Sorry it's been so long in coming guys but here's Part 11 of my prequel to The Face in the Window. Last time, Nick and Logan have been forced to take Ace with them on a trip into town
As soon as Ace’s feet hit the pavement the car pulled away with a roar. He felt exposed and vulnerable. He’d never been to the bus station before, so had no idea how it was set out, and he didn’t have his stick. It was in the back of the car.
There was no response. He hadn’t heard footsteps but that didn’t necessarily mean Logan hadn’t sneaked off, or run when the car was revving.
“Logan, please, are you there. Just take me to a wall. Tell me where the road is.” Still no response. Ace was fairly certain Logan was still there and that was the only thing that prevented him completely falling apart. I know you’re there. Don’t be an ass, just show me where the wall is. Mum’s not going to be best pleased if I walk into the road.”
Ace jumped when someone grabbed his arm and towed him across the pavement. Logan pushed him hard and he lost his balance and started to fall, then found himself sitting on a narrow bench, with his back to something cold.
“You’re in a bus shelter. Wait there.”
“How long will you be?” Ace couldn’t help the tremor in his voice and he cursed himself. Showing any kind of weakness to his brothers never ended well.
“As long as I want.”
This time. Ace did hear footsteps leading away and the sudden realization he was alone in a strange place swamped him. Tears prickled his eyes and he bit hard on his lip to stop them falling. The pain was sudden and shocking, but it gave him something to focus on and the panic abated, although it still lingered, ready to leap out at him as soon as he acknowledged it was there.
Concentrating on his breathing, Ace calmed down to a point where he could think logically. He was pretty much stuck here. Without his stick he dare not move far as he had no idea where the roads were. He assumed there would be a network of roads here for buses to drive into the terminus. Looked like he was stuck here for a while.
It didn’t take long to get bored, so he took out his phone. It crossed his mind to call his mother and ask her to pick him up. However, he could imagine the fallout. She’d be furious with Nick and he would take it out on Ace and Logan, then Logan would take it out on him so he’d have both Nick and Logan out to get him. He’d get hurt then, he was sure.
In the end, the called James. He couldn’t think of anyone else.
“What did they do? Are they crazy? Call your mother, she’ll come get you.”
“I can’t. You know what Nick and Logan are like. They’d make my life unbearable.”
“And it isn’t now? Christ, Ace, you’re abandoned at a bus terminus for goodness knows how long. Anyone could do anything and you wouldn’t know. If anyone got aggressive you wouldn’t see it coming.”
“Thanks James. Way to go to make me feel better.”
“Sorry, I’m just angry.”
“What should I do?”
“Maybe you could ask someone to lead you to a café. Do you have any money?”
“Yes, enough for quite a few coffee and cakes.” For the first time, Ace smiled. “I’ll wait for an old lady. Old ladies seem to like me.”
“Old ladies like everyone, especially disabled freak. Thank God you’re cute and unthreatening.”
“Gee thanks. I’ll bear that in mind and flutter my eyelashes when I speak.”
“I can’t imagine a single universe where that would help.”
Ace laughed. “You never know, it might make me look even cuter.”
“I doubt it.”
“Hey you, freak. Get off our seat.” The voice was loud and sounded close.
“Shit. I’ve got to go.”
“Ace, I heard that. Don’t go anywhere. Stay put. Stay on the line.”
“I said, move.” The owner of the voice was close. Ace smelled something unpleasant. He assumed alcohol and cigarettes, overlaid with the pervasive smell of body odour.
“I have to go.” Ace disconnected the call and tilted his face up. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Isn’t this a bus shelter?”
“Look around, freak. It’s a disused bus shelter. It might be mouldy and full of piss but it’s ours so get out of it.”
The speaker sounded young, not much older than Ace, but his voice was harsh and held a bravado that worried Ace.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know. My brother told me to sit here. He’s always messing with me.”
“I don’t give a fuck about your brother. Just get off our seat before I punch you.”
“Where should I go?”
“You’re truing my patience, freak. I don’t give a fuck where you go as long as it’s not here.”
“Is there a café nearby. Could you show me?”
“What the fuck? I’m not going to be your own personal tour guide. Find your own café.”
“I can’t. I’m blind.” Ace hated playing the blind card but had resigned himself this time because there was simply no way around it.
“I’m blind. I can’t see. I don’t know where the road is, and I don’t know where there are café’s.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Ace removed his sunglasses and tried to keep his eyes wide rather than squinting against the sun, which seemed especially bright.
“Contact lenses,” the first speaker spat.
“I don’t think so.”
A brush of air in front of his face told Ace someone was waving his hand but he didn’t see so much as a shadow. He didn’t see the slap either, and it sent him flying off the seat onto the floor.
“I guess he is blind then.” There was a pause while Ace gathered himself and forced back tears. “Take it,” the voice demanded.
“My hand, asshole.”
“Where is it?” Ace sniffed, angry at the shake in his voice. The next slap was gentler and Ace groped for the hand, which yanked him roughly to his feet.
Ace stood, with his head down. Someone took his hand and pressed his glasses into it. He grabbed them and put them on eagerly. “Thanks,” he mumbled.
“You a fag freak?” a third voice said.
Thoughts raced through Ace’s head and it only took a moment to decide it would be a very bad idea to admit. “N-no,” he said.
“I bet you are. You look like a girl.”
“I can’t help how I look.”
“You can cut your hair.” Rough hands lifted and tugged at his hair.
The laughter was nasty and Ace’s cheeks burned. He tried to pull away but someone had their hand fisted in his hair and held him. Before he knew what was happening, he found himself pinned against the shelter by a body that was clearly bigger and stronger than his.
“See, I thing you are a faggot, and I think you’re looking for a bit of action. Well, if that’s what you want….”
The boy ran his hands down Ace’s body, making him shudder, and cupped his ass. Ace felt sick. He pushed at the boy but he might as well have tried to move the shelter.
“You’re the one who’s groping me,” Ace said, drawing on all his courage. “Which one of us is being gay now?”
The body disappeared and a blow to his stomach almost had him on his knees.
“Little prick,” the boy yelled and grabbed him by the arm, swinging and disorienting him. “I’ll show you the way to the café.”
A push to the back had Ace flying. Trying to keep upright, his foot twisted as it slipped off a step and he fell forward. As soon as his hand hit the asphalt, he knew he’d fallen off the kerb into the road.
If you like hearing about Ace and his life with his dysfunctional family, you might want to read The Face in the Window, which tells the story of what Ace gets up to a little later in his life. If anyone finds inconsistencies they'll get a free eBook of their choice of my books