JD woke to the squeaking of the door, he turned his head and shut his eyes tightly as the sun assaulted him. He opened his eyes again and as his vision cleared he realized he was at the cabin he had been running for, he looked around and saw no one. A smile crossed his face, he didn't remember getting here, but that was okay, he was here, everything would be okay. He made a slight movement to stand regretting it instantly.

He sat back against the wall putting his head back gently, he brought up his hand to wipe the sleep from his eyes and try to think, then reality came flooding back as he felt the uncomfortable tug on his wrists. Chamberlain, he'd caught up to him he remembered, but not much else. He did a quick self exam to see if he'd received any new injuries, not seeing anything, but feeling alot worse.

He brought his bound hands to his face, but pulled back quickly as he touched a spot on his head that hurt. He looked at his hand and saw the blood. He remembered the walking stick. He sighed and looked around the cabin again, he saw an old tarnished dusty mirror hanging on the wall, he looked to see if he was tied to anything, he was. He almost laughed to himself as he began to untie the knot, How stupid does he think I am? You never tie in the front, you put them in the back so they can't untie themselves. He thought of the time he'd done that when he'd first gotten to Four Corners, it was one of the first times Buck had yelled at him. JD didn't like to be yelled at, but his tone was different than Chamberlain's, Buck yelled out of friendship and, most of the time, worry; Chamberlain yelled because of hate.

JD finished untying the knot, he tried to loosen the ropes around his wrists, but it just hurt too much, so he concentrated on getting himself up. It was an effort, but JD was standing. He moved his left leg to walk over to the mirror and cursed due to its stiffness. He cursed even more when he put his weight on it. Damn, he thought, Did he hurt my leg to? He took another step, Dang, must be infected, that's why I feel so bad, he decided as he made it to the mirror. He wiped the layered dust from the years past from the mirror and stepped in a little closer to take a look at his head. He stood looking at himself, as he'd done many times before, trying to figure if he could pass off a bruise on his face as something that he'd run into or bumped into at the stables. He turned his head slightly and touched the place on his head that was bleeding, he noticed the dry blood around it and figured it had been bleeding for awhile but it was slowing down.

He turned from the mirror and looked around, trying to think how he was going to get out of this. He decided he needed to cut the ropes first, then he could think. He looked around but couldn't find anything, then his head turned back to the mirror and he smiled.

He tried to lift the mirror off what ever was holding it to the wall, but it didn't seem to work. He didn't know how long Chamberlain had been gone and didn't know if he would be back soon, so he took both hands together and sent them into the mirror, pieces scattered on the floor, and JD painfully and awkwardly went to his knees to find a piece of glass to cut the ropes. His hands fell into the glass as he tried to regain his balance that the pain in his leg had caused him to loose. He fumbled through and found a piece big enough. He put the shard in his mouth as he once again found his hands in the littered glass pushing himself up, he stood and took the piece of mirror and began to cut through the ropes.

It wasn't totally a painless procedure, the ropes not only tugging at his wrists but also rubbing back and forth as he tried to saw through the rope. It was also a slow process and after what seemed like hours the ropes finally dropped from his hands. He smiled once again, but found his strength was gone, cutting the ropes had taken so much out of him and he brought his bloodied hand to his forehead and the smiled disappeared. Fever, I'm sick, he thought.

He never wished, more than he did now, to hear Nathan's question of 'Are you all right', he figured he wouldn't even tell him he was 'fine' this time, wouldn't even argue if Buck would carry him, hell, he wouldn't even try to get out of bed until Nathan said it was okay.

He sat on the edge of his bed as more soreness found its way to JD's attention, his side, his head, his face, his head, his leg, his head, his wrists and hands, his head; it was all gone instantly as he felt himself falling backwards on the old and dusty bed.

His eyes opened then closed again, then shot opened again. How long have I been asleep? I gotta get up and get out of here before he comes back. JD's mind was running. Unfortunately his mind was working faster than his stiff body. By sheer will and determination he found himself standing again and moved to the door and opened it, he took one last look as he bid another part of his past good-bye and headed out the door, running right into the chest of his past and future. Chamberlain.

+ + + + + + +

The seven men rode to the estate, seven men riding together again, but one replaced by a stranger, the one who'd taken away the seventh member. They made it the long way down the private road to Chamberlain's. They passed under a wooden sign that read Four Oaks, and as they made their way to the 'big house' they passed four large oak trees, two on each side, that shaded the road and gave the place it's name.

"We'll go around and ask the help, why don't you go visit your friend Chamberlain, Judge," Buck said sarcastically.

"Buck," Chris reprimanded, after all the man was here. He might just believe them.

"I think I'll do that, and ask to see the bo..young man," he corrected. The judge dismounted and went towards the house.

"He's on our side, Buck," the tracker stated.

"How you figure that?"

"He ain't callin him a 'boy' anymore," the bounty hunter smiled.

"Yeah, you just keep thinking that," Buck shot back, still not convinced that the judge wasn't in cahoots with Chamberlain and was there to warn him.

"You and Ezra go check the stables, Josiah, Nathan check over there, me and Vin will see about the blacksmith and anyone else we can find."

The men separated as Chris had said, feeling like Ballard and Delaney who had come to find out where JD was.

"Can I help y'all?" a young southern man said.

"You been workin here long?" Buck asked.

"Goin on three years," he drawled out his answer.

"We're inquiring the whereabouts of JD Dunne."

"You know him?" the man asked the gambler, noticing the familiar speech.

"We're friends of his, he used to work with us," Ezra said plainly.

"Hell, JD left here while back, well over a year now, after his momma died. I ain't seen him since, rumor had it that he run off out West," the men stated.

"If your employer would have brought someone home, would you know about it?"

"Like a lady friend, oh yeah, we'd know, kitchen staff is pretty gossipy, if'n y'all know what I mean," he smiled and winked.

"What if he was to adopt a boy?" Buck asked, not liking the fact that Vin was probably right.

"Chamberlain , hell yeah, we'd know, I mean, the kitchen staff woulda told us somethin' like that."

"Thanks, appreciate the help."

+ + + + + + +

The judge approached the door and knocked on the door with the big brass handle. The door opened and a servant waved him in.

"Joshua in, Mark?"

"No, sir, don't rightly know when he'll be back."

"What about his guest?" the judged fished, surely Josh would have brought the kid here.

"Guest sir? Mr. Chamberlain hasn't had any guests here for about a month," Mark looked at him strangely.

"He didn't bring a young man with him yeaterday?" Damn, they're right, the judge thought to himself, knowing the answer he would get before Mark could answer.

"No, sir. Are you feeling okay?" Mark asked.

"No, Mark, I'm not," the judge said honestly, but not for the reason the servant thought.

"I'll let Mr. Chamberlain know you stopped by," Mark said dutifully.

"No, don't tell him anything," the judge said, with an air of suspicion.

"Very well, Judge," Mark said, as the judge made his way off the porch. Mark closed the door. Chamberlain has gone and done something real stupid, Mark said, not hiding the small smile on his face.

The judge waited at the top of a hill not too far from the estate, near a tree. He dismounted and scanned the area then he looked to the tree. He noticed it was matted down a bit around it and followed the newly made path to the tree, as he came closer to it he saw a cross made of twigs, and leather, he knelt down to it and saw things woven into the cross and looked it over without disturbing it.

He saw a Bible passage and a poem from a book. He looked closely at the two papers and noticed they were sewn together and the needle left in the paper without covering the words. He saw hand writing on the poem and curiosity got the better of him and read it to himself.

"Ms. Dunne, Vin made this cross and we have each added to it something special, the leather holding the cross together are Vin's, Josiah's got the Bible passage, Nathan sewed these together, Ezra has the ace of spades, Bucks mom's handkerchief, mine is the poem. The first time I saw JD it reminded me of this poem that I had read to my son many times. You raised a fine boy, he's suffered more than he should have and you know that now. He's grown to be a fine man, one most everyone here is proud to call brother, but I call him something else. I have read this poem to my son many times, trying to get him through the nightmares. Chris"

"What have I done?" the judge said quietly, he never heard the six men approach.

"Judge?" Chris asked, seeing him kneeling next to the grave of JD's mother.

"I'm sorry, no one's seen him have they?" he said without turning.

"Did you see him?" Chris asked. The judge stood and shook his head.


"Let's go get him!" Buck said anxiously, like Chris knew he would.

"He's not there," the judge said regretfully.

"What do you mean he's not there?" Buck accused, still thinking the judge was trying to throw them off.

"Josh never brought him there, and Josh hasn't been there since early last night," the judge said.

"Someone's gotta know where he is!" Buck yelled

"Buck, everyone we talked to ain't seen him, and they all seem to know who were talkin about," Vin said.

"So we wait? For what?"

"I don't know, we head back to town, come back tomorrow and ask the help again, maybe he'll be back, then we can find out where he is," Chris said.

"Why don't we just wait here?" Buck said, like Chris had asked him to cut off his right arm.

"Cause it's going to be getting cold, and we can't start a fire without getting spotted," Vin said, knowing Chris' reasons.

"So?" Buck still thought it ridiculous to got back into the town.

"We ain't gonna do him no good if'n we all get sick, Buck" Nathan stated what Buck knew, it just felt wrong.

"I know," he said defeatedly, nodding his head and giving in.

"If he's touched one hair on that boy, judge.." Buck shot out the threat to the man he blamed.

"Mr. Wilmington, do not assume that the young man is untouched," Ezra said, he knew JD would be hurt.

"What makes you think that he's not all right, Mr. Standish?" the judge asked.

"Because that man is a monster and a child beater, he's gone through an awful lot of trouble to get this young man back, I don't think his intentions were to make up the years of abuse to the man, do you?" Ezra said, without his regular unreadable face.

+ + + + + + +

"Morning," Chamberlain sneered.

JD stepped back and swallowed hard, All that hard work and for what? he thought.

"Bet your think you're pretty smart, don't ya?"

"Smart enough to get his far," JD smiled, waving his free hands in the air.

JD was pleased when Chamberlain's smile left his face.

"You think you're going to get out of here? I told you before I'd find you."

"Took you long enough," JD said, stepping back again.

"Boy, you're awful full of yourself. Bet those men just love that," Chamberlain insinuated, taking a step towards JD.

"Leave them outta this," JD said confidently, still stepping back but slightly to the right.

"You think they give a shit about you're scrawny little ass?" Chamberlain tried keeping in step with JD.

"Like I said, they don't have anything to do with this," JD said, still moving to the right.

"If they cared why'd they make you come back here?" Chamberlain still tried to plant the doubt in JD's head.

"They didn't make me come back," JD stated, knowing that if he wanted to run, they most likely would have let him. He still moved to the right, and closer to the opened door.

"Really? Is that what they told you? That Larabee fella, he knew you were coming back here..did you know that?"

"I don't believe that," JD smiled, he knew Chamberlain's tactics.

"Wilmington knew too, why do you think he's been so nice to you? Hired him about six months ago to look after you, make sure my property didn't get damaged," he sneered.

"He did a hell of job at that now didn't he," JD said evenly, *Just a few more inches,* he thought.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Chamberlain wondered, he was so totally focused on breaking the kid that he didn't see where they both stood.

"I been shot, stabbed even stepped in a bear trap..I'd say he made sure I weren't damaged, hope you didn't pay him too much!" JD said as he bolted for the door, he spotted Chamberlain's horse and ran for it the best he could, the horse was going before JD could mount properly and with a skilled bounce on the ground flung himself onto the horse's back.

Chamberlain made his way to the door and ran to catch JD. That little shit is going to pay for that! Chamberlain screamed to himself as he raised one of the guns he'd taken from JD and shot just as he whistled, the shot hit its mark and the horse pulled up short.

JD felt the burn in his side. As the horse pulled up short, JD almost flew off the horse, but his skill and reflexes caused him to just tumble forward in front of the horse, he hit hard but not as hard as he could. He heard Chamberlain make another command and although it had been a long time since he worked in the stable, he knew the command and tried to curl up tightly, his hands covering his head as the horse ran over him in a sudden run.

He felt the hooves hit, and when the horse was cleared he tried to stand, but he couldn't recover quickly enough, Chamberlain was yanking him to his feet by the shirt collar as the whistle told the horse to stop.

"Trained them horses real good boy..real good!" Chamberlain laughed out.

"Amazin' you remembered," JD let out accusingly.

"I'd knock you in the head, but I'm tired of carrying your little ass around.. Walk!" he ordered, jabbing the walking stick into the boy's back coming close to where the bullet had grazed his side.

JD spun around at the 'order', there was no way he was going to walk back to the cabin, not unless he wanted to.

"You don't own me!!" he yelled with more force than he thought he had into the mans face.

"That's where you're wrong..I do OWN you!!" Rewarding JD with another blow with the walking stick, sending him down into the waiting darkness.

I hate that thing, was the last thought JD had before the darkness took over.

"Damn it, boy!!" Chamberlain yelled at the still form, grabbed the kid by the shirt collar and drug him over the rough and rocky terrain back to the cabin. He sat the kid roughly in the far corner, dragging him through the broken mirror. He then took the rope and tied his hands again, behind him this time, with what was left of it. He tied the other end to the bedpost and went to his horse, and back again with food and water he had brought with him.

+ + + + + + +

The seven men rode into the busy town as it got dark, no one had spoken for the hour it took to get back. They all stopped at the livery and dismounted.

"I'm sorry..I can't say I was wrong enough," the judge said breaking the silence.

"You should have let him talk" Buck accused, not knowing what had happened between the judge and JD.

"What makes you think I didn't?" the judge retorted

"Well he's not here with us now is he!" Buck began to explode.

"I based my decision on what I thought would be best for him, being in a dangerous profession is one thing but doing so at seventeen is another!" the judge shot back

"And getting the shit knocked outta him is what's best?!"

"He didn't know, Buck."

"Don't defend him to me, Chris!" Buck used a tone that usually got men killed when they talked to Chris that way.

"I'm not defending him, Buck! I'm trying to understand. We came out here for the same reason the judge decided the way he did."

"And what was that, Chris?" Buck said putting his hands on his hips.

"We thought it was the best thing, to have him go to school and be safe," Vin said quietly in understanding.

"I believe before we start accusing the judge completely and fully, we each own up to our own responsibility in the matter," Ezra said dully.

"Ezra's right," Josiah said.

"I know that, Josiah, I know that.. I just hate not knowin where he is. We gotta get him out of there before Chamberlain kills him," Buck said through a sigh.

"We're all worried about him, Buck," Vin said.

"Yes, we are," Ezra stated with a clenched jaw, no one missed the look in his eyes in the dwindling light.

"We'll find him," Chris promised not only himself, his men, but JD as well.

"Evening, Judge Waters."

"Evening Sam, what's Betsy serving for supper tonight?" Judge asked, not knowing that the men knew who Sam was.

"Roast Chicken. Any Luck?" Sam answered the judge before turning his attention to Chris.

"Not really, Chamberlain has him, we just don't know where," Chris told Sam.

"You know these men, Sam?" the judge asked.

"Yes, sir, they're staying at the hotel, I knew JD before, when I worked for Chamberlain."

"You're aware of the history between Chamberlain and Dunne?"

"Yes, sir, I thought they were rumors at the time, then he left after his mother died," Sam relayed what he'd knew.

"Sam, have any idea where he might take JD?" Chris asked.

"Old servant quarters?" the judge asked.

"No, if he intends to hu.. It's too close to the estate, he wouldn't be able to keep him a secret for too long."

"Any where else, any old root cellars or caves in the area, where he can keep him so no one would know he's there or question him going somewhere?" Vin asked, trying to remember what he had seen when they were at the gravesite.

Sam shook his head as he thought, nothing was coming to his mind, the men were silent as Sam thought trying to remember what was at the estate.

"There was a rock wall on the east side of the estate, that separate land?" Vin remembered.

"No, used to be a grazing pasture, used to use it alot when he'd go....." Sam trailed off.. "hunting!" Sam said excitedly.

"Sam?" Buck asked thinking the man had just lost his mind.

"The hunting cabin, it's in the woods, about three miles from the rock wall. It's hidden pretty well, it's not too far from the estate. It would be perfect," Sam said, glad he remembered.

"Well, Judge?" Chris asked .

"We go out tomorrow morning, that okay?" Judge said.

"Ain't soon enough," Buck mumbled a little louder than he meant.

"Too dark to go out there now, it'll wait till morning," Vin nodded in agreement. Normally he would have said go, but this wasn't Four Corners, he wasn't familiar with the terrain.

"Fine," Buck sighed out dejectedly.

"I'll meet you here if you want," Sam offered.

"You have a job, Sam, better if you stay here," the judge said.

"You're comin' then?" Nathan asked, picking up on the judge's 'order'.

"Yes, if you have no objections," Waters said with a supportive smile.

"We head out before dawn," Chris stated, the six men left to go back to the Hotel leaving the two Boston residence behind.

"Why you going?" Sam asked, as the men were out of ear shot.

"I owe the kid, I made a mistake, Sam. I just hope I'm not too late to fix it," and the judge left Sam.

+ + + + + + +

JD woke suddenly as he felt the jerk on his collar, his eyes opened and he saw the all to familiar glint of the gold handle on the walking stick. He tried to get his feet under him so he could at least stand, but Chamberlain was pulling to fast for his stiff and sore body to catch up. As the door opened into the moonlit night, JD managed to get his feet under him. Chamberlain was still yanking him by the collar and he half walked and was half dragged behind the cabin.

The cool fall air woke JD up even more, he saw several lanterns were lit and seemed to be some sort of circle. In the middle of circle was a huge maple tree with a rope hanging down from one of the strong branches.

He's gonna hang me! JD thought, and he began to panic. He stopped suddenly and he heard Chamberlain laugh at the kid's reaction.

"What's the matter boy? Getting a little nervous.. You see...." Chamberlain walked in front of the young man in front of him, and for no reason slapped him.

JD felt the blood from previous cuts in his mouth begin to flow. He swallowed hard and breathlessly, tasting the blood. For some reason, he didn't know why, he just turned his head and looked at Chamberlain, no emotion, no smile..just looked.

"You see, you can never win. If you run, I'll find you. No one can protect you! Hell, those men you call 'friends' handed you right over to me! They're not your friends, you don't have any."

JD stood stock, not saying anything. Chamberlain walked around to the back of him, untying one hand then roughly bringing it around and tied his hands in front of him. Fight back, JD thought to himself. Chamberlain was tying his hands tightly, tighter than they were before and JD made eye contact with the man again, and smiled.

Chamberlain did what JD thought he might and stopped what he was doing and stood up straight, as soon as Chamberlain did that, JD quickly grabbed for his gun, he got the gun and in a motion faster than Chamberlain thought humanly possible had pulled the hammer and was ready to shoot.

Chamberlain stood still, mouth opened. He had no idea what to do, this wasn't the same kid he knew before..the one that was submissive the one that knew if he said anything to anyone he'd not only be out of a job, but out of a place for his mother to die, and most likely dead. No this kid was either real stupid, or real smart. Chamberlain never remembered the kid fighting back so hard, which made Chamberlain want to kill him. That kid wasn't going to win. Chamberlain took a confident step towards the battered, bruised kid, that couldn't even stand up straight.

"I wouldn't do that," JD said in a voice Chamberlain had never heard.

"What are you going to do if I do?" Chamberlain said, trying to show the kid with the steady grip on the gun, that he wasn't afraid.

"I had a friend tell me...that the reason ...you beat people... is cause you're ....afraid of them.." JD said, between breaths, his head was beginning to swim again.

"I was never afraid of you!" Chamberlain laughed out, he saw that JD was getting weak.

"Then why ? Why ..did you do...all that? What did I do wrong?" JD asked strength in his voice, the question he had always wanted to.

"Why? Did you know you were a disappointment to everyone here? The others were nice to you because they felt bad..for your mother! You were her bastard son, dumber than a stick. You thought everyone here liked you, just like you think those men did. They didn't ..no one ever has! You're just a stupid kid with no one to take care of him!" Chamberlain sneered and lept to the weakening kid.

Chamberlain was surprised the kid could even fight him, but fight they did until both men hit the ground, the gun between them when the shot went off.

"Never again," JD gasped out quietly before he closed his eyes.

JD's eyes opened slowly, he found himself looking into the brown eyes on Joshua Chamberlain. JD began to push himself up but stopped, still looking at Chamberlain.

"Thought you beat me didn't you?" Chamberlain's smile as evil as JD had ever seen, as the man pulled himself up quickly.

"Bet you thought you won," JD said, bringing himself up painfully and slowly as far as he could, with a hint of satisfaction that he himself wasn't dead.

"I will," Chamberlain sneered into the boy's face.

"It don't matter if I'm dead or not, you still won't win." And JD did the only thing he could think of to hurt the man, he spit in his face.

Chamberlain was infuriated as the mixture of saliva and blood hit his face. He had fire in his eyes as he grabbed JD by the hair and threw him to the tree. JD tried to recover before Chamberlain got to him, but he couldn't . He didn't know what good it would have done, he knew he was dead, just a matter of time he knew, but maybe he could get a few good licks in too.

Chamberlain grabbed JD roughly again, and tied the hanging rope to the ropes that tied JD's hands together. JD managed to get to his feet as he looked at where the other end of the rope was and hated the fact that Chamberlain was at the other end, pulling the rope down from the branch.

This is not good, JD thought as the scenarios ran through his mind, his breathing becoming a bit quicker as his feet left the ground. Chamberlain tied off the rope around the tree and walked to JD as he hung there, arms over his head supported only by his wrists.

"You know what I used to do, when I was younger?" Chamberlain asked as he came closer to JD.

"Pull wings off flies?" JD said quietly, Chamberlain didn't miss the sarcasm or the serious look in the boy's face.

"Same thing you did runt, I worked in the stables, training horses," Chamberlain paused, wondering what the kid was thinking, he didn't have long to wait.

"Feel bad for those horses," still serious but quiet, he hadn't had anything to drink since he'd gotten here and his throat hurt with every swallow.

"My employer passed along to me everything he knew," Chamberlain turned away, JD attempted a kick but missed; and continued talking as he went to the edge of the woods, "and one of the things he taught me, you have to break the spirit, then build it back up to the way you want. There isn't a horse that can't be broken. He treated his people the same way. He taught me..now I'm teaching you. You were pretty tame before you left, but you're not the same stupid snot nosed brat who begged me for a place to stay so his 'mommie' could die in peace," Chamberlain mocked his last words. "Nope.. You haven't gotten any taller, hell, I know you weigh less, but you're still a stupid thick headed no good little runt! You definitely have a bit of spirit to you, I'll give you that, but that won't last long. I bet you're thinking those men are going to show up and save the day don't you? Well, they're not!" Chamberlain laughed hideously. "Hell, they don't care about you! They are probably toasting the fact that you're gone!! They didn't even say good bye to you did they? If they cared so much about you don't you think they would have threatened that judge to see you!" For the first time JD heard the words Chamberlain were saying, he saw it too and continued.

"They didn't come looking for you did they, they're off in some small town having a grand ole time, whoopin' it up in a saloon! Wilmington's probably got his eye on some pretty young thing, thanking God he don't have to pay some girl to keep you company, maybe he's already on his way to her bed room to f....." Chamberlain started but was stopped short by a kick to his face.

"You just made the biggest mistake in your life runt," Chamberlain said, wiping the blood from his mouth, stepping to the back of JD and ripping off his shirt, leaving only parts of the sleeves on his arms.

"Go to hell," JD said, just as calm as he could, Vin would have appreciated it.

Chamberlain made his way back around the front and bent down and picked up what he'd dropped. He stepped back, making it snap in the air. JD was looking directly in Chamberlain's direction and could see what had made the loud snap. Chamberlain took another step back, still cracking the lunge whip in the air, he could see JD's face and wasn't happy to see the boy seemed to be unnerved.

Oh God, JD thought as he saw Chamberlain throw the whip in his direction, he closed his eyes as it snapped then felt the burn across his chest. He put his head back and screamed silently to himself, he wasn't going to give Chamberlain the satisfaction of that. He saw Chamberlain step around him and pull back the whip for another hit, with a strength he didn't know he had, JD bent his arms pulling himself up and managed to catch the whip on his legs.

Chamberlain was livid, he aimed higher and repeated the action catching JD where ever he was able. JD's arms gave out finally and he dropped till he hit the end of the rope which jerked him to a stop, causing all his earlier injuries to step up front and center. The whipping continued, with ever strike JD began to doubt his escape, he still refused to cry out, but Chamberlain had the upper hand, Chamberlain was winning.

Chamberlain could see the change in JD's face every time he hit his mark.He fought well, but he's falling apart, the man thought to himself, and kept whipping. He stopped when he'd gotten to close and the whip wrapped around itself on the kid's waist. He dropped his end of the whip on the ground and took the few steps to get to JD, once again at eye level, never looking at the red marks where the whip had cut the skin.

"Like I said, isn't a spirit alive that can't be broken," Chamberlain let out so satisfied, seeing JD refused to look at him directly and instead looked away. Chamberlain turned and walked away, laughing back to the cabin.

JD hung there, back , chest, and points in between bleeding from the tears the whip that hung around his waist had made. They were far from deep cuts, but they hurt. JD looked around, and he tried to fight the realization that Chamberlain was right. There wasn't going to be a huge rescue, the guys were gone, he wouldn't make it back to Four Corners...ever. JD found that part in his head where nothing hurt, nothing mattered, the part that he had used so many times before. He didn't crawl or slip into that spot; he ran to it, as he embraced that part he also had to give something up..... his hope. He had none left.


E-mail: karinmilligan@hotmail.com