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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 - 32. Chapter 32 - Len's Lucky Escape (Hopefully)

LUKE


 

"Dad, all you gotta do is go to the hospital and see him, and he'll explain everything."

"Son, I've had a long day, it's gone five, and I am looking for a cool shower and something to eat, and then I'm seeing Elaine; this is not a good time."

Dad met me at the same petrol station I had filled up at earlier in the day as I stood next to our cars. We'd spoken several times as I tried to convince him to come to the hospital. Earlier that day, he called me and said he had changed his mind and was going home. On my last call with him, he 'advised' me that he'd had enough of 'my drama,' But here he was. Perhaps I'd gotten through.

But he was stubborn.

"Dad, listen... please just listen to me. Fact! Yes, I hate Elaine. Fact! Yes, I would prefer it if you didn't see her anymore, but, FACT! I accept you're with her. So, with that in mind, would you please, please, please give me the benefit of the doubt when I tell you how serious this is."

Dad shook his head in frustration. He looked at me with anger on his face. "If it's really that important, then you tell me."

"Dad, Leander wants to tell you."

"Pffft, Leander, bloody Leander! D'you know, ever since you met him, your life has been nothing but bloody drama and upset! And you want to talk about Elaine and me? Son? You wanna take a look in the mirror!"

I stepped back slightly, his comment stung. "I tell you this, dad, Leander is NOTHING like Elaine, and if you would just trust me and do what I ask, then you'll see that."

Dad got in his van and started the engine, taking me by surprise. He looked pissed, and that was unusual. I felt emotional - primarily by his comments about Leander, but also because I hated being the cause of his current mood.

He pulled away without saying a word through his already open window. He didn't even look at me. In terms of our relationship, this was now marked as its lowest point.

~

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~

I clambered into my car to follow him. I needed to get home at the same time as him, to try one last time. His making contact with Elaine was not an option here. She would twist him and manipulate him. Nope, not having that, I thought as I wheel spun out of the station and tried to tail my dad.

I was ready for him to turn right into Briers Drive, but he kept going, causing me to swerve back and straighten up again, such was my closeness behind him now. Was he trying to lose me? I wondered as he gained speed. There were so many crazy thoughts running through my head about a fucking burnout duel with my own father on the busy roads. I was almost laughing. He started to accelerate hard, and my old car was no match. But instead of leaving me for dust, he took a left and pulled into the bloody hospital entrance.

Now sweating from the heat and the situation, I followed him in and looked for a space. Unfortunately, the hospital was now busy, but I did manage to find one space a few parked cars away from dad, which was handy.

As I was pulling in, I saw him getting out and slamming his door. I ripped my seatbelt off and jumped out moments later, calling him.

"Dad, do you even know where to go?"

"I'll find him," he shouted, marching like some lunatic towards the hospital entrance. Although I was well aware of the murderous mood he appeared to be in now - which was worse than moments ago, I felt calmer knowing he would see Leander and hopefully listen to him. 

I picked up my pace to catch him up.

~

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~


Leander


I was nodding off when there was an almighty bang and the door to my room flew open. This man appeared, marching towards my bed. But, of course, I couldn't move, so that was a change of trousers moment.

"Uh, hello?" I said, seeing his creased forehead and flared nostrils. Luke flew in moments after.

"I'm sorry, Bear, it was supposed to go better than..." Luke started, but was cut off.

"You are Leander, right?"

"Yes, Sir, that's right. So you must be Len, Luke's dad, I gather?" I glanced at Luke as I finished my sentence. Luke just turned his lips down and rolled his eyes.

"What the bloody hell is going on regarding my Elaine, I'm giving you five minutes, and I'm going home. I'm here because my ill-informed son said I had to be HERE like it depended on the Earth still spinning. I'm not impressed, young man, not impressed at all!"

"Would you like to sit?" I asked calmly. Luke pulled up a chair and sat on the other side of my bed. Len appeared to calm down a little after his entrance rant at me.

"So go on, get on with it. Nice to meet you, by the way; I'm sorry it's under these circumstances."

I looked over at Luke. "Oh, yeah, dad is a pro at PA. It's normal."

"PA?" I asked, frowning, not having a clue.

"Passive aggressiveness," Luke replied, almost having a grin form. I tried not to smile.

"Nice to meet you too, Sir," I said, holding out my hand. He took it, and that made the situation feel better.

"Call me Len, now get on with it. You have four minutes left."

I sighed and cleared my throat. "Okay then," I began, dropping my hands between my legs. "Would you like it direct or fluffy, Len?"

"Just tell me," he whined, getting frustrated again.

"In a few days, or even maybe a few weeks, perhaps even a few..."

"I get the point, son. Carry on."

"Elaine will ask to open a joint bank account with you. She has done with all her other men since... well, a long time, so there is no reason to suggest you will be any different. She will gather forms together, most of which will be nonsense. But the more bits of paper she has, the more confused she hopes you will be and will end up signing anything. In among those bits of paper will be a form that will start her process of fleecing you. It's called a Third Party Mandate form. That effectively gives her access to your account once you have signed it. She will then move money from your account to the newly opened joint account." I stopped for a moment as he'd not said anything. "Len? Len? Are you following?"

Len looked like he was glazing over, wholly stunned and probably confused. "Third Party form, yeah, I get it. Next!"

"So yes, she will move money from your account because she now has authority - and then to the joint account. She will then immediately go to the bank branch and withdraw all the funds. Before doing so, she would have packed anything she had at your house. She will take anything light... and of value, such as jewellery, any cash she can find, and the odd nic-nac she thinks is worth selling. She will also have written a note, and left your property in pristine condition. She will then travel back to Southampton, and you will be wondering who pulled the rug from under your life!"

"This is absolutely... Okay, so, say I believe you... which I don't. Why would she leave my house tidy, as you say? Are you making this up?" Len looked at Luke. "You guys are winding me up, aren't you. It's a joke. Between the two of you, right?"

"Dad," Luke said softly. "I would never do something that cruel as a joke. You gotta listen to what Leander is telling you. This is his mother! He knows her."

I nodded to Luke's statement. "He's right, Len. And I would not do this to you either as a joke. I think you are a thoroughly decent man, Sir, and Luke has said so many great things about you and what a kind guy you are?"

Len looked horrified, and then his expression changed. First to one of sadness, then disbelief, and finally realisation. He coughed lightly and then adjusted his posture.

"But, erm... so, nothing can happen until she does these forms?"

I shrugged, looking at Luke. "Not as far as I know, and I highly doubt it."

"But... I mean, why? Why does she do this, if it's true? She's been so... so lovely to me. We went to the garden centre and visited a museum for god's sake," Len advised passionately, his hand on his chest. He looked old all of a sudden, and vulnerable. Luke got up and brought his chair around to sit with Len. He placed a hand on his dad's wrist and looked at him.

"She's done it to lots of men, dad. I know this sounds really shit because of the way you feel right now, but you're one of the lucky ones."

"Lucky?!" Len cut in angrily.

"She hasn't been able to scam you. You got out in one piece from this." Luke replied.

Len got up and walked over to the window as if pondering. He still looked sad, but I think he was now processing a future without Elaine.

"I erm... I mean, should I get home, you know? She, uh...she... well, she has a key. I need to get home and call a locksmith."

"No!" Luke snapped. Not angrily, but quickly. "Dad, don't do anything tonight. It will look strange. You must change our locks while she is out of the house. Call one to visit tomorrow and arrange a time you know she'll be out doing something... or pandering to Josh."

Len suddenly looked at me after Luke's comment. "Mothe... wait. Is he..."

"Half brother, but yes, Len. He is." I replied, nodding.

Len put his hand up until it eventually reached his mouth. "But you look nothing alike, yet you have the same mother?"

"Luck of the draw, I guess. Although, I like to think I have almost better looks."

Luke put his head down, smirking at my jokingly vain comment, which by the way, I didn't mean seriously. I am not vain. Although, the fact I had to say it, does that mean I am? I hope not. I will let you be the judge of that.

"Erm, look, kids... sorry, I realise you're men now, I forget where the years go. Erm, I know I'm like a hundred years older than both of you and a whole lot wiser, but I gotta ask. What do I do now?"

"You pretend, Len," I said, nodding at Luke. "Luke is right. Wait until tomorrow to order a Locksmith to come. When she realises you have changed the locks, she will know the game is up, and she'll do a runner back to South..."

"Hang on," Len said, interrupting me. "If she lives in Southampton. Where the hell has she been staying all this time?"

"Sandhurst Avenue, In Gainsborough," I said assertively. "You'll know the road, I gather?"

Len nodded, looking like he was about to pass out from confusion and deceit. "Whereabouts on that road?" He asked, his voice shaky.

"114b! It belongs to my uncle. It's a flat, one bedroom and no kitchen. So I'm probably right in assuming that she comes around to 'clean' in the day when you're at work?"

Len's mouth fell open, and he began nodding like a wooden puppet. "Yeah, she asked if she could help out, and I let her," he said, driftingly, almost zoning out.

"Yes, and while you're at work, she has been bringing around supplies from the supermarket, batch cooking a load of meals because she has access to a kitchen at your place. By the time you get home, she's tidied up and 'cleaned,' and you are none the wiser. Of course, she'll not expect you to, but, have a look at what's in your trash bin when you get home tonight. She will have made a little effort to bury the waste under what was already there, but you'll probably see all sorts of stuff you didn't buy."

Len looked stunned as I finished my explanation. I felt sorry for him. But like so many other men, he was just an old poor fool who never knew what was coming.

"How... how do you know all this?"

"You won't believe me, but it's just a simple case of her telling me what she's done and who to. I don't want to upset you, Len, but she gets a kick out of this and is happy to show off about it... at least to me. Before you, it was a guy called Doug. He was divorced, 67 and worked part-time at a jewellers. Before that? It was Harry, 52, widowed like yourself. Had a big house about 15 miles away. She picks men close to the fair as she has... or did have business there with my dad. She's a drug runner Len, I don't know how much Luke has told you, but she delivers drugs to a gang in Southampton when she's been given her 'shipment' from my dad. Obviously, that endeavour has now come to an end. Hmmm, you know, part of me wonders why she is still here. I don't mean to be fickle, but perhaps she does actually like and respect you. But it's not a chance you want to take, Len. Trust me."

"I'm worried about going home to my own house," Len said, more to Luke than me. I understood how he felt. It must have felt like a violation. I imagined it would have been a similar feeling to being burgled somehow. 

"Do you want any more information, Len?" I asked, seeing a lost man in front of me.

"Does her son know about all this? Josh? Does he know?" Len asked, sitting down again, never taking his eyes off me.

I nodded. "Yeah, let's just say he's probably her assistant," I chuckled, but realised stupidly that this was not funny to Len. It wasn't even amusing to me, really - just tragic. "I don't know for sure. Josh and I didn't talk after he stole a ring Mary had got me for my birthday. Mary is my mum by the way. Don't ask Len. Anyway, it was worth a lot of money, and he probably sold it. I know it was him. But, whatever, that's not your concern, It just does mean I don't see anything of him. Without the ring incident, I'd probably get along with him. He's not a bad person. He's just been brainwashed by her. I think if he had the chance, money and balls, he would have run away from her. But she ensures he never has anything - like a job or friends and stuff. That way? He's always dependent on her.

Len shook his head. "I like that boy," he said, sad sounding. 

"Dad, there will be other women out there. You deserve better," Luke announced.

"Definitely," I added, agreeing.

Len slapped his knees before getting up. "Well, thank you, Leander. I'm a little numb right now, but i need to be grateful to you for telling me all this. Not really what I wanted to hear, as you can imagine, but..." he stopped, looking at the ceiling, and sighing. "But, I am old enough and stupid enough to sort this out."

"You will," I said, trying a smile at him.

"So erm, you two a couple still?"

"Still?" Luke barked. "Dad!! You make it sound like gay people just drift from relationship to relationship."

Len shook his head. "No, not at all, but young love usually floats that way in your younger years. I just asked anyway. No need to bite my head off. So is it serious now?"

I suddenly felt awkward and looked at Luke to gauge his mind before looking back at Len to answer "Well, if your son does decide to stay with me, you'll have a cripple for a son-in-law," I said, wanting to torture myself with the reality.

"BEAR!" Luke yelled. "Dad, he has a broken back, he's gonna be out of action for a while, but he's still the same person," Luke said, staring at me, putting enthesis on the last part of his statement.

"Bad luck, son," Len said, pursing his lips. "You gonna have the physio and all that stuff?"

"Yeah," I replied. I have to wait until the primary healing has started, and then I can begin that. Right now, everything is too raw, not to mention painful. But Luke is right; I'm still the same person, and I will look out for your son," I said, surprising myself with that commitment.

Len nodded and looked back at Luke, who had moved to lean against the window of my small room.

"I'm off now, son, to play a game I never thought I'd have to play." With a smile that I know he just forced, Len turned back to me and gave me a wink and a nod as if to authenticate my being with Luke. "Hope you get better soon, and sorry we met like this. Next time will be better."

With that, he headed towards the door, stepped out and closed it behind him, leaving Luke to come and sit by my bed.

"I feel sorry for your dad," I said, looking down. "He's a good man, I can tell. I feel sorry for myself too. I wish I'd had someone like him; he obviously cares for you very much."

"We care for each other. And, well, most of the time, we get along just fine. He's just a man always searching for a peaceful life. He's been like that since mum passed. Just wants a simple existence."

"I admire that," I said, stroking Luke's hair and brushing an eyelash from his forehead."

"Well, I should leave you in peace," Luke offered, getting up. "I'm going to go and see Taz and tell him the latest."

"You really think a lot of him, don't you?" I asked, interested.

"Taz, or my Dad?"

I laughed. "Taz, silly!"

"You'll like him," Luke said, grinning.

"I think we met already," I replied, teasing him. Probably in bad taste.

"Yeah, when you were dumped outside the fair, half dead and bleeding. Not really an official introduction if you ask me, huh!"

"Hey, I'm trying to make light of the situ..."

I couldn't finish my sentence as the door to my room was swung open, and a crying and hysterical Duke stormed in, looking white as a ghost.

"Bear... shi... shit, Bear, oh my God. They... they put him in acid, they fucking... oh my God, I want to throw up. It's evil!"

"Duke, easy... easy! Who? What are you talking about?" I asked, taken aback. Luke stepped out of his way, alarmed at the state of my brother. I was obviously helpless. "Come here," I said. 

Duke came over quickly and fell into my arms, causing a shooting pain to rob me of the comfort I wanted to give him. "Oh, HOLY shit, wow, okay, a little more gently, please?!" I asked.

"That guy, the one who was after Luke, Oh shit, the Ben guy?"

I saw Luke put his hand up to his mouth and push it against his lips. "Oh... oh my God, Bear," Luke stammered, "Please tell me they wouldn't be capable of that?"

I saw Duke suddenly stare at Luke. I tried to get the both of them to calm down so I could talk to Duke sensibly. "Duke, tell me exactly what you saw. And, you're talking about Yeltsin and Seth?" 

"Duke nodded," They used the barrels we keep; I saw it. There was bone in there. I saw them take bits out. I just came here. I'm sorry, I didn't know where else to go. I don't think mum knows."

I shook my head, looking at Luke. "I hate to be crass, but I don't think he'll be bothering you again," I said. Luke seemed about ready to vomit himself as all colour drained from his face.  

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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Chapter Comments

16 hours ago, pvtguy said:

I still don't understand how there can be no legal routes they can take.  There has been murder, drugs, arson and who knows what other illegal activities going on for years.  With Luke, Leander, Duke and possibly Len in the focus now, how can they be safe?

When you have brought the Police, anything can go on. Remember that the Police are in the Sheperd's pockets. I don't know about now because Scott is gone, but it suggests why Yeltsin and Seth think they can get away with stuff. 

 

That;s just my guess, I don't know anything really. :P

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8 hours ago, Summerabbacat said:

I agree with you wholeheartedly @pvtguy. The Romani family and its criminal associates have committed more than enough crimes to find themselves guests at Her Majesty's pleasure. Of course, proving those responsible for said crimes would no doubt be a difficult, if nigh impossible task, particularly if said persons have contributed to the financial health of the police in the town. 

@James Matthews, we your readers, seem to have unanimously accepted Leander is telling the truth, Elaine is his mother and Scott his father, to the best of his knowledge, but is he telling the truth? Apart from Len, Luke and Taz, I am beginning to have my doubts any of the other main characters in this tale have ever had even the slightest acquaintance with the truth.

I don’t recall the nature of the goods stolen from the hardware store at which Luke works having been disclosed yet. I wonder if at least some of the goods stolen may have been acid and plastic drums. How convenient it would be to pin Ben’s apparent murder on Luke. He had the motive, he was being stalked by Ben; he had ready access to the necessary equipment to carry out the murder; and, he likely had the skill set to know how to use the equipment at least. The purpose of the murder, other than to satisfy their lust for violence, blackmail Leander into returning to “the family”. Leave Luke and return to the family, and the police will not be tipped off regarding Ben’s murder and the likely culprit.

This chapter has once again raised more questions than were answered, at least answered satisfactorily and with conviction @James Matthews. The intrigue, tension and suspense continued to build for both the characters in the tale and we your ardent readers. To quote Rodgers & Hart "bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I".

Some great details brought up there Summer. I'm surprised the Police have not come calling yet as it would be easy to pin the latest on Luke or Leander. My guess is that the Sheperd's have done all this in either A) secret or B ) the Police indeed do know but have chosen to take the cash! (Or whatever is being offered to keep them sweet). As I mentioned above - I do think everything has got this far due to the suppression of the law in this town. Perhaps, but we don't know.  Perhaps, the Police are fully aware of everything and are just monitoring the situation. The acid? Well that's a new level I'll admit. But Yelsin and Seth have proved their desensitization with much of what they do. Does it bother them, putting a human being in acid? I'm not too sure it does. As for the rest of the family, it's not known if they know, but Clyde will as he was there when Ben Flowers was "processed" at the fair.

 

I wish I knew more, but I don't :P 

Edited by James Matthews
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1 minute ago, James Matthews said:

Some great details brought up there Summer. I'm surprised the Police have not come calling yet as it would be easy to pin the latest on Luke or Leander. My guess is that the Sheperd's have done all this in either A) secret or B ) the Police indeed do know but have chosen to take the cash! (Or whatever is being offered to keep them sweet). As I mentioned above - I do think everything has got this far due to the suppression of the law in this town. Perhaps, we don't know. The Police are fully aware of everything and are just monitoring the situation. The acid? Well that's a new level I'll admit. But Yelsin and Seth have proved their desensitization with much of what they do. Does it bother them, putting a human being in acid? I'm not too sure it does. As for the rest of the family, it's not known if they know, but Clyde will as he was there when Ben Flowers was "processed" at the fair.

Ben being processed, sounds like something you mix up with a mixer and cook.

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9 minutes ago, James Matthews said:

That;s just my guess, I don't know anything really. :P

Let's see...you're the author...and you don't know anything, Sgt. Schultz...yeah...

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1 minute ago, chris191070 said:

Ben being processed, sounds like something you mix up with a mixer and cook.

Looking back? Yeah, you're right! 😮 lol

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1 minute ago, pvtguy said:

Let's see...you're the author...and you don't know anything, Sgt. Schultz...yeah...

It's absolutely true, I don't have a clue. :D 

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22 hours ago, James Matthews said:

It's absolutely true, I don't have a clue. :D 

Including @pvtguy, I think the image below is what the author would have you believe...

Sgt Schultz GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

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23 hours ago, James Matthews said:

It's absolutely true, I don't have a clue. :D 

If you can't come up with one does that mean all the characters will die? Hey it would be a solution

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