Adelaide was growling louder than she ever had before, but she seemed to sense the danger that Silas was in and kept her distance from Pastor Simms. Silas tried to meet her eyes and communicate with her silently, to let her know that everything was all right, but she wasn’t looking at him at all. Pastor Simms was doing his best to ignore Adelaide, but Silas could feel the tension in the pastor’s arms and hands whenever Adelaide growled.
“You’ve got to make a choice, boy,” Pastor Simms said to Adam. “Are you going to watch your friend die, or are you going to drop the gun?”
“If I drop the gun, you could just shoot him anyway, and then me,” Adam said steadily, keeping the rifle pointed at Pastor Simms’ face. “I think I’d rather take my chances and keep it, thanks.”
“Then this is going to take a while,” Pastor Simms said with a dry chuckle. “Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of time, and I have backup coming.”
“You mean your girlfriend, dad?” Chelsea said angrily as she stepped into the shed. “You mean the woman that you cheated with for all of my life? I can’t believe you!”
The pastor’s eyes widened at the accusation, and he quickly shouted, “How dare you!?”
“I dare because of what you did to me,” Chelsea said with fierce eyes as she raised her broken arm. “I dare because of what you did to that boy, Daniel. I dare because of what you’re doing to Silas now. We’ve got you. Give yourself up.”
“You’re an abomination, Chelsea,” Pastor Simms growled. “I should have done much more than break your arm, and I don’t have to listen to the accusations of a queer like yourself.”
Adam’s eyes flickered briefly to the television as the sound of Daniel being raped overcame the volume of Adelaide’s growling. When he turned back to face the pastor his eyes were smoldering, and his finger trembled on the trigger. “You’re going to stand there and talk to your daughter like that when you raped a teenaged boy? Are you really so delusional as to think that you’re not gay? What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“I saved that boy,” Pastor Simms insisted. “He was going down the wrong path. He was going to hell, and I just followed god’s light and showed him how it feels to live that life. He had already damned himself, and he needed to know how terrible it was?”
“What the fuck, dad?” Chelsea asked. “You can’t seriously believe all of that!”
“I doubt he does, Chelsea,” Adam said over his shoulder. “Look at him, he’s just trying to talk his way out of this. He’s desperate because he knows that we’ve got him.”
“You can believe what you want, boy, but I am a man of God. I speak his Word and I follow his light,” Pastor Simms proclaimed, “I do the lord’s work, and that means killing the queers, teaching them that they are abominations in His sight!”
“Pastor Gregory never taught that,” Adam countered. “Many people are able to look past that scripture as they have many others. Your argument holds no water with me. Let Silas go, and I won’t shoot you. Don’t let Silas go, and I promise that you’re going to feel an awful lot of pain in a minute, and trust me it won’t be pretty.”
“You know what else Pastor Gregory did?” Pastor Simms counted, “He stole . . .”
“He stole money from the church,” Adam replied with a quirk of a frown. “Trust me, I heard the whole story straight from him, and you are not going to convince me that he was wrong about you. I know how you blackmailed him for an alibi on the night of Daniel’s murder. You sick bastard.”
While Pastor Simms was distracted by the dialogue, Silas managed to get one of the pastor’s fingers into his mouth and he bit down hard. The pastor yelled in pain and pulled his hand away for a moment, long enough for Silas to shout, “The gun isn’t . . .”
Pastor Simms covered Silas’ mouth roughly and whipped his temple with the pistol before returning to point it at the side of his head. “Enough talk,” Simms spat. “Drop your rifle or I’m going to kill him.”
“So you’ve said,” Adam replied. “But I know you better than you think, Pastor. I know that you’ve been hiding this for all these years, watching the video of when you killed Danny so that you could relive it all. You’re not going to kill him now; you want us all to leave you alone so that you can finish what you started. I should have seen it years ago in the way you looked at Danny; the way you looked at all of us. Your lust-filled eyes are insatiable.”
“You don’t know anything about how the world works, boy,” Pastor Simms said with a nervous chuckle. “Do you really think they’re going to take your testimony over mine? Hell, I can pin this whole thing on you.”
“Likely not, considering the fact that we made sure that Officer Higgins wasn’t informed of the situation,” Adam sneered. “I know you think she’ll be here to cover up this awful mess you made for yourself, but she’s not the one coming. It’ll be Sheriff Donaldson himself, and last I checked he didn’t like you much.”
“Doesn’t change the situation as it stands,” Pastor Simms said with a shrug. “Last chance to put the rifle down.”
“I’m not worried,” Adam replied, “I finally figured out what Silas was trying to say when you silenced him. You’re done, Simms. Adelaide, get him!”
Adelaide didn’t need a second order, and she dashed around Silas to snap her jaws down on Pastor Simms’ leg. Simms tried to shake her off as he screamed in pain, but fell backward, initially pulling Silas with him but then he fell to the ground, punching at Adelaide’s face. Adelaide kept up her attack as Adam moved in, putting his rifle against the pastor’s chest until he stopped squirming, though Adelaide kept her grip on his leg.
“Get it off of me!” Pastor Simms shouted. “Get it off!”
“And why would I do that?” Adam asked? “Drop your gun. If it had any bullets you would have used them already. I have an urge to shoot you anyway, but I’m nicer than that.”
“Addy,” Silas whistled, “Let go. Let go, Addy.” Adelaide released her grip on the pastor and barked at him one more time before running over to stand by Silas and look up at him with concern. Chelsea was already in the process of moving to the back of the shed and letting the rope down gently before she picked up a saw from the worktable and walked back toward him. She cut the ropes that held his wrists bound and then looked away, blushing.
“Thanks, Chelsea,” Silas said as he rubbed his wrists and then leaned down to pull his pants and boxers back up his legs. “I’m glad you guys got here when you did. Has anyone contacted Ian yet?”
“I had a message typed and ready and sent it as soon as Adelaide started running,” Chelsea said as she glanced back to see that Silas was back to being half-clothed. She looked up at his face and smiled. “I’m glad that he didn’t get any further with you. Why did you wait so long to whistle?”
“I wanted to make sure that he got caught with his pants down so that he’d have a harder time escaping,” Silas replied as he glanced back at the pastor who was nearly crying from the pain of the bleeding bite in his naked shin. His pants were still wrapped around his ankles, and his briefs showed a bit of wetness. Silas wasn’t sure if the wetness was from the pastor’s earlier excitement or his more recent fear, but he was glad that those briefs had stayed on. “I realized that I was walking a fine line, but I knew that the more involved he was the more distracted he’d be.”
“You set me up,” Pastor Simms mumbled, “You’re not going to get away with this.”
“Are you still trying to fight?” Adam asked. “Well, I think I know how to take some of the fight out of you.” He raised his foot over the pastor’s briefs and then stepped down, resting his boot on the pastor’s crotch and making his eyes snap open. As soon as Simms was watching Adam pressed down hard with his foot, making Pastor Simms howl in pain. “There, now be quiet,” Adam said as he let up some of the pressure, though he kept his foot in position to do it all over again.
“I think that Simms knows his place, Adam,” Silas said with a shake of his head. “He just got beaten by a group of gay teenagers, and he’s going to have to deal with that. Give him some time to let that sink in and he’ll feel plenty bad.”
“Silas, how did you know that the gun wasn’t loaded?” Adam asked.
“Well, it was still a guess, but there weren’t any bullets with it in the desk, and the way he shoved it in the front of his pants I was pretty sure he wouldn’t do that with a loaded gun,” Silas explained. “He values his family jewels too much.”
“Wish he had valued his family that much,” Chelsea muttered.
Silas glanced at her and then wrapped an arm around her from the side and pulled her close, crushing her against his naked chest. She tentatively wrapped an arm around his back and returned the embrace, and then she looked up at him in surprise. “You’re suddenly more affectionate than normal.”
“Near death experiences will do that to you,” Silas said with a chuckle. “Where are the police, anyway? Didn’t Tara call them like we planned?”
“She’s on the phone with them still,” Chelsea said, nodding toward the front of the shed where Tara was watching everything unfold with her phone up next to her ear. “We called Sheriff Donaldson directly, like Jenny suggested. Officer Higgins shouldn’t even know that we’re here, at least not yet.”
“He says that he’s turning up the driveway now,” Tara reported. “He has two of his deputies with him, and they’ve all been informed of the situation.” She ended the call and slid her phone into her pocket. “Just so you’re aware, I’m sticking with the story from before.”
“Adam, do you have everything under control in here?” Silas called over his shoulder. Adam nodded and Silas turned his attention to Adelaide. “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
Adelaide barked her agreement and sat as she sat facing Pastor Simms. Adam was keeping his stance firm and his eyes remained locked on Pastor Simms’ face as he watched for any sign that he was going to start struggling again. Silas gave a satisfied nod and walked toward the front of the tool shed with Chelsea and Tara.
“So, just to recap,” Tara began, “the story is that we were walking in the woods when we heard a dog barking and came to see what was happening. Adam was carrying his rifle just for protection, and . . .”
“I think we should tell them the truth,” Silas interrupted with a sigh. “There are too many variables to cover up our intention in this. Think about it; we’re asking not only the four of us to remember the story, but also asking Ian, Amy, and Jenny to back up the lie? No, I don’t think we can get away with that, and I’d rather we told the truth from the beginning then have our story lose credibility because someone screws up.”
“You have a point,” Chelsea said. “But that means we’re all going to be in trouble. The other way it looks like we’re all victims, but this way . . . never mind, I know you’re right.”
“Okay, so who is going to take the lead then?” Tara asked.
Silas had just enough time to volunteer as flashing red and blue lights appeared at the top of the hill and three patrol cars all came to a stop in the church parking lot. Three men got out of the cars and started toward them at a run, drawing their guns from their holsters as they moved. When they saw that the situation appeared to be under control the three officers relaxed slightly but kept their weapons at the ready.
“What’s going on here?” Sheriff Donaldson asked as he came to a stop in front of them. He was a tall and broad-shouldered man with a graying hair and bushy gray moustache. “We had reports of a rape in progress that turned into a fight?”
“You’ll find the rapist inside the shed,” Silas said with a smirk. “Our friend Adam is watching over him and making sure he doesn’t go anywhere.” He whistled for Adelaide and she came trotting out of the shed. “I’m the one that was getting raped, and I’m a bit shaken up, but I’m happy to answer any questions you have.”
The sheriff nodded to his two men and they moved into the shed. There was a brief conversation with Adam as they asked him to step back and let them handle it, and then Pastor Simms was being led from the shed in handcuffs, limping on his wounded leg. As they passed by the sheriff said, “If it isn’t Arnold Simms. I’m looking forward to spending the night with you in my jail again. First your daughter and now this boy? You sicken me.”
“You bastard . . .” Pastor Simms started but one of the deputies shook him hard and the pastor stopped talking.
“You have the right to remain silent,” the deputy started as he dragged Simms away, continuing to read the man his rights as they walked toward the waiting patrol cars. The sheriff turned his full attention back to Silas and the others and smiled at them warmly.
“Before I ask any other questions, are you all right?” Sheriff Donaldson asked Silas. Silas nodded and the sheriff sighed and said, “I get the feeling that there is more going on here than meets the eye. Your story on the phone about just walking through the woods wasn’t quite the truth, was it?”
“No, it wasn’t,” Silas replied. “Though we chose to do it that way for a reason. We had to make sure that Sheryl Higgins wasn’t the one to receive the dispatch.”
“Why is that?” Sheriff Donaldson asked, his eyes narrowing.
“She’s having an affair with my father,” Chelsea spat. “We know that she might have tried to protect him.”
“You’ve been digging into this for a while,” Sheriff Donaldson observed. “Why didn’t you come to the police if you thought something was suspicious? I need to know what this is all about.”
“Come into the shed and we’ll show you,” Silas said with a grimace. “It’s not pretty, but we didn’t have any proof until tonight.”
The sheriff nodded and followed Silas and the others inside where he saw Adam standing in front of the television set and crying as he watched Daniel continue to get raped on the screen. “Adam!” Silas shouted, “Adam, stop watching! You can’t do that to yourself! Chelsea, Tara, get him out of here!”
The two girls nodded and walked toward Adam, each taking one of his arms as they tried to drag him away from the scene. He resisted at first but then his knees gave way beneath him and he collapsed into Chelsea’s shoulder, crying his eyes out. The sheriff watched the unfolding scene with confusion until he too looked at the screen and gasped as he recognized the two people in the recording.
“Oh my God!” Sheriff Donaldson shouted, “This is unthinkable! I always suspected that there was something fishy about Daniel Winter’s death but this . . . This is outrageous!”
Silas glanced at the screen momentarily and saw that Pastor Simms had just finished the rape and was letting Daniel down to the ground. Daniel was crying, and he seemed completely weak as Pastor Simms consoled him and tossed him his tee shirt. “Put that on,” Pastor Simms ordered, and Daniel slowly slid the shirt over his head as the Pastor moved around behind him, pulling the noose that had held Daniel’s hands down from the rafters. As Daniel slid his arms into the sleeves of his shirt, Pastor Simms slid the noose around Daniel’s neck and then jumped up and pulled hard on the rope.
“I can’t keep watching this,” Silas said as his stomach lurched. He walked out the door of the shed and vomited at the side of the door. The sheriff came out a moment later, his face nearly as pale as Silas’ as he shook his head in bewilderment.
“I can promise you one thing,” the sheriff said with a snarl, “That man is going away for a long time, and not even the best lawyer is going to be able to help him. How did you all become involved in this?”
“Daniel was Adam’s boyfriend,” Silas said confidently, glancing at Adam who was still inconsolable. “I met Adam when I came to town, and I also came to know Chelsea. When the situation between Chelsea and her dad happened, and then I learned about what happened to Daniel . . . I started putting pieces together.”
“So you’re the one that spear-headed this?” Sheriff Donaldson asked. “I don’t even know who you are. This is a fairly small town, and you aren’t even vaguely familiar.”
“My name is Silas Drake,” Silas said with a nod. “I’m Ian Drake’s brother; he’s the owner of Mom’s Diner. I moved into town about a month ago.”
“And you’re already in the business of catching murderers and rapists?” the sheriff said with a chuckle of disbelief. “What in the world were you doing up here?”
“We figured that we had to get Pastor Simms to try it again if we wanted to catch him,” Silas explained. “I had no idea that he had the video, but now . . . there’s a camera up in the rafters of the shed. I’m sure if you find what it’s feeding to then you’ll find a recording of what he said and did to me as well. You have my full cooperation to use that video for evidence.”
“You’re very calm for someone who was almost raped,” Sheriff Donaldson observed. “I have to say that I’m a bit surprised.”
“I’ve been in this sort of situation before, but Adelaide has always been there for me,” Silas said with a smile, reaching down to scratch Adelaide behind the ears. “These are my friends, Sheriff, and I wanted to protect them the way that Adelaide has always looked out for me. You can’t hold that against me, right?”
“What you did was a very brave but very stupid thing to do,” Sheriff Donaldson scolded, “But it did all work out, so at least there’s that. Now that we’ve officially met, Silas Drake, I hope that you’ll be more keen on trusting us in the future. I’m not a bad guy.”
“No, the preacher is,” Silas replied with a smirk.
“The other preachers in town seem to do just fine,” Sheriff Donaldson said with a chuckle. “It’s always those who seem to think that they can abuse their authority over others that end up being the crazies. I do have one more thing to say to you, Silas.”
“What’s that?” Silas asked.
“Your dog should be on a leash.”
Silas flashed the sheriff an odd grin and then started walking away with Adelaide on his heels. “If you say so, sheriff, but it seems like she does just fine without having someone else controlling her. It’s no wonder she and I get along so well.”
“Sure seems that way,” Sheriff Donaldson replied with a laugh. “Do you think that you and your friends are up to coming down to the station and giving official statements?”
“Yes,” Silas said, looking to Chelsea and Tara who nodded in response. Adam’s sobbing seemed to have subsided somewhat and he managed to give a nod as well.
“Very good,” Sheriff Donaldson replied. “I’ve got a few more officers coming down here to make sure we handle this scene properly, but you can ride back to the station with Deputy Harris. He’ll make sure you’re all properly taken care of. I’m going to stay here myself just to make sure everything goes smoothly.”
Another car pulled into the parking lot, drawing the attention of everyone. One of the deputies approached the car cautiously and Ian rolled down the window of his car and started talking. “That’s my brother,” Silas said quickly, “He’s here for us.”
Sheriff Donaldson held his radio up to his mouth and said, “It’s okay, Jeff, you can let them through.” The deputy looked over and Sheriff Donaldson waved and Ian was allowed to get out of the car along with Amy and Jenny.
“Now we have to face the other negative consequences of our decision,” Silas mused. “If you thought that facing a murderer was bad, wait until you see what a responsible adult does when you completely disregarded the trust they placed in you.”
“The night has only just begun,” Chelsea muttered. “Come on, let’s go face the music.”
Author's Note: How will Ian, Amy, and Jenny react to finding out that the teens went behind their back? What happened to Officer Higgins?
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