Tommy and I had been best friends since as long as I could remember. We kinda fit to-
get her really well. I was the big guy, the heavy, and he was my buddy who was pretty
smart. It meant I could keep him out of trouble from some of the bullies, and he could
help me out on my homework and junk We must have been about 16, it was the
summer of 1999, and we were out hiking in the woods.
I remember the day being particularly warm, real nice for walking the woods, but the
humidity was growing, and with it, came a storm. Tommy was having a hard time keep-
ing up with me,just like he normally did, but that day maybe a little more was off than I
realised. We couldn’t stay exposed for long in the rain, and as lightning flashed a
couple of times in the air. As luck would have it, I spied a cab in just on the other edge
of a clearing, and knew that was our only hope to stay dry and safe. Tommy wasn’t
completely ok with going for it, but wasn’t content waiting in the storm for it to pass,
so we set off.
The door creaked open as we secluded ourselves inside. The place actually seemed
relatively lived in. There were the ashes of a recent fire in the chimney, though there
wasn’t any signs of anybody being around as of that day. It was a nice enough place to
relax and wait out the storm. There was a pack of cards in a cupboard that gave us
some entertainment, and we just spent the afternoon quite pleasantly enjoying our
time out there.
When the truck pulled up outside, that was all about to change. I heard the diesel
engine as it heaved its way up the hill, before the door slammed and someone fiddled
with keys outside. They were perplexed to find it open. It didn’t occur to me that they
might be upset at our presence, but they really were. This redneck guy, a real Un-
abomber type, loomed tall over even myself, holding a rifle and just kept shouting. I
stood in between him and Tommy, and I could tell he was scared, and tried to get to
the bottom of the situation.
“I’m sorry, I was trying to wait out the storm, it’s my fault really,” I explained, which
made the guy back off a little.
“What? You a couple queers?” he asked, clearly disdainful. We laughed and said no, we
were just hiking and needed somewhere to wait out the storm. He didn’t seem to be-
lieve that, and on the way out, as we ran past him, he muttered some words under his
breath. At first I thought he was cursing, but not in the way that it ultimately turned out.
For whatever reason, he chose Tommy that day, and what he did changed both our