“Can I help you?” her thick Georgian accent was smooth like butter.
“Ma’am, I hope so. My name is Thyme, Jay Thyme. I’d like to talk to you about your son if I may.”
“Oh my, what has Bobbie been up to now?”
Justin fiddled with his neckline again nervously. “Not Bobbie ma’am, Jason.”
A pained look crossed her face. “Young man you have had a wasted journey. My Jason is dead.”
“I know ma’am. I really need to talk to you though.”
“Were you one of his lovers or one of his friends?”
“A friend, sort of.” Justin pulled a photo of JC from his pocket, holding it up so she could see him.
“You have a photograph of my son, so what? I’m sure there are plenty of folks with his picture.” She stepped back from the screen door. “Now as I said my boy died, I didn’t like his lifestyle but I loved him. There is nothing to talk about. Good-day Mister Thyme.”
“Mrs Brown please.” Justin pushed at the flimsy transparent screen.
“I will call the police!”
“Momma.” A young man of about twenty, with chin length curly hair and piercing blue eyes came up behind him, clamping his hand hard on his shoulder. “Is he bothering you?”
The woman smiled and relaxed, “It’s ok honey, Mr Thyme was just leaving.”
Justin wasn’t about to give up. “Ma’am, here’s my number if you change your mind. I just wanna ask about David Scott, you see ma’am this isn’t Jason in the picture, its my best friend JC, he’s disappeared and we think Scott has him.”
“I’ll deal with him momma, you go in.” The young man squeezed hard on Justin’s shoulder making him wince. “Walk with me Mr Thyme, and let me look at that picture.”
Justin handed over the photo.
“JC you said.”
“He’s the spitting image of Jason. Your lover?”
Justin looked at the ground and kicked at the dust. “Would you be disgusted if I said yes?”
“No, Jason was gay, I knew it. I may still have been a kid when that bastard took him away, but I knew.”
“You didn’t like him?”
Bobbie looked confused. “I loved my brother, I cried for weeks when he was taken away.”
“Actually I meant Scott.” Justin drew circles in the dirt with his foot. “He was taken away!”
“Yeah, I was about twelve, thirteen at the time. Jason was everything I wanted to be when I grew up. He was my best friend. Then HE came. Jason was flattered. I mean its not everyday a multi millionaire tells you he wants to marry you. He swept my brother off his feet. Cars, trips to Europe anything he wanted.”
“Your brother must have been very happy.”
“For three months he was. Then Scott persuaded him to marry him, well a commitment ceremony. A big assed affair. Jason was every inch the blushing groom. We were even invited. The wedding was the last time we really saw him again.”
Justin jumped to attention. “Scott killed him?”
“No, but he might have well have. He kept Jason a prisoner. I did see him once more, he was running down the road, he jumped on the bus out of town and was gone.” The twenty year old handed the picture back. “Do you know what was odd about it?”
“He wasn’t wearing any shoes or socks, just pants that were way too big for him and a vest, and he was scared, really, really scared.” He paused as he sat in an old yard swing. “Jace put this up for me.” He wiped a tear from his eye. “HE came round that night, first time since the wedding, kicked the door in, demanding we told him where Jace was. Momma didn’t know he’d even left, I never told her, kept it to myself. Months later I got a letter, Jason had joined up, and got himself shipped to Cyprus. The things he told me in that letter. The humiliating punishments David made him endure. He was so unhappy, so frightened. Made me promise not to tell David where he was. Then word came that he’d been killed. They shipped his body back. David came to the funeral. He was almost angry that Jace had gotten himself killed.” He stood up again and the two men walked to Justin’s SUV. He held out his hand for Justin to shake. “If Scott has your friend then I’m truly sorry for him. He had my brother almost convinced he was insane and that he was a useless piece of shit who’s only true use was to take it up the ass.”
Justin took the offered hand, thankful for the younger mans time, even if he was more worried now than he was before.
“Bobbie one more thing, where can I find Scott? The address I found doesn’t exist anymore.”
“Take the road north out of town, its straight on about four maybe five kilometres. You can’t miss the house. Be careful.”
They shook hands once more before Justin climbed into his ride.