Robin Green could remember nothing of his cousin, Terry. They had last met six years ago when they were both only four years old; their respective ages being within one month of each other. He did, however know of the tragic circumstances which had befallen Terry. Firstly his father (the brother of Robin's father) had died in a road accident and his mother had married again to a Mr Deeping. Then his mother had died of a sudden illness leaving Terry in the hands of his step-father. Robin's parents had only met Deeping twice, once at the wedding and once at the funeral of Terry's mother, because they lived so far apart. Robin had attended neither as he was so young at the time it was considered better that he remained at school.
Then one day Mr and Mrs Green heard that Deeping's firm had won the contract for supplying and erecting the stands at a large exhibition to be held in the town hall in the nearby town, and it would mean Deeping staying in the area for a couple of weeks. As this would occur during the school holidays they thought it would be a good idea to invite Deeping and Terry to stay with them. It would give them the chance to get to know him better and Terry would make some company for Robin. Deeping could hardly refuse so he wrote and thanked them and agreed to come.
Robin immediately took to his cousin when they arrived although Terry did seem a little quiet and withdrawn. Robin envied many of his school friends who had brothers and sisters to live with and thought it was wonderful to have a boy of his own age in the house. But he could not take to Deeping. There was nothing Robin could put his finger on but there was something about the man that made the boy wary of him. Although Robin did not know it, his parents were forming a similar opinion of the man. It soon became obvious too that Terry was frightened of his step-father; perhaps that was why the lad was so withdrawn.
Deeping's work entailed that he had to be at the town hall sometimes during the day, sometimes during the evening, and sometimes both. One afternoon shortly after their arrival he was in the house, Fred was at his office and Mrs Green had gone shopping for the afternoon. She would not have left the boys in the house alone, but as Deeping was there she deemed it safe to go out. Robin was sitting in the lounge when he heard a commotion on the stairs. He came out of the lounge to see what all the noise was about. Her saw Deeping dragging Terry down the stairs by his ear! On reaching the bottom of the stairs he dragged Terry to the door of the front room. It was then that Deeping spotted Robin, a shocked expression on the boy's face.
"It's nothing to do with you!" he shouted at Robin, "You ain't seen nothing, Understand? Clear off!"
Robin was frightened. He retreated hastily as Deeping dragged Terry into the front room. Robin pulled himself together and went out of the back door and crept round to the front of the house. He got down on his hands and knees as he approached the front room window. despite the double glazing he could hear a slapping noise and the sound of Terry crying out in pain. Slowly he raised his head until he could peep in the corner of the window. Terry was across Deeping's knees and his step-father was spanking him really hard! Robin could not see Terry's bottom as Terry was the wrong way round for that, but his legs kept flying up and Robin could see that his shorts were dangling around his ankles and feet, so he was being spanked on his bare bottom!
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
It just went on and on and on!
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
There must have been thirty or forty heavy blows! At last it stopped. Robin slid away and returned to the lounge. He heard Deeping shouting at Terry to go upstairs, then the lounge door opened and Deeping stood there looking daggers at Robin.
"Remember what I said! You ain't seen or heard nothing! If you open your mouth I'll give you the same as that little brat got!"
Robin was shrinking back in an armchair with his eyes open wide.
"I won't say anything Mr Deeping!" squeaked Robin.
"You see that you don't!" snarled Deeping as he departed.
The evening came and Robin felt relieved that his parents were home. His mother had enquired about Terry's red eyes but Deeping explained that he had been rubbing them again.
"He's always doing that, it's a habit of his, isn't it Terry?"
They were later to find out that Deeping forced the boy to call him dad when in company.
"Why don't you two boys go and play in the garden?" suggested Robin's mother.
Robin was pleased to be able to be alone with Terry. He wanted to know what it was all about. Once out in the garden Terry was able to speak freely.
"What had you done?" asked Robin.
"Nothing!" answered Terry, "He said I slammed my bedroom door this morning. I didn't! He just makes up any old excuse to smack me! At home he smacks me every day! I've had a little break from it here. He darn't do it while your mum and dad are about!"
"Every day!" ejected Robin, "That's horrible! Can't you tell somebody?"
"I darn't! It would be worse for me if he found out I had told anybody! But the spankings are nothing! He whips me with canes and belts and things at least once a week. During school term he always does it Friday nights. I suppose that's so I can sit down again by Monday!"
"What! However can you stand it?" Robin asked.
"I just have to! Oh! Robin! It really hurts! I scream and scream but he still doesn't stop. He'll hit me twenty or thirty times with that cane! It stings like hell for hours. He's wicked! He's evil!"
His eyes looked watery and a tear streaked down his cheek as he finished talking. Robin felt helpless. If only he could do something to help.
"Come behind the shed where nobody can see us," said Terry, "I've want to show you something."
They went behind the shed. Terry pulled down his shorts and lifted his shirt tail. Robin gasped. Terry's buttocks were not only red from that afternoon's spanking, but were criss-crossed with welts.
"All the black stripes are from the caning he gave me just before we came here. The others are from the time before that!"
"Oh! Terry! You can't go on like this! If only I could help somehow." said Terry.
"No Robin! I'm frightened of what he might do to me if he thought I had told anybody."
The next afternoon Deeping and the two boys were again alone in the house. Robin shuddered as again he heard Deeping's angry voice in the hall and Terry being dragged into the front room. Once again Robin crept round to the front room window. It was a repeat of the afternoon before!
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
Poor Terry! Robin was almost in tears himself.
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
When at last the spanking finished Robin hastened back to the lounge, and, as the previous day, Deeping came to the doorway. Robin cowered back in his chair.
"You haven't heard nothing boy, have you?" he growled at Robin.
"No Mr Deeping! I didn't here anything!" a terrified Robin blurted out.
"Just one peep out of you boy and......."
He left Robin to guess the rest of the sentence as he turned and departed. Robin was too young to understand that the last thing Deeping dare do is touch somebody else's boy. But despite his fear of this awful man Terry felt determined that he must do something to help Terry.
That evening Deeping had gone to the town hall. Robin, Terry and Mr and Mrs Green sat in the lounge watching the television. Robin saw his chance when Terry left the room to go to the toilet.
"Dad! Will you come into the front room with me? I've got something important to tell you!"
Fred, thinking that it must be some childish little thing that could not be of any real importance, gave a chuckle.
"Is it so secret that even your mother musn't here it?" he joked.
"No, please dad! I'm serious. I'll tell mum afterwards. I don't want Terry to hear! Quick! Before he comes back!"
Fred could now see that the boy really had got something on his mind.
"Alright, Robin! Come on!"
In the front room Robin poured out his story. His father could hardly believe his ears!
"And," concluded Robin, "he said if I told anybody he would do the same to me!"
"He said WHAT!" exclaimed an enraged Fred, "If he ever laid a finger on you, son, his nose would be sticking out of the back of his head when I had finished with him!. Come back into the lounge and tell mum all about it while I have a word with Terry in here!"
Fred took Robin back to the lounge.
"Terry, can I have a word with you in the front room?"
Terry looked apprehensive. Being taken to the front room had some unpleasant memories for him!
"It's alright Terry! Go on!" urged Robin.
"Alright uncle Fred!" agreed Terry as he stood up and accompanied Fred into the other room.
"Robin has just been telling me about the way your step-father is treating you, Terry."
"Oh! No! Robin shouldn't have said anything. Deeping will murder me if he finds out I've told anybody! Please uncle, it's nothing to do with any of you!"
"It's everything to do with me, Terry. We may not know each other as well as we should but you are my brother's boy! If you are being ill treated it's my duty to help you. Your dad would have expected nothing less from me. Now show me those marks that you showed Robin."
Even Robin's lurid description of Terry's bottom had not prepared him for what he was about to see.
"My godfathers!" Fred exclaimed as he saw the the black and blue wheals covering the boy's buttocks, "You poor little devil! How long has this been going on?"
"Ever since mum died!" he whined as tears began to fill his eyes.
Fred fetched his wife to have a look. She was horrified with what she saw.
"Terry, don't worry. Whatever happens from now on I promise you that that monster will never hit you again! Ethel, take him back in the lounge, I'm going to ring the social services and the police!"
Things happened at a whirlwind pace after that. Within fifteen minutes two social services officers arrived and Terry was once again taken into the front room. Shortly after two police officers, one a policewoman, the other a plain clothes policeman, arrived. Terry was whisked away in a car without Robin even having the chance to say goodbye to him. Both Robin and Fred had to make statements to the police, the policewoman coaxing Robin's story out of him bit by bit. When all their visitors had left Robin asked his father where they had taken Terry.
"First they are taking him to a police doctor so that he can make out a report." explained Fred, "Then they will photograph those marks."
"Yes! For evidence. We will be seeing no more of Deeping (Fred could not bring himself to call him mister) in this house! The police are going to the town hall to arrest him tonight!"
"What about Terry? Is he coming back here?" asked Robin.
"I'm afraid not. Robin. They've taken him into care for the time being," said his father, "We must just let the law take it's course now."
While Robin was glad that there would be no more of those awful beatings for Terry he was sad that his cousin had been taken away from him so suddenly. Some months passed, throughout which Robin constantly asked about Terry, but his parents seemed unwilling to talk about him and always changed the subject as quickly as they could. Then came Deeping's trial. Robin had to give evidence as a witness for the prosecution. He did not have to go into the courtroom, but instead there was a video link to a nearby room and the judge and QCs removed their wigs to make it less intimidating for him. The prosecuting lawyers had rehearsed with Robin how the defending council might cross-examine him. Indeed the defending QC tried accusing Robing of lying and suggested that he never went anywhere near the front room window and had not witnessed any spanking! Robin had been carefully briefed that this might be their line and he stuck resolutely to his story. The defending council finally gave up!
"No more questions, M'Lud!"
Terry of course also had to give evidence. Some of the jury members were seen to wipe away an occasional tear as he told his pathetic story. At one stage he himself broke down in tears as he described the horrific thrashings he had had on a regular basis and the court had to be adjourned for a while. The doctor's report was _d_a_m_n_ing and so were the photographs of Terry's buttocks which were passed around amongst the jury. The jury were only out for a half an hour. It was a unanimous guilty verdict. The judge turned to Deeping.
"Andrew Deeping, you are an evil and dangerous man who took advantage of an innocent and defenceless little boy who was in your care, and subjected him to abominable cruelty in order to satisfy your sadistic lust!"
The judge sentenced him to six years in jail.
Back at home, Robin repeatedly asked for news of Terry, but still his mother and father tried to avoid the subject. Robin despaired of ever meeting his cousin again. Then one Monday afternoon, just three days short of his eleventh birthday, he came out of school to find his parents waiting for him in the car. Robin always walked home; it only took ten minutes.
"Mum! Dad! What are you doing here?" he asked.
"Jump in the back Robin. I'll explain as we go along." said his father.
Robin got on the rear seat and the car moved off.
"We're going to Ravensfield Manor." Fred began
"Ravensfield!" said Robin excitedly, "Isn't that the home where Terry is? Are we going to see him?"
"Yes Robin! Now listen! We have not told you what's been going on these last few months in case things did not work out as we hoped, but now we can tell you! We have adopted Terry!"
The news had the same effect on Robin as a bomb going off beside him would have had!
"Adopted him!" Robin yelled out, "You mean he's coming to live with us?"
"Yes Robin, and from now on he's not only your cousin but also your adopted brother!"
Robin could not contain his exhilaration! He flung his arms around his mother's shoulders.
"Oh mum! This is the best birthday present I've ever had!"
"Alright, try and calm down!" laughed Fred, "He will be going to your school and in the same class as you! I have arranged it all with your headmaster. But he won't be starting until next week. He'll need a few days to settle in at home."
Fred went on to explain to Robin how it had taken months what with all the red tape and the social services checking to ascertain whether they were suitable people to adopt Terry. The fact that they were his nearest relatives and there was another boy of the same age in the house finally clinched the matter. It was a forty minute drive to Ravensfield. They parked in a small car park about two hundred yards from the door of the imposing building.
"you wait in the car, Robin." said his father, "It will take a little time. There will be forms to sign and other formalities. We'll be as quick as we can."
It seemed like hours to Robin. In point of fact it was only about twenty minutes when he saw his mother, father, Terry and the principle of the home emerge from the door. Terry looked radiantly happy! Robin had never seen him look like that before! The principle shook hands with Mr and Mrs Green, then patted Terry on his head and shook hands with him. Robin could wait no longer! He jumped from the car and raced towards them. Terry saw him coming and ran to meet him. The two boys fell into each others arms and locked into a firm embrace, each resting his chin on the other's shoulder.
"Oh Terry! You're coming to live with us!" shrieked Robin.
Terry could not answer him! He was crying! The tears were rolling down his face! But this time they were tears of joy!
After breakfast the next morning Robin put on his school jacket.
"I've got to go to school now." said Robin, "You'll be coming with me next week."
"Yes. I'm looking forward to it! Can I come and meet you out of school today?" asked Terry.
"Yes! I'd like you to!" replied Robin.
Robin came out of school that afternoon accompanied by Sam, one of his friends. He looked across the road. Terry stood there smiling and gave a wave. Robin returned the smile and the wave.
"Who's that?" enquired Sam.
This was the moment Robin had waited for all day!
"That's my brother Terry!" replied Robin proudly, "Come and meet him!"
Sam wrinkled his brow!
"Brother? I didn't know you had a brother!"
Robin's smile broadened into a wide grin!
"I have now!" he replied.