Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Entangled Tales - 56 - Justin & Billy

"Hey, Mr. Green, how's it going?"

"Pretty good, Superboy, pretty good. Who's this teary eyed kid you've got with you? Hey, you were Oliver, weren't you? Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger. That was a bloody good show, Boys. You were great!"

"It was a good show," Justin agreed. "Lots of fun. This is my friend, Billy. He was a brilliant Oliver, wasn't he?"

"He was. You were, Boy, you were terrific. A Carver kid up front and centre stage and you just blew their socks off!"

Billy got to his feet. "Thanks Mr. Green, but Justin was the star of the show really."

"Well of course he was. But we expect that of Superboy, don't we? But you were a real surprise, and a good one too. So what are you two doing, sitting here bawling?"

"This - Jeremy was my cousin and my best friend too."

"Jeremy James Carver. Yeah. Poor little bugger. What he went through, that shouldn't happen to any kid. Well, we can't all sit around here crying - though lots of people do. See you around, Superboy. Nice meeting you, Billy."

"Bye Mr. Green. Have a good day."

"Every day above ground is a good day, Justin."

"Bye Mr. Green."

They sank down again, onto the grass. "What? What are you grinning about, Sunny?"

"You're bloody amazing - Just - In - Credible. That was grumpy old George Green, the caretaker of the cemetery. He's never got a civil word to say to anybody; and just look at him now. You've got him eating out of your hand. Lucas was right, you should be a lion-tamer."

"What do you mean? I'm not doing anything, I've just met him here before. I see him here a lot."

"Lots of people do, but he usually just grunts at them."

"Maybe they grunt at him. I just try to be friendly to people and usually they respond. Not always though."

"But usually. But there's more to it than that. The way he talked about Jeremy - poor little bugger - that's thanks to you too. Thanks to what you did for him. If it hadn't have been for you, George Green and everyone else would have written him off as a monster. And you got me the role of Oliver, I haven't forgotten that. I'll never forget it."

"I just twisted Mrs. Lewis' arm a bit, but you kept it and you did it. You were a brilliant Oliver."

"But you made it possible. Thanks Justin. You can deny it, and you do everyday, but you really are Superboy. You've turned this town upside down and inside out since you've been here."

"No I haven't. I've just made some friends - that's all I've done really."

"Some friends? Superboy, everybody wants to be your friend. Okay, almost everybody. But me? I hit the jackpot! Of all the people you could have chosen, you picked me. Don't you pinch me."

Justin grinned and hugged him. "I didn't pick you, Sunnyboy.  You're not a liquorice all-sort, though you are a sweetie. But I didn't pick you, I just fell for you because you are the best - the most beautiful boy, ever!"

"No I'm not. Jonathan's better looking than I am. And Lucas, and Jay - lots of people. I'm pretty ordinary really."

"Are not! You are beautiful. I mean, you're quite good-looking."

"Quite good-looking?"

""Yeah, quite good-looking. But your real beauty is on the inside and it shines out of you."

"I don't see what you see when you look at me."

"I see you, Billy. Just you. You're beautiful and I love you."

"I love you more, Superboy - SuperJustin. Now, let's go home before I start crying again."

They walked on the side of the road, walking back into town. quietly going along, hand-in-hand, sharing everything and anything that popped into their minds. A big, mud-splattered, 4WD, coming out from town, suddenly, horn-blaring, swerved across the road, narrowly missing them as Justin leapt sideways, pulling Billy with him.

As they stood, shaken, in the ditch at the side of the road, the vehicle screeched to a halt, the driver's door opened and a voice called out. "Fucking Faggots!" The door slammed and the 4WD roared off and disappeared in the distance.

"Are you all right, Sunny?"

"I'm okay. Are you all right?"

"I'm all right if you're all right. Bastards! What did they do that for?"

"I dunno. It's just the way it is. Some people just hate people like us."

"People like us?"

"Yeah. You know - faggots."

"Don't say that. Don't you ever say that, Billy."

"Well, we are - aren't we?"

"No we are not! And if you talk about the boy I love like that, I'll . . "

"You'll what?"

"I'll put you over my knee and spank your little white bottom until it glows as brightly as your hair."

"You wouldn't!"

Billy looked at him, laughed and hugged him fiercely.

"Thanks Justin. I do love you, but we need to be more careful about what ignorant people can see."

"We shouldn't have to be."

"We shouldn't, but we do. That's just the way it is."

"Well it's not fair."

"I know it's not, but the world is not fair."

He stopped walking and looked at Billy. "Not just a pretty face are you? You're right, we do need to be more careful. I think you're a lot wiser than I am, Sunny."

"No I'm not. You've just got an innocence about you, and don't ever lose it. I can be cynical enough for the pair of us."

"Okay. We're a team, the pair of us. We're a gestalt."

"A gestalt? What the hell is a gestalt?"

"It's a communal being - one life in two bodies."

"Yeah. I like that. Let's go home and fit our bodies together.

Two days later, in the late afternoon, Kathleen Reynolds was working - ironing sheets in the laundry out the back of the Adelphi Hotel, when her husband came rushing in.

"Kathy, drop what you're doing. We’ve got to go - now!"

"What are you talking about, Robert? Go where? Lisa's off sick and I've got a mountain of ironing to get through here."

"We've got to go - to the hospital. Come on, hurry up!"

"The hospital? What happened? Is it Justin again?"

"No, not Justin. He's there too, but it's Jonathan who's been hurt."

"Jonathan! What happened? Come on Robert, hurry up."

As they drove across town to the hospital, (yet again!), Bob told Kathleen what he knew of what had happened, which was not a lot. Jonathan had had his face ripped open by a pit-bull terrier when he had intervened in a dog-fight and Justin had saved him from worse harm.

They arrived in the hospital corridor and Justin left the group of teens he was with and walked up to them, tears streaming down his face. His hand was wrapped in a blood-soaked cloth.

"Justin, my baby! Are you all right? No, of course you're not. What happened, boy? What's the matter with your hand?"

"Oh, Grandmother!" He fell into her arms, sobbing. "I'm all right. I just got a scratch. It's Jonathan - my brother, my life! Fucking dogs nearly ripped his face off. His beautiful, beautiful face. He's hurt. He's hurt bad. They've got him in the surgery trying to fix him up. Oh Jon-a-thon!"

Bob quietly took the distraught boy from his grandmother who was struggling to hold him up. When a white-faced Billy came up to them, he reached out and drew him into the embrace as well.

When Justin calmed down, he kissed Bob's cheek. "Thank you, Granddad. You're a mountain - a tower of strength, you always are. Thank you. Oh, my Jonathan!"

Kathleen hugged him again, along with Billy who wasn't letting go.

"What happened, Lovey?"

Justin sat down on the floor, leaning against the wall. He pulled Billy down with him and sat with both arms wrapped tightly around him.

She knelt down in front of them. "My God, Billy. I hope nothing ever happens to you. This boy would never cope with that."

"I wouldn't" Justin agreed with a teary smile. “I couldn't cope with that."

"So, are you going to tell us what happened to Jonathan?"

Earlier, after lunch, Justin and Billy had gone back up to their room. They were sitting, one on each of the wide window ledges, listening to music and quietly watching the traffic in the street below. There was a loud knock on the door and Jonathan's grinning face appeared.

"Not disturbing anything am I? It's nice to see that you two can be separated. I was starting to think that you'd been welded together."

"Shut up. What can we do for you, Brother?"

"It's too nice a day to be stuck inside. I'm going for a run at the Square, do you guys want to come?"

"Shall we, Sunny? Okay, give us a minute to get changed. Where are your girls anyway?"

"I dunno. Doing girly things somewhere. They’re together too, that's a worry. I'll just get my shoes on."

They jogged to the Square, all three intending to run, but when they arrived, Toddy came running over to them.

"Jonathan, cool. We need one more to make up a team. Do you feel like a game of softball?"

"Do I look like one?"

"Smart-arse! Do you want to play or not?"

"I was going for a run with my brothers. How come you're not playing football?"

"Nah. Stuff that, time to break out the summertime games."

"I'll play," said Billy. "I love softball."

"Can we borrow your Carver kid, Superboy?"

"Sure you can, if he wants to."

Billy went out to the field with Toddy and the twins started running, easily, around the surrounding track. After a couple of circuits, Justin saw Billy going up to bat, so he veered up in to the grandstand to sit and watch him. Jonathan ran on around the track.

Billy expertly slammed the ball with far more power than anyone expected and ran three bases as Justin applauded delightedly. Then everyone froze at the sound of screaming and dogs snarling and barking over in the children's playground.

Justin glanced across the park and the colour drained from his face as he shot to his feet. "Jonathan!" he screamed. He bounded down the tiered seats of the grandstand and leapt out of the high front.

He stumbled as he landed, recovered, and ran over the track and straight across the sportsfield he streaked, swerving around the immobile softball players.

"Jonathan!"

He skidded to a stop on the wet grass of the playground where Jonathan had fallen to the ground, struggling to fight off the snarling, grunting pit-bull hanging on to his face. The dog was shaking him as it struggled in its fury. Justin kicked it in the guts - kicked it so hard that the skin split and blood splattered.

The pitbull released Jonathan, who slumped on the ground, and it turned to face this new threat.

Without hesitation, Justin reached and grabbed it with both hands, either side of its snarling head. Supercharged in his rage, he whipped it up into the air and snapped its neck.

He flung the lifeless body at one of the other two dogs who had left their bleeding victims to turn on him. He spun to the side and, with a clenched fist, slammed down on the broad head of the dog flying at him, smashing it to the ground with a shattered skull.

Then, snarling himself at the third dog which turned to run away, he launched himself at it, wrestled it to the ground and, with power-charged hands, squeezed the life from its body. He released the throat and watched the dog kick as it died, then rose on his knees, scanning around the scene. Three lifeless dogs, two little boys lying on the ground, one unconscious and the other screaming, both bleeding profusely, and Jonathan.

Justin leapt up and went back to his brother, and looked down at him. He gasped in horror, his eyes rolled up in his head and he fainted. He hit the ground with a 'whumph' as screaming help arrived from all directions.

Daniel ran across the road to the Backpackers' Hostel to summon an ambulance.

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