‘STOP IT!’ he grabbed the desk lamp from his bedside and hit him over the head.’

Steven ran out screaming, ‘MY EYES!’

Others came out, ‘What happened?’ ‘What did Jeremy do to him?’ ‘Why’d he do this?’

In the Head Masters Office Ian came in, ‘Jeremy are you ok?’ Jeremy nodded, ‘Sir, this wasn’t his fault the boy was drunk and came onto him!’

The Head Master replied, ‘Even so. Steven has been hospitalized, his eyes were damaged by the shards of glass from the light bulb. We cannot ignore this, Jeremy I’m sorry but you are temporarily suspended, please go home until further instruction is given.’ Jeremy’s heart sank.

Jeremy went back, dreading what awaited him. He knew the school would have contacted Craig and Sandra about this. He walked in and Sandra greeted him, ‘Jeremy!? The school contacted us! What happened? Why did you hurt that boy?’

‘Jeremy!’ Jeremy flinched hearing his commanding voice, ‘You injured someone! Explain yourself this instant!’

Sandra turned to Craig, ‘Don’t be so hard on him! He’s not the kind of person to be violent without reason.’

‘I’m sorry.’ replied Jeremy shrinking into himself, ‘It’s not what you think.’

‘I heard from the hospital that, that student is undergoing surgery that may save his sight. But if not we are all facing a serious situation.’ explained Craig, ‘Jeremy go to your room. Don’t go outside without permission.’

Jeremy went to the staircase and was called back by Craig, ‘Since this happened, I’m cancelling our trip to Boston.’ Jeremy went cold, ‘You are going to study here, at home, over the winter holiday. And every night I will grade it.’ he winked sending a chill through his entire body.

That night Craig entered his room and immediately knocked him to the floor. He grabbed his arm and pulled him up, ‘CRAIG!? Stop it! Please!’

‘Stop you say?’ asked Craig, ‘What the hell are you doing at that school?!’ he grabbed his hair, pulling his head back, ‘ANSWER ME!’

‘Let me go! Please!’ begged Jeremy.

‘Are you whoring yourself out over there?’ he pinned him face down and ripped his shirt off, ‘Did you seduce him? Huh?’

‘Craig!? Stop please!’ he pleaded as he was stripped.

‘Of course you must be punished. Since you angered me to this point! You’ve already prepared yourself for this haven’t you? You knew it was coming!’ said Craig, ‘This is your punishment for this whole incident, for hurting another student, for saddening Sandra, for getting suspended from school and for letting another man touch you.’

He tied him to the bedpost and lashed him with his belt until he lost consciousness. He left locking him in his room still tied to the bedpost. He woke up and immediately felt the pain from Craig’s lashes and pain in his wrists from being tied.

Jeremy thought, ‘He left me tied up? Even if I told him the truth he’d still beat me. So, there’s no point in trying to talk to him!’

Meanwhile, Sandra, Craig and Ian went to the hospital, speaking to the school liaison officer, ‘Steven’s condition is stable. He’s sleeping at the moment.’

‘What about his family?’ asked Sandra.

‘Unfortunately. His parents are away on business right now and can’t be reached.’ he replied.

They went back and Craig went in to see Jeremy, he locked the door behind him. He smirked, ‘How do you feel? Is this starting to wear you down a little?’

Jeremy begged, ‘Please let me down. I’m sorry.’

‘I can’t do that yet.’ he replied, ‘I just got back from the hospital. That boy Steven is stable and is expected to still have his sight.’ he stroked his back, Jeremy flinched with both fear and pain, ‘I guess I was a little harsh.’ he lowered his hand, ‘I’ll make it up to you and then you’ll come downstairs!’ he raped him before releasing him from the ropes, ‘Go have a shower.’

Jeremy could barely stand, ‘Would you believe me if I told you I hit Steven so he wouldn’t kiss me again.’ Craig gave no answer, ‘Didn’t think so?’

He washed up and went downstairs, to see Sandra on the phone, ‘Yes! Thank you very much!’ she turned to the room, ‘Great news, they have revoked Jeremy’s suspension. It appears that Steven has confessed that the whole thing was his fault. You can go back to school whenever you want.’

‘He doesn’t have to hurry back so soon. Today is Wednesday, so it’ll be the weekend soon enough, it would make no sense sending him back until next week.’ said Craig. His reasonable suggestion sounded more like a threat.

‘I want to go back to school as soon as possible.’ replied Jeremy.

Sandra replied, ‘Craig’s right there is no point you going back now, you’ll lose half the day travelling anyway so you’ll get Friday and by then you’ll be travelling back. Come on, sit down have something to eat.’

‘I don’t really have an appetite.’ Jeremy answered.

‘Don’t say that!’ said Sandra tearing up, ‘You didn’t eat at all yesterday, Jeremy you need a proper meal! I’m getting really worried about you!’

Jeremy saw Craig’s face and hugged his mother, ‘I’m sorry mum, ok I’ll eat something!’ Craig didn’t have to speak anymore to force Jeremy to obey, one look was all it took.

He walked around looking at the art works in Craig’s collection, he loved art, but it felt some what bittersweet that such great works of art belonged to someone he despised so much.

He remembered back when Sandra first introduced Craig to him, how they all went to the art museum and they bonded over their joint love of masterpieces. The thought that he was once happy with Craig made him feel sick to his stomach.

That night Craig came into his room again, ‘You must be happy that he confessed everything. And above all else you still have your mothers love and mine.’ he kissed him.

Jeremy pushed him off, ‘Stop it! That’s enough isn’t it. Everyone loves you!’

‘Everyone but you. I don’t have your love!’ said Craig, ‘I don’t have the love of the one I love the most.’ he grabbed his hands, tying them together, ‘I can’t have that!’

‘NO! Please!’ Craig lay him on the bed and tied his hands to a bar on the headboard.

Craig turned him on his stomach and tied his legs to the bedposts spreading them, ‘I’ll teach you something fun.’ Jeremy felt him insert something.

‘That’s not his finger? That’s not….’ his thoughts were cut short when what he had inserted started vibrating, he flinched, ‘No! Take it out!’ he felt Craig’s hand reach for him, ‘No! Please! Stop it!’ he then felt the belt lash his back, ‘Please! Stop!’

‘Did you really think I forgave you last night?’ asked Craig hitting him twice more, since he was still bruised and beaten from the previous night each lash hurt him even more.

Even though he didn’t want it, the vibrator Craig had inserted was doing it’s job forcing his body to respond, Jeremy pleaded to be left alone but Craig refused to listen.

Jeremy was subjected to what felt like torture, Craig would bring him to the brink but then refuse to allow him satisfaction, over and over again, he stroked his back, ‘Ask me nicely. Tell me what you want?’

Jeremy’s body and mind were at breaking point, his body screaming and begging for release over shadowed his minds resistance to speak. Through quivering breaths he begged, ‘Let me……please.’

Craig chuckled and hit him with the belt, forcing Jeremy to cry out, ‘Again.’

Jeremy closed his eyes, ‘Please! I’m begging you!’ Craig reached his hand around and gave Jeremy what his body was craving for.

Craig took the vibrator out, untied him and placed a blanket over Jeremy, ‘Don’t cry. You seemed to enjoy yourself.’ he left saying, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow. Remember what you learnt today.’ he left locking the door.

Jeremy curled into himself and cried, ‘I can’t take much more of this!’ he started shaking, ‘How am I meant to survive?’ Craig’s torture hardly let up for the entire weekend, Jeremy felt as though he’d be better off dead.

By Sunday his body was exhausted from Craig’s attentions and his mind was far more fragile and fragmented than before. He looked out his bedroom window and looked down, ‘Would this fall kill me?’ he stepped out onto the ledge and felt the wind race around him. But instead of feeling fear, he strangely felt at peace.

He sighed and stepped backwards into his room, closing the window he thought, ‘At best the fall would break a bone or two and then I couldn’t leave this house until my leg was healed.’ the thought of being immobilised in the house with Craig made him shudder.

Jeremy was relieved when Monday came and got dressed for school.

Ian had already left and Sandra was fussing over Jeremy, ‘Please eat your breakfast. Or are you still feeling sick?’ she rested her hand on his shoulder, ‘Don’t force yourself, you can stay home.’

Jeremy panicked, ‘No!’ he calmed himself, ‘I just really want to go back to school.’

Craig came in, ‘Ready to go Jeremy?’

‘Craig?’ asked Jeremy not sure why he was asking.

‘I’ll drive you, it’s better to meet the dean if I am with you.’ smiled Craig.

Jeremy looked away, ‘I can take the train.’

‘It’s no trouble I’m going that way anyway.’ replied Craig, Jeremy reluctantly got into the car, ‘I think this is the first time you’ve been in this car.’ Craig taunted, ‘You’ll be on break from school soon, I can hardly wait! We’ll be able to be together every night of the week!’

Jeremy watched as traffic came towards them and then to the steering wheel, back and forth between the two until he reached his hand out jerking the car into oncoming traffic, he didn’t care if he died too but he wanted to get away from Craig by any means necessary.

Craig elbowed him out the way and regained control pulling over the vehicle, into the hedge covered lay by. Craig grabbed Jeremy’s shirt, ‘What the hell was that?! Were you thinking of a murder suicide or something!?’ Craig put his seat down, ‘I told you not to anger me!’

‘No!’ yelled Jeremy, ‘Stop it!’

Craig pulled his trousers off, ‘Such a frightening child! I should be stricter with you.’ he raped him in the car and sat back afterwards, ‘We’ll continue this when you come home next time. We’ll do something fun.’ he straightened his clothes, ‘Fix yourself up!’

Craig found Ian at the school assembly hall after he settled Jeremy in, ‘Ian!’

‘Oh hey dad!’ he replied walking over, ‘How’s Jeremy?’

‘He’s acting a little strange.’ replied Craig.

‘Strange? How so?’ asked Ian.

Craig explained, ‘I drove him here but on the way he said he didn’t want to return to school, he suddenly grabbed the wheel and tried to steer us into oncoming traffic! A truck was headed straight for us I had to elbow him in the face to get him out the way so I could regain control of the car!’

‘That doesn’t sound like him at all.’ said Ian.

‘Please keep an eye on him for me. I think this whole event with Steven has upset him more than he is saying.’ replied Craig, playing the concerned parent role so well. Ian nodded, ‘By the way how is your studying for the next police exam going?’

‘Good. I have two weeks until the test and my teacher says I’m ready so, I just keep studying what I’ve learnt so I don’t forget it.’

‘You’ll do fine.’ Craig left the school grounds. Ian went to see Jeremy in his room, he was startled until he saw it was Ian.

Ian asked, ‘Are you ok? I saw dad downstairs. He’s worried about you.’ he saw the bruise on Jeremy’s face, ‘You can talk to me.’

‘I’m fine.’ replied Jeremy. The week went by so quickly and Jeremy phoned home, he sighed in relief when Sandra answered.

‘Jeremy? What’s wrong?’ she asked, ‘It’s not like you to phone.’

‘I’m going to stay at school for this weekend. I have to submit a report before the holidays and I have to have access to the library books here.’ he lied shaking fearing Craig would take the phone off her.

Sandra sighed, ‘I guess you’re right but please make sure you eat well and look after yourself. Besides we’ll have the Boston trip too!’

Jeremy asked, ‘Wasn’t the Boston trip cancelled? Craig told me was cancelling it because of the incident with Steven.’

‘It’ll be fine I’ll speak to Craig, don’t worry about it just please come home next weekend.’ Sandra replied. They said their goodbyes.

Jeremy thought, ‘I never want to return to that house! I never want to return to his clutches!’ Jeremy went to the library and another group of students studying auto mechanics were discussing main causes of accidents for their reports. Jeremy listened in and even strikes up a conversation. Jeremy listened and read the papers intently.

Reading one of the boys reports he learns that the working order of a cars brakes depends on several steps working properly. When the driver presses down on the brake pedal, pressure is transmitted to the brake lines, which contain brake fluid.

The brake fluid transmit that pressure to the brakes themselves. The pressure from the brake lines pushes the disc or drum against the wheel to slow it down by friction. Brakes can fail at any point in that process. The most common cause of failure is a leak in the brake lines. The brake fluid will slowly drain out, until there isn’t enough left to transmit the pressure from the pedal to the tires.

‘Brake failure? If I can make it look like a brake failure I can sabotage Craig’s car and no one will suspect a thing?!’ he started analysing and studying Craig’s car model and type he planned on how best to sabotage his car. He was so focused the weekend had crept up on him.

He returned to the house with Ian, Sandra hugged him, ‘Welcome back dear!’

He saw Craig over her shoulder and flinched, he watched as Craig changed his expression and went over, ‘Welcome home!’

They had an almost civilised dinner and evening, but that night Craig went to Jeremy’s room again, he sighed, ‘Annoyingly, I have to work tomorrow morning. Just when I can finally spend some time with you too!’

‘Work?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Never mind. That’s all tomorrow anyway.’ he looked over at Jeremy, ‘Jeremy, strip and show me your back, I hit you a lot last week, I want to make sure you’re ok.’ Jeremy was reluctant, ‘Don’t worry I won’t hit you for now.’ Jeremy took his shirt off, ‘You haven’t looked after these wounds very well, they look worse than they did before.’

He treated Jeremy’s wounds from the other weeks beating, ‘You said you had to work tomorrow?’

‘Yes. A client needs some art authenticated and it’s my speciality so before the snow sets in they wanted it confirmed.’

Jeremy replied, ‘Isn’t it a little odd having to work so close to Christmas?’

‘Not in my line of work, besides, I only have to go to the airport. Everything will be done in about an hour.’ Craig explained.

‘Are you driving?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Of course!’ said Craig. He walked behind him and tied his hands together behind his back.

‘What are you doing?’ asked Jeremy failing to struggle.

Craig smiled, ‘I’m only going to bind you and flirt with you tonight.’ he picked him up and dropped him on the bed, ‘I promised didn’t I? In the car.’ he wrapped a towel around his neck, ‘If I do it this way there shouldn’t be any obvious marks. But, I’m sure you’ll be good boy and hide it if I do.’ Jeremy didn’t have to wonder what he was going to do for long as the rope was tied round his neck.

Craig choked and released over and over again, Jeremy caught his breath, ‘Craig!? Please……stop!’ he was choked again and released, ‘Forgive…me...’ Craig pulled harder and didn’t stop until he lost consciousness, he took pictures. He untied his hands and waited for him to wake up.

Jeremy coughed and gasped into life, ‘You’re awake now huh?’ he hugged Jeremy’s limp body, ‘I wonder why I hurt you. It’s just when I see you unable to resist and at my mercy I feel so happy. I must really love you.’

Craig took the rope and wrapped it up, ‘I have prepared so many presents for you, we don’t need to go to Boston anymore. We’re going to enjoy this holiday together, I will be sure to show you so many new things. I’ve been doing some research and I can’t wait to try it out with you.’ Craig went to the door and looked back at Jeremy, ‘Once I’m back from the airport tomorrow we can start.’ he left.

Jeremy sat up, ‘The only present I want for Christmas is your death. Brakes can be rigged to cause a malfunction. I am not going to be his toy anymore.’ he got out of bed and went to the garage.

He tampered under the hood and was heading back to his room, meeting Ian on the staircase, ‘Jeremy?’ he went down a few steps, ‘What? Can’t sleep?’

‘Just got something to drink.’ replied Jeremy running past him.

Ian thought, ‘Petrol?’ he shook it off and went to bed.

Jeremy woke in the morning and saw marks on his neck, ‘Even though he said he wouldn’t leave marks.’ he thought about Craig’s car crashing, ‘The road he usually takes to the airport has very little traffic, especially this early in the morning so the threat of another car won’t be involved in the crash is minimal. Mum will be sad, but I can’t take his abuse any longer!’

He went downstairs only to see Ian. He was confused but sat down and had breakfast. Shortly after they finished a servant showed a police officer in.

‘I am sorry but I have some bad news. Your father was involved with a car accident and his car caught fire.’ he explained.

Jeremy smiled, ‘I did it!’ he tried to stifle his laugh, Ian noticed but brushed it off as crying.

A serving girl asked, ‘What about Mistress Sandra? She got in the car with him to discuss the Boston trip!’

Jeremy stood up horrified, ‘What? Sandra?!’

‘For now, your father has been taken to the hospital with severe burns.’ he replied, ‘As for Sandra…I… I’m so sorry. We did find a body, but it isn’t confirmed as hers! Your father got out which saved him from death but there is no guarantee he’ll make it through the night.’

Jeremy fell to the floor, ‘He’ll survive! I know he will!’

They went to the hospital to identify Sandra’s body, as soon as Jeremy collapsed at the sight of her, he nodded, ‘That’s her.’ he became hysterical and had to be put to sleep by the nursing staff.

Ian went to see his father, bandaged and unconscious, Ian sat at his bedside all night. Ian thought, ‘He went out the night before. Jeremy stank of petrol. Before he heard Sandra was hurt I could have sworn he was laughing!’ he shook his head, ‘Jeremy couldn’t do this though! He’s only a kid!’

A few days later they had a funeral for Sandra, with the crash cleared by police as an accident due to drivers mistake they were allowed to bury her body. But Craig was still alive, Jeremy stared at her grave as thoughts of what Craig would do to him if he found out haunted his mind.

They got back to the house and the top topic was what to do about Jeremy, now his mother was dead with no real relation to take Jeremy on, his fate was uncertain. Jeremy listened in from the hallway.

Craig’s parents were there and explained, ‘Craig and Sandra were discussing having Craig legally adopt Jeremy, the paper work just has to be submitted.’

Jeremy feeling trapped in Craig‘s family he fell to his knees, ‘No! I don’t want to stay here! I can’t stay here! I can’t let them put the adoption through!’

‘With no other family, I’m sure Jeremy will be happy he has someone to rely on.’ they chatted amongst themselves as Jeremy grew colder and colder.

‘I’ll legally be his son!?’ Jeremy thought, ‘I have to find my passport! I have to get out of here!’ he went to Craig’s office desperate to find his passport and believed Craig was lying when he said it was in the banks lock box. But, he couldn’t find it.

He calmed his breathing, ‘Ok, just think. Everyone is upset right now. Just walk out the door and never come back.’ he thought about it, ‘That won’t work, I have no money.’

The next day, they all went to see Craig. He was conscious and talking, he asked to speak to Jeremy alone and everyone left, ‘I…know……I know…what you did…’ an ice cold chill shot down Jeremy’s back as Craig smirked, ‘As soon……as I get… out of here……you’re going to pay……’ he chuckled.

Jeremy thought of smothering him with the pillow but with the family looking in through the window he’d be unable to kill Craig. Panicked and terrified he left quickly. Everyone wondered what had happened between them, until a code blue was called from his room and nurses ran in trying to resuscitate him.

Outside Jeremy was hyperventilating and shaking.

Shortly followed by Ian who hugged him, ‘It’s ok. We’ll be ok.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Father went into cardiac arrest for a few moments ago.’ explained Ian, ‘Isn’t that why you ran out here?’

Jeremy pushed down his glee and played down his joy at hearing that and hugged Ian, ‘I’m so sorry. I know what he meant to you.’ with his face hidden he smiled. His tears of panic and dread turned to tears of joy which he disguised as tears of sadness.

Ian’s suspicion peaked seeing through his disguise but he had no evidence other than circumstantial which wouldn’t hold up in court.

The next day, Ian confronted Jeremy, ‘Is there something you would like to tell me?’

‘Like what?’ asked Jeremy.

‘Did you do something? That night during Christmas Eve when we passed each other in the staircase. I remember you smelt of petrol and engine oil.’ asked Ian. Jeremy said nothing and started crying breathing erratically, ‘Why!? Did you hate Sandra’s marriage that much you’d stoop to this!’ Jeremy gave no response, Ian grabbed his arm, ‘TELL ME! I can help you! Just tell me!’

Jeremy replied, ‘I didn’t want to have sex with him anymore, so I killed him.’ Ian let him go, Jeremy ran outside scared that he had finally told someone within the family.

Ian was too stunned to move, ‘What? Sex? With Craig?!’ he watched as Jeremy ran away, ‘No wait!’ he ran out after him, ‘Jeremy talk to me!’

Jeremy ran away but slipped falling into the river that flowed through the forest surrounding the house, he hit his head as he fell which knocked him unconscious. Ian slid down the embankment.

Ian dived into the river and dragged him out, he took him to the boat house because it was closer he dragged him in and set a fire. He thought, ‘I have to take his wet clothes off or he’ll freeze!’ he unbuttoned his shirt and turned him over to remove it when he noticed his back, ‘What?’ he removed his shirt and looked at his back, ‘What is all this!?’

While drying him off he thought, ‘Did something really happen between Jeremy and dad?’ he put some covers over him and lay him in front of the fire to warm up. He sat alone in silence contemplating what really happened, ‘Did he and my dad really have a sexual relationship?! How did he get those marks on his back?!’

He thoughts were cut short as Jeremy woke up, he sat up and held his head. The covers rolled off his shoulder revealing the scars on his back again.

Jeremy looked around and saw Ian, ‘What happened?’

‘You fell in the river, I brought you here to the boat house because it was closer than the house.’ Ian explained.

‘So, you pulled me out the river?’ asked Jeremy. Ian nodded and handed him a robe, ‘Why?’ he put it on, ‘Why would you do that?’

‘What? You wanted to die?’ asked Ian, ‘Why? What is wrong with you?’

‘Too much! Too much is wrong with me, that’s the problem isn’t it? Too much is wrong with me and you can’t do anything about it, you can’t change it, you can’t fix me! I was screaming! But no one ever came to help!’ yelled Jeremy.

Ian asked, ‘What do you mean? How did you get the wounds on your back? Who hit you?’

Jeremy started shaking, ‘It was Craig! Alright!?’

You killed him didnt you? accused Ian, ‘You killed our father!

Jeremy yelled, No! He was YOUR father! Not mine!

Ian punched him in the face, You killed him didnt you? You bastard!

Jeremy sat up on the floor, I had good reason too!

WHAT WAS THAT!? Ian yelled.

You nor anyone saw what was really happening! All this time and not one of you asked. replied Jeremy, Your father, beat and raped me every weekend when we came back from school!

Youre lying! He treated you like the son he never had! argued Ian, ‘He wasn’t like that!’

Jeremy clenched his fists shaking, Just like he always said. No one will believe you even if you tell them. I can talk my way out of this no matter what you say.

Youre not making any sense! answered Ian.

I told you in plain English, just now didnt I? I just told you that your father beat and raped me over and over. replied Jeremy, And when I tried to get away he would twist it so I had no other option but to go back to him. He threatened me, he threatened my mother! He’s a monster!

Ian replied, Tell me everything!

Jeremy looked at him, What?

Tell me everything! Use as much detail as you can remember. explained Ian, If everything adds up I will look into it further.

Jeremy answered, You wont bother. You dont want to know the details trust me! To you your father was the kindest and wisest person in your life but to me he was the complete opposite, he was a monster. You cant see past your love for your father, whatever I tell you, youll just dismiss every word I say!

Ian put his police hat on, Ok then. he sat down, While I am wearing this hat, I am not his son. Im a police officer with no emotional connection to the case. Please tell me everything.

Jeremy sat against the wall, Craig met my mother as you know, when he travelled to Boston three years ago. They started dating and he made frequent trips back and forth to coincide with you returning home from boarding school.

‘Why would he hit you?’ asked Ian.

‘How the hell would I know? He hit me when he felt like it!’ yelled Jeremy, ‘His next favourite thing was to rape me.’ Jeremy looked at him, ‘You want the truth, I was forced to be Craig’s lover! On the weekend. Every weekend!’

‘What did he hit you with?’ asked Ian.

‘A belt.’ Jeremy sighed, ‘He came into my room every night while everybody was sleeping and did whatever he liked.’

‘Whatever he liked?’ asked Ian.

‘He did whatever he wanted to do. My room had thick walls so it was almost soundproof, that and the fact my room is isolated no matter how loud I screamed or how much I begged for help no one heard me!’ Jeremy replied, ‘He didn’t hit me every weekend.’

‘You were mutual lovers?’ asked Ian.

‘NO! I never wanted anything to do with him!’ yelled Jeremy, ‘I hated it! Every time he touched my skin I felt as though I would vomit!’

‘But you have hands, feet and a mouth, why didn’t you fight back or run away?!’ Ian exclaimed, ‘You could have told somebody before!’

‘I couldn’t just tell anyone! I couldn’t run away! He had a key to my room! He hid my passport and bank book! He used ropes and manipulated me into thinking no one would believe me even if I told them!’ Jeremy explained, ‘First he was drunk and kissed me, I thought it was nothing more than a drunken mistake! I thought it wasn’t work mentioning. But then, it turned out it wasn’t a mistake at all!’

Ian asked, ‘What happened?’

‘I awoke one night and he was in my room. I had no idea what had happened but he left as soon as I saw him and that was that! Then, he started coming to my room every night I was in that house, he used me however he wanted, at first it wasn’t full sex, then you mentioned boarding school I felt so happy I could escape from him. I tried to stay at school over the weekends too, but he came and took me out.’ explained Jeremy, ‘He took me to a hotel in Mason. He tied me to the bed and hit me with his belt over and over. After he had his fun with that he took pictures of my back. After that, he took me back to school telling me he could easily do this again, so I had to go home next weekend…’ Jeremy choked on his own words.

Ian could barely listen anymore as Jeremy continued.

‘Craig knocked me to the bed and pinned me down climbing on top, he told me. ‘Bad behaviour will be punished !’ I was pinned and mounted. I screamed and kicked but Craig’s free hand crept between my legs.’ Jeremy explained, ‘He told me if I didn’t want to do it with him, he’d have to find another outlet for his anger. He told me: ‘As long as you roll over and do everything I say, your mother will be blissfully unaware, healthy and happy. Every healthy person needs an outlet. And you Jeremy are mine. You don’t want me to hurt your mother like this? Then obey me.’ I had no choice.’

Ian sighed, ‘Am I the only one you’ve told?’

‘No, I told a therapist in London, Professor David. He called me John Doe because I wouldn’t tell him my real name. But, he died. That’s when I came home drunk.’ Jeremy looked away, ‘Because I didn’t want anyone to know, because Craig twisted my mind into thinking he was right, that no one would believe me. It doesn’t matter anymore.’ tears swelled and fell from his eyes, ‘Do as you like. Ian.’

‘What?’ asked Ian.

‘Call the police. Kill me. I don’t care anymore!’ replied Jeremy.

Ian sighed, ‘Get some sleep.’ Jeremy looked at him confused, ‘You’re exhausted, get some sleep the fire will keep this room warm. I’ll get some more blankets and sleep elsewhere.’

Ian didn’t sleep all night, he remained awake watching Jeremy toss and turn. He thought, ‘I figured he’d struggle to sleep after everything he has been through. Beaten and raped by my father every time he comes back to this house. No wonder when he had a chance to escape to school he refused to leave until he was forced to return.’ he saw day break and dressed Jeremy picking him up.

He carried him back to the house and placed him on his bed, ‘Confessing everything he had bottled up for so long, I’m not surprised he’s so fragile. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sleep again!’

Ian called for a doctor who came to assess Jeremy’s condition, ‘Yes, he has developed a fever which explains his tiredness.’ he turned to Ian, ‘Help me change his shirt it’s soaked with sweat!’ Ian helped him and they both saw the wounds on his back, ‘What terrible wounds! What happened?’ he asked the semi conscious Jeremy, ‘Who gave you the wounds on your back?’

Jeremy curled up, ‘Ple….ase…..no….mo…re….’

The doctor took Ian to one side, ‘Do you know what happened?’ Ian didn’t know what to say, so he said nothing, ‘Understood. Change his shirt while I prescribe him some medicine.’

Ian and the doctor left him as an urgent news report came on the TV, stating that the make and model of Craig’s car has been recalled because it’s defective. Which threw Ian’s scent off Jeremy’s guilt completely, ‘If the car was defective anyway, did whatever Jeremy do to the car speed up the inevitable or did it have no baring on Craig’s fate at all!?’

Hungry for more answers he went to see Jeremy again later that day, ‘Hey?’ he walked in, ‘You feeling ok?’

‘A little stiff and sore, but apart from that, ok.’ replied Jeremy, ‘I’m sorry about you finding out this way.’

‘What was it like?’ asked Ian.

‘What?’ asked Jeremy.

Ian replied, ‘The belt he hit you with what was it like?’

‘It was a cheap looking violet belt. He used to put it in the right pocket of his navy robe.’ Jeremy explained, ‘I don’t know if he kept it there all the time though.’

‘Anything else? The things dad used I mean?’ asked Ian.

‘It was only the once but the carnival mask he wore to his birthday party. He wore that when he took me from school to the hotel. In a town called Mason on the streets with whores, he told me he went there often.’ Jeremy explained, ‘And the times after his birthday he would use the nail polish kit you brought for him on me. And the rope……’ he curled into himself, ‘I hated the rope the most.’

‘Rope?’ asked Ian.

‘It’s what he used to tie me up with. It was like a clothes line rope.’ Jeremy explained, ‘I don’t know if it’s true or if I should even mention this to you, but, he said that it was the same rope Lilia used when she killed herself.’

Ian was stunned, ‘Mother? That rope is still around?! Dad took it and used it on Jeremy?! I don’t understand anything anymore! This has left me with more questions than answers.’ he shook it off, ‘Ok that’s enough!’

Jeremy looked at him, ‘I understand now why you hated him to that extent!’ Ian put Jeremy’s passport and bank book on his bedside table, ‘I found this when I was at the bank sorting out the inheritance money. I’m giving this back to you. But, please stay. I don’t know what to do. However, I also don’t know what else to do.’

Ian left and searched his father’s room for the belt, rope and camera. But found nothing. The next day he went to see Jeremy again, ‘We’re going out today. I want you to show me the place you met with Professor David and the hotel Craig took you to.’

‘You called him Craig?’ stated Jeremy.

Ian looked away, ‘If even half of this is true, I can’t call that man father anymore.’

Jeremy stood up, ‘Follow me then.’ he took him to the building and Ian spoke to the girl at the desk.

‘Yes, we did have a Professor David staying here but he passed away.’ she explained, she handed him some tapes, ‘He did instruct me to give these tapes to anyone asking about someone called John Doe.’ Ian returned to Jeremy.

‘Yes, dead therapist like you said.’ he showed him the tapes, ‘Did you know about these?’

Jeremy shook his head, ‘No. I don’t know what they are.’

Ian put it back in his pocket, ‘Now the hotel.’ he saw Jeremy flinch, ‘You don’t want to go do you?’

Jeremy shook it off, ‘It’s fine. I can do this.’

He took him there and several girls remembered him coming with Craig and they recalled their own horror stories of their encounters with him to Ian.

They headed back, Ian took a phone call, hung up and turned to Jeremy. Ian said, ‘Ok, here’s what I think. It was an inevitable accident due to the cars defect, which means you aren’t responsible for killing anyone.’

Jeremy asked, ‘What the hell are you on about? I told you I tampered with his car!’

‘Yes, but that was the garage on the phone.’ Ian explained, ‘The car failed because of the fault that every car has! There was a product recall. You’re innocent. I have looked for the belt and the rope but I can’t find them anywhere……so…’

Jeremy gritted his teeth, ‘Please! Just stop! I know where this is heading. You have removed my motive to kill him and now you’re going to say that I made it all up and imagined it due to stress of my mother dying!’ Ian stepped back, ‘I made none of this up! I don’t know where he hid the belt and rope, but that doesn’t mean I made them up! Besides you heard those women!’

Ian answered, ‘I am trying to help you. No matter what is on the tapes Professor David’s landlady gave us, it’s his thoughts based on what you told him happened. He is not a witness!’

‘Have you even heard yourself!’ exclaimed Jeremy, ‘You’re in denial! This is exactly what Craig said would happen! No one will believe me!’ Ian went to touch his shoulder, he backed away, ‘Please! Don’t touch me! Just leave.’

Ian said, ‘Jeremy? I’m trying to help!’

Jeremy stopped him, ‘No! You should have left me floating in the river to die like I wanted!’ he fought back his tears, ‘You want to help? Just leave me alone!

Three days later Ian went to his father study, ‘I can’t believe he’d do this sort of thing!’ he picked out a photo album and sat on the floor looking through old pictures, ‘He wasn’t like that! My dad was kind, thoughtful and gentle.’ he leaned on the wall behind him, ‘Then how did Jeremy get those marks on his back? Was he into that kind of thing with another boy at school.’ he knocked a fake panel out revealing a briefcase.

‘What?! A fake wall!’ he pulled out the briefcase, it needed a code, ‘I have to see what’s in here!’ he tried his fathers and mothers birthdays, their anniversary and the anniversary of his mothers death, but none of the resulting codes worked.

He was about to give up when he thought of one last code, ‘My birthday.’ the briefcase opened, he peered inside to find the carnival mask and porn magazines of S&M play, ‘So, he read these types of magazines?!’ shocked and horrified that his father really was into that sort of thing, he noticed a bag.

He reached his hand inside and pulled out the belt, ‘The violet belt?!’ he examined it closer, ‘Blood?!’ he recalled the marks on Jeremy’s back, ‘Is this Jeremy’s blood?’ but the bag contained more, the rope the Jeremy had explained was neatly bundled and tied.

He had found the mask, the rope, the belt. but there was still more to come, in the side pocket, he noticed pictures of Jeremy, of his bloody back, and of more women Craig had tortured before Jeremy.

Ian almost vomited at the sight of them, ‘How did I not see it?!’ Ian walked to the dining room, ‘Why didn’t I see what was happening in this house? We all met for dinner, go to bed, in the morning Jeremy would usually be quite quiet. Now I know why. Jeremy probably cried out, but his room had such thick walls, his voice doesn’t reach the outside, at least not far enough to be within ear shot of anyone.’

Now he had hard evidence that completely backed up Jeremy’s story he decided to listen to the tapes Professor David had left behind.

Session one: ‘I have just met with someone who will be here by be known as John, who called me on the phone a few days ago. He has been cornered into an emotionally distressed state, due to his stepfathers sexual abuse. Although he has not told me so, I suspect he is also the victim of physical and mental abuse. I don’t know of how much help I can be to John but, now that I am his ally, I hope to be of assistance to him. In any case, I would like to know what kind of person his mother is? I hope he will open up to me more.’

Session two: ‘John Doe is emotionally and physically broken down by the abuse he has endured at the hands of his step father, I fear in his fragile state, seeking help seems impossible to him. I have offered a place at my secure facility but his fear of leaving his mother behind will result in her being abused in his place, and so he has been backed into a corner by his step father. I can’t understand why he is doing this but my deepest wish is for him to escape and get the help he needs.’

Session three: ‘He has a surprisingly strong sense of duty and loyalty towards his mother, but I fear that is what’s letting her partner use him like he is. It is clearly difficult for John to talk about this even now. His stepfather is obviously using him as a tool to fulfil his own dark sexual fantasies. I have met him a couple of times now and am starting to get a much better picture of what has been happening, I won’t record after every session unless I feel it’s something I will need to discuss further with John at our next session.’

Session four: ‘John Doe has told me he has left his step father’s house and got an apartment, I hope that’s true, but I fear he was just saying that to make a dying man feel better, but, he finally trusted me with his real name. Jeremy. I fear I don’t have long enough left to see him again, so if these tapes make their way back to Jeremy or someone who knows him, promise me you won’t dismiss his story. Promise me you’ll listen to him. And tell him this from me: Don’t let your misfortune find a home. He’ll know what that means.’

Ian wiped the tears from his eyes, ‘He clearly thought Jeremy was telling the truth.’ he rested his head on his hand, ‘What do I do?! All this evidence! I can’t deny it! Jeremy was telling me the truth.’ he went to see Jeremy but he wasn’t in his room and his passport was missing.

‘NO!’ he saw a confirmation order for a plane ticket to Boston, on the computer in his room, he ran out and drove to the airport, ‘I can’t just let him run like this! I need to tell him I’m sorry, I need to tell him that I believe him!’

Jeremy clutched his ticket in the cue for check in, ‘Finally I can leave! Finally! I can go back home. I’ll beg the manager to give me my job back and I’ll get an apartment somewhere!’

He felt a hand on his shoulder, ‘Jeremy!’

‘Ian?!’ he exclaimed.

Ian hugged him, ‘I’m sorry! I’m so sorry, I didn’t believe you! I found the stuff. I know everything!’ he hugged him tighter, ‘Please don’t leave! I know I messed everything up! But, please, you’re the only family I have left!’

‘Ian?’ asked Jeremy, ‘He believes me!’ he pushed Ian off him and lead him out of the cue, ‘Lets get some coffee.’ they sat with their order, ‘So, what happened? Why do you suddenly believe me?’

‘I found dad’s briefcase.’ explained Ian.

‘The black one with gold locks!?’ asked Jeremy.

‘You know about the briefcase?’ asked Ian.

‘I didn’t know he had it exclusively for those things, but he that’s where he had everything when we went to the hotel together.’ explained Jeremy.

Ian could barely keep it together, ‘I saw the pictures he took.’ he started shaking, ‘You looked like you were dead in some of them.’ Jeremy’s eyes widened, ‘You didn’t tell me he strangled you with the ropes too!’

Jeremy shrunk into himself, ‘It was only once.’

‘THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT OK!’ Ian yelled banging the table. Jeremy flinched and Ian forced himself to calm, ‘I’m sorry.’

‘It’s ok you’re in shock right now.’ explained Jeremy.

‘No! I’m sorry I didn’t see what was going on.’ Ian replied, ‘I wanted to be a police officer, I took all the exams and did all the training but in the end, I couldn’t see the crimes being committed right in front of me!’

Jeremy hid his eyes with his hair, ‘So, you saw the pictures huh?’

Ian touched his hand, Jeremy flinched slightly, ‘Please! Come back to the house!’

‘I’m going back to Boston, I have nothing to keep me here.’ replied Jeremy.

‘What if I threatened to call the police and tell them you messed with dads car?’ asked Ian.

‘I’d tell them about what Craig did to me. You believe in the law correct? That’s why you became a police officer. I was happy to leave your father’s memory untarnished in the publics eye. I thought I could leave now he’s gone.’ replied Jeremy, ‘Ian, please. Just let me go back to Boston, that house isn’t my home. I haven’t got a single good memory here in England!’

‘Not even of me?’ asked Ian.

Jeremy fought back tears, ‘You were the only good thing in England. I liked talking to you, I enjoyed watching you box and I loved that weekend we spend together when Craig and Sandra went to Italy. I cherish those memories.’

Ian couldn’t hold it back anymore and started crying, ‘But you won’t stay for me? I know I’m not your real brother, but I’m as good as aren’t I?!’

‘Yes you are my brother, I just can’t go back to that room, to that house, to that bloody forest! As my brother please don’t ask me to do that again.’ replied Jeremy silently crying, ‘I can’t do it anymore!’

‘Do you want your pictures?’ asked Ian, ‘So you can bin them or burn them whatever you want.’

Jeremy answered, ‘No, but please do me this one favour.’ Ian nodded, ‘Burn everything! The belt, the mask, the rope, the camera, the pictures, even the briefcase and navy robe. All of it. Will you do that for me?’

Ian nodded, ‘Of course.’ he showed him to the gate, ‘Keep in touch with me. Please.’

Jeremy smiled, ‘I will.’

Their parting felt awkwardly like neither of them wanted to go. Jeremy turned to the gate and stepped away. Ian turned to leave but stood still, ‘Don’t let your misfortune find a home.’ said Ian, they both turned back to face one another and not a single step was taken by either of them.

The flight attendant asked, ‘Sir, are you getting on this flight or not?’

Jeremy handed him his ticket, ‘I’m sorry but I can’t.’ he looked at him, ‘Sorry, I just realised I have nothing to go back for.’ Ian watched in awe as Jeremy turned to look at him again, ‘But it appears I have something to stay for after all.’ he walked away from the gate and towards Ian.

Ian was shocked when Jeremy hugged him, ‘You’re staying?’ he asked.

Jeremy let him go and looked at him and nodded, ‘I have nothing in Boston anymore, Craig destroyed everything I had there, but he didn’t destroy you. He didn’t destroy my brother, I’ll stay in the boat house until I can find somewhere else to live in England, I’m not going back into that house.’

‘Ok.’ smiled Ian. He drove them back to the boat house, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to come to the house?’

‘Positive.’ replied Jeremy, ‘There is no room in that house that doesn’t hold his bitter memory.’

‘You don’t even have a bed.’ stated Ian.

Jeremy smiled, ‘The sofa will be fine.’

Ian sighed, ‘Ok, just promise you won’t leave for the airport without telling me like last time.’

Jeremy huffed chuckling slightly, ‘I promise.’

That night, Jeremy didn’t get a wink of sleep. He knew Craig was dead but every creak, every shuffle, every sound made him flinch and shake. He thought over and over, ‘He’s dead! He’s dead! He’s dead! He’s dead!’ he repeated that thought trying to reassure himself so he could sleep but it had no effect.

Morning broke and Ian accompanied with several servants took breakfast to Jeremy, ‘Morning.’ he smiled.

Jeremy forced a smile, ‘Morning.’ he yawned.

‘Didn’t sleep very well?’ asked Ian.

‘Try at all.’ replied Jeremy.

Ian asked, ‘How are you feeling?’

Jeremy let them in, ‘Like I need to be heavily sedated.’ he joked.

‘I know you said you don’t want to but the house is much warmer and quieter.’ Ian was interrupted.

‘No!’ Jeremy composed himself, ‘Thank you. The boat house is fine. It’s me that’s the problem.’

Ian and Jeremy sat having a civilised breakfast together, Jeremy started to fall asleep Ian smiled and put him on the sofa, ‘Get some sleep.’ he stood up to leave.

Jeremy grabbed his arm, ‘Don’t leave. Please!’

Ian nodded to the servants who cleared up the plates and left. Walking back to the house they talked amongst themselves, ‘Why does Master Jeremy stay in the boat house now?’ ‘I don’t know, it’s weird but Master Ian seems to accept it.’ ‘Master Jeremy had always been a strange one.’ ‘Yeah, he always cleaned his own clothes and sheets.’ ‘Not to mention he never talks!’ ‘But he seemed to talk quite well with Master Ian just then.’ ‘Yeah but Master Ian was the one who started each and every conversation.’

Back in the boat house, Ian had also fallen asleep on the floor next to the sofa where Jeremy was. It was four hours until Jeremy woke up in fright, waking Ian.

Ian sat up, ‘Jeremy!? Jeremy what’s wrong?’ he asked getting up and holding his shoulders. Jeremy was having a panic attack, ‘Jeremy hold your breath!’ he did, which forced the panic attack to calm. After a few short minutes he was fine, ‘Are you ok now?’

‘Yeah.’ he held his head, ‘Sorry, I just.……!’ he stopped.

‘Craig?’ asked Ian.

Jeremy nodded, he couldn’t sit still. Almost as if he felt as though his skin was crawling, ‘I need to wash.’ he looked at his hands, ‘I need to wash his touch off me!’

Ian hid his face with his hair, ‘Ok.’ he let his shoulders go and Jeremy started scrubbing his arms in the sink. Ian saw he was scrubbing them raw, ‘Jeremy!?’ he tried to stop him but Jeremy refused. Ian pinned him to the wall, ‘JEREMY! STOP IT!’

Jeremy couldn’t control his breathing, ‘Ian? Help me!’ Ian’s eyes widened.

‘I’ll set up a meeting with a therapist.’ replied Ian, ‘Now I’m going to let go of your wrists, promise me, no more scrubbing.’ Jeremy nodded and Ian let him go. Jeremy fell to the floor.

‘What’s wrong with me?’ asked Jeremy.

Ian gritted his teeth, ‘How could my father do this to him?! I don’t understand.’ he clenched his fist as he remembered his father, ‘Tell me! TELL ME! What did you get out of making him like this?’

Jeremy calmed and stood up, ‘Sorry.’ he held his head, ‘I just thought……’ he shook his head, ‘It doesn’t matter.’

‘Yes it does!’ replied Ian, ‘Stop hiding things from me! What did you think?’

Jeremy looked away, ‘I thought Craig was here. I thought he was going to……’

‘Rape you.’ completed Ian, ‘Jeremy? I know you don’t want to, but come to the house for a second.’

‘Why?’ asked Jeremy, ‘What’s the point?’

Ian’s face softened, ‘Please.’ Jeremy followed him to the house but hesitated at the doors, but with a little encouragement from Ian, he stepped through. He took him to the study and opened the briefcase.

The mere sight of the briefcase alone was enough to make him flinch, but as soon as he saw the contents he backed away from them, ‘Why have you brought them out?’

‘I’m keeping my promise to you. We are going to burn them together.’ explained Ian wrapping everything up in Craig’s navy robe. Jeremy followed him outside and they set a fire together.

Ian put everything on the floor, Jeremy looked at his pictures, ‘When I see it like this. It’s even harder to believe it happened to me.’ he threw them on the fire. And then Craig’s robe and briefcase. Ian watched as he couldn’t even force himself to pick up the rope and belt.

Ian knelt down and offered him the rope, smiling, ‘Here.’

Jeremy still couldn’t bring himself to touch them, ‘I can’t.’ he sighed, ‘I just can’t!’ he looked Ian in the eye, ‘When did I become so scared of them?’

Ian forced a smile, ‘It’s ok.’ he put them in his hand for him, ‘Don’t let your misfortune find a home.’

Jeremy smiled and started crying, ‘His tapes!’ he started laughing while crying, he passed Ian some of the ropes, ‘It goes for you too you know?’ they threw them on the fire together.

They sat together and watched in silence as the fire burnt everything to ashes. The fire died down as night fell, Jeremy yawned, ‘I’ll walk you back to the boat house.’

Jeremy replied, ‘No.’ Ian looked at him, ‘I think I need to get over it. One way or another.’ he walked up to the house and turned back to Ian, ‘You not coming?’

Ian smiled and followed him inside. They sat watching TV together until Jeremy fell on Ian’s shoulder, he turned to see him asleep on his shoulder and smiled, he placed his head on his lap. Eventually, he fell asleep too.

The servants saw them together, both sleeping so soundly and smiled. They left them to sleep.

In the morning, they woke up together, Jeremy jumped up, ‘Sorry.’

Ian smiled, ‘It’s alright. You look like you slept well.’

‘Yeah, I did.’ he smiled as he thought, ‘I guess it was because whenever you or anyone else was around Craig wouldn’t touch me.’ he asked, ‘Ian? Can I sleep in the same room as you for a little while?’

‘Sure but why?’ asked Ian.

Jeremy answered, ‘I feel safe around you. Please.’

Ian nodded, ‘Sure.’ they had breakfast together. Jeremy went back to the boat house to get his belongings so Ian looked up therapists numbers and called a therapist for Jeremy.

‘Hello?’ said a voice.

‘Is this Doctor Smith?’ asked Ian, ‘Or is this his office?’

‘This is Doctor Smith.’ answered Doctor Smith.

Ian said, ‘Hello, my name is Ian and I require your services for my younger brother.’

‘What is the nature of the therapy you require?’ he asked.

Ian choked on his own thoughts, ‘It’s a little hard to explain really.’

‘Is it grief counselling? Abuse counselling? Suicide prevention counselling?’ he asked.

Ian swallowed his resistance to hang up, ‘All three.’

‘Given the nature of the counselling required, if possible I would like to come up today.’ Doctor Smith answered.

‘Thank you. I’ll make sure Jeremy is ready.’ Ian replied before giving him the address and hanging up.

Ian went to Jeremy, ‘I have arranged for you to speak to someone.’

‘Is he like Professor David?’ asked Jeremy.

‘He has the same job yes.’ replied Ian.

Jeremy looked at him, ‘Don’t you need to speak to him too?’ Ian gave no response and walked Jeremy back to the house. Jeremy thought, ‘Should I not have said that?’

Doctor Smith was shown into Jeremy and Ian by the servants, ‘Hello, I’m Doctor Smith.’ he shook Ian’s hand, ‘I believe it was you I spoke to on the phone?’

Jeremy asked, ‘What’s going on?’

Ian replied, ‘This is the therapist I called for you to talk to. Remember?’

Jeremy huffed, ‘I think you need one more than I do!’

‘Ok.’ replied Ian, ‘How about this? You have an appointment now and I’ll have one straight after?’

‘Fine.’ answered Jeremy. Ian nodded and left them together.

‘So, you must be Jeremy.’ he smiled sitting down getting his notebook out, ‘Ian tells me you’ve had a hard time recently.’

‘You could say that.’ Jeremy stated.

Doctor Smith replied, ‘Why don’t you tell me?’

Jeremy inhaled and exhaled, ‘I……’ he couldn’t find the words to speak.

‘Jeremy, whatever you tell me will not leave this room.’ replied Doctor Smith.

Even though he had told people before, this time felt different and as though it was dangerous to tell him, ‘I was…forced…into a……’ Jeremy started fidgeting and couldn’t focus. He sighed heavily and forced himself to continue, ‘Cr…raig, he… forced me to…have…a sexual…relation…ship…with him…’

Doctor Smith played down his reaction, ‘When did it start?’

Jeremy looked at him, ‘You believe me?’ he smiled, ‘Just like that?’

‘Of course.’ Doctor Smith replied.

Jeremy chuckled, ‘You believe me!’ he composed himself, ‘Sorry it’s just he told me no one would.’

‘Who is Craig?’ asked Doctor Smith.

‘My step father.’ he explained, ‘My mother remarried in August of last year.’

‘How did it start?’ asked Doctor Smith.

Jeremy explained, ‘With what I thought was a drunken kiss. But, it wasn’t at all. He calculated and planned everything from the first. Once he was engaged to my mother it became apparent to me something was off about how he looked at me. But, there wasn’t anything more than just a feeling to go on, but then he kissed me again after my mother announced we’d be moving to England to live with him.’

Jeremy continued, ‘That’s when he started coming into my room at night. The first time I was asleep and he was there when I woke up, I don’t know what he was doing but he didn’t touch me, but now that I think about it I think he was touching himself.’

‘Why do you think that?’ asked Doctor Smith.

‘His clothes. His clothes weren’t on right.’ he explained, ‘Then, he started coming to my room every night, he used me however he wanted. At first it wasn’t full sex, but it escalated. I escaped to boarding school and I felt so happy. I tried to stay at school over the weekends too, but he came and took me out.’ explained Jeremy, ‘He took me to a hotel in Mason and tied me to the bed. He hit me with his belt over and over, he raped me and took pictures. After that, he took me back to school telling me he could easily do this again, so I had to go home next weekend……’ Jeremy choked on his own words, ‘He told me if I didn’t want to do it with him, he’d have to find another outlet.’

‘Didn’t you try to fight back or escape?’ asked Doctor Smith.

Jeremy scoffed, ‘Of course I bloody did! But you don’t know what it was like. You don’t understand how he twisted it! How he made it out that I was the problem? I tried running and got nowhere! I tried fighting and got beaten! I tried to kill myself but failed!’

‘So, you thought about taking your own life?’ he asked.

‘Taking your own life? It’s an interesting expression, isn’t it? Taking it from who exactly? Once its all over. Its not you wholl miss it. Its something that happens to everyone else. Not to you!’ Jeremy replied, ‘I stepped out onto my window ledge and wondered if the fall would kill me. I watched a train pull into the station and thought about taking a step in front of it. I grabbed the wheel of his car and turned it into traffic. I fell in a lake but instead of fighting I was going to let myself drown! But what would the point be?’

‘I’m not sure I’m following.’ he stated.

Jeremy smiled looking at him, ‘What is the point of killing myself? What is the point of hating myself to that extent? What purpose does it serve? It wasn’t me who raped a fifteen year old boy, it wasn’t me who beat a fifteen year old boy and it wasn’t me who ruined a fifteen year old boys life! Looking back now, I’m ashamed of myself because I thought of killing myself!’

‘Jeremy? The abuse he put you through was horrific, suicidal thoughts are nothing to be ashamed of, it’s certainly something we need to discuss.’ he asked, ‘Do you still have those thoughts?’

Jeremy sniffed and wiped his eye, ‘Sometimes.’ he cleared his throat, ‘When it gets bad.’

‘What do you think about? When it gets bad?’ he asked.

He looked at the knife on the kitchen side, ‘Is that knife sharp enough?’ he looked at the window, ‘Is that ledge high enough?’ he looked at him, ‘Are the cars going fast enough? Are there enough painkillers in the house?’

‘Jeremy?’ he composed himself, ‘These are very various methods, ranging from opportunistic to planned. I don’t know which one concerns me more.’

Jeremy huffed, ‘You can relax. They’re only thoughts. They disappear as soon as I remember something an old friend said to me.’

‘An old friend?’ he asked, ‘That’s nice to hear. What did they say?’

Jeremy smiled looking at him, ‘Don’t let your misfortune find a home.’ he fought back tears and looked away.

‘Who was your friend?’ he asked.

A tear fell from his eye, ‘Professor David. He believed me without asking for evidence. He was kind.’

‘He means a lot to you.’ he stated.

Jeremy looked up with tears falling, ‘He’s the only reason I’m still standing. Or at least he was.’

‘I’m so sorry.’ he replied.

Jeremy wiped his eyes, ‘Yeah, well……people die……that’s what they do.’

The alarm went off, ‘I’m afraid that’s it for today session.’ Jeremy nodded as he packed up, he stayed sat, ‘Tell me something.’ Jeremy looked at him, ‘Why did you stay? After Craig’s funeral.’

‘Ian needed me.’ replied Jeremy, ‘We’re are closest thing to family, either of us has ever known. My mother was a wreck and I always had to pick up the pieces. And his father lied through his teeth for his entire life.’ Jeremy joked, ‘Besides, the food is free and the beds are comfortable.’

He smiled and stood up, ‘I’ll see you in two days Jeremy.’

‘Aren’t you going to see Ian now?’ asked Jeremy, ‘He needs therapy too!’

Doctor Smith nodded, ‘I’ll have a word with him. Can you write me a timeline?’ Jeremy nodded, he left and found Ian.

Ian stood up, ‘How is he?’

‘He’s not a textbook case let’s put it that way.’ replied Doctor Smith, ‘But I think you are.’

‘What?’ asked Ian.

‘You called me here because you were worried about Jeremy’s mental state which was the absolutely the right call. However, Jeremy is worried about how you’re taking the news about your fathers secret.’ he replied, ‘Bereavement is never easy but even harder when something like this comes to light.’ Ian looked away, ‘Am I right in saying you are both orphans now?’

Ian answered, ‘Yeah, but the servants here can act as legal guardians until such a time as I come of age and take over my fathers role at his company full time.’ he handed him some paperwork, ‘As stated in my fathers legal will and signed by all necessary parties.’

‘I wasn’t suggesting taking you away and putting you into care. I merely want to get a better picture of this case.’ Doctor Smith replied.

Ian sighed, ‘I’m fine, it’s Jeremy who needs therapy. He went through it! Of course I’m shocked, confused and angry that my father hid it from me! Until a few days ago, I thought he was a kind and gentle man who fell in love with another woman and welcomed her child into his house! But now I know he beat and raped that child while hiding that fact from the woman he loved and me!’

Doctor Smith answered, ‘Do you feel better?’

Ian wiped his tears away, ‘Yeah.’ he composed himself, ‘A little.’

‘It builds up. I can work you through that if you want.’ said Doctor Smith.

Ian nodded, ‘Let’s concentrate on Jeremy for now.’

‘After each session with Jeremy I would like to have one with you.’ said Doctor Smith, ‘You need someone to talk to just as much as he does. Maybe even more.’

‘How do you figure that?’ asked Ian.

‘Because Jeremy has come to terms with what has happened. He wasn’t deceived like you were, he wasn’t lied to like you were.’ explained Doctor Smith, ‘Jeremy knew what Craig was and what he was capable of early into meeting him. But you did not, he had time to adjust where as you did not. He discovered it over time where as you had all the horrors thrust upon you at the same time!’

Ian answered, ‘And that’s makes it worse!? How? He only lied to me! He didn’t beat or rape me!’

‘But it upsets you very deeply that he did that to Jeremy and lied to you about it.’ said Doctor Smith, ‘I can tell it does.’

Tears fell as he yelled, ‘How could he do that!? How could he of done that to him? HE’S FIFTEEN!’ Ian heavily sighed, ‘Apologies.’

‘It’s ok. You’re upset but you didn’t realise how much until now.’ explained Doctor Smith.

Ian sat down brushing his hand through his hair back, ‘How?’

‘You’re mind tried to protect you and blocked out your emotional response to give way to rational thinking.’ Doctor Smith explained, ‘It’s common but highly misunderstood, simply put, it’s similar but not the same as a fight or flight response.’

‘No, I mean, how could my dad be so kind and sweet to me, but so horrible to Jeremy? I don’t understand!’ said Ian.

‘If I figure that out I’ll let you know.’ replied Doctor Smith, ‘Jeremy seems like he is ready to talk about what happened with enough detail that I can help effectively.’

‘Jeremy has told me that Craig said he was using Jeremy as an outlet. It didn’t have to be him but he chose him.’ Ian explained, ‘But why him?’

Doctor Smith thought for a moment, ‘He’s moved to England from Boston right?’ Ian nodded, ‘Away from his family, excluding his mother? Away from his friends?’ Ian nodded, ‘He was an easy target, young, innocent, impressionable, isolated, easy to manipulate, inexperienced in every sense of the word and readily available to hand with him being forced to live with Craig.’

‘He was sick in the head!’ stated Ian, ‘My father was a wolf in sheep’s clothing the whole time!’

Doctor Smith replied, ‘ I’ll see you again in two days. Oh I have asked Jeremy to write me out a timeline in as much detail as he wants, I’m not sure what I am going to get. So, if you see him working on it please don’t interrupt, I’m not sure if he’ll want anyone to see it, so don’t press the issue if he hides it from you.’

Ian smiled, ‘I understand.’ Doctor Smith left and Ian saw Jeremy immediately working on the timeline so left him to it.

Timeline:

July 17th 2017 - Craig proposed to my mother on the anniversary of the night they met four months earlier. He came back to Boston to see her and she happily accepted and I congratulated them, this was before I knew what Craig was really like.

July 21st 2017 - The day before he left to go back to England, Craig was drunk and kissed me, but he did nothing else and left. I told myself it was just a drunken kiss and he lead me to believe it.

July 24th 2017 - It felt awkward seeing him again after what had happened on the Friday but he didn’t seem to remember, so I didn’t press the issue. Then I was told I would be moving to England with them, when I protested Craig placed his hand on my shoulder and told me: not be so difficult, saying my mothers heart can’t take unnecessary stress.

Craig increased his grip on my shoulder and told me not to be such a brat as he kissed my cheek. And the longer I went without telling my mother the harder it became to tell her. That night I woke to the sound of footsteps in my room, it was Craig, he readjusted his clothes and left.

June 25th 2017 - All the while I was alone with Craig I felt uneasy and nervous, I didn’t understand back then but he made me feel very anxious. There was something in the way he looked at me.

I tried to avoid being alone with him and would try to stay out the house or at a friends house as much as possible. I had no reason at this point to raise any alarms besides everyone thought I just needed time to adjust to having him in my life more.

June 28th 2017 - Craig left for England so he could spend one last weekend alone with his son and to get everything ready for us to arrive at a later date.

June 31st 2017 - Now in England I was introduced to my new big brother Ian, who was hoping to become a police officer some day, he was given an extra day of absence from school because we were to meet.

All throughout the dinner that night, Craig’s eyes hardly strayed from me which put me on edge all meal. I felt someone’s foot stroke up my leg, I looked over to Craig and saw him smiling, so I left. That night, I was startled by him at my door.

I had locked it but he had a key and entered, he shut the door locking it again. I told him to get out but he refused saying it was his house and his room. Craig knocked me to the bed and pinned me down climbing on top and told me that bad behaviour will be punished. He kissed my lips, slipping his tongue into my mouth.

I tried to fight back but he had pinned me down, I cried out but no one heard me, then Craig’s free hand crept between my legs while he taunted me with the fact that my room is sound proof especially with the door shut and no matter how loud I yelled no one will hear me.

He threatened to do what he was doing to me right now to my mother again taunting me but this time about her poor health and how she wouldn’t be able to take it, calling me his outlet Exhausted and drained afterwards, I lay face down on the bed as Craig got dressed promising to come back tomorrow night after Sandra falls asleep. He forced a final kiss on me before leaving.

1st August 2017 - My alarm went off so I got up only then realising the extent of the pain caused by Craig’s attentions, I went to wash up and saw the marks left by Craig. I felt disgusted, I rested my head on the mirror with my eyes closed and tried to stop crying.

I went to breakfast to see the perfect family waiting for me, I don’t know why I didn’t say anything then, maybe I was too embarrassed or too ashamed to tell them what happened last night. After breakfast I tried to find his passport but I couldn’t find it anywhere nor my money I had brought with me, I asked my mother where it had gone she told me Craig had put them in his fire proof lock box in his office.

When I protested Craig appeared and gave a perfectly reasonable answer to why he had taken it saying if I want money I only had to ask him so my mum wouldn’t suspect a thing. He had closed the trap. Ian came in saying he was heading back to boarding school, I jumped at my chance to escape to school, so I borrowed Ian’s spare uniform and packed to leave.

Craig told be that I can’t escape from him by going to boarding school and that I’d have to come back every weekend and how I’d be his weekend lover. I intended to stay at school until I knew what else to do. But he let me leave and spent the week at school.

3rd August 2017 - On Thursday I received a phone call from mum, I thought of telling her I didn’t want to come home and I thought of telling her why but I didn’t, so I lied, she said it was ok and I stayed at school. I felt so happy. I thought I had done it, I thought I had escaped.

11th August 2017 - I talked to my mother again, I was happy I managed to talk her round again Ian probably thought I was pretty weird since I never went home, but never said anything. And I was so relieved I had avoided seeing or talking to Craig for two weeks.

16th August 2017 - I was desperately thinking of a way to avoid going home again but I was called to the guest room. It was Craig, I tried to mask my obvious fear. He gave the dean a perfectly reasonable excuse to take me out of school and explained away my fear easily as test nerves.

I was taken out of school, Craig gripped his wheel tighter as he sped up, he blamed me for Sandra’s nervous nature and he blamed me for irritating him. He threatened me saying that he had to stop himself from hitting my mother: ALL BECAUSE OF ME!

He pulled up outside a hotel and ordered me inside, I protested and Craig grabbed my shirt he pulled me in closer to him. He threatened me again with treating my mother how he is currently treated me I dragged up to a room, he opened his briefcase that he had brought in with him and ordered me to strip.

I just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible and get out of there, so I obeyed, I thought that the least resistance I give, the quicker it’ll all be over. When I saw the rope I backed away, but Craig pushed me against the wall and wrapped the loop round my wrists, he bound my hands tightly together.

Craig pulled me over to the bed and tied the rope off round the bars. I tried to free myself fearing what he was going to do to me I pleaded for him to let me go, instead Craig pulled out yet more ropes and tied my leg to the end of the bed. Having secured both my legs to either post and my arms to the head posts, forcing me to lie on my stomach Craig rolled up some cloth and in order to muffle my cries for help he stuffed it into his mouth and tied off another piece round my mouth to stop me spitting it back out.

Craig put on a mask on and a belt. Now fully understanding my position I tried to struggle but being at full stretch already there was nothing I could do, he hit me again and again, he told me he was punishing me for not coming home. He unbuttoned my trousers and lowered them along with my underwear. He teased me until I released before taking pictures of his work almost as if he was proud of it. He told me to wash up and he’d take me back to school, I just wanted the nightmare to end.

Before we left a prostitute told me that he murdered his first wife. He punched her away and drove off. He told me to wear something with long sleeves to cover the bruising on my wrists. He ordered that from now on, I’d come home every weekend. Threatening that what happened today can easily happen again. All I wanted was to get away from him.

18th August 2017 - I went back to the house with Ian and Sandra hugged me. Craig walked up to me like nothing had happened, it made my skin crawl when he hugged me. That night, I locked my door and pushed a chair up against it. I saw the door handle rattle and heard him unlock the door.

But when he realised he couldn’t get in he threatened me into opening the door for him, he asked if I was scared of him, I nodded and he told me that he loved it when I was scared. Craig pushed me onto the bed and started to unbutton my trousers and he forced himself on me.

Craig ordered me to say that I loved him and said how we were lovers, I refused telling him we weren’t lovers. That I didn’t love him. Craig pinned me again and told me he’d show me what real love is next time.

19th August 2017 - I did my own washing, I didn’t want the maids to see what was going on, fearing repercussions from Craig. He didn’t come to see me that night, but I felt like I couldn’t relax. I was scared I’d wake up to see him above pinning me down again.

20th August 2017 - Every single one of Craig’s words sounded more like a threat then anything else. He didn’t come to see me that night either, I was happy for that.

21st August 2017 - On Monday I was back in English Literature class, reading a book about a man’s decent into madness as he kills his young wife and buries her body into the foundation of his house, it suddenly reminded me of the woman that told me how Craig had killed his wife.

25th August 2017 - Sandra had injured herself, by dropping a pot of boiling water over herself. After seeing her, Craig followed me back to my room, he hugged me. I was scared he’d rape me as he tore open my shirt, but Ian knocked on my door and saved me. From Ian perception I was just upset about my mum’s accident but in reality my clothes were torn and open.

26th August 2017 - My mother wanted to return to Boston with me. Craig immediately talked her down saying everything was fine and me and him were getting on fine together, he forced me to defend him and talk my mother into staying. He could talk his way out of anything and could force me to say anything.

I left and walked with Ian, I don’t even know why but we just found ourselves walking together, he told me about his mother’s death. I felt closer to him but it made what the prostitute said to me incompatible.

That night Craig came into my room and pushed me down, I didn’t fight back, I just wanted to get back to school without getting hit, he lowered his hand between my legs. Craig took both our trousers off and turned me over on all fours, he inserted his finger it was the first time he’d done anything like that he then had his way with me all night long. At first it hurt worse than being hit with belt but as I grew used to it the pain numbed.

27th August 2017 - I was preparing to leave for school and went to say goodbye to my mother, seeing Craig there made my stomach turn but when he said he had to leave I offered to stay with my mother for a while so I could search his office for my passport while he was out.

As soon as mum fell asleep I went to Craig’s office to look for his lock box. Craig came back, my heart leapt in my throat and I hid behind the desk, but he knew I was there. So, I told him that I wanted my passport.

Craig walked up to me and grabbed my wrist and taunted me with the fact he had put it in the bank now for safe keeping. He pinned mm to the sofa and kissed me, he had his way with me before releasing me to school.

I met with Ian later, he was talking so seriously I thought he knew about me and Craig, but instead he told me that his mother’s death wasn’t and accident and that she had killed herself, cementing my suspicion that Craig had killed her staging it as suicide.

1st September 2017 - The dread of returning to that house, returning to Craig’s mastery sank in as I walked to the station with Ian. But my curiosity about Craig’s dirty little secret was peaking, I thought if I could find evidence I could be free of him. I hated everything about the trip back to Craig’s house.

A new maid was helping my mother heal, when Craig came home my head hardly ever raised, my voice hardly ever rose, when we were in the same room I just wanted to disappear.

That night after Sandra fell asleep, Craig opened the door and told me that because of her injury they haven’t been able to sleep in the same bed so he was a little frustrated. He started to undress me explaining how he’d been waiting for me. As his hand lowered to unbutton my shirt, I fought back, he hugged me from behind pinning my arms to my sides.

Craig pinned me face down to the bed unbuttoning my trousers, no matter what I said or how I begged he came to have his way with me and that was that. Afterwards, I tried to wash Craig’s touch from my skin and saw bruising from fighting back.

2nd September 2017 - I came across Ian he walked past me and a photograph fell from the pile he was carrying, it was a picture of Craig and his wife Lilia. I went out to the tree she supposedly killed herself by and in the bright light for only one moment, I could have sworn I saw someone standing there.

I could have sworn it was Lilia as soon as I took one step towards the swing, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Craig, he kissed me, scared he’d do something worse I left. Craig once again came to my room and I asked him why doesn’t he do this with a prostitute.

And he told me that it wasn’t sex he wanted, it was love. I failed to fight him off and yet again I was forced to have sex with him. I curled into myself and cried at yet another failure.

3rd September 2017 - I prepared to go back to school, hiding the fact that I was planning to see the prostitute Maisy, but I needed some money for that, the allowance Craig gave me would only get me so far. I asked my mother for money but Craig handled all of her money now.

She asked Craig to give me some money and I followed him, once I realised I was alone with Craig, I was scared but the prize of potentially finding out the truth about Lilia’s death proved to be more valuable then the risk of Craig pinning me down again. As I feared he wanted a favour for the money and he held his chin, kissing me.

But he gave me the money and let me go. I found the hotel Craig took me to and was greeted by so many prostitutes but none where Maisy, I found her and took her away from the crowd asking her what she knew about Lilia. She told me how Craig used the rope on her too as well as several of the other girls.

She told me how Craig had told her that Lilia was the test dummy for erotic strangulation but it went wrong and he’d killed her. And how he’d gotten away with the perfect murder.

8th September 2017 - I saw Craig’s reflection appear behind me in the window glass. I turned and Craig softly held my chin. I boldly asked him without thinking if he strangled Lilia to death, he grabbed my arms and shook me demanding to know who told me.

I felt Craig’s grip increase so I told him about the time I thought I saw Lilia by the swing and he let me go, Hoping it make him leave I decided to continue and taunted him for a change. All the colour drained out of Craig’s face as he ran out without a word. I locked him out and stifled a laugh, I finally had a weapon

9th September 2017 - At breakfast I watched as Craig’s erratic behaviour scared everyone at the table and I thought that if he can’t take it out on me. He’ll find someone else. I just had to hope it wouldn’t my mother. But, that night Craig entered my room again, he locked the door and pulled out the rope from his pocket. I tried to run but Craig grabbed my hand, I pleaded but Craig ripped my shirt off and tied my hands together, he tied my hands above my head to the bed post and got the belt out, Craig stripped me.

Knowing what Craig was going to do made me even more scared, he hit me with the buckle end, it hurt far worse than last time. He hit me five more times as I pleaded for him to stop but he kept hitting me over and over again. Craig stopped to catch his breath, I couldn’t stand up anymore and let myself hang from the rope, he thrust into me harshly over and over again after he released my wrists from the ropes and I fell to the floor in a heap.

I washed up as I often did and the water stung the open cuts on my back caused by the belt buckle, Craig was still in my room when I returned. He treated and wrapped a bandage round my back saying he only treats me like this when he needs to punish me.

10th September 2017 - I waited for the train on the platform with Ian like always, but as the train arrived I thought of stepping in front of it, but I didn’t. It was at this point people started asking questions and I didn’t know how to answer.

11th September 2017 - All throughout the week little things caused concern with my friends and teachers, but no one saw through my lies, as pathetic as they were they were believed them because it was easier than pressing the issue. Even if they pressed he issue I didn’t know what to so I pushed them away. Every now and again my pain would show or my lack of appetite would raise a few eyebrows, I hardly slept, which made it even harder to hide.

13th September 2017 - I was called to the lobby for a phone call, my mother told me that Craig and herself were going to Italy together, they weren’t going to be there that weekend so I could stay at school, I was so happy until Craig took the phone and spoke to me.

I flinched and started shaking, hearing his voice was enough to scare me and he taunted me telling me not to be lonely this weekend without him I slammed down the phone fighting back tears. Sandra was left none the wiser to the underline meaning of our conversation, Craig saw to that.

I got back to my room to change, hearing his voice forced a panic attack and I had sweated so much I had to change my clothes. I saw blood stains on my clothes and one of my room mates came in and saw but I talked him round.

Hearing Ian had a boxing match I decided to see him and ask how he’s doing. In the gym I saw Ian’s opponent training, he saw me and picked a fight injuring me. Ian came to see and gave me a ticket to the match.

14th September 2017 - It was the day of Ian’s boxing match, the whole school turned to watch. With blood on his face Ian was declared the winner. I spent the weekend with Ian at school and the town. For once my weekend was happy. But underneath it all the fear of next weekend coming haunted my mind.

22nd September 2017 - Having a break from Craig’s twisted games gave me some level of clarity, but not enough to know exactly what to do. But I saw a book on psychology in the school library and saw the authors note, he lived in London.

I thought I had stumbled across a lifeline. I found his phone number and called him. I told him what was happening, I told him how long for and how old I was, he offered me a secure facility and told me to tell everyone but I wasn’t prepared for that. I hung up and went back to the house.

An locked my bedroom door he mocked me saying I was mad because he left me, I tried to leave, I tried to fight. I threatened to kill myself to see if I could get a reaction I could manipulate, Craig kissed me forcing his tongue in my mouth, but that was all he did that night.

23rd September 2017- I was pinned to the wall by Craig, he showed me the rope and I pleaded for him not to tie me up, he said he had to punish me for coming back so late, so to avoid being completely restrained I promised to do what he said.

He tied my hands together and forced me to my knees, blindfolded he rested my head on the side of the bed. Craig hit me six times, I still felt the pain from my last beating, even though it was so long ago, I passed out and woke up alone. He just hit me, he didn’t rape me that night.

24th September 2017 - I got on the train with Ian but didn’t go to school instead I ditched Ian and went to see Professor David at his office, he was sickly but happy to help me. Our first meeting was much like our phone conversation but I was happy I could talk to someone. I agreed to meet him again next time I had a chance and he became a friend.

Back at school my friend William saw my wrist, I didn’t know what to do so I kissed him to distract him and left.

29th September 2017 - Craig entered his room he said if I obeyed he wouldn’t tie me up I didn’t want to obey Craig’s orders but feared getting tied up and hit again. Craig’s touch made my skin crawl, being used as his plaything made me feel sick and helpless. But being forced to have sex with him had become the lesser of the two evils. If I was either going to be raped or beaten I decided to choose the thing that hurt me less.

30th September 2017 - Same as the night before, I gritted my teeth and bore with it. Knowing if I angered him he’d tie me up again.

1st October 2017 - The train was cancelled all day so we stayed at Craig’s house but he didn’t come to my room, I wondered why but wasn’t about to complain.

2nd October 2017 - I went back to see Professor David, I told him everything about my mother and Craig and how I believed I was being hurt in her stead. And how I became the parent of my mother after dad died. I told him of my plan to kill Craig, he told me that if I kill him, my mother would suffer, just like she did back when my father died which made my situation seem bleaker.

When I got back William came to see me, before we could talk we were called to the deans office, we were seen kissing and I was move to a single room on my own, I remember thinking it was so funny that I was being raped by Craig over the weekend and he gets nothing! I kiss one boy once on impulse and get punished like this.

6th October 2017 - I went back home and saw my mother but not Craig. She explained that he’d been in Paris since yesterday. But tomorrow, was his birthday, we went shopping together and Craig came back, seeing me in the greenhouse. He startled me and then forced me to cut my hand on the thorns.

Craig forced me to kiss him. I didn’t know it yet but, the maid Sharon saw us, Ian wanting to see Craig’s car saved me from having anything else done to me. That night was Craig’s party, Craig came in popping a party popper in the mask he wore when he hit me at the hotel. I tried to stop my reaction to it but Ian noticed, I talked my way out of it easily enough.

We all gave him his presents and had quite a civilised evening, I was scared of the party ending and what he’d do to me after but it died down and he came into my room, He told me that he’d have to punish me tonight, I didn’t know why until after he tied me up and he told me he got a call from the school.

My heart sank hearing how much they had told him, as it turns out they told him everything, I don’t know how many times he hit me, before he started forcefully thrusting into me, I begged him over and over to stop but he refused.

I must have passed out but when I awoke I felt Craig touching my leg and feet, I was too dazed to move so I asked what he was doing. He said he was giving me a pedicure with the kit Ian had brought him for his birthday. I had no energy to offer up any resistance, the pain in my back was too bad and my head felt as though it was going to split in two. So, I accepted his gentle if not strange contact.

7th October 2017 - I was exhausted and emotionally drained I could barely muster the power to chew, I went to leave but was called back and blackmailed. I went to see Professor David but he wasn’t there so instead I was with Victor but we didn’t really talk.

9th October 2017 - In class I was unable to concentrate and went back to my room. This was when a classmate Steven. He found out about what happens to me over the weekends, he didn’t know who was doing it to me but he didn’t care, he just taunted me over it.

13th October 2017 - I always hated going back to his house but even more this time between Craig’s abuse, Sharon’s blackmailing and Steven’s taunting I just wanted a break from it all.

But when I got back I found out that Sharon had quit and left on the Monday. I was relieved untilCraig walked into my room with his shotgun, Craig held the gun close to my head telling me he had shot her for trying to blackmail him too. I didn’t know what to think, what to believe as I begged him to put the gun down.

He pulled the trigger but it wasn’t loaded, he just wanted to mess with me, he kissed me lowering his hand between my legs, he forced himself on me. Despite my resistance he used my body however he liked, before leaving me.

14th October 2017 - It felt like he was doing the least he could to me. I don’t even remember fighting back, I don’t remember screaming for help.

16th October 2017 - I went to see Professor David, he was sitting up in bed, I didn’t want to bother him, but he insisted he told me that once his mother opened the front and back door during a storm, to let the lightening pass through the house and he told me she told him not to let our misfortunes find a home.

All week I tried to catch up on all I missed last week, but it was no use my focus was split knowing I had to go back to Craig’s at the weekend and be his plaything again.

20th October 2017 - It was coming to the end of October and snow started to fall, I was searching as deep in the woods as I dared to go searching for Sharon’s body, hoping to expose Craig for what he was, he pulled up in his car, pinned and kissed me before taking me back inside

That night Craig came into my room as he often did I pleaded for him to leave me alone as he showed me the rope and belt. I started shaking as my shirt was torn and hands were bound, I was pushed down to a kneel, I couldn’t take his taunting anymore and blurted out an accusation that he killed Sharon with that gun and killed Lilia with this rope.

Craig lashed my back with the belt and called me his lover, he knew I hated that title the most, so he would torture me with it he tied me to the bedpost, bit and sucked on my neck forcing a love bite to form. He then hit me with the belt fifteen more times before raping me. He was polishing my nails as he often did afterwards now, when I asked him why he told me he needed a way to prove I was forgiven somehow.

I now realised a pattern in Craig’s otherwise irrational behaviour, only when he believes I have done him some kind of wrong, he’d be tie me up and hit me with the belt. Otherwise, Craig will just use his superior strength to force me to have sex with him. After, whatever he does he now polishes his toes almost as if he is trying to make himself look like the good guy in all of this.

23rd October 2017 - I went to see Professor David. He looked to be at deaths door, I fought back my tears and turned to leave but he called for me, I forced myself to lie to him saying that, I had left my stepfathers house and got an apartment. Saying my tears were because he didn’t look well. He fell asleep so I left.

27th October 2017 - I was so disheartened and dejected at Professor David’s fate I went to see him again on Friday before going home, but instead of seeing him I received an invitation to go to his funeral, he had died shortly after we spoke on Monday. I borrowed one of Victor’s suits and went to the funeral.

At the wake, there was a toast even though I was underage they still served me alcohol. I kept drinking more and more not wanting to go back to Craig’s house, I knew I couldn’t put it off forever. But the more I drank the braver I got. Intoxicated I went back, Craig was obviously mad at me but I was too drunk to care and taunted him.

Craig moved closer and tenderly kissed my lips, I gagged because of both the alcohol and Craig’s kiss, he sat in the windowsill as he promised my mother he’d stay to look after me. I knew tomorrow night when I had sobered up Craig was definitely going to punish me, I was happy that for now at least nothing was going to happen to me.

28th October 2017 - In the morning Craig wasn’t in my room so I went downstairs, to see all of them in the living room, they were more concerned with my hangover than talking to me about why I came home in such a state.

A servant had found the perfect tree. Craig, Sandra and Ian were decorating it with enthusiasm but I was just phoning it in, knowing what awaited me tonight. Craig walked into my room and tied the rope around my wrists and the bed post, he stripped me and tied my other hand to the other bedpost, he told me he loved me and kissed me before hitting me twenty times with the belt ignoring my pleas, he raped me twice before untying me and throwing him onto the bed. He left me shaking and in tears.

29th October 2017 - In the morning I awoke at six and forced myself out of bed and had a shower. I went downstairs and it was announced that they were talking about travelling to Boston for Christmas.

That night Craig came into my room, he pushed me down onto the bed. He told me that depending on how obediently I served him that night he’d consider the Boston trip more. I wanted to keep my escape plan in tacked I submitted and stopped fighting.

31st October 2017 - I went back to the school and again failed to play catch up on the work I had missed. I was so focused on planning my escape in Boston, I didn’t notice I was followed to my room by Steven.

Steven kissed me pinning me to the wall, I tried to break free, Steven chuckled and moved me to the bed, I didn’t want to do anything, he was weaker than Craig and so I grabbed the desk lamp from my bedside and hit him over the head.

Because he was hospitalized, I was temporarily suspended and sent home. I went back dreading what awaited me. I knew the school would have contacted Craig and Sandra and was scared of the repercussions. I flinched hearing Craig’s commanding voice and ordered to my room. I was about to leave when Craig called me back telling me he was cancelling the Boston trip, I went cold as he taunted me with the fact that we’d be able to be together every night.

That night Craig entered my room and immediately knocked me to the floor. He grabbed my arm and pulled me up, he grabbed my hair, pulling his head back ordering an explanation, all I wanted was for him to let go but he pinned me face down and stripped me.

He tied me to the bedpost and lashed me with his belt until I lost consciousness. He left me still tied to the bedpost.

1st November 2017 - Craig came to see me, he locked the door behind him and smirked at my state, I begged me to forgive me and let me go. He raped him before releasing me from the ropes. I washed up and went downstairs, to see Sandra on the phone, the school had revoked my suspension.

I wanted to go back to school as soon as possible, but Craig used logic to force me to stay until the end of the week. I didn’t have an appetite but when I saw Craig’s face I forced myself fearing what he’d do, he hated it when I made my mother worry about me.

That night Craig came into my room again, he grabbed my hands, tying them together and was demanding me to say that I loved him as he tied my hands to the headboard. Craig turned me on my stomach and tied my legs to the bedposts spreading them. I felt him insert something. I realised what it was when it started vibrating, I felt his hand slip between my legs for a moment and then felt the belt lash my back.

Since I was still bruised and beaten from the previous nights punishment that each lash hurt me even more. Even though I didn’t want it, the vibrator Craig had inserted was forcing my body to respond, I pleaded to be left alone but Craig refused to listen. I was subjected to what felt like torture, Craig would bring me to the brink but then refuse to allow me satisfaction, over and over again.

He forced me to beg for release before he gave me what my body was craving for. Craig took the vibrator out, untied me and placed a blanket over me and left locking the door.

5th November 2017 - By now my body was exhausted from Craig’s attentions and my mind was far more fragile and fragmented than before. I looked out my bedroom window and wondered if the fall would kill me. I stepped out onto the ledge and felt the wind race around me. But instead of feeling fear, I strangely felt at peace.

Fearing it’d only immobilise me I stepped backwards into my room, the thought of being immobilised in the house with Craig made me shudder.

6th November 2017 - I was relieved when Monday came. Craig drove me back to school. Realising the traffic coming towards me I reached my hand out, jerking the car into oncoming traffic, I didn’t care if I died too but I wanted to get away from Craig by any means necessary.

Craig elbowed me out the way and regained control pulling the vehicle over, into a hedge covered lay by. Craig grabbed my shirt and raped me in the car, I ran up to my room and tried to put the memory out of my mind.

10th November 2017 - I phoned home and talked my mother into letting me stay at school that weekend. My mother thought the Boston trip was still on and so I told her that Craig had told me that he was going to cancel it, but she told me she’d talk to him.

11th November 2017 - I went to the library and another group of students were studying auto mechanics, I listened in and even had a conversation. I started analysing and studying Craig’s car

model and planned on how best to sabotage his car.

18th November 2017 - I returned with Ian, hugged my mother but seeing Craig over her shoulder, made me nervous. We had an almost civilised dinner and evening, but that night Craig came to my room again. He tied me down but didn’t hit me, he raped me twice before leaving.

20th November 2017 - Throughout the next four weeks, it felt as though I was on auto pilot, going to school, failing to catch up, going back home, failing to fight off Craig. It felt as through every time we were together Craig would tie me up with the rope and hit me with the belt.

The only thing that kept me going was the idea I could find a way to discreetly sabotage Craig’s car and finally free myself from him.

18th December 2017 - Now on school holiday, one week to Christmas, Craig’s abuse seemed to normalise and calm having access to me more than once a week.

23rd December 2017 - He came into my room yet again but I was determined this would be the last time. He walked behind me and tied my hands together behind my back and yet again I failed to struggle and get free.

He wrapped a towel around my neck, it made no sense to me at the time, but I didn’t have to wonder long as some rope was also tied round my neck. Craig choked and released over and over again, I begged and pleaded for him to stop but he continued, Craig pulled harder and didn’t stop until I lost consciousness, he untied me and waited for me to wake up.

When I awoke he hugged me like nothing had happened, as if this was normal behaviour. I got out of bed and went to the garage. I tampered under the hood I don’t even remember what I did, when I was heading back to my room, I met Ian on the staircase I just walked past him.

24th December 2017 - I woke in the morning and saw marks on my neck, I knew my mother would be sad when he crashed but I couldn’t take his abuse any longer, I could only see two ways for this to end and it was for one of us to die.

But when I heard he had crashed I didn’t expect to be identifying my mothers body and visiting Craig who was clinging onto life.

2nd January 2018 - We had a funeral for Sandra, with the crash cleared by police as an accident we were allowed to bury her body. But Craig was still alive, I stared at her grave as thoughts of what Craig would do to me if he found out haunted my every waking moment.

After her funeral I found out Craig and Sandra were discussing having Craig legally adopt me I started to feel trapped in Craig’s clutches, I wanted to leave now more ever hearing Craig really would survive and I’d legally become his son. I had to find my passport, I had to get out of there. I was desperate to find my passport so I went to Craig’s office to look for it, believing he was lying when he said it was in the banks lock box. But, I couldn’t find it.

3rd January 2018 - We all went to see Craig, he was conscious and talking. He asked to speak to me alone and everyone left, he told me he knew what I did and that he was going to make me pay, an ice cold chill shot down my back as Craig smirked, I thought of smothering him with the pillow but with the family looking in through the window I’d be unable to kill him.

Panicked and terrified I ran out. I went outside and started hyperventilating Ian came out and hugged me telling me he had died I disguised my tears of joy as tears of sadness. Ian’s suspicion over my actions must have peaked seeing through my disguise but he had no evidence other than circumstantial which he knew wouldn’t hold up in court.

4th January 2018 - Ian confronted me with his suspicions and I ended up telling him everything, of course he didn’t believe me at first but agreed to keep an open mind and as I talked and the evidence mounted and he saw the scars on my back, he couldn’t deny it any longer.

5th January 2018 - He seemed to be on my side and believe but then after hearing a news report about Craig’s car being faulty anyway, it pulled my whole story into question and he demanded specific details.

6th January 2018 - He wanted me to take him to the hotel and Professor David’s office. I took him there and several girls remembered me coming with Craig and they recalled their own horror stories of their encounters with him to Ian. Ian took a phone call on the way back and told me that I wasn’t responsible for killing anyone and that it was a defective model. We avoided one another after that, I stayed in my room and Ian kept to himself.

9th January 2018 - I decided I would leave, Ian had given me my money and passport back and I wanted to get away, now I had nothing to keep me in that house anymore, that’s what I thought until Ian came to stop me leaving that’s when I realised I have nothing to go back to Boston for. But I had Ian to stay for .

10th January 2018 - Ian brought me breakfast and we sat together having a civilised breakfast, I had fallen asleep along with Ian. I woke screaming thinking Craig was there and started scrubbing my hands raw, Ian pinned me to the wall.

We burnt everything he used on me and it made me feel better to know they no longer existed and I strangely felt as though I could go back into the house. We just sat watching TV together until we both fell asleep.

11th January 2018 - I met Doctor Smith.

It took Doctor Smith three days to read it as the level of abuse made him sick, he had to force himself to read on. He now faced an ethical dilemma, does he treat his patient keeping the contents of the timeline confidential, or does he report the suspected murders to the police.

Jeremy at very least was guilty of manslaughter. And Ian of perverting the course of justice. He had no idea what to do so decided to treat Jeremy to access his mental state at the time he tampered with Craig’s car and determined he wasn’t mentally competent enough due to the abuse he was forced to endure.

He turned his findings over to police who confined him to house arrest and supervision for two years while receiving psychiatric treatment from Doctor Smith. Ian was let off with a warning for a first offence and given the nature of the offence was also given psychiatric treatment from Doctor Smith.

11th January 2020:

Ian has now realised his dream and become a police officer, where as Jeremy has taken up Craig’s old job at the art gallery. They still live in that house together, the money left behind by Sandra and Craig would have kept them comfortably enough but both of them wanted to work.

They were thrust together in tragedy but became as close as brothers. Jeremy and Ian eventually got married to two beautiful women. Ian named his daughter after Sandra and Jeremy named his son after Professor David. Ian was named godfather to David and Jeremy was named godfather to Sandra. They lived by the words and decided not to let their misfortune find a home.

THE END


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