However, as I became more awake, the image of Henry faded away, replaced by the massive figure of Ray.
Dreams can be so cruel sometimes.
I sat up, flinching a bit from the pain from my broken ribs. They still hurt, but not as much as they used to. I looked down at Ray, who had slept with his chair next to my bed just so that he wouldn’t let go of my hand for me. Such a selfless act for a selfish man, I thought. Gingerly I poked Ray’s shoulder. My finger was met by flesh more solid then steel. How could anything possibly be that hard? Without even knowing it, my eyes gazed over Ray’s details.
He was certainly a big boy now, that Ray. His arms were so big and thick, thicker then most men’s legs. I was surprised to see that the sleeves were still intact, seeing how he had ripped Henry’s old shirt while growing. Of course, the fact that Ray was actually wearing a shirt was surprising in itself. Where did he find a shirt that could contain his bulk? The question grew on me as I looked over the vast expanse of his back. There were so many ridges and shadows that for a moment I compared it to the waves on an ocean.
After admiring Ray, I eased back down on my hospital bed. There was no point in waking Ray up. He must’ve had a long, hard night as well, so I figured that I should just let him sleep.
I didn’t have to wait long before Ray stirred. Soon his eyes fluttered open and he sat back up again. He let go of my hand so that he could raise his arms in a big stretch in order to dispel the stiffness in his oversized muscles. I watched as his already huge muscles flex even huger, if ‘huger’ is even an actual word. His melon sized pecs thrust forward, his erect nipples poking through the fabric. His lats grew wider and wider, causing his immense shadow to completely eclipse me. And his arms…oh God, they looked so big and strong right now, how they stretched the material of that shirt to the limit as his biceps and triceps bulged. In mid stretch, I could hear something somewhere tear open, a sign that something had been unable to withstand the pressure of containing Ray’s raw power. Ray quickly brought down his arms again to prevent further damage and his cheeks grew rosy.
“My, you’re a big boy now, aren’t ya?” I chuckled softly, though in truth I had been aroused by the display of masculinity. I admit that purposely poked fun at Ray in order to hide my arousal.
Ray’s face went scarlet, though I could see the side of his mouth crook upwards slightly. It appeared that I was correct in assuming that Ray liked comments about his body. After remaining completely silent for a long time, Ray turned toward me.
Bryce, when you first saw me grow I read his lips, Were you…disgusted by me?
“Disgusted?” I stared at him. “Why in the world did you think that? Wait, was that why you ran away from me? You were afraid of what I would think of you?”
Ray shifted in his seat uncomfortably, his chair groaning in protest under his weight. I am sorry I have caused you so much trouble, Bryce. I never had the intention of burdening you with the problems of a….a freak.
That did it. “Now wait just a damn minute here!” I raised my voice loudly. “You are not a freak!”
But- He started to mouth.
“Shut up and let me finish!” I cut him off. “I don’t care what you think, or what you can do. You are not a freak. If anyone is a freak here, it’s me. What kind of deranged person would invite complete strangers into their home?”
I reached forward and took his head into my hands. I tried to pull him closer to me, but I couldn’t budge him a single inch. So instead I leaned myself closer so we could see each other eye to eye, even though the pain in my sides protested a bit.
“You are not a freak, do you hear me? You are a unique individual with remarkable gifts and talents. It doesn’t matter if you suddenly have a growth spurt or anything, because I know that no matter what, you will always be the same person I met three weeks ago. Nothing, and I mean nothing will ever change that.”
Ray looked at me in shock. Right in front of me, blue eyes began to water up. Before he could shed his tears, he grabbed me and pulled me into a tight hug.
When Ray had hugged me the first time, it had been a very erotic experience for me, I had to admit. Now that he was super sized, however, I might’ve came right then and there. He was just so big and hard, with all those hot massive muscles pressing against me. It would have been very arousing. That is, if I wasn’t excruciating pain.
“Aah! Ray! My ribs, my ribs!” I howled.
Ray abruptly let me go and jerked back in alarm. The force of the motion caused his chair to tip back. I saw Ray threw his arms out wildly to try to keep balance, but it didn’t do him any good. The chair couldn’t just support Ray’s weight on just two legs so it promptly broke into pieces. When Ray’s big behind hit the floor, I could actually feel a tremor shake my bed.
“Are you alright?” I asked, peeking over the side of my bed. Ray was sitting in the middle of the shattered remains of his chair, looking rather embarrassed with himself. He looked up apologetically.
I am alright. He reported, though I imagined his pride had taken a hard blow. Quickly he pushed himself up, the muscle cords in his arms bulging as he did so. How about you? Did I hurt you?
“Not really.” I said. “I was just a little surprised, that’s all. But damn, that sure was funny! Hahaha owow…” I had begun to laugh but my sides started to hurt again. Aparently broken ribs and laughing did not mix.
“I see you’re just as clumsy as ever Ray.” Someone chuckled.
I jumped in my bed, which brought the pain in my side right back. “Who’s there?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you like that.” The speaker said as he closed the door behind him as he entered. He was a teenager, only around fourteen years old. He appeared to have an athletic body underneath his Packers jersey. He was a bit tall for his age, probably just starting to go through puberty. His face was remarkably handsome. Smooth, light brown hair, nice facial features and sparkling blue eyes…
I stared at those blue eyes. Where have I seen those eyes before? They seem so familiar…
Ray, however, seemed to recognize our visitor right away. Involuntarily he stepped back with a fearful look on his face and his entire body tensed up, followed quickly by a few more tearing sounds. He looked like he was just about ready to bolt on out of there.
“Whoa Ray, calm down.” The boy held up his hands. “I’m not here to hurt you or anything; I just wanted to see you.”
How did you know where to find me? Ray mouthed.
The boy’s eyebrow rose up when he saw Ray’s mouth move, but no words were formed. “So the doc wasn’t kidding when he said you lost your voice.”
Ray wringed his large hands as he looked around.
“Ray, where’s your pad?” I asked.
I abandoned it right after the accident yesterday. Ray mouthed. He appeared to be on the verge of a panic attack. Oh, what do I do, what do I do? Why is he here? Oh God, do they know I’m here? Ray began making frequent glances towards the window, making me become afraid he would try to jump out to escape.
“He wants to know what you’re doing here, and if they know he’s here as well.” I informed the kid. Since I was the only one who could somewhat read Ray’s lips, it was up to me to help translate. “And as for me, I wish to know who you are, what relationship you have with Ray and who ‘they’ are.”
“Oh I’m sorry.” The kid apologized. “I guess I assumed that Ray already told you who I was. I’m his younger brother, Dominic, but you can call me Nick.”
I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open at that point, because I was so shocked I could have lit up a Christmas tree. “I’m sorry, b-but did you say b-brother?”
Nick looked slightly embarrassed. “Y-yea. You wouldn’t imagine someone as big as he is to be related to a twig like me.”
I gawked at him. Although Nick was no Ray, he wasn’t as thin or small as he admitted. He was actually pretty tall and nicely muscular for a fourteen year old. One look back at Ray, however, told me that Nick probably had an inferiority complex when compared to the mind blowing size he was packing. Just about anyone would look puny standing next to him.
How did you know where to find me? Ray asked, still acting a little high strung. Quickly I translated for Ray.
“The doc called home this morning, saying you were back in here.” Nick explained. “I was the only one at home at the time, so Mom and Dad doesn’t know.”
Shouldn’t you be in school? Ray asked next, though he had calmed down quite a bit after hearing his parents had no idea.
Nick gave a short fake laugh. “As if I wouldn’t ditch to see my one and only big brother…and damn, you gotten really big since the last time I saw you.”
That phrase made me wonder how big Ray had gotten and in what amount of time. Just imagining one of those growth spurts again made me hard.
Ray grinned momentarily before his face grew grim again. How are mother and father? Are they well?
Nick snorted. “They’re acting like a bunch of assholes, so I wouldn’t worry about them that much.”
Nick! Ray protested ‘loudly.’ They’re our parents! You shouldn’t say those things about them!
“How can you say that?” Nick raised his voice. “They’re the ones who kicked you out of the house!”
They’re still our parents! Ray ‘yelled’ back. I just informed Nick politely.
I felt oddly left out of the conversation, even though I was the one doing the actual speaking for Ray. I felt so lost and confused at that point. Ray having a brother, his parents kicked him out, Ray’s sudden growth; all of these facts turned my brain to gravy as I tried to keep up.
“Do you know what they did the day after you left?” Nick asked. “They took all of your stuff and then threw it into a shredder! They burned up every photo you’ve ever been in, and they even turned your room into an entertainment center! They even act as if you’ve never even existed!”
Ray stiffened up a bit from Nick’s words. He had obviously been hurt by them, but he did his best to hide his pain. When I left home, I had abandoned my previous life as well, Nick. I couldn’t live up to their expectations, so I had no right to live with them any longer.
“Screw their expectations!” Nick swore. “They used to be proud to have a son like you! Top grades, honor classes, star foot ball player, popular with the girls; Dad used to carry your picture around with him in his wallet just so he could show off to his other colleagues at work, and Mom used to brag about you to all of her lawyer friends. You were the perfect son, and they threw you out just because you were gay!”
There was a long awkward silence following Nick’s words. None of us had any idea what to say next, and I think all of us were afraid to speak up. Fortunately, the door opened up and Dr. Bradley entered the room.
“Morning everyone, did you all sleep well?” Dr. Bradley asked cheerfully as he entered the room.
“We all slept fine.” I answered politely, ending our little standoff. “Is there anything you need doctor?”
“I’m just checking in on you to make sure you’re doing fine.” Doctor Bradley said as he went over to my bed and read the sheets. “According to this, you’re condition has improved since last night. I want you to stay here with us for a few more days, however, so we can closely monitor your health.”
“Alright Doc.” I nodded.
“Oh, and Mr. Frost?”
“Yes?” Nick asked and Ray lifted his head at the same time.
“Er…Reynard Frost.” Dr. Bradley corrected. “The people down in the lab wishes requests your presence. They wish to perform a few more tests. That is if you don’t mind obliging.”
Ray nodded and began to follow the doctor out of the room. I didn’t know why, but panic filled me at the thought of Ray leaving me again. My panic was obvious to everyone because the monitor that measured my heart rate began to beep faster. Immediately Ray turned around and rushed to my side, his huge hand gripping mine. He lips moved, asking me something but my mind couldn’t focus enough to read them.
“Mr. Summers, what’s wrong?” Dr. Bradley asked as he went over to me.
“I…I….” My breath hitched. Even if I could form proper words, I didn’t know what to say.
Ray reached with his free hand and brushed the hair from my eyes. Then he began to caress my face, just like he had done the previous night. Slowly I felt myself calm down a bit as he stroked my forehead. From someone so big and hard looking, you wouldn’t expect such a soft and gentle touch. It had an incredible soothing quality to it that put me at ease.
I will be right back. Ray mouthed with painstaking slowness so that I could understand his words clearly. I nodded my head slightly, and he reluctantly let go of my hand and pulled back.
Dr. Bradley went up to me and made a quick check on things such as my pulse and blood pressure before he left with Ray.
Just before he left, Ray turned around and looked at me. Something about his face looked a bit painful, but then he warmed up and smiled at me again. With a cheerful wave that nearly demolished his shirt sleeve, Ray turned sideways, couched down and squeezed through the door, his oversized pectorals nearly brushing the doorframe as he did.
I watched attempt to walk out the door with mixed emotions. God, it just wasn’t possible for anyone to be that big. I was turned on by the thought of someone so huge that he could barely fit through doorways and broken chairs that had been unable to support a mountain of muscle. At the same time I was disgusted with myself for thinking such thoughts. Ray was, after all, just a high school teenager. He wasn’t even eighteen yet!
I sighed and laid back in my bed once more. It seemed that for an injured man, I was moving just a bit too much. The day had barely started and already I had a headache.
“So, how do you know Ray?”
I opened my eyes. I hadn’t realized that Nick had stayed behind. Giving a small grunt, I sat up yet again.
“It’s a long story.” I told him. “Perhaps you should get a chair and sit down, this may take awhile.”
“My name is Bryce.” I chuckled as softly as I could manage without agitating my ribs.
“Bryce.” Nick repeated, firmly remembering my name. He walked over around my bed towards the chair against the wall and pulled it up next to the remains of the one Ray sat in. Once he was comfortable, I told him about how I had met Ray on the streets and how I had convinced him to live with me. I glossed over the useless info of our daily lives and moved on to the events of the previous day, from the trip to my editor’s office, Ray’s sudden growth, my desperate search and then finally waking up in the hospital.
“It sounds like you’ve been through a lot.” Nick remarked as I finished my story.
“It all feels like one, big dream to me.” I commented. “I never would have imagined something like this ever happening to me in my lifetime.”
“Ray took us all by surprise, I think.” Nick stated.
I frowned. “That reminds me, can you tell me a bit more about Ray? I have a lot of questions I want to ask.”
Nick looked a bit uneasy at first, but then he relaxed. “Alright, I guess I can tell you. After all, you did take care of my big brother for all that time without asking questions.”
Nick took a deep breath, and then began to tell me Ray’s story.
* * *
Ray had always been extraordinary. My parents both were very athletic, with my father just shy of 7 feet tall and weighing around 200 pounds of brawn. It was obvious that when my mother became pregnant, she was going to have a very healthy boy. And Ray didn’t disappoint. When he was born two weeks early, he was a whooping eight pounds. I have seen pictures of him as a baby, and already he was the most beautiful baby boy you would ever see.
Ray was a dream to our parents while growing up. He didn’t fuss, nor cry often. He was always a giggling bundle of joy. There were two things that really bothered my parents when he was just a child. One was that he ate a lot more then other babies. My parents didn’t mind all that much, but Ray just kept on eating. The other was that he wouldn’t stop growing! It was becoming increasingly difficult for my parents when he outgrew his clothes three weeks after they had bought them.
Ray grew up very quickly his first year. At 5 months old he was already walking, and at 6 months he had already spoken his first word, “touchdown” (My father was watching the Super Bowl on the TV. He took that as a sign and pushed Ray at football ever since). When he reached his first birthday, he was already speaking and communicating with the same capacity as someone twice his age.
Thinking that Ray was a genius, my parents decided to have his IQ scored. And they were right; Ray had an IQ of about 190.
About a year and a half later, I was born. My parents had waited my birth in anticipation, hoping for another prodigy like their first son. However, I was born with a normal weight and appearance. I had a normal growth cycle like all other babies, and for my parents I really pushed them to their limit with my crying even though others told me I wasn’t really that fussy. Perhaps they had been expecting another bundle of joy, like Ray.
My earliest memory of my older brother was when I was about four or so. I was playing with my marbles when one got away from me and rolled under the couch. It was out of reach and the couch was far too heavy for me to lift. That didn’t mean I didn’t try, though. I strained to lift it up, but I couldn’t budge it more then a few centimeters.
“Is there something wrong Nick?”
I dropped the couch and turned around. Ray had been standing behind me while watching my efforts curiously. Out of habit I tilted my head down. Here was the big brother that everybody was always talked about. The one Mom and Dad, and practically everyone praised and paid more attention to. I didn’t need the lack of attention or to be told that I was inferior to him. I could just see it with my own eyes. He was much taller then me, taller then any of the other six year olds. He was very handsome (or so everyone keeps on saying, I didn’t really understand the concept then) and he was very, very smart.
“I…I dropped my marble under the couch.” I sniffed. I felt like I was on the verge of tears over a stupid marble. Although it was a very cool cat’s eye marble and was also the prize of my collection.
“Do you want me to go get it for you?” Ray asked.
Silently, I nodded.
Ray walked over to the couch and gave it a brief look. Then e bent his knees and grabbed the bottom of the couch. With a clean jerk, he stood up straight, the couch lifting upwards as if it weighed nothing to him.
I stood there in awe as I watched him reach down and grab my marble. “Here you go Nick.” Ray said as he tossed me my marble. When he let go of the couch, it made a loud bang when it hit the ground. He winced a bit at the sound, realizing that he should have let it down more gently. When he turned around, his eyebrows raised.
“Is there something wrong?” He asked curiously.
I realize that my mouth had been hanging open. “Y-you’re so strong Ray! I mean, wow, you must be the strongest boy in the world!”
“Really?” Ray looked a bit shyly at me.
“Really!” I said excitedly. “Can you flex your arms for me? Your muscles must be bigger then any of the other kids!”
“I…I don’t know.” Ray shifted a bit uncomfortably.
“Oh pleeeease!” I begged, giving him my most adorable face. “Can I pleeeease see it?”
Finally, Ray gave in. “Alright, if you want to see it that much…” Ray rolled up his sleeve, raised his arm up and then flexed.
“Oh wow!” I exclaimed as I watched a ball of muscle pop up. Ray’s muscles weren’t huge like those bodybuilders on TV, but his was bigger then mine at least. While other kids had only a bump covered in baby fat, Ray’s bicep had a nicely shaped rise and was devoid of any traces fat, allowing me to see only pure muscle.
I couldn’t help but go up to my brother and squeeze his arm. “Wow Ray, you’re so big! It’s harder then a rock, even!”
“You’re just saying that.” Ray laughed as he ruffled my hair. However, he did have a kind of satisfied look on his face as I continued to feel his muscle.
After that day I looked at my brother in a different light. Before I saw him as the person everybody loved because he was so much better then I was. But now I saw him the same way everybody else did, and even more. Ray was everything a little brother could always hope for. He played with me whenever I seemed lonely. He would spend his own free time with me. He would help me with my homework whenever I found something difficult. He was always helping me and being so kind and caring.
I didn’t just love my brother. I worshiped the very ground he walked on.
Ever since that first day I asked him to make a muscle, Ray began to become more aware of his body. He started to eat healthy, played outdoors more often and at night he would do as many sit ups and push ups as he could manage. It came as no surprise when he received a weight set for his eighth birthday.
So Ray began working out, and his muscles responded by growing bigger. He would wake up an hour early in the mornings to pump some iron, and when he came home from school he did an additional two hour work out. His muscles grew bigger, harder and stronger from his unwavering dedication. Only thing was, the bigger he became, the bigger he wanted to be. Sometimes I would catch him in his room, flexing in front of the mirror admiring his body. And what a body it was! 2 years have past since he first started working out, and he was already bigger then most high school freshmen. Imagine the body of a model, all compact onto a ten year old’s body. He had 120 lbs. of bulk and definition, all on a 5’9” frame. While other kids his age had flabby stomachs, my brother had a ripped six pack already visible. Although my brother had a great body, I could see that his eyes said he wanted even more.
And one day, he got what he wanted.
It was an ordinary day. I was helping Ray with his workout as his spotter, which made me feel special that he would trust me to aid him in building his body. However, as I watched him lift, I began to wonder just how strong he really was. He never seemed like he was really straining with the weights, and childish curiosity overcame my better judgment. While my brother was distracted with his stereo, I loaded his barbell with as many weight as possible.
And Ray, trusting me completely, laid down on the bench, grabbed the bar and lifted it off the rack without even checking the weight.
Immediately I could tell I did something horribly wrong and dangerous. Ray cried out in surprise and pain as the bar dropped to his chest. He was straining to keep the bar off of him, to prevent it from crushing him completely. I completely panicked when I saw how much he was hurting. I tried to help him lift the bar back up, but I was too small and weak to make much of a difference. I know I should have called for someone, or pulled some of the weight off of the bar or something else, but I was so afraid that I was killing my brother that my mind stopped working.
All of a sudden, Ray’s face changed. It became less painful and stressed, and more…determined, if anything. Ray took several short breaths, and then he pushed with all his might. Slowly, the bar began to rise up into the air. My eyes were transfixed on the bar as it rose centimeter by centimeter. Finally, his arms were fully extended outward.
I breathed a sign of relief. Just when I thought it was over, however, Ray unexpectedly began to lower the bar again. I gawked at him as he purposely brought the bar back down to his chest again and then forced himself to do another impossible rep before putting it back on the rack.
“Ray, are you alright?” I cried as I raced to my brother’s side. “I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t have done that! I’m so sorry, please forgive I didn’t mean to hurt you!>”
“It’s…alright…brother.” Ray breathed deeply. “I…am…not…injured.”
Something was wrong. Ray was still breathing hard, and his body was shaking.
I watched as the tremors in my brother’s body grew stronger and stronger. I began to panic again as Ray’s limbs jerked. I had broken my brother, I thought. I betrayed his trust, and now he was all messed up! Then I noticed Ray’s face. It wasn’t the face of pain. In fact, he looked…happy Then something amazing happened.
Ray was getting bigger.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Ray was growing right in front of me! All over his muscles swelled up like he was having an allergic reaction in all the right places. The t-shit he was wearing was suddenly stretched tight as his chest inflated outwards. His arms swelled up and stretched his sleeves as his biceps and triceps inflated like two water balloons. Even his shorts were having problems as his expanding thighs and buttocks made it as tight as bicycle shorts. His bones cracked and crunched as his body stretched out, making him even taller then he had been before so his frame could accommodate all the muscle he was gaining.
Almost as soon as it started, Ray’s growth stopped. Both of us looked at each other.
“W-what just happened?” I asked.
“I…I don’t know.” Ray said uncertainly. He stood up and then wobbled a bit. I quickly lunged forward from my spot to help Ray steady himself. “Sorry Nick. My center of balance has been altered, so I wasn’t prepared to handle the adjustment so quickly.” Ray took a few steps before he regained his balance and I was able to let go.
I looked at my brother up and down. Before he had been 5’9” and weighed 120 pounds. Now he was 6’3” and looked like he weighed 150 pounds, a 30 pound gain in just a few minutes. His clothes were now several sizes too small, and it was a miracle that the didn’t rip open. His shirt was tight across the chest and sleeves, and the hem was about 3 inches too short now, revealing 4 deeply cut abs. His shorts rode up revealing his large quads, and his basket was embarrassingly full.
“You’re…you’re…really big.” That was all I could say.
Ray shrugged his broad shoulders. “It was a little unprecedented, but I suppose I would have achieved this size in a matter of time. Who knew it would only take a few minutes?”
Needless to say, our parents were very surprised to discover that their ten year old son had a major growth spurt. They took him to the doctors to have tests performed on him to discover the cause. I’m not too positive on the technical terms, but Ray’s body had a special hormone that was released whenever his body was pushed to the very limit. It grants him a burst of strength in order to accomplish whatever task he was performing, and at the moment of rest it then rapidly reconstructs his skeletal and muscular systems in order to be able to prevent further strain, turning what used to be almost impossible to lift into something that seemed normal to Ray.
Although Ray loved being so much bigger now, he kept his ability a secret from all of his friends. Whenever someone asked how he became so big, Ray would evade the question by blaming his good genetics and exercise program, which was partially true.
By the time Ray reached high school, he had gone through two more growth spurts from over exerting himself during his workouts. At 205 lbs. of pure muscle, he was the talk of the entire school. Immediately he became Ray a star football player, an honor student, class president and pretty soon the most popular kid in school. He loved the attention he (or more specifically, his muscles) was receiving. Whenever someone asked him to flex, he would happily obliged. Whenever someone coped a feel, he didn’t complain. He just enjoyed their praise.
When I first entered high school, for once people took notice of me. They claimed I had a nice body, a handsome face and was rather intelligent for a freshman. Several girls were even interested in me. I didn’t think they were serious, because I wasn’t anything like what they said. When I sat down next to Ray at lunch, however, and he introduced me to his buddies as his brother, suddenly everyone wanted to be my friend. For once, I felt like I was the center of attention, even though they were probably trying to use me to get to Ray. I didn’t blame them though, because Ray was simply that awesome.
However, he was worried about one thing. He was already too big as a teenager that any bigger would raise some questions among his peers. So, he stopped working out at home to prevent himself from having another growth spurt, although he still helped me with my own workouts. He kept his physical activity to a minimal in order to protect his secret.
And he managed to hide it…for two years.
From what I’m told, he had another growth spurt right in front of an entire room full of classmates. Just like his first growth spurt six years before, his football buddies pressured him into doing a few bench presses for them. Ray was reluctant, but then they started to praise how big his muscles were, and big he was. Ray’s inflated head got the better of him as he laid down and grabbed the bar. What he didn’t know was that his buddies were actually trying to pull a prank on him. They had loaded the bar with so many weights when ray wasn’t looking that any normal student wouldn’t have been able to move it off the rack.
Ray, however, just blindly trusted his friends and didn’t even look at how much weight he was pressing until he had already started.
Before he had started pumping, he was 6’7” and 213 lbs. After he finished, he was 7’0” and over 230 lbs of rock hard muscle. He had finally reached the 7’ mark, and it marked the end of his happy life.
From then on, people began to look at Ray differently. They whispered behind his back, changed directions whenever they saw him, avoided eye contact. Various rumors floated around concerning Ray, some of them very outlandish, and others surprisingly close to the truth. It was the names that really got to Ray.
These words were like stabs in the heart every time Ray heard them. He had grown up his entire life having everyone adore him. Now, everyone around him treated him as an outcast. Ray kept on moving forward, though. He was determined to live his life enjoying every moment, even though there wasn’t much to enjoy at that time.
After this last growth spurt, he took his problems to the doctors to see if they could do anything to stop them. However, what the doctors suggested was that Ray willingly go under 24 surveillance and subject himself to several lifelong tests in order to isolate the growth hormone in his body. He would have become trapped like a lab rat, all of his freedom and free will taken away from him.
After that, Ray became a bit more reclusive and secretive with everyone else. He dropped out of the football team and resigned from student president. His grades began to drop down, and he began to grow even lonelier. The only person Ray ever opened up to was me. I listened to his worries and his deepest fears and secrets, all while trying my best to cheer up my big brother.
But Ray had one more secret that even I didn’t know.
One day, our father came home from work early. I was in my room, reading a book for an assignment and Ray was in his room. He had his “Do Not Enter” sign posted on his door, which he posted often during the time when our parents were still at work. Being a good little boy, I complied to his wishes and stayed away from his room to allow him some privacy.
Our Dad came up the stairs and saw the sign. It was the first time he had ever seen it, so he went ahead and opened the door without knocking.
The book tumbled out of my hands as I jumped up. Without even thinking twice I ran out the door, down the hall and stopped right outside of Ray’s open door.
Ray was in the chair in front of his computer, looking very scared and disheveled. His breathing was a bit shallow and his fly was open, revealing a bulging boxer shorts.
“What were you looking at before I came in?” My Dad asked coldly. I never seen him act so angry in my life.
“I-I was just-”
“WHAT WERE YOU LOOKING AT!?” My Dad yelled. I took a step back in surprise. My Dad never yelled at Ray before.
Ray flinched from my Dad’s voice. He looked fearfully at him, an expression that didn’t belong on a guy his size. He hung his head down, his hands holding his knees so tightly that his knuckles popped.
“I…I’m sorry Dad…” Ray sobbed. “I…I was looking at p…po…”
“Porn?” My Dad finished, cutting Ray off like a knife.
“Y-yes…” Ray stuttered. Never have I seen him act so helpless and weak.
My Dad ran his hand through his hair. “Listen Ray, I know that you are a growing teenager, and you get…urges, but no father wants to find his son jacking off!”
Ray nodded. “Y-yes sir…”
“Now, I don’t want to catch you doing this again, alright?” My Dad said firmly. “I won’t tell your mother as long as you promise to restrain yourself.”
“Th-thank you sir….” Ray whispered.
“Alright then…” My Dad said and began to leave.
“Yes Ray?” My Dad turned back around.
There was a deathly silence following Ray’s unexpected confession.
“Get out…” My Dad finally said.
“What?” Ray’s head lifted.
“Get out.” My Dad repeated, his entire body shaking with rage.
“Don’t call me that!” Dad bellowed. “Get out! Get out of my house! I don’t want to see your face EVER AGAIN! Get out get out get out!”
Ray bolted from his chair. When he reached me, I reached out to stop him.
“Don’t touch that freak Nick!” My Dad’s voice stopped me.
Ray looked like someone had stabbed him. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been to have his own father call him a freak.
“Goodbye Nick.” Ray muttered as ran down the stairs and vanished out of the house.
The next day at school, rumors of Ray began floating around again. From what I heard, after he had been kicked out of his house he went to all of his old friends houses to ask for help. However, their responses were heartless. Each and every one of Ray’s so called friends turned their backs on him. They turned him away. They slammed the door in his face. They chased him off with threats of calling the police. Some even pretended not to be even home, leaving Ray standing out on the door porch before he finally gave up and left.
I felt so sick of them, that I almost couldn’t stand it.
Back home, my parents took their disownment to the extremes. They wiped every trace of Ray’s existence from the house. His clothes, his pictures, even his baby items were all burned or thrown out into the trash. When I had tried to stop them, they locked me in my room while they tried to erase my brother.
It wasn’t easy for me to live on without Ray’s presence. These past few months had been really tough for me to just get through the day.
Then, this morning just when I was about to leave for school the phone rang. I guess I could have just let the answering machine take it, but something told me to take the call. I walked over to the phone and picked up the receiver.
It was my brother’s old doctor calling in.
They had found Ray.
* * *
“…And that’s how I found out that Ray was here.” Nick finished his story.
I sat there digesting Nick’s story. There had been so many things that I hadn’t known about Ray. I had guessed several things over the past few weeks, and even more during the first fifteen minutes of the day, but I didn’t think I could have envisioned a story such as that one.
I covered my eyes as I took the time to think. “I never knew Ray had such a rough time.”
“How could anyone?” Nick opened and closed his hand. “Ray is just so…so…so perfect that you can’t imagine something that that happened to him.”
“Yea, I know what you mean.” I agreed. “But at least now I understand him a lot better then I did before.”
Nick looked at me peculiarly. “You seem to be taking all of this rather well.”
I gave a shrug. “Ray is a good kid. If I didn’t know him as well as I do now, I might’ve become seriously freaked a long time ago.”
“Hmm…” Nick looked at me skeptically. “Are you by any chance gay yourself?”
“Well, yes but what does that have to do with anything?” I asked.
“Oh, nothing.” Nick waved off. “It just answers a few questions of my own.”
I was about to inquire further, but then decided to let it drop. Instead, I turned into another subject that puzzled me. “So, do you know why Ray lost his voice?”
“The doctors gave me a short briefing about his current condition before I came up here.” Nick informed me. “They said that it’s not a physical ailment that’s causing his lose of speech, it’s a psychological one.”
“A psychological illness?” I was rather surprised by this new fact. “What do you think the cause is?”
“I’m not entirely sure myself.” Nick muttered, his face appeared deep in thought. “However, if I have to guess it, I think it’s because he’s afraid to ask someone for help. Every time he tried to reach out to someone, all he found was rejection. Rejection from Dad, his friends…his sub-consciousness must’ve blocked his ability of speech in order to prevent further suffering from speaking.”
“I…see.” Nick was definitely Ray’s little brother all right.
“Can I ask you a favor?”
“Hmm?” I raised my head.
“Can you continue to allow Ray to live with you?”
“Of course I will!” I said perhaps a bit too quickly.
Nick seemed taken aback by my enthusiasm. “Th-thank you. I feel a lot better knowing that Ray is in good hands.”
“Well I don’t know about that…” I said, my face surely blushing.
“Just…just show him that he can trust at least one person in this world.” Nick lowered his eyes. “Then perhaps he’ll become the same Ray I grew up with again.”
I reached forward and placed my hand on Nick’s shoulder. “I promise you I’ll do my very best to give Ray what he needs.”
“Thank you.” Nick smiled.