Friday, July 2nd 2021
The Coconut Club was the social highlight of the school. It was housed in a squat, cement building which had faded, over the years, to a muted shade of blue. Each Friday, the local school hosted a youth club for the kids, fizzy drinks for a pound and a selection of free biscuits made by the local Women’s Institute.
Sam pushed open the toilet doors, ignoring the missing persons poster. The toilet door closed behind him, deadening the sound of the tinny pop music. It wasn’t much more than a plywood cubicle, a set of concrete corners and a metal trough. The faded lemon scent blocks failed dismally to mask the smell of stale piss and teenage sweat. Sam unbuttoned his flies and was preparing to urinate when he heard his classmate, Jack, shout, “Don’t piss on your shoes!”
Slap! The back of his head exploded with pain as the impact sent him cannoning into the tiled wall in front of him. Pain lanced through his skull.
The sound of raucous cackling echoed from behind him as he frantically did up his trousers. He turned to hear the door close. His assailants, having had their fun, had fled.
Sam rubbed his forehead where a bruise was already swelling.
Deciding to play it safe, Sam headed into a cubicle. As he unzipped once again, he heard the outer toilet door spring open and thudded against the wall, accompanied by a chorus of high-pitched giggling. He checked the cubicle lock nervously.
Javier was the token gay kid in his class, attractive, charismatic and utterly devoid of shame. Sam was also gay, but unlike Javier, whose parents were an artist and a TV actor, Sam’s dad, Andy, was a retired police officer and had strong views about homosexuals. In fact, Sam’s dad had strong views on most things. He was a perpetually angry man.
“Oh fuck, it’s occupied.” Javier banged on the door. “You’d better not be doing a shit.”
Sam tried to ignore him. He closed his eyes and relaxed. He felt the fluids rushing through him and— “Is there even anyone in there? Hang-on.”
Sam heard the clambering sound of someone climbing up the cubicle wall to peek down at him, and angrily hissed. Covering himself up, he aborted the attempt, zipping up his trousers. He was still bursting to go to the loo.
“Oh, it’s only Sam. Hurry the fuck up, Sam!” Javier squealed before dropping.
Sam opened the cubicle door to see Javier making out with one of the ‘straight’ rugby players. The jock had hoisted Javier up onto the cheap porcelain sink and the animalistic sounds of them making out were somewhat akin to a squid trying to devour a wounded water buffalo.
Sam looked down at his hands in disgust, then left without washing them. He’d have to find some bushes outside the club to finish his business, preferably bushes without smokers hiding in them. Sam opened the toilet door, fidgeting as he tried to hold back the tide of urine. He had barely taken one step outside the door before he heard running feet and a body slammed into him. From the sound of merriment, he deduced it was Jack. Of course, it was Jack. They pressed him against the square carpet tiles on the floor. Another body jumped on top of Jack, pressing him down harder. He grunted, struggling to breathe and holding his bladder tight as the squirming boys on top of him compressed it.
“Get off me,” Sam squeaked plaintively.
“Oh, it’s Sam! Probably enjoys it, the big gay,” Jack said, eliciting a peel of laughter from the others.
A third body leapt on top of them. It was the final straw. Sam felt warm liquid spread from his groin. Tears burst from his eyes in shame.
“Urgh, he’s fucking pissed himself. URGH! It’s on me!” Jack shrieked with horror to the merriment of the bystanders.
The boys clambered off Sam and left him lying on the floor, crying in a pool of his own urine. A circle of giggling kids gathered around him.
Fourteen years old and he’d pissed himself.
“That’s enough,” a stern voice boomed out.
A hand reached down and pulled him up, half lifting him, half dragging him. “Come on, kid, let’s get you cleaned up.”
Sam looked up nervously at his saviour as he was taken to the Coconut Club kitchen. Pale blue eyes looked back at him, a kind, clean shaven face with a strong jaw. The man, who must have been in his mid-twenties, smiled at him. Sam swallowed.
Very aware of his piss-stained trousers. Sam looked shamefully at the floor.
“Hey, hey. Chin up.” The man rested his hand on Sam’s shoulder. “My name's Ted.”
“Hey Ted,” Sam said shyly.
Ted winked at him. “Right kid. Trousers off. Wash them in the sink with fairy liquid and pop them into the dryer.” Ted twiddled with the Coconut Club’s ancient dryer. “I’ve set it to the right setting. So, just close the lid and press this button.”
Sam nodded. “Thank you.” He hesitated. “It’s easier for the others.”
“What do you mean?”
Sam paused, looking around nervously. “They get to be whoever they want. They are free. Javier is living his best life and I have to stay off the radar.”
Ted snorted ruefully. “I know that life. My dad was a miner, a tough Yorkshire feller. There was no way I was telling anyone I was gay until he died.”
“You are gay?” Sam said, astonished at his luck. “Wait, your dad died?”
“Yes and yes.” Ted said, wry amusement on his face.
“I’m so sorry,” Sam muttered. “I—”
“Sorry that I’m gay, or sorry that my dad had a mining accident?”
Sam froze. “I’m sorry that your dad died. I’m not sorry that you are gay.”
Ted nodded. “Good. It’s good to know you don’t mind me being gay and for the record, you are much better looking than Javier.” He winked at Sam before his face grew serious. “Right, you’d best wash your pants and t-shirt at the same time. It’ll be finished in thirty minutes. You can wait in here until the club finishes. Here is the key to the door.” Ted started towards the door. “I’ll come and find you when you are fully clothed.”
“Thank you, Ted,” Sam said gratefully.
Ted winked at him as he headed out, locking the door behind him.
Sam watched Ted leave. Left alone, he undressed and washed his clothes in the sink. When he’d loaded the dryer, he washed himself at the sink and dried himself using a tea towel.
How could this happen to me? Why am I always the one? This never happens to Javier.
There was a knock at the door.
“Who is it?” Sam asked, his voice hesitant.
“Sam, it’s Becks. Are you alright?”
Sam smiled. Becks was his only real friend at school.
“Wait a minute” he called out. Rummaging in the cupboards, He found a black bin bag and cut three holes in it to fashion a plastic tunic for himself. “Okay, I’m opening the door.” The lock clicked and Sam cautiously peeked out into the corridor outside.
Becks waved back at him. He opened the door to let her in. Her sympathetic smile broke into a manic grin as she saw his plastic ensemble. “What are you wearing?” She managed between guffaws. “Oh my god, I love it.”
Unable to maintain a hurt expression, Sam started giggling as he locked the door behind them both. They slid down the door to sit on the floor.
“Why exactly are you dressed like a… Trash Queen? Becks asked with a wide grin. Her eyes were wide between her big red spectacles.
Sam pointed to the dryer.
“So, are you going to wear that to school tomorrow? Is this”—she gestured—“your new look? Can we make you a tiara out of some tin foil?”
“Oh, shut up.” Sam playfully whacked her on the arm.
Becks feigned injury. “Sam!” She paused. He watched her try to figure out how best to phrase it. Then, reaching into her bag, she pulled out a small bottle of vodka, half drunk. She took a swig, gagged, and passed it to Sam.
“Becks you mentalist, you can’t drink here!” Sam hissed. Becks gave him a disapproving look and waggled the bottle.
Relenting, he took it off her.
“Are you gay?” she asked.
Sam started, his eyes widening.
“Because I’ve been your best friend for three years now and you haven’t hit on me yet, so either you are gay or I’m hideous.” Striking a pose, she looked down upon him. “And we both know that I am gorgeous, daaaaaaarling.”
Sam smiled, feeling awkward. “You are gorgeous,” he said finally, leaving the rest unsaid. He took a long pull of vodka, coughed at the vile liquid and handed it back, feeling it burn down his throat.
Becks waited for Sam to say more, then, disappointed, she took the bottle back. “Anyway, I’m sorry I couldn’t boot those beastly boys off you. I was round the back making out with Tommy Atkins.”
“Twatkins?” Sam laughed.
“Shut up you freak, he is like seven feet tall and has all the muscles. You are just jealous.” Becks shoved him.
“Careful, you’ll tear my dress,” Sam said between giggles.
“For fuck’s sake Sam, you don’t even know how hard it is to not put a video of you on TikTok, in that ridiculous outfit.”
Sam’s face grew serious. “Don’t you—”
“Yeah, yeah, your dad… You know, nobody at school would care. Everyone’s a prick. How much worse can it get?” Becks punched his shoulder. “I’ll look after you.”
“Right well, I feel distinctly underdressed, so I’m off to find Tommy.” Becks sucked her teeth as she looked fondly at Sam. “Are you alright, mate?”
“I’m fine. It’s just another day, you know?”
“Yeah, I gotcha.” Becks lumbered to her feet, patted him on the head and then, as Sam stood up, she pointed to the ‘Confiscated Items’ cupboard. “Go on Sam, do your clicky clicky thing.”
“My—” Sam gave an exasperated sigh. “That’s a criminal act.”
“Oh my god Sam, you absolute doughnut. Why learn how to clicky click if you aren’t going to use your powers for good, well, for our good .” Becks waited, then poked him in the chest with her shellac nailed finger. “Clicky, clicky, clicky.”
“Fine, but if we get in trouble for this…”
Becks shook her head in mock despair. “I’ll watch the door. Chill out. Christ! You are acting like a proper pill.”
Sam brought over a chair and pulled his lock picks out of his sock. Selecting a rake and a torsion bar he got to work. A few moments later, the cheap lock sprang open and the cupboard door opened to expose a mini bottle of Southern Comfort and a dirty magazine.
“That’ll do, come on.” Becks urged him on.
“Busty Asian Beauties?” Sam teased.
“Oh, shut your flaps.” She pointed eagerly at the Southern Comfort. Sam passed it down and relocked the cupboard door.
Dammit. I guess it does make a clicky clicky sound.
Replacing the chair, Sam unlocked the kitchen door for Becks and watched her head back into the cacophony of pop music and noisy teens.
Locking the door, Sam sat down in his black trash dress. He watched the dryer go round and round, his clothes rolling in a perpetual cycle.
That’s my life. Round and round. Nothing changes. Always hiding, always getting picked on.
Suddenly, a wave of depression rose up within Sam.
Real men don’t cry.
He shivered from the cold, wrapping his arms tightly around himself. He rocked back and forth, trying to keep warm, watching the machine.
What even is a real man? Am I happy? Is Becks right? Would I be more unhappy or less if people knew who I was, what I was?
Round and round.
Round and round.
* * *
There was a knock on the door. Sam woke from where he had been napping. The dryer had finished an hour ago and the combination of warm clothes and the day’s exhaustion had caused him to drop off.
He’d disposed of his binbag tunic.
Fully clothed, with actual clothes, he unlocked the door.
Ted stepped in. “Ah, good, you are dressed. Feeling better?”
Sam nodded. “Yes, thank you.”
“Good, good. The others are all leaving. How are you getting home?” Ted collected the trash bags from the kitchen.
“My dad is probably waiting outside,” Sam replied, looking up at his rescuer.
There was an awkward silence until Ted motioned to the door. “Well, you had best be off then.”
Sam strode out of the door as fast as he could towards the car park where his dad was waiting.
He heard someone, probably, no definitely Jack, yell after him. “Hey look, it’s PissPants!” A short peel of laughter followed him. Sam ignored them. His dad was waiting in the car, looking bored and irritated.
Sam opened the side door, then paused.
“Dad, I’ll be right back. I just need to say something to someone.”
His dad’s eyes widened at this unexpected outrage. Sam shut the door before his dad could give him a piece of his mind.
Snap decision. Sam was going to find Ted. As he walked confidently round the corner, he immediately shrank back into the shadows.
As Sam watched silently, he saw Ted was leading Javier towards his car. Javier, who got everything. Javier, who, according to Ted, wasn’t even as good looking as Sam.
Sam returned to the car and apologised to his father. The journey back didn’t register as he sunk into the black depression of his thoughts.
It was just a stupid crush.
His resolve hardened. Sam pulled out his phone and made an order on Amazon.
Fuck it. I’m done being the dryer. Stuck in a cycle, endlessly going round and round.
It was high time the world met a new Sam.
Monday, July 5th 2021
Sam held up the t-shirt and took a deep breath.
I’m going to do it.
Hiding the t-shirt from his dad under a hoodie, Sam was driven to school. His dad didn’t even notice Sam’s nervous drumming on the car door, nor did he notice his son’s silence. He never noticed anything Sam did. He was too preoccupied with what people were doing on the news.
When the car stopped. Sam disembarked without a word. His father didn’t say a word either. He just drove off, leaving Sam standing in the cold. Kids flitted past him, to the left and to the right. All the time he stood, summoning up his courage.
He removed his hoodie. Underneath was a black t-shirt, of a conservative fit with a crew neckline. The text was emblazoned with bold, flamboyant text, ‘I’m Gay, Get Over It.’ Sam held his chin up and walked towards his form room.
The first student spotted it and froze, slapping the chest of his friend and pointing.
I hope Jack isn’t here.
Sam kept walking. Tears pricked at his eyes.
I will not cry.
Becks was sitting on a bench scrolling on her phone. Sam saw her raise her gaze from her phone and look around to see what the commotion was. Sam locked eyes with her, then her eyes drifted down to his t-shirt. She leapt up with a whoop and began clapping.
“You go, girl!” she bellowed.
Sam clamped down on a smile, striding forwards proudly and stoically.
His fellow students joined Becks in applauding and despite his best efforts, he had flushed a deep shade of crimson even before he had reached his form room.
Walking in, he found his desk and sat down, wincing as his classmates slapped him on the back and congratulated him.
He looked over to see what Javier’s reaction was, but was disappointed to see his seat was empty. Thankfully, so was Jack’s.
Mr Horton entered and the class fell silent, the kids all retreating to their seats. Calling the register, all his class-mates raised their hands except for Javier, who was regularly signed off by his parents for mental health days. Jack just plain truanted repeatedly. His parents didn’t seem to care.
“Announcements: It’s movie night at The Coconut Club tonight. They are showing Charlotte’s Web.”
Groans emerged from the class.
Mr Horton’s bushy eyebrows flared. “Settle down. The parent teacher committee chose the movie and it is a timeless classic.” He paused, pursing his lips. “I believe Sam has a final announcement. I won’t make him come to the front and address the class as his t-shirt is loud enough.” The class erupted into laughter, and even the taciturn Mr Horton gave a dry smile before ordering the class to settle down once more.
When Sam rose to leave for maths, Mr Horton, without raising his eyes from his marking papers, said, “Congratulations for breaking your silence, Sam. It takes courage to find your voice.”
Sam didn’t know what to say. His lips pressed into a shy smile and he muttered, “Thank you, Sir.” He strode out of the classroom and on through the school’s corridors with pride.
The gay jokes still flowed in his direction, but this time they were tinged with acknowledgement and to a certain degree, respect.
* * *
Nobody at the Coconut Club was paying attention to the movie. It played on the projector, only to be ignored by everyone except Becks, who was looking at it in horror. “That’s proper disgusting. They can’t show kids a movie about spiders. It is rank Sam, proper rank.”
They were sipping at plastic beakers of coke. Sam’s phone blipped a message from his dad. ‘The old boys are meeting up at The Robin Hood. Can you get a lift home with Becks?’ He passed the phone to her and she shrugged. “Yeah, course, but here’s the thing. I told my dad the Club shuts at eleven.”
Sam gave her a quizzical look.
“Because I want to spend some time with Tommy, don’t I. I would be with him now, but apparently, I’m crowding him.” She slurped at her coke.
Sam jabbed her in the ribs. “Oi, you are here supporting me on my big day. Not because your giant muttonhead is too cool to be seen with you.”
“Yeah, yeah, course. Whatever.” Becks gave him a prim look. “I’m giving you a lift, ain’t I. Chill out Priscilla, Queen of the Coconut Club.”
Sam kept looking for Ted. He didn’t seem to be working tonight. Instead, the barman was one of the locals, a large rotund man with a walrus moustache and knitted cardigan. He always looked suspiciously satisfied. When he wasn’t working he would stand with his hands on his hips surveying the teens. Sam didn’t know his real name, everyone just called him ‘The Fat Controller,’ but never to his face.
“Sneak outside for some cheeky giggle juice?” Becks asked, motioning with a complete lack of discretion. “I’m not watching anymore.” She pulled a face and looked away. “The big spider died—fan-fucking-tastic but now it’s given birth to a ton of little ones.”
Sam glanced at the final scenes of Charlotte’s Web. “Yeah, why not?”
They went to the swings outside, gingerly walking past two girls arguing. Becks loitered to catch the end of the argument, but Sam tugged at her arm.
“Yeah, alright, chill out,” she muttered.
The night air was cool. Despite the occasional car passing and the faint sound of the credit sequence from the projector, it was quiet.
“Who is Ted then?” he asked Becks as he kicked the swing into the air.
“I dunno,” she shrugged, unscrewing the cap on her vodka bottle and pouring a measure into her cola cup.
“The barman last night,” Sam pressed on, swinging higher and propelling his legs out.
Becks shook her head. “No idea mate. Never seen him before—wait, that one?”
Sam looked and saw a car drawing up. Ted was smoking a cigarette out of the window.
Ted waved at Sam.
Sam slowly let the swing return to the ground and got up to talk to him.
“Bit weird hanging around a kids’ youth club,” Becks cautioned. “Stranger danger, innit.”
“Nah, he works here,” Sam countered. He watched Becks look over his shoulder suspiciously and take first a photo of Ted, then his car’s number plate on her phone.
“Fair enough,” Becks said, taking a long swing of vodka coke.
Sam wandered over to approach Ted, who raised his eyebrows at his t-shirt. “So, you’ve joined the club? I thought you were going to wait until you were legal.”
“Erm, yeah, about that. I had enough of lying to myself and everyone. As of today, I am officially gay,” Sam smiled shyly.
“Just like that then, yesterday you were thirsting over women, today, you are drooling over boys.” Ted motioned to his passenger seat. “Tell me all about it.” He turned away from Sam and cracked open a can. He turned back to reveal a coke. “Come on, I don’t bite.” He turned off the ignition.
Sam looked at Becks, who was shaking her head in an emphatic ‘No.’ Sam smiled and wafted away her concerns.
“That’s your friend?” Ted asked.
“Yeah, she is very protective. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know what I would’ve done at school.” Sam said warmly. He waved at Becks, who was watching them closely, her arms crossed.
“What made you change your mind?” Ted opened himself a can of coke as he regarded Sam closely.
Sam thought about it for a while. “I didn’t tell anyone I was gay because I didn’t want to be bullied. Then I saw how everyone accepted Javier…” At the mention of Javier, he looked up at Ted, but he didn’t register any sign of recognition. “I figured I’m getting bullied anyway, so why shouldn’t I be honest about my feelings?” Sam took a deep drink from the can.
“And you are sure that you made the right choice?” Ted asked.
Sam yawned. “How can you know? I know I’m gay but am I ‘gay gay’ or bisexual? I don’t know. I guess I won’t find out for a few years.”
Ted looked at Sam, his eyes looked concerned. “Are you okay, Sam? You seem tired.”
Sam nodded, “I’m fine. It’s been a stressful day, that’s all.” He slurped the last of the cola, the caffeine doing nothing to arrest his sudden exhaustion.
“Who’s collecting you? The club shuts in thirty minutes.” Ted reached over and took Sam’s empty can from his grip.
“I’m going home with Becks. Her dad is coming in an hour and a half. I think.” His eyelids drooped. “I can’t quite remember… What time is it?”
Ted smiled. “Come on, I’ll run you home.” Ted turned on the ignition.
The last thing Sam saw was Becks standing up and striding towards the car before it drove off and he lost consciousness.
* * *
Sam’s head was pounding, his throat was dry, and someone was yelling at him.
He rolled over, his body stiff and cold. His face had—
Why am I lying on concrete?
“Shut up Jack.” Sam gave a long, slow blink.
Sam reached up to rub the grit from his eyes, but his wrist was stuck.
Adrenaline kicked in as realisation dawned. Sam’s eyes flicked open and his stomach lurched. Someone had handcuffed him to a ring on the wall. He looked at Jack. “What the fuck is going on?”
“It’s Ted. He’s on a mission or something. He killed Javier,” Jack said. He was curled up on the opposing side of the room.
“Ted? Ted is nice,” Sam said. “He wouldn’t.” Sam tugged at his chains, breathing fast as his mind tried to get around the fact that Ted, his confidant, was a—
“He is a fucking psycho!” Jack suddenly spun round. His face looked terrified as he lowered his voice. “He says that if you behave, he won’t hurt you.”
Sam looked around the room. A giant iron bed with red sheets dominated it. A camera faced it. Leather and chrome objects covered the wall. A big canister of lubricant was mounted near the bed with a pump release. Sam looked closer, his eyes widening in ever- increasing disgust. His throat was dry and he wanted to vomit. These were sexual objects, no doubt about it.
He drugged me. The fucker drugged me.
He recognised the dildos and he’d seen some of the other things on the internet. The rest looked barbaric, like torture implements. There was a computer set up with a monitor in one corner. It was hooked up to a battery of webcams. One of the cameras was watching them, its light an ominous red.
“He filmed what he did to Javier,” Jack said, tears running down his cheeks. “I was here. I had to watch the whole thing.”
“Where is Javier?” Sam asked. His mind wasn’t ready to accept his suspicions. He needed to hear it.
“In the last broadcast, he tried to shout out his parents’ home telephone number.” Jack hid his head in his arms. Muffled, he said, “Ted throttled him live on air. He moved him closer to the camera so that his audience would get a better view.”
“Why us?” Sam demanded, pulling on the chain. It was securely anchored to the wall.
Jack sniffed. “He said he was taking the power back. That gay kids are responsible for getting men jailed every year and put on the register.”
“That’s bollocks, fuck him!” Sam fumed.
They both sat in silence as Sam tried to think of a way out.
He paused, then through the horror, suspicion dawned. He looked at Jack. “Are you gay?”
“No. Fuck off.” Jack sneered. “I see you are, though. You… you big homo.”
Even trapped in a paedophile’s basement, he is still a dick.
“Why did Ted pick you up, then? I’m guessing he grabbed me because of this.” Sam pointed at his now grubby t-shirt. He decided to risk it and reached down into his sock to pull out his lock picks.
Jack fell silent.
“Why did Ted pick you up?” Sam persisted. His heart was pounding as he focused on his wrist cuff. Sam tried to slide a shim into the cuff teeth with his offhand. It was an exercise in frustration.
“It was a joke. I was being ironic. I saw him on Grindr and sent him a photo of my arsehole,” Jack said. “You know, like, ‘Hey, it’s my arsehole.’ Not in a gay way.” He looked at Sam in disgust.
“Why did you…” Sam swore under his breath as his fingers cramped. “Oh, forget about it.”
“What are you doing?” Jack asked. “Don’t make him angry!”
Sam spared a look of disdain for Jack. “He drugged me, and according to you, killed Javier and probably will kill us.”
“Stop it, or I’ll shout out, I will. If you do as he says, then he doesn’t kill you,” Jack explained, fear in his voice.
“You are an idiot, Jack.” The handcuff clicked. “Now raise your cuffs so I can unlock them.”
“Absolutely not. Stay away. I’m having nothing to do with this.” Jack shuffled back against the wall. “You’ll get us both killed.”
Sam stared at Jack incredulously. “You want to stay handcuffed in the basement of a murdering rapist?”
Jack looked down and mumbled. “You didn’t see what he did to Javier. If you had, you wouldn’t want to make him angry either.”
Sam quietly padded over to the computer. It was locked.
“You did IT in GCSE. Can you hack this?” Sam asked Jack.
Jack looked at him, confused. “You what?”
They heard faint footsteps upstairs.
No chance of making a run for it then.
Sam looked around the room.
I will not die. Not here, not like this, not after this shitty week.
“I’ve got a plan,” Sam said with a confidence he didn’t feel. He yanked out the camera cables and turned off the computer at the wall.
* * *
Sam watched from his concealed position as Jack bellowed. “He is trying to escape. I had nothing to do with this.”
The sound of footsteps thudded above them and the door slammed open at the top of the basement stairs.
Please, please, please.
Sam didn’t know who he was praying to, but he prayed harder than he had ever prayed in his life.
Incredibly, his prayers were answered. Ted slipped, falling down the brick stairs and landing hard. The lubricant Sam had smeared on the steps coated Ted's clothes with a thick slime.
Sam jumped out, throwing the poisonous contents of a ‘Masc 4 Masc’ mug into Ted’s furious eyes.
Ted howled as the amyl nitrate, collected from a whole box worth of poppers, splashed into his eyes. The thin fluid smoked in Ted’s eyes. He struggled to stand, clawing at his face, trying to get the toxic liquid out. Ted’s face had already turned a lurid red, burnt by the chemicals.
Screaming with anger and rage, Sam lurched forward, swinging a heavy set of chrome anal beads at his jailor’s head. They smashed into his skull with a satisfying crunch.
Ted reached out with his hand, staggering towards Sam. Blindly crashing into a set of shelves and scattering toys across the floor, he grabbed at the anal beads and tore them out of Sam’s grip with a roar of pain.
Pulled across the room into Ted's grasp, Sam struggled to free himself. Spittle flecked from Ted’s face as he held onto Sam’s throat with one hand, choking him. With the other hand he was still trying to clear his eyes. Sam beat at the thick, muscular arm that was gripping him tightly, but he couldn’t budge it.
It was Ted who let go. As he held Sam’s throat and pushed him forwards to press him against the wall, he didn’t see a Platinum Rampant Rabbit until his lubricated boot stepped on it and it skittered away. He crashed onto his knees, on all fours on the floor. The vibrator began to buzz angrily as it lay idle on the stone floor tiles.
Sam saw his opportunity. Kicking away Ted’s hand, he caused him to crash to the floor. He fell, face down, onto an upright chrome butt plug. There was a screeching sound as the enamel of his teeth fought his own body weight and ground against the metal. Sam followed it up by stamping repeatedly on Ted’s head in a panic. A sickening crunch heralded the fracture of Ted’s jaw. Sam stamped again and again, tears running down his face as the buttplug turned the murderer's throat into a bloody ruin. He stepped back and looked at what he’d done, holding up his hands. The adrenaline was fleeing from his body as he realised he had just killed a man.
Ted’s body gave a final twitch and lay still.
Sam shrunk back into the corner of the room where Jack sat, eyes wide and crying in fear.
He didn’t know how long they’d been sitting there together, shaking when he heard the sirens.
Sam stood on shaking legs and gingerly ascended the stairs. He stumbled through the house without noticing his surroundings. Eyes glazed, as though in a trance, Sam opened the front door to see his dad standing there, flanked by a pair of policemen.
The policemen took one look at him and stepped aside.
Sam ran into his dad’s arms and buried his face into his chest. Huge racking sobs rent his body.
His dad held him tight, stroking the top of his head.
The police disappeared into the house.
Sam sniffed and recovered enough to say, “Jack is downstairs, chained up.”
His dad bellowed in his sergeant’s voice, “Code 136, downstairs.”
“How did you know?” Sam asked.
“I called Becky’s parents when you weren’t home on time.” His dad sat Sam down in the back of one of the police cars. He accepted a blanket from a constable and wrapped it around his son. “She had a photograph of the number plate and the driver. It took longer than it should have done to get the address, but we got there.”
Sam smiled gratefully at the thought of Becky saving the day.
“Nice t-shirt. It suits you,” his dad said. “But I’ve known since you were five.”
Sam blinked. “What?”