Not as it seems
The telephone rang early in the morning and catapulted Peter from his sweetest dreams back into reality. Before he picked up the phone, he had to remove his son's arm from his chest. His boy was still snoring which sounded more like the happy purring of a contented cat.
"Yeah?" He whispered.
"Yeah Frank, what's going on? It's half past five."
"The Kraynes never had a child."
"I said, the Kraynes never had a child."
"Yeah I got that (yawning), but how is that possible?"
"I don't know Peter."
"What about silent adoption or they took a friend or relative's kid on a vacation with them?"
"If an adoption is legal, it's registered. Besides why should they take him on a vacation and put a family name on the teddy bear? And they should have had papers to cross the border."
"The Kraynes aren't from Canada?"
"No, they're from the US."
"So what does that mean?"
"I have no idea, I mean not yet. Maybe there is another child missing and maybe the boy we have is not Michael Krayne. I searched for any possible conclusion, but so far I'm totally useless."
"What about the blood samples?"
"They match - he definitely was in or at the car."
"But the Kraynes...."
"...never had a child."
"Frank please, I can't think this early. Can I call you back in an hour?"
"Where are you?"
"In my office."
"Didn't you sleep for God's sake?"
"The early bird, you know?!"
"Ok whatever, talk to you later."
Peter leaned back and sighed deeply while Ethan snuggled up closer to him. His nearly bare body felt so warm and soft on his skin; it was as if Susan, his long time dead wife was lying next to him. Peter gently stroked through his son's hair while a thousand thoughts raced through his mind. Of course he was unable to go back to sleep, now that he knew there was more than one mystery to this case. He softly peeled his boy off him and left the bed making sure that Ethan was well covered with the blanket.
Five minutes later, as the coffee maker sounded from the kitchen with its slurping noises, Peter came back inside the house with the newspaper. The last time he had been up so early was weeks ago, but then he had never had a case like this before. Parksville was a quiet city - more a village - and not much happened there besides tourism. That's why there's only one detective and two social workers. It's quite a happy place on earth, but all this was really mysterious.
After a fast shower Peter got dressed and prepared a king's breakfast for the little man in his life - he also fixed a lunch box for Ethan with sandwiches and a sliced apple. It felt good to do such a routine thing as to take good care of his boy, like a normal parent would do. Peter would have preferred to leave his son asleep, but it was time to wake him up.
"Hey buddy, wake up!" He whispered, smoothly kissing Ethan on his forehead. The boy's eyelids fluttered open revealing a pair of sparkling blue eyes.
"Uhmmmm dad, what time is it?"
"Half past six and the sun is shining."
"Six? What's wrong with you?"
"I have to be back in the hospital by eight and you got school, so wakey wakey!"
"Oh please dad, just a few more minutes!"
"Nope sorry, get up and take a shower!" Peter said as he opened the window blinds and left the room.
"But I don't have any new boxers."
"You just put them on in the evening, reuse them! The laundry will be ready by afternoon."
"THAT'S A DOLLAR!"
"Yeah yeah, YOU STILL OWE ME ONE!"
While Peter was waiting in the kitchen, he called Frank Miller again and discussed the latest insights with him. It was still unclear how this all connected. The boy probably wasn't a Krayne but responds to the name Michael and he knew the cuddle toy they showed him. Then there were the matching blood samples from the car and the state of shock Michael was in. One thing was clear - they would never find out what had happened, unless the boy talked. That's were Peter's expertise would come into play.
"Morning son, how did you sleep?"
Ethan, wearing a sky blue colored shirt, short trousers and tennis socks with his trainers, stopped in front of the kitchen counter looking around in awe not believing what he saw. Sitting on the counter top was not only a box of cereal, pretty much his typical morning breakfast these days, but also cheese sandwiches, a bowl filled with various fruits, yogurt, lemon juice, and finally bacon and eggs.
"What is this?"
"Hell of a breakfast. Are we having this every day now?"
"Not sure, but I'll try. For now, enjoy it!"
"Dad, can Matt sleep over tonight?"
"Sure, why not? If Vivian is okay with it. But you have to promise that you won't stay up all night again, ok?!"
Both started in on breakfast to satiate their morning hunger while sipping on lemon juice and hot coffee or chocolate. Ethan always made little purring noises when he liked what he was served. There was nothing more enjoyable on a morning like this, to chase away evil spirits. And there were strange things awaiting the father's attention later on.
Half an hour later Ethan rang the Myer's door bell to get Matthew. The slightly smaller boy hopped into the car with his friend and the three drove off on their usual route to school. The boys were happy that they could spend the night together and were already making plans for the evening. Peter had made sure, that Vivian would pick them up from school and that they would stay at Matt's until he got home.
Before driving to the WCG, he made a quick stop at his office to get the papers Carol had prepared for him yesterday. They were already signed by the responsible Judge.
When he arrived at the hospital, the social worker searched for Michael, or the boy they called Michael. He wasn't in the observation room anymore. But it didn't take long for Peter to get an idea of where he was, because he heard him screaming and fighting as if somebody was hurting him.
"HEY HEY, WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?" Peter yelled as he entered room number 112 where he found two nurses trying to restrain Michael. As soon as the words left his mouth it was quiet and all movement stopped inside the room.
"What do you think you're doing?"
"Mr. Bennet, he needs his medication and he won't take it, so we have to give him a shot."
"You don't have to do anything. I have full legal physical custody of Michael and whenever you need to give him anything, you ask me! Are we clear about that?!"
"In this case, yes of course, but we were only doing what we're told."
"Would you please leave us alone?! You can hand me the medicine he needs to take - I'll make sure he takes it!"
"But Sir, you're not a doctor."
"If that's the problem, then get me a doctor and here's the number for Judge Brill. I'm sure he can handle it. Now please leave us alone, you are jeopardizing the success of my therapy?!"
The nurses left and handed him the medicine for Michael who had already calmed down. Peter could even see a little hidden smile on the boy's face for the tell off. After taking a deep breath he sat down next to the bed and greeted the little fellow with a soft stroke along his cheek, which was slightly covered with that typical silver gleaming fuzz of a young boy.
"Good morning Michael. What a way to start the day huh? So, I heard you can scream. Does that mean you can talk?"
Again, the boy looked at him with empty eyes and no expression on his face at all. The fear he had seen a minute ago was nearly gone.
"You need to talk to me, please. I know that really bad things have happened to you and if I was you, I would be frightened too, but I can't help you if you don't talk to me. Please trust me!"
Michael took the notepad from the bedside cabinet and wrote the word "NO" in big letters. At least he was beginning to communicate; that was a start.
Instead of writing something else or opening his mouth, he turned around, faced away from Peter and hid himself under the blanket.
"Ok Michael, I won't push you anymore. You can talk whenever you want. I know that what you saw was horrifying and nobody should see such things."
Peter searched his pockets for the chocolate bar he got in the hospital canteen and put it next to the boy's head before he sat down again and relaxed. He had lots of time and would need it, that was clear.
Hours passed while Michael took the time to rest; he looked much better than yesterday. His hair was clean and combed, his skin gleamed from the ceiling light and the pale face had gotten it's little tan back. The physical shock seemed to have left his body.
In the meanwhile Peter talked to Carol and some families to see if they would be able to take the boy for the time being until they found out who he belongs to. He wasn't very lucky.
Between his attempts to find a home for Michael, he managed to catch a few minutes of sleep sitting on the bench in the hallway or next to Michael's bed. Somehow they were two companions on a silent journey together.
"He's such a cute boy." One of the nurses stated in a melodic voice as Peter rubbed his eyes in despair and felt useless for his inability to finding a temporary home for Michael.
"Yes he is. And I don't know what to do with him. The doctor told me that he has to leave the hospital cos he in fact is healthy and they need the bed."
"I would take him."
"I appreciate that, but it's not that easy."
"Of course, there ain't enough space in my flat. Anyway, let me know if I can help!"
"I will, thanks. What was your name?"
"Hi Sarah, I'm Peter."
"Well Peter, here are some clothes for Michael."
"Thanks, it was nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you, too. My shift ends now, so...bye Peter!"
For a moment Peter felt something inside of him, he hadn't felt for a very long time. Of course he had contact with lots of good looking women like Carol and Vivian and they wanted to date him, but he never felt that kind of special connection with them. However this young woman, Sarah, produced vibrations even though they had only spoken briefly; that was weird, but Peter liked it and looked after her as she walked down the hall with her blond ponytail flopping around.
"Back to work!" He thought and once again dialed his office number on the cell phone.
"Carol, it's me again."
"How's it going?"
"Not good. I didn't find anyone who is able to take him and I have to get him out of here today. Guess I have to take him with me."
"I can call the children's home?"
"No, I can't just drop him off like that. He'll never talk if I do that. I could ask judge Brill for a temporary injunction so he could stay here, but this is already complicated enough."
"Ok Peter, you decide. But you know, that it's a risk. Think about Ethan!"
"I am Carol, all the time. Ethan can sleep at the neighbor's. It's just for one night - tomorrow I'm gonna find a solution."
"Whatever you say. Call me if you need any help!"
"Thanks Carol, I will. Bye."
"OH CAROL WAIT!"
"Can you prepare the video room in the basement? I want to talk to Michael about the accident and wanted to record it."
"Sure, but there are a lot of people downstairs today."
"That's not a problem as long as we have the room to ourselves. Thank you!"
Carol booked the interrogation room via the computer and made sure it didn't look too sterile, but also that there was not much that could draw the boy's attention, if that was possible with all the toys scattered around.
Peter got back into room number 112 where he found the boy sitting on the bed wearing his white hospital gown. Michael looked at him. Nurse Sarah was right, he was a very handsome young man with his immaculate face, the delicate mouth, the little nose and his dark brown piercing eyes - it was a perfectly balanced view. It's like you don't know what it is, that makes him so good looking, but you can feel it. The only thing that broke his beauty was the expression on his face - there was none.
Peter came closer to the little one and squatted down in front of him putting one hand on the boy's bare knee. It felt as soft and warm as his son's body had felt on his skin earlier that morning.
"Oh, I see you found the chocolate bar, good. Michael, we have to leave the hospital today. I guess you don't want to stay here any longer if it's not necessary, right?"
The boy slowly nodded once.
"Okay!" Peter smiled and continued. "Here are some clothes for you to wear, they should fit. You need my help to put them on?"
Michael shook his head.
"You want me to leave the room, while you put them on?"
A head-shaking - only once.
"Okay......you want me to turn around while you put them on?"
The boy shrugged his shoulders and Peter turned around after he placed the clothes on the bed so that Michael could get dressed and ready to leave.
It was 3pm, when they headed for Blenkin Ave, where the Promises Childcare Services center was located. Before they arrived, Peter called Vivian and asked if the boys could sleep over at their house tonight and she agreed after he explained the situation.
"BOOYS, can you please come downstairs?!" Matthew's mother shouted.
"JUST A MINUTE!" her son answered.
The two young friends already had their homework done and were playing with a Rubik's cube.
"No! Again, it's F, R, U, R prime, U prime, F prime." Ethan explained to his friend.
Matt found it difficult to learn all the algorithms that were used to solve the 3x3 cube and would have rather done the speed stacks, since that was less brain work.
"Oh come on, I'll never get it right."
"You have to practice Matt. It's all about practice!"
"But what's it good for?"
"It's good for solving it fast - otherwise you won't ever be able to do it in under 5 minutes. And that's only the Fridrich method, wait until we come to the Ortega method so that you can go for under one minute. That's awesome!"
"Whatever, let's go downstairs and see what my mom wants!"
The always inseparable boys jumped down the stairs and chased each other into the kitchen, where they immediately darted for the chocolate cookies Vivian had prepared.
"Hey boys. Peter called me and asked if you both could sleep over here tonight. He unfortunately has something to do and can't have you around the house. Is that ok with you?"
"Will he be home tonight?"
"Yes he will, but he won't be alone."
"He has a date?" Ethan asked full of curiosity.
"No he hasn't. He told me that you know about the case he's working on at the moment and there are some difficult things your dad needs to take care of."
Matthew didn't know what they were talking about, but also wasn't very interested in it; there were more important things to manage.
"But mom, we don't have a PlayStation, can't we go over and play a bit or get it, please mom!"
"No not today. Sorry, but I'm sure you two will survive one day without that thing."
"Oh Mooom, come on, please can we?!"
"I said no, we can do whatever you want, but no PlayStation today."
The boys were visibly disappointed, so Vivian suggested that they choose a movie they wanted to see and she would get it for them so they could have a wonderful movie night with popcorn and lemonade together.
"Better than nothing" the boys thought. They chose the movie Hancock, which she had to get from the video rental store.
While she hit the road to get the DVD, the boys had other things in mind and sneaked over to the Bennet's house for a little game on the PlayStation.
Peter asked Michael to sit down at the table in the middle of the room. You could hear a bunch of people on the other side of the door. It really was a busy place with lots of other kids and their mom's running around or talking to each other.
The interrogation room was nothing like the ones you know from police stations on TV. It was little, neatly arranged with warm lights, lots of colors on the wall and some toys to play with all around the room. There was no mirrored window or anything like that. The only thing that was a little awkward, was the video camera that was mounted on a tripod on the opposite side of the table where Peter would take a seat.
Before they started to talk, he brought something to drink and a little snack in case the boy felt hungry.
"Ok Michael, I'm going to ask you some questions about the last few days. You don't have to answer if you don't want to. But any answer will help me to help you. Do you understand?"
The boy was obviously scared and nodded shyly.
"Nothing's gonna happen to you, I promise. And whenever you want to take a break, you tell me or write it down on the notepad, ok?"
No answer from the boy, but also no contradiction, so he went on.
"Okay. Michael, please try to focus! Can you remember the car you were driving in?"
"Was it Saturday when you were driving in it?"
Again he nodded.
"And did you also drive in it on Sunday - that is two days ago?"
He answered with a head-shaking.
"Good. Show me the number with your fingers. Was the car 1 blue, 2 black, 3 red or 4 green?"
The boy raised his hand and slowly bent his fingers so that the number two showed up.
"Excellent, the car was black. And were there one, two, or three persons with you in that car?"
Number two again.
"Great Michael, you're doing very good."
"The people that were driving with you, were they your parents?"
No movement, no reaction, no answer.
"That's ok if you don't remember. But do you know if everything went well that day?"
The boy didn't answer, but put a worried expression on his face.
"Something terrible happened, right?"
Michael slightly shrugged his shoulders.
"You can't remember. That's ok. You're still doing good. Only a few more questions. Do you remember what you did on Sunday?"
The boy shook his head.
While Peter thought about the next question, Michael got sidetracked and in a fast motion turned his head as if something got his attention, but there was nothing. He looked over his left shoulder to the door. It only lasted a moment before the boy turned his head back to Peter, who was still thinking, where he wanted the next question to lead to.
"The little teddy bear we gave you, is it your's?"
"Do you remember, when you got it? I mean, did you get it long time ago?"
Again he shrugged his shoulders.
"Did your parents gave it to you?"
A moment of silence - no reaction, no answer. He looked at the ceiling as if he was thinking about it. Then he began to shake his head over and over and his worried expression changed to sad.
"Michael, Michael look at me! It's okay, I won't ask any more questions. Michael!" But he wouldn't stop.
Peter knew that this was the end of the interrogation and went around the table to put his arms around the little one, who seemed to be lost between the unknown and loneliness. He needed someone to hold him and Peter was happy to do the job, hoping that Michael wouldn't freak out as he touched him. The boy responded with a firm grip around Peter's waist - no complaint about the touch.
It felt like it was Ethan - so close, so warm, so familiar, they nearly had the same hair color. Peter had to constantly remind himself about where and with who he was. Michael seemed to be a very sensitive boy - just like Ethan; they could have been brothers.
Half an hour later both had calmed down and without many words left the building to drive home. Peter carefully explained to Michael, that he would take him home and that he would continue searching for a temporary home tomorrow.
Matthew followed Ethan upstairs to his room as fast as possible and immediately switched on the flat screen and the PlayStation. They boys knew that they only had about half an hour and didn't want to waste any time - Need for Speed it was.
Both boys were wearing only a pair of shorts and loose fitting shirts as they sat close together on the soft carpet. Their bare legs touched each other. Matthew was far more tanned than Ethan and was a little skinnier. His hair was bleached from the sun and was golden brown in color, just like the little fuzz on his legs and arms. The boys moved from one side to the other as the cars in the game skidded around the corners on the TV.
"Hey Matt, wanna see something?"
"Not now, I'm driving!"
"Come on, it's really cool."
"Wait a mooooo.....oh FUCK!" The neighbor boy shouted as his car crashed into one of the side barriers. "What is it?"
"I'll show you, but you can't tell anyone, promise!"
Ethan searched under the mattress of his bed and took out a magazine.
"Oh my goood, where did you get it?"
"I found it in my dad's cupboard."
"WOW, look at her boobs, they are huge. I've never seen anything like this."
"Wait and see!"
The boys gathered around the secret sex magazine and examined page after page. Of course they got a little aroused about the unknown and wriggled about on the floor as their little tools sucked up as much blood as possible.
"Look, that's my favorite!" Ethan stated to one of the larger pictures.
"Is he fucking her for real?!"
"No, I don't think so, that's a fake. His thing is too big."
"But it damn looks real."
Ethan sat up cross-legged and pinched his crotch area now and then. Secretly he felt the need to wank. It was only a few weeks ago when he did it for the first time and thought it was awesome, but he never talked about it with his friend.
"What are you doing there?" Matthew asked pointing at Ethan's crotch.
"Nothing, I'm not doing anything...."
"You....ever get a hard-on?"
"Oh yeah, lot's of times."
"Really? You have one now?"
"Just like you, I can see it through your shorts."
They both fell over laughing and tried to hide their bulges. But it didn't work out.
"How big is yours?"
"Don't know, never measured it, you?"
"Shall we what?"
"I don't know...."
"Oh come on Matty, I'll show you mine and you show me yours!"
"Hmm, but don't tell anyone!" Matthew said after some seconds of reflection.
"Of course not, I'm no idiot?!"
Ethan got up and slowly pulled down his shorts followed by his boxers. His dick bounced out of his cage.
"Wow, that's big man and you're not cut." Matthew stated.
"Yeah, is yours cut?"
"Yep, that was done when I was little."
"Did it hurt?"
"I have no idea, can't remember."
For a few seconds both looked at the hard penis in front of them; it stood at full attention.
"You got to measure it now!" Ethan challenged his friend.
"Come on, I'll measure yours after wards. Get the ruler from the desk!"
Matthew, becoming more and more excited, jumped up and fetched the ruler to immediately drop back down in front of the hard tool of his friend. He tried to be as careful as possible to not touch Ethan down there.
"It doesn't bite, you can touch it if you want."
"Doesn't that make us gay?"
"No it doesn't, fucking a man makes you gay, not touching!"
"Yeah, go on touch it. It's easier to measure it, when you pull the foreskin down!"
Without any further hesitation the tanned boy used two fingers to bend Ethan's hard penis down a bit, shoved its foreskin back and used the ruler.
"Wow, it feels as hard as a rock.....and that's....nearly four and a half inches."
"Not bad huh?"
"No, I guess not, pretty cool."
"It felt kind of weird, you know, when you touched it."
"Did it feel good?"
"Yeah, definitely. Now I get to measure you."
Ethan pulled up his colored shorts and squatted down in front of Matthew as his friend got up and undid his covers.
"Wow, yours is thicker than mine."
"The cut thing, does it change anything?"
"No, not really."
"And what's it good for then?"
"To keep it clean."
"Doesn't make sense to me, I can keep mine clean even with foreskin."
"Whatever, I didn't decide to have it cut, I was too young."
"Do you ever jack off?" Ethan asked.
"Yeah I do it sometimes. And you, how often do you....?"
"I didn't count, sometimes." He pretended to be cool about it, but in fact was shy, that he only found out several weeks ago.
"Can I touch it?"
"Sure, if you want."
Ethan wasn't as careful as Matthew and used his hand to encompass the entire dick of his friend before he used the ruler.
"Wow, it jerks, when I touch it like that."
"Yeah, it feels good, how long is it?"
"It's....a little bit more than 4.2 inches."
"Damn, yours is bigger." Matthew said.
"But yours is thicker than mine."
Ethan seemed to like what he was doing. It was a sensational new feeling. He gave his friend's dick and ball sack one last touch as a car door was heard in the front of the houses - Vivian was back. Matthew pulled up his shorts while his friend switched off the Playstation and the TV.
Head over heels both ran downstairs to use the kitchen door and sneak back over to the Myer's house as if nothing had happened. Thank god their boners disappeared in no time. Both boys had a satisfied smile on their face, as Mrs. Myers greeted the two boys waving a DVD box in one hand and a large bag of popcorn in the other.
It was 6:30pm when Peter stopped the car in front of their home. By that time Ethan and Matthew were already enjoying Hancock's adventures over at the Myer's house.
Michael stared straight out of the front window and didn't dare to move. For whatever reason he seemed to be a bit uncertain about leaving the car. But after Peter asked him to do so, he looked around and inspected the area before he put one foot in front of the other and followed his part time guardian through the front door of the house.
"Don't worry Michael, you're safe here. Make yourself comfortable! I'll prepare some dinner for us."
The best thing Peter could do was to act as normal as possible and show the boy that he was welcome and in no danger. Of course that wasn't the easiest task for him, since he still wanted Michael to ease up and talk to him, but he gave his best. This way he would hopefully gain the boy's trust.
An hour and a half later they both had satisfied their hunger and Peter had shown Michael around the house. He would sleep in Ethan's room so that they both had some privacy and if he wanted, some toys to play with. Ethan would surely revolt if he knew about it, but this was an acceptable risk.
At 8:30pm it was time to face the wall for the little one. Peter placed a pajama on Ethan's bed and offered his help to change clothes, but this time the boy didn't answer.
"It's ok Michael, I'm gonna help you. Raise your arms!"
He did as he was asked and a second later felt the soft woolen pajama shirt on his immaculate and for his age well-built upper body. Peter closed one button after the other before he unzipped the pants of the little fellow and pulled them down.
The only things Peter noticed before he helped the boy putting on the pajama pants were his athletic legs and that there was no tan line on his lower body. "Lot's of skinny dipping" he thought to himself.
"I'll leave the hall light on and the door open. If you need anything at all at any time you come to me. I'll be in the next room to the right or downstairs. Here's something to drink for you. The toilet is on the left side of the hallway. Is that okay?"
Michael nodded and lay down in the bed before he was covered with the colorful soft bedspread Ethan had chosen from the hundreds of possibilities in the mall.
"Goodnight Michael, sweet dreams. And remember I'm here!"
Before Peter kissed the day goodnight for himself, he wanted to take a look at the video he recorded during the interrogation. He took a seat in front of the TV after connecting the video camera and went through it over and over until he got too tired to do any more work. One thing had caught his attention and he couldn't really understand it, but he wanted to check on that tomorrow.
With a glass of water in his hand and a quick peak on Michael to make sure the boy was alright, Peter ended up making himself comfortable in his bed room. With the long exhausting day behind him, he turned off the lights and wished himself a goodnight.
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