Sometimes you think this will never happen to you, that this only happens to other people. Thats what I thought too, until one day I found out that someone I knew had an experience like this. This might not be very accurate, or even very clear, but we all need to know that these people could live in our neighbourhoods, be amongst our friends. It never hurts to be too careful, and to always have your childrens' trust. (No real names used here, as always.)
There was no proof. No solid proof. Just a sense of impending danger. I didn't trust him. And every day it grew. My anxiety. My distrust. His smiles.
I could not leave. I had to protect his son. I could not leave my young friend Sean hopeless, helpless, without an aid. He was like a brother to me, a younger brother that I never had. I had to protect him from the danger, even though I did not know what it was myself.
I argued and disputed with myself all the time. I thought about telling my parents, or calling the police, or the kids help phone. I wanted to, I wanted to tell someone. But I could not. I had no proof. I had no evidence. I had no words. Words I didn't know were needed to describe what I feared. It was an unknown, though partly known, evil that I dreaded. Sometimes I cried. Silently into my pillow the tears rolled down. At night, when it was dark, the fears became the worst. Like a monster hiding under my bed the fear stalked me. During the day well hidden behind smiles and play, but at night transforming, growing, like the shadows flickering across the walls at night, always changing shape.
I walked Sean home from school one day. He asked me to come in and play, so I said sure. He wanted to play trains on a new train tracks his daddy had set up for him. We went down into the basement and through the newly set up family room to the train room where the tracks ran crisscross all through the room. We enjoyed making up the trains and running them through all the possible patterns.
About 20 minutes later the door slammed upstairs.
“Hi Sean, buddy. Daddy's home!”
“Hi” called Sean.
A moment later: “Is Jake here too?”
“Ok guys I'll be right down with some snacks.”
In a few moments he was down with the chips. “Hi Jake! Why don't we see more of you around here? Where have you been hiding?” He asked, slapping me across the back.
“Well, I've been busy with school.” I replied, cringing away.
A few silent moments passed.
Then he looked at his watch and said, “Sean, I think your favourite TV program is just about to start. Would you like to go watch it?”
“Yeah!” He said with all the enthusiasm of a young kid. So we sat in front of the TV and snacked and watched.
Suddenly the phone rang. Mr. Harvid ran up stairs. Then he called back down. “Sean its for you. Your Aunt Joy wants to talk to you.”
So Sean ran upstairs and moments later I heard his heavy footsteps running down the stairs.
He joined me on the leather couch, his arm sprawled across the top.
Then he slid over close to me.
“So... tell me, how have things been going?” He said, patting, no rubbing, my shoulder.
A cold chill pulsed through my body. Come back Sean, come back!
“Going well Sir.” I mumbled, staring straight at the screen.
“Did you join and sports teams this year? You've got some fantastic legs.” His hand reached down, stoking my leg, then resting heavy on my jeans.
“No. No I did not.”
I was frozen. I wanted to run, to run so fast, faster than the speed of light. I was numb with fear.
“Well you should. I'm sure everyone would be impressed.”
“Thank you sir.”
Somehow he took that for an invitation, and his hand started moving. Further up my leg it caressed, warm and full of pressure.
“Beautiful muscles you've got.”
My face was burning with shame, my mind dreading where he was going.
The world started to spin and to blur in and out.
Suddenly I was back to that first day when I walked home with Sean. It had been my mothers suggestion. She saw him walking home alone, being so young, and had suggested I befriend him. When we got to his house Mr Harvid opened the door and invited me in. It hit me right away who he was. He was a teacher from a school I used to go to. I smiled then, and asked him how he was doing and what he was up to. Then he introduced us formally.
“This is my son Sean.” He said, his arm around his shoulder. “My stepson actually. I'm so glad you've befriended him. He seemed pretty lonely there for a while, weren't you buddy?” He squeezed his shoulder affectionately, but I saw Sean try to squirm away. “Little boys aren't always the most huggable, are they?” He asked rehtorically, and smiled crookedly. Then he stepped closer to me. “But If a guy gets what he really wants,” he said, looking me up and down, “Then he doesn't have to be content with second best, does he?” He stared me in the eyes, smiling, then turned and walked away.
The echos rang through my head. “Gets what he wants, gets what he wants...”
“NO!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. My eyes opened and I struggled to get up. I had to run. I needed to get out.
“Its alright.” said a warm feminine voice. A pair of motherly blue eyes looked down at me. “Its alright.” She said again, slowly releasing me.
“Is he gone? Am I safe?”
“Yes. The police were here.” she glanced away for a second. “Its a long story. But lets just say that this happened before, and last time my sister and I, his wife, just turned a blind eye. But this time we caught him red-handed and justice will be carried out. This must be dealt with. It can never happen again.”