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Why did you hurt me, p.1
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       Why Did You Hurt Me?, p.1

           Phylicia Joannis
 
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Why Did You Hurt Me?
The Logoria Series

  Book 5

  Why Did You Hurt Me?

  Copyright © 2008 Phylicia Joannis

  All Rights Reserved

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

  Table of Contents

  Prologue

  Chapter One: A Living Nightmare

  Chapter Two: Change

  Chapter Three: The Master’s Plan

  Chapter Four: The Meeting

  Chapter Five: Suspicious Activity

  Chapter Six: Desperate

  Chapter Seven: One Door Opens…

  Chapter Eight: On The Run

  Chapter Nine: The Heart of the Matter

  Chapter Ten: Doubts

  Chapter Eleven: Spring Fever

  Chapter Twelve: Truth

  Chapter Thirteen: Stick to the Plan

  Chapter Fourteen: Bitter Harvest

  Chapter Fifteen: X Marks the Spot

  Chapter Sixteen: Trapped!

  Chapter Seventeen: Visions

  Epilogue

  Author Links

  PROLOGUE

  “Johnny,” Martin begins, but before he can say any more Johnny swings hard at Martin's jaw. The blow sends Martin to the ground. He can taste the blood as his teeth drive deeply into his tongue. He feels his temper flicker but closes his eyes and remembers his God.

  “Come on, Martin!” Johnny begins spewing profanities at him, readying himself for Martin's return swing.

  Martin gets up slowly, wiping the blood from his mouth. “Johnny, I only have one thing to say to you.”

  Johnny stiffens, then raises his fists high. “Yeah, what’s that?”

  Martin looks at him intently. “I'm sorry.”

  Johnny shakes his head in disbelief. “Shut up and fight me!”

  “No,” Martin says. “I was wrong, and I'm sorry.” Martin notices the swelling around Johnny's face and knuckles hasn't gone down. He watches the emotions playing out on Johnny’s face, and, for a moment, their eyes connect.

  “What’s your problem, West?” Johnny snaps suddenly. “You think I’m afraid of you? I’m not afraid of you, so fight!”

  Martin stands resolute.

  Johnny continues. “You think you’re better than everyone else? You think no one can touch you?” Johnny pushes Martin. “Come on!”

  Martin takes a step back and finds his balance, but doesn’t retaliate. Johnny is enraged and launches a verbal assault. After each, angry, hate-filled word, Johnny looks at Martin, as if hoping to press some button to trigger a reaction. But Martin doesn’t move. He suffers the attack in silence, refusing to fight back.

  Johnny, seeming to have run out of insults, spits in Martin’s face, shoves him to the ground, and storms off. Martin gets up, wipes his face with his sleeve, and walks home. He knows who has truly won this fight.

  He’ll soon discover there are more to come.

  CHAPTER ONE:

  A Living Nightmare

  It’s happening again.

  Johnny hears his stepfather before he actually sees him, but Charles Reese has always been a loud man. His SUV pulls into the driveway with a hard screech; Johnny’s brothers, Mark and Matt, always scamper away when they hear that sound. Johnny taught them to.

  His mother is examining the bruises on his face when Mr. Reese comes in. He grunts in greeting before taking in the scene in the kitchen.

  “Why is my wife hanging over my son when she should be hanging over me?” he bellows into the air. Mrs. Reese quickly leaves Johnny to greet her husband. Mr. Reese pushes her away when he sees Johnny’s face.

  “What happened?” he demands.

  “It’s nothing!” Mrs. Reese interjects. “Johnny just got into a little fight at school.”

  “A fight?” Mr. Reese looks at his wife, then at Johnny, his face drawn in a tight line. He narrows his eyes at Johnny. “Did you win?” he asks menacingly.

  “Of course!” Johnny replies quickly.

  “Hmph,” Mr. Reese frowns. “What were you fighting for?”

  “I had someone get in my face,” Johnny stammers. “That’s all.”

  “About what?” Mr. Reese asks as Mrs. Reese pulls his coat from his shoulders and puts it in the closet. Johnny mumbles a reply and Mr. Reese stalks over to him and grabs a fistful of his hair.

  “Speak up when I talk to you!” he growls.

  “Yes sir,” Johnny rasps quickly, wincing from the sharp tug. Mr. Reese releases him and continues speaking, but the words are muted. The room fades and Johnny closes his eyes, hoping the nightmare is over.

  It isn’t.

  Johnny opens his eyes again, and he’s in the kitchen, drinking a glass of water.

  His stepfather comes in, agitated. His eyes are bloodshot and his face is splotchy. Johnny guesses his stepfather’s been drinking. He knows what his stepfather is like sober. Mr. Reese is ten times worse when he’s not. Mr. Reese is seething, and he’s after Johnny. Why he’s after him is unclear, but the reason never really matters, anyway.

  “Come here, Johnny!” his stepfather slurs. “Get over here, and let me teach you how to fight!”

  Johnny feels his heart drop into his gut. His stepfather is in one of his moods. Mr. Reese continues to stumble towards Johnny until they are nose to nose. His breath reeks of alcohol. Johnny briefly looks into his stepfather’s eyes, and the anger there terrifies him. His stepfather is out for blood. A sudden blow to the side of his face is just the beginning. It stings like fire, but the pain is nothing compared to the next one, launched into his gut. Johnny doubles over, unable to breathe.

  “The next time you lie to me, you’d better make sure you got some real good friends to take care of you!” Mr. Reese growls. Johnny nods in compliance, but Mr. Reese isn’t satisfied. He slams Johnny into the wall, knocking glass to the floor.

  Johnny yelps as Mr. Reese tosses him into another wall. The thrashing and yelling continue and Johnny feels outside of himself, watching the rest of the scene unfold. He sees his mother run out of her room. He sees himself, coiled in fear as his stepfather towers over him. The room shifts again and Johnny knows he is dreaming. But the memories are no dream.

  “What’s going on, Charles?” Mrs. Reese looks at Johnny and then at Mr. Reese.

  “You raised a liar, that’s what,” Mr. Reese snarls. Johnny’s heart beats faster Mr. Reese advances towards him again. Mr. Reese pulls Johnny up by his shirt, and leans in close.

  “Next time you wanna fight the DA’s son, you’d better win!” Mr. Reese grunts. “You’ve embarrassed this family by losing to the likes of him! His father is too smug for his own good. You find that West brat and put him in his place. You hear?” Mr. Reese raises his fist to hit Johnny again.

  “Charles.” Mrs. Reese tugs softly on his arm. “Let’s go to bed.”

  Mr. Reese looks at his wife. She smiles at him and angles her head towards their room.

  Mr. Reese grins, and Johnny is quickly forgotten. As Mrs. Reese coaxes him into their room, she glances back at Johnny, pleading with her eyes. Johnny gets the message and darts out the front door towards the neighborhood park.

  Everything clouds again and Johnny’s nightmare takes him to another place and time. Johnny sees his seven-year-old self, face down on the floor of the garage. Cold terror stills his heart as he watches himself screaming and crying out for help, but he knows no one can hear him. No one except his father. No, not his father; Charles Reese, the most evil man alive.

  •••

  Late Sunday afternoon, Johnny stares at his computer. He wante
d to sleep in, but his nightmares ended any hope of that. Johnny shivers. The nightmares come more frequently now; some nights he can’t sleep at all. Living it the first time around was hard enough; the dreams are so vivid he can feel everything. Every bruise; every cut; every blow.

  Johnny rubs his eyes and stares at the IM conversation on his computer. He’s been chatting back and forth with his friend, Frank, for a few minutes now. He told Frank he needed something, anything, to take his mind off of his life, and Frank happily sent him a link. Johnny doesn’t usually watch anything pornographic on his computer, his brothers and mother use the computer from time to time, but today he’s willing to make an exception.

  Johnny clicks the link and allows himself to enjoy the company of women he knows he’ll never meet. After about an hour, Johnny checks his watch. His mom should be home soon with the kids.

  His last encounter with Charles Reese had left him with a scar on his left hand. It hadn’t bled much, so Johnny was surprised it left a scar at all. His stepfather would never allow him to go to the hospital, so his mother had patched him up. Anyone who asked him about it received a fictitious story involving a basketball scuffle. Johnny’s pale physique would raise a few eyebrows, but never any questions. In his neighborhood, people believe what they need to and mind their own business – a fact that works favorably for Mr. Reese.

  Making up lies for people who don’t really care feels pathetic to Johnny, but his mother insists it’s the only option they have. Johnny frowns. Lying for Mr. Reese is only hurting their family, but he has no choice. Without him, they have nothing. Mr. Reese sells insurance and makes his own schedule. He travels a lot, so he isn’t home much. But when he is...

  Johnny snaps his head at the sound of the front door and quickly closes the window with the videos. He knows at any moment his twin brothers will burst into the room, requesting his immediate attention.

  The boys are nearly seven; his baby sister is three. His mother took them out for the afternoon in an attempt to brighten their spirits. Sure enough, Mark and Matt both enter the room, without knocking, and run straight to Johnny.

  “We went to the park!” Mark exclaims.

  “We saw da fish in da wader!” Matt beams. Matt has a speech impediment and pronounces his t’s as d’s.

  “Is that so?” Johnny asks enthusiastically. “And what else did you see?”

  They grin, delighted that Johnny is interested in what they did. Mark speaks first.

  “We saw a lot of pretty birds, and the ducks, and a man was fishing, and I got to touch the water, and-”

  “And we saw a dog go poop!” Matt interrupts. Mark’s eyes grow wide with annoyance, but then soften as he remembers the scene with his brother.

  “Yeah, that’s right!” Mark comments. “The dog was just sniffing and sniffing and-”

  “And we didn’t think id would NEVER go!” again, Matt interrupts. “But id did!”

  “Hey I’m telling the story!” Mark whines. He looks to Johnny for support. “Johnny, can you please tell Matt to stop interrupting me when I’m telling the story?”

  Johnny can’t contain his grin. Seeing his brothers so happy is refreshing, as though their biggest problem is one not letting the other finish his sentences.

  “Tell you what,” Johnny muses. “Why don’t you both go write down what you did today in your journals?”

  Both Mark and Matt look at their big brother with admiration; to them, his idea is pure genius. They scramble out of his room towards their own, tumbling over each other as they discuss what each will put in his journal. Johnny’s mother peeks into his room after they leave.

  “They had fun today, didn’t they?” Johnny comments.

  Mrs. Reese laughs. “Yes they did! Susan’s asleep on the couch. After about an hour in the sun and an ice cream cone, she was finished.”

  “I wish it were like that all the time.” Johnny says quietly. Mrs. Reese wrings her hands nervously and changes the subject.

  “I still don’t understand why you keep your room so dark, Johnny.” she points at his walls, all painted black.

  Johnny frowns. “I don’t know. Why do you stay married to that –”

  “Johnny, he’s your father!” Mrs. Reese states firmly.

  “He’s not my father, Mom,” Johnny corrects her.

  “He may as well be, Johnny.” Mrs. Reese looks at him. “He isn’t perfect, honey, but he takes care of us. All of us.”

  Johnny points out the purple bruise on his mother’s shoulder, concealed by her blouse. “Is that how he takes care of you?”

  Mrs. Reese shakes her head and pulls the top of her blouse closer to her neck. “Johnny,” she sighs, “you don’t understand. The world is a very hard place. Sometimes things happen that aren’t fair, but don’t disrespect your father, and don’t talk like that in front of the kids. I won’t have it. He’s not perfect, but without him there is no ‘us’. Do you hear me?”

  Johnny frowns, but he knows all too well what she means. She met Mr. Reese when Johnny was five. They’d been evicted from their home and had no place to go. Mr. Reese had taken them in and married his mother. They didn’t have much, but it was certainly more than they’d had before.

  Charles Reese is very good at tormenting them. He makes enough money for them to live some place nicer than the East side of Mogis Hills, but Mr. Reese prefers to keep them here, isolated and controlled. The people of Mogis Hills are too busy with their own problems to care about the plight of the Reese family. Johnny wishes there were some way he could take care of his mother without Charles Reese. But she’s right. For all practical purposes, he is his father. He adopted Johnny and gave him his name.

  Mrs. Reese sighs. “I’m tired, so I’m going to go lay down for a bit. Keep an eye on your brothers and Susan, ok?”

  Johnny nods and stands to kiss his mom on the cheek. He loves his mother more than anyone else in the world. Next in line are Susan, Mark and Matt. There has to be a better way for them. He watches his mother leave. She does look tired, and not just from the day. Her life has always been hard. Johnny knows that much. But his life has been hard, too. If she only knew...

  Johnny hears his computer ping and an instant message pops onto the screen. It’s Frank.

  Italian509: Check out the site?

  Johnnyboy: Yep. It helped, but I need something else.

  Italian509: Say the word.

  Johnnyboy: …I need to get rid of someone.

  Italian509: The Master may be able to help. Don’t forget about tomorrow night. 12:30.

  Johnnyboy: Do I need the book?

  Italian509: Of course! Bring the chant book.

 
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