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    Parker Owens
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Double Concerto - 2. Commendatore

Scenes suggesting assault follow. Please read with appropriate caution.

Once again, Rick sighed. The North Shore Road meandered willfully, like an ill-trained puppy, as it vaguely followed the inlets and outcrops of Eagle Lake. Most times, he was perfectly happy to be out on a job, alone with his thoughts. This was not one of them. Damn Rita McKee. Damn Kohlers. Damn their stupid lodge. Damn me for being such a fucking doormat.

 

 

 

He couldn't believe he was headed to Cedarcrest Lodge. That was the name old man Kohler's father gave to the place. It was a grand summer residence, befitting the power and wealth of the lumber baron who built it. Stupid name - it was built of massive spruce logs and Midwestern oak. There wasn't a stick of cedar in it. Why couldn't I just tell Rita to get somebody else? To do as his father had told old man Kohler himself: to go fry ice?

 

 

 

Rick knew the answer. Because you're weak, that's why. Dad was always right about that.

 

 

 

He shook his head to clear it. He didn't want to get started on that line of thinking. Rick slowed down as he rounded a curve. He knew the landmarks, even now, even as the sun in the west threw dappled shadows across the road. He let Jerry Guttmacher believe he'd never been inside Cedarcrest Lodge. But that wasn't quite true.

Rick had never been inside the Kohler's summer retreat on a job. Heinrich Sr. had seen to that, and it had been his own fault, completely. His father never let him forget it.

He did not want to remember this, to relive any of the details of that summer. The summer of 1992. The summer before his sixteenth birthday. The summer of Willy Kohler. He winced even now, as if in physical pain, a quarter century later. The golden sunlight on the new spring leaves mocked him.

Willy. A couple of years older than he was. Blond haired, blue-eyed, filled out and beautiful. The fair-haired son of wealth. Himself. Dark haired, dark-eyed, just out of freshman year of high school. Already harboring his secret. Already greasy-handed, consigned to his father's business to work for the summer.

 

 

 

Heinrich Senior always had something for Rick to do: minor jobs for longtime customers in town, hand-digging for blocked pipes, crawling in narrow spaces to fit ductwork together. Wiring. On the plus side, by the time Rick was twelve, he knew more about plumbing, heating and electrical work than most people with a technical degree. But the price for this, the minus side, was living pretty much constantly under his father's thumb. No after school activities or sports, no, sir. Vacations were spent on jobs with his father, learning the business, absorbing every lesson Heinrich Senior taught, often with a smack to the back of his head.

He had very few friends, and was close to no one, not even Jerry. Not that he would have dared to give voice to the inner-most thoughts in his head. No, those were a closely guarded secret.

Rick's mother put his disinterest in girls down to a natural shyness, of which she approved, and his enforced isolation under Heinrich Senior, of which she didn't.

On rare occasions, she prevailed, and Rick would get an afternoon or Saturday free.

June, 1992. He'd been allowed a precious Friday afternoon. Greatly daring, young Rick went down to the community beach with his one good friend, Jerry Guttmacher. Jerry, who cheerfully paraded around shirtless, flirting with girls they knew from school. Jerry, whose lanky, lithe form made Rick feel inadequate.

 

He kept his dark green t-shirt on. He knew his body would never look like Jerry's, not in a million years. Rick envied Jerry, but couldn't lust after his friend. They were too much like brothers for that.

 

It was enough to hang out at the beach and watch his friends enjoy themselves from the margins. And to furtively catch glimpses of the older boys.

 

On that fateful Friday, Willy Kohler condescended to spend the afternoon at the community beach too. Rick watched from the shore as the golden Adonis held court with a couple of his friends on the offshore float.

 

 

Willy. He could still see the boy in memory, tan, teeth perfect, golden haired, body already defined.

 

 

He tried to look away, pay attention to the kids his own age, join his group on the beach. But his gaze kept wandering back to the cluster of older, wealthier youths.

 

 

At one point, Willy Kohler and his friends decided to leave. As a group, they dove into the still chilly waters of Eagle Lake and raced in to shore. And as Willy strode up the sand, the older boy's eyes locked on Rick's for one eternal moment.

 

And a slow smile spread across Willy Kohler's face before Rick looked away.

 

 

July. Independence Day. Even Heinrich Ernst, Senior took the day off and went with the rest of town to the annual Pig Roast co-sponsored by the Volunteer Fire Company and local businesses. After dark, the Fire Company would set off a fireworks display.

 

Rick managed to separate himself from his parents. He stood in line for food, trying to look nonchalant. Independent. Cool. His hands were actually clean, the product of considerable effort.

 

 

"Don't I know you from someplace?" a voice from behind inquired.

 

Rick turned and his heart rate spiked. Willy Kohler. The blond demigod was speaking to him.

 

 

"Um, n-no. I don't think so."

 

 

"Sure, I remember you. I saw you at the beach."

 

 

"I, um, well...maybe." Rick tried meet Willy's eyes. They were ice blue.

 

"Where are all your friends tonight?" The line moved forward.

 

 

"Friends? Oh. Over there, someplace." He motioned vaguely. "I didn't. I mean I didn't come with them. I'm here with my, um, parents."

 

 

"What? Trapped with the 'rents? Can't have that." Willy Kohler smiled slowly. "You gotta come hang with us."

 

 

"With who?"

 

 

"Me and my cousins. They're older than us."

 

 

Rick could still recall feeling simultaneously thrilled and slightly sick. Hang out? With the Kohler cousins? It defied the laws of reality.

 

 

"Um, maybe. I dunno."

 

 

"Good. Don't be a chump."

 

And then it was Rick's turn to order.

 

 

Rick spent the evening tagging along with Willy and the older Kohlers. He didn't mind being Willy's sidekick for the night. His host seemed to enjoy showing off. When the cousins opened a cooler of beer, Willy thought nothing of offering one to Rick.

 

 

His hesitation lasted about a moment. By the time the fireworks were done, Rick had consumed his first beer and several more. He remembered clinking bottles with Willy after the grand finale, and draining his fourth - or was it his fifth? - brew.

 

 

And by morning, Rick experienced his first hangover.

 

 

 

God, he'd been such an idiot. Useless, stupid infatuation. Summer was supposed to a fun, carefree time. An endless carpet of green and golden days.

July: Early morning wet dreams featuring Willy Kohler before being rousted out of bed by his irritated father. Meeting Willy just by chance after work. A magic Saturday afternoon spent with Willy and the older cousins - and his first time biking out to the Lodge. Cedarcrest.

 

They'd piled into one of two powerboats tied up at the Kohler dock, six of them. Waterskiing was on the agenda. Wendy, a shapely college junior clad in a bright blue bikini, went first. Willy, skin bronzed and glinting with spray, took pride in driving the boat. Rick just enjoyed being on the water, wind whipping through his hair.

 

After a while, Karl, one of the older cousins, called out to Willy. "Yo, Willy, cut the engine."

 

Rick noticed a grin on his new friend's face. Suddenly, the voice of the boat was silent. They drifted. Other boats passed in the middle distance, engines snarling and whining.

 

Karl reached into a backpack sitting on the floor of the boat. He withdrew a baggie containing something Rick thought looked a lot like the herbs in his mother's spice rack.

 

"Got some good stuff," the older cousin crowed. There was an almost canine grin underneath the college boy's mustache.

 

 

Rolling papers were produced. Soon, the cloying scent of smoke blew forward past Rick's nose. The joint was passed. Rick was torn. He didn't really feel comfortable - this was pushing past his boundaries. But he didn't want to appear completely stupid in front of Willy, either.

 

Rick's coughing fit after the first inhale had everyone else on the boat cackling with laughter.

 

 

"Shit, dude, you gonna cough up a lung?" Karl hooted.

 

"Both lungs," Willy added, giggling.

 

He wanted to die of embarrassment. But the worst moment came later.

 

 

"Hey, Willy, is your little friend gonna ski or what?"

 

 

So he was the 'little friend.' No name. Did Willy even know it? He'd been shown his place.

 

 

Rick shook his head. "That's okay."

 

 

"Of course he's doing it," Willy overrode him.

 

 

"No, I - "

 

 

Willy flashed a brilliant smile in his direction. "That's a 'yes,' then. He's going."

 

 

Rick could swim, of course he could. But he'd never even wanted to try waterskiing. Now he was being hustled into a belt and skis and told to hold the bar, even as he sank into the waters of the lake.

 

 

The sudden acceleration of the boat caught him completely unprepared, and he was jerked forward, lost hold of the towrope, and fell face first with a splash.

 

 

At the wheel, Willy turned the boat back in a wide circle, engine roaring.

 

The Kohlers thought his failure was hilarious; so much so that Willy insisted Rick try again. And again. Rick's humiliation deepened with every disaster. Yet any time Willy Kohler smiled in his direction, all of it seemed worthwhile.

 

 

 

He could see light glinting off the water. He'd avoided power boats ever since. He owned a couple of canoes, which he used for his own amusement and for fishing. He couldnt remember if the Kohlers had one or not.

 

 

August. Oskar Kohler, Willy's father, hosted a huge house party for well-connected friends and associates. Guests spread out on the wide lawns opening out onto Eagle Lake. Uniformed wait staff imported from Milwaukee wandered about, serving fancy catered delicacies. Music from the grand piano in the Great Room wafted out through open French doors.

 

 

The older cousins, mercifully, found themselves decked in carefully crafted casual outfits. They put on pleasant faces and tried to make creditable conversation with Oskar's friends. After all, connections like these would yield jobs in a year or two.

 

Willy, irked at losing the attention of cousins and parents, and at being summarily abandoned, managed to smuggle Rick onto the grounds of Cedarcrest.

 

 

Rick slammed on the brakes. The driveway to the Lodge was right there.

Damn, I missed the boulder that was the marker. Or maybe it's just overgrown like the driveway.

 

A discreet sign once marked the turn; it was gone now. Even the post it hung on was gone. Encroaching brush and trees betrayed the number of years since Cedarcrest opened last; that, and the grasses growing up through the cracks in the pavement. Rick turned left and eased the van down the drive. Branches hissed and squealed a discordant song as they scratched its sides.

The road down to the Lodge seemed longer than Rick remembered.

The lawns were uncut and the gardens overgrown. Not his problem. He pulled around to the back entrance, by the kitchen. Rick pressed his lips together in a line. He got out, opened up the back of the van. He didn't expect to need much in the way of tools. He grabbed his small toolbox. A flashlight. He'd need a flashlight, too.

Rita McKee had left a message explaining where the key was to be found. He hardly needed it. Rick reached up, groped along the ledge over the door, snagged it. He shook his head. People put their spare keys either there or under a mat. It was so predictable.

He let himself into the kitchen. For a moment, standing in the gloom, he caught traces of the sound and sight of the great party.

 

Willy. "What are you staring at?"

 

They had snuck in the kitchen door. Rick stood transfixed by the bustle and commotion in the space, and the quantity of food on display.

 

 

Willy misinterpreted his pause. "I already grabbed us some stuff. Dont worry. Come on, dipstick, this way." His pal grabbed an elbow and pulled him in the direction of a stairway.

 

And now, Rick stood at the top of those very steps, looking down into the blackness of the basement. Deep breath. He could do this. He'd done stuff like this for decades. First things first: switch on the flashlight and find the breaker box. He couldnt imagine a place as grand as Cedarcrest having fuses. Slowly, he descended, making sure of his way.

Often, homeowners even of newer places neglected basement steps. They were often rickety, or lacked handrails. But Cedarcrest was a solidly built house. There really was no need to worry.

Rick could predict the layout. Even though he was perfectly steady on his feet, he kept his hand upon the wall to his right. He would have to go that way.

At the bottom of the stairs, he could see a plain door. Through it, there would be the laundry. Without having seen it, Rick knew the furnace, water and electrical connections were probably somewhere beyond.

But Rick's memories lay to the left.

 

 

Willy hustled him down the steps. A grand game room opened up to their left: there was room for a pool table, ping pong, a cluster of oversized leather chairs facing the largest television young Rick had ever seen, a bar set up beyond that, still another table for a purpose he never divined and open floor space enough to dance, skate or go bowling on. Rick's whole Phys Ed class could have fit in the space.

 

 

Willy didnt stop in the game room. Instead, he dragged Rick across the floor to another door. "Liquor closet," the older boy whispered.

 

 

Behind that door was no closet, but a good sized room filled floor to ceiling with bottles of every shape and description. It smelled kind of musty. White wines were kept at optimal temperature in a special refrigerated cabinet. Reds lay dully in ranks on racks beside them. Beer by the case sat on sturdy steel shelving. But Willy reserved his attention for a locked cabinet in front of him.

 

 

 

Rick shook his head. Memories again. Ghosts of a time he'd buried long ago. He shone his flashlight around the laundry room. It was quite large and sported both commercial sized and residential machines. Heinrich Senior would have enjoyed getting the installation job on those. He opened a door on the far wall. It was a closet. Big dusty bottles of detergent still sat on one shelf. Bottles.

 

 

Flashing one of his enchanting grins, Willy pulled a key out of his pocket. "This is the good stuff. Dad's whiskey collection."

 

 

Rick frowned. This didnt seem right. Then again, that had been part of the thrill of hanging out with Willy Kohler. That, and being close to the gorgeous blond boy as much as possible.

 

 

Willy inserted the key in the lock and pulled the cabinet door open. There must have been several dozen bottles of amber-colored liquor.

 

 

At random, Willy pulled one out and examined the label. "Hmmm. Macallan, Thirty Year Reserve. Sound good to you?"

 

 

"I don't know. I guess."

 

 

Willy selected another. "Glenfiddich. What kind of a name is that?"

 

 

"Hungarian?" Rick hazarded a guess.

 

 

Willy let out a hoot of laughter. "It's from Scotland, stupid," he guffawed. "It's Scotch, for fuck's sake."

 

 

 

Cedarcrest was a foreign country, sure enough. Rick scanned the laundry room for a breaker box, but he saw none. Nor was there the expected door to a utility room. He stood tentatively back at the bottom of the stairs. He recalled a bathroom somewhere. He guessed where to look for a utility room door next: in the game room wall, under the stairs.

That would mean stepping into the shadows of the cavernous space. And into the shades of his youth.

 

 

Carrying the bottled loot with him, Willy led the way back to the bar at the far end of the game room. There, Willy opened a bottle and introduced Rick to the mysteries of whiskey by sloshing some Glenfiddich into a glass.

 

 

"Go on, drink," Willy insisted, taking a long pull at his tumbler.

 

 

Rick sipped tentatively. It tasted like a warm winter fire in his mouth and throat. He made a face. Rick wasnt sure he liked it.

 

 

"Once you know what the real thing is like, you won't want to go back." Willy took another swallow from his glass. It was clear he had experience.

 

 

Rick shrugged. "Back to what?"

 

 

"To cheap rotgut, dumbass." Willy polished off the remainder of his glass. "Come on lightweight, drink up."

 

 

Stung, Rick took a deeper mouthful as Willy poured himself a second glass. Again, searing heat trailed down his gullet.

 

 

"Gets better," Willy winked. "Let's go play some pool."

 

 

 

Rick mentally shoved his memories aside as he stepped into the game room.

The flashlight beam revealed old, neglected furniture, filmed with basement grime. The bar was there. A door, probably leading to a second stairway. He knew this kind of environment. There it was. A door standing ajar just where he thought it would be. He made his way over and looked in.

Furnace, water, electrical boxes, everything. Perfect.

But Rick had the uncanny feeling of someone, something watching. He turned, shining his light into the darkness. The pool table.

He shuddered.

 

 

Rick had a little experience with playing pool; there was a beat up table in the youth room of the Lutheran church. Everyone at least knew the rules.

 

 

The Kohler table was much nicer.

 

 

Willy carried the open bottle and his glass over. "Eight Ball okay with you? Loser drinks." He seemed very confident.

 

 

Rick didnt like this new twist, but he had no wish to seem like a wimp.

 

 

Willy broke and sank number eleven. He had stripes.

 

 

Rick's gut churned as Willy sank the twelve, fifteen and nine balls in quick succession. But then overconfidence betrayed him, as a badly miscalculated shot put the eight into the side pocket.

 

 

"Fuck," Willy exclaimed. But he drained his glass, and then refilled it.

 

 

"Maybe I'd better go" Rick began.

 

"Hell, no," Willy cried. "We just got started. Besides, you gotta give me a chance at sweet revenge."

 

There was no denying his host.

 

 

The second game was closer. That might have had something to do with the two full tumblers of whiskey already in Willy's stomach. The level in the bottle was already halfway down.

 

 

Rick managed to keep it close, but Willy won fairly in the second game.

 

 

"Drink, loser!" the blond gloated.

 

 

Rick grinned nervously as he lifted his glass. At least it wasnt as full as Willy's.

 

 

"Go on, fucker. Drink." The older boy was looking at him oddly. His eyes gleamed, almost in the way he'd seen a cat sizing up its prey.

 

 

Rick tipped the glass up and tried to down his drink in one gulp. His throat burned, and he choked on it, sputtering as he tried to swallow it all.

 

 

Willy laughed and took the glass from him as he wiped his mouth. In a moment, it was refilled.

 

 

Rick hurried into the utility room. The sooner he was done here, the better. The electrical boxes were on his left, against the back wall. Brushing back the inevitable cloud of cobwebs, Rick yanked open the door on the metal box.

He stared unbelievingly. Fuses. Who the hell used fuses anymore? The gaping sockets stared back at him. He'd have thought the Kohlers were wealthy enough to afford a conversion to breakers. And updating the wiring, too. Probably just couldnt be bothered.

Cursing, he checked around for the missing fuses. If he was lucky, he might have spares. Back at the shop. Rick did not want to make this trip again. The damn place was getting to him.

 

 

"New game," Willy announced. "Strip Eight Ball. Every time I sink a ball, you lose something shirt, shoe, whatever. If you dont want to take something off, you drink. Loser drinks extra." Willy was dictating terms, not negotiating.

 

 

Before Rick could object, Willy was racking up the balls. Besides, this was probably his one chance to see his Adonis naked. Rick's dick twitched in his shorts.

 

 

As before, Willy broke. He sank the two. Rick kicked off a shoe. Willy should have sunk the five in the corner, but missed.

 

 

Rick lined up the fourteen and sank it. He had an easy follow up to get the eleven. The corner shot for the ten was trickier. He hit the cue a little too firmly, and it knocked in both the striped ten and the solid four.

 

 

"New rule. You sink one of my balls, you have to drink."

 

"What?" He didnt like this habit of Willy's; making things up as he went along.

 

 

"You heard me. Drink. Or are you a wuss?"

 

 

Rick scowled and drank off half his glass.

 

 

"Guess that will have to do," Willy smirked, dropping his shorts.

 

 

Rick's mouth went dry at the sight of the bulge revealed inside the white briefs.

 

 

Willy's turn: the five went down, and the three, and the seven.

 

 

Both shoes, both socks gone. Rick hesitated. He decided to follow Willy's lead and take off his shorts. Willy missed his next shot, and Rick took over.

 

 

Rick leaned in. He had an easy shot at the thirteen.

 

 

"Nice ass, kid." Willy smirked.

 

 

He tried to ignore the comment and sank his shot. He had no shot afterwards, but neither did Willy. Rick got another break, putting in the nine. Willy was even with him, down to shirt and briefs. And there was clearly more definition lining Willy's underwear than before.

 

 

 

There. On a shelf, up high. A cardboard box. Rick reached for it. The weight told him he'd found what he needed.

Hastily, he extracted the heavy fuses from their rude resting place. With fingers that seemed not to want to function, he started screwing them into place. A reprieve from the shadows had been granted.

 

 

Rick had been on a roll. He tapped the fifteen in.

 

Willy pulled off his polo shirt, revealing his magnificent chest and torso. Rick couldnt help gaping.

 

 

"Hey, you gonna take your shot, or stare all night?" Willy challenged after a long moment.

 

 

Given a choice, Rick would have preferred to stare. His opponent was downright beautiful. But Willy's tone told him to get on with the game.

 

Rick turned back to the table. Just the twelve left. One more ball, and he'd get an eyeful of a very naked Willy Kohler. His imagination began running circles in his brain.

 

 

As he examined his options, he sensed Willy stepping up behind him. "Tough shot, Ricky?"

 

 

He held his breath. He could just feel Willy's cock brushing up against his ass. His own dick responded, suddenly becoming terribly stiff.

 

 

Swallowing hard, Rick bent over the table. He could knock in the twelve. Not hard at all. But Willy was definitely hard. The blond teen leaned in behind, making it difficult to concentrate.

 

 

"Dont miss," Willy hissed in his ear, even as he sent the cue on its way.

 

 

There was no reason for him to drop it. But somehow, the old fuse slipped from his grasp and landed on the hard concrete floor with a sharp crack. It bounced and rolled into the darkness.

It was okay. He saw a spare in the box.

He took another deep, silent breath, as if frightened of disturbing the spirits lurking in the room beyond.

 

 

The white ball went slightly to the left of its target, sending the twelve skittering across the green baize to tap the eight, which trickled into the right corner pocket.

 

 

Damn. He'd have to drink again.

 

 

But in the moment he formed that thought, Rick felt his arm twisted painfully behind his back. Weight on his shoulders pressed him down onto the table as the pool cue clattered to the floor. Hot steel pressed up against his ass.

 

 

"New rule," a voice growled in his ear.

 

 

 

There. Last fuse in. Rick quickly pulled the switch for the main power. He turned. Trembling hands found the pull chain to the bare overhead bulb. Suddenly, the dank utility room was bright with one hundred incandescent watts.

 

His nightmares retreated into the dark corners.

Rick easily found the switch for the well pump and the water shut-off valves. Suddenly, the old house seemed alive. He could hear the pipes filling and hissing with renewed vitality.

His breath came more easily as he relit the furnace. He recognized the type of system the Kohlers installed. Hot water baseboard heating; the system was probably full of decade-old antifreeze. It looked like it ran the hot water for bathing and household use through the furnace. Probably half a century old, at least. Definitely needed updating and cleaning, if not complete replacement no, he wasn't going there. All Rita wanted was for the systems to be turned on. That was it.

Rick was careful to switch on the lights to the game room before turning out the light in the utility area. He wasnt afraid of the dark, not really. Stupid sort of thing, to be scared of memories. Of phantoms that werent there.

So why was his gut churning? Rick got out as swiftly as he could, pursued by his ghosts.

 

 

Willy had finished with him. The older teen was in the bathroom. Rick's eyes stung with tears, his body seemed to burn, and he felt incredibly filthy. He wanted to throw up.

 

 

He gathered up his clothes with shaking hands, tried to get himself dressed. Nobody could know what happened. Nobody. He had to get out. Quickly. He stumbled toward the stairs.

 

 

A wave of nausea hit him, and he fell to his knees. His stomach heaved, disgorging its contents on the floor.

 

 

Two doors opened. Willy emerged from the toilet, clean and dressed. Oskar Kohler came down the stairs, keys jangling on a ring. The family patriarch quickly took in the scene.

 

 

"What the hell is going on here?"

I am deeply grateful to @AC Benus and @Carlos Hazday for their kind efforts in making this story better than it was originally. If you have a comment or reflection, I would be very, very glad to see it.

Copyright © 2020 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments



I'm guessing Willy was aware Rick was sheltered and basically a loner maybe even asked Jerry about him he may have premeditated this before the fourth of July event.Going to find out a lot of interesting things in future chapters like who else knows or knew about this what was the fall out and most importantly where is Willy these days

Edited by weinerdog
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1 hour ago, Valkyrie said:

This was a difficult chapter to read, but only because the writing was so good.  Willy saw a vulnerable young man he could prey upon and poor Rick had to suffer the consequences.  Something tells me he's not done with Cedarcrest.   There are some serious ghosts that need exorcising.  Well done, Parker.  

Thanks for taking on this tough chapter. Rick's vulnerabilities must have been visible to Willy - enough to mark him as prey. The ghosts that remain at Cedarcrest have been with him ever since.

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1 hour ago, Tonyr said:

@Parker Owens Does Jerry know that Rick is gay? Tkx. Great chapter.

No. Jerry knows nothing of that. Thank you very much for reading what was a tough chapter.

Edited by Parker Owens
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1 hour ago, Mancunian said:

A compelling chapter skilfully written drawing a picture that is seen in the minds eye, thank you.

Thank you very much for reading this chapter. You're most kind in your comments.

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13 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

Well done and very well crafted, wordsmithing at it's best!!!

I'm very grateful you read this difficult chapter. Thank you also for your kind words.

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1 hour ago, pvtguy said:

A very powerful chapter!  You have painted with words a very engaging scene that allows the reader to feel what Rick experiences.  Well done!

Thank you for reading this difficult chapter. If you could sense some of what Rick lived through, then his reluctance to set foot in Cedarcrest again could be understood. His memories clearly have a lot of weight still. 

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5 hours ago, Mawgrim said:

Repeating what others have already written, but the build up of tension in this chapter was well crafted and the breaks between the present and the past in just the right places. The writing is also very visual. I could really see the basement and understand the layout of where all the rooms were situated. 
A horrible memory, beautifully written.

Thank you very much for reading this chapter. I’m glad you could see as Rick did.  It is indeed an awful memory, and it clearly haunts Rick as effectively as any specter could. 

 
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1 hour ago, starboardtack said:

A hard chapter to read but an excellent one.

Thank you for reading through this chapter. You are most kind to comment.

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Poor Rick. What damage this would do to a 15/16 year old's sense of self-worth is inestimable. And why is the "elite", the "entitled" pricks of the world constantly get away with going around, mouthing the line Willy says here more than once: "New rule." 

This is a devastating chapter, coming all the more shocking as it does as installment No. 2 in our journey to get to know Rick. You have certainly planted the reader firmly on his side. 

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7 hours ago, AC Benus said:

Poor Rick. What damage this would do to a 15/16 year old's sense of self-worth is inestimable. And why is the "elite", the "entitled" pricks of the world constantly get away with going around, mouthing the line Willy says here more than once: "New rule." 

This is a devastating chapter, coming all the more shocking as it does as installment No. 2 in our journey to get to know Rick. You have certainly planted the reader firmly on his side. 

Rick has tried to recover from the damage Willy Kohler did to him that summer. The scars are still there. I love your comment about how powerful families and their kids seem to feel entitled to change the rules when it suits them. You're quite right, too: I hope that everyone is in Rick's corner now. Thank you so very much for your comments, and for the support you have given this story.

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