Ethan Tring swallowed another shot of clear rum; it was only a brief intermission in his story.
Two months had passed since the marred birthday festivities and Ethan told of the death of both his parents in an automobile accident. His narrative reflecting his immense grief so strongly that, for Paul, it was as though he’d gone back a couple of years to when his own father had died.
The bereaved boy stayed with sympathetic neighbors for a few days. On the morning of the third day, Uncle Jeremy appeared on another unannounced visit. This time, thankfully, he was alone.
Ethan wasn’t thankful for long.
His uncle explained that, as his closest living relative, he was now legal guardian to Ethan and that he fully intended to live up to his obligation. Uncle Jeremy, who was a genuine, nice guy with only his nephew’s best interest at heart, was going to take Ethan to live under his care in his coastal home.
After a double funeral, uncle and nephew drove to Broadville, back to the house perched on the cliff overlooking the bay. The house that was to be home for Ethan. The house where Lenard lived.
Delivered into the depraved clutches of his devil-worshiping cousin, behind a facade of cheeriness presented to a sincerely Lenard began to totally dominate his impressionable young cousin. The method was simple, carrot and stick—without the complication of the carrot. Sadistic sexual abuse and the threat of introduction to the realms of black religion were the links of chains used to imprison Ethan.
Unaware of the true context of their relationship, Uncle Jeremy was pleased to see his charges spending so much time together and getting on so well.
If ever Ethan did look downhearted, or deviated from the script drilled into him by his cousin, his kind-natured uncle assumed it was an effect of his traumatic loss and would either give him time for his sad thoughts without enquiry, or encourage his own son to spend even more time with him.
A little over four months had passed since Ethan moved to Broadville when his uncle mentioned he would be going on a business trip the following week. This was to be the first of many trips in pursuit of the dollar.
Apparently, Uncle Jeremy had neglected his money-making activities to ensure Ethan was happily ensconced in his new home. Satisfied that this was now the case and trusting that he could leave his nephew to be supervised by Lenard—who had adopted him as though they were brothers—Jeremy thought it was high-time he got on with earning a crust. Uncle Nice Guy Jeremy wouldn’t have recognized the truth if it walked up to him and slapped him round the face with a wet fish.
Lenard seemed pleased with the news of his father’s departure from the house. Lenard’s pleasure was Ethan’s dread; he detected that his evil cousin had formulated some kind of wicked plan to be enacted in Uncle Jeremy’s absence. Simple logic said if Lenard was happy with the situation, the opposite should apply for Ethan. This proved to be right the next day.
Although Uncle Jeremy employed a lady from the town to help with the running of the house, she only worked Monday through Thursday. For the rest of the week, Jeremy, Lenard and Ethan split the chores between them. It was Ethan’s day for the dishes. Despite the kitchen being equipped with every modern appliance, having inherited a mistrust of the cleaning abilities of automatic dishwashers from his mother, and preferring the thoroughness of soapsuds and elbow-grease, he was standing at the sink, plunging dirty plates into warm water.
With his thoughts lost to the rhythm of his hands swabbing purging circles around china dishes, Ethan didn’t realize he wasn’t alone until he felt a hand fondle his genitals. Freezing for a second, before trying to squirm away too late, Ethan found himself pinned tight to the sink, with Lenard’s body pressed against his back.
Looming over Ethan’s shoulder, Lenard’s unshaven face brushed roughly against his cheek, and the aftermath of breakfast eggs on Lenard’s hot breath assailed Ethan’s nostrils as his cousin told him that while their guardian was away they would have a black mass day. This, it was explained, would involve Ethan being inaugurated into a circle of devil worshipers. And if they were blessed, he would be afforded a meeting with their master, the omnipotent Beelzebub.
The assault had been swift and effective. In the few moments Ethan had been snared, Lenard’s kneading hand had progressed from gentle fondling to a hard squeeze, leaving Ethan with his eyes brimmed full of tears and his mind festering with apprehension. Ethan thought of running away, but feared what Lenard might do if he were forced to return. Anyway, where would he run? He had nowhere to go. He was, for all practical purposes, enslaved. A prisoner to systematic intimidation and immaterialized reward, convinced his only choice was to go along with whatever his cousin desired, and hope he could hide his resentment.
The following week, Uncle Jeremy departed for the Asian continent, blissfully unaware that he was abandoning his nephew to the diabolical evil that thrived within his own son.