Kyle awoke suddenly in a cold sweat, sitting bolt-upright. He got up, went into the bathroom and ran a cold washcloth over his face. Looking at his reflection in the mirror, he noticed the dark circles starting to form under his eyes.
It was the dream again. The same dream he had every night for a week. He was running everywhere, searching. But who or what he was searching for eluded him. He stopped and asked everyone he came in contact with, but no one would help him. Time was running out. A feeling of dread started building within him. If he didn't find who or what he was looking for soon, it would be too late. He splashed more water on his face then went into the kitchen for a glass of pineapple juice.
As he sat at the table, he tried to analyze the dream. Who was he looking for? What was he looking for? Why was time running out? No matter how hard he tried, the answers never came. Eventually he gave up trying to figure it out and went back to bed. It was Saturday, so he didn't have to get up early. He decided that if he had the dream again, he would talk it over with Tommy. Perhaps the two of them could figure it out. Having grown up together, nobody knew him better than Tommy. Not even Jay, with whom he spent the last five years of his life with.
Jay. A bitter, lonely feeling filled him at the thought of his ex-lover. God, I miss him so much. He thought, sadly. How am I going to continue on without him? I can't take this much longer. A strange and disturbing thought formed in his mind, which he pushed away resolutely. Kyle finally went back to bed and fell into a deep sleep.
The phone rang. Glancing at the clock as he reached for it, he saw that it was almost noon. "Hello?"
"Hey little brother, did I wake you?" His older sister Kim asked.
"Hi Kim, Yeah, I had a rough night. What's up?"
"Have you seen the morning paper yet?"
"There's an interesting article in it about a woman who was raped up north about two months ago. She was threatened that if she didn't submit, her husband would disappear, never to be seen again. So she submitted. Later, when they caught the guy, she testified against him and now her husband is missing. There's a state-wide search for him right now, but it doesn't look good. He's been gone too long."
"And the reason you are telling me this is..." he prompted.
"Think about it. If it can happen to a straight couple, why couldn't it happen to a gay couple? Jay would do anything to protect you, even commit murder. Isn't it possible that he was telling the truth? He's never lied to you before. Hell, he can't even keep a secret from you. I wish I had a dollar for every time I went last-minute shopping with him or for him to get a present for you."
"So what are you saying?"
"I'm saying please give him the benefit of the doubt. You still love him, don't you?"
Kyle was silent for a few moments. "Do I still love him?" He asked himself. "Yes, I do." he whispered into the phone.
"Then talk to him."
"I don't know where he is. Three weeks ago he stopped by to get his clothes, but left everything else. He told me to do whatever I wanted with the rest of his stuff. I haven't seen him since. I suppose I could call him at work."
"Personally, I think you should. You two love each other too much to let go, especially if he did it to protect you. Stranger things have happened."
"I got to go. Someone's at the door. I'll think about it. Thanks for calling and being concerned, Kim. Love 'ya Sis."
"Love you, little brother. Call me later?"
Kyle got out of bed, put on a bathrobe to cover his nakedness, and went to the door. "Who is it?"
"Special Agent Hunter, FBI." He held his ID up to the peephole.
Kyle opened the door. "What can I do for you, Agent Hunter?"
"I'm Kyle Matthews."
"I'm investigating the disappearance of Special Agent Jayson Williams, and I'd like to ask you a few questions. May I come in?"
"Of course" He let the agent in. "Please, have a seat. I just need to get some clothes on. Can I get you anything?"
"Some water would be greatly appreciated."
"Sure. Be right back." Kyle got dressed and returned to the living room with a bottle of water, which he gave to the FBI Agent before sitting down.
"How do you know that Jay is missing?"
"He hasn't reported for work in three days and his truck was found abandoned just outside the city on route 463 with all of his crime scene investigation gear still in it. Mr. Matthews, I understand that you and Agent Williams are involved in a long-term, same-sex relationship."
"We were roommates. Jay is straight."
The agent pulled out a photograph and tossed it onto the coffee table in front of Kyle. "Take a close look at this picture."
Kyle's blood ran cold as he recognized himself and Jay making love on the beach, Jay deep inside him. "W-w-w-where did you get this?" He whispered.
"It was mailed to our field office a few days before he disappeared. Want to try again? If you are trying to protect him, don't. There's no need. You will be doing him more harm than good." Agent Hunter said sternly. "I know he's gay. I've known it for several years."
"He was so scared that he would lose his job and his security clearance if he was ever discovered. We had to be very careful at first, but not anymore."
"We're no longer together."
"So what happened between the two of you?"
"I came home early from work one day and found him cheating on me."
"He was having sex with another man in the middle of the living room floor."
"Was it voluntary or was he being raped?"
"He wasn't putting up any kind of fight."
"Then what happened?"
"I grabbed the guy who was screwing Jay and physically threw him out the front door, his clothes out the back door. Jay got up in my face and started yelling that I didn't know what I had just done. I knocked him on his ass and told him to get the hell out."
"And that's the last time you saw him?"
"No. I came home from work two weeks later and he was sitting on the steps. I had changed the locks and the code to the security system. He had come to pick up his clothes, but he didn't want anything else, which I thought was strange. He grabbed some of his clothes, threw them into the back of his truck, told me I could do whatever I wanted with the rest and drove off. That's the last I saw of him."
"Where are the rest of his possessions?"
"I put everything in the garage except for his clothes and laptop."
"Why didn't you dispose of them?"
"They're not mine to dispose of."
"But according to what you said, he told you to do whatever you wanted with them, so technically they are yours to do with as you please."
"Yeah, but some of the stuff is extremely valuable. I guess I figured he'd be back for them eventually."
"I see. How did he seem to you when you saw him last?"
"He was a wreck. He'd lost weight, was unshaven, clothes and hair a mess. I'd say he'd been living on the streets. He also had been crying, and he walked funny."
"It was something like this." He stood up, spread his feet apart, locked his knees and walked a weird sort of waddle. Suddenly something clicked in the back of his mind. He recalled a time when he walked like that after an all-nighter in which Jay had screwed him seven times that night and he was really sore the next morning. "It was almost as if he had been raped repeatedly."
"What makes you think that?"
"Well," he began, blushing furiously. "One night we had sex numerous times. I was very sore the next morning and I kind of walked that way. Plus, he's a top."
"What's a top?"
"A top is the guy who penetrates his partner. Whenever we had sex, he always penetrated me."
"So, being a top, as you say, he wouldn't be used to being penetrated, which I understand can be very painful."
"Penetration only when it's forced with no prior preparation."
"Did the two of you ever talk about what happened?"
"Yes, when he was in the hospital."
"When was he in the hospital?"
"About a week after I caught him cheating on me. He had been attacked in the park, stabbed several times and almost died."
"And did he tell you why he did it?"
"He said that he got an email on his computer telling him to call a number. When he called, he was told to submit to the sex or I would never been seen again."
Agent Hunter nodded towards the laptop computer sitting on a desk in the corner of the room. "Is that the computer?"
"No. It was on his laptop."
"Where is his computer now?"
"It's in the closet. I didn't want to take a chance of it being damaged by the cold. The garage isn't heated." He explained.
"I'm going to need to take it to the lab. There might be other clues on it that might help us figure out what happened to him."
Kyle retrieved the computer. "Sure, but I'm going to want some kind of receipt for it in case he comes back to get it." He said, handing the machine over.
"Of course" he replied as he opened his briefcase, took out a form and filled it out with the make, model, serial number, date, etc., signed it and handed it to Kyle.
"What type of lover was he?"
"What do you mean?"
"Was he abusive?"
"No. Sure we had our arguments, like any other couple, but he never, ever hit me, called me derogatory names, put me down or was condescending in any way. All our friends told me that he worshiped the ground I walked on." Kyle hung his head. "It must have really hurt him when I knocked him on his ass. I never hit him before, and I swear I never, ever will again. God how I wish I could take it all back."
"Do you know if there was any history of mental illness in his family?"
"Are you asking me if I think he might have committed suicide?"
"No. That was going to be my next question."
"If there were, he wouldn't have been able to become an FBI Agent, would he?"
"Not really, no. I'm just exploring all avenues."
"Up until that day, he was a happy-go-lucky person. He never had any real problems, nor did he hesitate to talk over anything that was bothering him, but to answer your question, no. He's not the suicidal type. I'm a high school science teacher, and I would recognize the signs of someone contemplating it. Up until that day, he was completely normal."
"I see. Is there anything else you can tell me?"
"Nothing I can think of."
The agent rose, handing Kyle a business card. "Well, if you think of anything further, please give me a call." He had a brief flashback of the time when Jay had given him his business card.
"Sure." Kyle responded. A tear started to form. "Please find him and bring him home."
"We'll do our best. Thank you for your time, Mr. Matthews. Have a good day."
"Thanks." Kyle walked him to the door, closing it behind him. A seed of doubt had been planted in his mind. He was no longer convinced that Jay had lied to him. "So, what do I do now?" He asked aloud. An idea occurred to him. He grabbed the phone and called the FBI Agent. "Hi, this is Kyle Matthews."
"What can I do for you, Mr. Matthews?"
"Something just occurred to me. Could the guy who raped Jay have kidnapped him or killed him or something?"
"It's a distinct possibility. Do you think that you would be able to recognize him if you saw him again?"
"I don't know. I only caught a glimpse of his face, and I was so angry I couldn't say for certain."
"Why don't you come down to the field office this afternoon and take a look at some pictures."
"Sure. What time?"
"How about three o'clock? Just ask the receptionist for me."
"Okay. I'll be there. Bye."
"See you at three."
Kyle hung up, called his sister and filled her in on the details.
Later that day, at the FBI field office, after looking through hundreds of photos, he didn't see anyone he recognized. "I'm sorry."
"That's okay, Mr. Matthews. I understand. We're not giving up. The email you spoke of earlier was still on his computer, and we're tracking it back to its origin. As soon as we have any news, we'll let you know."
"Thanks. Have a good one."
To be continued...To be continued...