The usual disclaimers apply. Don't read this if you are offended by material of a homosexual nature.
This work depicts adult males in sexual situations with underage males. If this offends you do not read this story. All events depicted in this story is purely of a fictional nature and any resemblance to people living or dead is coincidence. If you enjoyed this story, please feel free to send me a message at email@example.com
Lone Wanderer, Empty World
'Sometimes, a man destroys that which he loves most'
At first I was aware. Not of my surroundings. Or of my condition. I was simply aware.
The awareness phased in and out but it began to grow stronger. I was aware in the dark. I could feel nothing, taste nothing, see nothing.
Information began to filter in from an undamaged part of my brain, filling the blank awareness with memories both old and recent. Here, a dull afternoon sifting through coursework, there, a bright summers day among trees and grass. The memories soon flooded the awareness and began to order themselves in chronological order.
'Mister....wel.....to.......substantial dam.....please.....ergency.....ne momen'
The broken voice came from all around the dark and all at once I could see, no that isn't really the word, perceive, my body plan. There was a pulsing red light in the middle of a skeleton diagram, just below where the heart would be and an expanded cross-section of several severed vertebra.
The sudden awareness shut off and I lost my mental cohesion.
At some later point, I could not be sure, awareness returned and with it, some form of consciousness.
I understood. My name was Kristian. I had been hurt. Badly.
Daniel had been shouting my name.
I jolted at the force of the memory and began to reconnect to the rest of my body. At first it was just a dull sensation on one side of the darkness. Like an arm that had been deprived of oxygen and had gone to sleep. I joined the rest of myself.
I ran my dry tongue over parched lips. I cracked an eyelid gingerly and was greeted with a blurred, indistinct shape leaning over me.
'Kris, you're awake' Dan ran the back of his hand down my cheek.
'Hmmmph' I tried to speak.
'No no don't. I'll get you a drink' he said, fetching a beaker filled with water. I had difficulty swallowing it. Dan had to gently lift my head to pour it in. The water was like an elixir. No sooner had it passed through my stomach and into my bloodstream, that my vision cleared and I felt some measure of strength return.
'How...how...long?' I croaked.
'Four days'. His face was tear streaked, hair untidy and plastered to his face. He probably hadn't left my side in all that time.
'You' tears welled up in his eyes but he pushed on, despite the pain it caused him 'you fell off the roof and cracked something on the patio. The worst thing was the lantern stake. You were impaled on it' I remembered now. The spire of blood and chrome.
'No, no you're alive. You're okay. You're gonna get better'
'I should...have died' I was gaining strength by the second. I pushed myself into a sitting position, Dan fretted around me like a mother hen. I took the beaker and drank more. It wasn't water as I first thought. It was a concentrated energy drink, the type athletes would drink before a race. The glucose was re-energising my body.
'Don't move too fast' Dan cautioned, fluffing the pillows. With my vision clear, I could see I was lying on the sofa in the living room. I was naked, as far as I could tell (for my lower half was under cover) and a hastily wrapped bandage girdled my chest. I fingered the small patch of dried red blood, expecting a sharp jolt of pain. None was forthcoming.
'I'm feeling a little tired Dan'
'It's okay, go to sleep, you need to rest'
'I'll just shut my eyes for...'
When I awoke again, the light had changed. It had been duller when I first awoke, as though late afternoon. Now, bright sunlight streamed through the big windows, dazzling. I must have slept away the rest of the previous day.
I was alone, a vacant chair next to me. A fresh beaker of drink was sitting on it. I drank it down greedily, filling myself with energy. Dan bustled in, carrying a tray. For the next half hour he gently fed me fruits, coffee and canned tuna. When I was done I felt almost whole again, enough to sit up properly and inspect Dan's handiwork with the bandage.
He hadn't done too badly. I'd taught him as much as I remembered from my university days and he'd taken it all on-board. With his help, I began to peel off the layers to properly assess the extent of my wound.
My heart skipped a beat or three at what I saw. The stake must have ripped a hole in me at least a good inch and a half wide. Something that severe would have had to damage several vital organs but I was eating and drinking normally. Where I had expected a bloody exit wound there was only a white, dried up scab of skin. I looked up at Dan, our eyes meeting.
'That's impossible' he breathed.
'Yes' I probed the scab. It was sore but otherwise fine. I pressed down on it a little, expecting to feel the hole but it was firm. The wound had healed. Perfectly. In only five days a major, life-threatening injury had been fixed all by itself.
'What does it mean?'
'That things are not as they seem'.
The day after the discovery, I was up on my (admittedly wobbly) feet. Two days after that I was as right as rain. Eight days from life-threatening to a full recovery. It wasn't possible. Not within the means of conventional biology or medicine.
I considered the varied options.
I could be in 'heaven', for want of a better word. Perhaps the Hyperflu had taken me and here I was in everlasting paradise. It certainly made sense; fast healing wounds, a scenic countryside home and an amazing teenage lover. Whether or not this was a heavenly abode, I refused to abandon the rationalistic atheism to which I had always lived my life. I had never been prone to religious indoctrination and now was not the time to start.
Some kind of delirium then? Maybe I was strapped to a hospital bed, in a room with padded walls as I wandered, lost in my own fantastic imagination. That was never a likely scenario; after pinching myself several times, I was sufficiently convinced of the solidity of the universe.
Science fiction, notably Star Trek had imprinted the notion of interactive holography upon the minds of a generation. That I may be in some kind of simulated environment alarmed me but I calmed down after thinking it through seriously. To what benefit would putting me through three years of subjective time in a fantasy achieve? I was a relative nobody before the Collapse. I had no super-secret government data or any radical political links. I put that in my mental unlikely pile.
I slipped into another staple of science fiction. Alternate universes. Had I somehow sidestepped from my native world into another? One where the laws of biology and to a lesser extent, physics behaved a little differently? No. From what I remembered, reading journals such as Nature and New Scientist, the practical application of inter-dimensional travel was very much in the fictional arena of science. In the very far downstream of time it may be possible to harness the energy of an entire star and by some manipulation of gravity, send only information between universes. That I had wandered blithely across a dimensional rift was preposterous in the extreme. I discarded that one too.
In the end, to stop my mind from drifting, I anchored myself in the reality I knew. I started from what I knew to be the absolute truth. My name was Kristian Morgan. I was reaching the age of twenty nine. I was studying medicine before the Outbreak and ever since the Collapse, I had been moving from place to place. Humanity had been annihilated. Just over three years ago, I met a boy called Daniel and we had fast become lovers. For the past three years we had eked out a living in this house. Eight days ago I fell from the roof of that house and impaled myself upon a stake. The injury that should have killed me healed by itself.
I came to the only conclusion I could with the available evidence. Something about me had changed. Not the world. My biology had been given some kind of speed boost. An injury requiring a theatre of veteran doctors and gleaming, sterile equipment. An injury that would have still taken months, perhaps years to recover from, if I was lucky. I was different. I wanted to know more. I needed to know. That was why I did it. I can see now how Dan felt seeing the look of wild determination on my face as I took the heavy chef's knife from the kitchen drawer. He tried to restrain me, stop me, but I shrugged him off easily. I laid my left pinky finer on the chopping board and with one, quick slice of the razor sharp blade, separated the tip of the finger just below the nail. I screamed in agony as the blood slowly dribbled and Dan finally wrestled me into bed.
I unwrapped my bandaged finger a week later.
'Jesus' Dan whispered, his lower lip trembling.
'No, not him. Something else entirely'. My finger had regenerated itself completely. The flesh was slightly pale and the nail was soft and pliant but I had complete sensation in it, the same amount of movement as before. I marvelled at the miracle of biology held before my eyes. Dan was scared. Truth be told, so was I.
'Look at me Daniel! Do I look a day over twenty-six to you?'
'No but that's just how some people get older, y'know just age well'
'What about this' I waggled my new fingertip 'and this' I pulled up my shirt, taking my time to locate the faint scar that was disappearing as the days went by.
'I don't' he stammered, grasping for a logical explanation 'I don't know. Why question it? It's a miracle, don't go looking for answers when they aren't needed'.
'I need those answers Dan. I haven't aged a fucking day since we met. My body regrows lost parts!'
'What about me? I've had cuts and bruises over the last three years'
'Maybe it needs a certain damage threshold. Something trivial doesn't warrant a fast repair. Minor injuries like cuts and scrapes heal quickly anyway'
'But I've grown up. I'm three years older, almost sixteen. I don't look like I was three years ago'
'I know. Perhaps it, whatever it is, won't arrest your rate of ageing until you reach maturity, in another two or three years'
'It's all so...'
'Speculative?' I cut him off, angrily throwing myself down on the sofa. He sat down across from me, in the armchair, obviously scared of my rage but still the ever-loyal love of my life.
'No. I mean yes, we don't know anything for sure. But what I was going to say was...unfair. We have a happy life here. Now this has to happen. Kris...Kris please don't do anything so stupid as the finger again. Please. I'm begging you' he'd moved across the room, taken my hands in his, pitifully whining at my feet. I felt an uncharacteristic burst of rage. I leapt of the sofa and pushed him over. He righted himself and got up.
'What the fuck is wrong with you?' he screamed. I'm deeply ashamed of my actions. I don't believe I will ever be able to forgive myself. I saw red. I balled my fists and floored him with a right hook. He fell backwards, collapsing on the floor like a rag doll. I leered over him, dragging him up by his t-shirt, ripping under my grip.
'What's wrong with me? I'm a fucking obscenity' I smacked him, tears streaked his beautiful face 'I'm an immortal in an empty fucking world!' I slapped him again 'and I have a little crying pussy under my feet all fucking day long'.
As I made to hit him again, he somehow found his reserve of strength. He gripped my shoulders and brought his head down on mine, cracking my forehead and sending me wheeling back. Released, he pounced back on top of me, landing blow after blow. I was winded by a punch to the stomach. I managed to roll, pushing him off me. I quickly recovered. He was lying on the floor, arms outstretched, panting with exertion. I got on top of him, pummelling his ribs with my bloody knuckles. He spat blood in my face, squirming under my weight and I leant down and locked my mouth onto his. He resisted, fighting me all the way. I punched him again in the ribs and he loosened his lips up.
It was then that my rage subsided and I felt a terrible dark pit of despair open up inside of me. There before me lay the battered visage of the boy I loved. My skin split knuckles bore testament to the damage I had inflicted on the beautiful and innocent body of a wonderful and kind soul. I rolled off him and joined him in his sobbing.
I dragged myself up the stairs and climbed into the bathtub, taking the straight cut-throat razor from the cabinet in my crippled fingers. I managed to turn the taps on, running it as hot as I could as I waited for the tub to fill, soaking my wrists in the water. I pushed the taps off with my bare feet as I slid the blade out of its sheath. I placed the razor at the top of my wrist and willed myself into doing it.
'Oh oh please, please just do it. Do it! Please!' I whispered manically to myself. I couldn't. 'Coward. Fucking coward!' I hissed. I tossed the blade aside and lay in the pink-tinged water, soaking my wounds. I snickered disgustedly to myself 'never mind, all healed soon. All healed'. I thought about the cabinet full of pills. All sorts of emergency medicines in case of infection or injury. As a student doctor I knew what combinations of pills would be lethal. Much easier than wrist slitting.
I rose from the bath, soaked clothing weighing me down. I shed them, hobbling naked to the cabinet, emptying it of the various bottles and containers. In no time at all, I had amassed a small pile of mixed tablets that would end me, new biology permitting of course. But my self administered execution was stayed by the sounds of Dan's sobs. I couldn't do this. Not after such evil could I go and kill myself like a coward, leaving him alone in an empty world.
I wrapped my adrenaline shivering body in a bathrobe and crept unsteadily down the stairs.
He was where I'd left him. He'd pulled himself into a foetal position, curled up on his side, blood running from his nose and the cuts on his angelic face. He looked up at me and flinched as I sat down next to him. He covered his face with his hands, expecting another volley of blows. I made to comfort him but he shifted awkwardly away. I left him there, unable to assist and took my exhausted body up to bed and fell into a sleep, ravaged by dreams of blood and darkness.
I squinted my eyes against the bright moonlight. I looked at the bedside clock, two-thirty seven. I inwardly groaned as I remembered the preceding twelve hours. How I had destroyed the greatest thing I had ever had in life. Our love had been stronger than the end of the world. Had survived the death of humanity and blossomed in the wastes of the empty world. And I wrecked it.
I listened in the darkness, expecting to hear him, something. Nothing. The night was as still as a mountain. He'd probably packed a bag and ran. I didn't blame him. I was a monster now. There was no excuse. I destroyed something marvellous, something precious beyond comprehension and I deserved nothing but misery, agony. I hated myself. I hated myself from the depths of my dark and twisted soul. Tears rolled down my face and I turned to cry into the pillow.
I heard something then, a gentle creeping and the door handle turned. I pulled myself up in bed, watching the moon-illuminated door swing inwards. It was Dan, still dressed in his blood streaked clothing. He was a fallen angel in the moonlight, a good and generous being, battered and broken by the hands of a malevolent freak.
He said nothing but his eyes locked onto mine. In three years of close living, we'd developed an almost psychic method of communicating by just using our eyes. Now, I could not read his thoughts. He awkwardly pulled his bloodied t-shirt over his head, revealing (even in the pale light) the dark, black patches of bruising running over his ribs. He dropped his jeans and pants, limp cock hanging lamely.
I was shocked as he walked over and pulled back the covers, slipping into bed next to me. My tears stopped as he slid gently over to me and wrapped an arm around me as he laid on his side, looking up at my tortured face. I moved, wrapping him in my strong arms, kissing the top of his head.
'Dan Dan Dan Dan Dan' I whispered over and over, hugging him tight 'oh Daniel'.
The next day was incredibly painful. Not physically, of course, but I was weighed down with a heavy burden of guilt and sorrow. Dan was subdued but appeared to have forgiven me already. That was the worst part. I would rather him hated me or stabbed me, something to hurt me for what I did. But, as always, he was a beacon of hope, a stable rock in my life, his love never wavering for a moment. He was a better man than I could ever be and that shamed me deeply.
My split skin had already healed over. In just one day, the skin had knitted together and sealed over with scabs. I risked the occasional glance at Dan but his injuries were persistent and I finally talked him into letting me examine the damage.
He slipped his t-shirt off and I gently ran my fingers across the black bruises and delicately probed his ribs. Nothing broken or bruised internally which was an immense relief. It was mostly on the surface and would heal given a little time. I had busted his lip and looking at it made me feel nauseous with regret. Again, it was untidy looking but would otherwise heal without attention. Clearly, the same processes that were at work in my body were either absent in Dan or had not yet come online. 'Come online' I thought what an odd thought. I shrugged it off.
We didn't do a lot that day. The sky opened up and a torrential down-pouring of rain doused the crops and kept us inside. Dan was virtually mute, still suffering from the trauma of my violent and shameful outburst. I cursed myself.
'Kris please don't go, please!' he cried as I packed the Land Rover with enough supplies to last a few weeks. I went to him, taking him in my arms as he sobbed against my chest.
'I have to go. I need to know what's happened to me. I will be back, I promise you that'
'But why can't I come with you? You'll need my help' he sobbed.
'Because you aren't invulnerable like me. If I lost you...' I pulled him tighter 'I wouldn't be able to go on. Besides, you need to take care of the crops and make sure the house is maintained. Just don't go out on the roof OK?' he nodded understanding.
'Do you still love me?'
'Dan, I do love you and always will. I'll show you as much when I get back' I kissed him slowly and deeply and then I got into the car and drove down the long driveway, away from the only home I had known for the past three years and the man who I would give my immortality for.
Two days later, I was back in London. The capital had not weathered the demise of humanity well.
At some point in the past three years, a fire must have started. Either through lightning strike or malfunctioning equipment, half of the West End had gone up in smoke. The lovely old theatres were charred and cobbled mews homes had been gutted. I stopped the car to walk along the road, remembering how I had been in almost every one of the theatres at one point or another for a musical or a Christmas time Shakespeare production. The blackened remains were a bleak reminder of my own damaged relationship, how I had let loose a fire of my very own and burned down something so precious. Could it ever be rebuilt?
Central was pretty much unscathed. The London Eye had toppled into the Thames, the skeletal framework bent and mangled like the remnant piles of bones that dotted the streets here and there. I still carried a handgun and the car was well stocked with guns and ammo but there was no sign of dangerous wildlife anywhere. London was well and truly dead.
I spread the map on the front of the car and pondered my next move. I was looking for a laboratory, somewhere I could place samples of blood and tissue under a slide and focus in with a semi-decent microscope. I wanted to at least find something that would explain my miraculous healing ability. I had settled on two possibilities: a huge pharmaceuticals company just outside Ealing or a mobile lab that I had seen abandoned in Soho when I'd made my initial escape from the city. The military had attempted to control the spread of, well whatever it was (since it now wasn't likely to be a virus) in the early days but the mobile disease control centres had proven utterly useless. They had been swamped by the panicking population and all work had ceased.
My mind made up, I started the engine and headed back to Soho.
The lab was a two trailer affair, attached to the back of a heavy haulage lorry. It was a gunmetal grey box with steel shuttered windows set along its sides, with a flexible rubber join in the middle and a wide glass and steel door at the back. I picked my way around the scattered bones and rags and stepped up the short gangway.
I tried the door and it clicked open easily enough. I stepped inside.
'Fuckin' hell! Who are you?' asked the startled man in the green army fatigues.