Anton's Troubles
Chapter 1

Copyright© 2016 by Cuentista

Coming of Age Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Eleven year-old Anton and his sister, nine year-old Sophia are Romanian orphans sold into sexual slavery in the U.S. This story picks up when Anton is fifteen and a psychological basket case grieving the death of his sister. His recovery is difficult but interesting and stimulating. The story begins very dark, but it grows brighter as Anton finds people who love him. Or they find him.

Caution: This Coming of Age Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   mt/ft   Ma/ft   mt/Fa   Ma/Ma   Consensual  

Sarah Bernstein, Channel 4 News, cued her cameraman to begin recording.

She put on her carefully crafted TV smile and began, “We’re here today at the Golden Eagle Youth Camp to tell the story of a group of young people, ages eleven through fifteen, who are among societies forgotten children. They come from all around the state, either through the court system or through social services, and they’re cared for by a staff of teachers and youth counselors under the direction of Dr. Helen Widener, a well-known psychologist specializing in early teen intellectual and emotional development. Dr. Widener operates a privately endowed home for emotionally disturbed boys and girls in the inner city.

“Every summer, disenfranchised young people who have been remanded to Dr. Widener’s care spend two weeks at this camp doing nothing but enjoying themselves. That means no psychological testing, no routine therapy sessions, no classrooms, nothing but relaxation and fun — supervised, of course. While these young people come from disparate backgrounds, one thing they have in common is that none of them have parents or relatives to take them in and provide a home; at least none that the authorities have been able to locate. In short, they’ve been abandoned.

“Some of them were found living rough on the city streets, some of them were rescued from flesh peddlers, and one of them, a young man who appears to be fourteen or fifteen years old, was actually dropped off at a hospital emergency room by a man who found him wandering aimlessly along the river a few days ago. Nobody knows anything about his prior circumstances because he hasn’t shown up on any missing persons list, and so far, he hasn’t spoken a single word.

“We’ll be interviewing Dr. Widener as well as some of the counselors and children to give you a picture of what it’s like to...”

Sarah and her cameraman, Ken Early, spent the better part of the day recording interviews and capturing various camp activities. The final product, a one-hour documentary, was slated for presentation later in the summer. As Ken loaded their equipment into the back of the TV station’s van, Sarah saw the mute kid sitting alone in the grass under a tree. She watched him for a few moments and saw something that drew her interest. His eyes were closed and his head was tilted back and cocked to one side like he was listening intently to or for something.

She moved toward him, and as she got closer, she saw his hands were splayed in front of him in the grass, his fingers moving like he was playing a piano. From the intense expression on his thin but handsome young face, it appeared he was imagining himself actually performing some piece of music.

As she neared to within a few feet, the snap of a twig under her foot jerked him out of his reverie. His dark, deep-set eyes snapped open and locked onto hers. For a moment she thought she was reading anger at being disturbed, but just as quickly his face became a stone mask. He stood, spun around and walked away.

She felt guilty for bothering him. What did he imagine he was playing, she wondered. What did he hear? He didn’t (or couldn’t) say a word, but that momentary flash of intense expression on his face shouted, “Leave me the fuck alone!”

Sarah walked back toward the van and saw Dr. Widener standing with two of her counselors. She veered toward them and asked, “Dr. Widener, do you have a moment?”

The tall, elegant silver-haired lady in her sixties smiled and answered, “Of course, Ms. Bernstein. How may I help you?”

Sarah turned and pointed at the young man disappearing into the trees. “That kid over there, the one who doesn’t talk, can you tell me any more about him? For instance, do you know if he plays piano or anything like that?”

Dr. Widener gave her a questioning look and asked, “Do you mean John? Why do you ask?”

“Is that his name? John?”

“John, as in John Doe. So far, we haven’t learned anything about him, including his real name.”

“I see. Well, a minute ago I was walking toward him and it looked like his fingers were moving in the grass like he was playing a keyboard. As soon as he heard me coming, he gave me an angry look and stalked off. I felt like I’d interrupted something important or very personal.”

The doctor thought for a moment before shaking her head and saying, “Mmm, I wouldn’t read too much into that, Ms. Bernstein. John lives very much in his own world and he may even be autistic to some degree, but that’s for further testing to determine. We suspect he’s highly intelligent, but again, at this point we simply don’t know his capabilities. I’m afraid that’s all I can share with you at this early stage of his evaluation. He’s here at the camp because even though he doesn’t interact with the other children, we brought him along to give him some space and try to ease the pressure of the intense scrutiny he’s been under since he came to us.”

“I see. Well, thank you. I’d very much like to follow up on his story if it’s okay with you. Could I check back with you from time to time and ask about his progress?”

Dr. Widener eyed the reporter with the long-held suspicion she carried for all members of the news media. “You can inquire if you wish, but you must understand that we can release no information that might be privileged or that could compromise him in any way. The last thing he needs in his fragile state is to be made a public figure.”

“Oh sure, I can understand that. I’m not really thinking about running a story on him or anything, I’m just concerned. I get a sense that he’s rather, I don’t know, special somehow. I’ll check back in a couple of weeks if you don’t mind.”

That was a lie, of course. A feature story is exactly what she had in mind, and Sarah knew that Widener knew that as well. The good doctor was going to be tough to get around.

Sarah and Ken spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening back at the studio editing and compiling the material they’d gathered for their documentary. So far they had just over thirty-eight edited minutes of material, and that meant they still had sixteen minutes to fill and a lot more work ahead of them. That would necessitate at least one more visit to either the camp or the facility where the children lived, underwent therapy and attended classes.

As they began packing up to go home, Ken asked, “Why don’t I buy you dinner and maybe a few drinks to get you in the mood for a night of wanton sex and sleaze?”

She rolled her eyes and scoffed, “Aren’t you ever going to give it up, Ken? I’ve told you ‘no’ a thousand times, and if you ask a thousand more times, you’ll get the same answer. You know, if the general manager ever heard you say something like that, you’d be out on your ass in a New York minute for sexual harassment.”

Ken laughed, “Ya think? Let me speculate about why you haven’t filed a complaint against me yet. For one thing, your inflated ego loves the attention, and for another, from what I’ve seen and heard, our lecherous GM has a hard time keeping his paws off the young female employee’s bodies, especially Teresa Montoya’s ass. For him to come after me would be a classic pot/kettle scenario. You know that and so does he.”

“Whatever, but you may as well stop asking because it’s never gonna happen in your lifetime, okay?”

He bobbed his eyebrows suggestively. “I don’t give up that easily. Personally, I think you’re kind of a bitch, but I want that fine body and I know you want mine. And I know that because I’ve caught you checking out my ass a bunch of times.” He turned around and wiggled his butt at her. “It’ll happen.”

She rolled her eyes. “In your dreams, little man!”

Ken smirked and cupped his crotch. “What makes you think I’m little?”

Sarah ignored the crude gesture and walked out the door. A few seconds later, she stuck her head back in and said, “Um, I’m thinking about doing a follow-up on one of the kids at that camp. You want to help with that?”

He leered at her lasciviously and teased, “Hah! So now you’re making up excuses for us to be together. I knew you had the hots for me!”

“No, Mr. Delusional, I don’t. You just happen to be the best cameraman available, but if you get too cocky, I’ll be happy to find someone else.”

He waved it off with a flick of his hand. “Yeah, yeah, yeah! Okay, sure, give me a call if you get something lined up.”

“First I have to figure out a way to get in to see him.”

Sarah Bernstein, Ace Reporter (in her own estimation) already had an idea she was working on.

An hour after the Channel 4 team left, Anton Balan, currently known as John Doe, sat in the shade of that same tree, again with his eyes closed and oblivious to his surroundings as he played Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto in his mind. He was totally unaware of his finger movements as he pictured them flying up and down the keyboard in rapid-fire arpeggios and pounding out the chords of the notoriously difficult piece. He could hear every note of every instrument in the orchestra. He could sense the composer’s soaring emotions and the intense drama of the music as it consumed him totally.

By the time the piece reached its powerful finale, Anton was actually sweating from the perceived effort. The third movement crashed to an end, and as the echo of the last chord faded from his mind, he leaned back against the tree and felt his heart pounding in his chest.

And then the music was gone ... for the moment. Anton’s next journey of the imagination might find him in the role of Bilbo Baggins in a contest of wits with Gollum as they traded riddles, or perhaps Oberon scheming against Titania with the aid of his minion, Puck. His world was made up almost entirely of what he’d read in books or heard on recordings, always with him assuming the primary role. The intensity and scope of his fantasies left room for little more than a distant, vague awareness of the world in which his physical body existed. Fiction and fantasy had almost, but not quite, supplanted the horrible reality from which he had recently escaped.

Gradually he became aware of the cacophony of voices surrounding him and opened his eyes. The other kids were laughing, shouting, chattering, involved in their own activities; some swimming or canoeing in the lake, a couple of them shooting baskets, everyone absorbed in some distraction.

On Dr. Widener’s orders, Anton was left to himself, never pushed to participate in group activities, but that didn’t mean he was being ignored. There was always one counselor tasked with keeping a close eye on the boy, recording his activities in detail and reporting them at the daily staff meeting. So far, questioning him had proven fruitless, possibly even counterproductive, so it was hoped that monitoring his actions might provide some insight into what was going on in his secret world.

The dining hall bell announced the evening meal, reminding him that his body probably needed food. Lacking a clear signal from without, he might easily go for a day or two without eating anything, but he was already rail thin and could ill afford to miss any meals.

He sat under the tree and waited until he was sure all the other kids had been served before he stood and made his way inside to the food line. Since he didn’t speak, he didn’t ask for anything specific, accepting whatever the servers slopped onto his tray. He looked around for an empty table, and seeing none, he took his tray outside and sat on a tree stump to eat rather that share his personal space with anyone.

It wasn’t that he disliked the people he now lived with; he simply had no interest in them or anything they might have to say. They were a distraction to his own quiet place because they never seemed to shut up. But while he may not have actively disliked them, he most certainly didn’t trust them. He distrusted everyone because he had come to believe the human animal to be by nature duplicitous, totally self-serving and possessed of an inherent evil. It was a belief he had come to through personal experience.

So Anton Balan kept entirely to himself, shunning any kind of meaningful interaction. There had already been one incident when one of the older kids, a boy about his own age, decided the mute kid was going to speak to him or suffer the consequences. Anton ignored his japes and taunts until the kid grabbed his arm aggressively and promptly found himself flat on his ass with a fat lip and a bloody nose. None of the other kids had openly teased or pestered him since.

Before retiring for the evening, Helen Widener sat at her desk reviewing the case files of her charges. John Doe’s file was very sparse indeed because they had practically nothing on him.

Nearly all of the youngsters had suffered severe emotional traumas, and Dr. Widener had treated them for any number of psychological injuries, even one with Asperger’s syndrome. But John Doe was different. He didn’t fit any of the models, and that frustrated her and made her very uncomfortable. How do we get inside his head? she wondered. How do we crack that shell without causing even more damage? He’s clearly hiding from something too terrible for him to deal with.

She had used the term ‘autistic’ in describing his condition to Sara Bernstein, but that slip had been injudicious. She was almost certain the boy’s isolation was self-imposed, that there was no somatic brain disease at the root of his problems. For some reason, no doubt something extremely traumatic and emotionally devastating, he had built a wall around himself and remained hidden inside it where nobody could hurt him.

Call it intuition, but Dr. Widener just knew there was something rare and good inside that brain living side by side with whatever had sent him into such profound isolation. Sarah Bernstein had sensed it too, hadn’t she? She sensed there was something very special about the boy. But Helen didn’t doubt for a moment that the reporter was interested in something other than the boy’s welfare. Sarah was sniffing out a story, and it was Dr. Widener’s responsibility to run interference. She knew damn well that at some point Bernstein was going to try to wangle some time with the boy, and that was just not going to happen. John Doe’s mental health was very fragile, and the wrong kind of meddling could prove disastrous to his prospects for recovery.

In spite of her driving ambition, Sarah Bernstein wasn’t totally without principles. There were still some things she wouldn’t do to get ahead in her profession, and getting involved sexually with another employee in the workplace was one of her cardinal no-no’s.

The general manager, Alan Davies, had made a play for her sexual favors shortly after she was hired, but that attempt was confronted and squashed head-on. Sarah shut down his first not terribly subtle attempt in no uncertain terms, warning him that if he ever touched her or even spoke to her inappropriately, she wouldn’t hesitate a moment to call his wife and report his indiscretions. And if he attempted any retribution, she would personally see to it that his name was plastered all over the news. He might be found innocent by a court or a corporate inquiry, but he’d never recover from the public exposure and scorn. Rather than challenge or threaten her, he wisely backed off and never again cast so much as a hungry glance in her direction. He did, however, begin compiling a list of any little errors or indiscretions she might have committed. Paper trails were nearly always useful at some point.

In contrast to Davies, Ken Early’s crude gestures were tolerated because she knew them to be a red herring. She knew that because there was little doubt in her mind that Ken was gay, even though he didn’t carry himself in an effeminate manor and he’d never come right out and admitted it. She believed his openly suggestive innuendos were intended to keep his true sexual preferences under wraps. In her mind, he was harmless, and the ongoing banter between them was no more than a game. What she couldn’t understand was why, in this day and age, he felt it necessary to remain in the closet. Along the social spectrum, gay was almost an in thing nowadays.

Those few issues aside, there was very little else Sarah wouldn’t at least consider on the journey to success in her chosen profession. But while she was single-minded in her determination, she was also imminently practical, and to the extent that it didn’t inconvenience her, she would observe the rules — the code, as it were — to preserve at least the appearance of journalistic integrity (an oxymoron if ever there was one). She believed strongly that the story was everything and she was willing to do pretty much whatever it took to get it. If some collateral damage happened along the way, well, that’s just the way it was. If challenged, she could always fall back on that old convenient banner, “The public has a right to know.” As if most of the public actually gave a flying fuck.

Ken Early sat at his MacBook scanning hundreds of photographs and pasting this one or that one to a collection he had high hopes of publishing. A career as a photojournalist had been his life’s desire since he was in middle school, and he was damned good at it, earning an enviable reputation early on in a promising career. That’s why Sarah and the other reporters wanted him behind the camera for their stories. He had a true talent for capturing exactly what they wanted and making them look good in the process.

Ken was indeed gay, but not exactly hardcore. He didn’t consider himself to be in the closet so much as he saw no particular advantage in advertising his sexual proclivities. Had Sarah ever caved to his taunting and agreed to a romp in the sheets, he would have been able to perform well enough, but he never felt the least bit upset or frustrated by her rebuffs. In truth, he found the game amusing.

He’d been aware of his gay leanings from the onset of his sexual awareness, somewhere around the age of six or seven. Of course, at that age he couldn’t have articulated those feelings, but he knew he had a much keener interest in boy parts than he had in girl parts, and even at that young age, he’d had plenty of opportunities to observe both in action.

While he was never sexually abused physically, exposure to openly sexual behavior was all around him as he grew up. His parents were in their late forties when he was born; an accident, they often joked (a joke he never found particularly funny). They’d been actual hippies back in their youth and they still believed in the free love movement. They didn’t think twice about fucking while their bedroom door stood wide open, nor were they the least bit upset when it was discovered that Ken’s older brother and sister, then ages sixteen and fifteen respectively, had been engaging in sex with each other since passing puberty.

From his observations of the world outside the Early household, Ken became aware early in life that his family was highly unusual; at the very least, crude, boorish and downright indecent by most people’s standards. Nevertheless, seeing his mom, his dad, his brother, his sister, plus a variety of family friends and neighbors openly going at it in various permutations was titillating even for a prepubescent boy.

As immodest as his family was about sex in all its forms, he never felt comfortable sharing his preferences with them, or anybody else for that matter. Even in elementary school before he’d even had a sexual experience of any sort, he’d heard too many crude comments about fags, queers and fudge-packers to not recognize the danger in exposing his interest in guys and what lived between their legs.

As he entered high school and full-blown sexual maturity, he began covertly but actively seeking out hook-ups, spending an inordinate amount of time in public restrooms and hanging around known cruising spots in the hope of a quick connect. Since he was an unusually good-looking kid, he didn’t have to put out a lot of effort to be successful because horny men were drawn to him like iron to a magnet. And while he’d never been caught and hauled in by the cops for public indecency, he’d had a few close calls and ultimately decided that a little discretion was smarter than chancing public exposure and humiliation. Ultimately, cruising in parks and under-stall blowjobs were scratched from his playbook.

A few times when he was presented with the opportunity, he had sex with girls; and while it was enjoyable enough, he found sex with guys to be much more to his liking and focused his cravings in that direction. Over the next few years, he found himself in half a dozen relatively stable gay relationships, but none of them lasted for more than two or three months. No surprise then that love commitments were not among his strong points.

Ken developed his interest in photography in the ninth grade when he worked on the school newspaper. He snapped shots of school activities with an old Olympus 35mm SLR camera given to him by his dad, and once his photos began showing up in print, he was hooked. He saved his nickels and dimes to furnish his own darkroom, and he read books and studied the works of all the great photographers. He made good grades all through high school, scored high on his SAT’s and earned a scholarship to the University of Missouri where he carried a double major in journalism and photographic arts. After graduating, he gravitated naturally toward television broadcast media as a way to pay for his true calling, freelance photography.

Ken, now thirty years old, had already published one photo collection. It was well received, and that had a couple of publishers looking for more. The one he was working on now focused on the seedier side of urban life; the street people, the winos, the dopers, the losers, society’s throwaways.

He thought Sarah’s interest in the mute kid might fit nicely into his latest effort. But while he thought she might be of some use to him, he didn’t really have much respect for her as a journalist — a bit too ambitious and self-serving, in his opinion; perhaps even bordering on obsessive.

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