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    Houdinii
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15 And Life To Go - 13. Chapter 13

Watching Henry take Jack with him off the cliff with Tony flying right behind seemed to short circuit my brain somehow. My mind screamed at me to move, but my feet would not budge. I was aware that Jeff was shaking me and I could see his mouth moving but I had no idea what he was saying. The words were like pure mush inside my head, so Jeff gave up and took off down the cliff. I on the other hand finally got a move on, first checking on Casey, who seemed unaware of what just happened. Seeing that he was basically okay outside of the temporary insanity he must be going through, I walked to the edge of the cliff and seen all three of the fallen boys floating face down in the lake. Remembering how I had to show-off and jump from this very spot when I first arrived at this camp, I judged the leap and dove into the chilly waters below.

The first person I came across happened to be Jack himself. I was half-tempted to leave his ass to drown, but I could not allow myself to stoop to that level. I was only about five feet from the cliff wall so I dragged him over and set him on the rocks. I was able to reach Tony next, but as it turned out, he was already treading water trying to get to Henry. I could tell Tony’s wounds were bad, but at least he was afloat which made him in better condition than the third victim of the day. When I was finally able to pull Henry ashore, he was not breathing and I could not feel his heart beating. Not knowing what to do, I started to press on his ribcage repeatedly and breathing into his mouth praying to God above that I was doing the CPR right.

Behind me, I could hear Tony cry for his fallen boyfriend. Apparently, while I was doing chest compressions on Henry, Tony finally made it to dry land and could see what I was dealing with. I still could not feel a pulse and Henry was turning so cold. Hearing a helicopter in the distance, I was able to calm down just a little knowing that the professionals were on the way. Once the paramedics and rescue squad pushed me aside, I finally began to feel the gravity of the situation. From where I was standing, I could see that two of the three boys very well could be dead and the third, Tony, was on shaky ground himself. Now that I was no longer focused so much on Henry, I finally noticed the amount of blood that was coming from Tony’s midsection. The EMTs carefully cut his shirt open and exposed a gaping knife wound deep into Tony’s gut. Willing the bile that rose up in my throat back down, I turned away from the scene and ran into the woods until I no longer could stand.

Sometime later, after I heard two ambulances and the helicopter disappear, I stopped hiding from the gruesome events and made my way back to the cabin hoping to lie down for a spell. The adrenaline has completely worn off and my body is spent. Walking up to the camp site I can see numerous police vehicles and countless number of investigators that are surly going to want to talk to all of us that are still here. I do not see any of the other campers, but I do see Mark surrounded by suits giving his account of what he knows. Mary is standing there as well, but she looks like a basket case with tears streaming down her face. At least Eric, Blake, and Ricky were able to calm her down a bit since they were able to avoid the situation. All afternoon in the sun for the brothers made them completely oblivious to what had transpired.

My heart dropped when I noticed a black station wagon pulling away with the words ‘coroner’ written in white on the side. One of our comrades was not so lucky today. I was feeling overwhelmed so I snuck into my cabin and slipped into my bed without detection. With the image of the coroner’s vehicle pulling away, I curled up in a ball and cried myself to sleep.

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“Babe! Nate! Wake Up, please!” Based on the exasperation in his voice, Jeff must have been trying to wake me for some time now. Hearing his voice put everything I witnessed today into perspective. I could have lost the person I loved today. Had we not gone to church undoubtedly we would have been in Jack’s sights along with the others. “Nate! Get up! The cops want to ask you what you saw. We have no idea what to do. Mark went with the officers and Mary had a nervous breakdown. Brandon had to go to the hospital, we have no clue what happened to Henry, Tony, or even Jack for that matter.” Jeff continued to speak but I lost what he was saying as the realization hit me that I watched a kid die today. I even helped cause the death of a teen today. Had I not tried to distract Jack, Henry might not have bum rushed him and none of this would have happened. Pushing that image out of my head, I acknowledged Jeff. I did not really say anything, but I scooped him up in a hug. I am sure he knows exactly how I feel.

Stepping outside the cabin, I noticed that the grounds were still teeming with investigators. Why they needed thirty men to interview seven kids and a couple of adults is beyond me. The lead detective stuck out like a sore thumb. He had the same attitude that you would find on a cheesy television crime drama. I could tell that we would not get along much. As he approached me, a group of fellow officers followed him like puppies. The very first question out of this man’s mouth was “Do you know why Henry decided to push Tony and Jack off the top of a cliff?” Immediately this asshole left a bad taste in my mouth. Henry did not push Tony, and that is a fact. From my view point it looked like Henry tried to jump in front of a bullet for Tony. I did not get a chance to throw that in the detective’s face, however. Before I had a chance to piss the man off, Sherriff Whitmore himself hopped out of a car and told me to keep my mouth sealed. The look of surprise on Sgt. Hardass’s face was priceless as his boss walked over to us and took over the situation. He announced to everyone within earshot that he himself would be conducting the interviews of the camp goers. The lead detective tried to put up a fight, asking whether the Sherriff could honestly be impartial to the situation, but Whitmore did not even respond to the man’s cries.

I was seriously relieved that I did not have to re-tell what occurred today to that asshole of a cop. I could tell the others felt the same as we took a seat around the now extinguished campfire. Casey’s eyes were still swollen and bloodshot from all the tears that fell, but he looked a heck of a lot more composed than earlier. The other boys in the group did not look nearly as bad as Casey, Jeff, or me, but then again, they did not have to see our friends fall from that height. We all sat in silence until Sherriff Whitmore came over and joined us, ready to hear exactly what happened.

Casey was still shaking as he gathered himself to begin his account of what happened on top the cliff this afternoon. Getting Casey to talk on a normal day was a chore in itself but anyone could see it was going to take some coaxing on a day like today. It did not sound like there was much to it, however. Jack surprised the four boys on the cliff, and ranted like a lunatic about the bible, the sinners, and everything in between. After he lunged a little too close to Casey, Brandon stepped in and received a knife to the chest.

Seeing Casey giving his account makes me shutter. I can only think how Jeff would react if circumstances were reversed. I must have really been out of it. Never once did I notice a drop of blood coming from Brandon, otherwise I would have probably played the hero, and went off the cliff myself. Hell, I thought maybe he only was knocked around the head a little bit. Now knowing that he too could become a statistic by daybreak only furthered this feeling that skipping church could have made all of this just disappear.

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I did not even bother to wait my turn to talk to the investigators before I hopped up and headed for the tree lines once again. I was stupid for believing things could change. Like me meeting Jeff was going to open my world up to leaving these slums and staying out of trouble. Look at what happens when we try. All of us, well minus one, took the initiative and gave it our all and we still are up shit creek. I know one of us is dead, and even if it was Jack, it still does not make it any better. Where is the God that I was trying to find this afternoon? Father Tim and Brett both promised if we just hung in there, shit would get better, yet here we are dealing with backwoods psychos, and even more asshole cops.

Hearing footsteps in the leaves, I tried to duck down and hide thinking that Jeff was looking for me. It wasn’t until I heard someone calling me a ‘cheeky lil asshole’ that I realized that Ricky tracked my ass down.

“Ya’ can’t go running off like that right now, Nate! Your poor Jeffy is ready to go off the deep end thinking that your gonna go jump off a cliff or something. Look, it’s not gonna do any us a lick of good to have a fifth one of us in the hospital or worse. What’s your deal, anyway? You didn’t cause any of this. That Jack had a screw loose if you ask me!”

Ricky never was one to hold back. In fact, as long back as I can remember he’s given it to me straight. I suppose the worst I could do in this situation is lie about it. What good would that do anyway?

“Ricky, this entire place is just fucked up. I don’t belong here anymore than Jack did. I come from the streets, not from the woods. There’s a reason I don’t camp, or fucking do music, or even go to church. It doesn’t change a damn thing. The only thing that happened is I met Jeff. A good guy that I can never keep, because no matter how ‘good’ I am, life stays the same. Shit happens… doesn’t matter where I am. There’s no use dragging Jeff down too. Who am I kidding? I’m destined for this life, and he accidently popped into it.”

It took Ricky a good thirty seconds to look up from his feet to rebuke what I had said. I have never once seen him speechless, but this time he just stood and shook his head. Little did I know that he was going to call me an idiot, and yank me back to camp by the arm to meet a version of Jeff I would not have been able to recognize on the street? Hell, a version of Jeff that decides that the first thing he should do is smack me upside my chops.

“You know what? Fuck you, Nathaniel. There is no reason you should leave me here to worry about you when Tony, Henry, and Brandon are in the hospital. You are selfish! Do you know that? Do you even think of me when you go running off like that? Do you even know how lucky we are? Screw you and your pity party. I’ll be in the cabin when you’re done!”

I doubt I will ever understand his logic of ‘lucky’. The only luck I ever seem to have is bad luck. Selfish? Yeah, I can see that I am selfish. Realistically, could it ever work between Jeff and I? Here we are in the middle of a crisis and I am melting down. I have never been like that before. Damn, I used to be able to rise to a situation like this, now I am acting weak and running away. Joining Jeff in the cabin is a no-brainer, but tomorrow scares the hell out of me.

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Stirring awake early in the morning, I realize the day must have taken its toll out on all of us. Last thing I remember is Jeff finally giving me a deserving attitude, and I woke up in his arms as if nothing ever happened. I know better than that, though. He just gave me a chance to make it up.

Birds are chirping, and everything outside of the cabin seems welcoming, making my decision to take a walk easy. It took only moments after stepping off the stoop that I seen Mark may have had the same idea. If I had to judge, I would say he looked even worse than I did. That alone answered most of my questions for the day before. Maybe I am selfish, and how can I say bad follows me because I am just ‘street’. Here is Mark, the quintessential ‘good guy’ and this shit is happening to him too.

Seeing the look of defeat in Mark’s eyes hurt the worst. He gave up everything to help ten kids at a time, and this is what he got in return. I badly want to tell him not to give up, that he still has most of us that are depending on him, but I cannot really muster up anything but a head nod. It did not take me long to see the object of Mark’s dismay, however. At some point this morning, he must have driven into town because he is holding the local paper. Without thinking, and risking the older man’s wrath, I snatched up the town daily. The front-page headline will never be forgotten:

“One dead, and two in the I.C.U. after juvenile rehab center attack. Murder charges against youth offender are expected.”

That could only mean one thing, if Jack is facing charges and survived, then….

Copyright © 2013 Houdinii; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Gah! Which one died! Damn you cliffie! I feel so bad for Mark and the kids. I look forward to the next chapter, so I can see what will happen.

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What an excellent chapter, Houdinii! :)

 

Poor Nate just needed some space b/c he couldn't deal with what happened, and now everyone is after him. However, I can also see it from Jeff's pov, thinking that Nate is selfish.

 

I can't believe Henry is dead. That's horrible. And Brandon and Tony are in ICU. They have Jack, right? He's in jail I hope?

 

What a sad, sad chapter.

 

I'm glad you're back Houdinii. Have a great holiday and I look forward to your next update. :2thumbs:

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On 12/25/2013 02:06 AM, Rambling Robin said:
Gah! Which one died! Damn you cliffie! I feel so bad for Mark and the kids. I look forward to the next chapter, so I can see what will happen.
Thanks Robin!
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On 12/25/2013 02:32 AM, Stephen said:
You like cliffhangers, don't you?

This is an extended cliffhanger in slow motion. You devil!

I went too long in between chapters and had to build it all back up again :) I had no other choice :P
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On 12/25/2013 08:19 AM, Lisa said:
What an excellent chapter, Houdinii! :)

 

Poor Nate just needed some space b/c he couldn't deal with what happened, and now everyone is after him. However, I can also see it from Jeff's pov, thinking that Nate is selfish.

 

I can't believe Henry is dead. That's horrible. And Brandon and Tony are in ICU. They have Jack, right? He's in jail I hope?

 

What a sad, sad chapter.

 

I'm glad you're back Houdinii. Have a great holiday and I look forward to your next update. :2thumbs:

Wait, it was Henry that died? Are you sure about that?? :P Thanks for the review, Lisa!
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Hey mate, looks like im nof the only one with cliff hangers...

great story mate, I look forward to reading more...

Bavo

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OK... I get cliff hangers... BUT, 3 YEARS?!?!?!?

 

Don't you think that's a wee bit much to expect of your readers?

 

Neal

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