John Trent took a quick look at the clock as he loaded a bucket with ice. He frowned with worry when he saw that it was already a little past ten thirty. John's shift ended at ten, but two other workers had called in sick. Friday nights were always busy, and being short two workers had just made keeping up harder.
The ice, cup lids, napkins and condiments in the dining room needed to be filled up. It was John's responsibility, to take care of that when he wasn't waiting on customers. Maybe Todd will cut me some slack tonight, John hoped. He had worked really hard all night, and he had already worked more than a half hour over. I can ask him to let me go after I finish filling the ice, John thought.
The teen finished filling the ice machine as quick as he could. Then, he went to find his manager. John found Todd in the office. The manager was talking to his girlfriend on the phone.
"Excuse me, Todd," John said. Todd's smile turned into an annoyed frown.
"Yeah, John," Todd said. "What do you want?"
"Can I clock out?"
"Is everything full in the dining room?" the manager asked.
"No, sir," John answered. "I was 'sposed to go home at ten and-"
"What's the hurry, John?" Todd asked. "You got a hot date with another emo boy? You emo boys kiss and make out, right?"
"No," John answered sharply. As if I could be that lucky, he didn't add. John wasn't even sure that he was even really emo. He dyed his hair black, but he didn't wear the classic emo cut. He wore his hair kind of long and parted so that some just naturally fell over one eye. John believed in being truthful about his emotions, which was emo. His life wasn't a lot of fun sometimes, but he didn't feel his life was as painful as it seemed to be for most real emo kids. "I need to get home before the curfew." Minors weren't allowed to be out alone after 11 PM.
"Forget the curfew," Todd said. "They don't really enforce it. Get your work done. Then you can go."
"It's pretty easy to tell somebody to forget the law when you're not the guy who ends up breaking it," John said.
"If you don't finish your work before you clock out, you can start looking for another job, John," the manager threatened. John didn't like Todd, and he didn't like his job. The teen had almost quit a few times, but John knew his parents would throw a fit if he lost his job.
Bill Trent didn't approve of his son dyeing his hair black, the music he listened to, his friends, or just about anything else John did. The fact that the boy was such a hard worker was the only thing that John knew made his dad happy. He didn't want to disappoint his dad again. John went back to work, and Todd went back to his phone call.
"You wouldn't believe the spoiled brats I have to babysit," John heard Todd saying as he left the office.
It was 11:13 when Todd finally let John clock out. John said some rushed goodbyes as he hurried out to his 1985 Diesel Escort. The Ford was old, ugly and built for somebody shorter than John, but it was the only car he had found that he could afford. The little Escort ran most of the time, and it was 100% his.
John would usually drive through town to get home, but he knew that the police really did enforce the curfew. There was a back road through the county and over Yellow Mountain that he could take. It was a longer trip, but John guessed that he wouldn't see as many police going that way.
The trip through farmland and growing suburbs went well. John didn't see a single patrol car, and traffic was really light. But things went wrong on the trip across the foothills of Yellow Mountain.
The old Ford crested one of the many hills and started down a steep slope. John pressed down lightly on the brakes, but this time there was no feeling of resistance. The pedal went all the way to the floor with a thud. The Escort rolled faster and faster down the hill. John shouted with wordless fear and his tires squealed as he took a sharp turn. There was another turn before the bottom of the hollow, and John knew he wasn't going to make it.
John desperately grabbed the emergency brake and yanked it. The car shuddered and skidded across the road. The rear end began to swing around, and John thought the car would start a roll. But luck was on John's side. Instead going into a deadly roll, the car swung all the way around. The passenger side slammed into the guard rail with a crunch, and John's car ended up facing the way he had come on the other side of the road.
John sat still for a minute, getting over the shock and fear. He didn't know how tight he had been gripping the wheel until he let go and his fingers started to ache. He took off his seatbelt and started to open his door, but stopped. John checked to make sure there was no car coming before he finished getting out of his car. It would be kinda stupid to get hit by a car after making it through that wreck, the teen thought.
The teen checked out the damage. The passenger side was badly dented by slamming into the guard rail, and the rear wheel on that side was knocked crooked. Aw man! John thought. Fixing that will probably cost more than I paid for the whole car! John went back to the driver's door. He turned on his hazard lights and grabbed his cell phone. John couldn't think of a way to pay for fixing his car, but he thought that he could at least call home for a ride and some help.
"Home," John said when he opened his cell phone. The phone tired to connect and dial John's home. It didn't work, and "No Signal" appeared on the phone's screen. John looked at the hills all around him and guessed that they were blocking the signal. He was about to start up the hill to see if he could get a signal when he saw light coming from the other side of the hill.
A large black car crested the hill and started down. John went to stand behind his car until the other had passed. But instead of going on, the big car slowed way down. It was barely idling as it crossed the road and pulled onto the shoulder in front of John's car. The word "MARAUDER" was made of silver letters across the front of the big car above its grille. The only sound was the rumbling purr of the black car's powerful engine.
John tried to get a look at the driver, but the windshield was dark even with the Escort's headlights shining on the front of the other car. Maybe it's somebody stopping to help, John told himself. He couldn't shake the feeling that there was something sinister about the old fashioned car. John remembered the kids who had gone missing the year before.
Steve Adler's car had been found on the access road that led to the old quarry during the past spring. Steve and his girlfriend, Teresa Plumber were never found. Then, Charlie Fletcher and Jerry Clinton had disappeared. They found Charlie's car parked under a bridge trestle 100 yards from the road. There was no sign of the missing boys. It was spring again and John worried that he was about to become missing kid number 5.
The driver side door swung open. John took an involuntary step back as the driver got out of the other car. His imagination painted pictures of ax murderers, blood soaked slashers and fiends of all kinds. One thing he didn't expect was the teenager who stepped into the light.
"Hey, man. You ok?" the blond boy asked. The driver looked to be about John's age. He wore jeans, boots and a plain white t-shirt. His hair was short and shined like it was wet. The driver looked fit but not beefy. His clothes fit him well but weren't tight, giving a hint of his attractive body without being obvious about it. John thought he was really cute. He's probably a jock, John thought. And he's probably straight. "Are you ok, man?" the handsome blond asked again.
"Uh, yeah," John answered. "I'm not hurt, just kinda shook up." The other boy came closer. He looked at the damage to John's car and shook his head. He bent to get a closer look, and John took the chance to get a closer look at the other guy's butt.
"The crash really did a number on your ride, man," the blond said as he turned back to John. The other boy was close enough now that John could see he had some kind of oil or gel in his hair, holding every strand in place. His eyes had looked blue at first, but now John could see that they were violet. "Your car's not goin' anywhere without a wrecker. I can give you a ride if you want."
The blond stranger smelled like apples and he was being really nice. John felt silly and ashamed for thinking he might be a killer. John thought about asking the stranger for a ride to a pay phone. He guessed he could probably get a signal if he walked up the hill, but the hottie had offered to help. John thought about getting to spend more time with the stranger and that made up his mind.
"Sure, that would be great," John answered. He held up his cell phone as he closed it. "I can't get a signal. Maybe you could take me to a pay phone?"
"Be happy to," the other boy answered. He held out his hand. "I'm Cian Doran, by the way." John shook Cian's hand. It was warm and strong, and John felt a pleasant shiver thinking about how the rest of Cian's body would feel.
"I'm John Trent," John answered.
"Cool," Cian said with a smile. John didn't let go of Cian's hand right away. There were times when it was only safe to be honest about his feelings with himself. John thought now was definitely one of those times. But his feelings didn't care what his mind thought.
"Dude, you have the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen." Cian looked surprised for a second. Then, he started to laugh.
"Y'don't need to turn my head with flattery, man," the blond boy said. "I already said I'd help."
"It's not flattery! It's the truth!" John said as he pulled away from the other teenager. Cian stopped laughing and his smile disappeared. Here it comes, John thought. I'm gonna get my ass kicked.
"I didn't mean to insult you, John," Cian said gravely. "I really am flattered. It's just not my style to act serious all the time, Y'dig?" Cian stepped closer to John. "I see this little car wrecked and I stop to help, thinkin' it's somebody's granny. Instead, there's this tall dark sexy guy in distress. Cian stepped closer, until their bodies were almost touching. He was a little above average height, but he still had to look up slightly to meet John's eyes. "There I am, diggin' you from the start, but thinkin' you gotta be straight 'cause there's no way I'm that lucky. Then, you hit me with that line 'bout my peepers and I was so happy I thought I'd bust."
He's not making fun of me! John thought in wonder. He thinks I'm sexy! The black haired teen thought about the wisecrack his boss had made about him going to make out with another boy. Maybe... John bent forward and Cian didn't back away. The blond teen raised his mouth to meet the taller boy's cautious kiss.
The teens hugged each other close when their lips joined. It was John's first real kiss, and he felt like he was in apple scented heaven wrapped in Cian's strong arms. Cian's tongue brushed John's lips, and he eagerly opened his mouth to welcome it. Their tongues wrestled and sparred erotically. John moaned into Cian's mouth moved his hands down to the blond teen's butt. John felt like he could live forever in that one wonderful moment, but eventually the two amorous teens had to stop for air.
"Oh man," Cian said huskily. "I better get you to that pay phone before I decide to take you home and have my way with you."
"You don't think your parents would mind?" John asked with a giggle.
"No, they wouldn't," Cian answered. His voice and violet eyes promised a steamy night. Then the blond boy shook his head and chuckled. "But I bet your parents would. You go to my head like strong wine, Johnny Boy." John had never had alcohol, but being held by Cian made him feel lightheaded, giddy and warm. The shorter boy stepped away. "Get in the car before I tear you clothes off, foxy."
"Oh? Are you gonna tear my clothes off when we get in the car?" John asked. The black haired teen was normally shy. But he wasn't tonight. First I told him about his eyes, and now I'm flirting with him, John thought. It really is like I'm drunk or somethin'. Cian stopped and looked at John with a hungry expression that was thrilling and frightening at the same time.
"If that's what you want," Cian said. He wasn't laughing or even smiling. Silence hung between the two teenagers for several seconds. "Is it?" Cian finally asked. John knew that all he had to do was say yes or even just nod and Cian would go all the way. John was sure that Cian's huge old car had a big old fashioned back seat. There would be plenty of room for them to have sex, and the dark windows would make the car as private as a bedroom.
John wanted Cian. He wanted to see and touch and taste Cian's body. He wanted to have sex until they both passed out from exhaustion. But John was also a little afraid. He had just met Cian, and he had only just had his first kiss. John was scared by the strength and speed his feelings had developed for the handsome stranger. John was frightened that Cian seemed to be just as drunk on lust as he was. But his fear was no match for his desire.
"Yes," John said with a shaky voice. Cian opened the driver's side door. The two teens hurried into the back seat and into each others arms like swimmers who had stayed under too long and were rushing to the surface. They stripped each other's shirts off in a heartbeat and started to desperately kiss and caress each other.
John kissed Cian with feverish need. Then he kissed and sucked the blond hottie's ear while Cian nibbled on John's neck and shoulder. John kissed along Cian's jaw and down onto his neck. His mouth moved on to Cian's firm chest. John kissed, licked and sucked Cian's nipples while one of his hands ran down the apple scented boy's stomach to stroke the front of his jeans.
"Oh yeah," Cian moaned when John started to rub his groin and suck his nipple. Cian pushed his hands inside pants and boxers to squeeze John's butt. John started to kiss his way down the front of Cian's body while he unbuckled Cian's belt and opened his jeans.
When John opened the zipper he was thrilled to see that Cian wasn't wearing any underwear. The growing vee of lower abdomen showcased Cian's golden treasure trail and the top of his thick blond bush. Cian lifted his hips, inviting John to pull the jeans down. John's hands were shaking with excitement as he pulled Cian's jeans down and the root of the blond stud's dick was revealed.
A sudden, loud tapping on the window caused both teens to jump in surprise. John looked over his shoulder to see a shadowy form on the other side of the tinted window.
"Okay, kids," a deep bored sounding voice called. "This is the police. Come on out. The party's over."
"Oh, no," John gasped. The fire of his passion was squelched by cold fear of how his parents would react when they found out what he had been doing in the backseat of a stranger's car. A warm hand touched John's chin and gently guided his head back around. Cian was smiling sweetly at the emo boy.
"Don't sweat it, fox," Cian said calmly. "I won't let anyone hurt you." The violet eyed teen's attitude seemed contagious. Warmth flowed in from Cian's words and touch, and anxiety flowed out. John watched unhappily as Cian pulled his jeans back up. But then Cian pulled him down for a quick kiss. The touch of Cian's lips was wonderful, but over too soon. John looked into the other boy's beautiful eyes. "Just a little taste to hold you 'til later," Cian said with wink and a grin that promised scorching passion.
The policeman tapped on the window again. This time he tapped harder, and John thought he might break the glass if he used any more strength.
"Come on, kids. I don't feel like waiting all night." he said. John and Cian didn't take anymore time than they needed to get their pants fastened. Then, they got out of the passenger side.
The policeman was about average height and muscular like a weightlifter. The officer had a dark buzz cut and an unfriendly frown. His name tag read 'Rivers'.
"You'd think you two could find girlfriends if you tried," Officer Rivers said while he shook his head in disapproval. "Ok, lovebirds, let's see some ID." John and Cian took their driver's licenses out of their billfolds and gave them to the police officer. He looked at the IDs for a few seconds. "Cian?" the officer said, pronouncing it sigh-ANN. "Is this your sister's license?"
"No, it's mine, sir," Cian answered in a friendly voice. "And my name's pronounced KEE-an, sir."
"But it's not spelled Keean," Officer Rivers answered. "Your name is sigh-ANN. I'll just call you Annie for short." The policeman pointed at Cian's car. "You're parked on the wrong side of the road, Annie. You and your butt buddy are out past curfew. "I'm going to have to take you both in."
"My friend didn't park my car, officer," Cian said in a less friendly voice. He's out past curfew because his car wrecked, so it's not his fault."
"So, instead of gettin' home as fast as he could, he decided to smoke your pole?" Rivers asked. "Put your hands on the trunk and spread 'em, Annie. I know you know how to spread 'em." The officer glanced at John. "You do the same on the hood, Beanpole." John became angry and worried by the way Officer Rivers was treating Cian and him, but Cian gave him another calm smile over the roof of the car even while the police officer roughly patted him down.
"When we get to the station, I'll let everyone know that this was all my fault," Cian said. "My friend shouldn't be punished for somethin' I did."
"What's this?" Rivers asked as he showed Cian a box he had taken from the blond's hip pocket.
"That's a deck of cards," Cian said when he saw the box.
"A deck of cards in a wooden box?" Officer Rivers asked. "This where you keep your drugs, Annie?" He slammed the box down on the trunk so hard that John felt the car shake a little. Cian kept giving John a reassuring smile even though John thought Officer Rivers had probably put a dent in the trunk of the carefully maintained car.
"No, officer. Just a deck I use for card tricks." The policeman emptied Cian's pockets and handcuffed him. Rivers made Cian sit on the ground in front of his patrol car.
Then, he went to search John. The officer was just as rough with John as he had been with Cian. Rivers patted John's crotch hard enough to cause a sharp pain. The black-haired boy grunted and almost fell.
"Stand up, Beanpole," Rivers said angrily. "Don't try to fall into my arms. I'm not your little boyfriend."
"You take it easy with him," Cian said. His voice wasn't at all friendly.
"Ooh, are you gonna hit me with your purse?" Officer Rivers said contemptuously as he cuffed John. He ordered the taller teen to sit down. Then, the policeman picked up Cian's box of cards. "I forgot you're a magic fairy!" the officer said sarcastically. "Are you gonna use your magic on me fairy? Are you gonna sprinkle me with your magic fairy dust?"
Rivers hurled the box at Cian, hitting him above the right eye. The box broke with a crack, and cards spilled and fluttered out.
"Stop!" John shouted. "Don't hurt him!" The powerfully built policeman yanked John up by his arm. He shoved the emo boy into the back of his patrol car. Then, he jerked Cian up and stuffed him into the car from the other side.
"Your tint looks too dark to be legal, Annie," Rivers said. "I need to get inside your car to check it. I can look for your drugs too." The policeman left the two boys and went to search Cian's car.
"Dude, are you alright?" John asked the other teen. Cian turned to face John. The emo boy could see a bruise forming over one violet eye.
"I'm fine," Cian assured him. "He just messed my hair up a little. Thanks for trying to stop him, Johnny, but please don't do it again. You just call his attention to you and I don't want superfuzz to hurt you."
"But he keeps hurting you!" John whispered back. His eyes began to tear up.
"Don't cry for me, Johnny," Cian said. He leaned forward and kissed the first tear away. "He'd love to see you cry. I can handle him, Johnny Fox. I promise you I won't let him hurt you, but you hafta stay cool, y'dig?" Cian's soothing words managed to calm John down again.
"I don't want him to hurt you anymore, Cian," John said.
"Don't worry. We'll be at the police station soon. He can't get away with stuff like this when we get there."
"My dad is gonna be soooo mad when he finds out," John said.
"Your parents don't know?" Cian asked. He seemed surprised. You sure don't come from around here, John thought.
"They know 'bout me bein' gay," John answered. "They're not happy 'bout it, but they're gonna throw a fit when they find out... what we were doin'." Cian frowned.
"I'm sorry, John," he said sadly. "I didn't think about gettin' you in dutch with your folks. I wasn't thinkin'. I let my feelin's and desires make too many of my choices." Cian looked crestfallen and penitent as he faced John. "I wanted us to have a groovy night together. Instead, I got you in trouble."
"You didn't force me," John objected gently. "You gave me a choice, and I said yes, Cian. I wanted it as much as you did... maybe more. You said I went to your head, and you went to mine. Neither of us was thinkin' very clear. It's not fair for you to take all the blame." Cian gave John a warm, grateful smile, but he shook his head.
"My folks are cool with me likin' boys and with me havin' lovers," the blond teen said. "They won't read me the riot act 'bout this." A mischievous twinkle appeared in Cian's violet eyes. "Besides, I'm more t'blame than you think. When the time comes, I'll take the heat, y'dig, Johnny?" John felt like he should disagree, but it was so hard to think in the warm, apple-sweet closeness. It was easier to just smell and feel and to trust that Cian knew what he was talking about. "He's coming back," Cian said. John jolted up. He felt like he might have been dozing. John saw the cop coming back from Cian's car, but he felt strangely calm and safe.
"I didn't find any drugs, Annie, but do you think you can explain all the knives, chains and shackles in your tunk?"
"I was with a circus for a while," Cian answered matter of factly. "I worked in the magic and knife throwing acts. I still have some of the props." John had started to feel nervous as he remembered the missing teens from the previous summer, but Cian's answer made sense.
"Uh-huh," Rivers said with a doubtful tone. "That's just one more thing to check out when we get to the station." The police officer sniffed. "Why does the inside of my cruiser smell like a bowl of fruit?" he asked angrily.
"It's my pomade, sir" the blond answered.
"Your what?" Rivers asked.
"My hairdressing. My hair is hard to manage, so I use pomade to keep it combed, sir." John had wondered why his new friend smelled like apples, but he was a little confused. When he and Cian had been making out, the wonderful smell had seemed to come from all of Cian, not just his hair. The police officer just got angrier.
"You put perfume in your hair, Annie? You better not get any of that fruity fagot crap on my seats." Officer Rivers climbed into the driver's seat and started the engine. He switched his flashers off and pulled onto the road. "The boys in the holding cells are gonna love your hair, Annie. Maybe you and Beanpole can do their hair and give them some fashion tips?" John almost responded to the cop's taunting, but he remembered Cian's advice.
The trip was mostly quiet, with only Officer River's occasional jibes to break the silence. John had let his mind wander so that he could ignore the policeman more easily, so it took a while for him to notice that they weren't heading back to the city. Instead, Officer Rivers was driving them further into the farmland of the county.
"Aren't we going the wrong way?" John asked.
"Ooh, Count Dragqueen, knows how to speak," the officer said sarcastically. "Don't get your panties in a bunch, Beanpole. You'll get where you need to go."
The patrol car turned onto a private dirt road a short time later. It rumbled across a cattle barrier and bounced down the rutted, partly overgrown road. There were rusty barbed wire fences on both sides. Past the fences were weed-clogged, fallow fields.
Then, an old farmhouse and barn came into sight. The farmhouse was boarded up and the porch roof was sagging. The barn's silver-gray planking was worn and weathered. There was no sign of whatever color it might have been painted. It was covered with many years worth of brown, dead vines that seemed to be trying to drag the old edifice down into the earth. Fresh, spring growth had only just begun to add to the accumulation. Only a small door on one side of the barn was free of the web of vines. In front of the barn were an old fashioned hand pump and a hitching post made of metal pipes anchored in cement.
Rivers brought the car to a stop in front of the pump. He got out and opened the door on John's side.
"Ok, Beanpole, you wanted out. Now, get your sorry, goth ass out."
"Where are we?" John asked fearfully. They were alone. There didn't seem to be any neighbors around. No witnesses, John thought. Rivers grabbed John's handcuffs and hauled him out with a mighty tug. John cried out from the pain. The cop dragged John to the hitching post, and the boy saw the chains hanging from it.
"No!" John shouted. He tried to pull away, but Rivers was too strong. He kicked John in the knee and twisted the cuffs. The black-haired kid went to the ground screaming. John was helpless to resist as the police officer chained him to the post.
Suddenly, a shadow passed over John where he lay in the dirt. There was a smell of apples and a grunt of surprise as Cian slammed his shoulder into Officer Rivers. The cop's hips slammed into the hitching post. Then, he and Cian were knocked over it by the fury of the blond teen's attack.
John could see that Cian was still handcuffed, but he didn't let that stop him from kicking and biting the rogue police officer. John tried to go to help the other kid, but the chain that held him to the hitching post was too short. Cian rose up and swung his head toward John. John heard something hit the ground close by. Rivers used the blond boy's moment of distraction to punch him in the face. Cian fell off of the downed man, giving him a chance to draw his baton.
"No!" John shouted with anguish, as Officer Rivers began to beat Cian with his baton.
"My ear!" Rivers shouted with rage as he felt one side of his head. "You fucking little prick!" The officer kicked Cian in the stomach and continued to beat him with his baton. "You bit off my ear!" The blond stopped moving after a few more savage blows, but Rivers continued to attack him.
"Stop it!" John cried, almost blind with tears. "Stop it! You're gonna kill him!" The enraged man did stop. He looked at John, breathing hard. His face was covered with sweat and blood and there was a mad gleam in his eyes.
"No, Beanpole," he said between gasps for air. "Your sweetheart isn't gonna get off that easy. You punk kids always get off easy. You ignore the law. You drive around in fancy cars you didn't earn, drinking and doing drugs and fucking like a bunch of rabbits. You think life is some kind of Roman orgy with somebody else paying the bill. Then, when you screw up, you get a slap on the wrist because you're minors and somebody else pays for your mistakes. Well, not with me, buster. You and this sack of shit are gonna pay your own bill this time. Sooner or later the rest of you stupid selfish brats will get it through your self-absorbed skulls that there's no free party out on the road. I killed four of you last year, and I will keep killing you worthless little shits until it soaks in." Rivers picked up Cian's limp body and tossed him over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. Then, he carried the unmoving boy into the barn.
John's knees turned to jelly. He partially fell down, the chain cruelly jerking his hands up. John managed to get onto his knees, which took the pressure off of his abused wrists. He's gonna kill us, the emo boy thought. We're gonna die.
The glint of moonlight on something metallic caught John's attention before he could fall into despair. The metal something was right where John had heard something land during the fight. He had thought it was Officer Rivers' ear, but now John saw it was a keychain. The key to the lock on this chain! John thought. Suddenly, the reason for Cian's seemingly futile attack became clear. He was after the keys! But John knew it was more than that. Cian was drawing his attention away from me. John remembered Cian's words before Rivers came back from his car. When the time comes, I'll take the heat.
The screaming began suddenly. It was the terrible, wordless sound of mortal agony. John had never heard such a sound. He had never imagined that a human voice could even make such a horrible, soul-piercing clamor. John couldn't imagine any human being cruel enough to hear such a sound and still be able to continue hurting the one making it. Cian is sacrificing his life to save mine, John thought in absolute horror. I have to save him!
John reached out with his long leg and his size 13 1/2 foot. He was never so happy to be so tall as when he managed to kick and drag the key chain under and behind him. Next, the black-haired boy kicked his shoes loose. It wasn't easy, but he finally managed to get them off. Then, John strained against his bonds to reach for his sock. His fingers quickly went numb and his wrists were burning with pain as he worked to get his sock off, but John kept trying without a pause.
The return of silence was even more shocking and horrible than the screaming had been. The night creatures did not resume their orchestra, so that nothing intruded on that monstrous stillness. It was if they knew that the one who screamed was now beyond worldly pain and honored his passing.
John had no time to mourn. He knew there would be a time to cry later only if he lived. He had to escape first, or Cian's selfless sacrifice would be in vain.
John managed to get a sock off. Then, he used his toes to grab the keys. John was straining to lift the keys to his blood-starved hands when he heard the barn door open behind him. No! John thought with desperate anger. He managed to grab the keys. His fumbling fingers managed to grab the padlock that secured the chain loop.
John missed his first try to fit the key into the lock, but his second stab struck home. A twist of the key popped the lock open and the chain fell away. The teenager could hear footsteps behind him as he struggled to his feet.
John ran for the dirt road. He had no time left to try to reverse the cuffs under his feet. He had to use his long stride to escape long enough to make sure Officer Rivers paid for what he had done. He had to live so Cian's death would have meaning.
But John didn't make it even to the police cruiser before strong hands caught hold of his shoulders. The emo boy was spun suddenly around and pulled into a powerful bear hug. He felt his bare chest press against equally bare skin and the smell of apples filled the air.
"Don't be afraid, Johnny!" Cian's voice spoke in John's ear. "He'll never hurt you. He'll never hurt anyone again!"
Cian held John for a long moment and whispered tender assurances into the taller boy's ear. All of the stress and fear and anger flooded up and out of John in tears. The emo boy started to cry on Cian's bare shoulder. He kept crying as the blond teen led him back to the pump. He cried while Cian carefully took the cuffs off of his bloody wrists.
Cian's calm words and tender treatment finally started soaking in as the blond teenager helped his friend sit next to the pump. Once more, the warmth of Cian's touch and the sweet smell of apples seemed to flood John's senses and mind. The horror of the night was washed away.
John woke from another doze. He frantically looked around for his friend, and found Cian picking up the old coffee can that sat next to the pump. John saw that it was empty and knew that Cian would have a hard time getting water if he couldn't prime the pump. Cian cupped his hand above the empty can, and held it there for a few seconds. When the blond boy tipped his hand, a small amount of water trickled out to fall into the can.
John was bewildered as he watched Cian pour the suddenly full can into the top of the pump. The blond teen began to work the pump handle. John couldn't help but notice and admire the strong movements of Cian's well-muscled bare arms and torso while he worked. John felt anger and sadness as he looked at the bruises and scrapes that the moon revealed on Cian's beautiful body. Soon, water was flowing from the pump. The water smelled like spring blossoms and fresh green growth.
"Wash your hands and wrists, Johnny," Cian said.
"How did you-" John started to ask.
"Please trust me, John," Cian interrupted. "The cool water will make you feel better." John didn't understand how Cian had made water appear from thin air. He didn't understand how his new friend had escaped from Rivers, or even what had happened to the murderer, but John did know that he trusted Cian.
John started to wash his hands under the pump. His pain began to fade immediately. To John's amazement, his raw bloody wrists healed as the water washed over them. Soon the skin was whole again and there was no sign that he had ever been injured. John looked up in astonished gratitude. He meant to thank Cian, but when John saw how bruised and bloody the blond's face was, he couldn't speak.
Cian's soft lips were split. His perfect nose was a crushed, purple mass, and one violet eye was swollen shut. Cian still managed to smile gently at his frightened friend.
"Wash away all your injuries, Johnny Fox," Cian said lovingly. "Then, I can take a turn." John smiled with understanding. He quickly washed his arms and shoulders to heal the damage that Rivers had done when he dragged John out of the car. The black haired boy pulled off his last sock and pants. Then, he washed his sore knee under the healing water.
John felt a slight twinge in his crotch that reminded him of how roughly Rivers had patted him down. It didn't hurt much anymore, but John smiled slyly. Cian did say to wash all my injuries away, he thought. John heard Cian sigh when he slipped his boxers off.
"Very nice," Cian said as John carefully washed his dick and balls. The pain was gone just as fast as with the rest of John's injuries, but Cian seemed to be enjoying the show. John washed a little longer than he needed to, but not by much. It was obvious that Cian wanted to watch, but John didn't want to keep his brutally beaten friend waiting for his turn under the healing water.
When John was done, Cian did the water from nowhere trick again. The small handful of magic water once more filled the old coffee can almost to overflowing.
"Prime the pump just like I did," Cian instructed John. "Then pump the water. Don't stop pumpin' 'til I'm done washin', y'dig? When the water stops flowing, it loses its glamour."
"It's what?" John asked, thinking he must have heard wrong. How can water be glamourous? "If I do, can't we prime the pump again?"
"Not tonight, Johnny Fox," Cian said with a tired smile. "Once to a customer."
"Ok, Cian, don't worry. I'll keep the water running." John started priming the pump while Cian removed his boots and jeans. Once he was naked, the blond teenager washed his head and face under the flowing water. Then he started washing his body. The terrible bruises and scrapes were washed away with the dirt, leaving the magnificent beauty of Cian's body unmarred.
It only took a few minutes for Cian to finish washing. John's jaw hit the ground when the blond boy stood before him in all his naked glory. The pomade was gone from Cian's hair, leaving it wild and free, though the smell of apples was still present. His handsome face was restored, and there was an untamed gleam in his violet eyes. Cian's hungry smile was back, and it still frightened and attracted John. He didn't seem completely human. He was more like a force of nature in human form.
Water glistened on Cian's hard, lean and well-defined body. He had a broad chest and John remembered sucking his hard nipples. Cian's abs had a faint six pack and his hips were narrow. His thick, uncircumcised cock was rising from his golden bush with throbbing arousal. A clear liquid that John knew wasn't water dripped from the tip of Cian's dick. John's mouth watered at the thought of tasting Cian's growing rod. The black haired teen felt his own dick getting hard.
John stepped toward Cian. He meant to finish what they had started in the backseat of Cian's car, but the Cian's arm came between them. The blond boy's gentle touch on John's shoulder was all it took to stop him.
Cian pulled his hand back slowly, as if he didn't really want to break physical contact. The wind shifted suddenly and carried the delectable apple scent away. John hadn't noticed the warm, fuzzy blanket that had wrapped his mind until it left with the wind.
Cian's expression had become guarded. John could still sense the other boy's desire, but there was an unfamiliar vulnerability joining it.
"We've gone past a simple night of fun in my backseat, John," Cian said seriously. "I want more than a one night stand. I want you to be my lover, Johnny. I need to know if you want the same thing. Yes or no, it has to be your choice made of your own free will."
John couldn't help having mixed feelings about Cian. He was handsome, gentle and kind, but he was also wild, mysterious and cruel. John had no doubt that Cian had saved his life, but he was just as certain that Cian had tortured Officer Rivers to death. Cian's strange magic had healed John's wounds, but it had also been used to cloud John's mind. John's mind said that Cian was too dangerous to be trusted, but his heart was staging a coup. He could have just kept clouding my mind, but he trusts me, John's heart said. He trusts me and I can trust him.
"Yes, Cian," John said with a shaky voice. "I want to be your lover." John saw Cian's beautiful eyes start to glisten with coming tears. He rushed forward and grabbed the blond boy in a tight hug. Cian raised his mouth to meet John's passionate kiss.