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Authors: Jamie Fessenden

Billy's Bones

BOOK: Billy's Bones
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By
J
AMIE
F
ESSENDEN

N
OVELS

Billy’s Bones

By That Sin Fell the Angels

Murderous Requiem

N
OVELLAS

The Christmas Wager

The Dogs of Cyberwar

Saturn in Retrograde

We’re Both Straight, Right?

Published by
D
REAMSPINNER
P
RESS

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

Copyright

Published by

Dreamspinner Press

5032 Capital Circle SW
Ste 2, PMB# 279
Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886

USA

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Billy’s Bones

Copyright © 2013 by Jamie Fessenden

Cover Art by Lou Harper

http://lharper.deviantart.com/gallery

Cover content is being used for illustrative purposes only
and any person depicted on the cover is a model.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Dreamspinner Press, 5032 Capital Circle SW, Ste 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886, USA.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/

ISBN: 978-1-62380-941-6

Digital ISBN: 978-1-62380-942-3

Printed in the United States of America

First Edition

July 2013

Dedicated to my mom, Judith Rennie,

the best therapist I’ve ever known.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

In addition to my mother, who looked over the therapy scenes for me, I’d like to also acknowledge the help of two other therapists who were kind enough to read the novel and offer insights: my stepfather, Robert Rennie, and my friend, Robert Stiefel.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

When Kevin at last remembers the details of a particular night in his childhood that he’d suppressed, the entire scene is written out for dramatic purposes. In reality, people with suppressed memories rarely recall the entire thing this clearly and may uncover bits and pieces over time without ever recalling all of the details. Also, the unique circumstances of Kevin’s past make it necessary for him to remember what he’s suppressed. This isn’t always the case, and often therapists prefer not to delve into them, unless there is a specific reason to do so. Forcing someone to recall something he or she has suppressed can sometimes cause additional trauma.

Warning: this story contains scenes which might be possible triggers for survivors of childhood abuse.

 

One

 

K
EVIN
D
EROCHER
was just thirty-two when he walked into Tom’s office, newly married, a baby on the way, and the collar of his red flannel shirt pulled up in an attempt to hide the bruises around his throat caused by hanging himself in his garage. He was a lean, quiet man with a shy smile and a disheveled appearance—unshaven, with a tangle of chocolate-brown hair, as if he’d scrambled out of bed too late to even grab a comb. When Tom shook his hand and looked into those sleepy, soft hazel eyes for the first time, he was struck not by the pain he often saw in his client’s eyes, but by the confusion he saw there, as if Kevin had no idea why any of this was happening.

“So, Kevin,” Tom said when they were seated in the overstuffed, faux leather chairs, “how have you been for the past few days?”

Kevin crossed his legs, as if trying to find a comfortable position, and then immediately uncrossed them again. “Okay, I guess.”

“Good. How’s your wife… Tracy, right? And the baby?”

“The baby’s not born yet,” Kevin replied.

Tom already knew this. It had been Dr. Belanger’s opinion when he’d counseled Kevin at Androscoggin Valley Hospital, that learning of Tracy’s unplanned pregnancy had been the trigger that led to Kevin’s suicide attempt. Kevin had denied it. Of course. Having a child is supposed to be one of the happiest moments of a man’s life.

It doesn’t usually lead to suicide.

“I understand that,” Tom said pleasantly, tugging the short black hair of his beard between thumb and forefinger. “I simply meant, how is the pregnancy coming along?”

Kevin shrugged. “It’s fine.”

Tom realized he was thirsty, so he stood and went to the water bubbler in the corner. “Would you like some water?” he offered, holding up an empty paper cup.

“Yeah, sure.”

It wasn’t until Tom carried both cups back and set them on the slightly battered coffee table that Kevin volunteered, “I think she’s mad at me.”

“Your wife?” Tom settled back into his chair and smiled at him. “Mad about what?”

“Trying to kill myself.”

“Has she said anything?”

“Not really,” Kevin said. He crossed and uncrossed his legs again, looking at his cup on the coffee table without seeming to focus on it. “She hardly talks to me at all now. She spends most of her time after work visiting with her mom.”

Tom didn’t feel comfortable doing couples counseling since he’d never been married. The state of New Hampshire had legalized gay marriage this past year, but Tom wasn’t even dating anyone. He generally referred people with marital trouble to his colleague, Sue Cross. But in this case, talking to Tracy might provide some valuable insight into what had happened, so he offered, “Do you think it might help to have Tracy join us for a session?”

“No.”

“Well, it’s an option if you decide you’d like to do that later.”

“How many times do I have to see you?”

This was just an outpatient follow up since Mark Belanger hadn’t felt Kevin’s short stay in the hospital was enough to really help him. They’d released him when they believed he was no longer a danger to himself, but they’d never ascertained what the real issue was. That could take months, if not years. But Kevin couldn’t be forced to continue counseling.

“Why don’t we talk about that at the end of the session?” Tom asked. He suspected Kevin would simply get up and walk out if he gave him half a chance. “Right now, I’d like to talk about why Dr. Belanger referred you to me.”

When Kevin just stared blankly at his cup of water, Tom asked him, “Would you care to tell me what happened a couple weeks ago? On that Sunday?”

Kevin sighed and leaned forward to take a sip from the cup. “We went over that about a million times in the hospital. Didn’t they write it down for you?”

“Dr. Belanger did send me some notes. But I’d like to hear it from you.”

“I don’t really remember.”

“So the case notes say.”

“Well, they’re right,” Kevin said, irritated. “Tracy went out shopping for baby clothes or something with her sister. And I was feeling pretty low—”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. I just was.”

“I’m sorry. Go on.”

The story Kevin told wasn’t much different from what Mark Belanger had written. Kevin had decided to have a beer, and then a few more. His feeling of being “a little low” worsened until, in his intoxicated state, the depression seemed insurmountable. Then he went out to the garage, stripped completely naked, and hung himself by tying one leg of his blue jeans to a crossbeam and the other around his neck, and then stepping off the tailgate of his truck. He didn’t fall far enough to break his neck, and the way he’d tied the pants leg still allowed a trickle of air into his throat. So he didn’t die. He just hung there, choking. He passed out after a few minutes, but the medics estimated he dangled for ten or fifteen minutes before someone driving along the road in front of his garage saw him and called 911.

“Why do it naked?” Tom asked.

Kevin shrugged and downed the rest of his water. “I don’t know. It must have seemed right at the time.” He paused and then glanced up at Tom with a slightly mischievous smile. “You want to hear something gross? About when they found me?”

Tom had a pretty good idea what was coming, but he said, “Sure.”

“I guess I was… kind of….” Kevin made a gesture, as if he was flipping Tom off, but he kept his hand balled into a fist.

Tom laughed. “It’s apparently not uncommon for men who are… hanged… to get erections. Don’t ask me why I know that. I read it somewhere.”

“That’s kind of fucked up,” Kevin said, but he was still smiling. “I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t take a dump while I was hanging there. I heard
that
can happen.”

“I’ve heard that too.”

“Now that would have been
completely
undignified.”

“Oh, absolutely!”

It was a sick joke, but it cracked both of them up. And the fact that Tom was willing to laugh along with him about the whole fucked-up mess, both of them snickering like high school kids or younger, seemed to put Kevin more at ease.

“Can you remember anything else?” Tom asked when they’d settled down.

Kevin leaned back into his chair and seemed to give the matter serious thought for the first time since the session began. “I couldn’t breathe.”

Tom was tempted to rib him further—“I’ve heard hanging can cause breathing trouble too”—but he sensed this was more than just a continuation of the joke. “Do you mean…
before
you tried to hang yourself?”

Kevin nodded. “I remember that’s why I started drinking—because I couldn’t breathe. I thought maybe I just needed to relax.”

That seemed an odd reaction. Unless it was something he’d experienced before and this was how he handled it.

“Have you had that trouble breathing in other situations?”

“Now and then. But it’s no big deal. I mean, I know they’re just panic attacks.”

Tom tried to remember if he’d come across any of this in the case notes. He didn’t think so. The notes were on his desk, but he didn’t want to interrupt Kevin to go read through them. “Were you diagnosed with panic attacks in the past?”

“I figured you knew that,” Kevin said. “I was sent away when I was a kid.”

“Away?”

“Hampstead Hospital. For a couple months.”

Hampstead Hospital had excellent programs for children and teenagers, including inpatient treatments for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a host of others, including psychotic disorders. “Those records wouldn’t be part of your file at Androscoggin. Do you recall what you were being treated for at Hampstead?”

BOOK: Billy's Bones
3.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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