In this Steve Ungrey penned episode, Dylan releases his anger, rage and tears after being attacked and raped by Ralph Jones.
The grandfather clock nervously ticked back and forth as Shelby Harper went to the family wet bar and poured herself a generous helping of scotch.
The clock read 2:00. Ordinarily Shelby didn’t touch the hard stuff so early in the day, but she couldn’t help worrying about Dylan. He was in a therapy session with Dr. Mitchell Henderson, a psychologist whose specialty was dealing with people affected by sex crimes.
And Dylan certainly knew what that was about. The vivid memory of Ralph Jones had affected his psyche. It tore at his very soul. He couldn’t close his eyes without hearing Ralph’s voice. He couldn’t imagine the sweetest memory without Ralph appearing in it and spoiling the fun, like World War III breaking out after a gorgeous fall family wedding.
As Shelby sipped from the scotch, Velda Smithfield came in the room and noticed Shelby imbibing the liquor.
“A little nervous, Shelby?” Velda asked, knowing the answer.
“No. A LOT,” Shelby said. “You know, Velda, I’ve tried to protect Dylan all my life. He’s pushed me away. He wants to be independent. Yet when something like this happens, he runs back to me like he’s four years old. Like he wants to hang on to his mother’s leg.”
“Can you blame him, Madame?” Velda said. “Who else would he turn to besides his parents? Vile, despicable creatures like Ralph Jones have no place on this earth. Come to think of it, Ralph and Molly Wainwright would fit right in the same cell…"
“Please, Velda,” Shelby said, amused. “The spawn from those two would make The Exorcist look like Casper the Friendly Ghost.”
It was dark humor, considering her son was in therapy, but Shelby had to do something to pass the time until she heard from Dylan.
Sheila entered the family living room, carrying with her a few sketches. Looking at Shelby, she noticed her drinking.
“A little early, Aunt Shelby?” Sheila asked.
“Never early when it comes to worrying about Dylan, as you surely know,” Shelby said. “How are you, by the way?”
“Better,” Sheila said, with a sigh of relief. “Just got some news from Dr. Winchester. He thinks that a combination of high stress when battling Molly and my breathing tubes being a bit constricted was what caused my heart episode in April.”
“I thought they spotted a blockage,” Shelby said, sipping the scotch.
“They did, but it wasn’t a bad one,” Sheila said. “I’ve got a clean bill of health like Susie, and Dr. Winchester is going to give me stronger allergy medicine to help keep my lungs clear. Right now, though, I’d give it all back to help Dylan. He’s more important right now.”
And with that, Shelby looked back toward the window. Sheila joined her, along with Velda, and the three stared out at the October rain. Fall was so gloomy this year.
In Mitchell Henderson’s office in downtown Boston, Dylan sat straight ahead, thinking of the night he was attacked by Ralph.
“His cold hands on my face,” Dylan said. “His body on top of me. It was all I could do to try and scream. I couldn’t. It was like he’d sucked all the air out of me and there was nothing I could do to stop him.”
“Dylan, it’s over,” Mitchell said, making notes.
“That’s just it,” Dylan said, rising from his chair. Silently, he walked across the room. Then he whirled around. He was off to the races.
“I’ve been the victim of so much violence that I wonder if there’s a giant sign on my back!” Dylan roared, tears spilling down his face. “Some sign that says rape me in big, bold letters. I’m such an inviting target, aren’t I?”
“It’s not your fault…” Mitchell was interrupted.
“IT NEVER IS!” Dylan yelled. “It’s never my fault! Look at my face! I bear these bruises because someone wanted to use me as a punching bag! My eye got blackened by some dirt bag who wanted to take advantage of me!!! Is there no… end to this madness? No end to who will come after me! I fear all of my targets are lining up to take a shot at me and I can’t do anything to stop them.”
Dylan returned to the chair, leaning against it and sobbing.
“I could carry a gun, but then I’d be no better than a common criminal. If I shot my attacker, I’d be just as guilty in the eyes of the law.”
“That’s not true,” Mitchell said.
“IS IT?” Dylan asked. Before he fell into hysterics again, he sobbed. “What can I do? What the hell can I do to make this pain stop?”
Yes, fall was a gloomy time in Harpers Falls. But the darkness was just beginning for Dylan. Winter would be chilly, like ice.