Beyond Salvation

by Mark Peters

Chapter 2

I guess there are worse fates than being stuck in the library at lunch time for your own protection, but right at this moment I was having difficulty thinking what they might be.

As promised, my personal security deployment saw me safely to the library door shortly after the lunch bell rang, and that was where I stayed for the duration, with only Rosie, the Assistant Librarian, and a couple of uber-geek kids to keep me company. I had a feeling that, somehow, I was going to get to know these folks quite well over the next few weeks.

The library building was a separate, smaller building located next to the school tennis courts and just away from the school's main administration building. When you went through the main library doors you entered a rather large foyer with a marble-coloured tile floor and with comfy padded blue seats along one wall. This was the only area in which you were allowed to eat in the library, so I decided to quickly scoff down some of the less unpleasant items from my lunch box before heading further inside.

While eating my lunch I noticed a couple of the vultures circling outside, no doubt waiting for me to come out so they could give me a good going over… or something. I knew in my own mind that whatever they had in mind for me would be painful, either emotionally, physically, or both, so there was no way that this little black duck was going to put himself in the firing line. At least not if he could help it.

Ignoring them as best I could I finished eating then packed everything back away into my backpack and threw it over my shoulder, before heading further inside to cower under a desk like the snivelling git that I was.

There were some toilets at the back of the library and I thought for a moment about hiding in there for the duration, but then I spotted a couple of empty computer terminals so I settled on heading over to those instead, selecting the terminal which would have me sitting with my back to the wall of the small cubicle in which they were located, while still providing me with a view of the door.

The school had a block on web sites like Facebook and anything that seemed to be sex related, so we couldn't spend our free lessons or lunch breaks watching porn and catching up on everyone's status, but at least I would be able to check my emails. I hadn't checked them since Saturday, so I suspected there would be more than just a few there. If I had any time after doing that, I thought I might also see if there was anything new and interesting on the Nifty story website – somehow Big Brother didn't know what that site really contained – at least not yet!

Tossing my backpack on the floor beside the desk I had chosen, I sat myself down and typed the Gmail address into the web browser, then once the page opened I typed in my address and password. After a few moments my Inbox came up on the screen, suddenly presenting me with more emails than I had ever seen in my life!

Quickly scanning down the list of usernames I saw that there were quite a few names I instantly recognised as being people I knew. There were also quite a few names that I recognised as coming from either porn movie stars or Disney movie stars, which seemed a rather odd combination to use for anonymous identities. Anyone can create an anonymous account these days.

When I scanned down the subject column, I felt a chill going down my spine, with words like cocksucker and faggot and poofter all jumping out at me time and time again. When I saw the word DIE written in capitals, I felt sick in the stomach. My hands were suddenly all clammy and I could feel a sweat breaking out on my brow.

Quickly I ticked the little box beside almost all the emails the Inbox contained, so I would be able to delete them in bulk, and was just about to do that when I noticed that Dallas' name was there on one of them.

'What the fuck?' I thought. 'Why would he be emailing me?'

There was nothing in the subject line, but I knew of course what it would be about. Nervously I clicked on the email to read it.

It was short and to the point and it left me shaking. All it said was 'WATCH YOURSELF'.

'What the fuck?' I thought once more. 'Was that a threat or a warning?'

Quickly I deleted the majority of the emails without even reading through them, although I did leave those that I could see were from people I knew well enough, including one from Merry. I read through those and found that for the most part they were quite supportive, but even some of these still seemed to be somewhat cryptic, especially given the reactions of some of these same folks this morning. I figured all I could do was just treat everyone based on how they treated me and see what happens. It was a novel idea, but I thought it might just work!

By the time I had finished, my nerves seemed to have settled back down slightly, but the feeling that I was left with in the pit of my stomach, like a great stone was weighing me down, wasn't a comfortable one.

I closed down my email account and then glanced around me to see that there wasn't anyone else close to me before I typed the Nifty web address into the browser. The website soon came up and I clicked on the links to take me to my favourite section, being the High School section.

I had read some great stories on here, but to be honest I had also read just as many crappy ones, and while I don't deny that much of my reading of these stories was for some quick relief, the ones I tended to like most were the serial stories that dealt with coming out and the handling of the inevitable relationship problems that stem from that. To me, I tended to look upon Nifty as being pretty much the equivalent of Google for coming out advice, because no matter the issue there was a story there that covered it. It was a treasure trove of ideas that were good, bad, or indifferent, often told in a way that anyone could understand, and while the shrinks may look upon someone using the site for advice as being tantamount to them being certifiable, at least it gave me, and the thousands of others out there who I knew were just like me, a reason for hope.

As far as my own coming out went, I think I had blown the doors right off that one over the past few days, at least as far as school and my classmates were concerned, but I figured that something I could really do with right now was some help with trying to deal with the crap that was already starting to flow. Sure, I knew that these were only stories, and that real life was always more complicated than fantasy, but just at this moment I figured I could still use every bit of help that I could get.

When I clicked on the link to the High School section the list of the latest stories with chapters having been recently posted came up on the screen. There were quite a few listed there that were links to directories, meaning these were ongoing stories with multiple chapters available, then there were others with just a file size beside the link name, which indicated that they were only single chapters.

The single chapter stories, I had found, usually tended to be good for a quick read with a bit of sex in them so that you could get yourself off, while the multiple chapter stories tended to have more depth to them. What type of stories I usually read depended on the mood I was in at the time. Today I really wanted something other than a quick jerk-off story, so I scanned the list for the titles of some of the serialised stories I had been reading lately. When I found one that I was familiar with I clicked on that and went to the latest chapter, hoping to catch up on all the latest goings on in the lives of the characters I had come to know.

By the time I had finished reading that chapter, which left me on the edge of my seat – as they often did – I looked at the clock on the screen and saw that lunch time was almost over.

'Damn it,' I whispered quietly to myself, while wondering how I was going to make it to my next lesson in one piece. So far, I had been lucky, as I hadn't seen any of the pack of vultures come into the library yet to see if I was still here, but I knew that once I stepped out of the confines of this building, I would be fair game once more.

I decided to log out of the computer and then make a quick visit to the toilets before thinking about making a run for it. After relieving myself and washing my hands I came back out into the library to find Timmy Baker and a couple of his pals standing just inside the main doors and looking around. I was kind of surprised that Dallas wasn't with them. The thought crossed my mind that they might just be doing the dirty work for him.

I quickly stepped to one side and found myself behind a bookcase, hoping that they hadn't spotted me. Watching them from between the rows of books I saw Timmy point in the direction of the toilets and say something to one of his goons. My heart sank. Quickly looking around me I figured the safest place would be anywhere they weren't, so I scuttled down the end of that row of bookshelves and stood right at the end, not quite going around into the next aisle, where I hoped I couldn't be seen if they glanced up either row.

I held my breath as a guy I knew only as Macca entered and walk toward the doors as Timmy had instructed him. He was looking only at the doors, not at anything else within the library, so thankfully he didn't see me there watching him from my hiding space. He disappeared inside then moments later came back out again, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders at the same time. It was just then that one of the geek kids came past me, giving me a funny look as he did so. He stopped behind me and looked from me to the goons and back again. At a guess I would have said he looked to be about fourteen and I felt sure my cover was about to be blown, so I quickly brought a finger up to my lips to signify that he shouldn't make any sound. He smiled and nodded, then moved on down the row of books, actually finishing up standing in the direct line of sight between me and where Timmy was standing, so that even if they did look my way their view would be blocked anyhow.

The kid was obviously smarter than I had first given him credit for.

The goons left the library a few moments later and I was able to breathe out once more.

'Thanks kid,' I said to him as I passed him, giving him a light pat on the back as I did so. He simply grinned at me and winked. I wasn't quite sure if he meant anything by it, apart from us being co-conspirators in some game, but it did get me thinking about who it was around here that I could and couldn't trust.

After picking up my backpack from beside the desk I'd been using, I cautiously went over to the main doors and while staying within the confines of the library I looked outside. There was no one around that I could see, which was a huge relief. Hopefully they had figured I had slipped past them and they had given up, at least for now.

I glanced around the library and noticed Rosie studying me intently from behind the counter, as well as the other kids who were in there.

'You okay?' she asked me. I nodded and pushed through the first door, out into the foyer area, while still looking back over my shoulder at her. Just as I did this someone came to the front door and pulled it open, causing my heart to skip a few beats.

It was Merry and Pete, come to pick me up and deliver me to my next class.

'Man, don't do that! You scared the crap out of me!' I scolded.

'Sorry,' Merry replied. 'What's made you so jumpy… apart from the obvious?'

'Timmy and his sidekicks were just in here looking for me. They didn't see me, thank God! I was kind of hiding.'

'Kind of?' Pete asked.

'Well, you know what I mean.'

He gave me a thump in the arm and grinned. 'Leave you alone for five minutes and look what happens!'

'Five minutes! If that was only five minutes it was the longest five minutes I've ever lived through,' I shot back at him, while grabbing him in a headlock and ruffling his hair as I did so.

'Boys… boys… boys…' Merry said. 'Will you two settle down!'

Pete and I let go of each other and straightened ourselves out, then stood to attention in front of her. It was a harmless bit of fun and at least it broke the tension that seemed to be taking control of our day.

'That's better,' she said to us. 'Now, how about we head to class before we find ourselves slapped with a detention notice or something?'

'Just lead the way, my dear,' Pete said, while hooking an arm through both Merry's and mine and marching us out the door.

'So, did anything else happen in there while we were away?' Merry asked as we headed across the grass to our next subject.

'No. I just checked my emails and did some web-surfing. Fuck, you should have seen the emails that came through! I hadn't checked them since Saturday afternoon.'

'Did you get mine?' she asked.

'Yeah, I did. Thank you,' I replied. 'I also got one from Dallas. Very strange, that one. He just said to watch myself. I don't know if it was a threat or a warning.'

They both looked at me in alarm.

'Who else?' Pete asked.

'Most of them were anonymous, or from fake accounts like Mickey Mouse or Dirk Diggler or someone!'

'Who's Dirk Diggler?' Merry asked innocently. Pete and I both laughed.

'I'll rent the movie one day and show you if you like,' Pete answered. 'I think you'll be impressed.'

Our next class was history, with Mrs Bird, and we made it there just in time, before the bell rang. When we entered the room there were a few wolf whistles and smart-arse remarks, which I managed to brush off easily enough and for the most part ignore. I figured that as time went on things would eventually get back to normal but getting over these first few weeks at least was still going to be a challenge.

I looked around the room and saw Dallas, Timmy and the others down the back in their usual seats. Dallas was stony faced, just staring at me with those dark eyes of his, while Timmy was sporting an evil, unnerving grin that sent shivers down my spine. I suspected that there was something behind it and hoped to hell that I wouldn't find out anytime soon.

As expected, Mrs Bird began the lesson with the news of our impending trip away, then started handing out some study sheets, which I soon found contained information about our destination and details of the assignment we were about to start.

'Just great,' I said, after examining the papers. 'As if I don't have enough to worry about, we now get to wander about in the bush, get blisters on our feet, get covered in mud and get harassed by flies and bugs.'

'Or… we could stay here at school and just sit in class, while you cower in the corner some place trying to keep out of trouble!' Merry added.

'Ouch! Well, now you look at it that way,' I replied.

They both looked at me with raised eyebrows.

'It'll be fun… I think,' Pete said.

'Of course it will,' Merry said. 'I'm sure that by the time we get there somebody else will be that week's news. Trust me.'

I wish I shared her confidence but deep down I had my doubts about what she thought would happen. I've seen the pack mentality around this place all too often and two weeks for it to subside would be some kind of record, I thought.

We made it through the rest of that lesson and then the next, then soon we heard the bell ringing to say it was time to go home. Thanks only to my friends I had survived my first day as the class joke, or freak, or whatever it was they wanted to label me as, and for that I was extremely grateful.

'So, what are you going to do now?' Pete said to me as we headed outside.

'What? Apart from get as far the fuck away from here just as quickly as I can?' I replied.

He smiled at me and said, 'Well, I guess that could work.'

Actually, it was something that I realised I hadn't given too much thought to during the day. While I had Merry and Pete around then I guess that I wasn't such an easy target, but once the school bell had rung and I would be outside the school grounds, with my bodyguards off duty, that's when I figured I would become fair game.

'To be honest, Pete, I hadn't thought much past the three fifteen school bell,' I said, suddenly realising my predicament.

'So, what are you going to do? Can you get home? Will you be okay?'

I found it quite touching that he was worried about me. I wanted to hug him but given the events of the day so far that was a definite no-go area. Instead I simply placed a hand on his shoulder and said: 'Thanks for today, mate. You have no idea how much I've appreciated your being around.'

'Anytime,' he replied. 'But you still haven't answered my question.'

'I'll be okay. It's not that far. I'll run the whole bloody way if I have to,' I replied.

The three of us were standing on the balcony outside the classroom as the rest of the class filed out and started to make their way down the stairs. Dallas and his buddies still hadn't come out yet, but I knew they wouldn't be far away.

'Listen, I think I'll go to the library again for a bit, at least until most of the rest of the school has gone, then hopefully I should be able to slip away without any hassles.'

'Are you sure?' Merry asked. 'We can hang around for a bit if we need to.'

'No, really, you guys have been great. I'll be okay. You've got your buses to catch, so you can't miss those.'

It was just then that Dallas and company came out past us. Dallas glanced in my direction then just as quickly looked away, saying nothing, while some of the others started making their usual crude remarks.

I looked at Merry and could see she was growing redder and redder with each word said. I wasn't sure if that was from embarrassment or anger; given the language it could have been from either, but I certainly wasn't going to be the one to ask.

'Just ignore them,' I said to her. 'I am.'

'Pfffttt… you could have fooled me,' she spat back at me. I could only grin.

When they had all gone, we finally decided to make a move and followed them down the stairs but keeping ourselves at a safe distance from any of the rabble-rousers.

They came with me across to the library and we said our goodbyes, then I watched as they set off towards where the buses were pulling in and picking kids up to go home. I pushed my way in through the doors to the library and headed across towards the same computer I had been on at lunch time, dropping my bag on the floor beside the desk.

I decided I should check my emails again and so I did just that, logging into Gmail for the second time that day. The result was no different than earlier, though there weren't anywhere near as many messages this time. I guess most of my antagonists were still at school.

The other thing that I began to wonder about while checking through these emails was what did kids going through this same situation do in times before the advent of emails and mobile phones and text messaging? Was everything more in your face in those days? Did they suffer more verbal abuse than the emotional abuse inflicted by anonymous email messages? Was it easier to survive this sort of thing back then, or easier now?

It was something that I thought I should ask Hollywood.

By the time I left the library it was getting late, so I felt relatively safe heading outside into the late afternoon, not really expecting anyone to still be around. I had been getting concerned looks from Rosie for a while, as she bustled around the library putting books away and tidying up. I guess she had heard the news just like everyone else in the school.

'We close up at five, JJ,' she said to me as she passed me one time.

'Thanks. I won't be much longer,' I said to her. She gave me a nod and kept bustling.

At ten to five I logged off the computer and packed my things together and headed for the door.

'Will you be all right?' she asked me as I was about to push open the door.

I shrugged and flashed a smile, saying 'Ask me tomorrow,' then pushed my way outside.

Tomorrow, I thought. That day was still a long way away.

I found that there were very few people apart from teachers and ground staff still around when I made it outside. There was a small bunch of students waiting for one of the late buses, but they paid me no attention as I walked out though the school gates and turned for home, hoping that I would make it home before my parents did.

Nothing happened on my walk home and when I reached the house, I found that despite my dawdling and killing time at school I was first through the doors anyhow. Both my parents usually finished their jobs around five, my father with his job at a local car yard and my mother with hers in a local legal office and they were usually home not long after that. On those days when I wasn't home before them, I tended to cop the third degree about what I was doing and who I was doing it with, although I was never really in trouble because of it, it was more like they just wanted to know where I was, I guess, even if I was now approaching eighteen.

After grabbing a cold drink from the refrigerator and slamming it down I headed for my room, tossing my bag down beside my desk and falling back onto my bed, gazing at the ceiling and with the events of the day swirling around in my mind.

I couldn't get out of my head the message that Dallas had sent me by email. 'WATCH YOURSELF'. That was what he had said. Was it a warning or a threat? I figured that it would be useful to know the answer to that so I decided that I should ask him.

Getting up off my bed I moved to my study desk and switched on my computer and before too long I was logging back into Gmail for the third time that day. I went straight to his email, which was one that I hadn't deleted earlier, and opened it, then hit reply.

'IS THAT A THREAT OR A PROMISE?' I typed, before hitting send.

Going back to my Inbox I could see that there were some more emails there. So I thought I would see what else people might have to say to me, or about me. For the most part it was just more of the same, so time and time again I would hit delete… delete… delete… leaving just a handful of the emails that mattered to me.

Shortly afterwards I heard a car pull into our driveway and then a minute or two later the back door of the house slammed shut.

'Are you home, JJ?' I heard my mother call out from the kitchen.

'Yeah, mum, I'm just studying,' I answered.

I quickly opened a new browser window and brought up the Google home page from my list of favourites – or at least the list of favourites that were visible on my system to a casual observer – then typed in 'Salvation Gold Mines Australia' and hit the search button.

By the time my mother stuck her head around my bedroom door I was busy scrolling through a list of search results dealing with gold mines in the place we would soon be visiting. I clicked on the first page that was listed and it brought up the results.

'How was your day, dear?' she asked me.

'Same old, same old,' I replied. 'They told us today we're going on a field trip in a couple of weeks, overnight to an old ghost town.'

'Sounds exciting,' mum answered. 'Is that it?' she asked, pointing to the screen.

'I think so. I've only just done a search for it. That was the first result on the search list.'

'All right then. Have fun studying. Dinner will be ready in an hour or so.'

I had to hand it to her. Only she could make it sound like studying could be fun.

Switching windows I went back to my emails and clicked on the Inbox once more. Two new messages came through, but neither was of any consequence and they were promptly deleted.

I sat back in my chair and started to think about the events of the last few days. I guess I'd been foolish to do what I had done on Saturday afternoon, but you don't really seem to think about the consequences of things in the heat of the moment, do you? As a result I was now paying the price. I guess that this was one lesson that I'd had to learn the hard way.

Clicking on the Inbox again, more out of boredom than anything else, I found that another email had come through. It was from Dallas.


'And fuck you too!' I said under my breath. 'A fat lot of good to me that is.'

In disgust I shut down the window then logged off my computer, before throwing myself onto my bed. I felt as if I wanted to cry but didn't; I wasn't going to let this get to me. Fuck the lot of them, as far as I'm concerned. I've known for years now who and what I was, although even through that whole time I still had fears and doubts and insecurities just like every other guy out there. But now that I've finally come to terms with my own sexuality and figured out what path I intended taking in life, I sure as hell wasn't going to let a bunch of high school assholes fuck me over. They could do what they like to me, but I intended to eventually come out of this whole sorry saga as the person God intended me to be – not that me and God were exactly on first name terms.

The rest of the night was uneventful. My parents thought I was studying, but in fact I spent most of it chatting online, periodically checking emails and generally wasting time.

Unlike most other kids my age I didn't have a mobile phone, which was my own choice. My parents said they were happy enough for me to have one if I wanted one, but I would have to pay for it myself, so the decision to go without, when the only income I had coming in was from a bit of lawn mowing and some odd jobs that I did on weekends, was an easy one to make. My lifeline to the outside world, therefore, was the internet, upon which I would spend hours chatting or trawling websites, or flirting online with other like-minded guys my age.

I had set up profiles on some of the gay dating sites, on which I lied and said I was already eighteen, and from those I had made a few friends and even scored a bit of fun, but for the most part it was just because I got to talk to people just like me that I spent so much time on there.

When I logged into my favourite chat program that night I found that a couple of my online buddies were there, so I quickly said hello to them and struck up a conversation. As often happens the subject soon turned to sex and almost straight away I felt that familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach and the tingling in my loins. I knew what would follow, there was no use trying to hold it back, and within a few minutes I was sitting at my desk with my pants around my ankles and my shirt unbuttoned, exposing my hairless chest and flat stomach. One hand was typing away on the keyboard, engaging in conversation with a mate named Rick, who lived in New Zealand, while the other was responding in another way to what Rick was saying to me.

With my feet stretched out in front of me and while leaning back in my chair I was working away on myself, hoping for relief to come soon. Every few strokes I would spit into my hand before returning it to my cock, adding that little bit more lubrication. I was getting closer and closer to my goal. My breathing was getting heavier, my heart was pounding. I knew that it wouldn't be long now.

As I closed my eyes a picture suddenly flashed up on the screen inside my mind. It was a picture from a time that had long since passed. Dallas flashed his smile at me and in that instant I reached the point of no return. I felt the heat build up in my balls… I felt my cock suddenly expand in my hand… and almost immediately my hot semen shot from my cock, three solid shots soon covering my chest, my stomach and my hand, followed by some lesser squirts.

It was a great wank, leaving me spent, yet satisfied. I quickly logged off and then stripped off, using my shirt to clean myself up, before I climbed into bed. I soon drifted off, enjoying what would be a great night's sleep.

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