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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    Jason MH
  • Author
  • 4,084 Words

Between the Shadow and the Soul - 8. Second Interlude - Mothers and Intuitions Part 4

Chapter focuses on the mind and machinations of a child predator.

February 5, 2001

The Fiend settled into a chair at the dining table while The Boy's mother poured herself a glass of wine and retrieved a beer for Gavin, her ex-husband. He had smartly declined alcohol when Yvonne offered; he always declined and abstained when in her presence, striving to establish and reinforce the impression of a responsible man around whom her son would be safe.

As he sipped from his glass of water, he tuned out the cacophony of laughs and shouts and teenage antics emanating from the living room, where his son and The Boy entertained themselves with video games running on the new PlayStation 2 Yvonne and Gavin had given their son for his twelfth birthday. Along with books, movies, music and clothes, they had also showered Greg with a generous variety of titles made for the game console.

The Boy's mother slipped into a chair opposite The Fiend and sipped her wine. Gavin sat between them and, after thanking her for the beer, took a sip from the cold bottle and gave and appreciative grunt after swallowing.

Setting the wine glass on the table, Yvonne inhaled deeply before releasing an unnecessarily loud breath, undoubtedly attempting to communicate to The Fiend how much work her son's birthday party had been. And though the man agreed that the dozen or so kids had made for a hectic, prolonged, tiring experience, he found her display pedestrian and the woman herself insipid and banal.

Yet despite her plain looks and trite humor and vapid personality, The Fiend knew better than to underestimate The Boy's mother. Yvonne had demonstrated time and again a keen intellect coupled with penetrating intuition. He considered her a formidable adversary in his quest to conquer and possess The Boy, that desire ballooning as Greg began showing signs of puberty, his already impressive body taking on height and mass and shape that further fanned the flames of The Fiend's wanton lust.

As for the absentee father, The Fiend had concluded that Gavin was the source of The Boy's breathtaking beauty and extraordinary physique, both traits, even if only at twelve years old, already on full display with the promise of physical perfection yet to come. Only a few inches over six feet, The Boy's father had lustrous black hair, startling blue eyes the color of glacial ice, and a body that men half his age would die to have. And he carried himself as though unaware of his attractiveness, his handsome face always open and smiling, mirth twinkling in his eyes, his attitude carefree and friendly.

Were The Fiend any other man, he would gladly make an effort to seduce the unfortunately straight father. But The Fiend was not any other man and his tastes were for fruit of a more forbidden nature.

"I'm glad that's over," Yvonne said with a melodramatic sigh before taking another sip of wine.

"I hear you," The Fiend responded with a chuckle. Forced though it might have been, the soft laugh sounded genuine even to his discerning ears. "Who knew a dozen twelve-year-old kids could cause such mayhem?" And here he smiled at them, a show of camaraderie.

The parents smiled back, of course. Then she closed her eyes and leaned her head back to relieve some of the day's stress. To anyone but The Fiend, that smile would announce her agreement, her acceptance of his joviality and chumminess. But he saw through it.

For reasons he could not fathom, Yvonne distrusted him. Not in an overtly hostile way, but rather in a subtle, secretive way. The Boy's mother never voiced concern about The Fiend, never treated him with anything but friendliness and care, never openly displayed suspicion; nevertheless, it was there, and The Fiend could see it as if it were writ large across the sky.

And Yvonne did in fact distrust him, though she couldn't explain why. She simply had a gut instinct about him despite all the evidence to the contrary. He was charming, handsome, intelligent, courteous, affable, charismatic, wealthy and successful. He's a doctor, for heaven's sake! she thought.

He'd also raised Nate, a wonderful boy who so complemented her son that she'd taken to calling them PB&J when they were together. Which was most of the time, the two kids having become inseparable such that it was nearly impossible to find one without also finding the other.

Though they'd befriended each other—their sons spending very little time away from each other practically required it—Yvonne couldn't put her finger on why, but she'd spent more and more time over the last two years watching Richard closely, although she'd been smart and avoided making it obvious that she was looking for some sign that he wasn't what he appeared to be, some indication to explain the unease she felt about him, some reason for her lack of trust in the father of her son's best friend.

The Fiend knew she watched him. He had noticed a few months after they met. He was, after all, an expert on the human body; therefore he read human nonverbal communication as easily as he did the medical journals to which he subscribed. Much to his dismay, he had noticed The Boy's mother as her lack of trust in him bloomed into a garden of suspicions.

He suspected, in fact, that she monitored him vicariously through her son, in some way seeking reports from The Boy about time together, perhaps when Greg spent the night with Nate or when the fine upstanding doctor took the two boys to a ballgame or a restaurant or a movie.

No matter the cause for Yvonne's misgivings, The Fiend was well aware of her feelings and was intent on leveraging his keen intellect and unmatched skills of maneuvering and manipulation to placate her worries, for he could not, nay, would not allow her to stand in his way. For already The Boy had grown in two short years toward the phenomenon The Fiend suspected he would become, at ten showing the kind of definition one might find one someone a few years older and maturing so that at twelve he stood around five feet tall with a physique that showed signs of future greatness.

After taking another drink of his beer, Gavin looked at The Fiend and gave him an appreciate smile, then said, "Thank you for your help today, Richard. I really appreciate it."

"My pleasure," he answered, though his only true pleasure that day had been surreptitiously watching The Boy. Certainly he had felt some trace of pleasure at seeing his own son's happiness and joy, but that felt no more compelling than the pleasure one might feel after a satisfactory evacuation of the bowels.

Jerking her head toward the living room where a clamor of laughs and shouts and discussions mingled with the video game's music and sound effects, Yvonne told the doctor, "I figure they'll be going at it until late, really late if I don't drag them away from it when it's time for bed."

Her ex-husband smirked and snickered, nodding in agreement while remaining silent.

With a chuckle The Fiend nodded, smiling, then responded, "I'd expect nothing less from those two. They've become real hellions playing whatever it is they're playing right now."

"Sounds like a raucous party, doesn't it?" Gavin asked.

"Reminds me of college," she replied in a loud whisper, at which they all laughed, each considering their own exuberant yet questionable university experiences.

Once he had taken another drink of water, The Fiend's face took on a more serious visage as he asked The Boy's father, "Do you get down here often, Gavin, or just for special occasions?" Intentionally using a tone that would sound innocent despite the offensive challenge in the question, he immediately held up his hand if to stop himself, showing contrition in his expression as he promptly added, "That came out totally wrong. I'm sorry. Besides, it's none of my business. Forget I asked."

The fine upstanding doctor who had conquered nearly twenty boys before moving to Texas felt smug satisfaction as he watched Yvonne wave away his last words while Gavin shook his head with a smile. The Fiend knew he would receive an answer. Making others gladly do as he wished was a honed skill he enjoyed exercising.

"No, it's no big deal," Gavin began. "Greg and I see each other pretty regularly. I shoot for at least once a month, plus we do vacations and random trips when work permits."

"They saw each other more often before his job moved him to Seattle," Yvonne explained.

The Fiend offered an affable nod and an approving smile. "So you're close? That's good to hear. Sometimes divorced parents cause some kind of alienation."

After a quick sip of wine, The Boy's mother offered, "Greg's so involved with the games and Nate that he'd probably not think a lot about his dad missing a birthday if he hadn't made it down here. Which had never happened before," she added with a smile in Gavin's direction.

Slowly turning the beer bottle on the tabletop, Gavin said, "We divorced when Greg was six. It was an amicable split with no wrongdoing by either of us."

"We'd simply grown apart," his ex-wife interjected.

"We wanted to do right by our son, but we also knew a child growing up in a dysfunctional house would pick up on it easily and would absorb the tension."

"So we divorced. I got primary custody of Greg."

"By agreement, we worked cooperatively to ensure he spent ample time with both of us."

"Originally we alternated weekends."

"But after I moved to Seattle, it slowed down to about once each month."

"Plus we swap holidays and birthdays."

"And vacations."

"And unplanned trips when circumstances warrant."

"Plus we talk on the phone three or four times every week."

"And Gavin and I touch base once a week, too."

"We never want his relationship with either of us to suffer because of the separation," Gavin finished.

The Fiend felt like he should shake his head to clear the entertaining notion that a conversation with these two felt like a Wimbledon match. Instead, though, he nodded enthusiastically, as though their news did not irritate him, then said, "Good! You two really thought that through, more than most divorced couples do."

"We love our son," Yvonne said decisively.

"We'd never allow something between the two of us to impact his relationship with his parents."

"That'd just be wrong and selfish," she finished.

Playing the father figure is out, he thought, but The Fiend felt no disappointment from that realization, for his plan was not so feeble as to fall apart at the first obstacle. Or the tenth obstacle. Or the hundredth. He had never before been denied. And he would not be denied this time. Especially this time.

Slowly, moving as though to keep his actions obscured from the boys enjoying a boisterous afternoon in another room, he leaned back and turned his head, looking toward the living room. Once satisfied he had made a good show of ensuring he had no witnesses, he leaned forward, elbows on the table, offering the visage of a man about to tread carefully lest he divulge a secret.

In a hushed voice meant only for his immediate audience, The Fiend gently said, "I don't know how to put this without it sounding somehow inappropriate. I feel it needs to be said, though, so please don't take it the wrong way."

Both Yvonne and Gavin had taken on serious, inquisitive expressions, casting their curious eyes at Richard.

"I think Greg might be gay."

He more than thought Greg might be gay; he already knew. The Fiend had expertly drawn the truth from The Boy without saying a word, using his own gym-built body and good looks and minimal clothing and "unconscious" body language to elicit the physiological responses that told him The Boy was indeed homosexual.

And with that discovery The Fiend felt a not inconsiderable amount of disappointment. With the nearly twenty boys he had already enjoyed, he had learned homosexuals were easiest because he could give them a mature, experienced, attractive man to fixate on, one that would gladly—and secretly, of course—help them learn about their sexuality while fulfilling their every desires both gross and subtle. And they, in turn, would give him what he wanted.

But he considered straight boys the most satisfying. The sexual domination of a reluctant partner gave him a thrill, but more so did the breaking of a heterosexual spirit, the forcing of wants upon those for whom there was no inherent or tangential interest in such things. Above and beyond the innocence usually given freely by gay boys, The Fiend never felt more sexually charged or slaked than when he took from a straight boy, using his medical knowledge and sexual prowess to ensnare them in a web from which they would never escape, addicting them to him whilst fanning the flames of their shame, which would keep them silent.

Despite whatever disappointment he felt at discovering The Boy was homosexual, though, The Fiend still could scarcely believe he would be the first to enjoy the child's flesh. With the genetic potential on display, he knew beyond doubt that when The Boy was finally perfect, The Fiend would be presented with the most delicious prey he had ever hunted.

After sending a meaningful look Gavin's way, eyes narrowing slightly not with consternation or disdain or horror but instead with consideration, Yvonne inhaled slowly as she leaned back, eyes locked on the good doctor. She'd seen the way Greg sometimes looked at Richard, the way he let his gaze linger when he thought no one was looking, the furtive glances at parts of the doctor's anatomy that boys normally wouldn't find interesting. She'd also seen him look at other men that way, sometimes even at other boys, but mostly she saw him looking at his best friend's father.

What she felt at that moment was legion, a plethora of emotions swirling about, each vying for dominance, from worry to disgust to curiosity. Why would this grown man suddenly show that kind of interest in her son? Her stomach roiled with nausea at the thought of Richard knowing Greg had a crush on him. Perhaps because her intuition continued telling her she shouldn't trust the man, suddenly she felt this conversation was ominous, threatening, malign. Suddenly she thought Richard suspicious, his motives questionable, if not downright contemptible.

Summoning all her control to school her reactions and expression and breathing, summoning calm to blanket her from head to foot, she quietly asked, "What makes you think that, Richard?"

Waving frantically as though trying to calm her, a calculated yet sincere look of shocked enlightenment taking over his face, The Fiend stuttered, "No... no... no, you're misunderstanding me."

"Then maybe you should explain," Gavin demanded in a quiet yet firm tone that brooked no argument. Or it would brook no argument from a lesser man, but he didn't realize who he was dealing with or what he was dealing with.

Still looking sheepish and speaking quietly, The Fiend explained, "It's not what you think. I'm asking because sometimes he looks..." His voice faded with embarrassment, his face taking on the visage of someone uncomfortable and unsure. With a slight shake of his head as though to cast off reluctance, he continued, "It's just that sometimes he looks at guys like I looked at my wife when I was his age. Not that she was my wife back then," he quickly continued, "but you know what I mean.

"I remember the first time I saw her. I was Greg's age. I wasn't real sure of myself, sexually or otherwise, but there was something about her that drew me in, grabbed my attention, made me want to look at her and keep looking at her."

All of which The Fiend knew was patently false. He had never been married, had never seen a girl who elicited more than perfunctory appreciation of beauty or sensuality if she deserved as much, had never lost a spouse to an undiagnosed aneurysm. He had known since childhood that he had an appetite for less conventional fare. The lies he told his son and everyone else were lies meant to fortify his position in whatever community he found himself, make him a sympathetic figure, divert those who might otherwise cast a critical eye in his direction, distance those who would otherwise look too closely. A widower was a victim, not a perpetrator, and they elicited compassion and understanding.

During his first year in college, The Fiend had met an exquisitely intelligent student who focused all her attention on her studies, her educational path meant to carry her from university life to medical research. Though they never felt more for each other than friendship and respect, The Fiend already knew he needed just such a woman to further his plans.

After perhaps a year of increasing platonic closeness, The Fiend, donning his paternal mask and costume, begged the young woman to be a surrogate for him. He wanted a child, wanted to be a parent, he told her. Money was no concern, he would hire a nanny, he would build a life for his child and himself. But he needed someone he respected to carry the child.

In awe of his apparent inclination toward family life and out of deference to his intelligence and with esteem for their friendship, the woman of course agreed. Together they met doctors, followed the process, and had a child—based on the agreement that she would have no responsibility once the deed was done.

The Fiend, for his part, did in fact want a child. And he would care for it and rear it and perhaps even come to love it in whatever way he could. But the goal, the point of that part of his plan, was much less altruistic, less humane, less human. He wanted the child to further his standing with parents who had children; he wanted the child to draw other children into his orbit; he wanted the child as a lure and a pacifier and a relaxant. He wanted a child to help him get what he wanted.

"Sometimes..." The Fiend paused, allowing his eyes to wander as if searching for words, allowing his breath to stutter as if uncertain as to what to say and how to say it. Then: "Well, sometimes I'm pretty sure I see Greg look at guys that way. Sometimes boys at school, but mostly older guys we see when we're out somewhere."

The Fiend took a deep breath and blew it out with the sound of frustration. With a shake of his head he added, "It sounds silly now that I've said it aloud. Sometimes I can be stupid, I guess."

All the while he had watched Gavin and Yvonne, their expressions, their eyes, their blink rates, their breathing, their postures. All the while he had watched all the nonverbal cues, those they freely shared and those they tried so hard to hide but that The Fiend saw and understood as easily as he could see and understand the written word.

Finally she sighed and slumped back in her chair as her ex-husband wiped a hand down his face before giving a slight shake of his head. Then Yvonne gave Richard an appreciative look. Gavin simply nodded.

"Thanks for mentioning this," The Boy's father began.

"We've had our own suspicions for a few years."

"She more than me, given she's around him more."

"Even still..." she murmured in support of her child's father lest he feel he'd failed his son in some way.

"Maybe it sounds preposterous given he's only twelve," Gavin added with a shrug.

Sitting upright once again, The Fiend offered them an understanding countenance as he explained, "That's not preposterous. Sexuality means an inherent attraction to somebody, either a specific gender or someone who elicits specific emotions or someone who we find attractive regardless of packaging. Even very early in life," he assured them, "although what you're probably referring to from that early in life is less an attraction and more a fascination. Maybe the eyes wander a bit and they stare, not even knowing why they're staring. Maybe an advertisement for undergarments catches their attention and they don't know why, at least not yet. Maybe certain body types or facial structures give them pause.

"No," he continued as he reached across the table and gave Yvonne's hand a quick squeeze whilst simultaneously sending Gavin a compassionate look of support, "I think you've probably seen real indications, though they weren't the kind we'd normally look for. Too young, although maybe not anymore. Time will tell, I guess."

The Fiend knew The Boy's parents, especially his mother, had indeed seen signs for a few years, possibly longer. Sexual feelings were rarely understood at such early ages, often pushed inside and ignored for lack of clarity about their causes and meanings. But that fascination, that interest, could not be hidden. And as a child grows older and begins to understand their own sexuality, that fascination becomes interest, lust, romance, desire.

The Boy was showing every indication of sexual interest. The Fiend had seen to it himself. And through subtle works and words, he had likewise elicited a crush and fanned the flames of lust, using his considerable charisma and sensuality to entice The Boy, to draw forth a strong emotional and physical response, causing Greg to focus his burgeoning sexual appetite on Dr. Richard Sawyer.

Giving him a grateful smile, she asked, "What made you tell us?"

"About your suspicions?" Gavin clarified.

With a look of dismay any actor would envy, The Fiend explained, "It's 2001. We've made a lot of progress as a society, especially in recent years. But we're not there yet, not when it comes to homosexuality. Even if I'm wrong, I wanted you, his parents, to know. Because if we're right, he'll need support, understanding, acceptance. Especially because he could face hate, violence, bigotry, and intolerance.

"And, in all honesty, I needed to know how you felt about the possibility. He's not my son, I know, but I needed to find out if he'd have support and love from home. If not, it'd be up to me and Nate to show him there's nothing wrong with him and he's still loved and cared for. But I can tell from your reactions that it wouldn't make a difference, that you'd love him no matter who he grows up to be."

Yvonne was already waving his words away, her eyes wet with unshed tears, a sincere look of happiness and gratitude on her face. She felt like such a fool for distrusting this man. How could she have let an unchecked impression, a random feeling, taint her attitude like that?

"Thank you," she said quietly.

"Thank you," The Boy's father parroted.

With a slight shrug of a shoulder, The Fiend offered a casual smile as he replied, "You're welcome."

"My pleasure" seemed a more appropriate response, for it indeed was The Fiend's pleasure to see Yvonne's attitude change so radically at the same time he made inroads in gaining Gavin's friendship and support. And why not? He had shown himself a concerned and caring friend, broaching an uncomfortable and difficult subject for no reason other than to ensure their son's safety and happiness and well-being.

He knew he had not completely voided her distrust of him, but he felt that goal no longer required his immediate attention. For he had accomplished something equally meaningful: sowing mistrust of her own intuition, casting doubt on her distrust of him, and giving her every reason to feel he had her son's best interests at heart even if she could not move beyond her own primitive instinct to doubt him.

When Yvonne walked to the living room to check on the boys and Gavin went to the refrigerator for another beer, The Fiend smiled a vile and vicious smile. He still considered Yvonne a formidable adversary, but he had just expertly manipulated her like he had done with so many others. At the same time he had judiciously inserted a specific impression into Gavin's mind that would forever cloud the man's impression of The Fiend.

And those accomplishments meant neither one could stand in his way.

Thank you so much for your readership and comments and reactions! I greatly appreciate your continuing support.

Copyright © 2018 Jason MH; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you all for your comments! I know this chapter was uncomfortable at best, but you clearly understand why it had to exist. (Unfortunately the interludes aren't over, but thankfully they're also not frequent.)


Richard/The Fiend is the most distasteful character I've written to date. My first attempt with him came out stilted and distant--I didn't want to be in his head!--which of course made him as dry as a math textbook. But I needed him to be repugnant yet brilliant, hated yet real. It turns out I just needed to develop him a bit more. Making him cold and calculating allowed me to deal with him clinically. As this chapter shows, when Yvonne's thoughts are central, it's conversational and approachable, but when Richard becomes the focus, it's more insensate and pedantic. I hope that helps further define the character and his personality. I know it certainly helps me get through writing about him because I can keep him at arm's length, and that's as close to him as I want to be!

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Jason, I’ve been following this story from the beginning, and you are a very talented author. You totally roped me in to the type of story I really hate. Well, the subject matter I hate. I would imagine every time The Fiend is in the chapter, it would be a hard chapter to write. I couldn’t imagine writing someone that evil and predatory. 


I’m looking forward to the next chapter (which I just noticed is now up!). :) 

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You take on a unique challenge, including the predator’s perspective among the push and pull between the past and present.  As distasteful reading his mindset is, it sheds light on how easy it can be to overlook evil because it is attractive and educated.

I get the impression in previous chapters that Richard is no longer in the picture, I’m thinking either incarcerated or dead. I hope he is dead and I hope Yvonne killed him but it seems like Greg became an obsession he couldn’t shake and tried to destroy, in the process destroying himself.  

Whatever his fate, I hope he suffered, he deserves to suffer A LOT.

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gave an appreciative grunt.

     Writing a character like Richard is a real chore. I know such people exist and authors use them in their stories, but like many of your readers, to read about them in a story leaves one feeling dirty -- I am going to go wash my hands and face to try to clean up my reactions to Richard. He is truly a 'dick'.


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There have been a whole host of reactions to this chapter and not surprisingly to the character of Richard, aka the fiend. I think you have done a great job as an author in both recounting the story and getting inside the head of an essentially evil character. I don't find the portrait of Richard, the fiend, makes me any more uncomfortable than Anthony Hopkins portrait of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. Actually I read another story on this site that was way more sickening in its description of an attack described in gruesome detail. In the latter case I questioned the author's mental state and stopped reading, that was not at all the case here. Quite the contrary, I think you prove yourself a talented writer by the way you narrate these events from the past and gradually draw the character of Richard as a three dimensional real person, not simply an evil prop that everyone can hate and despise.

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