Everyone was tired after spending the better part of the night at the police station. The sun was nearly up by the time it was over, and until Ian had run off to get them something from Wendy’s they hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before. Chelsea was practically falling asleep in Tara’s lap, and Tara was out cold leaning against the wall when the sheriff finally announced that they could all go home.
As exhausted as Silas felt, he knew that there were two in their group who had it worse. He had gone into the situation knowing exactly what it was going to feel like, at least provided that Pastor Simms didn’t manage to actually rape him successfully, but Chelsea had been forced to face her father and accuse him of atrocities. The fact that he had actually committed them did not make it any easier, but he was proud of her for what she had managed to accomplish, and he hoped that she’d be able to heal from it now that her father was in jail.
Adam had faced the man who had killed the first boy he had ever loved. While Silas had some idea of what it meant to spar with parents whose ideologies he didn’t agree with, he had no idea what Adam was feeling, other than that the pain must be tremendous. He was still staring blankly at the wall, and only spoke when he was spoken too. It appeared as if his spirit had been broken, but Silas had also witnessed how strong Adam could be, and he knew that it would only be a matter of time before he was back to his usual self, if not better.
Silas settled onto the bench next to Adam and put his hand on Adam’s shoulder. Adam didn’t turn toward him, but he did smile slightly, acknowledging the touch. “How are you feeling?” Silas asked, not sure if he should expect an answer.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve had better,” Adam replied as his smile became a smirk. “I was really scared when he had that gun to your head. I don’t know what I would have done if you had actually died tonight.”
“Well, you sure fooled me, and him too,” Silas chuckled. “I’m amazed by how composed you kept yourself through all of that.”
“Did you know that I wanted to major in Criminal Psychology?” Adam asked, turning toward Silas. Silas shook his head and Adam continued, “I’ve studied up on it a bit in my spare time, though I’ve been holding out for college. I guess I got my first big shock as to how they really think.”
“Well, you did very well,” Silas replied. “I’m proud of you.”
“The part that sickens me is that I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it weren’t for Danny.” Adam sighed and shut his eyes. “Hearing his voice, seeing him like that. It made me so angry that I wanted to vomit; I took that anger and I made it work for me so that I wouldn’t lose my cool, but then when I had him on the ground it took all of my willpower not to shoot him.”
“You were right not to,” Silas observed, “He deserves to be tried for what he did. Don’t get me wrong, he deserves death too, but everyone needs to know the kind of man he was so that we can all work together to prevent people like him from ending up in his position again.”
“Yeah, but where does the evil in the world end, Drake?” Adam asked, shaking his head as he reached out for Silas’ hand. Silas let his hand drop into Adam’s and they clenched their fingers together. There was no romance in the gesture, just the need for human contact that both of them craved, and Silas was happy to provide it to his friend.
It also gave Silas the insight that he needed to answer the question. “Here,” he said simply. Adam opened his eyes again and looked at Silas, who raised their clasped hands and said, “It ends here. It ends with us; the people who want to see more good in the world and less of the evil. It ends when people decide to work together and take down those who want to destroy us.”
“That sounds almost religious,” Adam mused.
“Maybe, though I’ve been told I’m wicked,” Silas replied, wiggling his eyebrows.
“No you’re not, and whoever told you that is a liar,” Adam insisted. “You might be naughty,” he clarified with a toothy grin, “but definitely not wicked.”
“Naughty indeed!” Silas giggled, “But you’re right. I’m not wicked, people like Pastor Simms are. I had a chance of becoming wicked; I’d say that living on the streets, harsh as it is, can certainly change some people and make them wicked, but I think I stayed on the right side most of the time, and I think I even know why. It's because of what I was looking for."
"And what was that?" Adam asked.
"Home. I always wanted to belong, to be part of something bigger than myself where I could finally contribute to something healthy. People who do bad things, it's because they've become disconnected from the whole; they start to feel like they're the only ones that matter," Silas explained with a shake of his head. "They forget that this world is their home, and that the people living in it are their family."
"That's pretty deep coming from a seventeen-year-old," Adam chuckled. "How'd you get so smart?"
"I don't know that it's about how smart I am, but just my experience," Silas replied. "Do you know why I decided to leave the band and stay in Crow's Lake? I mean, before I realized that Ian was here."
Adam shook his head. "No, you've never told me."
"I saw the forest; the scenery," Silas explained. "All my life I've enjoyed being out in nature, because I love feeling like I'm part of this large world that it so much more than just myself. I feel connected when I'm out there. This place was different, though."
"When I was traveling with the band there was this guy, Brady, he's the drummer," Silas said with a light laugh. "He's the first person that I had met that felt the same way about the world as I did. He had this depth to him that I hadn't experienced before, and I latched onto it, until I started to become scared of it."
"Why were you scared of it? That sounds like it was a match made in heaven!" Adam said with a grin.
"That's exactly it," Silas said with a sigh, "I knew I was wicked, and I couldn't force my wickedness on anyone else. I couldn't stay with him because I knew he wanted me to stay. I didn't want to be wanted."
"Now," Silas breathed out slowly and then began again, "Now I've learned better. I've learned that most people want to connect to each other and the world in that way, and all it takes is a little work. Chelsea was the first one to do it to me, then there was you, and then Ian and Amy. There were so many people who bent over backwards to prove to me that I was worth considering, and that . . ." Silas' voice broke for a second and he took a deep breath to calm his nerves.
"You don't have to say anything else, Drake," Adam said soothingly.
"Yes I do," Silas replied. "This is important. It's important for you to know the impact you've had on me. It's important for people to tell each other how they feel, and to show them in their actions. It's important because that's how we avoid becoming the monsters. The monsters have forgotten what it means to be human, and we can't afford to."
"Okay, but don't you dare think that this is all just one-sided," Adam said with a chuckle that nearly became a sob. "The impact that you've had on me is . . . immeasurable. You've given me my confidence back, and you brought closure to the darkest chapter of my life. You . . ."
"You don't have to finish that either, Adam," Silas said with a giggle. "Are guys always going to suck at explaining their feelings?"
"I think it's hardwired into us," Adam replied with a shrug. "But I think I really do understand, Drake. It's truly a pleasure knowing you."
"Likewise," Silas said with a grin and then snuggled up against Adam's arm. "I hope you don't mind if I sleep against you."
"Not at all," Adam said as he released Silas' hand and wrapped an arm around him instead. "We're family now, Drake. We're connected, and we always will be."
"You know what they say, that there's no rest for the wicked," Silas said with a yawn. "I know I'm not wicked, because I've never felt like I could rest before this moment."
"Sleep well, Drake," Adam said as he rubbed Silas' shoulder. "I'll wake you when it's time to go."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"What? What's going on?" Silas asked as he was shaken awake. Adelaide was laying her head in his lap and she stirred as well and looked around. The police station was nearly empty, and the only person left with him was Adam. "Where did everyone go?"
"Well, Ian and the girls left to go home," Adam said with a yawn. "There wasn't enough room in the car for everyone so I volunteered to take you home. One of the officers took my keys a while ago and they left to pick up my car. He just got back, so that means that we can leave, too."
"Sweet," Silas said as he sat up straight and stretched. Adelaide jumped off of the bench and then did her own stretching along with him. Adam laughed at the spectacle and Silas turned back toward him, stifling a yawn as he asked, "What?"
"Oh nothing," Adam said as he shook his head and stood before he found the need to stretch as well. He came back laughing which was interrupted by another yawn. "I guess I'm just tired and relieved and ready to go home and sleep."
"You know, I wouldn't mind having your company a little longer today," Silas said with a content sigh. "But you probably have somewhere to be, don't you?"
"I should probably go let my mother know that I'm all right," Adam replied with a grin as he reached out and put a hand on Silas' shoulder. "Then I technically have a shift tonight, but I'd be happy to come over when I get off and we could hang out together."
"That's sounds wonderful," Silas replied. "Come on, the sooner we get out of here the sooner we can get some real sleep."
They walked into the parking lot and searched for Adam's car. As it was the only car there that wasn't a patrol car it was easy to find. “There's something I forgot to tell you, Drake. Ian was on the phone when he left, but he said something about how there would be a surprise waiting for you when you got home,” Adam said with a grin as they climbed into the car.
“Great, that sounds like I’m going to be in trouble,” Silas replied, rolling his eyes. “I don’t know if I can go back to being disciplined after two years without it.”
“Oh, Ian didn’t say it like you were in trouble.” Adam chuckled and started the engine. “Why did you assume it was going to be a bad surprise?”
“I don’t know, because we went behind their backs when they expressly asked us not to?” Silas asked with a sigh. “What else would it be?”
“I don’t know,” Adam said with a noncommittal shrug, “He didn’t say, but seriously, I don’t think they have any intention of trying to punish you. Yes, we went behind their backs but we also got the job done and survived. Maybe what we did was stupid in some aspects, but the important thing is that we accomplished what needed to be done.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Silas replied. “Well then, driver, take me home that I may meet my ‘surprise’.”
“Yes, sir!” Adam said with a salute and then pulled away from the curb, laughing. They made little conversation as they drove down the streets toward Ian’s house. Now that they were moving again they both remembered how tired they were, and talking seemed the furthest thing from their minds.
Thankfully it wasn’t long before they pulled onto Ian’s street, but Silas had yawned nearly twenty times over the course of the ride and he was ready to trudge inside and fall asleep on his bed. That was when he saw the van parked in front of the house with the words ‘Demons of the Crossroads’ plastered on the back and all thoughts of sleeping fled from his mind. “Oh my god,” he gasped. “You’ve got to be kidding me! I didn’t even know they were coming!”
“I told you it was a good surprise,” Adam said with a wide grin. “Now how about you introduce me to these band friends of yours?”
“Done!” Silas said enthusiastically, “Just as soon as you park.”
Adam laughed and pulled up along the curb behind the van and then put the car in park. Silas glanced toward the house and saw Jack’s Mohawk in the large bay window of the front room and then watched it swivel toward him. Jack jumped to his feet, clearly shouting to someone else in the room as Silas got out of the car and opened the door for Adelaide.
And then he heard a woman screaming behind him, and he turned to face the sound only to see Officer Higgins holding a gun pointed at his chest from twenty feet away. Silas felt a sudden calm come over him as he faced her, reading her features that trembled with rage as her finger rested on the trigger. He knew what was about to happen and there was nothing he could do about it.But then the moment of reflection was broken as Adelaide snarled and charged toward the officer, and Officer Higgins had only a brief moment to turn toward the dog with surprise. Silas’ shout for Adelaide was overridden by the sound of a gunshot followed by a body hitting the ground, screaming in pain.
Author's Note: It's not over yet, folks.
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