Recovered: An Unlikely Friendship

by Hunter Woods

Chapter 8: A Chilling Reality

My stay with the Weilers settled down into a sort of normalcy over the days, weeks, and even months as I learn more about Jamie, Autism, and the local school I register in. The little guy seemed to improve in some ways even managing to get into the shower on his own without me needing to be with him anymore. He still jumped in with me every once in a while though like he somehow needed to be reassured, or simply because he needed to be close to me even though he still shied away from physical contact. I really didn't mind those times, and actually looked forward to them because for me it was exciting and exhilarating to be so close to the naked boy as I watched him soaping up his sexy body.

The way I felt about Jamie baffled me, and at times I felt ashamed about how I was literally perving on the innocent boy. I couldn't help myself though because he simply had some sort of hold on me. I could feel the tug on my heartstrings when he was near me, and it was difficult at times because I knew he'd never be able to return those kinds of feelings in any significant kind of manner. He might understand he has feelings for me, but a meaningful relationship simply wasn't in the cards for us.

There were also annoying times as well. Even though he seemed to respond more openly towards me, Boxey, his Aunt and Uncle, and at times even the Lorenz brothers, there were still issues in regards with his communications and other interactive situations. He continued to shy away from people in general remaining locked in his own world most of the time, but every once in a while there would be this little spark that shone through his exterior protective bubble. It was frustrating knowing there had to be more without being able to unlock it with the correct key.

Despite all of this I was still drawn to the younger boy in a way that was unsettling, as if I sensed there was something more just beneath the surface, but also knowing that nothing could ever come of it. I began to wonder if maybe this was also what's been holding me back from taking the next step with others. It was as if doing so were somehow cheating on Jamie. In a way I felt that if he couldn't have that kind of life then it wasn't right for me to have one either. I felt guilty about being able to have those kinds of feelings and act on them when he couldn't. This only managed to add to my confusion regarding where the two of us really fit in any kind of relationship together.

My friendship with the Lorenz brothers also began to blossom further as they started coming by often to visit. Usually their visits came in the late afternoons after their chores, versus me going over to their place for obvious reasons. It was a sort of unspoken agreement, which the two brothers didn't seem to mind, understanding it would probably create friction due to the situation with their step brother.

Anymore my days were dull when they weren't able come around at times to hang out with me. When they did drop by there was always something fun to do with us hanging around at the house or in the barn loft that we've sort of made into our own little private hideaway. At other times we went for long bike rides, which I really enjoyed because I got to know some of the area around us finding it oddly invigorating.

When we hid away in the loft it was there where we could talk openly about topics typical pre-teens tend to be interested in. Of course some of those discussions involved boys, girls, and sex. When the topic of sex and girls did come into play most of those times strangely ended up with us chatting about Austin and that cute girl by the name of Kathy Lee that he likes. The discussions about the two of them were never really lewd or anything, simply things in general about how he felt and the type of relationship he wanted with her.

When it came to sex we also never really talked about that first time they spent the night at the farm because they could sense I was a bit shy about what had happened. Of course it had been brought up on occasion in the typical teasing kind of manner and in general, but for some reason it was something I had a difficult time coping with. It was obvious I had enjoyed it, not to mention that it had been a milestone for me, but it most definitely was something I had mixed feelings about. I didn't regret what had happened, or perhaps what didn't happen one bit, but for me it was too perplexing regarding my intimate kinds of feelings I had for the two brothers. So instead, most of the time our discussions in the secluded loft were about things in general; things that seemed to revolve around us and our little world of injustices as we saw it.

Then there were those times when we hopped onto our bikes heading out to explore what the area had to offer up for adventurous pre-teen boys. The Lorenz brothers took me to several cool places around some of the orchards and woods. There were quite a few rough trails in the small wooded areas that dotted the landscape in this region, which were just perfect for the daring. I discovered that even though this was farm country there were still plenty of little patches of forested areas with trails, streams, and plenty of wildlife. It made for a good workout, and I always ended up sleeping soundly in bed afterwards.

The boys even get to know Jamie a bit better with us trying to include the handsomely shy long haired boy in some of our activities as much as possible. They were patient with him, and I appreciated how they took the time with the other boy. I could tell that Jake seemed to be a bit smitten by Jamie with me catching the cute blue green eyed boy sometimes scrutinizing the autistic kid almost sadly. I could understand the way he felt because I too was a bit smitten and befuddled with the boy.

The two brothers even spent the night on several occasions taking turns snuggling up in bed with me. During those times we always ended up going to bed with something on, and the brothers never asked to play that game with me where we messed around with one another's boy bits. They seemed to understand how I simply wasn't ready for it, so they tried to behave for the most part. Of course there were still those impromptu wrestling matches where there was plenty of grinding and groping occurring with the two brothers ganging up on me most of the time in regards to some snatching action. I really didn't mind those little skirmishes understanding their urges because even I enjoyed those little teasing moments getting in my fair share of gropes in the process. I suppose in many ways it felt more natural to do those sorts of things; however, that was pretty much where things stood between the Lorenz brothers and me in regards to sexual contact.

There was one issue though early on with one of their overnight stays, well actually two separate nights. On the first particular occasion it was Jake who was snuggled up under the covers with me. My left leg was draped over his knees and thighs while my left arm was lying across his stomach. We were drowsing comfortably with my head lying on his chest and the sound of his heart beating steadily in my ear. I suppose he simply couldn't take it anymore so he carefully tucked the waistband of his white Haines boys brief beneath his small pouch and began to masturbate himself. He knew I was awake, but simply didn't seem to care or perhaps it was because he was simply too horny unable to wait. His brother had confided in me that Jake seemed to be fixated with getting off, almost like he was obsessed with it or even addicted. In my opinion I wasn't so sure about the whole addiction part of things because let's face it kids at our age are simply horny all the time.

My eyes were glued to his small thin long foreskin covered erection while his finger and thumb slowly eased it over his pink colored slicked up knob. My body quivered lustfully while I gawked at that small little hard tube when the boy began to work it in earnest. I thought it odd that he only used his thumb and finger sliding his foreskin up and down the short sleek slightly curved length of his shaft and nub, but then I realized it might be because of his size. I suppose it was probably difficult to do the standard fisting way of jacking off for him. By using his thumb and finger he could maximize the intensity of his stroke. Whichever way he did it really wasn't the issue because when the fragrance of his essence, intermingled with the musky scent of sex, hit my senses it was overwhelming making me yearn to participate in a more proactive kind of way. It took all I could to resist that pull while I watched his fingers running along that sexy hot fleshy hard one and a half inch tube.

While his finger and thumb of his right hand worked their magic I could feel Jake running his left hand through my hair in an affectionate kind of way. With me draped over his body I could feel and hear every nuance of what he was experiencing at the varying stages leading up and extending past his climax.

It started out in modest ways with his body tensing in little spastic kinds of contractions while his breathing slowly increased, and his heart quickened in his chest. Everything seemed to rapidly pick up from there until his whole body seemed to tense up with his hips lifting up off the mattress slightly. The thundering roar of his heartbeat rapidly skipping about in his chest almost became deafening while the contractions of his muscles throughout his abdomen trembled uncontrollably. Even his small cherry sized testicles in the tight leathery membrane of his boy satchel began to twitch about spastically. He was still sliding his finger and thumb up and down the length of his short hardened tube when I noticed his glans fatten up and turn an almost purplish kind of color. Even his pee slit ballooned exposing the small little hole at the tip end when it puffed out and opened almost obscenely trying to expel something he didn't have to give, not at the tender age of eleven. His little eleven year old garden snake then began to squirm around for several long moments while the orgasm ran its course through his small body. After he got going it seemed to roll along like a freight train with an endless row of trailer cars surprising me how long his orgasms seemed to last for someone so young. Then out of nowhere his high ended almost as abruptly as it began leaving the boy gasping for air.

It was odd because it only took him all of about thirty seconds to reach his climax with his orgasm lasting at least twice as long if not longer. In a way it sort of surprised me at how quickly he found release because when I was his age it took me a bit of work to begin getting those tingly feeling while my orgasms seemed to be over almost as soon as it began. It was the complete opposite of what Jake was experiencing.

It made me wonder for a split second if maybe his older brother was correct in his assessment. It was only a fleeting thought because deep down I understood that most boys were all different in this regard. I'm sure that the sexual tension Jake felt when he was around me, and even Jamie, sort of set him up for a quick trigger release when the urge was simply too overwhelming for him to cope with. Even I had been experiencing something similar due to my deepening feelings of closeness with Jamie and the Lorenz brothers. Lately I've noticed how my extra curricular activity while alone in the loft not only lasted mere moments before reaching climax, but also seemed to be even more intense than usual with my orgasms lasting a bit longer than the norm for me. Of course it didn't hurt that I was once more on a regular time table in this regard.

"Feel better?" I had asked Jake once he stopped shaking, and had begun to breathe easier when I heard him chuckle feeling his stomach and chest wriggling around jovially.

"Shit yeah." He had fired back seemingly not concerned how he had done something so raw and naughty with me right there watching it unfold.

Sighing I had rolled over on my other side turning my back to him scrunching up my eyebrows trying to understand how I was feeling about the situation. It wasn't as if I blamed Jake for doing what only came natural, but in a way it sort of made me feel like I was making things difficult for him. I was fairly certain he was jacking off on a regular basis with me being a part of his fantasies and all. When I thought of it though the idea of him fantasizing about me really didn't bother. Still, this whole issue of sex was so perplexing; especially, since I was so desperate to be a part of it with the boys. It was those types of feelings along with my deeper sense of it somehow not being the right time which had me so conflicted. I suppose my reaction must have made Jake feel that somehow he had hurt my feelings because I felt him reaching out to me tentatively before snuggling up against me and sniffling.

"I…I'm sorry Sam. I…I didn't think it would…I…I'm sorry." He managed to get out making me wince because this isn't what I had intended as I rotated my body around in his arm facing the boy whose eyes had welled up damply and sincerely hurt.

"Oh Jake…no…that's not it at all. It isn't you…it's just me. I'm so confused is all because I…I…really like you…and your brother. You know in that sort of close way. I mean of course like real good friends and all, but also…um…closer. It's just when you do that sort of thing it is kind of hard for me to deal with because I…I want something like that with you guys really bad…but then something inside of me tells me no. Not in a bad kind of way…but just like…like…I'm…shit Jake…I don't know how to explain it. Something inside of me says not now is all. Maybe some day I suppose…maybe." I try to explain to him leaning in and pressing my lips against his warm mouth feeling the heat rise inside of me when he returns my embrace and tender kiss making this a precious moment for us before we slowly backed off.

Jake's eyes flutter open gazing towards me. "Wow, it still feels amazing."

Smiling I nod my head understanding how he felt. "Yeah, and that's creating problems for me too." I chuckle while the smaller boy smiles shaking his head.

"Sam…for real I simply don't get it. I mean that first night everything seemed really cool, and now you are all shy again. It's not like we all haven't seen, felt, or touched each other." He griped softly snuggling against me with his underwear covered rigid erection sliding up against my own pajama covered hard tube making us both giggle.

"I know Jake, but I'm afraid if we all got naked again I might do something I wasn't ready for. Don't get me wrong I don't feel bad about what we did, and I probably wouldn't feel bad either if we actually did something together now as well…not really." I sigh pausing for a moment because it simply didn't make any sense. "It's just that I would more than likely feel disappointed is all." I tried to explain motioning for him to turn around so we could spoon together in the way we've gotten used to with me wrapping my arms around him cuddling up tightly.

We ended up talking some more feeling comfortable about things in general. He seemed to accept the fact I wasn't ready for that type of interaction, and I noticed from that night on when him and his brother spent the night they would disappear into the bathroom together. A few moments later I could hear the two of them through the doorway pleasuring one another making me smile and giggle. I suppose it was their way of getting around being too horny while in bed with me. Even though Austin most definitely wasn't homosexual didn't mean he wouldn't mind me helping him out in the whole sexual release arena because he didn't feel something like that was a gay thing. Besides, until he was able to get it on a regular basis from a female persuasion, a guy friend helping him out was no different to him than helping himself out in regards to masturbation. It's just someone else doing that for him was most definitely way more pleasurable.

Even though the issue with Jake was resolved there was the next sleepover with Austin lying in bed with me. This time it was me though that couldn't fall asleep with the older boy wrapping himself around me his hard tube pressing up against my left butt cheek. In a way it was a role reversal because when Jake slept in the bed with me I was the one wrapping myself around him, with Austin it was the opposite since he tended to wrap himself around me. At one point he shifted in his sleep releasing me and rolling on to his back. I could tell this was the way he slept at night because at some point he always rolled off of me settling down on his back.

Since I enjoyed his body heat I turned over sliding up against him draping my right arm and leg over him. He felt all warm and toasty so I siphoned off the heat from him greedily. Like his little brother he tended to sleep soundly making it almost impossible to wake him up in the middle of the night. Both brothers woke up easy enough in the morning hours; although, Austin tended not to be such a morning person, but in the middle of the night I could probably roll them up like a basketball and shoot hoops without them once waking up.

As he snored lightly I began to study his features brushing aside the few strands of blond hair from his forehead. He looked so handsome in his sleep while I ran my hand across his broad chest. He wasn't lanky like his little brother having filled out nicely. He was still fit with the subtle signs of musculature hinting at the powerful features yet to come when he matured more into adolescence and then adulthood. I could already make out the slight changes of masculinity in the boy's features that alluded to the man he would one day become. All the signs were there in how he would be filling out with a powerful chest and torso while he also grew into his handsome features of youthfulness with the hint of manliness as an adult. He would retain his soft facial features instead of the hardened ones boys tend to transform into when they entered adulthood. There would be the underlying masculinity to his softened features providing him with those manly features, but the softness would give him that sort of ageless quality.

My gentle touch had him in a state of excitement with his thick tube creating a tent under the blanket. He wasn't wearing a shirt or anything, but I did know he had on his typical boxers he seemed to prefer wearing. Somehow I felt boxers were a bit too loose allowing my boyhood to swing about too freely at the wrong times so I still preferred boy's briefs that held my stuff more firmly without it being too constrictive. I continued to watch him sleep, and it began to be too much as I became a bit curious about what he really looked like between his legs. Of course I had seen him naked, but I really wanted a much closer look so I pulled aside the blanket that was covering him up and scooted downwards. His pair of blue checked boxers was covering him up, the soft fabric settled around his thick three and a half inch erection. Through the gap in the leg openings I could see his slightly low hanging boy satchel along with the outline of his right chestnut sized testicle.

Being this close made me shiver as I reached out lifting up the edge of the leg opening in his boxers to catch a better glimpse. Tugging on the fabric I could now make out most of his thick shaft and the soft membrane of his ball sack that sagged down slightly. They didn't quite reach far enough to rest against his butt cheeks, but weren't that far off either. Reaching my hand inside I placed my fingers across his erection wriggling them around to free his hard tube from the tangled fabric of his underwear. Once it was freed up I tilted my wrist forcing the fabric of his leg opening to slide over to one side. The process was relatively easy because his boxers were fairly baggy as his entire boy bits along with most of his pubic mound were completely exposed. The major portion of his thick shaft now lay sprawled across his pale mound slightly angling towards me with his stubby short thick glans sitting on top of the fabric from his boxers.

Scooting in closer it seemed strange seeing the underside of his pale fleshy looking penis. At this close range I was able to study every aspect of his fleshy tube with my gaze settling on the slightly darker toned half inch wide band of his circumcision scar just below his thick stubby glans. It wasn't ugly looking or anything, and in his blown up state actually looked smooth like the rest of his thick shaft. Something else that caught my attention was that line that ran from beneath his glans all the way down the length of his shaft on the underside of his penis continuing over the middle of his ball sack. It was his raphe, something I recalled reading up on when I had seen the same thing on myself a year or two ago becoming curious about it. I suppose in all actuality it started really at the pee slit, sort of splitting his bulbous glans, which I knew was called the raphe preputii. The line continued down the length of his shaft which was called the raphe penis for obvious reasons. Then of course this meant that the line that split across the center of his ball sack was called raphe scroti, which effectively seemed to emphasize the left and right side of a guy's testicles.

Craning over further I noticed the line just beneath his boy purse that disappeared between his two butt cheeks which I knew ended at his tightly shut brown eyed iris. Immediately the term perineum popped into mind making me smile that my research a while back seemed to be paying off. It was amazing what a curious boy could find out about on the internet these days.

Being able to scrutinize a real live penis and ball sack this closely was amazing as I reached out lifting up Austin's heavy thick shaft in my fingers noting the heat and weight of it. I could even make out those bluish tinted spidery like veins that at first glance appeared random. Yet as I took a closer look they seemed to be mostly in a northerly and southerly direction along the length of his shaft with something like offshoots radiating away from the main course. In a way it reminded me of the main arteries from a river that had side branches heading away from it forming little streams. It was this aspect that made it appear like a jumble of blue veins without any sort of rhyme or reason to their pattern.

Austin moaned in his sleep, and I suppose me holding his erection was probably a bit too stimulating for the slumbering boy so I set it gently back down in place just before his testicles contracted upward making me snap my hand back in surprise when his penis jerked. It had only been a reflexive response on Austin's part because his rigid thick boy muscle once more settled down making me giggle.

I've never actually been this close to another person's penis before, and it was fascinating for me to finally get a good look up close and personal like as I now focused on his pale ivory colored pubic mound. He had a few filaments of light colored hairs along the base of his thick shaft. Not able to resist the temptation I ran the tip of my fingers through the few strands feeling them brush up against the pads of my fingers. Using my pointing finger and thumb I tugged lightly on the threads noticing the skin where the follicles were buried pulling slightly upwards. I didn't tug hard afraid I might pull them out shifting my attention and now running my hand across his pubic mound getting a feel of what it was like to have some hair down there. It sort of felt like a combination of silky smoothness and downy softness making me sigh wishing I would grow mine already, but still no such luck.

Austin shifted again in his sleep his left knee bending outwards opening himself up even more allowing me to catch the slight headiness scent of sex from between his legs. I knew he had jacked off not even an hour ago, so there was the unmistakable scent of boy juice left over from his earlier session. It seemed to draw me in as I leaned down shoving my nose between his thigh and boy parts taking a big whiff. There were subtle layers of his scent that blasted their way through my senses making my mind reel unexpectedly while I gasped in surprise. I've never been this close to the source of another person's sex scent before, so it struck me like a bolt of lightning, my body quivering in delight. My nose was buried so deep in his crotch that I could actually feel the heat of his erection when it brushed up against my nose while his warm fleshy sack bumped up against the side of my chin and mouth. The boy shifted again his hard erection rubbing its way across the openings of my nose, the unique scent of boy cum entering my senses.

The overpowering fragrance left little doubt in my mind that the boy had ejaculated while his little brother masturbated him with the small meager amount getting rubbed into the skin along his thick shaft in the process. The idea of it made me tremble with the sensual sexiness of the moment making me whimper with lustful desires. An image of me slurping up his thick hardened tube into my mouth immediately popped into my mind the idea of it making me tremble excitedly. It wouldn't take much for me to simply tilt my head slightly sliding the smooth tubular digit deep into the fissure of my damp balmy mouth. Even the idea of feeling my tongue sliding down the length of his thick shaft and running around that short cut nub while I swallowed him up made me quiver in delightful desire forcing me to back off from him before I did something stupid. Even though I didn't actually do the naughty deed of slurping him up for real, this was still perving on another boy personified, and I blushed in shame at what I had just done to Austin without his knowledge. I had taken advantage of the situation, and I sighed reluctantly before pulling his boxers back over his most intimate of intimates.

Even though I knew he wanted to do things of a sexual nature with me I was still ashamed for having done something like this while he didn't have a say in the matter. It was one thing to mess around when a person had a choice, but to take advantage of someone while they slept was unconscionable as I now pulled the blanket back over us completely mortified by my behavior. Austin had been kind to me, not pushing anything sexual in nature on me that I wasn't ready for, and respecting how I felt about such things at this time. I didn't want to break this trust we had built up by going too far. In a way I was pretty much crossing the line already with what I had done, but to have actually slurped him up while he slept would have been almost paramount to rape; especially, if I made him cum in his sleep.

The thought of Austin ejaculating like this made me wonder if a boy could actually cum in his sleep without waking up. I've heard of wet dreams where a boy squirts in his sleep because of some dream or other. From what I gathered boys tended to wake up when that happened, but I wondered if there were cases where a boy actually slept through an incident like that. Maybe that was something I could try to find out, for research purposes of course, I chuckled to myself.

After those two incidents I tried to cool my jets so to speak, and I noticed that Jake tried to do the same thing. Even though Austin had sexual desires as well, he never tried anything overtly, always keeping things subtle between us and in a very respectful manner. Even when he had masturbated with me next to him that first time he had spent the night, he had done it because he thought I was asleep. Of course he was perving on me, but no way's near as what I had done to him.

School was in full swing now, and at first I was a little nervous about it, but with Austin and Jake being fast friends the transition happened a lot smoother than I thought possible. It was a much smaller school than I was accustomed to with only about two hundred and fifty students in all versus the seven hundred plus students that went to my middle school. The other difference was that my school only had grades six through eight; whereas, Blue Meadows included all grade levels beginning in the first grade all the way up through High School. It really was a small community and even the student per teacher ratio was really low. It meant most students performed academically well at this school because the teachers were more in tune with each student's personal needs.

When I signed up for school, the Principal, a Mr. Johnson, had sat me down with the Weilers regarding my history at my other school. He said he had talked with Principal Fogerty who had mentioned that I tended to be a trouble maker. When the Weilers began to protest he held up his hand looking towards me for my comment while I squirmed around nervously. I readily admitted I had gotten into my fair share of scrapes, but in my defense most of those times were justified and not actually on the school property. The few times where it happened at school there had been reasons including the last one which got me suspended. The man listened to me attentively while I pleaded my case letting me speak for the most part without interruption; except, for when he needed clarification on a point. When I explained to him about the last situation at my old school he seemed genuinely concerned. Of course he didn't necessarily approve of my actions, but then again he didn't approve of suspending someone without a full investigation no matter how often there's been a previous incident.

He was also impressed by my grades saying it doesn't seem to match the type of person I've been characterized as; now focusing his attention on the Weilers to get their opinion since I've been staying with them. They immediately jumped to my defense describing how at first there was friction until they got the facts. In their opinion my behavior was justified at the time, but they explained that as I settled in how I had been a big help with Jamie. At this point they became animated stating how far the eleven year old boy had come in such a short period of time.

They even got on the Principal's computer taking him to the web site showing him the database with graphs and charts so that he could actually see the information regarding Jamie while school was out. The principal was truly encouraged by the progress, and when he found out that I had implemented the database program he was genuinely impressed. Moreover what really had the man baffled was that I had somehow managed to connect with a boy who never seemed to interact with anyone. When I explained that it was mostly due to my dog Boxey, he frowned nodding his head, but said it was me who expanded on the good fortune pushing the boy even further beyond the boundaries. To him it showed the kindness and patience in my heart, something totally different from the initial impression he had been provided from other sources.

Since I was only going to be there for a relatively short period of time Principal Johnson decided to keep the disciplinary information from my old school in a separate file in his office. My academic records would be put in the main files of this school along with the other students. In essence he felt that since he wasn't a part of the process at my old school he didn't think it was fair for me to start with a bad reputation at this school.

He did remind me though that he's already heard about the incident in town with Damian. From all accounts the older boy had brought it on his own, but he cautioned me to try avoiding any altercations and to steer clear of the older boy. It was a small school so of course the two of us would be bumping into one another from time to time, but I shouldn't be rash and quick to react. He hoped dealing with Jamie had taught me some restraint and patience.

Since the school really was so small it meant I had to contend with Damian. The boy shot daggers in my direction from time to time, but I was relieved to see him staying clear of me just as much as I did him. I did have one short altercation with him when a younger boy came running up to me saying that Damian and some of his thugs had cornered Jamie in the bathroom by his special education class. It sent me and several other kids who had become friends with me scrambling towards the bathroom. Even a couple of high school kids along with that David kid who had been there the day I got in a fight with Damian joined me because it was Jamie. I had come to discover that most kids at this school tended to watch after Jamie, which kind of impressed me considering at my old school a kid like him would be more likely shunned and ridiculed.

As I approached the bathroom I could hear a distinctive voice carrying down the short hallway in this part of the building. It was in the older part of the building that was rarely used. Evidently Jamie had his routine at this time where he went to the restroom in this location. It was a bathroom rarely used, but it was close to the classroom he attended in order to get some specialized teaching for his particular situation.

"Aren't you guys curious about it. I mean, it's like he's got a boner all the time. I mean if that's true I'd like to know because maybe he's not only a retard but gay to boot." I heard the hatred in the voice making my heart pound in my chest as I burst through the door where all the commotion was going on.

"What the hell's going on here?" I shouted running into a group of thugs who had Jamie cornered by one of the urinals like they were getting ready to jump him.

"None of your fucking business." I heard Damian spit out while he shoved himself past some of his goons.

It was him and four other guys in the bathroom so Damian was most definitely feeling full of himself when he jostled one of his thugs aside so he could see who was stupid enough to interrupt him. His arrogance suddenly melted away when he saw me standing there along with several other students the bathroom suddenly feeling a bit crowded.

When the older boy saw us all standing there he seemed to change his tune. "That is…what I mean is that…uh…well…yeah…Jamie here seemed kind of freaked out, and well, we wanted to help out is all." Damian amended not so convincingly with Jamie fidgeting around nervously behind them obviously agitated by the situation.

My eyes narrowed and I glared at the older boy. "You're full of shit; I heard what you just said." I shouted angrily getting worried glances by the four other guys Damian's age including Roger, the kid I had caught the last time when I had my altercation down the road from the General Store.

Turning to these other guys now I took a step forward getting worried glances by them since they've heard the stories as to what happened to Damian and the other kid with him, not to mention the Lorenz brothers. I was much smaller than them, but it didn't matter at the moment because they most definitely didn't want to get involved in any altercations involving me, not to mention some of the other school kids who had followed me into the bathroom.

Feeling frustrated I finally vented. "Listen here you fucking in-bred backwoods backdoor brownie queens." I spat out my insults referring to them being the product of inbreeding from the boondocks who liked fucking guys in the ass like a bunch of fairies. "If I catch any of you messing with Jamie again I'll…"

My blood was boiling ready for a fight as I started ranting until I felt a light touch on my arm with a big hulking of a high school senior stepping forward calming me down. "Listen guys I don't know what your beef is with Jamie, but it's pretty much understood by all of us at school the kid's off limits to any squabbles. Now that we all know who's involved…," he stated pointedly pausing looking each one of the five sixteen year olds in the eyes, "if anything, and I do mean anything comes up regarding Jamie it means lights out for all of you because the entire school will be gunning for you. Now beat it." His voice boomed threateningly with the four thugs immediately leaping into action scuttling out of the room while the big senior held out his arm keeping Damian in place.

"As for you Damian, there's a few of us who aren't scared of you. We know many of the kids feel bullied by you, but you have my word I'll bury you if you mess around with Jamie. I don't care who your father is or any of your other relatives; especially, not the Vice Principal because no matter what they might do it will be too late anyway. I'll simply bury you so far deep into a hole it'll take years before you to crawl out of your own shit." The boy threatened while I simply arched my eyebrows totally impressed with how the kids in this school seemed to have Jamie's back.

Damian glared back defiantly before his shoulders slumped forward and he simply nodded hurrying to exit the room, but not before I saw him shooting daggers my way as if to say this was my fault. "Sam, you better see to Jamie. He looks really upset." David interrupted my thoughts forcing me to nod my head and step forward trying to calm down the clearly agitated eleven year old boy.

After that things seemed to settle down at school while at the Weilers they seemed to improve even more. With access to the internet now at their farm, the Weilers joined in with me gathering information on how we may be able to improve things even more with the autistic boy. The database allowed them a tangible way of viewing his actual progress, so it appeared to motivate them in ways that they've been ignoring for years. I suppose autism not only affected the one who had it, but everyone around them because it would wear people down over a period of time.

Now there was a new sense of purpose behind the Weilers with me somehow managing to convince them to change Jamie's diet in a drastic way. A lot of research showed that diet along with other key factors had possible outcomes in a positive way. Of course no single thing was a magic bullet, but people had to pursue different avenues seeking out what helped the most in the long run. It was an ongoing process at all times, and the next phase in my opinion was diet with the Weilers agreeing. In the end I convinced them it wouldn't be that much of a change since they already knew about most of the adjustments necessary for Jamie because a lot of the way I ate was how it would now need to be for the eleven year old boy as well. His diet would be even more restrictive than mine, but the core element of it was basically the same with everything pretty much already in place because of them accommodating my dietary needs.

Soon after we began the new diet we saw another phase of his continued progress. It was simple things like being more focused when we talked to him or him not getting frustrated so quickly. He even managed more complex tasks, and his interaction towards Boxey continued to improve as the boy carried on complete conversations with the dog first thing in the morning. We all seemed to realize that the morning hours had always been Jamie's peak time of interaction, but now those things seemed to occur more often throughout the day at the most unexpected times. I wasn't sure if it was the diet or simply him growing and learning like any other kid along the way, but the improvements seemed tangible with us tracking his progress. Some days were better than others, so we began to cross reference the meals he was eating, and the ingredients included in them. We were very thorough and hoped that at some point a commonality with ingredients would shed light into what seemed to work and what didn't; therefore, it was important to break all of this down so meticulously.

A few weeks after school started up I was riding my bike home like I've gotten into the habit of doing. Normally Austin and Jake would be with me, but they had managed to come down with a cold. Even I began to detect the beginning signs of me coming down with one as well, so figured when I got back I might just have to try heading it off at the pass like I always did. Anymore it was rare for me to come down with something because I could feel it coming on and would tackle it before it got into full swing inside of my body. The weather forecast had stated there would be a weather front coming in later on closer towards evening, but when I paused at the end of the trail I noticed dark clouds already forming off in the distance indicating it would be arriving here shortly.

I was wearing my thick brownish tan colored warm Abercrombie Jacket my mom had bought me before it started to get cold at the beginning of the school year. She got it at a second hand store, but it had been practically brand new not even used and cheap for a jacket like this. She couldn't resist buying it for me because it had been such a great deal, and it was toasty warm to wear. The canvas like outer layer was water resistant, had a warm soft thick wool lining inside, nice big pockets on the outside, and also a chest pocket on the inside. The hood had the same kind of wool lining on the inside making it an extremely warm jacket that kept me dry even during the heavy snows. It had a large zipper front panel making it easy for even the clumsiest of fingers to close up during cold weather with snap buttons to protect the zipper from freezing up. With this in mind I paused long enough to unzip my jacket because I was getting too warm riding my bike. With the weather forecast having predicted a cold afternoon with a snow front coming in I hadn't taken any chances so in addition to my warm jacket I was wearing a gray long sleeved sweatshirt with a green and red wool long sleeved flannel shirt which was currently unbuttoned.

Before getting on the main road that would take me to another cut-off area trail that would take me closer to the Weilers' orchard I glanced to my right trying to gauge the distance of the clouds. While I was gazing down the road I saw an old black truck turning in the opposite direction cresting the small rise before veering off to the left on a side road. For a split second before it disappeared over the small hill I thought I detected Jamie inside the truck. They were a bit far off for me to be sure, and Jamie wouldn't be in a truck because he always rode the bus home so I knew it couldn't be him, but there was a sinking feeling in my gut that I couldn't ignore.

Coming to a quick decision I leaned back lifting up the front tire of my electric blue colored outreach mountain bike, and swiveled it around jumping on the peddles pumping my legs with urgency. Veering off the main road, onto another side trail that I knew connected back to the road the truck had turned on, I sped down the uneven and bumpy track. I was familiar with this trail and knew that just up ahead there was a little creek. Not bothering to slow down I jumped across the small stream to the other side without any problems swerving back on to a paved road just in time to see the black truck about a hundred yards in front of me taking another turn while I chased after it.

For fifteen minutes I managed to keep the truck in sight at various times while I charged down side trails until I had become completely disorientated and lost. Now as I pedaled down a paved road I swiveled my head around having lost track of the truck while my heart pounded in my chest. Slowing down my bike I looked around getting a little worried wondering what I was going to do now because not only had I lost the truck, but I was completely turned around in an area I wasn't familiar with. Then I heard some shouting way off in the distance across a large field disappearing somewhere behind the trees on the opposite side. Pausing I heard more shouting and I could instantly make out Jamie's blood curdling screams with him in the middle of one of his epic meltdowns.

"Hold him down." I heard shouting drifting across the field prompting me to act as I panicked racing down a trail the led in the general direction of the noise.

The commotion seemed to build up, and I knew this was bad in the worst way. When Jamie had a meltdown it could be disastrous if you didn't know what you were doing. There was a certain way you had to hold him in order to control him until he completely wore himself out. If it wasn't done correctly he could hurt someone, or he could even get hurt himself. The shouting intensified as I neared the trees with me not bothering to slow down pedaling down the trail blindly like a madman. All of a sudden the trees opened up, and I nearly ran into a fence barely managing to bring the bike to a halt with me shifting my weight to the side allowing the bike to slide sideways before slamming into the fence. The jolt from the sudden stop nearly tossed me into the fence, but somehow I had managed to stay upright jumping off the bike looking around frantically before noticing the open gate a few feet off to the side.

Rushing through the entrance in a panic I didn't even realize what I was doing as I looked around noticing the jumbled piles of junk scattered throughout the open space. If I didn't know better I'd say this was sort of a farmer's junk yard with crap probably being dumped in here for a hundred years.

A blood curdling scream followed by a vicious command got my attention. "Hold still you little shit," I heard another shout while I panicked running towards the commotion.

"Jamie," I yelled out running through the maze of piled up rusted farm parts and other jumbled up unknown items.

Rounding a corner I blindly ran into a pile of tires knocking them over in the process while my eyes fell on two boys writhing around on the ground. Jamie was screaming at the top of his lungs his head having turned completely red. His shirt had been ripped up barely even hanging on his slim lanky body, and I didn't even see the jacket he normally wore to school. He was covered in dirt, grime, and blood with red scratch marks all over his body like someone had tried to hold him down. Even his pants were pulled down across his thighs with his ripped underwear completely covered in brown dirt and mud, yet somehow had still stayed in place around his slim waist. Finishing off the horrible scene was the fact that even one of his shoes was missing.

"Stop it let Jamie go before he gets hurt." I yelled stepping forward, my eyes locking on the same boy from the park who had been with Damian when we had gotten into a fight, with a small trickle of blood dripping from his nose like he had been hit.

Roger's eyes got big with fear just before he yelled out. "No…don't," he shouted out almost warningly when I felt the stinging pain across the back of my head.

There was a loud cracking noise followed by me being flung forward while my whole world seemed to go dark momentarily before a burst of swirling lights began to explode inside my head. Everything suddenly went blank for me while I struggled to make sense of what was going on. All I knew in that split second was that the other boy lying on the ground hadn't been afraid of me, but rather for me. It was almost like he had been trying to warn me, which I thought was odd all things considered. I could feel the cold damp ground beneath me, and I struggled to get up when I suddenly felt my body lifting up off the ground with something impacting my sides and stomach. The air whooshed out of my lungs leaving me gasping for air.

"Not so fucking tough now are you." I heard a sadistic voice that was oddly familiar before I felt something heavy settling across the back of my neck and head forcing me back flat on my face with me beginning to loose consciousness.

Then I heard Roger, the one who had been trying to hold down Jamie. "Stop or you'll kill him. I don't want any part of this. I told you we should leave Jamie alone, and you promised me that we were simply going to drop him off at home. This was a bad idea, and I'm out of here. I don't give a shit what you threaten me with." I heard the frightened voice followed by him running past me.

"You fucking coward. Wait, you can't just fucking leave me here. You'll pay if you do." I heard the familiar voice, but at the moment I couldn't seem to piece it together as I felt something being tossed on top of me with more footsteps leaving.

In the background I could hear Jamie still yelling and moaning replaced by the other voices. "Wait, the bike." I heard the familiar voice shout with a reply from Roger, "I'm not stealing the kid's bike," followed by a short pause with my bike still being loaded up despite the first boy's insistence on leaving it before I heard the rumbling of the truck fade away off in the distance.

My mind was all fuzzy and I tried to open up my eyes still dazed trying to bring myself back into focus. Something was telling me that it was important to get up. I tried to move with my body aching and my head pounding, but nothing was cooperating so I finally shut my eyes and allowed myself to slowly drift off.

The soft pattering sound of rain on plastic finally woke me up and I slowly opened up my eyes to a sort of bluish green tint all around me making me frown in confusion. As my eyes came back into focus I realized something was sort of protecting me from the rain. It was a plastic tarp which someone had pulled over me, the persistent buzzing noise bringing me even further into the land of the living.

Slowly the buzzing noise became clearer with me recognizing a familiar voice urging me. "Sammy…Sammy…up…Sammy up." I heard the voice prompting me until I finally began to move and slowly sat up looking around.

Sitting on the ground next to me was a broken piece of wood. It looked to have been maybe a two by four at some point, but over the years it had broken off into a smaller chunk. It must have been what was used to hit me, the reminder of the incident prompting my head to begin an aching incessant pounding. Reaching around with my hand I could feel the damp clot of blood across the back of my head and neck making me wince while I continued to look around noticing how it was beginning to rain even harder. My gaze settled on Jamie who was sitting on the ground next to where I had been laying, rocking back and forth. He was sitting on the wet ground in his torn underwear with his pants tucked down behind his knees. He was curled up in a sitting position with his knees drawn up to his chest and his arms locked around his legs huddled over while the rain continued to tumble down his bare back. I thought it oddly strange since he had taken the time to cover me up with something to protect me from the rain while he sat there getting soaked.

Looking around I couldn't see his jacket anywhere, and during the struggle his shirt had been completely ripped off of him. Spotting his shoe I limped over towards it finally noticing his jacket close by as well. Stooping over to pick up his shoe I gasped when a pain shot through my side followed quickly by my head spinning with an aching pain thundering inside of my skull.

"Shit," I gasped barely managing to straighten myself out stumbling towards the discarded lightweight jacket.

I managed a little better with his jacket grabbing it before walking back towards Jamie. The boy was visibly shaking completely soaked now with the temperature rapidly dropping. His lightweight jacket would do little to keep out the cold and wet rain, not to mention his canvas sneakers were completely soaked through and through. Looking around I knew we were in deep trouble so I pulled out my phone cursing because we were in a dead zone with no phone reception. Sighing I knelt in front of Jamie knowing we had to get moving and find some help.

"Jamie, you have to stand up now and pull up your pants. If we don't get help we will be in trouble." I tried to tell him noticing the boy's eyes get big with worry because he took things literally, which meant he thought the trouble I referred to was in the way of having done something wrong.

Trying again I began to explain the situation to him in a way he might understand. "Um…I didn't mean in trouble like we did anything wrong. I mean it is getting cold outside, and we need to find someplace to get out of the weather." I gently prompted urging the boy to get up.

"Cold…it's cold." Jamie stated simply rocking back and forth.

"I know it's cold, here you can wear my jacket." I told him slipping out of it and reaching out to drape it over his shoulders.

Suddenly Jamie went ballistic again screaming and scooting backwards while I held my free hand up. "Jamie, it's alright I won't hurt you. Here you can do it yourself, but you need to put on the jacket and get up." I tried to soothe the boy who seemed to immediately calm down hesitating a moment before taking the jacket from my hand.

Standing up the boy put on my jacket the wet underwear barely concealing his erection. His flimsy no longer white briefs were completely soaked revealing the fleshy color of his hard tube as it pressed up against the muddy material. One side of his underwear was torn open so his ball sack was completely exposed having shrunk to about half its normal size with his testicles looking like they had snuggled up inside his body cavity because of the cold weather. Frankly, I was kind of surprised the kid was still boned up considering how cold and wet he was at the moment. Bending over Jamie tugged his jeans back into place before shuffling back and forth awkwardly until I realized he was still wearing only one shoe.

They were completely soaked, and I knew he wouldn't be able to walk in them for long because his feet would go numb. He would never understand that he couldn't stop until we got some help. Sighing I sat down on a couple of tires motioning for Jamie to sit down on the ones next to me. The boy did what he was told taking a seat while I slipped out of my warm boots grabbing some loose paper and shoving them inside to the toe end.

"Here put on these boots Jamie." I simply ordered giving him no choice watching him immediately kick of his one canvas sneaker, and putting my warm boots on.

I knew my boots were a half size too big which was the reason why I had shoved in some paper, but they would do until we managed to get some help. His shoes fit a bit snugly on my feet as I slid inside of them shivering slightly from the cold wetness, but I hoped they would stretch enough to accommodate my feet after a bit. Wriggling around my toes feeling them squish around wetly in the constrictiveness of the material on my foot I realized I'd probably end up with blisters, but I had to wear something. Slipping on his lightweight jacket, which did little to hold out the frigid wind that had picked up; my first priority was to make sure Jamie was alright. I began shivering a bit from the cold biting wind beginning to feel the effects of the wet frosty weather. The temperature was dropping, and instead of raining it was now beginning to snow dampening my mood. If the temperature continued to drop it may just turn into ice. Gazing off into the distance I realized it was also beginning to get dark, not to mention the dark clouds I had spotted earlier were nearly on top of us now making matters worse.

"Shit Jamie we have to get going and find somewhere warm. I have no idea where we are." I admitted to the boy who simply looked down at his feet once more in his own world making it a bit unsettling to me because I really felt alone at the moment.

Standing up I bit my lower lip looking at the clouds knowing we were in deep shit because it was about to dump a boat load of snow on top of our heads. Glancing back at Jamie who looked all snug as a bug in my warm jacket, I sighed shaking my head.

"Hey Jamie, I'm going to unzip the collar on your jacket so you can put on the hood. We don't want your head to get any colder." I told him reaching out and carefully unzipping the collar around his jacket allowing the boy to slide it over his head. "That's good Jamie, but tie the string under your chin so it stays on you." I instructed watching him do just that making me wonder where he learned to tie.

As I thought about it I suppose it would make sense because he knew how to tie his own shoe, so why not the string for the hood. Satisfied now that Jamie was squared away I pursed my lips looking around once more. I suppose I was stalling, and I knew we would need to do something here soon, but I also didn't want to do anything rash so I tried to clear my mind and come up with some sort of plan. It was rapidly getting dark, and if the blizzard hit us while we were looking for help it might get to the point where we could hardly see each other. Looking around I spotted some cord about ten or fifteen feet long. Getting it untangled I motioned for Jamie to stand up while I tied one end around my waist hesitating a moment glancing towards the other boy.

"Jamie, I'm going to tie this around your waist, just like I do sometimes with the bag holding Boxey's doggie treats." I instructed carefully approaching the boy and looping the cord around him without physically touching him.

"That's very good Jamie, but when we walk you might feel it tugging on you." I informed the boy pulling on the cord gently so he could feel what I meant.

He didn't seem happy about the feeling of it tugging on him so I tried to reassure him. "You see Jamie when it tugs on you it will tug on me too." I stated showing him by tugging on my end. "See, there's nothing to it at all. This is a good thing because it will remind us to stay together. How about if I tug on it again so you see how it is supposed to feel." I tell him tugging on the cord gently without him being so upset by it this time.

"You see we both can do this. When it tugs it will remind us we are still together. This way we will know we are together when we see each other and also when the cord tugs on us sometimes. That's very easy to do." I tell him smiling encouragingly even though he wasn't looking at me.

The snow was really starting to come down now as I made my way through the maze in the junkyard backtracking the way I had entered. At the last moment I stooped over picking up the small sheet of plastic holding it up before tossing it back down. It had huge holes in it and would do very little to protect me. Looking around I figured I might as well retrace our way through the trees and the trail heading across the field. Once I reached the street I could try to decide what to do then. My feet were already getting numb when we began our journey making me worried that I might not be able to walk too far. This thought was fleeting because all of a sudden I began to cough with my lungs rattling inside my chest. The suddenness of it forced my body to constrict creating a stabbing pain which shot through my side while my head began to pound making me a bit woozy and wobbly on my legs. It forced me to stop for a moment while I wheezed panting for air trying to calm down the panic rising inside of me when I spit out the phlegm and noticed the blood splattering on the ground.

"Shit," I cussed forcefully making Jamie flinch from my outburst before I calmed down and tried to smile at him. "I'm sorry about that." I told the boy who looked a bit troubled, which was an unusual look for him. "Don't worry it will be alright. We better get moving." I sighed with the snowfall steadily increasing.

Stumbling on to the road while the blizzard flurries began to intensify I looked around a bit stunned when we had actually reached the roadway because I hadn't even seen it until we actually were right on it. Snow was already beginning to stick on the black pavement with patches of ice forming as well. What had only taken a minute or so on bike took us close to ten or fifteen minutes on foot. This was bad, really bad I thought to myself not knowing which direction to take. Looking to my left there was a gentle downwards slope with the street stretching out in front of me. In all this blustery wind and snow it was difficult to see anything at all, but I figured if there were any houses or cars I'd at least be able to see some sort of light. As I gazed upon the open expanse there wasn't any sign of a house or car. The road sloped downwards in that direction so would be the easiest course to walk, but it didn't make any sense to go that way if there weren't any houses.

Looking to my right the road slowly rose before cresting about a tenth of a mile. There wasn't anything in that direction either, but it was shorter and once up top I might be able to see something in that direction. Biting my lower lip I took in a deep breath once more gasping in pain having forgotten all about my bruising tasting blood from my lungs in my mouth. Shit, someone's going to pay for this, I swore to myself, that is if I made it out of here alive. I began to shudder because the short pause was allowing the cold to work its way into my body. The only thing keeping me warm at the moment was the exertion on my body from walking. This was a dangerous thing though because I knew it also meant I was burning a lot of fuel not only in order to keep warm, but also to keep me moving.

Taking a moment I pulled up the collar on my flannel shirt trying to cover my face and mouth. The cold air was causing me to spit up blood and I needed to protect my lungs. Jamie had stopped a couple of feet away from me gazing down the road off in the distance and then turning facing up the hill before he began to shuffle nervously leaning his body in that direction.

Glancing sideways at the boy I nodded my head. "Yeah I agree with you. We have to go up since there is nothing down back that way." I sighed smiling wondering if he really understood what I was saying.

With Jamie who knew. The boy really was an enigma. Chuckling I shook my head. I really was a quirky kid with all these weird words I came up with. I mean "enigma," I don't know why I did it since my friends never used such expressions, but sometimes certain terms would catch my attention, and once they did I tended to use my new words.

My thoughts turned back to Jamie and I smiled because the boy really was a riddle at times. I never truly knew what he did or did not understand sometimes because one moment he would act like he knew exactly what you were talking about while at other times he stared off into space like I was talking gibberish. With Jamie it was as if the unspoken communications he had with Boxey worked better than the spoken words the rest of us tend to use with each other. In some ways I suppose I had incorporated this sort of communicating to the boy the same way I would with Boxey. I guess it put me in a position to comprehend him the best. Aunt Harriet and Uncle Walt also seemed to understand Jamie, but I suppose I had sort of been able to utilize my experience with Boxey, which seemed to really work when dealing with this autistic kid. I began to think how this might work with other autistic people.

It was slow going, and it took about ten minutes, but we finally managed to reach the top with the road leveling out while I began to scan for any signs of light or shelter up ahead. My heart sank as my eyes darted around without seeing anything on either side of the road. Then I had another thought and I dug out my phone trying to get my fingers to work in this numbing cold. Holding it up I tried to find a signal, but despite us being up higher we were still in some sort of dead zone for my cell phone carrier.

"Oh shit, what now?" I asked no one in particular shoving my phone back into my pocket turning my attention to Jamie who was looking off towards his left.

Walking towards the boy following his gaze I thought I detected something causing my heart to skip a beat. Stopping about a foot from the boy there it was; a light between the trees. I had missed it from the angle of where I was standing, but sure enough there it was as I sighed in relief. It looked a long distance off though, the warm fuzzy feeling fading away from the initial excitement. It would probably be a thirty or forty minute walk from here, and the snow was now intermixed with ice, my breath freezing up in mid air before slamming into my face.

"Shit the wind is blowing in our faces." I sighed wondering what else could go wrong.

Just as the thought popped into my mind I suddenly fell to my knees. The muscles in my legs had cramped up and I screamed because of the throbbing stinging sensation. "Shit…shit…shit," I yelled making Jamie take a few steps backwards while I moaned in pain not only from my muscles, but now also thundering roar my head and the constant ache in my ribs.

This was bad, but if I didn't get up and try to walk it through I might never get up. Groaning I finally managed to get up on my feet taking a few hesitant steps feeling my legs wobble beneath me. I focused on one step at a time and soon enough the cramp had eased back into a dull ache. From here on out there would be no stopping until we reached our destination. The road was too long angling away from the source. I was sure at some point there would be a side road leading to the light, but what if I missed it somewhere along the way. In my current state I might simply walk right past it.

Looking past the source of the light off further into the distance I set my sights on a formation on the hills off in the background. If I kept a course in that direction I would eventually stumble on the source of the light. It was almost dark now, but I could still make out that formation clearly indicating even once it did get dark I'd be able to see it. My biggest concern was if the blizzard became too much then it would hinder my line of sight. I simply didn't see any other choice though so veered off the roadway opting to take the direct route. Hopefully there wouldn't be too many obstacles like fences along the way that we couldn't get across.

It seemed like Jamie and I had been stumbling around in the dark forever now. My biggest fear had come to pass a little while back when the raging blizzard that was pummeling us in full force now had blocked my view of the formation I had been heading towards. It had been my only reference point, and now with only darkness surrounding us I was completely lost. The only thing we could see was the light colored dizzying array of ice and snow hurtling in front of our faces. It was almost like those Vietnam War movies where the jets or helicopters would fly between those orange glowing pellets of bullets shooting at them. It was simply terrifying to say the least, but we continued to walk my mind becoming totally numb without any thought or reason.

The only thing that kept playing over and over in my mind was to take one step before taking another. It became the only conscious thought with me doing just that, taking one step before taking another. The only other thought was the occasional tug on the other end of the cord, a friendly reminder of why I needed to keep moving forward. If nothing else I had to make sure Jamie made it through all of this safe and sound. He was my responsibility and much more. I couldn't deny it, I loved him and he meant everything to me, so if nothing else I had to protect the boy and make sure he got to safety. Those were the only things left in the depths of my thoughts when I furled my eyebrows wondering why I wasn't moving any more.

Looking around all I could think of is that there was something important about not moving as I scrunched my face trying to remember. I couldn't seem to understand why it was important, but it was and this door was blocking my way so I reached out trying to open it up. I had to keep moving and since the door was in the way I'd simply have to open it up and walk through it so I could keep moving. The only problem was that it wouldn't open, and I became increasingly irritated banging my fist up against it in frustration before giving up and leaning my weight against the door.

"Oh Jamie, I'm so sorry…I just can't do it anymore. I can't move…I'm so sorry," I somehow managed to get out, my words feeling thick in my mouth with the taste of blood, and the warm wetness of tears trickling down my cheeks because I had failed the boy, the most important person in my life other than my mom.

Then the world seemed to slip from beneath my feet. I felt that sort of brief weightlessness before something solid seemed to slam into my back with my eyes fluttering closed a brief darkness enveloping my consciousness. A sort of warmth seemed to wash over my body so I simply let myself go. I had failed, but the warmth was beckoning me with the voice of an angel calling out. It was a sweet pure sound that urged me to open up my eyes. Slowly I gazed up the shimmering shape of a face beginning to swim into focus.

"Sam…Sam…open your eyes…please open your eyes." I heard the voice speaking to me in a clear singsong kind of way while my gaze slowly came into focus.

There was something familiar about the face flittering wildly in front of me before I cringed when the singsong sweet voice suddenly belted out. "Daaaaaady, come quick." The shrill of the voice seemed to cut through me and my body began to shiver uncontrollably with the numbness of cold wrapping its fist around my battered body.

Then there was another voice. "What are you yelling about…oh shit…move sweetie." I heard a deeper tone command with another figure swimming in front of my vision through the mind numbing haze of my sluggish brain.

This one was no angel with hardened chiseled features reminding me of Mr. Weiler. "Oh Geeze where the hell did you come from and hardly dressed in the right clothes. We've got to get him inside and out of those wet clothes." The man stated beginning to lift me up when he noticed something.

"What's this?" He asked while I watched him tugging on the rope pulling Jamie inside the door as well completely making him jump in surprise. "Oh crap…come inside." The man stated getting up and reaching towards Jamie."

"No stop daddy, don't touch him. It's Jamie. Oh my God dad, they were looking for him at school when he didn't get on his bus. It's why I was late getting home today." The girl stated as the man gasped in surprise.

"What…you mean this kid on the floor kidnapped an autistic kid." The man began sounding disgusted.

"No…no daddy…this is Sam. He's staying with the Weilers. If anything he's probably one of the only people who understands Jamie. He rides his bike every day with the Lorenz brothers so I'm not sure what happened. He must have found Jamie and look, the jacket Sam is wearing belongs to Jamie, even the sneakers. He must have given Jamie his jacket and shoes because he knew Jamie wouldn't last in this cold weather, not with that stuff. Oh daddy what are we going to do?" The girl sniffled looking concerned.

There was something about her that tickled my memory. Everything was too fuzzy for me to understand though when the man knelt down next to me while I continued shivering uncontrollably before he undid the cord around my waist.

"Holy crap, there's blood everywhere on him. It's frozen to the back of his head. Sweetie call the doctor and the police…move." He commanded the girl disappearing before the man lifted me up carrying me further into the house where it was warmer. "Sweetie…," the man called out waiting for a moment until the girl came running back into the room with the telephone in her hands.

"Yes daddy." She countered sweetly.

"I need you to close the front door, and see if you can get Jamie into the living room." He instructed her while he laid me down gently on the couch and began to unlace my shoes which seemed frozen to my feet tugging on them forcing me to gasp when blood began to once more circulate to my feet because they were no longer cut off by the tight material.

Tossing the shoes on to the ground the man began to unbutton my coat. Just then the girl showed up motioning for Jamie to enter the room her father pausing briefly looking over towards the boy nodding his head approvingly.

"Jamie," I croaked my voice sounding husky in my throat. "You did good, really good. You need to take off the wet jacket now and sit by the fireplace and warm up. Aunt Harriet and Uncle Walt will be here real soon." I whispered tears of relief beginning to trickle down my cheeks while the man began to tug on the jacket.

Somehow I managed to move my arms reaching out quickly to hold the man's hands in place gasping in pain from the sudden move and moaning while I tried to suck in air. My body ached all over, not to mention several places that stabbed me painfully like a meat hook piercing a slab of meat.

The man held still for a moment letting me catch my breath before he looked into my eyes nodding his head. "That's it Sam, just breath. I'll be real careful from here on out. From the look of things someone either ran you over with a truck or beat the hell out of you so we will have to be careful about your injuries." He stated calmly like he's been through this before.

Nodding my head I looked towards the girl who was watching fixedly with her big brown eyes scrutinizing me intently looking me up and down seemingly pausing a bit too long in a certain private area of mine, her overt scrutiny making me blush. The man craned his neck to see what I was looking at before turning back towards me understanding now why I had stopped him from undressing me.

"I see…don't worry Sam we will get you all settled in, and I'll be very discrete." He whispered before turning back around towards his daughter.

"Um…sweetie…listen to me very carefully. I need you to go upstairs and make those phone calls. No matter what you hear I don't want you to come down for any reason unless I call you. Do you understand?" The man commanded with the girl nodding her head.

"Yes daddy of course…but why would I…um…I mean what would I hear?" She asked nervously with her father staring at her intently.

"Sam's hurt real bad, and I'm not sure what he had to go through in order to get here. The back of his head has blood frozen in place, and when he just moved he was in extreme pain. I have to get the wet clothes off of him, and I'm sure it is going to be painful for him. He's going to scream like bloody murder I'm sure, but sweetie, I have to strip him, and I'm sure it's not something he would want with a girl standing there a few feet away. How would you feel about it if you were the one who had to be stripped naked with him watching?" He asked her taking the time to explain things to her as I noticed her face turn about twenty shades of red.

Then something changed with her eyes welling up when she realized that pain would be involved. "Oh…I…I didn't realize. I'm…oh…I'm sorry Sam. I promise I won't come down until it is alright Sam. I'll try to get in touch with your Aunt and Uncle after I call the doctor and the sheriff. I'm sure they are worried sick about you two." She stated tears running down her cheeks before she turned and ran up the stairs.

Grabbing a blanket the man tossed it over me while I continued to shiver uncontrollably. "Are you ready?" He asked me as I slowly nodded my head gritting my teeth from the pain the movement caused me.

Lifting me up in a sitting position my eyes welled up from the pain while he quickly tugged on the sleeves of the tight fitting jacket. There was a blood curdling shriek bouncing off the walls, and for a moment I thought Jamie was having another one of his meltdowns. Then I realized it was coming from me as I tasted blood in my throat from the forcefulness of the scream. I could even taste and smell the iron in the blood some of it trickling out the corners of my mouth.

Pain seemed to shoot everywhere inside of me, but the man continued to work rapidly literally pulling my shirt right over my head forcefully in one swift motion. I moaned crying audibly now with the man hissing in surprise noticing the large bruise along my ribs.

"Son of a bitch Sam what the hell happened?" He asked pulling the warm blanket under my chin letting me take a moment before he would start stripping me out of my wet pants.

"I…I saw Jamie inside someone's truck. At first I wasn't sure, but something inside me told me he was in trouble. I chased after it with my bike then I lost them. I was lost too, but then I heard Jamie having one of his meltdowns so I rode towards the noise. When I got there it was some sort of junkyard. One of the boys from school was wrestling around with Jamie on the ground. Jamie was going ballistic with half of his clothes ripped off of him. Then I saw this kid's eyes getting really big and he tried to warn me, but it was too late. Another kid hit me from behind with a board. It knocked me on the ground. The guy who hit me was yelling and began to kick me several times. I heard the other boy who had Jamie saying he wanted no part of it. He must have run to his truck, and I guess the other guy didn't want to be left behind.

After they left I blacked out, and when I woke up Jamie had covered me with a tarp to protect me from the rain. He was sitting on the ground with no shirt and only in his underwear. I'm not sure what those guys wanted to do with Jamie, but I don't think it would have been anything good. Jamie was soaking wet and cold. He only had a light jacket and sneakers because he catches the warm bus to school every day. We had to find some help because it was snowing and I could see the blizzard coming. I knew he wouldn't get far so I had to give him my jacket and shoes. I think I've probably got blisters because his shoes are about a half size too small." I chuckled trying to make light of the situation while the man stared at me in stunned amazement.

"That took some real guts kid. Jamie's lucky to have you as a friend." He told me nodding his head.

"No sir…I'm the lucky one to have Jamie as my friend." I replied sincerely my gaze settling on the man before shifting towards the eleven year old boy who was sitting by the warm fireplace. "Jamie I mean that too. I'm glad we are friends." I croaked out the tears once more trickling down the sides of my cheeks. "I'd simply die if something bad happened to you." I admitted to Jamie while the man leaned over rocking me in his arms for a few moments before slowly lowering me back on to the couch.

"Alright Sam, let's get you out of your wet pants and underwear." He stated while I turned my head away in shame because I was about to be exposed like a naked baby in front of a virtual stranger.

"Sam listen to me. I won't peek or anything…I promise. I'll keep you covered with the blanket the entire time so don't worry…alright?" The man told me gently as I looked back towards him nodding my head.

"Alright, go ahead." I whispered with him nodding and motioning for me to lift up my hips.

True to his words he worked my pants and underwear off of me keeping the warm blanket covering up my privates. I'm not sure why I was so shy about things; especially, with the way I was injured. The man was a kind gentle person as he began to examine me for other injuries being careful not to invade my privacy. He patted my hand excusing himself before returning a few moments later carrying a large bowl partially filled with warm water and some towels. I was still cold and extremely tired with my head pounding in my skull. Jamie was sitting by the fire staring into the flames with no shirt on and looking damp and filthy from head to toe. He wasn't in bad a shape like me, and he didn't seem to be cold or anything which made me relieved. Closing my eyes all I wanted was to get some sleep now since I was starting to finally feel a little warmer.

"Sam are you hurt anywhere else?" The man asked bringing me back to the moment while he turned my head sideways so he could clean away the blood.

My head was pounding giving me a splitting headache. All of a sudden I felt totally nauseous as I snapped my head back around, leaned over the couch, and threw up with the man quickly placing the bucket of water under my head. It was a good thing that it was only partially filled, because I emptied out the contents of my stomach due to the sudden motion making me cry out in pain once more. The man held my head in his callused warm hands gasping because he also noticed the blood I had spit up while I cried like a little baby at not only the utter humiliation of throwing up like that, but also because I was in a lot of pain.

"It's alright Sam…really. I can't be totally certain, but more than likely you've got a concussion. When you got smashed in the head with that board it probably bounced around your brain a little and bruising it in the process." He explained to me his voice becoming soothing while I began to relax again, and he laid me back down.

"Thanks," I whispered while he smiled nodding his head wiping away some of the puke and blood from my mouth looking a bit concerned.

Before long though the man's features softened again, his steady gaze scrutinizing me closely. "Shall we try again to get your head and the blood cleaned up?" He asked with me nodding. "Good, but I better get a new bucket first and some more towels. I'll dump this one and rinse it out just in case you throw up again and we need it." The man smiled leaving me before returning a short while later like he promised.

This time it went much better with my head getting cleaned up in short order while he placed a couple of towels under my head to soak up any more blood before patting my hand. "Maybe we should see what Kathy Lee has found out on the phone." He suggested as I looked down at myself feeling the heat rise up in my cheeks.

Chuckling, the man shook his head in amusement. "Don't worry we've got you all covered up safe and sound. Besides she's my daughter you know, and even though I like you a lot I still wouldn't approve of you flashing your little manhood in front of my little girl if you get my drift." The man teased me making me giggle despite how queasy I still felt.

Then something seemed to hit me, Kathy Lee was the girl Austin liked. Of course I knew her, and have even talked to her many times in school, but for some reason earlier I simply couldn't recall her name or how I knew her. When I was lying on the floor with her looking down at me I only had the sense that I somehow recognized her, but simply couldn't place her face with a name. It made me wonder if that had to do with the concussion Mr. Jones must have spoken of. The name Jones just seemed to pop into my head without me realizing it. Until just now I hadn't known who this man was either. I've never met him, but if he was Kathy Lee's father then of course he was Mr. Jones because that was Kathy Lee's last name. I should have been able to piece that together earlier as well, but I hadn't which was kind of frightening making me wonder if I had brain damage or something.

"Sam?" I heard the man calling my name forcing me to focus my attention on him while he smiled at me as if reading my mind. "Listen Sam, if you have a concussion it means your brain got jostled around. So it will make you green about the gills if you know what I mean, and also might affect how well you are thinking and all, but don't worry because that sort of thing goes away in a few days…alright." He told me sympathetically making me sigh in relief.

"Thanks Mr. Jones." I replied nodding my head.

"Good then." He patted my hand. "Kathy Lee, come down sweetie." He shouted upstairs his daughter immediately rushing down. "What did you find out?" He asked her.

"Oh…yes…um…well Dr. Swanson is coming right over on the snowmobile. He says it is going to get too dangerous to drive before too long. The Sheriff is on his way too. Um…sorry Sam, but I couldn't get a hold of your Aunt and Uncle." She apologized to me.

"They have a cell phone now. The number is on my cell." I pointed to my pants.

Mr. Jones looked at me furling his eyebrows. "If you had a cell phone why didn't you call for help?" He asked me placing his hand on my forehead to check my temperature, but it was his daughter who answered him as she knelt down picking up my pants which had my underwear entangled in it making me blush.

"Because there's all sorts of dead zones around here daddy, and his cell carrier probably doesn't get good reception around here like ours does. Even ours drops calls sometimes for no reason. The reception around here really does suck you know." She told her father who had his hand on my forehead while I watched the girl separating away my underwear holding it up in front of her now.

Kathy Lee gawked at the thing inspecting it closely seemingly noticing the little bulging area that normally held in my boy package. She held my underwear in her hand a bit longer than I thought appropriate before glancing towards me with both of us blushing. Me because she was scrutinizing something kind of personal; especially, that bulging area, and her because she had been caught almost drooling over something so private like belonging to another boy.

Still blushing in a way I thought was cute, she shrugged her shoulders apologetically, and dropped my wet underwear back on the floor before digging out my phone. Retrieving it from my right pocket she looked at me to see if it was alright to get into my contacts list. Nodding my head she scrolled through my list finding the Weilers number before dialing it on their land line. A few minutes later she smiled at me telling me they are on their way. They had been in the truck looking for us, and thank goodness they were in an area with good cell reception. They were backtracking towards the school she had explained.

"Thanks Kathy Lee…for everything." I yawned no longer able to stay awake. "Be sure to give Jamie a blanket, he's half naked. Just hold it out to him and tell him to put it around his shoulders." I instructed her, my eyes closing while I began to drift into that in-between state of sleep and consciousness.

The last thing I heard was Kathy Lee and her father talking. "Should we be letting him go to sleep daddy?"

"I'm not sure we could keep him awake sweetie. I'm surprise he lasted this long. He's getting feverish, but that's one tough kid and loyal to boot. He sacrificed everything for Jamie's safety and well being doing a good job of it too. Not only that, but he's smart as a whip making good sound decisions along the way. Jamie's none the worse for wear compared to Sam. His parents should be proud to have a kid like that because there aren't many like him around any more these days." I heard the man sigh sounding sad.

"Yeah daddy, but some say he's a bit of a hothead." She responded but it didn't sound to me like she meant it as a bad thing.

"I've heard some say the same thing sweetie, but from all accounts it's always been justified in my opinion. The boy has principles and is willing to back them up when necessary. In my opinion that's the manly thing to do. You stick up for what you believe is right, and fight for it when there's no other choice. Too many parents don't allow their boys to be just that…boys, hovering over them like scared little hens making their own kid paranoid at their shadow." The man clucked his tongue as if disgusted by those kinds of parents. "Now go do what Sam asked you. I'd hate for us to be responsible for anything bad happening to Jamie after Sam's gone through so much trouble to keep him safe." I heard the man chuckling at his daughter before I finally drifted over to the other side of unconsciousness.

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