Valiant: Knock Knock…The Bell Tolls…Ghosts…In Memory…

*SONG* “My Immortal” by Evanescence
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5anLPw0Efmo

“You have to write this,” Varence said, his voice
And manner like the fist of a stone statue.
“And you have to do this now.”

Fighting with the pen I answered, “I really
Don’t want to do this…not this, not this
One now.”

At that Venus stepped forward curiously. She
Was the newest to the group so far…thus
Hearing the least. “What is he talking about?”
She tilted her head to the pale crusader leader…
“He is reluctant? Unwilling? I thought this
Was all carefully planned?”

“It certainly has been,” Varence told her,
“And MUST BE.” He looked at me sharply.
“And please stop emphasizing my insistence.”

“Why?” Rana laughed. “Because you are?”

Venus squinted, confused, “So you are forcing
This to him?”

“I’m not forcing anything.” Varence answered
With the strangest serious smile. “I’m not
Forcing what has been meant to be.”

“Remember what I said last time,” Ceres
Firmly interrupted…her eyes, that ice blue fire
Was there again. “That line I drew is still there,
Don’t think it’s forgotten.”

Varence stood his ground strongly; almost angrily.
“Let me be clear…he has to do this now…
The message of things…before; to now…
Those here, those to come…To foresee moments
Ideal, the greatest gambles…To miss them
Is devastating…Do you want to wait for
Another?” He paused…allowing them to silently
Consider his words…Then pointed to me
Without further interruption and ordered…
“And NOW…BEGIN…”

There was no please…it was an order.

He was impatient and his eyes were clearly
Tossing some anger around…

“Alright…” I said… “Alright…”

“Varence I swear,” Ceres pursued fearlessly…
“Push too hard…And I will show you an
Eruption…” She shook her head…

A minute, a moment…hours…Give me hours
And days to collect the thoughts to hold, describe
The feelings in tiny words…

Basic…I never tell all the details…
Some things you just can’t write…
Some things are reserved for those involved.
I’m sorry…but in that I won’t break…
But here it is as best I can…

When? The date doesn’t matter…
The shadows moved…it was night…
In the words of dreams, there was a
Secret assembly…And now I know it was
A group from that of the Great Hall…

My reasons…Back then they made no sense,
Like any dreams do.
It felt like we were standing in a big
Dark room…hidden somewhere…
I don’t know how. I didn’t know why.
But they, I, we were there…

Kathy had gathered those that appeared
Off to the left…away from the rest…
Who were, by matter of fact, all older…
In a crooked circle stood clockwise from
My left…Joe, Julie, John, Jennifer, Jacob,
Then Jason and last Kathy…The others…
Were gone…
We were quiet, trying to collect our
Senses in this other world…While the
Others stood in other collected groups
To the right, all older, all chatting…

It was then a man materialized…
Familiar, in a white tank top and boxers…
Very salt and peppery hair…a goatee…
Hispanic…average height and build…
A very kind face…
He was immediately lucid…and desperate…
“Please…Please…Can someone help me?”
He begged. “Please can someone help me…Please?”
Those haunting words!
Silence fell.
They saw and heard him…but no one said
Anything. But his plea was so intense…
It was like everyone knew…what was coming…

“Robert?” I mumbled. Only Kathy heard me.

“You know him?” She whispered.

“He was the first one I saw…In that place…
He was staring at the sky…the lights.” I told her.

“Please,” Robert begged, “Please help mw.” He
Was near tears… “Those things…Please help
Me. I don’t know what to do…My little
Girl…She turns 5 tomorrow…She’s been
Seeing a monster in her closet…
A monster!” Tears filled his eyes,
Then ran down his face. “I don’t know
What to do! I don’t know how to protect
Her from them!”

There was a knot in my stomach…it grew
And grew…I looked around… “Where’s Bobby?”
He, like Kathy, was always there…
A shadow, a handsome young shadow
That followed me around…
Then suddenly I felt movement…behind me
Someone materialized, it was him…the
Last to arrive… “I’m here,” he said joining
Our little group off to the side, “I’m right here.”

“I was getting worried…” I said to him…but he
Looked restless, off. “What is it?”

“Can I talk to you…Please…For minute?” He
Asked…quietly.

“Yeah OK.” I told him…but before I could
Move…Robert yelled loudly to the group…
“Please…Someone help me! Someone…”
He begged in such a way that the words
Stabbed like a knife; swords. Everyone froze…
“God, someone…someone please…Someone
Please do something! Say something!”

“This is awful,” Jennifer said…It was always
Comforting to see her…She was unlike any
Red head I had ever known…Sweet, always sweet,
Kind, beautiful, magical in her special way; and
Beautiful, but it was like the person that she was
Inside made her beautiful. She was so special,
The forever compassionate, loyal friend…That was
The last time I saw her… “I have the worst
Sick feeling…”

A woman from one of the other groups spoke out…
She had shoulder length wavy dark hair, full figured
And strong willed… “Ask for God’s help. We
Must pray for God to deliver us from this evil.”
She begged for everyone to listen, though spoke
Like a possessed minister. “Faith people! This is
A test! God is testing us for great mission!”

Robert went to her…hearing the words of
Religious conviction…he saw no other option…

Numbering nearly one hundred…that was
Left…All were divided into smaller groups led
By some voice…of a theory of why we
Were there…The bible groups…The conspiracy
Groups…Those that huddled closely and
Whispered of UFOs…government cover-ups…
Abductions…governments experimenting on people…
The theories were crazy…The whispers…
They were all older than us, we were the youngest
Group mostly…

“That bible bitch needs to shut up.” Joe said.
“I’m sick of her crap.”

“Let her talk,” Jacob reasoned, he always made
The most sense, “Let then have their ideas…”

“I was going to step aside to talk to Bobby
When Kathy grabbed my arm… “Are you going
To tell them about the angel…Maybe that’s
Why we’re here.”

“No.” I said simply.

“Why?” Jacob asked me curiously. “You talked
About it…But you don’t act like those…
Bible talkers…Why?”

“I’m surprised you never do that.” Julie added

I looked at them trying to find the words. “Because
It wasn’t…like that…What happened, what I
Saw…There was no preaching of…The end or
Condemnation…The angel wasn’t like that
At all…It was purer, simpler than what they’re
Saying…He just—“

“What?” Kathy asked curiously; they were all
Intensely curious.

“There was just…PEACE.” I could only tell
Them. “He just had this overwhelming presence
Of comfort…of strength without condemning…
Soothing without preaching…Restful…Calm…
Virtuous…Comforting…PEACE.” I looked at the
Group of other people. “I was raised with religious
Nuts…I’ve heard it before. I’m telling you there
Is something wrong with their preaching, their
Views of the bible…Because the Angel I saw
That came to me…he wasn’t like the way they
Paint the bible…He was different. It felt right.
I can’t talk to them. Whatever message he
Brought or put inside my head…I don’t think
It was for them…I don’t think what we’ve
Been taught about Heaven is right at all.”

“Interesting.” Jacob said, his eyes wide. Maybe
It was his Native American blood, I don’t know,
But he was calmly wise. “That’s a very interesting
Thing to say…”

“Oh no…” I said, feeling it.

“What?” Jacob asked.

“I’m waking up, I can feel it.” I told them…

“No, Bill, please wait,” Bobby said fast, “I
Wanted to talk to you. Please…?”

“I can’t help it,” I said frustrated…
My vision blurring… “Ugh, I can’t fight it…
Sorry…Next time…We’ll talk…I’m sorry.”

His face…Bobby seemed to sink…That look
On his face…The last time I saw him. The
Last time I saw Jennifer. The last time I saw
A lot of them.

Those are the worst memories…That make no
Sense at the time, you can’t control…and you never
Forget…

That was turning point I think…
The split…The mind was torn…
The faces…The memories…that collide…
Bobby was the runaway…I heard his cries
First years ago…
Robert was the first I had seen at the Great
Hall…The lost soul…
Two versions of the same name…
Two drastically different people…
That’s why writing it is impossible…
They’re all woven together.
I can’t tell one without the other
Even though neither of them EVER
Spoke to each other at all.

Robert…in Rio…
Awoke that morning from the dream
Unrested…he had found no comfort…
Unknowingly…it was the magnitude of so
Many desperate that had triggered the
Assembly, the gathering then. But no answers
Came…
We were being hunted and didn’t know it.

Robert awoke in the recliner…achy from
Sleeping in a twisted position.
He had been sleeping there every night since
He had first discovered what was happening…
Weeks? Months ago? He could not forget that
Night…

Robert drove a taxi for a living, his hours
Could be unpredictable…profitable one day, absent
And penniless the next…He had gotten home from
Work late…pulled into the driveway of his
Small yellow house just outside the city…
Wreaking of car exhaust and cigarettes.
He had entered the back door into their
Small kitchen and found his wife, Lucia,
Washing the dinner dishes; the dinner he
Had missed again.

She was angry…nearly breaking everything
She washed in the soapy water once she saw his
Face. A medium sized hearty woman…
She had a domineering attitude to match her
Husband’s soft-spoken manner. “Is it too
Much to ask for you to be home in time
Once…once a week, to eat with your family?”

“I have no control where the fares take me.”
He told her. “The longest ones never fail to
Always come at the end of the day.” Robert
Grabbed a can of soda from the refrigerator
And sat at the small round kitchen table.
“I’m sorry.”

Lucia began drying dishes roughly with a
Towel as she turned to him… “Your daughter’s
Birthday is coming…and you hardly see
Her…She asks for you all the time…
Where’s papa? I need papa…And what can I
Tell her? Well?” She stared to him heavily.
“Tell me what do I say?”

“I’m sorry.” Robert felt awful. He loved his
Little girl…but there were bills to pay…
“Where is the money supposed to come from?”

She sighed. “At least go say goodnight to her.
Before she falls asleep. She’s been having trouble
Sleeping. Go say goodnight.”

Without thinking, shredded inside with guilt…
He immediately forced the strength to move
His tired legs to walk to his daughter Anita’s
Room to kiss his little girl goodnight.

She held her studded kitty tight as she lay
Awake…tucked under the covers, tightly, as
Though they were a shield. “Papa!” little
Anita shouted in a sweet, tiny voice.

“How’s my little one? How’s my favorite little
Person in the whole world?” Robert smiled…
Fueled with atomic strength of love when he
Saw her little face and heard her tiny voice…

“Papa, will you stay with me?” Anita beamed
With joy as she sat up beneath the covers.

“You, my little bundle,” Robert told her kindly,
“You need your beauty sleep. How are you
Going to save the world without your beauty sleep?
Remember our deal…You save my world…
You save the world…That takes a lot
Of rest.” He sat beside her on the bed,
Kissed her cheek, ran his hand over her curly
Head of hair, then nodded for her to lay
Down… “Now, sleep now…Sleep…”

“Papa please stay,” she said in a tiny voice,
“Mama won’t listen. I’m scared of my room.”

He laughed as he tucked her in. He was so
Tired, so very tired he could pass out. “You’re
Scared of your room?” Robert laughed as he
Looked around at the collection of dolls
And stuffed animals… “Are your friends
Here fighting?”

“No Papa,” Anita told him, her eyes big
And glassy, “The monster in my closet.
He comes at night.”

“Monster in your closet?” Robert laughed,
“Come on now, my little girl isn’t scared of
Monsters.”

“Papa he scares me. Please stay.” She begged.

“What?” Robert blinked, he thought he would
Fall asleep right there just then and yawned.
“Why does he scare you? You have your
Friends here to protect you. And your Papa
Your Mama are here to protect you. There’s
Nothing to scare you.”

“Yes there is,” Anita begged.

“Why?” he yawned. “Why is he so scary?”

“He has mean eyes,” Anita told him,
“He says mean things.”

“Why? What does he look like? What does
He say?” Robert asked.

“He says he owns me.” Anita said in a baby-
Like scared voice. “He has big red eyes. He
Looks like a snake.”

A chill ran up Robert’s back as he froze…
Stiff…Tight…Suddenly gripped by ghostly
Memories and nightmares of snake eyes…
When he was a little boy…
When a monster tormented him by night
In the shadows…
The beast no one saw that stalked the night…
The monster no one saw or believed in
Other than him…
Suddenly he was flooded with terrifying
Memories…
The reason his life had been so…slow…
Misshaped…abused…secretive…poor…
As he struggled to cope with the real world…
That wasn’t real…but full of lies…
Then he looked at his little Anita wide-eyed
And fully awake…Terrified to say anything.

He swallowed… “You just close your eyes,”
Robert told her softly, “Go to sleep, nothing is
Going to harm you, my little one.”
With that little Anita closed her eyes
And slowly fell asleep…as her father
Sat there and his nightly vigilant watches
Begin…

Something snapped inside him…
His life raced before his eyes and mind
As he stared at her closet…across
From the bed…the pale creamy paint of the
Door…the walls…The lamp on her dresser
That remained forever on…
The army of stuffed animals around her room
That served some wishful purpose of comfort…
A plush zoo of characters that only an
Innocent heart clung to…like he had
When he was little…

The shadows…What dwelt there…
At some point in the night he had begun
Quietly searching the corners of her room…
Her closet…looking for IT…

When his wife had asked if he was coming
To bed, inquired on what he was doing…
He only mumbled some excuse of noises…
She thought her husband was losing
His mind…as he began to do this every
Night…Until he let slip he was looking
For the monster scaring his daughter…
Then she did think he was crazy…

But as long as he remained awake nothing
Came or bothered her…She was safe…
Coffee kept him awake…though memories of
His life filled his mind and did this also…

At that moment his life changed…ended…
He sat awake guarding his daughter at
Night…stealing naps in his cab by day here
And there…All the while…The memories
And nightmares returned to him…

The fear…The little boy that slowly became
The shell of a man…
No one understood…he could never express it…
They called him a failure, stupid…
He could never concentrate in school, nor
At jobs…His family only saw him as the
Loser…worthless son…Unlike his successful
Brothers and sisters…

Robert wasn’t stupid. He wasn’t a failure or
A loser…He was a lost soul because
He was scared all the time…nervous…
From things he couldn’t talk about or
Understand…the things he saw and felt…
Ever since he was little he was too sensitive…
He saw shadows move…
Something was in the shadows always watching
Him…taunting, teasing him…

Flashes…Broken memories of red eyes…
Snake eyes…of some monster attacking him
At night…Ever since he could remember…
If he tried to tell anyone,
He was called a liar…if he cried he was called
A baby…or got hit by his father…
So he stopped trying to talk about it…
The monster…The creature…no one saw…
Of the shadows…in shadows…
It loved him to be scared…Terrified…
That he couldn’t talk about it made it better…
A prisoner in his mind…to the beast…
How perfect…
What a marvel the reason of the world created…
Don’t be scared of the dark…
Nothing’s there…
Yes, there is.

His entire life had been this way…
Creating a nervous, jittery man unable
To pursue a dream…or even have one…
A slave to fear…And a perfect slave to
The machine of the world…working little
Jobs…unable to think or grow…only fallow
The head…And unable to understand why
He couldn’t succeed because he was so
Insecure all the time…
His family made fun of him…
People never really valued him for friendship…
Because he was too scared all the time…
But over time and a lot of hard working
Odd end jobs eventually gave him a life…
A wife who settled for his company…
And then this precious little girl who
He loved…whose adorable little face and
Big innocent eyes woke him up one night
When she…a little 4 year old girl…simply
Said it…and the truth opened his mind…
The monster in the closet…
Was real…and had warped, twisted
And enslaved him his entire life…

What to do?
By some odd twist of fate…he had
Occasionally had these dreams…of people…
He’d met…on another world?
A Neverland of mysterious souls…The only
Thing that ever intrigued his thoughts…
He begged for their help…but they were
Confused too…and nothing happened…

If he only had someone…But you see his
Father had mysteriously killed himself when
He was a boy…and his very religious mother
Raised he and his brothers and sisters…

Weeks passed…then months…
His nightly vigils wore him so thin
That he became edgy…frantic…a shell…
Then one day it struck him…
His father had been that way…so odd…
Moody…beat him…then killed himself…
And the notion filled his head of
Salvation…by the gun he kept for
Protection in his dresser drawer…

Anita’s 5th birthday came…
To his wife’s protest…he asked his mother
To move in with them…To protect his little girl…
And then he planned the biggest,
Grandest birthday party that he could for
Anita…inviting the entire neighborhood…
The children…The families…
His wife thought he was insane…
He bought his daughter the kitten she
Always wanted…
It was quite a party. And the neighbors
Praised him for it…Everyone had such a
Great time…
He waited for a week to pass, then wrote
A note…

Please understand, I can’t do this anymore.
I love you, I do. I can’t explain. I pray
Someday, somehow you will. I can’t do
This anymore. Robert

And then one night…broken…tired…
Weak from lack of sleep…From tortured
Memories…fears of the past…fears of the
Future…He went to the dresser in the middle
Of the night…quietly took the gun…
Went to the kitchen…poured himself a small
Glass of straight whiskey…put the note on
The table…swallowed the whole glass of whiskey…
Then aimed the gun into his mouth, his head…
And pulled the trigger…
Silence…

But the trouble souls never end…
At least my nightmares never ended…

BOBBY…
For years…in dreams, broken here and
There throughout others…was this boy’s voice
Who kept asking…
Could someone please help me, please?
The haunting words…

That night…the last group meeting…
In a dark room…the last assembled…
Kathy brought the few together…
Lost and confused…I looked around…
My God what happened? Where was everyone?
The last time there was over one
Hundred people…And now I barely counted
Thirty! What happened?

“Where is everyone?” I asked, they asked…
Jacob, Julie, Joe…Jason…

“They’re gone.” Kathy only said…

“They’re dead.” Jason mumbled weakly…

“What are you talking about?” I was desperate…

“Jennifer…John…” Kathy said… “You
Remember…”

I fought it. They knew. We knew. I knew,
But refused to. “Where’s Bobby?”

Kathy kept saying to remember…Concentrate…
Remember. “Bobby’s gone…He slit his
Wrists, remember?” She kept talking and
I phased it out…

“I was supposed to help him. I promised I
Would.” I said… “He wanted to talk to me
Last time…”

“Didn’t you?” Kathy asked me.

I couldn’t answer. Julie saw it in my face,
So did Jacob…and Kathy.
The horror. The grief…
When Jennifer killed herself it shattered
Everything…For she inspired everyone while
Kathy was the glue…Everything crumbled…
I blocked him out…them out…
Bobby…All he ever wanted was for someone
To really talk to him…treat him like a
Person…But he was so good looking no one
Listened, they only stared and fantasized about
Him…it was sick, literally.

The truth was he was so nice to talk to…
Despite what life had done to him he
Was so nice…He clung to me like a puppy,
Like a little brother I never had…

What happened to Bobby? I need to know…

“You won’t like the answer.” Varence
Said.

“Tell me.” I said.

He looked sternly at Ceres…then she to him
Quietly…then to me. “You already know.” He
Pointed to the notebook. “Do as the Ascended
Master told you…Write it…and the answer
Will come to you.”

The runaway that cried. The little boy
That threw the book at me at the top
Of the stairs…
You said you would help me…
Please, will someone help me?
Those haunting words…

Wait for the answer. Wait for the call.
Then magic…The magic of dreams
And a world that tied this group together…
I heard them…Kathy heard them…
Jennifer heard them…but many blocked
Them out…
Talk to him…
1999…Kentucky…some nowhere town…
He was in his early twenties…
Barely out of high school…a desperate life…
Blond, blue eyes…six feet tall…
He was such a good looking kid, boy…young man.
A high school jock…football, baseball…
He played them all…anything to keep him
From going home after school…
The most popular boy in school…
The girls all wanted him…even the teachers…
Even men? He would smile…they would
Bend…race, run, blush…fall, and
Fantasize about him…it scared him.
Boys gave him dirty looks…until he
Said hello…then suddenly they were
Instant friends…The strangest power…

Everywhere he went it was like that…
The girls, the women would bat their lashes…
Flirt…Then turn ugly if he didn’t grace
Their advances…and the boys hated him
Unless he said hello…then suddenly he
Was the coolest guy they ever met…
But no one talked to him…
They flirted, they tried to get his attention…
Then when they had it…mindless awkward
Babble…
And the sex…all the kids were sex-crazed…
The adults too…It was insane…
To reject any sexual advance brought
The worst reactions…The girls, the women…
Got nasty…with noses high…
‘I’m not good enough for you…’ They would
Say. ‘Sorry to bother you…’

He didn’t want to hurt anybody…

And apparently his friends talked behind
His back…were competitive…always competing
With him over everything…constantly…
Or had secret crushes on him…
It was scary…frightening…
In a small, tiny nowhere town…
The locals’ sex-lives rivaled any soap opera
Or porn movie…Straight? Gay? Bi?
Ha! They were words…all the lines were
Blurry with the right person…
The penance…guilt…confusion…
The rewards…He had fun when he wanted
If he wanted…Which surprisingly wasn’t
That often…
But no one ever talked to him…
And he was dying inside from it…

But the worst…The nightmares were at
Home…He was the youngest of three
Children…His older brother and sister
Were much older…ten years older…
And they were beautiful too…Blond, blue eyes
The whole family was…it was ridiculous…
A legacy of the homecoming queen
Marrying the homecoming king…his parents…
But like the American dream…untold…
It frothed with imperfections…twisted…

His brother and sister disappeared…
Ran away from home when they were 18…
And never called…never checked in…
Brenda and Chris…vanished…
Why? He found out shortly after
Brenda ran away…

Now he always had strange experiences…
Dreams, nightmares…he said things in
The shadows…But they always told him to
Shut up, there was nothing in the shadows…
Yeah right.
His uncle, his mother’s brother often stayed
With them…His father and him were
Great friends…both jocks…They worked on
Cars together, yard work…played ball
Together…They did all sorts of things together…
While his mother just preferred to drink…
Life got suddenly stranger…
He never managed to keep a girlfriend
Long…They got so clingy, they never listened…
They never stopped talking…especially
About marriage…When he tried to talk
They called him self-absorbed…That
He had issues…What could he possibly
Have to complain about? He was gorgeous.
People can be ridiculously stupid.

He worked, pumped gas…the clerk at the
Local gas station convenience store…To
Save money…to run…But his mom’s
Illness…breast cancer…disturbed the
Whole plan…The pity, the grief…the
Excuses piled up…And it dragged on
For a few years…

But the coolest thing happened…For the
First time in his whole life…one night when
He went to bed…alone…he cried…prayed…
Can someone please help me…and that
Night…He dreamt of this place…familiar
People were there…a gathering…
Messy…unorganized…He met this guy…
Who said hello…And then he said hello…
And it was just plain talk…Nothing
Weird…no competition…He had never
Experienced something like that before…
So simple…Can you believe that?
Maybe it took the right person, who knows…

But he sure liked that guy from New Jersey.
He was so nice…he felt like an old friend…
He just could not believe it. And he lit
Up for the first time in his life…The dream…
That place…Something cool to talk about…
Someone cool to talk to…And suddenly it
Gave him something to hold on to, to believe in.

So I promised I would help him. How couldn’t
I? He was miserable…And my goofy conversation
Made him smile. It was ridiculous. Ridiculous!
Sometimes smiles are priceless…
And then you want to just make them
Smile and smile…with all you got.

But then you wake up…and reality…
And the nightmares come back…
But at least it gave him a little something…
The quiet strength and bravery to run…

He had gotten smart, wise to the warning
Signs to avoid the nightmares at home…
And the games people played on him…
And this imaginary friend from his dream…
He packed a bag…of essentials…
Nothing that reminded him of home…
And in the heart of the night fled to the
Nearest bus station…
There he was torn where to go…Torn…
Tempted to go to New Jersey to look for
A friend that might exist but would be
Impossible to find…Or…To California…
To Hollywood…To gamble…To use what
God gave him to be discovered…and
Build a life far away from home…
To California he went…with a dream
Inspiring him inside…of the first true friend
He ever had…I guess that’s how some
People are…surviving by hiding their
Dreams inside and never telling anyone…
He even had imaginary conversations with
This friend…Oh but some that I heard…

The dream grew inside him on that long
Bus ride to California…
Where he thought he could put all the
Bad memories behind him…and start over…
When he first arrived…he went straight
For the beach, he had always dreamed of
Seeing the beach…And that’s where he
Slept that first night…on the beach…
Cold yes, but so alive and happy and full
Of hope…The possibilities…he had taken
That first step…he was bold…he was brave…
But unfortunately Bobby was still so
Innocent…His experiences paled to what
The shiny Utopia, the Wolf in Sheep’s
Clothing of Hollywood.

It was like the darkness had cruelly
Herded the young this way…to that
Place…As he soon found out…

Morning found him trekking the sunny
Pleasure Mecca of Venice Beach…
He ate a junk food spoiled breakfast…
Then stumbled upon this awesome scene…
A gym of these huge bodybuilders.
They were amazing to look at, TITANS
In size and shapes by height and ages
Of all kinds…Smiling…And the people
Just stared at them in awe…
WOW! They had respect and admiration…
Like he always wanted…no one would
Mess with those guys…

He sat on a bench all morning watching
Them…an obsession inside him gnawing…
He wanted to be like them, so that
No one would ever bother him again…

But unknown to him, Bobby was also
Being watched…by a predator of another kind.
So this tall, massive muscled black
Man comes up and sits beside him on
The bench…strikes up a conversation…
“I’m Mike…” the guy says… “I’m Bobby…”
He returns…and a dark friendship began…
Falsely innocent Mike asked Bobby
About himself…he got vague answers…
Which meant a secret past, most likely
Abusive…Perfect…
Mike encourages the bodybuilding
Talk…Bobby beams…He wants to be
Like them…but he’s new in town…needs
To find a job, get set up…
“No problem,” Mike says, “I cam help
You out here. I’m a nice guy, you can
Trust me.”

Mike baits him…hooks him…flatters him…
And Bobby’s such a good looking kid…What
A dream come true…The whole plan falls into
Play…Bobby will stay with him until he
Gets set up…a new friend…he can trust
And depend on…No worries…

Yeah…No worries…I marked you Mike
Be afraid of me…

So the predator takes Bobby to his apartment
Makes him feel safe the first few nights…
By the end of the week he gets Bobby
A job at the gym where Mike works out…
He socializes him around to very specific
People…Endless smiles…pats on the back,
Handshakes…flexing…joking around…
It feels like a party…fantastic…
Flawless…Because the predator has done
This many, many times before…

Bobby suspects nothing…He’s in California,
Far from home…living a dream…
But this little light inside him nags
Him…in a comforting way. Please be
Careful…That dream world…These people…
His imaginary friend who he thinks about
Every night before he falls asleep…like a prayer…
Be careful…Be careful…And a girl’s voice
Telling him to believe…believe in the dream…

The second week is different…The predator
Is frustrated…plays it out…Feels Bobby
Out of hoe far he will go by swapping
Experiences…in sex…How much has he…
Had, how far has he gone…
Before he knows it…the man is
Shirtless showing off, flexing…The
Clothes are coming off…and the next
Thing he knows he’s in bed with his
New friend as a so-called experiment
And is lulled into a trusted relationship
By a sense of guilt and gratitude…
And the predator has himself a new boy.

The predator starts training with Bobby.
To muscle him up like the bodybuilders
He admires…The guys at the gym help
Coach the new kid…The new boy…The
New toy…for future use…abuse…and work…

All the money he makes ends up going
To the predator to help pay bills…
Buy supplements…Bodybuilders eat a lot
You know; not all are like this predator
Though…Please know that…
So Bobby becomes a slave…dependent…

Inside, in private he senses something is
Wrong…But he has no one to talk to…
Everyone he’s met encourages everything…
They’re all in on it…But this haunting
Feeling grows…

Soon the predator has this miraculous stroke
Of luck! A modeling job…for buff guys…
Muscle men wanted to model swimwear…
Underwear for the internet…magazines…
Easy money…Money that will help
Bobby on his own way…

He goes for it with a grin…but the joy
Is short lived when the photography session
Gets pushy…Lots of pictures…less clothes…
Until he is basically posing naked…
But the job pays…and they like him…
And they ask him back…

The money…The money is so good…And his
Buying things…his own things…And the
Predator is happy…life seems OK…

Then the next job involves multiple models…
Then touching…then posing…until it’s
Clearly pornography…and videotaping…
Filming…Then its movies…

Very quickly Bobby has no control over his
Life…And Mike is getting colder…greedier…
He wants more money…Starts pushing
Him to work…
Bobby grows hesitant, resists…
Then Mike gets violent…Threatening…
And Bobby gets scared…

Suddenly the whole new world of California
Has become a nightmare…of slavery…
And Bobby’s past looks like some
Awful rehearsal, a preparation for this
Set up…
He finds himself disgusted…afraid…
He can’t even look at himself in the
Mirror…Then he’s crying himself
To sleep again… ‘Someone help me please.’

Please, Please…Those people…he hasn’t
Dreamt of them in ages…his
Imaginary friend…Where was he?

His life was so insane, sad and
Miserable that he couldn’t dream…

Until one night he, by chance, dreams of
Them again…He sees his friend again…
But they don’t get the chance to talk…
I cannot believe I messed that up!

Bobby wakes up that morning to a
Master…A puppeteer…with a fantastic
Opportunity…that could get Bobby out on
His own…finally!

Anything, desperate…he’ll do it…Get out
And start all over…

The master has this job offer…This place
Out in the desert, in Nevada…Some
Big party…wants some bodybuilders
To go around in bathing suits mingling
With guests…Sort of like a muscle worship
Party…Where a bunch of rich people
Can leer, ooh and ah over half-naked
Muscle men for fun. Easy money…

So Bobby and a few guys from
The gym go…They’re picked up in
A limousine! And driven out to
Some estate in the middle of nowhere
Nevada…

But once there something is seriously wrong…
There are these big iron gates close
And lock…The mansion seems oddly
Dark with all the windows draped shut…
With iron bars on the windows too…
Inside the guys are led…told to strip…
But they’re not given bathing suits…
They’re given masks…Then they’re told to
Go out and mingle…naked…
Relax, they’re told, they have masks…
Have fun, no one will ever know who
You are…Have fun. Have fun. Have fun…

Hesitant, nervous, Bobby mingles…
The house is FULL of people…everyone
Is wearing masks…everyone is either
Naked or almost naked…
There are drugs, alcohol…

And people are pawing each other…
Twosomes…threesomes…moresomes…
Rooms with orgies…rooms where some
Only watch…and get high…Straight…
Gay…Bi…it’s all there…
A very familiar feeling in the air…
Like high school…
And high school parties…
His nightmare experiences back home
In the middle of the night…

He feels sick and wants to run…
But can’t…He’s groped at every turn
He makes…
He feels a sting in his back…
Then he feels heavy…his vision blurs…
The world starts to spin…
And he can’t think…

His mind slips away…Inside he’s crying out…
But no one hears…
Then a voice fills his head… ‘I see you…’
It’s awful…this sinister tone…
‘I see you…’

He looks around through drugged eyes…

There…in the crowd…hidden in plain sight…
Among the masks and flesh play…
This figure…of a man in a mask…
Without a mask…moving towards him…
So oddly…Twisting, tilting, leaning…
Side winding…What is that?
The flash…His appearance changes…
Some kind of…Lizard-like dragon man?
That face! A demon…The red eyes…
Inhuman…terrifying…familiar…
From the horrors of nightmares his
Mind locked and blocked away…
Powerless…paralyzed…In plain sight…
The attack comes…
And the crowd watches like it’s
Some movie show…
They laugh…They cheer…
The entertainment…The fear…
They’re so happy…The bastards…
He screams and cries…
But they laugh and laugh…
Blackout silence…
Lost hours…
Then it’s morning…
And somehow…Bobby wakes up back
At the predator’s apartment…
Immediately crying his eyes out…
No idea why…
But the memory…he’s woken up like
This before…disgusted…terrified…alone…
He tries to reach for something in
His mind to cling to but he’s too weak
Of spirit to find it…
He cried and cried…went to the
Bathroom…he couldn’t make it past
The mirror…he saw his reflection…
Flashbacks of horror filled the mirror…
No more to give…
He saw the master’s razor on the sink…
Took the blades…Then tore his wrists
Apart until he couldn’t stand…

That’s where he ended…

“So now you know.” Varence said…
Carefully… “I’m sorry…I ask you…
How do you feel?”

Since I started writing the lines in
My head had been spinning faster… “Honestly…”
I answered… “I feel…like I am…
Going to EXPLODE.”

“I’ve been waiting for you to say that for
Years…” Varence said…No one else
Spoke…

“Who’s that over there?” I asked of the new
Woman standing with them… “When did
She get here, how long has she been here?”

“She…” Varence only said… “Next time…I’ll
Explain…How long has she been here? Just
Long enough.”

There was a feeling of intense emotions
Emanating through the room…

Now this is the part where those in power…
Look to their toys, their weapons, their
Technology…their secrets…and secret
Bunkers, hideouts…Plots, plans and
Schemes…and wonder…
You challenge the unchallengeable…

What is an angel with a crown
Capable of?

What does it mean?

GUESS.

Valiant.

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