Something Wicked This Way Comes

Friday, January 29, 2016

FREE FICTIONS FRIDAYS - WE CAN CALL IT PARADISE, PART 2


Welcome back to Free Fiction Friday! I chose to continue last week's flash; I hope you enjoy the conclusion! This week's pictures are the inspirational artwork for my two characters, Shawn and Connor.

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WE CAN CALL IT PARADISE, PART 2; by Tucker McCallahan:

The hotel was not posh.

It wasn't even technically a hotel. The sign advertised it as an inn, whatever that meant. It was one step up from those shitty motels where you park in front of your door, meaning this place had interior hallways. But that was about the only difference.

The room had two double beds, both mussed as if they'd been slept in, and given the state of the room, they probably had. Shawn shrugged his leather jacket off and surprised me by taking the time to hang it up in the twelve-inch space they called a closet. I bent, untied my boots, and kicked them off by the wall, making a mental note not to put my socks back into my boots after walking on the carpet.

Shawn was between the beds, fiddling with his phone. Within seconds, we had music. Disturbed's "The Vengeful One" filled the room and Shawn straightened up, turning to me.

"Too much?"

I shook my head. I didn't give a flying fuck what he played. The only music I was interested in was the symphony of moans and whimpers I intended to conduct over his naked body. I stripped my shirt off and went to him.

Shawn was a little taller than I was without my boots, but it made no difference. I wrapped one hand around his nape and drew him down, mouth hungry for more of what I'd tasted outside the bar. He melted against me, soft and strong at the same time. His mouth was still sweet from those frou-frou shots, and for some reason that made me harder than granite.

SHAWN
His hands went straight to my belt. I stopped him only long enough to get him out of his shirt. Tattoos, some complete and some not, spread across his chest and shoulders. My eyes locked onto two words prominently inked between his nips: PROMISES KEPT. I smirked. Shawn noticed and licked his lips.

"Like that?" Shawn tugged my zipper down. "Guy in NYC did those."

"It's a good motto."

Shawn's gaze roamed over me in the low light of the lone lamp.

"No ink?"

CONNOR

Smirk still firmly in place, I slowly turned around, dropping my jeans and boxers as I went. My bud Kyle had finished up his apprenticeship about five years earlier, and he'd done the work that stretched from the back of my neck to my tailbone. I stripped down pretty regularly to show it off, and Kyle had pics up of it on the internet. Shawn's soft gasp made me clench inside, and that had never happened before.

I finished my three-sixty and found Shawn staring at me like a starved man. His eyes flicked down to my erection and back to my face. I loved how desperate he looked, how needy.

"Strip." My voice was raspy with lust. The longer I stared at him the more I wanted him. Shawn's pants, belt, and wallet hit the floor with a soft whuff. His knees hit the floor exactly one second later.

His pretty face nuzzled my groin. Those bitable lips trailed up one side of my hard dick just before his hot tongue licked the tip. Fuck he was perfect.

His hand wrapped around my base. Liquid fire enveloped my cock as he swallowed me, and I groaned. He sucked dick like he loved it. The world spun as his mouth slid up and down. His lips were silky and his tongue…he was driving me crazy.

"Slow down," I panted.

A cocky grin spread across Shawn's face as he stood.

"Why? I liked you all hot and angry." Shawn leaned in and bit my left nip. I yanked him against me, our erections jousting between us. His big dark eyes locked onto my face. "I like you hard and horny even better."

"My opinion of you has greatly improved over the last thirty minutes."

He chuckled and then my hand trapped our hard dicks. As I stared into his face, those lush lips parted and his eyelashes fluttered closed. I stroked us nice and slow. Shawn moaned and I took his mouth again, tongue sliding over his in a wet tease. He writhed and wiggled, the fingers of his right hand clutching my hip in a death grip.

I maneuvered us to one of the beds and was about to toss him down when he wrenched away from the kiss.

"Other bed. Nick would rip my balls off if I fucked on his bed."

My eyebrows went up, but I let him turn us around and took the one step necessary to get to the other bed. He pulled the drawer out on the nightstand and set a bottle of lube beside his phone. He offered me a condom.

"Do I need that?"

"Uh, yeah. I'm not gonna let you do me bare."

"Just what do you think I'm gonna do?"

"Fuck me into oblivion. I hope." Shawn's dark eyes narrowed. "Aw hell. Don't tell me you're a bottom…"

"Definitely not." I took the condom and tossed it on the nightstand beside the lube. "But I don't usually bang guys on the first date." I crowded him against the bed until he sat down.

"What date?" He snorted. "We didn't go on a date."

I slowly climbed onto the bed right on top of him, forcing him down. His big eyes widened even further and that sexy little gasp came out of his mouth again. Damn I liked that sound.

"Sure we did. I came to see your show, and you met me for drinks afterward." I gazed down at him and dipped my head to kiss him again, rubbing against him in a slow undulation. He whimpered, and it was almost as good as his gasp.

"I suppose that part where you told me I sucked and you wanted your money back was just my imagination?"

"Mmm, musta been."

"Oh my God." Shawn shivered under me as I ran my tongue along his collarbone. I dipped lower and nibbled at one of his sweet little nips. "Don't stop."

"Don't have to worry about that." I licked lazily down his breastbone and went to the other nip. He thrust up against me, whining like a neglected puppy. I snickered and kissed his chest. "Roll over."

Anal sex wasn't usually my thing, especially with one-night stands, but Shawn was a temptation I couldn't resist. He flipped onto his belly. One look at his ass and any doubts I had flew right out the window.

"Spread your legs. Nah, as wide as they go. I want your feet hanging off the sides of the bed."

I couldn't tell if my demand embarrassed him or not, and I didn't really care. He looked fucking delicious facedown and spread-eagled. I palmed the lube and flicked it open. The noises that boy made as I got him ready were the sexiest sounds I'd ever heard, a million times better than his singing.

His howl as I pushed inside him made every hair on my body stand on end.

"Oh Jesus. Fuck me. Oh God. Oh shit. Harder. Fucking tear me up." His mouth ran like a porno soundtrack; prayers, curses, and pure filth flowed out in a continuous stream of babble. It turned me on. I laid over his back, arms looped under his so I could pull him down onto my dick as I thrust into him.

His whines and whimpers turned into passionate cries and growls as his dick rubbed against the sheets. And that mouth… Holy shit he only got louder and more explicit. I bit my lip. Sinking into his body was perfection: soft and yielding, yet tight and hot. I tried to make it last, but I couldn't stave off the rush of pleasure. It swallowed me whole and I collapsed against his back, my teeth in his shoulder as my balls tried to climb out of my body by way of my cock.

We laid there through a couple of songs before he wiggled under me.

"As awesome as that was, I'm sticky and you're heavy."

"Sorry." I crawled off him and let him roll over. He'd come pretty impressively and the sheets were a mess. I chuckled. "I almost feel bad about you laying in that."

The look he gave me turned my chuckle into full-out laughter.

"No you don't." He stretched and grinned at me.

Awkwardness quickly consumed me, the itch to get my ass out of there crawling across my skin. His grin fell away and he sat up.

"Feel free to use the shower if you want."

"Nah. Thanks though." I bent over and retrieved my shorts and jeans. "I should take off before your friends get back."

"Yeah, sure."

"You guys playing anymore shows around here?"

"We're stuck here until our guitarist gets out of the hospital."

"What?"

"Our guitarist got hit by a truck yesterday out in the hotel parking lot. Bust leg, busted ribs, concussion." Shawn shrugged. "He's fucking lucky to be alive."

"So who played at the show earlier?"

"Some guy off Craigslist. We were stuck. Club wouldn't let us cancel so we threw an ad up and that's the guy who answered it." He shook his head. "I'm sure you weren't the only person pissed off."

I pulled my shirt over my head and ran my hands through my hair to smooth it down before sitting back down on the bed beside Shawn.

"Not so pissed anymore," I murmured, and kissed him again. He made little happy sounds against my mouth and damn if I didn't feel my dick stir in appreciation. "How long you gonna be around?"

He laid his head on my shoulder. "Could be a week or more."

"Gimme your phone."

Dutifully he turned the music off and handed me the phone. I stood up and pulled my boots on; clean socks didn't seem to matter as much now. I sent myself a text, and pitched the device back to him.

"If you want company, text me."

"Maybe I will."

My eyes zeroed in on the huge, sticky mess in the center of his bed. The grin that split my face hurt it was so wide.

"You will."

I left to the sound of him pulling the sheets off the bed. As I walked back toward the bar and my car, my phone went off with a new text.

I want company.

What the hell. I turned around.


The End  


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Once again, thanks so much for reading! Comments are, as always, craved and appreciated. 

Be Sure To Check Out The Other Stories:

Follow all your favorites and read the first 100 words on the group’s website: 




Wednesday, January 27, 2016

UPDATES - FROM DUST & ASH TO A BIG SURPRISE

I got an interesting comment on the flash story I posted last Friday. One of my readers asked about the status of several stories. Rather than leave that information as a comment response, I figured a status update would be a good idea. 

DUST & ASH


The one on everybody's mind... Including mine. I have to be honest. Last year sucked for The Boys Of Summer. Three different mainstream LGBTQ publishers rejected Book One. Talk about a blow to my ego. However out of the darkness come stars. One of the editors (who's rejection letter was quite kind and lovely) sent me a very long list of suggested changes.

The thing is, D&A has an ensemble cast of characters, and while I did a good job of giving all my boys equal page time, in the process I created a subplot tangle that terrified the publishers. (One unnameable editor called it "a gay version of Jackie Collins." Given the overwhelming success and fame of Ms. Collins, I took that as a compliment.) Up until my new friend made his suggestions, I really didn't know how to fix the problem. Now, with his very cool suggestions in my grubby little hands, I'm pretty excited about some of the changes that are going to turn a really good story into an awesome series. 

Long story short? (Too late!) DUST & ASH is getting a plot overhaul, and I'll be subbing it again at that point. Also, because so many of my readers have been begging... I'll be posting up additional chapters to Gay Authors, just to whet the appetite. Fair warning though... The remaining chapters are rough, and not my best work by far. But you'll get the end of your story - at least the story you started reading, which probably won't be the exact same story that ends up published as a saga.

STATUS: IN REWRITES

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO


This was, by far, one of my favorite stories when I started writing it. I still love the premise, and the outline. What I don't love, and the reason I never posted more, was the amount of research I had to do to create a believable world and scenario. I'm a classically trained writer, which means I don't write what I don't know. So if a story idea grabs me by the guts and demands attention, and it's outside my realm of experience, I dive into research. I've been scuba diving exactly twice - in an ex-boyfriend's swimming pool. Never ended up in even a lake, much less an ocean, and I never got my certification. The scuba apparatus gave me panic attacks. The ex had no trouble diving off the sunken fuselage of a DC-3 off the coast of Honduras, and worked as a rescue diver for the Bahamian Islands. I like to swim... but damn that scuba gear is heavy, awkward, and holy hell do I have more respect for him now. 

What this means is that until I have the time to devote to research, there won't be more of HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO. 

STATUS: ON HOLD

THE FOREST LORD


My pretty drow boys and their dangerous companions. Honestly, I didn't get much of a response to this series. My page visits dropped pretty significantly while I was posting this story, particularly as it lengthened. When nobody is reading and nobody is commenting, it's pretty easy to take the hint and switch shit up. I love the story and loved writing it, but I had a professor at CMU tell me once, "If there's something in your writing that you love, it doesn't belong there." Didn't understand that at all at 19 when he said it, but man do I get it now. 

I'm fully willing to go back to posting up an epic drow fantasy - but only if people actually want to read it. I'd appreciate suggestions or comments on this!

STATUS: SUSPENDED

BIRTH DAY


This story is very personal to me. It's also finished, scrawled out on Notepad when I was at the side of my partner's hospital bed. I'll freely admit to taking bits and pieces of the people, places, and experiences in my life and sticking them shamelessly into my work. But this story kind of went beyond that. It's a reflection of what I was dealing with and going through last year - a personal apocalypse. I have no excuse for not posting up the remaining portions of the story - except for the grief I'm still dealing with on a daily basis. 

Hopefully as time does its work healing, I'll muster the strength to post the remaining chapters. I'm going to make a huge assumption, and say thank you to all my readers for bearing with me on this one.

STATUS: COMPLETED

And finally... The last update and the project I'm really excited about right now.

READ MY MIND


This was an epic fantasy series I originally posted on Literotica about six years ago. The version that went up (while edited by a very nice lady) was not great writing, the plot wandered, and most of what was there was overwritten and gratuitous sex. (snickers) I never believed this series would be published, because it breaks the two big no-no's of digital publishing: non-consensual sex/rape and incest. And no matter how I attacked the plot, there was no way to remove these things. (For fans of the series, you'll remember a good amount of it takes place in the Abyss, in the land of flesh demons, and two of the main characters are a half-brother/sister who are incubus and succubus respectively.)

Despite these problems... The READ MY MIND series is going to be published! I'm still doing formatting and editing work, and there's no release date yet, but Book One will come out this year. I'M SO EXCITED. This project is massive and awesome, and reunites me with an amazing graphic designer who's agreed to do the cover series, which you can be damn sure I'll reveal here first! So for the fans of Pika, Shar, Zan, Cari, Ny'Litha, and Adim... They're baaaa-aack!

STATUS: SOLD, TO BE RELEASED 2016



That's what I've got right now. The trouble with being a writer and not doing it full-time is that the ideas never stop coming. Right now, I could quit my (new) job and write steadily for the next decade using nothing more than the ideas and outlines I've created and archived in the last few years. It's painful not having time to do what makes you the happiest - but writing is rarely a full-time thing (unless you're famous, retired, or living in your parents' basement). My sitch is unique. The House That Love Built has seven adults and five kids in it right now, which means we all have to work day jobs, we all have to manage chores/household maintenance, and we all have parenting duties. 

And I wouldn't change a thing. 

My writing and stories are what they are because of my experience. I'm a bisexual, genderqueer person in a polyamorous house - and it works for me. I hope the stories I produce reflect the personal acceptance and satisfaction available to the LGBTQ community, and as always...

I'll keep writing as long as you keep reading.

Cheers my friends, and BE WELL.

~ Tux

Friday, January 22, 2016

FREE FICTION FRIDAYS - WE CAN CALL IT PARADISE


Welcome back to FREE FICTION FRIDAY here at "A Little Something... Wicked." My holiday break ended up extended because I made an unanticipated job change. This was a very good and necessary thing, so YAY! for me. I once again have *time* to write, which kind of makes my life worth living.

This week's post is a flash piece I did based off of a writing prompt. I like where it's headed - but don't know if I'll continue it. So if you like it and want more... ASK. :)

Also, since it centers around a concert performance, I decided to throw in pics of some of the sexiest performers around. If you think I left anyone important out, feel free to mention their names in the comments.













WE CAN CALL IT PARADISE; by Tucker McCallahan:

"I need a beer."

"No kidding. A beer and a shot."

"Did the guitarist really drop his guiter?"

"Twice."

"So I wasn't hallucinating."

"If we'd been hallucinating that show might not've sucked so bad."

I headed straight for the only empty table I saw and put my back to the wall. I was pretty pissed about spending twenty dollars on a ticket for a thirty minute show that was, without a doubt, the worst concert of my life.

Tim made his way to the table I'd snagged after a stop at the bar. I snickered as I watched him undulate through the crowd, a pair of long-necks in one hand and two shots balanced in his other hand. He set the booze on the table and I downed my shot.

"Ugh. What the hell was that?"

"Slippery nipple." Tim sat down beside me. "They're the shot special tonight."

"Man can't get an honest shot of Jack anymore?"

"I'm sure you could, but it'd cost a lot more."

"It'd be all alcohol."

"These are all alcohol: one part Baileys, one part Sambuca."

"You know what Baileys is, right?" Tim gave me a tired look. "It's whiskey mixed with cream. If I wanted milk with my liquor I'd pour Jack in my cereal."

"Damn you're one grouchy sonuvabitch tonight."

"Show was shit."

Tim drank from the tall bottle, nodding his head as he swallowed.

"No argument here." Tim waited until I'd drowned my sorrows with half the bottle of beer. "Cute blond at the bar."

"Balls or boobs?"

"Like you care."

That made me smile, even if the smile itself didn't last very long.

"Maybe tonight I do care."

"She has nice little tits." Tim pushed his chair back a few inches and not-so-subtly turned to scope the bar. "And a bangin' body."

I gave in and followed Tim's gaze. I zeroed in on the chick immediately. Tim was right; she was smokin' hawt. Obviously another concert-goer, she wore a sparkly red push-up bra under a tiny cropped denim jacket with puffed sleeves. Her matching denim skirt didn't look any wider than my hand, and covered only a fraction more.

"Slut-tastic," I murmured.

"Speak for yourself, ya picky bastard." Tim gave the anonymous girl his version of a slow, seductive smile. She winked at him, turned her back to us, and then looked over her shoulder with a toss of hair that hadn’t been its natural color since grade school. I suppose the look she aimed at us was her version of coy. Female had the subtlety of a great white shark.

"Hey man, if you're into groupies, go for it."

"Looks like groupies are into me." Tim grinned hugely as the blond and her sidekick, a chubby goth girl with her hair in pigtails, headed our way with more drinks. "Handle the baggage, would ya bro?"

"No. Fucking. Way." I gripped the empty beer bottle in my hand so hard I thought it would shatter.

"Be a pal."

"Suck my dick."

"I will. Later."

I rolled my eyes but kept my mouth shut. The girls were within earshot, and if I was nothing else, I was a decent wingman. My eyes traveled over blondie's friend. She caught me doing it and hit me with a disintegration glare. I smiled and shrugged.

Blondie set four shot glasses down on the table, leaning down so we could get the full view of her bra-top. My eyes flicked to the glasses. Sure enough, they were filled with that shitty slippery nipple crap. I bit back my sigh.















Just as blondie launched into her introduction speech, the crowd at the front door swelled in greeting. I glanced up.

"Hol-ee fuck."

Tim stopped right in the middle of inviting the girls to have a seat and glared at me.

"What?"

"It's those motherfuckers from the show."

Everybody at the table turned to stare. The lead singer, the bassist, and their drummer strolled in to a weak welcome. The world's clumsiest guitarist was nowhere in sight.

"Oh my god!" Blondie waved at the trio like her hand was on fire and she was trying to put it out. "Over here!"

"You know those dicks?" I couldn't keep the scorn from my face or my voice.

"The bassist is my brother, jerk." The doom-cookie spoke for the first time. She shot me another hateful look that I matched.

"Well they suck."

"So tell them, not me."

"I will."

The three dudes ended up at our table, a waitress with a tray full of drinks trailing along behind them.

"Casey, Sara…Nice to see you." The lead singer bent down and exchanged kisses with the two chicks. He straightened and turned so the waitress could set her tray down. "Compliments of the bar."

I helped myself to another beer. I didn't particularly like Heineken, but if it was free, I was drinking it. For Tim's sake, I tried to keep my face neutral. The lead singer was a walking stereotype, right down to his Hot Topic wallet chain. If that's what tripped blondie's thermostat, Tim wasn’t getting shit tonight.

"Who're your friends?" The tallest one, the bassist, tugged a black pigtail and the doom-cookie aimed one of her destructo-gazes at him.

"This is Tim." Blondie was now in Tim's lap, having given the lead singer her chair. "And that's Conn."

"Conn as in Connor?" The lead singer smiled, beer in hand, relaxed as could be.

"You guys suck."

Conversation halted as the entire table stared at me.

"Conn–"

"Rude much?"

"S'cool." The singer held up his hands surrender-style. He glanced at me. "Opinions vary."

I folded my arms over my chest. I didn't bother hiding my disgust.

"It's not an opinion, dick. It's the truth. You had no business charging for what you put up on stage tonight."

Everybody talked at once: band members, groupies, and Tim. The lead singer, though, said nothing. He just stared at me, eyes narrowed. I stared back, unapologetic, and grabbed a third beer. I had a nice little buzz going and was starting to look forward to the prospect of a fight.

"You got anything else to say?" The bassist looked ready to grind bones for bread. Perfect.

"I haven't even gotten started."

He started around the table for me but the singer shoved his chair back and blocked the dude's path.

"Nick… chill." As the bassist returned to his seat, still glowering at me, the singer's dark eyes locked on me again. "Speak your piece, man. Get it all out."

"What kinda band plays a thirty minute set? And where's your ax-man? He drop his brain beside his guitar?"

"What answers will make you happy?"

"None, motherfucker! I want my fucking money back!"

"Are you requesting a refund?" His lips puckered into a cute little smile. Damn he was pretty.

"Did I stutter?"

"I'll make sure you get your money's worth tonight."


The two girls and the bassist gaped at him.

"You ain't pimping my sister out, Shawn."

"Not my intention." The look Shawn-the-singer gave me was unmistakable, and he wasn't subtle about it. Tim choked on his beer and laughed. I glared at him.

"What the fuck are you laughing at?"

"Nothing man. Not a thing. Guy wants to taste your rainbow that's between y'all."

"Whattaya say?" Shawn's seductive smile was about a thousand times sexier than Tim's. My jeans got tighter the longer he aimed it at me, and all that did was crank my anger up.

"That you prolly don't suck dick any better than you sing." I stood up and glared at Tim. "Later."


I headed for the bar. I wanted to salvage my buzz before my night got any suckier. Bounce was within walking distance, which meant there was a nice uncomplicated blowjob in my future. I bulldozed my way through the crowd and ordered a double shot of Jack. I tossed it down and relished the burn of real alcohol.

The crowd parted for me on my way to the door. My mad face will do that sometimes. I stepped out into the cool night air.

"Hey!"

I turned automatically. Shawn stood to the side of the doors, that damn smile still on his face. He really was pretty. He walked over.

"You leaving?"

"Nothing here I want."

His big dark eyes flicked down to my zipper, his smile widening.

"Liar."

"You want my fist in your face?"

He stepped up, close enough that I could smell the leather of his jacket and see the perfect fan of his eyelashes in the sodium vapor lights. Goddamn he was beautiful…and he knew it.

"Not in my face." This time his soft seductive smile set a bomb off in my gut that was twice as hot as the Jack Daniels.

Shawn pressed into me, one hand gripping my hip as our thighs and chests kissed. His lips were fucking bitable.

"You've got a nasty temper." Shawn's other hand slipped up under my t-shirt. When that hot hand hit my abs I couldn't help it; I growled. "I like it."

"Yeah?"

"Sure you want to leave all mad?"

"I'm getting less mad by the second."

I took the kiss I wanted. Shawn tasted like slippery nipple shots. And damn if I didn't like them better secondhand. He whimpered against my mouth and pressed even tighter against me, his fingers gripping my side.

I left his bitable lips to suck at his throat, my hands gripping his ass so I could grind against those stupid trendy pants he wasn't going to be wearing much longer. He shuddered in my arms, and I reached for his zipper. He pulled away from me reluctantly, like taffy stretching, and chuckled.

"You wanna do this out here in the parking lot?"

"You think it would be better in front of the bar?"

"Come on." He stepped further away from me but jerked his head toward the nearby lot. "I got a place." He walked backwards, hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, that seductive smile cranked up to maximum and aimed right at me.


What the hell. I followed him.

















For the clueless, the photos, in order from left to right beginning at the start of the story are:

Brian Molko, Placebo
Jared Leto, 30 Seconds to Mars
Jim Morrison, The Doors
Dave Navarro, Jane's Addiction
                      Red Hot Chili Peppers
                      Nine Inch Nails/Marilyn Manson
                      Guns 'n Roses
                      Spirits In the Sky
Layne Staley, Alice In Chains
David Bowie
Joe Perry, Aerosmith
Henry "Hank" Rollins, Black Flag
                                Rollins Band


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Once again, thanks so much for reading! Comments are, as always, craved and appreciated. 

Be Sure To Check Out The Other Stories:

Follow all your favorites and read the first 100 words on the group’s website: 




Friday, November 27, 2015

FREE FICTION FRIDAYS - HELL IS EMPTY & ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE (CONCLUSION)



Happy Black Friday and belated Happy Thanksgiving! No matter where you were or who you were with, I hope you found something for which to be grateful this year. 

And now for the final installment of Hell Is Empty & All The Devils Are Here...


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Dante & Virgil in Hell (Close), William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1850


HELL IS EMPTY & ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE
By Tucker McCallahan


5 – JUNE 19, 2015, AFTERNOON

“He that fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.” ~ Friedrich Nietzche

“You’re Christian.”

“Methodist, yeah.”

Detective Justin Easton’s hand went automatically to the gold cross around his neck. They’d started video and audio recordings, and Griffin Edwards had signed and initialed his Miranda paperwork. He’d agreed to speak to Justin and Zach without an attorney, but they hadn’t gotten much further than the proper spelling of Grif’s full name and his birthdate.

“I go to church every Sunday.”

“Oh yeah? Which one?”

“Seventh Day Adventist on Green Road.”

“That’s over in Shaker Heights, right?”

Grif nodded.

“Could you answer out loud, please? The audio doesn’t pick up gestures or anything.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“It’s OK. So you go to church in Shaker Heights?”

“Every week.”

“That’s a long way from the West Side.”

“Well, I live in Shaker Heights.”

“You don’t live in the condo off Detroit?”

“Huh uh. I live with my parents.”

“What’s that address?” Zach asked. It was the first time he’d spoken since walking Grif through the Miranda paperwork.

“3521 Townley.”

“Isn’t that off Van Aken?” Justin reengaged Grif as Zach wrote down the information on a legal pad.

“Closer to 422.”

“Yeah I know that area.” Justin nodded, smiling. “Good neighborhood.”

“I’ve lived there my whole life.” Grif returned the smile. “My parents bought the house right after they got married.”

“How’d you meet Levi if you live in Shaker Heights?”

Grif’s face crumbled. He folded his hands, still handcuffed to the table.

“I work at a bar on the West Side.”

“Which one?” Zach asked.

“Bilbo’s.”

“Is that one of the newer spots?”

“Yeah.”

“You met Levi there?” Justin asked.

Grif nodded.

“Out loud, please.”

“Yes.”

“When was that?” Justin’s voice was smooth and calm. “How long have you known him?”

“Um, since last Christmas. He and some friends came to the Winter White Party.”

“Sorry…what’s that?”

“It’s, uh, this party where everybody dresses in white? We had the bar all decorated with snow and stuff.” Grif brightened. “I made a great big Olaf.”

“You did what now?”

“The snowman from Frozen. Olaf?” Grif blushed. “I built him out of Styrofoam globes and sprayed him with glitter.”

Zach chuckled softly, but never took his eyes from his legal pad. Justin nodded slowly.

“Gotcha. And this was at your work?”

“Yeah, the Winter Party.”

“Lot of people go to that?”

“It’s a big deal.”

“So you met Levi, and you guys hit it off. You been boyfriends since the White Party?”

Grif tangled his fingers together and stared at the table, eyebrows drawn down in a frown.

“No. We aren’t together.”

“Are you sure?” Zach asked.

“Grif… Is it OK if I call you Grif? Me and Zach, we don’t judge anybody. That’s not our job. We’re just trying to figure out what happened. You know, like putting a puzzle together.” Justin leaned forward, his entire demeanor understanding and accepting. “We need your help.”

“I want to help.”

“Good. That’s great.” Justin’s smile was genuine. “Now Levi’s neighbors, they said you were at the condo every day.”

“I guess.”

“You had your own key?”

“Yeah.”

“But you didn’t live there?”

“No.” Grif was adamant.

“Did Levi want you to live with him?” Zach asked.

Grif nodded, his eyes filling with tears.

“Could you speak up, please?”

“We fought about it.”

“About the two of you living together,” Justin clarified. “Did you fight about that Thursday night? The eighteenth?”

“We didn’t fight.” Grif’s cheeks went red hot and he all but squirmed.

“What happened Thursday night?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Did you work?”

“Uh huh, yeah. Six to two.”

“At the bar. Bilbo’s?” Zach asked.

“Yeah.”

“But you didn’t go to your parents’ house after work. You went to the condo, right?”

“Levi picked me up.”

“He do that a lot?” Justin asked.

“He doesn’t like me riding the bus.” Grif stared at the gray wall. “He says it’s not safe.”

“So you went to work, and Levi picked you up, and the two of you went home together.”

“Yes,” Grif whispered.

“But you didn’t argue about you moving in.”

“No.”

“You guys had been together, what, for six months?”

“No.”

“Did you break up at some point?”

“No. We just weren’t, you know, like that.”

“Like what, Grif?” Justin’s voice drew Grif’s eyes back to him. “Everybody says Levi loved you. That you guys seemed real happy. Are they lying?”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s OK if Levi loved you. We get that people fall in love.” Justin studied Grif’s miserable face. “Did he love you?”

“I guess.”

“All right. Thursday night…did you go back to the condo so he could love you?”

“I don’t remember.”

“It’s important, Grif. We need you to tell us the truth. We need to figure out what happened.”

“I killed him.”

Justin’s eyes flicked up to the camera recording the interrogation; it was recording. Zach didn’t react to Grif’s confession at all.

“You killed Levi?” Justin asked.

“Yes.” Grif’s eyes overflowed. “I had no choice.” He broke into sobs.

“Why didn’t you have a choice?”

“He kept telling me to do it.”

“Levi asked you to kill him?”

“No, but he should’ve.”

“Why?”

“He was evil.”

“How was he evil?”

“He was a sodomite.”

“Is that why you killed him?”

“I had to. He wouldn’t stop telling me to do it.”

“Who?”

“I don’t know. A voice.”

“A voice? Where did you hear this voice?”

“Everywhere. All the time. He wouldn’t leave me alone.”

The Damned, Luca Signorelli, 1499-1504


“Tell me about the voice, Grif.” Justin passed Grif a tissue.

“He wouldn’t shut up. Wouldn’t go away.” Grif turned anguished eyes to Justin. “I had to do it.”

“You heard this voice Thursday night?”

“All the time.”

“So you got to the condo, and you and Levi had sex, and the voice told you to kill him?”

“Yes.” Grif broke into fresh sobs. “I killed him. I loved him so much and I killed him!”

“Did Levi hurt you in any way?”

“No. It was the voice. It wouldn’t shut up!”

“What did it say?”

“That I needed his blood to be clean.”

“Is that why you drank his blood?”

“I had to wash away my sins.”

“Have you heard the voice since you got here?”

“No.”

Zach flipped through the legal pad and tapped his pen against it. He looked up at Grif.

“We had somebody look at your computer.” Zach continued to gaze at Grif as he wrote. “You remember being on Google last week?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Your history shows you use it a lot.”

“I guess. Doesn’t everybody?” Grif sniffled. “Can I have another tissue?”

Justin handed him the box. Zach stared as Grif wiped his runny nose.

“Your history shows a search for ‘cut throat.’”

“It does?” Grif looked confused.

“Yes. Maybe you got frustrated with Levi and typed it in.” Justin was sure to keep eye contact with Grif. “Could that have happened, Grif?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you sure? I search for all kinds of things on Google. Anything that catches my interest. Could you maybe have searched for how to cut somebody’s throat?”

“I don’t remember.”

“What about searching for ‘sentry neutralization’?” Zach cocked his head, watching Grif.

“I don’t know what that is.”

“Were you ever in the military?”

“No.”

Zach scribbled on the legal pad. Justin frowned, but the lines on his face faded away to pleasant neutrality by the time he spoke.

“Grif, when you stabbed Levi… How did you do it?”

“On the bed.”

“Yeah, but how?” Grif looked baffled by Justin’s question. “Were you next to Levi? On top of him? Behind him?”

“Behind.”

“When you did it, did you think it was a right or wrong thing to do?”

“Wrong. It was wrong.”

“But you did it anyway. From behind him.”

“Yes.”

“Like a ninja.” When Grif didn’t respond, Justin moved on. “What did you use to kill him?”

“My razor.” Tears spilled continually down Grif’s face like rain slanting against a window. “It was my granddad’s, and now it’s gone.”

“It’s not gone, Grif. We had to take it and enter it into evidence.”

“Can I get it back?”

“We’ll see.”

Regardless of whether Grif was sent to prison or an institution, he wouldn’t be allowed a razor. Justin didn’t bother getting into any of that. He noted the time, stood, and stretched. “Hey, you want a cup of coffee or a soda? I didn’t ask if you smoked. We don’t, but I can get you a cigarette if you want one.”

“I don’t smoke.” Grif shifted in his seat. “I could really use a Pepsi, though.”

“One Pepsi, coming up. Anything else? Candy bar? Chips? The vending machine has some sandwiches. I don’t eat them; but if you’re feeling hungry and brave…”

“Chips would be good.”

“You got it. Be right back.”

Justin left the room. Grif used two more tissues to wipe his nose and red eyes. Zach’s head came up and he locked gazes with Grif. Shadows swam through Zach’s deep blue eyes, like ink mixing into ocean water. Grif went very still, and an answering blackness swirled through his eyes.

As quickly as it happened, the darkness vanished.

Justin opened the door and walked in with a can of Pepsi and a small bag of Doritos. He opened them for Grif and set them on the table. Grif managed to snag the Doritos, but with his hands cuffed to the table, he couldn’t drink the Pepsi without performing contortions.

“If I take those cuffs off, you promise not to hit me or Zach?” Justin asked.

“I’d never hit a man.”

“I believe you.” Justin took the keys from his pocket. “Hold your hands out.”

Justin wrapped a big hand around Grif’s wrist, turning the cuff to fit the key into it. Zach watched out of the corner of his eye. As Justin unlocked the cuffs, a tiny black splinter slithered along Grif’s skin and jumped to Justin. Justin removed the cuffs and put them in his pocket.

“We’ll take a break and let you eat. The tech guy has some questions about your computer.”

Grif blinked slowly, rubbing his wrist. He frowned and looked around the room.

“Sure…”

“We’ll be back in a bit.” Zach stood and Justin copied him. “Relax for a minute.”

“Where am I?”

“Cleveland Police Division Headquarters.” Justin appraised Grif warily. “You feeling OK?”

“I don’t know.” Grif looked panic-stricken. “I don’t remember getting here.”

“It’s OK. We’re gonna stop for a little while.” Justin turned the recorders off. “Have a snack. Chill out.”

Grif glanced around, frightened. Justin motioned and Zach gathered his things. They exited the interrogation room. Grif’s entire body shook. He nibbled a Dorito like a terrified rabbit.

Out in the hallway, Justin and Zach met the cyber-crime detective and exchanged paperwork.

“All yours,” Zach said.

“Thanks.” The cyber-crime detective opened the door and strolled inside. “I’m Detective Adam Rogers. I’m with the–” The door swung shut and cut off the sound.

“Whattaya think?” Justin asked. He and Zach walked to the elevator and stepped inside. Zach hit the button for the second sub-basement.

“That was fun.”

The doors slid shut.

“I enjoyed it immensely.” Justin brimmed with self-satisfaction.

The elevator reached the underground parking level and the two detectives strolled out into the dim complex. It was muggy again, but neither man paid the humidity any attention as they walked to the unmarked Dodge Charger.

“Ready for more?” Zach asked.

The two men paused before opening their car doors and gazed at each other over the roof of the vehicle. Darkness eclipsed their eyes, devouring all the color.

“Oh yeah.” A frightening smile crawled across Justin’s face. “These two have guns.”

The car doors slammed with fatal finality, and icy cold laughter echoed through the summer heat as the Charger sped away.

THE END

* * * *


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