A/N: The song lyrics used here are from Howard's Tale by Sick Puppies

I parked the car in front of the elementary school I had attended when I was a child and turned off the ignition. I had been driving with the air conditioning off and the windows rolled up so my face and neck were dripping with sweat. Despite the overheating I was currently experiencing, I felt completely cold on the inside. It was a feeling I had for as long as I could remember and it was one that didn't get better no matter what I did. For the longest time I never understood why that was, but last night, I had an epiphany. The epiphany was so simple that I had a hard time believing that I didn't realize it sooner. I was simply just too fucked up to ever be normal. There was no saving me at this point. Every attempt I had made at a normal existence had failed miserably and it would continue to fail miserably until the day I died. There was really no saving me at this point.

As I slowly let out the breath I had been holding, I unbuckled my seatbelt and reached over so I could open the glove box. With a shaking hand, I pulled out the loaded gun I had stolen from my dad just two hours earlier. I stared at it for the longest time, amazed by how heavy it felt. Come on, just do it, a little voice in my head said. You know it's for the best. It's not like anybody's going to miss you anyway. Just do it and get it over with.

I tightened my grip on the gun so I didn't drop it as I brought it closer to me. I told myself to quit fucking around and just do it already. Why was I prolonging this longer than I needed to? My whole life had been building to this moment. Why did I feel the idiotic need to waste more time?

After more hesitation, I finally got the barrel of the gun into my mouth. My breathing began to get really erratic as my finger began inching towards the trigger. Now that I was actually about to do it, there was a part of me that didn't want to go through with it. Part of me was afraid to die, even though I knew it would bring me the peace that I so desperately needed. I forced myself to take a deep breath and attempted to close my eyes. But as I was doing that, I spotted a picture that had fallen down to the floor of the car when I had gotten the gun out. For some reason that I couldn't understand, it compelled me to take the gun back out of my mouth and set it aside so I could pick it up and look at it. Once I did that though, I wish that I had just left it alone. The picture was a family photo taken three years ago during Christmas. Mom was sitting in the middle, a smile faker than plastic pasted on her face. Dad was off to her right, holding her hand and pretending that he was with us but his eyes betrayed the disinterest he had for family time. I was off to Mom's left and I looked like I wanted to be anywhere but there at that moment. The reason why was right in the middle of the picture, standing behind Mom and touching my shoulder like it was the most innocent thing in the world.

I quickly ripped up the picture and toss it aside but it was too late. The damage was done. Once again I could feel Dustin's hands on me, just like I always did in my nightmares. I closed my eyes and violently shook my head. "No," I whimpered miserably. "No. No no no no NO!" I began smacking the steering wheel with each word I said, hoping that I could stop myself from reliving everything over and over in my head again. But despite my best efforts, I could not stop it. "Fuck fuck fuck!" I screamed, my voice cracking under the strain it was under. I finally rested my head on the steering wheel, completely helpless to stop the tears that started leaking from my shut eyes.

Age five, just a little boy shy

Is he ready for the big surprise?

He'll be laying lego in a dream

When the shadows come to life

I remembered the day it all started perfectly. Despite being only five years old when it happened, I remembered the day so clearly that it felt just like yesterday. I was outside in my yard, playing with my legos because Mom had kicked me out of the house so she could sleep off her headache without any disturbances. I was in the middle of attempting to build the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars when Dustin approached me.

"Hey Code Man," he said cheerfully.

"Hi Dustin," I said back just as cheerfully. Back then I absolutely adored my older brother. He was nine years older than I was and he was everything that I wanted to be when I reached the magical age of fourteen. Tall, handsome, athletic, popular…these were all attributes that made my parents treat Dustin like a prince and even back then I knew that I was expected to be the same things when I got older. "You want to play with me?"

"Yeah sure," he said, casting a nervous look at the house. "Can we go play in the garage though?"

I frowned. I didn't like the garage. It was all dark and it stunk like motor oil. "Why? I like it out here."

"I know you do but I've got a surprise for you in the garage."

That was all it took to sell me on that idea. As much as I hated the garage, I loved surprises that much more. "Is it a toy?" I asked eagerly as I jumped up to my feet.

Dustin just smiled before taking me by the hand and leading me into the garage. As soon we were in there, I learned that there were surprises in life that were not good. I also learned that all touches were not innocent, even if the person doing the touching was insisting that not only were they okay, but they were perfectly natural. I wish that I would have done something but just stand there. I wish I would have run out of there that day and hid somewhere that he never found me again. But when I tried to object too much, he gave me this really nasty look that shut me right up. He had a terrible temper when pushed too much and I was afraid of it being unleashed on me.

After that day, he left me alone for a couple of weeks. I was really confused and frightened about the whole experience, and since I didn't know what else to do, I just tried to forget it ever happened. If he would have just left me alone from then on, I might have successfully repressed the memory. Unfortunately, that was just not meant to be.

The next time it happened was one of the days he picked me up from school. When I realized what was happening, I got so hysterical that he gave me a special treat to help sedate me. I know now that he actually force fed me my first joint at the age of five just so I would shut up so he could play his little game. This pattern continued for the next four years, only ending because he had to go off to college. As bad as it was though, what really hurt was that nobody seemed to notice that was going on. Dad was always working and Mom was too wrapped up in her own life to see what was going on right under her nose. The only one who ever noticed something was amiss was Grandma, but the exactly two times she asked me what was wrong I had to lie to her because Dustin was in the room with me. I did attempt to tell Mom what was going on once but all she said to me was "Don't say anything Cody. Your father is going to be home any minute and the last thing we need is a problem." Then she shooed me out of the room so she could finish doing her hair.

Age nine, and he should have been fine with a secret he's sure to keep

Two times he had to tell a little lie for the sake of him and me

Now it's over

I need closure

Hey look what you did to me when you were taking me home

Getting me stoned,

Leave me alone

I waited for mum to comfort me

But when I opened my mouth

Don't say nothing, shhhh

After Dustin left for college, I didn't know what to do with myself. Despite the things he was secretly doing to me, he still acted like the considerate, caring older brother he was supposed to be. The double act had only furthered my confusion, and when he came back on breaks and refused to so much as even look at me, my confusion only intensified. Every time he touched me, he told me that he was doing it that he loved me. He said it so much that it wasn't until he stopped, I actually started to think that he didn't love me anymore. That made me feel even worse and by age twelve I had completely withdrew into myself, and I just tried to survive junior high, which was not an easy task for me. I was constantly bullied and teased by the other kids in school and I couldn't make a friend to save my life. I was completely and utterly alone.

Age twelve and it isn't going well

Now three years to the day

Confused but unlike you this feeling won't go away

Dustin got married to his first wife Terri when I was fourteen. I was almost forced to attend by my parents but at the last second, I was able to convincingly act sick enough where they just left me at home. I was so relieved because there was no way in hell I could have faced Dustin that day. So many emotions were attached to him that I didn't know what to feel towards him anymore. I was mad that he had to touch me and ruin my innocence, mad that he had gone away and was now acting like I didn't even exist, sad that my belief in my perfect brother had been betrayed, confused on why I couldn't just forget about the whole thing. Oh if I could have just forgotten….they say ignorance is bliss and it really is. My mom is the perfect example of that. She had no idea about what made her baby boy so fucked up and was happier than a pig in shit. Of course she had to fight for that ignorance by telling me to not say anything's wrong. She hated it when things were wrong. She was as bad at solving her problems as I was, but at least she had the power to shut everything out. I didn't have that luxury.

When I was sixteen I had a fight with my dad because I wasn't getting into sports like Dustin did. I tried to tell him that I just wasn't interested in them (even though the real reason was that they made me think about Dustin) and he totally freaked out on me. He started yelling at me and telling me that I needed to stop acting like a freak because I was disgracing the family. I got so upset that I stormed out and ended up at Kelly Kelly's house. To this day I still don't know how or why I ended up there. She was one of the girls my parents kept attempting to set me up with, even though I had no interest in dating anyone.

"You look sad," she said as she sat down next to me on the couch.

"I'm not sad," I muttered. I felt beyond uncomfortable at this point. I needed an excuse to get out of there and I needed one right then and there.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes."

She frowned but that didn't last long. She was the type of girl who was incapable of making any expression except for a happily vapid one for more than three seconds. "You want to know what cheers me up when I'm sad?"

"What?"

The answer I got was her kissing me. I tried to push her away but she quickly shoved her tongue in my mouth, catching me completely off guard. She took advantage of that by shoving me down and leading me through a very awkward and unsatisfying sexual encounter. I got out of there as soon as it was over and swore that I would never do that again.

Sixteen and the woman down the street has invited him to come inside

It was the first time

It didn't feel right

It'll be the last time he tries

Hey look what you did to me when you were taking me home

Getting me stoned

Leave me alone

I waited for mum to comfort me

But when I open my mouth

Don't say nothing's wrong

I won't say nothing's wrong

I won't say I won't say

I won't say I won't say

I won't say I won't say

Once my parents realized I was a lost cause, they gave up on me and acted like I didn't exist, just like Dustin. In a way though, their abandonment was easier to take. It wasn't like they had ever really been there for me anyway. Plus it allowed me to see just how many people around me were living lies. My parents acted like they had a love filled relationship when the reality was that they barely spoke to each other unless they had to. Dustin and Teri were the same way, only Dustin's lie was even bigger because he was still acting like he hadn't done anything to me.

It wasn't just my family that was living a lie. Everyone in my neighborhood, everyone I went to school with--everyone was stuck in a fucking lie. After awhile I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to escape from it all, so I started a fire at school to get myself expelled and then I ran away from home. What I soon learned though was that running away didn't help me one little bit. Dustin's abuse still lived in my head and I went through it again and again every time I went to sleep. There was just no escaping it.

Seventeen all he's ever seen is living between the lies

It's kind of funny how a mind can keep living in denial

Eighteen is a very strange scene

He's still playing with the past

Expelled

Maybe someone could have helped him

If someone had known to ask

Hey look what you did to me when you were taking me home

Getting me stoned

Leave me alone

I waited for mum to comfort me

But when I opened my mouth

Don't say nothing shhhhh

My eyes snapped open as bile rose up from my stomach and up into my throat and mouth. I quickly reached for the doorknob, barely getting out of the car before I threw up all over the cement. I heaved over and over again until I had absolutely nothing left and then I heaved some more. Once I was done, I stumbled away from my car, my stomach still churning and my head spinning. I was so fucking sick. Dustin made me sick. He fucking used me up, milked me dry and fucking left me to die…"FUCK!" I screamed as I kicked a rock that was in my way. "Fuck fuck fuck!" I took several deep breaths and forced myself to calm back down. I couldn't let myself spiral out of control. I just couldn't.

Once I was somewhat calmed down, I looked around and saw a boy sitting there on the swing. He looked to be about five or six, and as soon as I started staring at him he started staring at me too. We looked at each other for what felt like ages, and I felt something stir up inside of me. This boy looked like me. He looked so much like me that it was actually kind of scary. I licked my lips and began walking towards him. Part of me was telling myself to go back to the car and get out of there but I couldn't. I needed to understand everything for once. I wanted to see if I could discover the truth behind the lies.

I wanted to see why Dustin did it to me all those years ago.

Nineteen and he's innocently parked right beside a school

He stares at a boy sitting there and the boy stares at him too

He walks over

He needs closure