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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 - 28. Chapter 28 - It's Good To Talk

As the story has now progressed significantly, involves different characters speaking and moves back and forward, you'll see I have removed the day and time at the beginning of each chapter. If this still remains important it will now be commented on in smaller font at the beginning of the chapter, or spoken of by one of the characters.

Thank you




My consultant rolled into my room with a clipboard in hand and a sombre look on his face. I think I knew what was coming!

"So we've had the results back from the scan and X-rays we did Leander, and erm... well, there is no easy way to say this, but it's unlikely you'll walk again. I'm sorry, I know you told me you didn't want the result dressed up."

"Ever?" I asked, feeling a little numb.

"As I say, it's unlikely, I'm sorry. The lower spinal injury is quite severe. We'll know more when your body starts to heal. There may be an operation available in the future using stem cells, but that is a very complicated procedure and could make matters worse."

I tried not to let hate into my mind, but right now, I hated my Cousins for what they did. The feelings were becoming too much. I wanted to burst into tears, but something stopped me, and I didn't know what.

"So, how long will I be in here?"

"We're going to move you to an advanced rehabilitation centre at Gainsborough East. They have specialist physiotherapists who will be able to assist with your healing process."

"How much does it cost, all this?"

"Cost?" My consultant asked, a confused look now on his face.

"Yeah, all this treatment and stuff?"

"It costs nothing, Leander."

"Nothing? Is my family paying for it?"

"I'm sorry, you must be confused. No one pays for your treatment, Leander. This is the NHS. Taxes pay for it. All your treatment is free."

"So I'm not going to get a big bill after all this is done?"

The Doctor laughed. "No, most certainly not."

"And what if I can't walk? Will I get help? And will that cost money?"

"Yes, you'll get help, and no, it won't cost you anything."

"Oh," I said, a little surprised. "I have never been in a hospital before, or seen a Doctor. I was born in a caravan."

"I see. Thank you for telling me. Well anyway, I hope I have put your mind at rest."

"No, not really, I still can't walk, can I?"

"Unfortunately not, Leander, no."

I banged my head on my pillow hard, frustrated and angry that I was in this position. I wondered if there were others out there, just like me. Did they live happy lives? But there was something quite morbid about not being able to use your legs again, and I was immediately determined that I would beat this. I would beat this and prove the doctors wrong.

"Do you have any more questions for me, Leander? It's okay if you want to be alone... you know, to have a think?"

I turned away from my consultant and faced the open window. "No," was my reply, and moments later, I heard the door click open, and he was gone. I felt a stubborn tear squeeze itself from my eye and run down my cheek. 

This was utter bullshit!

So now? I was all alone to do my thinking, as the Doctor suggested. Alone because I had sent Luke and Duke away together. I asked them to work their differences out, or I didn't want to see them again. Not forever, but until they worked it out. The horror on both their faces was the only thing that almost forced a smile from me heading up to these results. And that's another reason I sent them away. I didn't want anyone but me to hear what the outcome was. I wanted to be able to discuss that with whoever I wanted on my terms.

I hadn't received a call or message from either of them, so I assumed they had not killed each other? These results? Well, they also kept my mind from the fallout from my Mum and what was to come next. That was quiet too, which was unsettling.


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"You hungry?" I asked Duke, as we walked across the car park to our vehicles. I'd taken on board what Leander said about his request for me and Duke to try and get along. We'll see how that goes. But if it all went bad, at least I could say I made the effort.

"A bit," came a grunted answer. "Why?"

"Wanna go KFC?"

"Never had one... is it good?"

I shot a look at Duke in surprise. "You've never had KFC?"

Duke shrugged. "No, why would I? I never left the fairground, really."

"But what about in the winter, when the fair was closed, and you were... well, wherever you were."

"Luke, we were at a camping site most of the time. That changed from one month to the next, and Mum always cooked for us all. You need to remember, me and Leander ain't like you."

"Which is why you think I should leave him and not return? Was that your ideal ending to your last sentence?"

As we got to my car, Duke stopped shy of my bumper and turned to face me, scratching his feet on the gravel beneath. "You caused all of this!" he said, raising his finger to point at me. "Everything from day one was connected to you."

"I dispute that! Leander and I had nothing to do with your Dad's heart attack. We had nothing to do with the fire at the site and nothing to do with Clyde turning into a power-hungry madman. I think those are the things you reference to when you say I'm to blame, no?"

"Has Leander ever told you how we feel about the man-on-man situation?"

"You mean when one person of the same sex falls in love with the other, and all they want is to try and start something and be happy while not bothering or affecting anyone else in the process? Is that what you mean by the 'man on-man situation'"

"Listen, Luke, I ain't got an issue with it. It might surprise you, but I know about the gay stuff."

"Well, your family seem to think they do as well, judging by their strong views on it."

"It's not just our family; it's a Romani thing. You wouldn't understand."

"That's all I hear, Duke. That I don't understand. If someone explained why, I might get it; I mean, I'm not stupid. I can understand a different view than my own. I'm Nordic, It don't mean I put a horned hat on, go around slaughtering men and women with an axe shouting valhalla, does it? You don't all have to have such crazy views as your ancestors."

"It's not ancestors, it's current people, like alive now. It's just not bred into families like ours."

My mouth dropped open in laughter. Don't be so fucking silly, Duke. So you think that there are no gay people across all Romani families. Did they all have it scolded out of them?"

"I'm not saying that. What I'm saying, asshole, is that if people are that way, then they don't fucking advertise it like Bear did. They don't sit down and invite their Mum to a fucking tea party and express they like another dude."

I couldn't argue with that, and I wasn't going to. He was right; it was unusual for his tribe. Unusual to the point where I, myself, asked Leander if this was the right thing to be doing... and the right time.

"Okay, I take your point, but this was Bear's decision, not mine. In fact, I tried to talk him out of it."

"Well, that worked, didn't it?"

I rolled my eyes and went around to my car's driver's side door. "You coming? We are going around in circles here talking about the rights and wrongs of me getting with Leander. You obviously think I am a homewrecker of some design. You obviously don't accept that Leander and I could possibly be happy despite all the shit he's been through to get to this point. And you know what? It's not my fucking fault your family are homophobic pricks!"

Duke stood with his mouth open before getting into my car and slamming the door. I banged my fist on the roof lightly, shaking my head and followed him in.


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Our meal at KFC had been a welcome distraction from all the earlier chaos, and we ate in relative silence. I guess hunger did the major part, but there was so much I had to say to him but kept backing out, and Duke could have said more, but... well, maybe he felt the same! Watching him eat was quite comic. Seeing the stream of satisfaction in his face increase with every bite of his new experience was amusing.

I had dropped him off at the hospital to pick up Leander's truck. We'd been civil to each other on the short journey back, and I didn't ask him where he was going after he left me. I didn't want to know to be honest. Part of me wondered if he was returning to Freeman's farm, where the fair was, to snitch on Leander and me. But the other part of me wondered whether he would take Leander's truck somewhere safe and sleep in it for the night. Either way, he seemed to know where he was going as I watched him follow me briefly before turning off down a side road.

As I came to a stop in my driveway, I saw no sign of the Bitch's car, which was a relief and Dad's van was in its usual place. Perhaps they split up, I thought, nastily for a moment, but then dismissed that slight excitement, feeling sorry for my Dad.

I threw the door to my car closed and walked to my front door, letting myself in.

"Dad? Dad, I'm home!" I called. There was no sign of him in the lounge, but it was super stuffy and hot in there, so my next guess was the garden. Sure enough, he was sitting at the table with a PS4 controller in bits.

"Well, the wanderer returns," Dad said, looking up at me, a concerned expression etched on his face. "I was getting worried, Luke. Anyway, how's Leeroy?" he asked, causing me to pull a face.

"Dad, It's Leander, and he's knocked up pretty bad. What are you doing and where is the Bi... where is Elaine?"

"Trying to fix this for Josh, but I can't repair the broken bit, I don't think. Oh, Elaine is at home tonight. She's colouring her Niece's hair."

"Dad, just tell him to buy a new one. Once they wear out they're knackered, you can't fix them."

"Hmm, maybe you're right. So, Leander? Let's talk about Leander."

"What about him?"

"Knocked up pretty bad, you say, huh?"

"Yeah, lots of bruises and stuff, perhaps a broken bone."

"Oh right, the fall from that ride rough, huh?"

"Yeah, that's right, he'll be in for a few days."

Dad nodded, fixing a stare on me. "Anything else you wanna tell me? Or perhaps change, story-wise?"

I gulped down saliva and quickly took a seat. "No, I don't think so," I replied, composing myself.

"Uuuuh, so, nothing at all? Perhaps about Leander getting the living daylights kicked out of him?"

"What? What do you mean?"

"Taz called Son; You're not answering his messages; he was worried about you. And I said to him, well, Luke is at work, he might not be able to answer you, and Taz said, oh no, I don't think he is because Derek has called him too, to ask about some stock that's missing. So I tried to call you and still no answer. By God, boy, I was going to give you until tonight, and I was calling the Police!"

"But... but I haven't had any messages or calls from any of you?" I pulled out my phone from my shorts and looked at the screen. "Airplane mode," I whispered to myself. "Shit!"

"Well, you must have been very busy if you have not even checked your phone."

I looked up at Dad, placing my cell on the table. "Dad, I did check it. I had no messages. It's obvious now, but I didn't look that long at the screen to see the little icon. I'm sorry, okay. I'm sorry I worried people."

"Yes, well, you should be. Perhaps if you took your head out of your ass for a moment or two, you might remember you still have people who care about you. Look, Son, you're eighteen; your relationships and friendships are nothing to do with me anymore, I can't dictate who you see, and I wouldn't want to. Still, when your best friend of many years, your boss and me, your own Dad, can't get hold of you because someone or something is preoccupying you that much, I still have a right as your Dad to ask... what the hell is going on?"

"It's... it's very complicated."

Dad grunted. "Complicated, eh? So much so that you have to lie to me? I thought we didn't have secrets?"

"I'm sorry, I am. How did you..."

"Find out? Taz actually... and before you bite his head off, perhaps you should have told him you'd told me a different story, yeah?"

I nodded, "Uh huh."

"So what's going on with this family? You appear to have kicked a hornet's nest."

I put my head in my hands. "Because I've fallen in love, Dad, hard. And all this has happened because I would not give it up when maybe I should have. So Duke is right, really."

"Duke? Who is Duke, your Brother? Like Bill and Ben?" Dad let out a belly laugh but saw me looking at him, disgusted. "Sorry, I just thought that was funn... never mind. So what's happening then? They some crazy people or something, Taz suggested they are."

"No, they're not crazy, they just have these... these traditions, rituals... kinda certain ways that I guess I've come in and disturbed. Oh fuck, Dad, I don't know, maybe they are crazy. His own Mother ordered the beating up of her own Son... her favourite Son by all accounts, and I feel responsible."

"Does he love you?" Dad asked, his tone soft.

"Yeah... yeah I think he does."

"Love can drive you to do strange things, Son, and being like a dog with a bone is one of them. You'll get dragged along like you've got a rope tied to your leg, and you'll smash through whatever is in the way for a person you fall in love with. It's a very potent feeling. But you gotta know where the limit is. You got to admit when things are insurmountable. Is your life in danger?"

"It's nothing I can't deal with, Dad."

"Nothing you can't deal with, or something you're expecting Leander to deal with?"

I threw my arms up in the air. "Pffft, both, I dunno," I replied, exasperated. "I wish they would leave him alone now, but I don't think they will. He's in hospital with quite bad wounds. Dad, they did a real number on him. Nothing that won't eventually heal, but the mental side of things I can't see ever healing. His own family did this. It's like you coming into my bedroom and beating me half to death and then expecting me to carry on living at home."

"They expect that?"

"His cretin of a Mother does, she said to him, 'oh, why don't you come back, and we can sort all of this out.' She is crazy, even if I said the rest weren't."

"Son, look at me," Dad said, sitting up straight. "Do you really want this? Is it worth it? You're young; you're a good-looking chap... do you really think this one person is worth all the hassle?"

"Dad, I'm not even going to say I think, okay. I know, right? I know with every ounce of me that this...him... HE, is the right one. I am going to be with this guy until one of us dies. Whether that be a long time away, or tomorrow. I just know it. There has been too much... too much, well, too many things, circumstances that have brought us together. I'm not going to ignore that or let it go because his Mother is a bit sentimental about family traditions. He wants this, I know he does, and when he gets out of there, the first thing I am going to do is ask if he wants a few days away somewhere. Oh, yeah, I'm on holiday leave now."

"Yeah, Derek said. By the way, can you call him, oh and Taz too."

"Yeah, yeah, I will, But I really need a shower first."

"Go, and then come back down; we'll have a beer together. Please don't sit in front of that TV or disappear out again. Let's carry on chatting. As BT used to say, it's good to talk."


"Advert Son...before your time."

I pulled up one side of my top lip. "Yeah, Dad, I can imagine it was."


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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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Wow...simply wow...nothing funny in this chapter, some interesting lose ends as others have pointed out that could take on a life of their own...

Not sure why, but for some reason the following song came to mind...


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30 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

Wow...simply wow...nothing funny in this chapter, some interesting lose ends as others have pointed out that could take on a life of their own...

Not sure why, but for some reason the following song came to mind...


Haha, perfect choice. I see why. 

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I so want Mary to pay for her crimes, all of them. She needs a visit from a 210cm tall drag queen in heels who was a truck driver, who is trying to give up smoking and is really craving a cigarette, who has been harassed by a mouthy and persistent Jehovah's Witness and who has just seen her entire wardrobe of wigs and designer frocks go up in smoke. She could sort Mary out; bitch needs to be in a wheelchair with a colostomy bag dribbling into her incontinence pads. I hope Duke and Leander NEVER visit her again. 

I have not questioned any of Luke's choices to date, but KFC? Really disgusting "food" made from chickens who were tortured before being painfully murdered all for fucking KFC. Luke eat some real food.

The "missing" stock from Luke's workplace is very concerning. Did one of Leander's crazy family members follow Luke to work and then break in and steal stock, and if so, is the stock stolen going to be used to frame Luke for something. Or is this one of your famous "red herrings" @James Matthews?

A very suspenseful chapter which has raised more questions than it answered. I am hoping for a miracle for Leander.

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