The Foxwood Chronicles
As the white pick-up roared away on First Street, Adam sank to his knees is horror. It was too much. In his mind, he saw lightening, heard roaring and explosions. He couldn’t think, couldn’t concentrate. His Evan had been attacked! He had been taken. They would kill him. They would kill him! He had to do something,
Struggling to his knees, struggling not to pull his hair out as his hands desperately clutched at his head, he stumbled toward the church and the side door to the bell tower. The bell tower was sanctuary. The bell tower was safety. The bell tower was happiness. His greatest peace and joy had been experienced in the bell tower. He could think there.
As he entered the door he saw the rope hanging before him. Struggling to control his arms, he fought to take hold of the rope. After several frustrating moments, he had a firm grip and pulled. The bell above him crashed in a loud and painful ring as the rope yanked upward, burning his hands as he tried to hold it. He pulled downward again and the bell rang a second time. The rope rose again, this time tearing at the skin on his hands. Adam’s anguished groans of horror and frustration became punctuated with cries of pain as he pulled the rope and rang the bell.
His father and mother appeared at the door of the bell tower in their robes.
“Adam!” his father cried as he grabbed the boy and pulled him from the rope.
“Oh, my God,” his mother wailed as he held his struggling hands. Adam struggled to speak, but the only sound he could utter was an anguished, “Nnnngggg! Nnnngggg!” The three of them fell to their knees on the steps of the church.
“Adam, calm down! What’s happened?” his father asked, trying to keep from his voice the fear and panic he was feeling.
Adam’s face contorted as he struggled to speak; but, all that he could say was “..an! …an!”
Neighbors were running out of their houses and appearing on the lawn of the church. Dr. Atherton appeared. He knelt before Adam and took his hands as Adam struggled. He had wiped blood on his face as he his arms had flailed in terrified agitation. Tears streamed down his anguished face. The doctor held his face and made eye contact.
“Look at me, Adam. Look at me. Look at me. Now tell me what happened.”
From behind him, Ryan had appeared and yelled, “Evan!”
Adam screamed and tried to nod.
“Something’s happened to Evan?” Dr. Atherton asked.
Adam tried to point toward the intersection and then a woman standing nearby in her nightgown said, “Doctor, there’s vomit here in the grass.”
Adam wailed and thrashed at his hair. His mother grasped him and tried to prevent him from hurting himself.
“Please, Adam, sweetie. Please!”
Adam jerked violently away and wailed.
“Dad! What’s happened?”
Wearing only a pair of cut-off shorts, Ryan ran across the yard to his father’s side.
“We don’t know. Adam’s unable to tell us, but there’s vomit in the grass there. It’s not Adam’s. His breath doesn’t smell of vomit.”
Dr. Atherton turned to Adam and took firm hold of his hands. He looked up at Mrs. Foster and said, “We need something to bandage his hands before we take him to the emergency room.”
Adam’s mother ran back to the house as Dr. Atherton struggled with Adam to get his attention.
“Adam, did Evan vomit in the grass?”
Adam seemed to nod as he cried.
“Did someone attack Evan?”
Adam’s wailing grew louder and he tried to stand. Ryan knelt beside him and wrapped his arms around him. Almost immediately Adam seemed to calm down.
“It’s OK, Adam. We’ll find him,” he said softly, trying to follow the example Evan had shown them in the past in showing the boy love and gentleness when he was upset. “It’s OK. You’re safe.”
Jesse appeared on
Adam’s other side, also wearing only a pair of cut-offs. He, too, wrapped his
arms around Adam and looked at Ryan, who explained, “Something’s happened to
Evan. Adam tore his hands ringing the bell.”
A siren could be heard some blocks away and the crowd around them was growing. Adam’s father knelt beside Dr. Atherton.
“Adam, son, please, try to tell us what happened.”
Tears were flowing down his cheeks. He was struggling to speak; it was obvious he desperately wanted to say something. Finally, he wailed, a cry of such desperation and frustration that Ryan and Jesse both had to fight tears.
“Who took Evan? Please Adam,” Ryan begged, holding the boy’s head against his bare shoulder. “Who took him?”
Adam’s left arm jerked and then pointed to Jesse. Ryan, Dr. Atherton, and Pastor Stuart looked in shock at Jesse, whose eyes grew wide with surprise. He stood.
“I… I didn’t do anything to Evan!”
Adam began to moan insistently. He clutched his face and, with what appeared to be superhuman effort, muttered two words, plainly and clearly.
Then, unable to endure anymore, he seemed to relax. The torment left his face, his arms stopped their struggling, and he just sat, seemingly oblivious of all around him. His eyes became unfocused and his breathing returned to normal.
“Red dirt?” Dr. Atherton said.
Ryan seemed to whisper in Adam’s ear.
“Adam, what does red dirt mean?”
Jesse, however, looked down in horror.
“Oh, my God,” he muttered.
A police car pulled up in front of the church and stopped. As the officer climbed out of the car and sauntered over to the gathering, in no seeming hurry, Jesse looked at Ryan. Their eyes met and a look of recognition came over Ryan’s face.
“Oh, no,” he whispered.
“What is it?” Pastor Stuart demanded. “What?”
Jesse raised his hands to his face in horror.
“This afternoon, Adam came by our place and was talking to my dad in the driveway and he kind of freaked out like he does sometimes and I took him home and he just kept saying ‘red dirt’ over and over. And, now I remember. My dad had red dirt all over his boots.”
“The Duck Pond,” Ryan said. “All the red clay around the Duck Pond. That’s the only place in town that has red clay dirt.”
The police officer had remained silent, listening to the conversation when, suddenly, the walkie-talkie on his belt erupted.
“All units, caller reports assault at 527 West 5th Street, in front of the Bohemia Coffee Shop. Caller reports two men in dark clothes and ski masks driving a white Ford F-150, year unknown, beat and abducted a man emerging from the door. All units respond.”
“That’s Chris Holland,” said Dylan who had appeared behind Adam. His arms wrapped around his brother and he looked at his father. “They got Chris Holland.”
The police officer turned and called to the crowd, “Did anyone see a white Ford pick-up?”
An elderly man across First Street raised a hand and said, “I heard a loud truck just a minute before the bell started ringing. I don’t know if it was a Ford. All I heard was its engine quite loud.”
The police man raised the microphone on his walkie-talkie.
“Chief, it looks like we have a second assault. Evan Vanderlyn, fourteen, was abducted outside the Congregational Church. Witness heard a truck outside just before the church bell started ringing. The ringing was the pastor’s son, the autistic boy. It looks like it might be George Duncan.”
“And, Fred,” said Jesse softly.
The police officer shook his head.
“Now don’t start blaming Fred just because…”
“He has a white pick-up!” Jesse yelled. “And, he lives in a trailer across the creek from campus. There’s red clay there, too!”
The police man seemed to be thinking. Dr. Atherton stood up in frustration.
“Come on, this isn’t the time for the police to stick up for each other. We’ve got two lives at stake here.”
However, before the policeman could respond, his radio crackled to life again.
“All units, campus security reports an abandoned red Corvette near the Duck Pond. Doors open and a man’s clothing on the ground outside the car. Tag registered to Michael Sanchez, 900 North Country Club Drive.”
“Chief,” the police man said into his microphone, “this is Taylor.” He sighed and shook his head before continuing. “It looks like Fred Gibson’s the other assailant. I think he and Duncan went after Holland and then the Vanderlyn boy.”
He watched Jesse, who gave him a significant look.
“Chief, they may be at Fred’s trailer.”
Adam’s mother returned with wash cloths for Adam’s hands and knelt before the compliant boy. Ryan and Jesse moved out of the way as she and Dr. Atherton worked. Dylan sat behind Adam, silently crying for his brother.
The pain in Chris Holland’s head was excruciating, as was the throbbing under his ribs. He lie on the bed of the pick-up, duct tape over his mouth, his hands and feet bound, tossed back and forth as the truck rumbled through town, taking corners at high speed and braking seemingly at random. He could see Evan Vanderlyn, shirtless and unconscious, also bound, though his mouth was not taped, lying halfway across the nude body of Michael Sanchez, also bound and gagged. He tried to think, to remain calm, to reason his way out of the situation.
He knew one of the voices of the men who had attacked him as he was locking up the coffee house. It was Fred Gibson. He seemed drunk and that may have led to his carelessness in allowing Chris to identify his voice. Then again, perhaps it didn’t matter to Fred if Chris were able to identify him; it was possible that, in Fred’s mind, Chris would not have the chance to.
The truck lurched to the right, throwing Michael and Evan toward him. His eyes met Michael’s and the college boy was clearly terrified. He also looked stoned. This might be an advantage in helping alleviate any panic, though how much help Michael could be in such a state might be problematic.
The other man was clearly drunk, undoubtedly more so than Fred. The stench of beer and whiskey had been nauseating to Chris. The slurred speech was almost unintelligible. That might be an advantage, though, once again, it could be problematic.
From the bed of the truck, Chris looked up and saw street lights passing by overhead, the newer kind with the sodium-vapor lights that the state had built on the highway leading out west from town. His mind raced. If he remembered correctly, Fred had grown up just west of town, in Shantytown, the derogatory term used by snobs in Foxwood for the poor, white area south of the highway. Surely, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to take them there.
He wasn’t. Almost immediately, the truck began to slow down and, with a frightening lurch, the three bodies were thrown to the left as the truck made a sharp turn to the right onto a dirt road. There were thick leaves and branches overhead, obscuring any stars or moonlight. They were on a gravel road. Chris thought furiously. It had to be the gravel road that looped around the west side and crossed the creek onto campus near the Duck Pond. They lurched again and the truck slowed before pulling off the road. It bounced over the ground before stopping. Chris listened intently. Outside, he could hear only the usual night sounds of the country. Inside the cab of the truck, Fred was drunkenly gloating.
“Man, I don’t believe it. All three in one night. We get Holland and find that spic walking around naked and that little fairy running away from him. It’s too fuckin’ much.”
“God-damn faggots,” seemed to be all that George was capable of.
“That little blond shit’s getting’ it first. He’s got a fuckin’ lesson comin’.”
“God damn fa---ggot.”
Chris looked over at Evan. They boy seemed to be awakening.
Chris shook his head violently and Evan’s confusion suddenly cleared. Chris closed his eyes and dramatically lay his head down. He then opened his eyes, looked directly at Evan, and repeated the action. Evan nodded as the first of the truck doors opened. He closed his eyes and pretended to be unconscious again.
“Look at that,” Fred slurred as he leaned over the edge of the truck, rolling Michael over to expose his front. “Naked as a fuckin’ jaybird. What were you doin’? Trying to rape the little blond faggot? Hell, you probably didn’t even have to try. He’d a probably spread his legs no problem. You must have tried somethun dumb, you fuckin’ spic.”
Chris began working the duct tape wrapped around his wrists. The two morons had been pretty drunk when they had bound him and he realized it was coming apart. The other truck door opened and he heard George stumble out and fall on the ground, cursing incoherently as he did.
“And, look at you, you pretty little faggot,” Fred mumbled as he ran his hand over Evan’s bare and scratched torso. “Shit, you’re almost pretty as a girl. You’re gonna be sweet. I ain’t wasting you on that fuckin’ drunk over there. Shit, he cain’t even get it up, he’s so fuckin’ drunk. No, you’re all mine, sweet thing.”
Chris watched in surprise and disgust as Fred’s hands roamed freely over Evan’s body, caressing his thighs and feeling his ass.
“Go to Hell,” Evan said softly.
Chris silently cursed. Don’t antagonize him, he thought. Shut up, Evan. Don’t say anything.
“Yeah, we’re both goin’ to Hell, pretty thing. But, we’re gonna have some fun on the way.”
As Chris listened to the sound of George urinating at the side of the truck, Fred stumbled around the back and opened the tailgate. He began to drag Evan toward him. The boy tried to kick, but even in his drunken state, Fred was able to jump aside. A swift punch in the boy’s groin and Evan doubled over, crying out in pain.
“Now, you can make this hard or you can enjoy it,” Fred said. “It’s up to you.”
Chris was desperately working the duct tape around his wrists apart and as Fred pulled Evan toward the tailgate, it came apart. He waited a moment as Fred threw the boy over his shoulder and walked away. After a moment, he heard the sound of a door opening.
“Hey!” George yelled drunkenly from the side of the truck. “Wait for me. I want that God-damn faggot first.”
“Fuck you, old man. You’re not the boss anymore. You haven’t been for years, or you been too drunk to notice? You take that fuckin’ spic there.”
“I’m not getting my cock dirty on no god-damn spic!”
Fred slammed the door and left them alone.
“God-damned fuckin’ faggot,” George muttered. He looked over the edge of the truck at Chris, who hid the fact that his hands were now free. The drunk stumbled around to the open tailgate. He grabbed Chris’ still bound feet and pulled him toward the tailgate. Suddenly, when Chris’ feet were over the edge, he pulled his knees back and kicked forward as hard as he could, making contact in George’s stomach. The drunk fell backward and suddenly began to vomit uncontrollably.
Quickly, Chris unbound his feet and jumped up. He desperately looked about him and, wiping blood from his eyes, saw the mobile home trailer nearby, the lights of the campus behind him, and George Duncan laying on his side, barely conscious, retching. Chris looked about the trash strewn area and found a rusted metal pipe. Quickly grabbing it, he approached George, who looked up, vomit dripping from his mouth and nose, as Chris raised the pipe above his head and brought it down with a sickening crack across George’s head. The man collapsed motionless in the mud and vomit beneath him.
Behind him, Chris could hear Michael moaning loudly beneath the duct tape. Quickly, he crawled back into the back of the truck and ripped the tape from Michael’s mouth, wrists, and ankles.
“Quiet,” Chris ordered. “Fred’s inside raping Evan. We have to be careful. I don’t know if he has any weapons or not.”
Michael nodded. He pointed across the creek. There appeared to be a set of head lights through the trees near the Duck Pond.
“My car’s over there. I think security’s checking it out. You want me to run over there and get them?”
Chris thought for a second, but Evan’s muffled scream from inside decided for him.
“Come on. His pants are probably down around his feet right now. Can you fight?”
“Oh, yeah. I’m ready for this bastard.”
Chris nodded. He ran around to the front of the truck to see if he could flash the headlights, hoping that in his drunken stupor, Fred had forgotten the keys. He hadn’t.
“Come on,” Chris whispered and the two ran over to the trailer. They listened. Inside, they could here Fred muttering something in a low voice and Evan’s muffled whimpers.
“Bastard,” Michael whispered with contempt.
Chris wiped blood from his eyes and mouth and took a deep breath. He raised his leg and kicked at the door. It split in two and he rushed in, followed by Michael.
The stench of rotting food was nauseating. Empty beer and liquor bottles littered the floor. Evan, his shorts ripped away, was spread-eagled over the back of the couch as Fred, his pants open, brutally raped him. Before he could respond, Chris grabbed one of the empty liquor bottles from a nearby table and threw it at Fred’s face. He ducked, barely avoiding the bottle; but the diversion gave Michael time to run over and punch him in the face. Fred fell backward and Chris and Michael descended upon him, beating him until he was unconscious.
Gasping for breath, the two stood aside, satisfied that he was no longer a danger. Evan fell to the floor and Michael grabbed him.
“Little dude,” he whispered, holding the boy. “I am so sorry. I am so sorry.”
Chris picked up the telephone and called the operator, asking for the police. As he was waiting, he heard cars pull up outside and saw headlights flash in the windows, then saw the flashing red and blue lights on the top of the car.
“It’s over,” he said softly, kneeling beside Michael and Evan.
“This wasn’t a very planned operation,” Dr. Atherton commented as he looked down at Evan in the hospital bed. “It looks like they planned to get Chris and then saw Michael on the way back to Fred’s house and you running up the street. They just took advantage of the situation. In a way, it was actually fortunate, because there was a hole dug outside Fred’s trailer. Each of their attacks had gotten progressively more violent and it looks like they had planned to kill Chris.”
Evan’s grandmother sniffed as she squeezed Evan’s hand.
“I thought you’d be safe here, away from all the bad influences of southern California.”
She brushed Evan’s hair from his forehead. Groggily, he replied, “Even with everything, I’m glad I’m here. Even after all my bitching about how boring and everything Foxwood was going to be compared to home, I wouldn’t go back for anything now.”
His grandmother leaned down and kissed his forehead.
“The sun is coming up,” Dr. Atherton said, looking out the window. “I think it’s time for you to get a little rest.”
Evan’s grandmother was looking toward the door, however, and said, “Perhaps, in a minute.”
Evan looked over. Pastor Stuart and his wife were at the door, grateful smiles on their faces.
“Hello, Evan,” they both said. He smiled and looked hopefully behind them.
“We need your help again,” Mrs. Stuart said. She stepped aside and Dylan entered, leading a docile Adam by the hand. Adam’s eyes were unfocused and he just seemed to be following Dylan, apparently unaware of where he was. Dylan brought him to Evan’s bed, but he just stared ahead. Evan sniffed and bit his lip as he gazed up with love and fear at the face of the boy he loved, Adam’s unruly hair falling across his face and over his ears.
“Adam?” he said softly. He took the boy’s bandaged hand in his and repeated, “Adam?”
There was no response.
“Adam, I’m OK. Everything’s OK. We’re safe now.”
There was still no response. Gingerly, he tried to sit up. Dr. Atherton helped him. Evan took Adam’s face in his hands and turned it toward him. He looked Adam directly in the eyes for a long moment. Slowly, he saw the eyes come alive.
“I love you Adam. I love you. I love you, my sweet Adam.”
Adam took a breath and whispered, “Evan.”
Tears formed in Evan’s eyes. “Adam.”
Slowly, Adam crawled onto the bed beside Evan. His parents started to intervene, but Dr. Atherton stopped them. He nodded and Evan lay down, Adam’s arms around him, his head on his shoulder.
“Evan,” he whispered, his eyes closed. “Evan.”