by Wes Leigh

Chapter 4

Of more utility to humanity is the natural enmity between these two creatures of the night. If you would kill them without losing your own life, simply set them at each other's throat. They will do the job for you, for there is no greater hatred than that of vampires for werewolves, and of werewolves for vampires.

-- From 'Methods of Destroying Vampires and Werewolves" by Fr. Ignatius Benedictus and Sir Alfred Baskervylle

Daniel pulled his journal out of his desk and unlocked it. He'd been so busy the last week that he hadn't written a word in it for days, and he felt almost guilty about neglecting his journal. Taking out the pen, he began writing.

August 30

What an amazing week!

I guess I should start with the campout Connor took me on.

The guys made me a little nervous at first. They're not the kind of dudes I normally hang with. They're all jocks. Huge, muscular athletes. And they work on their family farms or at the hunting lodge, so they're all used to working hard and spending time outdoors. I'm a short, skinny, bookworm who's never been camping before in my life.

You'd think we wouldn't get along, but they were all super cool with me. Caleb taught me to use tree branches to build a shelter that will keep you dry, even in a heavy rainstorm. Donny and Ethan showed me how to catch fish in this weird, funnel-shaped trap they made by weaving strips of wood together. Then they showed me how to cook the fish. Maybe it was because I was hungry and we caught them ourselves, but I've never tasted anything so good as the trout we cooked over that open fire in just aluminum foil and butter.

Connor was the best. He took me on hikes and showed me how to sneak up on a family of white-tail deer without them noticing us. It was righteous! We were right there, probably twenty feet away. They had babies with them and everything. Connor and I knelt behind this rock, watching them. He put his hand on my back and just left it there. Like we were buddies or something. Then an eagle screeched and the deer took off. Connor laughed and hugged me.

I don't know about Connor. The entire time, he was incredibly friendly. And physical. He must have hugged me a hundred times. He was always throwing an arm around me, squeezing my neck with his hand, slapping me gently on the back. The second night, we slept in the same sleeping bag again. It was toasty warm in there with both of us inside, so we took off our clothes and slept in our underwear. We were pressed up against each other, and it felt so nice having his soft, furry chest against my back. He didn't get a boner at first, even though I had one, feeling his huge cock pushing up against my butt. I kind of wanted him to reach around and feel me sticking out, but he never did. He wrapped me in his arms and snuggled against me the entire night.

The next morning, he DID have a boner. Dude, it was huge! I felt it pushing against my back when I woke up. I reached behind me and there was this massive hard-on between us. I squeezed it. It was thick, lots thicker than mine, and probably a few inches longer. Connor started laughing softly, then took my hand and pulled it off his cock. He leaned in and brushed his lips on the back of my neck and whispered, "Looks like I gotta pee. Didn't mean to poke you like that, Big D."

I whispered back, "Feels like I should be calling you Big C."

That made him laugh even more. He slid out of the sleeping bag and stood there in front of me, pulling on his jeans and shirt. He didn't seem to care one bit that his hard cock was tenting out the front of his boxers. Didn't care at all. Once he finished dressing, he walked off into the trees, leaving me in the sleeping bag alone.

So now I'm really confused. I mean … he seemed to be so friendly with me the entire time, but he never took advantage of the situation. I know I dropped a lot of hints, and he did too, flirting with me every now and then, but he never let it get too serious. Is he interested in me that way or not? If he's not, I'm kind of worried that he might say something to the other kids about how I acted. I'm not sure I want anyone to know about me yet, so I'm panicking here a little. I guess if he did say something, I could tell everyone he was poking me with his boner, so he was the gay one, but I really don't want to do that either. I mean, it's kind of a special moment we shared, and I want to keep it just between the two of us.

I'm really confused.

Okay, so when I got back from the campout, I spent a few days exploring the town. I know I've written this before, but this place is WEIRD.

How do I explain this?

Okay, first of all, there are three different kinds of people in Agony. I've decided to call them the Wolves, the Ravens, and the Rabbits.

The Wolves are the people like Connor and his family and the guys I went camping with. They're all a bit wild. Even Connor's mom and dad were that way. I met them at their hunting lodge before we drove down to the campsite. The Wolves are fun but a bit rough. They laugh a lot, and the guys my age tell jokes that would make a sailor blush. They're very physical with each other, hugging and pushing each other around. And they're all in great shape. Strong, fit, muscular. I suppose that comes from working outside, running the farms and ranches around town.

The second group would be the Ravens. I've nicknamed them that because of the clothes they wear. They're always dressed in black or dark gray. And their eyes remind me of ravens for some reason, with the way they stare, unblinking. I've noticed that a lot of the business owners in town are Ravens. They seem to be the wealthiest people in Agony, but they don't look happy. I guess it's true that money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you nice cars and fancy black suits.

Finally, there are the Rabbits. I know it's not a very flattering name, but I don't know how else to describe the rest of the people in town. They're like scared little creatures, peeking out of their houses and looking around to be sure no hawks are diving down to snatch them up and eat them. I don't understand why they're so afraid. Another mystery for me to solve.

My mom took me shopping for new school clothes. Guess who we ran into. Xavier and his mom, the head Raven. I guess that would make her the Queen of the Ravens, ROFL.

Oh, before I forget, that was one strange store. It was like half the clothes were black or gray. Guys' clothes. Girls' clothes. It didn't matter. All in shades of black or gray. I guess the Ravens all shop there.

Anyway … we ran into Xavier and his mom. They were shopping too, picking through dress shirts and ties. Xavier nodded his head at me and motioned for me to join him by the shoes while our moms shopped.

We pretended to look at shoes while we talked about what our week had been like. I told him mine had been boring for the most part, though I didn't mention the campout. He said his was too. He hated family gatherings and this one had been "especially tedious". Xavier talks strange sometimes, almost like he went to one of those schools where they teach you to talk all proper. It's not bad or anything, just different, you know?

Anyway, Xavier and I decided to get together that afternoon, at my place, and play some video games. So there we were, sitting on my bed, racing each other in Mario Cart, trying to mess each other up knocking into each other by bumping shoulders. We were having a great time, laughing a lot, when something kind of odd happened. I won a race and gave Xavier a hug. I guess I held the hug a little longer than normal. With all the hugs I'd been getting from Connor over the weekend, I guess I felt like hugs were what you did with a friend. Xavier looked over at me and his eyes got this sad, but hungry look. We stared at each other for a few seconds, then he leaned over and kissed me. Right the fuck on the mouth.

His lips were cool, almost chilly, pulling the warmth right out of my mouth. He breathed out and my lungs filled with icy air, like being outside on a winter day. I know. Bizarre.

It surprised me, and I let him go, pulling back from the kiss. His eyes got wide, like he'd just made a huge mistake. He jumped up and ran into the bathroom.

I stayed on my bed, wondering what the hell just happened. The toilet flushed and the sink ran, then the door opened, and Xavier came out. He looked at me and said, "I apologize, Daniel." Then he ducked his head, and he actually blushed. His cheeks were incredibly red, and sort of cute, to be honest.

I shrugged and said, "It's okay, Xavier. I kind of liked it." And I realized I was telling him the truth. Something inside me wanted to pour out every bit of warmth in my body and give it to him, emptying out everything I had to give and leaving me … empty? I've never felt this way before. Is this what it feels like to be in love?

When Xavier heard that, he slowly looked up and met my eyes. "You liked it?" he asked.

I nodded and shrugged nervously, trying to make it sound like it was no big deal. "I think we're becoming really good friends, and I don't mind getting a hug and a kiss from a friend."

"Even if your friend is another guy?" he asked me.

I shrugged and said with a grin, "Well … I wouldn't do it with just any of my friends, but for one or two, I'll make an exception."

He smiled and sat down next to me, picking up his game controller. We didn't do anything else that day. Not kissing or hugging anyway. We just played some more video games and ate a snack, then he went home.

I'm really confused. For years, I haven't told anyone how I feel about other guys. I haven't had any friends who were close enough to let in on my secret. Now … here I am in Agony, North Dakota … a small town where I really, really, really need to keep this part of my life a secret. And I've slept almost naked in a sleeping bag with a guy who's a real hunk and I grabbed his cock through his underwear. Then in the same week, I've hugged and kissed another guy on the lips, and I'm wanting to do it again. The worst part of all is I don't know which guy I like better. The truth is I like both of them. Am I sick or what?

What the fuck am I gonna do?

Daniel locked up the journal, slid it in the desk drawer, and jumped face down on his bed. He hugged his pillow to his chest and thought about Xavier's chilly lips touching his own, making his body burn. Then he remembered the feel of Connor's warm arms holding him tight through the cold night. Seriously, what the fuck was he going to do?

Judy pulled up in front of the school to let Daniel out. "Have a great first day, sweetie."

"Yeah. I will. Thanks for the ride, Mom."

Daniel slammed the car door and turned to look at the school. Crap. Starting at a new school really sucked. Being a freshman in his first day of high school sucked even more.


"Big D!"

He heard two different voices shouting at him. He saw Xavier waving at him from the covered walkway just ahead. Gregor, Regina, and several other kids stood there with him. Xavier waved again. "Hello, Daniel." He motioned for the group he was with to head over toward Daniel. They were all dressed, like Xavier, in dark clothing. A flock of Raven kids.

To Daniel's left, standing next to a large cottonwood, were Connor and the Byrne twins, Jacob and Joshua. Connor began walking toward him, too, grinning, " 'Bout time you got here, Big D. We've been waitin' for you."

Daniel was torn with indecision. Now what was he supposed to do? Glancing back and forth between Connor and Xavier, he immediately saw tension building. Xavier and the kids in black clinched their fists. Connor and the Byrne boys tilted their heads down, no longer smiling.

Xavier glared at Connor. "What do you think you're doing, Finnigan?"

Connor grinned, but it wasn't a pleasant grin. "Mindin' my own business. Something you might try, some time."

Daniel felt chills running up his spine. What was going on? One minute into his first day, and he felt like he was about to be in the middle of a fight.

"Ummm, hey guys. Let's be cool, okay?" Daniel asked, trying to settle things down.

Xavier nodded at him. "No problem, Daniel. You ready to find your homeroom?"

"Yeah, uh, sure."

Connor reached out and put his hand on Daniel's shoulder. "Big D, when I said I would watch out for you and keep you out of trouble, I didn't think I'd have to do it on your first day."

Daniel frowned. "Trouble? I'm not in any trouble, Connor. Everything's cool."

Connor shook his head. "No, it isn't, D. Not if you're hanging out with this bunch."

Xavier snarled, "Daniel, how do you even know these … creatures?"

Daniel shook his head, confused by the sudden venom in Xavier's voice. "We, uh, met in the park, while you were away with your mom at that family thing. They took me camping. They're great guys, Xavier. Really."

Xavier shook his head and wrinkled his brow. "Seriously, Daniel, you can do so much better than these stupid brutes." The Raven kids began snickering.

"Hey!" Daniel exclaimed. "What the hell, Xavier?"

Jacob and Joshua growled, curling their hands into fists.

Connor put his arm out in front of the twins, pushing them back. Then he turned to Daniel. "Big D, I ain't tryin' to tell you who you can be friends with, but I will warn you … be careful who you choose. And come see me if you get in a bind."

Xavier laughed coldly. "He'll be just fine. I'll show him around."

"No one has to show me around!" Daniel snapped. "Thanks, guys. Thanks a lot, but I've got this." Daniel pushed his way past everyone and stomped toward the front door of the school, furious and embarrassed and confused.

After geometry, Daniel headed for the restroom. The events of the morning had left him feeling queasy, so he hoped it would settle his stomach to take a dump. The restroom was empty, so he walked down to the last stall. While sitting there, he heard the door open and two voices talking. One he recognized right away as Xavier.

"I don't want to talk about it," Xavier was saying.

"And when the great Xavier decides a subject is closed, then that's the end of the matter, right?" the other voice asked.

"Damn it, Gregor. Enough already!"

Gregor. The douche from the theater. Daniel gritted his teeth. Why was this dude always hanging out with Xavier? What kind of hold did he have over Xavier? Another mystery for Daniel to figure out.

Gregor started talking again. "Sooner or later, you'll have to deal with him."

Daniel heard a body slamming against the wall, then Xavier's voice, cold and harsh. "Gregor, you violated the Ordinance with that stunt you pulled at the theater, and I kept quiet about it. But if you push me on this, I'll see to it that the entire incident is discussed at the next Conclave. Am I clear?"

Gregor's voice was scratchy, his breathing haggard. "Perfectly clear. Now let me go."

Daniel heard Gregor gasp and take several deep breaths. Then Gregor spoke again, his voice icy. "Since your Confirmation, you've been a huge dick, you know that?"

Xavier chuckled. "Whatever, Gregor. Mother always said the Executorship isn't an excuse to be cruel, but cruelty is a necessary qualification for the office. I see what she means by that."

"Funny how that applies only to your own kind, but not to humans or those filthy animals."

Xavier sighed. "Gregor. Look … I will deal with Connor Finnigan in my own way in my own time, no matter what the Ordinance requires, and nothing will stop me. Is that good enough for you?"

"Yeah. But as your cousin, I cut you more slack than the rest. Just remember, Xavier. Others are watching."

Xavier laughed bitterly. "How could I forget?"

The door opened and closed. Silence fell. Daniel shook his head, baffled and upset by all he'd just heard.

At lunch, Daniel picked up his tray and turned to look for a place to sit. The tables along one side of the room were occupied by Xavier and the gang in black. On the opposite side of the cafeteria, he saw Connor sitting at a table with Donny, Ethan, and their friends. In the middle were the other kids. The Rabbits. Daniel shook his head. This was getting ridiculous.

Daniel decided to eat lunch alone. He walked past them all, not looking at the Ravens, the Wolves, or the Rabbits. It was stupid to have to choose what you wanted to be. He took his tray outside and found a patio table under a tree where he could be alone, eat his meal, and think.

Okay. This was a mess. Without knowing it, he'd walked into a fucking minefield. He'd made friends with two guys who obviously didn't like each other, and he had no idea why. He'd kissed one of them and slept almost naked with the other. He was beginning to develop a crush on both of them, and if he wasn't deluding himself, they had feelings for him too. But they hated each other. What a fucking mess!

He finished his pizza and his drink, then carried his tray back into the cafeteria to dump it.

Connor watched him the entire time, looking worried and a little sad.

Xavier stood and walked up behind Daniel as he was dropping off his tray. Xavier leaned in and whispered, "Sorry. Really. I'm … sorry." Then he turned and walked away, leaving Daniel staring after him, even more confused than before.

The bell rang, signaling the end of lunch and sending kids scrambling for fifth period. Daniel checked his schedule. Fuck. PE.

He hated PE. Physical Education. Talk about an oxymoron. Who was the idiot who decided to name it Physical Education, anyway? Either it's physical or it's educational, but it can't be both. And as far as Daniel was concerned, it was neither. PE was simply torture. He sighed. Might as well get it over with.

As expected, PE was a pain in the ass. The weather was decent, so the coach made them head outside and play soccer. What Daniel didn't expect was that most of the class was made up of Wolves. They were all fast and agile, moving the soccer ball all over the field. Daniel gave it a half-hearted try, kicking at the ball whenever it came near him, not really caring where it went. He wasn't paying that much attention, because Connor was in the class, and their eyes kept connecting. Connor was all over the place, of course, laughing as he made sliding tackles and ran around the other guys, showing off his speed and athleticism.

At one point, the coach blew a whistle and told them to pair up and practice passing a ball to a partner. Because he was tired of the stupid games, Daniel ran up to Connor and stood in front of him. He stared at Connor until the bigger youth looked down, nodding his head in acceptance as his shoulders slumped. They walked off to a spot by themselves and began kicking a ball back and forth between them.

"Why?" Daniel asked, punting the ball to Connor.

Connor caught it on his foot and kicked it back. "Why what?"

"Why do you guys hate each other so much?"

Connor shrugged. "Long story, D."

"We've got time."

"Time is not what we need right now," Connor replied.

Chills ran up Daniel's spine. Connor's words were eerily similar to something he'd heard Xavier say not that long ago.

Daniel stopped the ball and stood on it with one foot. "So you won't tell me?"

Connor frowned. "I can't tell you, Daniel. I would if I could."

Daniel poked the ball with his toe, sending it rolling back to Connor. "You can't? Or you don't want to?"

Connor stooped over and picked up the ball. He walked forward and stopped in front of Daniel. "I really like you, Daniel. Camping with you was great, and I hope we can be friends. But if you decide to be friends with Xavier … " Connor paused and looked around. "I've got to be honest with you: it's gonna be a problem. Not for me. But for a lot of other kids. I wish things were different, but that's just how it is."

"And you won't tell me why it's that way?"

Connor sighed. "Sooner or later, you'll understand. You're a smart guy, and it won't take you long to figure it out. But I'm not the one who's gonna tell you."

The coach blew his whistle, motioning for everyone to head in.

Connor began walking toward the gym with the ball tucked under his arm. Daniel followed him, trotting to catch up. They walked side by side, not talking. Inside the gym, they followed the other kids into the boy's dressing room and headed for their lockers, where they silently stripped off their clothes. Finishing at the same time, they picked up their towels and looked at each other sadly, frustrated with the tension between them.

Daniel couldn't help himself. He glanced down and saw that Connor's cock was thick and long, hanging down over a pair of large, hairy balls. Daniel looked down at his own thin cock and light blonde pubes. He was proud of how his cock was finally filling out, but when he saw Connor, there was no comparison.

Connor noticed. Deliberately glancing down at Daniel's groin, he grinned and said, "Not bad, Big D. Not bad."

Daniel snorted and shook his head, finally allowing a smile to break out. "Connor, you're so goofy."

Connor nodded his head at the showers. "Let's get cleaned up. I smell like a horse that's been ridden hard and put away sweaty."

Daniel laughed. It wasn't true. Connor smelled incredible.

Sixth period. Drama. Daniel shook his head. He wasn't sure how he'd ended up in this class. Probably all the other classes he'd asked for were full. Maybe he could learn to write scripts or something. He sure as hell couldn't act.

He walked into the dim auditorium and looked around. Other students were standing around on the stage. Daniel sighed. Almost all of them wore black. Of course, the Ravens would sign up for Drama.

A slightly overweight woman was standing with them. She wasn't dressed in black, oddly enough. When she saw Daniel, she called out, "Drama?"

Daniel nodded, so she waved him up onto the stage. He climbed up the stairs leading to the stage and noticed Xavier standing behind some of the other kids. Terrific.

The woman started speaking. "Welcome, everyone. I'm Trudy. You can call me Your Highness."

They all laughed.

Trudy said, "This is Drama. Life is drama. Especially when you're a teenager." More laughter. "But on this stage, we will explore a different type of Drama. We will learn to place ourselves in another world, where we will explore and investigate and share. We will make others feel what we are feeling. We will be stars in the making." She giggled, then added. "Or maybe we'll just have some fun. What do you say?"

The other kids laughed and shuffled from side to side.

Daniel studied Trudy. She wasn't a Raven. She didn't look like a Wolf. So she had to be a Rabbit, but she wasn't scared of her own shadow like all the other Rabbits. Maybe there was a fourth category in Agony? Badgers perhaps? Or maybe she was new in town, like Daniel and his family, and hadn't found her proper place in the animal kingdom.

Trudy looked around at all the students. "As most of you know, this is my first year teaching, though I've worked with a few of you in the community theater. I want to get to know a bit about everyone, but first, before we do anything else, we need to get to know our territory. Who here has been in this class before, or been in a school production?"

Everyone raised a hand except Daniel.

Trudy glanced at him, smiling encouragingly. "Well, then. You are?"

"Daniel. Daniel Anderson."

"Welcome, Daniel. As a theater initiate, I think I'll assign you a mentor." She glanced around and smiled. "Xavier, you're a seasoned veteran. Would you mind showing Daniel around? Explain where everything is and how it all works? While I get to know the rest of these aspiring actors and actresses."

Xavier appeared uncomfortable with the assignment, but he nodded his head. "Certainly, Trudy. This way, Daniel."

Xavier led Daniel to the side of the stage. "This is where the head of the stagehands works during a play. You can control the curtains, run out backdrops, other stuff, all from here. We store the backdrops on the side of the stage here and over there." He pointed across the stage to the other side. "They're nothing more than rolling walls. We repaint them for every play, depending on what we need."

He pointed at a dark window high above the audience in the back of the auditorium. "The lights are controlled from a booth up there. There's not much to see. Just a simple control board in a cramped little room. I can show you if you want to see it."

Daniel shook his head slightly, so Xavier said, "We can go there another time. We'll stay down here for now." Walking through a door at the back of the stage, they entered a narrow hallway with a few doors opening along it. "The dressing rooms are back here. The girls usually use those two. The guys use this one."

"The girls get two dressing rooms?" Daniel asked.

Xavier shrugged. "There are usually a lot more girls interested in acting than guys. We boys don't need as much space." He opened the first door and walked inside, spreading his arms out. "Not much to see, but this is our space." Daniel followed him and looked around. There was a rolling clothes rack with male costumes hanging from it. A mirror filled one wall, with stools in front. Xavier opened a drawer, showing Daniel the brushes, tubes, and pens inside. "Makeup is kept in here. We don't have makeup artists, so we have to know how to apply our own."

Daniel frowned. "We have to wear makeup?"

Xavier nodded, finally relaxing enough to make a joke. "Makeup is the bane of all teenage actors. With my pale skin, I need it. Otherwise, the lights make me look like a ghost."

"Yeah, I guess you are kind of pale." They both laughed.

Xavier shrugged. "I don't get much sun. So, yes …"

Daniel grinned. "You don't need a tan to look good, Xavier."

Xavier glanced at Daniel, hopeful. "You think I look good? Without a tan?"

Daniel nodded, blushing. "You're very handsome, Xavier."

Xavier stared at Daniel for a moment, then walked forward and placed his hands on Daniel's elbows, gently pushing the smaller boy back against the wall. Xavier leaned down and kissed Daniel on the mouth, tentatively, carefully. Then he pulled back and waited.

The chill wasn't as pronounced this time. Daniel's lips tingled where Xavier's had touched, but the heat in his stomach swelled up just as it had the last time they'd kissed. Daniel took a deep breath, then reached up and pressed his lips against Xavier's, forcing his warm mouth onto Xavier's. Their tongues touched, unsure at first, then gaining confidence as they explored. Their breaths mingled, hot and cold, merging. Their tongues danced. Xavier moaned, causing Daniel to shiver.

Finally, Xavier pulled away. He stared down at Daniel. "Are you sure about this?" he whispered.

Daniel simply nodded, pulling Xavier in for another kiss.

Daniel pulled a couple of textbooks from his locker and stuffed them into his backpack to take home. He felt a large body bump him from behind, pushing him into the locker. He turned quickly, ready to lash out at whoever had smashed into him, and saw Connor grinning at him.

"Homework the first day?" Connor asked.

"Yeah," Daniel replied, rolling his eyes. "Essay for English. Chapter to read in History."

"You do all that and you'll get good grades. Then they won't let you hang out with the likes of me."

Daniel chuckled. "You could be right about that, but I have to live with my Mom, and she expects these things called good grades. A stupid demand from a dictatorial parent, but what can I do?"

Connor put his hands on each side of Daniel's head, pushing the smaller boy back against the lockers. "Keep on her good side. I don't wanna hear you've been grounded. Makes it tough for me to take you out after school and show you a good time."

Daniel snorted. "And what makes you think I would run around with a big brute like you?"

Connor looked both directions and seeing no one in the hall, leaned forward and kissed Daniel on the lips. A short, gentle, sweet kiss. Then he stepped back and stared into Daniel's eyes. "That would be up to you, Big D." He winked at Daniel, smiling coyly.

Ethan and Donny came trotting around the corner.

"There you are, Connor!" Donny shouted. "We've been lookin' all over for you."

Ethan grabbed Connor's shoulder. "Get your thumb outta your ass," he said with a laugh. "You're gonna be late for practice."

"Yeah, don't wanna be running laps 'cause we're late, do you?" Donny added.

"We won't be late," Connor said. He turned to look at Daniel, waved, and said, "See you around, Big D."

Then the three of them jogged down the hall, leaving Daniel standing in front of his locker.

As they hurried down the hall, Donny turned to Connor and asked, "What are you going to do about Xavier?"

"Don't have to do anything," Connor replied. "Any time it comes down to a competition with me, he loses and I win."

Ethan laughed and gave Connor a high five. "Just don't take any of his shit, Connor. He's an arrogant prick."

"Let it go, guys," Connor said. "Xavier's no threat and no challenge."

They began running, heading around a corner and disappearing from sight. Daniel followed them and peeked around the corner. His mouth dropped open when he saw the three pushing open a door at the far end of the corridor. How the hell did they get down there so fast?

September 2

First day of school.

What am I doing?

I think I'm in love. With two different guys. Who detest each other.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead