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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Luke Hanson's Mind & Punishment: A Teen in Despair - 27. Chapter 27 - It All Comes Out In The End

Graphic content.

 

I had a big wobble at the hospital. Can you explain to me why, because I don't know why it happened?

After my out-of-order comment to Duke, I phased out for a few minutes. Then, once I had gotten three bottles of juice from the vending machine, I stood still, staring at the wall, somewhere far away inside myself. 

I just thought about everything. 

But what does thinking about everything mean? Everything means very little, really. But how the hell I had got here was at least one thought I was having. I was thinking more about this scenario, this situation and this predicament! How did I get there?

I was happy before this, damn it! At least, I think I was when I look back at my life 'pre-Leander'. That doesn't sound very nice, because it's not him... it's not his fault! No, not at all. In fact, he is innocent of all this. That life before? Sometimes I forget that I HAD a life before Leander and his fucking family. A life still full of mental issues, yes, but it was a steady life—a life where I knew what my gyroscope was doing. 

I still remember that day. You know, the day in the bakery? I'm not sure whether that was the start of something beautiful or an epic nightmare born for both Leander and myself equally. I mean, come on, let's face it, since I came along, it's hardly been great for him, has it?

Self-pity reigns again!

I must have mentioned earlier that the panic attacks... the ones I used to get late at night in my bedroom? Well, they have stopped. What would you have said causes that to stop if you were a medical professional? Am I more distracted, or is this the calm before the storm? The anxiety, though, was another matter. Some people... I mean, the people who tell you to pull yourself together? Well, those people think panic attacks and anxiety are the same things. But as anyone with this affliction will testify... no, they're not! Like standing at the hospital, for example? My anxiety is building. When I say building, I mean it keeps wanting to take over me and develop and grow... most probably... into a full-blown attack. But I have some tools I made to keep that feeling just enough at bay for me to appear normal in front of everyone else. Dare they look into my soul; they would see a picture not so different from the gates of hell.

Another thing I thought of was Calvin. My Dad was right; I did need to see him. Funny really. My Dad was usually right and pretty good at spotting my mental deterioration. But that's the weird thing. Because I feel recent events, such as meeting Leander, have been good for me. Others will be the judge.

But right now I did need to pull myself together, and I needed to make the apology to Duke a priority.

~

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~

In Leander's private room, I saw Duke through the open blinds, sitting on his bed . They were deep in conversation. I wondered whether I should actually go in. They must have had a lot to talk about. But, the question I had was, were they talking about me? Perhaps not, because it's not all about me, is it? No, they must have been talking about the fire or more importantly, why Bear was laying in that hospital bed in the first place.

I went in, head down, and gently closed the door.

"This guy you're in so deep with, Bear. He's an asshole," Duke said to Leander. I looked up at them. Bear appeared angry.

"Why would you say such a thing to him. After what he's been through, why would you say that?" Leander asked me, his face screwed up.

I looked at them both. "I erm... I was angry. Yeah, it was totally out of order. I apologise."

"I dunno why you're here, Luke. Why are you even involved with this. It's family stuff. You hardly know our family. You hardly know Bear."

The attacking statements coming from both of them made me feel shit, to be honest. I thought about leaving, as my mind turned to anger again. 

"I'm here because I love him," I said, pointing at Leander. "But, if you both want me to go, I will. I don't believe that I'm to blame for all of this. I dunno what fucked up past you both had, but I'm not to blame here."

"Don't go," Leander said, his expression turning warmer. 

"He should go, Bear; what he said to me was unforgivable, and you're siding with him."

"I'm not siding with anyone; look, both of you, just stop for a minute, okay?"

There was immediate silence in the relatively sparse room as I looked around, not wanting to rest my gaze anywhere.

I turned to Duke. "Look, I am sorry for what I said. It was the heat of the moment. I love your Brother, and I'm angry about what your Cousins did to him. You're right; I don't know much about your family, but I do know that your Brother should not be lying in a hospital bed because of them. And I also got angry having to listen to you defending them. For instance? Where the fuck was your Mother while Bear was getting the shit kicked out of him."

Duke's forehead crumpled up. "There you go again; why are you asking these questions? You're not the Police; you're not anyone remotely important. So why does this concern you so much?"

"BECAUSE I LOVE HIM!" I screamed, now at the end of my tether.

"Why don't you just go, Luke?" Duke demanded. "Move on with your life, stop tormenting Bear."

"Tormenting Bea..." I looked at Leander, who had closed his eyes for a moment. "Well?" I said.

"I said for the both of you to stop. Right? I don't need this." Leander announced, shaking his head. "Duke, look at me! Did Mum know about this?"

Leander looked into his Brother's eyes and they locked their gaze for a few seconds. "No, she didn't; she screamed her heart out when Clyde told her what they did with you." Leander kept the stare on his Brother until finally, he turned to me.

"He's telling the truth," Leander said, sounding confident.

"So, where is she?" I asked, not convinced.

"She's not allowed here," Duke said softly. "She's been told to cut all ties with Bear by Clyde. In fact, all the family are in agreement that Bear never returns. So he's been... ejected, as Sam put it."

Leander seemed unfazed by Duke's confirmation as if expecting it. I didn't know what to say, so I remained silent. I wanted to see what Bear was going to say now he knew the outcome of his beating.

Leander took his thumb and stroked the very corner of his eye, wiping a tear from it. He sighed and then spoke.

"I was always the odd one out," he started. "I was Mummy's boy. Never really made an effort with the rest of my family, especially Sam, Sebastian and Clyde. I was much closer to Beth and Duke and was just about on speaking terms with my fourteen Cousins. This was expected, Luke. Clyde would have convinced the family... probably quite easily... that this was the best option."

"And you don't care?" I asked.

"Like I was trying to explain, I don't think they'll miss me, nor I them. Mum on the other hand, has let me down. I'm not sure I can forgive her for letting this descend. I think she is more scared of Clyde than she ever was of my Dad. At least with my Dad, she would always argue her point or force through her opinion on something. With Clyde, she says nothing."

"She did for you," Duke cut in. "She did. I heard her. She argued with Clyde after."

"And you're sure about that?" I asked, again not convinced

"Well they were arguing about something after it happened yes. But it was Clyde who looked more upset, so it was strange in a way."

"Well, it's done now, and I feel relief in a way."

"Bear?" Duke asked, sitting back down on the bed. "I got rid of that carpet in the back of your truck."

"You did WHAT?" I shouted. "The Police need that to get evidence from it! Your Cousins deserve to be punished for what they did, and that carpet proves many things, and you get rid of it?"

"Luke, the Police have dropped their investigation on Leander. That was set in motion before it even started."

"But the statement in the media..." I started.

"The Police have been paid off; there will be no investigation, so the carpet doesn't matter. Do you understand? I got rid of it because that helps the Police explain to the public that the evidence has gone missing and they cannot pursue."

I shook my head. "You lot are one fucked up corrupt bunch of..."

"Luke!" Leander cut me off, "Leave it; you've said enough. I think Duke gets it, and in turn, I hope you get his side."

"So tell me, then? How long has your family been paying off the Police? And why?" I asked, folding my arms.

Duke looked at Leander. It was Leander who spoke. "Years ago, in 1996, a boy about 14 got tossed out of a ride while it was in motion. There was nothing wrong with the ride, but the operator had not checked the lock that held down the harness. The kid was flung 50 feet across the ground and landed on his shoulders and neck. He survived but was paralysed. As far as I know, he's still alive. Anyway, my Dad gave the police £25000 to lobby that the kid had undone the harness himself. They made up a story that the kid freaked out on the ride and tried to get off as it was starting. The Police interviewed the people sitting on either side of him, and they obviously told the Police the truth, as far as what they witnessed. They said the harness must have already been undone as they never saw the kid struggling."

"So why wasn't this the evidence used to convict your Dad?"

"A conviction for our Dad was impossible because their evidence, such as the audio tapes and video of the interview, went missing out of the evidence room. This also meant that the fair could not be sued. So considering the money that would have been paid out, £25000 is not a lot and it all went away."

My mouth was wide open, listening to every word of this injustice. "And this has been going on ever since?"

"Exactly. Any issues are paid off." Leander replied, shrugging.

"And people know their place at least," Duke piped in, looking at me. 

I turned and looked at Duke, who was still staring. "What happened to Ben Flowers?" I moved towards him slowly. "I want to know. You're not like the others despite your mouth, so tell me."

"I don't know, and that's the truth. I don't get involved with..." 

Duke paused, whether to hide something or not knowing how to continue.

"You don't get involved with what? How they are disposed of?"

Duke closed his eyes and shook his head quickly as if trying to banish an image. "I just don't get involved, that's it!"

"Leander? What would they have done with him?"

"I'm not sure, but it's likely he would have been threatened."

"And killed?"

Leander sighed. "Possibly, but..."

I cut in immediately. "No buts, Leander, that's murder! That's... that's not what should have happened! If it has, Jesus; I don't even want to think about it."

I started to pace the small room, coming to a stop near the window. "Duke, would you leave us alone for a few minutes?"

"What?!" He spluttered on his drink, mid-swallow. "No, I won't!"

"Dukes, just for a couple," Leander said quietly. "For me?"

"Fine!" Duke grunted, pulling hard on the door and walking out.

"He's got a real attitude problem," I said, huffing.

"You both have, and if I could get out of this bed I'd smash the two of you together."

"Anyway, listen. I need to ask you something about later."

"Later? What's happening later?" Leander asked promptly, trying to sit up.

"Nooo, I mean later when you get out of here."

"I'll be fine; I'll grab one of those places people stay in."

"A hostel?"

"No, the better one, hotel?"

"Leander, they cost money per night, like lots of money."

"I know that, silly."

"So, how will you be able to pay for a hotel night after night with no income?"

"I have bank money," Leander replied, looking at me as if I was the clueless one.

"Well how much? I hate to be presumptuous, but you ain't gonna survive long paying sixty a night for something basic."

Leander waved his hand at me. "Hey, trust me, I can last out a while with no income. I have some savings."

I went and sat on Leander's bed again. "Leander...Bear, listen. Do you really want to waste your savings on hotel rooms. Look I can put you up for a few nights, but have you got anyone you know who might be able to offer you something more permanent?"

"Nah, I've been thinking! Like, I know it's going to be really hard, but I might try living on my own. I think I could manage. I can cook, and I know how to work a washing machine. So I'm sure it would be okay. I've just got to find a little place to buy. And I'm not running away either, I want to sta..."

"Hold on, whoa, roll back there...BUY a place?"

Leander looked at me innocently and nodded. "Yes, buy a place. So what's wrong with that? You think it's a bad idea?"

"So, when you talk about savings, you have enough to buy a property?"

"I think so, I mean a small one I suppose. They cost a lot, right?"

I laughed, "ha...haha..haha...erm yeah, just a bit."

"I should be fine," he reaffirmed. 

"Uh, just so I can give you a bit of help here Bear, and perhaps bring in a little bit of realism to this. How much savings do you actually have, if you don't think that's too personal? I just want to give you a heads up."

I expected him to say a few grand or something. I was ready to let him down slowly.

"No, not to personal, Luke. At least not for me. And you're trustworthy, I hope. Anyway, £267,000 or thereabouts. I never really look at it. I never needed much money at all, so..."

"Wooah, hold on a sec? Excuse me? £267,000?" I bulked.

Leander nodded. "Yeah, you okay? You look pale?"

"Yeah, I'm... I mean, this money? It's... I mean, it's a lot, Bear, like a significant amount. But, hang on... it's not dirty, is it?"

"Dirty?"

"Yeah, like dodgy."

"Oh, I see. Uh, no Luke. It was given to us by Nanna Elsa, my Dad's Mum. She was very well off when Grandpa Jerry died. He's the man that..."

"Founded the fair, yeah, I know."

"Yeah, so when he died, all his money went to Nanna Elsa, but she and my Dad had a falling out soon after, so she changed her Will to give all the direct Grandchildren my Dad's share of the fair assets and savings. He went mad, of course, but the money was placed into a trust, and then I got it a while back on my eighteenth birthday."

"And Duke?"

"He has the same. Why?"

"Bear, you're like... minted, and you seem so... so casual about it?"

"It's just money, Luke. I never really had anywhere to spend it... no one to spend it on. I never went anywhere, so what use was it? How could I get excited about it?"

I averted my eyes, seeing Duke arguing with someone. The angle of the blinds meant I could only see his face and not who he was interacting with. Plus the room was soundproof. I moved towards the window to get a better angle.

"Bear?" 

"Yes?"

"Your Mother is outside!" I growled.

~

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~

I narrowed the blinds and watched the continuing argument between Duke and his Mother. It seemed to get ever more heated each second until I saw Mary strike her nineteen-year-old son across the face, hard. He looked shocked but didn't react. Two nurses came over, and it looked like Mary was about to take them on too.

I turned and looked back at Leander. "I'm going out there... I should go out there, right?"

"Luke, just lock the door, don't get involved. Duke can handle her."

"But she ain't going away, Bear. I mean, Duke is doing his best, but she's wearing him down, and those two nurses, the speed her mouth is going..."

"Lock the door, Luke. Please. I don't want you near her, just in case Clyde is waiting nearby."

I backed away from the window after clicking the lock on the door. "What the fuck is she doing here anyway? She has a nerve."

"Luke, will you come here, please? I'm worried any minute you are going to go hysterical. Come, sit... calm down."

I did as he asked and wandered over to his bed, sitting on the side. "How can you be so calm about all this? Your own family has badly beaten you; your Mother is outside throwing a fit at your Brother - She is clawing to get in here, and you're ... oh, hold on," I said, something just clicking in my head. Getting up and looking at the line going into Leander's hand, I traced it all the way back to a small box that was attached to the bed. Then, leaning down, I peered at the tiny squidgy bag locked inside. "Oh, now I understand."

"What?"

"Morphine. No wonder you don't give a fuck. How many times you pressed that thing?"

"Just a few. Listening to you and Duke going toe to toe was giving me pains."

for the first time in a while, I laughed. "So, if you can help me out here then, and think rationally for a moment, we still have the problem of your mother outside, and I think that needs to be addressed?"

As I spoke, there was a tugging on the door handle from the outside. I rushed over and came face to face with Mary through the window. She was shouting at me to unlock the door. It was just a muffled, dull sound from inside, but her face unsettled me.

"Let her in," Leander said from behind me.

"What? You have to be kidding. She looks like she wants to kill me... or you."

"Let her in; I want to hear what she has to say."

I shrugged and unlocked the door, stepping back. She yanked it open, barging in. Her demeanour seemed to soften as she laid eyes on Leander.

"Oooh baby, look at you. Look at you!"

"Mum!" Leander responded pointedly.

"I just came to see if you were okay. Clyde said..."

"I'm not interested in what Clyde said, Mum. I have nothing to say about that."

"Look, I've been speaking to him, baby, and all we want is for you to come home to the family. We can work all this out."

"You have got to be..." I started.

"You boy, shut your mouth; you've caused enough trouble," she spat, cutting me off.

"MUM!" Leander shouted. "Don't talk to him like that."

Duke walked in after finishing with the nurses. "I tried to keep her out, Bear," he said, flicking a disgusted look at his Mother.

Mary looked upset, running her hands through her red hair, clearly dyed. "Boys, please, I have only ever loved you. I never meant for any of this to happen. Please believe me."

"No, Mum, I don't," Leander said. "I can't believe Clyde didn't tell you what he was planning with me."

"I didn't know. I swear it. I swear it, I swear it!"

Leander looked away, tearing up. "I...I don't know you anymore."

"I'm not coming back, Mum," Duke suddenly said. "I'm not coming back to the fair. When you all go, I want to stay with Bear."

"Now, don't be silly, Duke. You know that's not the way we do things. The family is the family."

"Fuck the family," Duke scowled. "I want no part of it anymore. I can't sit back and watch the way Clyde treats people. He's worse than Dad."

"How can you say that? Your Dad loved you, and Clyde loves you. You can't just up and..."

"He raped me!" Duke blurted out. "He would make me come to the ghost train and rape me!"

I wanted to vomit. Leander also looked startled that those words had come out of Duke's mouth. Mary looked baffled, but there was something else there I couldn't put my finger on.

"Baby, Dukes, don't be ridiculous. Your Dad wouldn't do that," she finally answered calmly.

"Mum, he didn't say who had raped him. What makes you think he was talking about Dad?" Leander asked, suspiciously. 

Mary remained silent for a moment. I could almost see the cogs turning in her head, working out her next sentence. 

She waved the comment away. "Look, this is silly talk. Why don't we sort this back out at Freemans Farm? We can work this whole thing out, yeah?"

"Mum, I said I'm not coming," Duke replied slowly. 

Mary shot her eyes between her two similar-aged Sons. "You know it can't be like this," she said, her tone and facial expression changing to one of seriousness.

"Mum? I think you should go. Perhaps we can talk about this in time, but you and Clyde need to accept what Duke wants."

Mary looked livid. "He's coming home, Bear, and that is non-negotiable."

"What would the newspapers say about your modern slavery policy Mary," I said, finally having enough with this to-ing and fro-ing.

"Who the hell do you think you are? Stay out of my family's business."

"You haven't asked me about the fire, Mary," I shot back. "Why is that?"

"Because I'm here for my Son!"

"But you must be curious? I mean, about who did it, right? I mean, you haven't even accused me yet."

"What are you implying," she asked, walking towards me.

"Any debts to pay?" I returned, smiling falsely. "No life insurance on Scott? Just rumours, but you know how these things start spreading. But you probably have insurance on the fair, don't you? Insurance on the fair is mandatory if you have the public visiting. But none on Scott."

"I don't have a clue what you are talking about. My family's finances and arrangements are piss all to do with you or anyone else. No one knows the truth."

"Mum? Did Clyde start that fire?" Bear asked, creasing his forehead.

"Don't be stupid; it was probably kids. You know what they're like."

"But Luke is right, yes?"

"Bear, baby, it's all fine. No one was hurt, and we can get everything replaced." She replied, her tone sickly.

"And Dad's debts paid off," Leander added, nodding disappointingly.

Mary was silent. I think at that very moment she knew the game... or secret was up. She tried the typical excuse mode, which so often happens when you're found out.

"Baby, we had to. We were going to go under otherwise."

"Mum, just go, please. I've heard enough," Leander said, looking away from her.

"Fine, but remember where you came from, Bear baby, don't you ever forget where you came from. Come on, Duke, we're leaving!"

"Mum, I'm nineteen, and my own person, I'm not going anywhere."

"Baby, Dukes, please don't make me get Yeltsin and Seth to come and collect you!"

"Why them two, Mum?" Leander asked. I saw him momentarily flinch, just as she said their names. "Why would those two come and get Duke, and why have you mentioned their names?"

"Well, they seem to be... I mean, well..."

"You knew all along, didn't you? You knew what they were going to do with me. In fact, it all makes sense now. Oh my God, it all makes sense."

"What?" Mary asked, trying to look innocent and failing.

"When I was in the trailer talking with Clyde, he said he was going to get you to come and talk to me. Only you never came. You never came because when Clyde came and told you what was going on in that conversation between the two of us, you sent Yeltsin and Seth to the trailer instead. You organised that visit, didn't you?"

Duke started shaking with rage. I could see his fists clenched. He was going to explode; I could see it building in him.

Then it did.

"YOU FUCKING BITCH!" Duke screamed, striking his Mother hard around the face with the back of his hand. She went flying backwards, falling to the floor. Her nose was bleeding as she struggled to a sitting position. She was about to say something, but Duke had more plans. "Get out of this room! Get out of this hospital. GET OUT OF OUR FUCKING LIVES!" 

He was on his way to doing her more damage, but I rushed over to their position and pulled him away as he yelled expletives at her, struggling to get loose from my grasp. 

"Leander, press your button... press it now," I yelled, tryng to hold Duke in one place. "Mary, get the fuck out of here, go!"

"You fucking bitch, you evil bitch, I hate you. How could you? You fucking bitch."

Mary wiped her nose and flicked the blood on her hand to the floor. "You have just signed your death wish, my Son," Mary said, storming out of the room.

"Duke, please, calm down," I said, holding onto him for dear life. 

"Dukes, that's enough!" Leander yelled at him. Duke seemed to stop struggling and snapped out of whatever that was. "You shouldn't have done that. What were you thinking?"

"She did this! Even though Yeltsin and Seth carried it out. She's responsible. She's supposed to be our Mother."

"What a mess," Leander said, trying to move. All I could see were his shoulders moving, but not a lot else.

"I erm... I think I need some fresh air and a walk," I said, scratching the back of my neck. "I don't think you should have done that, Duke, not only from a moral perspective but from a consequential one."

"What do those words mean?" Duke asked.

I waved my hand at him. "Look, never mind. You just shouldn't hit women, that's all. No matter what they've done."

"She's evil. I made an exception," Duke replied, looking at the back of his hand.

Although I could have never imagined a scenario where any Son would hit their Mother, knowing what I knew about Mary gave me permission to not feel to outraged by it. Were there exceptions to the well established rules that you don't go around knocking your Mum around? Would Rose West be an exception? Or Myra Hindley? Where does the evil of such women have to climb to in order for a man...a boy...a Son to hit them. The act of Duke doing what he did still jarred me inside a little, but an exception might well have been acceptable. 

Copyright © 2022 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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Trying a different style and a couple of new things in this book and my only benchmark on how that is going is you, my loyal readers. So I have a small favour. Please do click a like if you're enjoying the story and please do recommend the book. If you have a thought or comment I'd be made up to hear what you think. All feedback is relished and of course I do love hearing your ideas, opinions and banter. Many thanks, folks! Now, let go forth on to the next chapter :) 

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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On 7/16/2022 at 1:33 AM, pvtguy said:

I don't believe it will end at this.  Will the police protect Bear and Duke?  Is Luke safe?  Wonderful suspense you've created!

Thank you very much for that :)  

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On 7/16/2022 at 5:48 AM, VBlew said:

That was an unexpected turn of events, maybe the mother is the crazy ringleader… that would not be good for the boys. If both Bear and Duke go in on a property together they may be able to get something nice….

Awww, I loved this comment. the ending was so positive lol. :)

 

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