The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

Story: The Unforgiven

((Author’s note: This story, and several others in the series, use bits and pieces from different Metallica songs. The lyrics, of course, are not mine, and are the work of the aforementioned rock group. I choose to give credit where credit is due, and as I don’t make one red cent from posting these stories, I don’t consider this copyright infringement. The story itself has little or nothing to do with the song, other than the general theme the lyrics bring to mind.))

((By the way, as it was mentioned a few months earlier in a discussion on the EMCSA message board, have you ever noticed how so many of the lyrics of Metallica songs tend to be about mind control, or at least BDSM-theme oriented?))

New blood joins this earth,
And quickly he’s subdued,
Through constant pain, disgrace,
The young boy learns their rules,
With time the child draws in,
This whipping boy done wrong,
Deprived of all his thoughts,
The young man struggles on—
And on he’s known...
Avow unto his own...
That never from this day...
His will they’ll take away...
The Unforgiven, from the album “Metallica” by Metallica

Jeffrey groaned deeply, pulling the dirty, threadbare, makeshift blanket tighter against himself, his eyes closed tightly, struggling to block out the street sounds from his mind. His fever had gotten much worse, and the rain earlier in the day had not helped matters at all. Add to that the fact that his last ‘good’ meal two days ago had come from a dumpster outside Luigi’s Pizza Parlor, and Jeffrey knew he was in pretty bad shape.

It had been a little less than five months since the sixteen year old boy had run away from home. Not that his step-mother had been in any way concerned. As far as she was concerned, his running away had merely saved her the trouble of tossing him out on his ass when he turned twenty-one. Vanessa Hardgrove-Meyers had made her stepson’s life a living hell ever since her husband, Jeffery’s dad, had died, and left her alone to raise him and her three other children.

Jeffrey coughed, and clutched his blanket all the tighter. Memories of his dad, his warm loving dad, so kindhearted and fun-loving, sparked bright in his mind. James Clancy Myers had worked long hard hours to provide a loving and caring environment for his only son. After the death of his first wife, Sherri, he had lapsed into despair, yet he still put on a brave, smiling face for his son. He would take Jeffrey to football games, would read him bedtime stories every night, and kept his son in good spirits despite his own heartache. So, when Big Jim remarried a few years later, Jeffrey took it upon himself to accept it, and learn to live with this new woman that wasn’t his mother, because his dad needed her.

If only he hadn’t left them a year later.

Sadness filled Jeffrey’s heart as he remembered that terrible night. He’d been watching cartoons on TV—something which Vanessa disagreed with, thinking “the boy” should not be allowed to pollute his mind with such “silliness”, but Big Jim allowed it—when a knock sounded at the door. Little Jeffy recognized the man, Carl Weston, as one of his dad’s friends and co-workers, but he had never seen him with such a sad look on his face. In that instant, even before the man spoke the terrible news, Jeffy knew his dad had died. Knew it. Had felt it in his gut like a Mike Tyson punch. A small part of him had died when he’d lost his mother, but the rest of him crumbled into dust at that moment.

His life had changed. He was alone in the world now, for all intents and purposes. His stepmother, Vanessa, had never liked him, had seen him only as a burden from the moment Big Jim had brought him into her life. She had three young children of her own to raise without worrying about a six year old boy from a previous marriage. Still, Jim had been a great lover and a dependable provider, so she had tolerated his presence.

No longer.

After Jim’s death, her treatment of her stepson bordered on criminal. Though Jim’s death had resulted in a huge settlement on the order of several millions of dollars, Vanessa shared with Little Jeffrey not a cent. Even though Big Jim had specified in his will that Jeffrey would receive half of the estate upon his death, Vanessa paid a few high-priced lawyers to have the will tossed out, and pocketed the entire fortune in her own account. Her children were placed into care of nannies to see to their growth and education, while Jeffrey was forced to fend for himself. Vanessa also took great delight in punishing him severely for anything he did wrong. With no loving father to stand up for him, Jeffrey soon settled into despair, growing quiet and introverted.

“Hey! Hey you! Boy!”

A voice from the present pulled Jeffrey back from the past. Opening bleary, red-tinged eyes, he saw himself looking up at the dirty, bearded, pock-marked face of an unknown man. There was a wild look in his eyes, one that Jeffrey recognized on the faces of the local drug addicts. The man staring down at him was high as a kite, and the smile he flashed Jeffrey bode no good will. Cringing inside, Jeffrey drew himself up into a ball, scared, not knowing whether the man wanted his blanket, or his box, or him, but not wanting to give up any of the three.

“You gots what I want, boy!” the man said, wringing his hands around and around, moving ever closer to Jeffrey. Jeffrey tried to push him back, to shove the man far enough for him to get to his feet and run, but the fever and lack of food made him too slow and weak. The crazed man grabbed Jeffrey’s wrists, and pulled him to his feet, then slammed a ham sized fist into Jeffrey’s jaw. The boy fell like a house of cards, facedown onto the ground. “Think you can beat me, you dumb fuck?!?” the man shouted wildly. “I’ll teach you, boy! I’ll show you some respect!”

He then proceeded to kick the downed boy several time, getting a deep grunt of pain for his efforts. Once he was sure he’d beaten all the fight out of the weaker boy, he grabbed Jeffrey by the waist, and jerked his pants down, then proceeded with his own trousers. Jeffrey, his mind and body flooded with pain, had just enough awareness to realize what was happening. With his last bit of strength, he struggled to his feet, trying desperately to crawl away, shouting for help. In his weak condition, however, his shouts amounted to little more than a whisper. Before he had crawled more than a foot, he felt a sharp stabbing pain in his ass, and a massive pressure against his backside.

“AHhhhhhh!!” he screamed, thrashing as much as his weakened, battered body would allow. “Ohhh oohhh fucck!! Get off me... you fucking bastard... ohh shitt... noo... noooo ohh god... don’t... please...”

“Shut up, bitch!” the man growled, slapping Jeffrey hard across the mouth, bloodying his lip. The boy struggled again for a few more minutes then went limp. The man laughed again, thrusting deep and hard in the young boy’s ass, grunting with the effort. Jeffrey, his mind and body numbed by the violation he was enduring, simply shut down, closing itself off to reality. He turned inward, as he had learned to do from all his years of abused, and turned on the CD player in his mind, letting the music drive him past all the pain.

What I’ve felt, what I’ve known, never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never be, never see, won’t see what might have been.
What I’ve felt, what I’ve known, never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never free, never me, so I dub thee... Unforgiven...
* * *

“Oh shit! Benny, Eddie, guys get over here quick! This kid’s in pretty bad shape!”

* * *

It was several hours later before Jeffrey gave any sign that he was even alive. When his eyes finally blinked and focused, he found himself lying on an old worn out cot in a small wooden shack. Every part of him hurt, even his hair, and the thought of trying to move his head even to glance around made him nauseous. Still, he was aware enough to notice that he was naked, his dirty rags tossed away, and that his body had been bathed and cleaned, something he hadn’t been able to do for himself for nearly three months.

The pain made him want to turn inward again, to go back to where he felt safe and warm, but curiosity of his surroundings and how he had come to be here coaxed him back into awareness again. He licked dry, parched lips, and called out. His voice sounded thin and reedy to his own ears, and he wondered that anyone had heard him, but an instant later a cup was placed to his lips.

“Drink,” a female voice commanded. Jeffrey, too tired and hurt to resist anything, obediently drank. He started coughing immediately, and spit up half the water he had just drank, but he still felt much better afterwards. “More?” the voice asked, but Jeffrey shook his head. The female presence withdrew, and he slipped back into slumber.

When he opened his eyes again, he felt stronger. His body still throbbed painfully, but it was tolerable. He sat up and glanced around fully at his surroundings. The small room was ‘decorated’ with junk, pieces of metal fenders, hubcaps, and other car parts. An old blanket had been run from one side of the wall to the other on a clothesline, a kind of makeshift partition. Getting to his feet, Jeffrey walked around the room, examining the items, wondering again why he had been brought here, and by whom. He remembered a female voice telling him to drink, but he hadn’t seen her, just her hands.

The door opened suddenly, flooding the small dark room with light. “Yo, Benny, Eddie, looks like he’s awake. Go get Dinah.”

Fearing a repeat of the other day’s violence, Jeffrey cringed back, looking anxiously for an escape. “Hey, yo, chill out, man,” the man said, raising his hands out in front of him. “Take it easy. I ain’t gonna hurt ya. If we wanted to mess you up, we woulda just left you out there in the streets where we found ya. You were really fucked up, man.”

Jeffrey sighed softly, calming his racing heart. The man was right. Had they left him out in the middle of the street, he would surely have been dead by now. “Wha...” he tried to ask. His throat still felt scratchy, and he had to swallow hard to force the words out. “Why did you bring me here? And who are you?”

The man stepped forward, out of the bright glare of sunlight coming from the door, and Jeffrey saw the man was actually a young black teenage boy, about his own age. “Yo,” he said, “the name’s Luther. Me and my boys, Benny and Eddie found you lying in that alley, so we carried you back here to our clubhouse.” He glanced to the side as three more teenagers entered the shed. “The babe is Dinah. She’s cool. She, and her sister Mary, kinda help us out, yanno, watch our backs. We’re all tight, yanno what I’m saying?”

Dinah pushed her way forward, placing a hand against Jeffrey’s forehead and frowned. “Hmmm... still a little hot. Better let him rest a while longer. Hey Luther, you and the guys go find my sister and ask her to bring food on her way over.” She shook her head. “This kid’s practically nothing but skin and bones.”

The others took off, leaving Jeffrey and Dinah alone. Jeffrey found himself forced back into bed, despite his wishes. “Settle down,” Dinah warned when he tried for the third time to sit back up. “You need to stay there until you’re well again. If I have to tie you down to keep you in place, I will.”

Jeffrey sighed and acquiesced. “Why are you guys helping me?” he asked softly.

Dinah looked down at the floor for a while before answering. “It’s kinda a long story. My sister and I... we’ve been on the streets for five years now, ever since our mom died. The state wanted to separate us, put us in a foster home, but Mary wouldn’t hear of it. She said she’d rather support us both turning tricks on the street corner than lose the only family we both have left. We ran away.” She finally looked up and faced Jeffrey. “It wasn’t easy. We wouldn’t have survived that first year without some very special people helping us, taking pity on two girls alone in the world. They helped us learn to survive, and now, I guess, Mary and I kinda feel the need to do the same.”

Nodding, Jeffrey glanced towards the door. “And those other guys? Luther? And Eddie and Benny?”

“Eddie ran away. His old man used to beat up on him. Benny... well, Benny is like me, his folks died on him, and he had no one to take him in. As for Luther... he and his folks are homeless. They live out of their dad’s station wagon. Seems the poor guy lost his job, and his house a few years ago. Luther doesn’t like to talk about it. Hell, none of us like talking about our past.” She smirked. “Anyway, what’s your story, kid? How did you end up lying face down in the streets last week?”

“My name’s Jeffrey, not ‘kid’,” he retorted. “And I guess I’m like Eddie. My dad died on me, and my step-mom treated my like shit, so I bailed. I’ve been out here about... five or so months now. It’s not so bad, once you get used to it... at least it wasn’t until... that... night.” Jeffrey closed his eyes and shuddered, trying to blot out the memories of his rape. Dinah, seeing his reaction, and guessing some of what must have happened, hugged him.

“Hey, it’s okay, Jeff,” she said softly, as he clutched her tightly. “It’s okay, really. Whatever happened, its all in the past now. Just forget about it. It can’t hurt you now.”

Eventually, Jeffrey’s tremors stopped. Dinah glanced down to see the younger boy had fallen asleep in her arms. A slight smile came to her lips. Heh. What’s this all about? she asked herself. I guess he is kinda cute, underneath all the dirt and grime but still... Hell, I do guys for money, for cash. I haven’t felt anything for a guy, ever. So what is it about this scrawny, half-starved kid that makes me feel so warm inside?

Shaking her head, Dinah gently lay Jeffrey’s head back down on the pillow. “Sweet dreams, Jeff,” she whispered softly, as she backed slowly out of the little shed. “Get well soon, kid.”

* * *

Time passed quickly. With proper shelter and food to eat, Jeffrey soon recovered. He and the little group soon became fast friends, and Jeffrey formed a place for himself in this new way of life. It was hard living on the streets, having to struggle hard day after day just to get a crust of bread to eat, but now he was no longer alone. He had friends, people to watch his back, to help him when he needed it, and to bring him a sense of belonging. They made a few dollars here and there working for some of the local hoods, peddling a few drugs here and there, stealing and looting when they could get away with it.

Jeffrey also found himself growing more enamored with Dinah day by day.

He suspected that the feelings were mutual, but he lacked the courage to bring it up. After all, she was an older woman, more mature, and more knowledgeable in most areas. She made money having sex with men on the street, whereas he himself was still a virgin. Most distressing of all, she was one of their group, one of the ‘guys’ so to speak. If he made a play for her, and she rejected him, what then? Things between them would never be the same, not to mention what the other guys would think about it.

He basically resigned himself to keeping his feeling bottled up inside, never admitting his feelings for her. Ah, but fate had other plans. Less than a year from the day the guys had first found Jeffrey lying in that alleyway, Jeffrey and Luther were returning back to the shed after scoring some cash on the basketball court. Luther decided to take a short-cut through an alleyway, and Jeffrey followed him, anxious to get back home.

They had just passed the corner where Dinah and Mary usually ‘worked’, only to find it empty. Just as Jeffrey was about to point it out to Luther, a familiar scream echoed from the adjoining alley. The boys ran there quickly, and Jeffrey skidded to a stop at the sight before him. A man, bearded, with a dirty, pock-marked face, had a girl pinned to the wall, a knife in one hand, and his cock in the other. The color drained from Jeffrey’s face as he recognized the man as the same high-flying drug addict that had beaten and raped him all those months ago. But the thing that turned his blood to ice was the knowledge that the girl he was attempting to rape was Dinah!!

“DINAH!!” Jeffrey yelled, charging forward, blood in his eyes. He wanted nothing more at that moment than to rip the bastard’s head off for daring to touch Dinah, HIS Dinah! The man whirled, holding the knife up to the struggling girl’s throat, hissing loudly.

“Back the fuck off, you fuckers!” he yelled. “I’ll kill the bitch! I’ll do it!! You both better just back the fuck up! I mean it, man!”

“Yo, man, we hear you,” Luther said, grabbing Jeffrey by the collar, pulling him back. “We’re back now, okay? Just let the girl go, man.” Jeffrey growled softly, fingering the snub-nosed pistol in his pants. Since his attack those months ago, he had started to carry it around with him, more for intimidation rather than to actually use it. This time, however, he fully intended to use it the first chance he got. Luther, seeing the bulge in his friend’s pants, sighed deeply.

“Just take it easy, Jeffro,” he whispered. “You go waving that gun around, and freak this guy out even more, and he’ll cut her! Just keep cool, man, keep it cool.”

Jeffrey gritted his teeth, and backed away, but kept his hand on the gun. The old man cackled madly, holding tightly to his captive while Dinah struggled fitfully. “Such a pretty little bitch, aren’t ya, honey?” he cooed softly, rubbing his dirty gnarled fingers along Dinah’s face. “So pretty... and such a good fuck too.” He scowled deeply, moving the knife back to Dinah’s throat. “Too pretty for a dirty old man, though, ain’t ya? Yeah, that’s what you said to me just a while ago, wasn’t it? Damn uppity whore!” With savage glee, he jerked the knife upward, cutting a deep gash in Dinah’s face.

Dinah screamed, clutching her bloody face. The old man laughed again. “Not so pretty now, are you, little bitch?”

“Mutha fucker!” Luther yelled, rushing towards the man. Rational thought left him; he was running off pure anger and rage. Some dim part of his mind reflected idly on the fact that the old man was still holding that gleaming knife in his hand, that he could very easily be cut or stabbed himself, but the consequences no longer mattered. Nothing would have stopped Luther from beating that son of a bitch to a pulp for hurting Dinah.

As it was, the report of Jeffrey’s pistol emptying into the old man was what stopped Luther. With calm, cool precision, Jeffrey emptied the cartridge into the old man, feeling a small stab of pleasure and satisfaction with each shot. The dirty old man gasped slightly, clutching his bloody chest a moment, staring directly at his executioner before falling dead to the ground.

“Dinah,” Jeffrey said softly, dropping the gun, rushing over to his friend. “Oh shit. Oh fuck. He cut your face... oh god. Dinah,” he murmured.

“Shit, the cops are coming,” Luther grunted, grabbing one of Dinah’s arms, helping to support her. “Just like always, never around when you fuckin’ need ‘em, always around when you kill someone. C’mon, Jeffro, help me take Dinah. We gotta get outta here. No matter what we told ‘em, we’d end up in Juvie, or jail. C’mon, we gotta ditch!” With that, the two boys helped the crying Dinah out of the alley just as two squad cars rode into view.

Dinah was visibly shaken from the ordeal, but the horror of that night marked a change in the normally robust, outgoing girl. They’d taken her to Luther’s mom, a nurse before she and her husband had lost their jobs and their home. Mrs. Billings did the best she could, but the gash had been deep. When the bandages came off several weeks later, Dinah’s fears were realized. An ugly scar ran from the left side of her chin, over her lip, and across the bridge of her nose. For the beautiful girl, it was a fate worst than death. The one thing she’d had going for her, the one asset she had carried with her to the streets, her beauty, had been marred. Though her friends tried to encourage her and raise her spirits, she sank deeper into despair.

Jeffrey watched her decline, watched her draw further and further inward, and it ate at him. He knew only too well what she was feeling, knew what it was like not to be able to face reality, and to turn in to your own mind to escape. But he loved her, and he knew he couldn’t let her keep drawing inward.

He found her sitting by herself on night when the rest of the guys were out playing ball. “Mind if I sit here?” he asked, knowing her answer before she gave it. The same answer she always gave nowadays.

“Yes, I mind,” she said stiffly, turning her face to the side, to hide her scar, and avoid looking Jeffrey in the eyes. “Just leave me alone, Jeff. I just want to be left alone.”

Jeffrey sighed deeply. His stomach was doing backflips in nervous anticipation of what he had planned. It was crazy, and improbable, but it was the only thing he could think of to help her. He only hoped it worked.

“I... er... uhm,” he stammered, before taking a breath to calm his nerves. “I’m afraid I can’t let you alone, Dinah. Not this time.”

Dinah scowled, and moved further down the bench they were sitting on. “Listen, Jeff,” she growled, “I don’t feel like having company right now, okay? Just leave me alone, or I’ll be forced to split your lip and knock out a few of your teeth.”

Jeffrey smirked, knowing the tough girl was fully capable of doing just that. At least she’s showing a sign of life, he thought to himself. That’s more than she’s shown in the past month.

“You’ll have to do it to get me to leave,” he replied bravely, staring her down. “You’ve been acting like your whole life is over because that mutha fucker cut you. Well, Dinah, it’s not! You’re still beautiful, no matter what you yourself happen to think. We all care about you... hell I care about you too much to let you simply lay down and die on us like this!”

Taken aback, Dinah turned her away from him. “It’s... it’s not that simple. You just don’t understand! Dammit, Jeff, that fucking bastard took away the only thing—the ONLY thing—I had going for me in this entire world: my beauty. My body is how I survive, how I get by.” She paused, stifling a sob before it could escape. “Since that night... I haven’t... the people... Jeff, no one wants an UGLY hooker. No one.”

“YOU’RE NOT UGLY!!” Jeffrey exclaimed, moving in front of her, forcing her to look at him. “Dinah, you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever known! I always thought so even before you were cut. Believe me, Dinah, you are just as attractive to me now as you were then!” He gently traced his finger along the scar running across her cheek. “I’ve loved you since that very first day. You took care of me, nursed me back to health. You were like an angel, a beautiful wonderful angel. And what attracted me to you was what was inside your heart, not the way you look.”

Dinah bit her lip. She, too, had been smitten, as much in love with him as he apparently was with her. More than anything she needed to feel loved, to belong, to be wanted and desired. And yet... Dinah pushed away, turning her face once more.

“It’s not love you feel for me, Jeff,” she said softly, tears running down her cheeks. “You pity me, that’s all. Pity. Well, fuck that, Jeff. I don’t need your pity, or anyone else’s for that matter! I accept who and what I am now. I accept it. I’m scarred, and nothing will be able to change that. All I want is for everyone to leave me the fuck alone.”

Jeffrey sighed. He’d known deep down that words wouldn’t move her. She’s so beautiful. So lovely. But that one little scar has her mind so fucked up she can’t see past her own imperfections. Damn. Well, this is the only way to try and help her. I just hope this crazy scheme works.

Jeffrey took out a small white handkerchief from his pocket, and handed to it Dinah. She accepted it and began wiping her tear-streaked face. Rubbing the bit of wax off his fingertips, Jeffrey watched Dinah closely, waiting to see when the drug would take effect. Luther’s mom had once mentioned some of the drugs she’d worked with as a nurse, one in particular which had the effect of temporarily suppressing a person’s will, putting them into a semi-catatonic state similar to a hypnotic trance. He’d managed to obtain a small bit of that drug yesterday, and had saturated the handkerchief with it overnight. According to Mrs. Billings, it was absorbed readily enough through the skin, and as he watched Dinah begin to wobble and sway in her seat, he knew it was also fast acting.

“Hmmm, nahhh...” she slurred softly, shaking her head, which suddenly seemed fuzzy. “I feel... a little dizzy.”

“It’s okay, Dinah,” Jeffrey said, pulling her gently against him. “You’re probably just tired. It’s been a long day, after all. Just lean against me and relax a bit.” Dinah, still full of shame and self-loathing tried to resist, tried to push away, to go sleep alone in her own cot, but she was so dizzy, so disoriented, she just couldn’t find the strength. Jeffrey began massaging her temples softly, rubbing his fingers in a gentle circular motion, and despite herself, Dinah began to relax.

“There now,” Jeffrey whispered, feeling her begin to go limp against him. “Isn’t that better? Doesn’t that make you feel so much better, Dinah?” Eyes fluttering, she managed a soft murmur of approval. “Yes, it feels so much better when I take care of you, doesn’t it? You can just relax, and let go... let go... and simply feel how much better I make you feel. It does feel good, doesn’t it, Dinah?”

Dinah sighed softly, her lids drooping even more. “Uhhhh... hhhuuhhh... feeeellss... gooooodd.”

Jeffrey smiled. “Yes, it ALWAYS feels good to just relax, to just let go, and let someone else take control of things for a while, doesn’t it? It feels good just to sit here and relax, and not have to think about things... to not have to think at all. Just sit back and relax... you can even close your eyes if you want... I know you must be so very tired, so sleepy, Dinah, it’s been such a long hard day and you are SOOO tired, you want to close your eyes so badly... it’s okay, Dinah, you can close them now if you like.” Dinah’s eyes slammed shut. “Dinah,” he whispered softly, “can you hear me? I want you to answer me, Dinah, okay? Can you understand what I’m saying?”

“Mmmmmm... uhh huh... yeah,” she murmured, head lolling slightly.

Jeffrey talked softly to her for several more minutes, until she was completely in a stupor. Son of a bitch, it’s actually working! he thought softly to himself. I put her into a trance! God... she’s so open and vulnerable right now... so helpless. I could probably make her do anything I wanted! I could literally remake her into just about anything I wanted! I could—

(SIGH) I could try and help her come to terms with the face being scarred, like I planned to do all along.

With an effort, Jeffrey calmed his racing heart, and focused on the problem at hand. “Dinah, listen to me for a moment, okay? I love you. I really, really love you. To me you are the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. You think I can’t possibly love you the way you look, that I say this out of pity, but its the truth. The truth. And I’m going to convince you of that so completely that when you wake up, you won’t doubt me in the slightest when I tell it to you again.”

Dinah stirred slightly, frowning, still not wanting to face the truth about his feelings for her.

“Tell me, Dinah,” he continued, “how do you feel about me? Truthfully? You cannot lie to me right now, Dinah. You must answer, and you MUST tell me the truth.”

Again, Dinah stirred, twisting in her seat, fighting to hold it in, but the drug in her system had rendered her will inert. “I... I love you... Jeffrey,” she said softly, tears beginning to trickle from her closed eyelids. “I’ve loved you... a long time... since that night... but I could never... tell you... wasn’t good enough... just a stupid slut... a whore... you wouldn’t want me... and then...” she clenched her hands into fists, “that night... the man... the... OLD MAN... he cut me... cut my face, cut away my beauty, my face, ruined me, ruined! I couldn’t tell you, not now, not ever!”

Her words came fast and free now, in a rush, as if painful pressure of reliving the memories were propelling the words out of her. Jeffrey clutched her tightly to himself, eyes wet with unshed tears. Her pain touched him deeply. He had grown up in a hurtful environment, with a mean, spiteful stepmother, who made him feel worthless and useless on a daily basis. He knew what it was to feel unwanted and unloved. The reason he had held back from expressing his feelings for Dinah for so long was the same as her own: he felt like he wasn’t good enough, that she was so beautiful and wonderful, so smart, funny and experienced, that she could see nothing in him at all. As Dinah poured out her true feelings, he realized that she shared his biggest fear. Rejection.

“Dinah,” he managed, stopping her from speaking further, “I want you to listen to me carefully, okay? I want you to think back in your life, way way back... and picture the time you were the happiest ever. I want you to think about that time, concentrate on it, focus on how you feel right then, that happy, safe, warm and loved feeling.” Slowly, her frown faded, and a smile grew on her face. “Good girl. Okay, now, Dinah, I want you to do something for me, something very hard for you to do, but I know that you can do it. Whenever you think about that scar, whenever you feel lonely, or scared, or unloved... whenever you look in the mirror and start to feel bad about the scar on your face, I want you to remember one thing. Only one thing. Remember... that I love you, utterly and completely. Remember that I’ll always love you no matter what. And guess what? Everything you remember that, you’re going to feel that same safe, warm, fuzzy feeling of love that you are feeling now every time, only much stronger.”

He kissed her softly on the lips, feeling her respond in kind, a soft moan escaping her lips. “Do you understand, Dinah? Can you remember all that?”

Dinah’s eyes scanned rapidly back and forth behind her eyelids, as if she was busy processing information. Finally, she let out a soft sigh, and nodded softly. “Uh huh. I understand.”

“Good girl,” he murmured, caressing her beautiful face. “Now then, I want you to lie back and relax, Dinah,” he said, laying her gently flat on her back. “Just relax now, and sleep. Sleep normally. When you wake up, everything will be okay. You don’t have to remember what happened, Dinah, because deep down, you’ll know I love you. Just rest now, just rest.” Jeffrey breathed deeply, watching as Dinah drifted back to normal sleep, hopeful that she would wake up renewed and happy again.

* * *

Dinah did, indeed, wake up a new woman. Though it took several more weeks before she fully accepted what had happened to her, she no longer avoided looking people in the face. Likewise, she accepted the fact that Jeff was in love with her, and finally felt free enough to return those feelings. Jeffrey was a bit unsure of himself, and wanted to take things slowly, but Dinah had other ideas. Soon they were a couple, in more ways than one. Jeffrey, who had been woefully inexperienced, learned the joys and pleasures of sex, and Dinah, once jaded, unresponsive, fully accustomed to a love-less sexual life, found her sexual passion rekindled.

The other boys, Luther, Bennie, and Eddie, didn’t mind the arrangement. In fact, when they finally confessed their relationship to the others, Luther kissed Dinah on the cheek, and slapped Jeffrey on the back, telling them both, “It’s about damn time!”

The next few years passed relatively uneventfully... relatively, being the operative word. They had a few run-ins with the police, and Jeffrey, who had been wanted for questioning for the old man he’d shot in the alley, had been hauled off to Juvie for a year. A witness had placed Jeffrey and a friend in that alleyway just before the murder, and had seen him running away afterwards. Thankfully, Luther had had the foresight to dispose of the gun immediately after the incident, and with no hard evidence linking him to the murder, the case was written off as an unsolved mystery, and when Jeffrey turned eighteen a week later, the state released him.

Still, the experience had been a blessing in disguise; while at Juvenile Hall, Jeffrey went back to school, and despite having missed two years of schooling on the streets, he passed the state equivalency exam, and received his GED. His scores had been high enough to place him in college, had he the money to attend. Benny started calling him ‘Egghead’ soon after he rejoined the gang, and stopped only when Jeffrey threatened to ‘disturb his equilibrium by delivering several successive clouts of concussive force to the apex of his cranium.’

Benny wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but the look Jeffrey had given him convinced him he’d be knocked on his ass, so the nickname vanished.

Life continued on as usual, making a living any way they could. One day, Eddie came in with word of two rich-looking strangers in the ‘hood, throwing around a lot of cash, and asking for ‘volunteers’ for a new business they were starting. They were young, a bit older than the lot of them, likely in their mid-twenties, and according to Eddie, ‘a bunch of college boys with too much time and money on their hands.’

“Still,” Eddie said, taking out a crisp fifty dollar bill from his pocket, “if they feel like spreading the wealth a little among us poor, needy, folks, who am I to begrudge them the right?”

Jeffrey found the whole affair a bit fishy, but as Dinah pointed out, beggars can’t be choosers. Things between them were starting to heat up, and Jeffrey found himself feeling more and more inadequate, not being able to provide for, or take care of, his lover. Every time he saw a couple walk down the street, hand in hand, he ached inside for all the things he was unable to give her. Eddie’s new friends might not be on the up and up, but the least he could do was check it out for himself.

After all, he thought to himself, as he, Dinah, and Benny followed Eddie back to the place the two strangers were working out of, what’s the worst they could do?

* * *

“Well, well, gentlemen, and lady,” the taller of the two well-dressed men commented, “come right in, and make yourselves at home. Sorry about the decor,” he said dryly, gesturing to the unused warehouse they were in, “but you know how it is. We all have to start somewhere. Now then, I suppose your guy here told you what this was all about? My associate and I are... entrepreneurs. We have a little product that we’ve been working on for a while, and we’re ready to introduce it into the market, right here in Jacksonville, and we need you to try it and see if its something you think the folks here might like to invest in—”

“We’re drug dealers, okay?” the second man blurted in. “Geez, Larry, you sound like a fucking infomercial! Look folks, we have this new drug, we call it ‘Spank’, and we want to see what you guys think about it, you know, try a bit, maybe spread the word about us, and where the common folk can get their own supply. If we do good business here, all of you guys that start out with us on the ground floor, we’ll see to it you profit with us. You’ll all get a piece of the pie, so to speak.”

Jeffrey frowned. “So, what is it you are pushing, anyway? What is this Spank?”

The second guy opened his mouth to comment, but the first one cut him off. “I’m sorry, but that’s a trade secret. Let’s just say that my buddy and I are chemical majors at the college, and our professor was the guy that introduced Ecstasy to the streets. We just want to follow in his footsteps, and we’re willing to pay you a hundred bucks each to get high. So, what do you say?”

Everyone except Jeffrey jumped at the chance, and they each took a small tube of white powder. Larry, the tall man, glanced at Jeffrey. “What’s the matter, friend?” he said with a superior smirk that made Jeffrey uneasy. “Don’t want to join the party? Let me guess, you’ve never done drugs before, huh?”

Jeffrey blushed slightly. “N-n-no... I’ve done drugs before... a little bit. A little marijuana, and I did some coke once. I’m no addict, or anything, but I’ve, yanno, experimented.”

“Good,” the smaller man said, holding up a vial of the powder. “Think of this as just another experiment then. Try it, take a chance, fly high for a bit. You’ll get a hundred bucks, AND a temporary escape from your boring, humdrum existence for a little while. What more could you ask for?”

Jeffrey’s common sense was prodding him fiercely, shouting at him not to do it, but the money was too big a temptation. A hundred bucks to get high? Why not? He glanced over at Dinah, who was already floating high from her free sample. He loved her so much, and with a hundred bucks in his pocket, he could express that love as he’d always wanted to. Nodding, he took the vial of powder, and following everyone else’s example, he snorted a line.

It hit him almost immediately. One minute he was standing in a dimly lit warehouse office, the next he was spiraling down a psychodelic rainbow of pure light and sound, dancing nimbly on the rings of Saturn, while a purple whale that slightly resembled Eddie split into five exact copies and danced along side him.

Oh, wow, he thought to himself, I’m seriously tripping here. Shit. First time I’ve ever started hallucinating. Kinda cool. Freaky, but cool. He glanced up and couldn’t help but laugh at the word streaming from the white balloon coming out of his brain. Whoa! I can see my own thoughts! I can literally read them. This is sooooo fucking cool! I wonder if anyone else has thought balloons coming out of their heads?

For the next hour or so, Jeffrey floated aimlessly through the hyper-realistic world his drug-induced mind had created, marveling at the strange writing he glanced at coming from what he guessed were the other people in the room. It was unreadable, like Egyptian hieroglyphics, or something, but the more he focused, the more he felt sure that he was staring at the thought balloons of the people in the room.

When he regained consciousness several moments later, he found himself lying on the floor, facedown. He opened his eyes, but before he moved to sit up, he heard Larry and his cohort shouting at each other. He instinctively froze, not wanting them to know he was awake just yet. An icy fear was slowly building up in him, and an anger as well, though he didn’t yet know why. Closing his eyes again, Jeffrey focused on the shouting match taking place a few feet away.

“...Not my fault, you fucking prick!” Larry was saying. “YOU assured ME that you had the formula right, that you’d worked out all the kinks! Jerry, I do NOT intend to take the fall for YOUR incompetence!”

The shorter man, Jerry, growled. “Incompetence? Bull-fucking-shit! I only said that it worked on the lab animals! I said NOTHING about having it perfected! Fuck! That’s what this IS, Larry!! This is our human testing ground. If they had lived, then we’d know for sure we had it right. I know it. You knew it. So stop trying to act all innocent now that we’ve hit a snag!”

Jeffrey’s insides clenched tight, and the cold knot of fear and anxiety grew larger with every second. Testing ground? Snags? IF THEY HAD LIVED? With a growing sense of horror, Jeffrey realized now what had happened, why the two would-be dealers were so upset with one another. Their drug, their formula was wrong. Worse, it was poison. Jeffrey knew without a shadow of a doubt that his friends had gotten high and never come down again.

Was Dinah dead as well? Jeffrey began to tremble, and he couldn’t stop. Dinah. Dead. The thought was unthinkable. All he had to do is turn his head and see, look across the room and see if she was okay. But he couldn’t do it, couldn’t turn, because in some bizarre way, he felt as long as he didn’t see her dead, as long as he didn’t confirm it in his mind, then she would still be alive.

Oh God! Not Dinah... Dinah. he whispered softly. Oh God... please Dinah! You can’t be dead! You can’t be! Please, Lord, not her, not Dinah! Anything but that!

“Hey! What the fuck?” Jerry yelled, somewhere nearby. “This one’s alive! Larry, looks like we have a live on here!”

Jeffrey was still praying it was Dinah they were speaking of, when he suddenly felt himself being lifted back to his feet. “Dinah,” he gasped, tears running freely down his face. “Is she... oh God, tell me she’s alive! Please!”

Jerry and Larry glanced at each other. “Oh fuck me!” Jerry said, groaning softly. “The fucker heard us, Larry. He knows what the fuck happened!”

Larry groaned as well. “Okay. Okay. Let’s not panic here. Okay kid, you got us. We had a little trouble with the formula, it seems. Your pals didn’t make it. You’re the only one that lived. Tell me, are you okay? Everything alright? You can see, and hear, okay? No problem with balance or anything?”

“Shut the fuck up!!” Jeffrey roared. “You bastards just killed my only friends in the whole world, and you’re asking about my sense of balance? Fuck you both! You damn sons of fucking bitches! You poisoned them! Used us as guinea pigs!”

“OKAY!!” Jerry said, taking out a gun, pointing it straight at Jeffrey’s head. “That’s about enough of that! We know what we did, pal! Every achievement in science came with a price. The price of this was your friends, I guess. But no matter. The formula wasn’t a complete failure, because YOU lived! All I have to do is tweak it a little bit, and we’re in business again.” He gestured to Larry, who nodded and grabbed some rope.

“In the meantime,” Larry said, approaching Jeffrey, “we can’t let you run around free. We certainly don’t want the police nosing around, looking for us, because you decided to get even for your friend’s deaths. Hey, no one put a gun to their heads and MADE them try our drugs. They chose it themselves. So don’t blame us for what happened to them!”

Jeffrey stood there, seething, boiling over with rage. His insides were doing flips, and his brain felt as if someone was stabbing through his skull repeatedly with an ice pick. His friends were dead, dead and gone, and the two men responsible not only didn’t feel any guilt, they were being self-righteous about it all. And now they planned to take him out back somewhere and kill him to, leave no witnesses, so they could get away with it scot-free.

That same helpless feeling washed over him again, that same numbing despair he’d felt when that old man had beaten him, and raped him years before, the same agony he’d felt a year later when he’d returned to harm his precious Dinah, to cut away her beauty while he watched helplessly from afar. It was happening again, and the rage and hatred he felt inside him roared, threatening to burst its way out through his eye sockets if need be.

NO!! he raged. Not THIS time! I will NOT let them get away with it! You two will pay for killing Dinah, and my friends! I swear it! I SWEAR IT!! I’ll KILL YOU BOTH!

Suddenly the pain inside his head exploded, sending him to his knees, gasping for breath. For a split second, he though Larry had shot him, but then the pain vanished completely, and as numbing cold feeling swept over him, he could—there was no word to describe it exactly. Feel? Hear? Taste? In whatever way it was possible, Jeffrey somehow sensed the two murders’ minds, knowing their thoughts, seeing their confusion at Jeffrey’s reaction, wondering if the drug was indeed killing him after all, only as a delayed effect. All this and more, Jeffrey took in at less than an instant.

Realization came to him somewhat slower, but when Larry roughly grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back to his feet, his face held an expression he’d never worn before. Larry blinked, taken aback at the look of supreme confidence and assurance on their victim-to-be’s face. “What are you so happy about all of a sudden?” he asked.

Jeffrey chuckled softly, a low, dark sound, full of foreboding, and despite having a gun in his left hand, Jerry actually took a step back. “I’m happy,” Jeffrey replied, “because I just realized something. I thought you two were going to get away from this whole affair without being caught, that you wouldn’t see justice.” He held up a hand and squeezed, making a fist, and both men crumpled to their knees in agony. “What I realized,” Jeffrey continued, squeezing his hand tighter and tighter, “is that justice is really overrated. Vengeance is much better, and much more satisfying.” Larry managed to raise a hand, entreatingly, towards Jeffrey, begging him to stop whatever it was he was doing to them.

“P-p-please!” he actually managed. “S... ss... sorry... please... for... forgive!”

Jeffrey paused for a moment, releasing the death grip he’d had on their psyches, their minds, the cores of their being. Forgiveness? He actually pondered it for a moment, briefly considering every alternative. Then, with a small shake of his head, he raised his hand again.

“As the song says, ‘Never free... never me... so I dub thee, Unforgiven.’” He clenched his hand tight, completely closed, and both men let out a loud piercing scream as they felt their minds literally crushed into non-existence.

* * *


Several months later, Jeffrey stood atop a green hill overlooking the cemetery. In his hands he held a bouquet of red roses. He knelt in front of each of the graves, and placed a single red rose against the mound, peering down at the heavy gold-encrusted plaques, and saying a small prayer for his lost friends. The funeral and the lavish gravesites had been expensive, but in the past several months Jeffrey had put his new power to good use, manipulating people with money to spare to finance handle the arrangements. It wouldn’t bring back his lost friends, but it would at least ensure that they were never forgotten.

Stopping before the last grave, he sighed deeply, biting his lip to keep the dam of his emotions secure, lest he break down and dissolve into tears once more. Wiping his eyes, he lovingly placed the rest of the bouquet against the mound. “I avenged you guys,” he said quietly. “I made sure those two bastards will never hurt anyone again for the rest of their lives. I know I should have just killed them outright... but that seemed like to easy a fate for them, for what they knowingly did to us. This is better, really.”

The two men in question had been found wondering in the street outside the police department. They had both been turned into drooling idiots, simpletons with the IQ of a fourteen month old child. Officers, however, discovered a note pinned on one of them, confessing to several murders and attempted drug pushing, along with several samples of the drug in question. It was assumed their condition came about from an accidental overdose of their own poison, and they were both sent away to an asylum where they would likely spend the rest of their lives.

“I know it doesn’t make up for you being gone,” Jeffrey whispered softly, clutching the tombstone lovingly. “Nothing will ever make up for that. I couldn’t save you, Dinah. I let that old guy cut you, I didn’t stop him, and now I let these two pricks poison you. I’m sorry... I’m so very sorry Dinah.” He sighed, then stood again. “But I won’t ask you to forgive me. I can’t ask it of you. I don’t deserve forgiveness, my love. Deep down, I’m just as responsible as they were.” He turned to leave but stopped at the edge of the gate.

“I’ll be joining you again, eventually, my Dinah,” he spoke softly, with longing. “Someday. Perhaps someday soon. But first, I have a few things to take care of, and a few promises to keep. Just know, that I love you. I miss you, Dinah.”

Jeffrey walked away, pulling his coat tight around himself, as the darkened sky let loose a thunderous boom, and rain began to fall. He hummed softly to himself as went, finding an almost morbid type of humor in its irony.

“... you label me... I label you... so I dub thee Unforgiven...”